Characteristics of Effective Collaboration: A Study of Nurse-Family Partnership and Child Welfare




Gregory J. Tung, Venice N. Williams, Roman Ayele, Suzuho Shimasaki, and David Olds

Brief Type

Journal Publication


  • Nurse-Family Partnership (NFP)


Background: In February 2018, President Trump signed into law the Family First Prevention Act, legislation in the United States aimed at providing prevention services for families at risk of entering the child welfare system. The effectiveness of these prevention efforts is dependent on the formation of collaborative relationships between prevention-programs and child welfare. Objective: To identify factors that influence the ability of the Nurse-Family Partnership (NFP) and Child Protective Services (CPS) to collaborate in serving high-risk mothers and their children. Participants: 123 NFP, CPS workers, and community partners. Setting: Seven sites in the U.S. state of Colorado selected to include an array of community sizes, geographies, apparent levels of collaboration, and variations in internal structures and practices. Methods: Using an adapted grounded theory approach, we conducted semi-structured interviews with front line NFP and CPS workers and supervisors. Interviews were recorded, transcribed, validated, and coded in NVivo 10. Results: Alignment of core organizational mission and methods was key in determining collaboration levels between NFP and CPS. Only when workers perceived there to be alignment in organizational mission, did other factors such as program eligibility, communication channels, and risk and safety assessment practices influence the perceived benefits and efforts undertaken to enhance collaboration. Conclusions: High-risk families frequently require services that go beyond the scope of any one organization. As programs that serve high-risk families refine their efforts to serve them effectively, collaborative efforts should focus on examining opportunities and challenges involved in creating greater mission alignment. (author abstract)

Data Collection Methods

  • Interviews



For More Information

Tung, G. J., Williams, V. N., Ayele, R., Shimasaki, S., & Olds, D. (2019). Characteristics of effective collaboration: A study of Nurse-Family Partnership and child welfare. Child Abuse & Neglect, 95, 1-7.
doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chiabu.2019.104028
Author Contact Information:
Gregory J. Tung


  • Collaboration and Coordination