One Hope United - Northern Region

One Hope United is a private, human service organization whose mission is dedicated to protecting children and strengthening families.

In 2008, OHU partnered with SFI through a contract with the IL Department of Children and Family Services to embed the 6 Protective Factors within their foster care and child development programs with the goal of developing collaborations between Early Childhood and Child Welfare programs within OHU. This partnership and collaboration supported OHU in meeting their strategic goal of improving outcomes for children and families - one child, family and community at a time.

The Collaboration between the OHU child welfare and child development programs resulted in the development of an internal network All of the early childhood centers completed the self-assessment, created action plans and highlighted their experiences to the network, stressing the benefit of the assessment as the conduit to a shift or enhancement in best practice. As a result, all of the Early Learning programs are actively involved in embedding Strengthening Families. OHU’s child welfare programs also focused on embedding the 6 Protective Factors, which resulted in the formation of foster parent advisory councils, the creation of evaluation tools to measure the difference SFI makes and creation of tools for implementation in child welfare programs

OHU took on the challenge of expanding the embedding of the Strengthening Families philosophy by targeting additional programs servicing children and families (EC, CW, Prevention, Counseling, Residential and Youth Services). 

An agency wide commitment and intentional efforts to cross train on the SFI Curricula, are a couple of examples where OHU has exhibited overall extraordinary leadership as it relates to Strengthening Families activities in Illinois. OHU’s collaboration with SFI has resulted in presentations to the private sector Child Welfare community regarding the impact of Strengthening Families, Intact Families Services and Differential Response, as well as the benefits of the Early Childhood and Child Welfare collaborations to support children and families being serviced by both entities. OHU also assisted SFI in the development of questions to provide to CSSP towards the revision of the CSSP SF Self- Assessment tool.

OHU also took the lead in facilitating and coordinating the development of a Collaboration Network, inclusive of Child Welfare agencies, who were interested in embedding the 6 Protective Factors within their foster care / intact family programs. Training and technical assistance were provided to agency liaisons and staff.

OHU’s partnership with Strengthening Families continues as they work to further address the embedding of Strengthening Families at OHU by identifying barriers and developing internal protocols and systems to connect the dots.

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Beth Lakier, Associative Executive Director
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