Strengthening Families: The Role of Community Collaboration cover

Strengthening Families: The Role of Community Collaboration

During the eight years of moving through various roles within the child welfare system, the same theme would re-appear. I began thinking, “What if the families had everything and everyone they needed in their backyard when a family crisis arose?”

This is when I began to pay more attention to the concept of community-based care.

Community-based care refers to the availability of supports and services within the community itself, rather than in more formal settings such as the child welfare system. It emphasizes the importance of shaping resources to meet the unique needs of individuals and families while leveraging existing community strengths.

Community-based care is not just about keeping families together; it’s also about creating stronger, more resilient communities. When families receive the support, they need to overcome challenges, children are more likely to succeed in school, stay out of trouble, and grow into healthy, productive adults.

Strengthening Families: The Role of Community Collaboration

A few years ago, I was introduced to an initiative that embodies the spirit of prevention and the power of community collaboration: the Hillsborough County Community Alliance.

The Community Alliance is the voice of unique and vibrant partners throughout Hillsborough County. The Alliance has members that are required by statute; however, it is also comprised of multiple organizations seeking to address the needs of the children and families here in Hillsborough County.

The Community Alliance is responsible for bringing together key stakeholders, local agencies and community members that are dedicated to preventing child abuse and reducing the need for family separation.

By addressing the root causes of family instability and fostering firmer community collaboration, the Community Alliance strives to keep families together and ensure that children can grow up in safe and loving homes.

One of the key principles driving the work of the Alliance is the recognition that no single organization or entity can address the complex needs of families in crisis alone. Instead, it takes a coordinated and holistic approach, with each partner contributing their unique expertise and resources.

Whether it’s providing access to affordable housing, offering parenting classes or connecting families with mental health services, every effort counts in helping families overcome obstacles and thrive.

I am fortunate enough to work for an organization that understands the importance of investing in prevention and early intervention services which fuels community success—the Children’s Board of Hillsborough County.

Strengthening Families: The Role of Community Collaboration

As Community Alliance Coordinator, my position plays a pivotal role in effective communication and education of the community, especially during Child Abuse Prevention Month. The Alliance constantly works to identify evidence-based and data-informed resources to help meet the needs of all children and families throughout the community as well as ways to share the resources effectively.

The ideology behind community-based care is simple, and you can help by being a helping hand to a neighbor in need. It’s about creating a safety net of services and resources that families can rely on when times get tough.

Whether it’s a food pantry down the street, a parenting workshop at the community center or a support group for new moms at the local library, community support is all about making sure that no family falls through the cracks.

If you are interested in learning more about the Children’s Board-funded programs such as the Family Resource Centers, please visit

If you would like to learn more about the Hillsborough County Community Alliance, please feel free to visit our website at

Together, we can create a brighter future for every child and ensure that every family will have the opportunity to thrive in Tampa Bay!

Strengthening Families: The Role of Community Collaboration
Kalen Graham and Family

Originally published in the April 2024 issue of Tampa Bay Parenting Magazine.