Baylor > Social Work > Research & Publications > The Changing Role Of Religiously-Affiliated Child And Family Service Agencies

The Changing Role Of Religiously-Affiliated Child And Family Service Agencies

Religiously-affiliated child and family serving agencies (RACFSAs) are often categorized with congregations and other service organizations as "faith-based organizations." These agencies were the first and largest group of private providers of services to children and families since the beginning of formalized social services. Yet, there is little systematic knowledge about what is distinctive about these agencies and their services.

This report summarizes findings from a study of child and family serving agencies in 13 states, identifying differences and similarities between RACFSAs and other child and family serving agencies and describing how RACFSAs have changed over time. Specifically, findings describe:

• the services RACFSAs provide and how they are provided,

• the role of religion and faith in their services, and

• emerging trends and possible implications for the larger child welfare field in policy and practice.

Research was conducted by Diana Garland, dean of the Baylor School of Social Work, and Isaac Gusukuma, former professor at Baylor SSW. The project was funded by The Annie E. Casey Foundation and was completed November 2005. It is a product of Baylor's Center For Family and Community Ministries and the Baylor University School of Social Work