• June 2012
  • Vol. 13, No. 5

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T&TA Network Well-Being Workgroup

The Administration on Children, Youth and Families (ACYF) recently released an Information Memorandum highlighting its focus on promoting the social and emotional well-being of children and youth who experience trauma and receive child welfare services. In light of this focus, the Children's Bureau established the Child, Youth, and Family Well-Being Workgroup within its Training and Technical Assistance (T&TA) Network. 

The new workgroup, headed by Lisa D'Aunno, Project Director for the National Resource Center for In-Home Services, and John Levesque, Associate Director at the National Resource Center for Adoption, was established in the fall of 2012. It consists of representatives from across the T&TA Network's National Resource Centers and regional Implementation Centers, as well as from the National Resource Center for Community-Based Child Abuse Prevention (FRIENDS/CBCAP), the National Child Welfare Workforce Institute, the National Center on Substance Abuse and Child Welfare, and the National Technical Assistance Center for Children's Mental Health.

The workgroup was charged with ensuring that the Children's Bureau's T&TA Network and its consultants are current on the science, policy, practice, and systemic support of child welfare practice to enhance child, youth, and family well-being. This includes the integration of trauma-informed and trauma-focused practice. Additionally, the workgroup will make recommendations to the Bureau and collaborate to effectively accomplish the following:

  • Promote a common message regarding child, youth, and family well-being and trauma, which is often experienced by families involved in child welfare
  • Infuse a focus on child, youth, and family well-being into T&TA practices
  • Adopt a systems approach to planning and providing T&TA that will result in integration of an enhanced focus on well-being across the spectrum of child welfare practice from prevention to permanency and after permanency is achieved

The workgroup's vision is to ensure States, Tribes, Territories, and courts served by the Children's Bureau's T&TA Network receive high-quality T&TA that supports child, youth, and family well-being.

The first phase in accomplishing its mission is ensuring the T&TA Network and its consultants are knowledgeable about strategies to enhance well-being. "Making sure we're current and sharing our resources is step one," D'Aunno said. The group is currently conducting an inventory of resources and literature on well-being and using an online portal to share those resources within the Network. The goal is to make them available to the field through Implementation Center websites and the Child Welfare Information Gateway.

D'Aunno and Levesque stressed that integration will play a key role in how the Network provides T&TA to States. "It's important that we focus on integrating these concepts into the work States are already doing around safety and permanency. We need to infuse it into their work to improve interventions for foster care, bring children faster to permanency and ensuring that permanency sticks, and work on relationships to help parents keep kids safe to keep more kids at home."

The workgroup offers the T&TA Network an opportunity to work with States on issues spanning the child welfare continuum and provide shared access to a wide variety of expertise. "Our job will be to reach out proactively to the States and collaborate within the Network so States don't have to talk to 10 different centers. Part of our next decision-making process will be to start developing strategies or proposals to make those tasks easier for States," D'Aunno said.

She added that the workgroup hopes to build the Network's capacity to contribute to the development of new knowledge. "As we work, it will be obvious where the gaps are, and we'll point to those in our recommendations to the Children's Bureau. These might include recommendations about ways States or grantees build new evaluations or child and family well-being measurements into their work."

As for next steps, Levesque said the group continues to evolve. "The participation by members in these early stages has been amazing. We expect to be working into the next fiscal year, and providing recurrent 90-day reports to the Children's Bureau. We're gearing up to be responsive to the Bureau's and ACYF's enhanced focus on well-being, by delivering T&TA  to the States, Territories, and Tribes that represents the most up-to-date knowledge in the field of child welfare."

For information, please feel free to contact John Levesque at jlevesq7@maine.rr.com or Lisa D’Aunno at lisa-daunno@uiowa.edu.

Special thanks to Lisa D'Aunno, Project Director for the National Resource Center for In-Home Services, and John Levesque, Associate Director at the National Resource Center for Adoption, for providing information for this article.

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