• December 2014/January 2015
  • Vol. 15, No. 11

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Associate Commissioner's Page

The following is the monthly message from JooYeun Chang, the Associate Commissioner of the Children's Bureau. Each message focuses on the current CBX Spotlight theme and highlights the Bureau's work on the topic.

The 10 Spotlight sections in this year's Children's Bureau Express (CBX) covered several important topics and emerging issues in child welfare, such as family engagement, permanency for youth, Tribal child welfare, and the educational outcomes of children in care. As I wrap up my first year as Associate Commissioner, I'm pleased to look back at the good work being done in States and Tribes to protect children and strengthen families. I am also looking forward to some of the changes we made and will continue to make to build on the good work done in the field. 

One of the biggest shifts taking place at the Children's Bureau is the way we provide training and technical assistance (T&TA) to help child welfare agencies, organizations, and professionals meet Federal requirements, reach desired outcomes, and use monitoring systems to promote safety, permanency, and well-being for children and families. After phasing out nine National Resource Centers and five Implementation Centers, we funded three capacity building centers.

  1. The National Capacity Building Center for Public Child Welfare Agencies
  2. The National Center for Legal and Judicial Excellence in Child Welfare
  3. The National Child Welfare Capacity Building Center for Tribes

These three centers will subscribe to a single service model and deliver widespread services to child welfare systems receiving Federal title IV-E and IV-B funds, strategically develop and disseminate products, and deliver innovative peer networking and learning experiences. Our new approach to capacity building also will provide assessment- and outcome-driven technical assistance while supporting concurrent, jurisdiction-specific, intensive capacity-building projects. More information about the three centers will be available in the coming weeks, and this new approach to capacity building will be useful as we prepare for and launch the third round of Federal Child and Family Services Reviews (CFSRs).

As highlighted in the June 2014 Spotlight  (https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewSection&issueID=158&subsectionID=57), Round 3 CFSRs will begin in 2015 in Delaware, North Carolina, Vermont, New Mexico, Georgia, Kansas, Massachusetts, and Arizona. Reviews will be carried out in the remaining States through 2018. More detailed information is available in the March 14, 2014, CFSR Technical Bulletin #7 at http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb/resource/cfsr-technical-bulletin-7. The CBX CFSR Spotlight also featured an article with helpful tools for States and is available at https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=158&sectionid=2&articleid=4230.

Looking forward to emerging issues affecting our work, the Children's Bureau recently released two Information Memoranda (IMs) on the issues of human sex trafficking and youth who run away from foster care. Child welfare professionals are increasingly coming in contact with children and youth who have been trafficked, and States reported in 2013 that approximately 4,500 youth in foster care had run away from their placements. Children's Bureau Express featured a Spotlight on human trafficking in 2013 that included an article on Federal efforts to combat child and youth exploitation (https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=148&sectionid=2&articleid=3916). Our IM on this issue is intended to inform States and Tribes of the enactment of the Preventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act and its connection to child welfare. The Children's Bureau also recently awarded several discretionary grants to address trafficking within the child welfare population.

Awards were made to the following organizations:

  • King County Superior Court, Seattle, WA
  • Our Kids of Miami-Dade/Monroe, Inc., Miami, FL
  • Arizona Board of Regents on behalf of Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC
  • California Department of Social Services, Sacramento, CA
  • Healing Place Serve, Baton Rouge, LA
  • University of Maryland, Baltimore, Baltimore, MD
  • State of Connecticut Department of Children and Families, Hartford, CT
  • Justice Resource Institute, Needham, MA

A full list of fiscal year 2014 discretionary grant awards is available on the Children's Bureau website at https://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb/resource/discretionary-grant-awards-2014. Polaris, a nonprofit, nongovernmental organization working to fight human trafficking, operates the National Human Trafficking Resource Center that offers the BeFree Hotlines. For more information, or to report suspected trafficking, call 1888.373.7888 or text HELP to BeFree (233733).

Our IM on runaway youth provides guidance on services for youth under age 18 who run away from foster care and come in contact with runaway and homeless youth programs. More information on both the human trafficking and the runaway youth IMs is available on the Children's Bureau website at http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb/resource-library/search?from=2014-01&to=2014-12&topic[3486]=3486.

I am honored to have joined the Children's Bureau last year and continue our mission of improving the lives of children and families through programs that reduce child abuse and neglect, increase the number of adoptions, and strengthen foster care. We hope that our work this past year, and in the years to come, enriches your work in promoting the safety, permanence, and well-being of children, youth, and families.

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