Children's Bureau ExpressOctober 2010 | Vol. 11, No. 8

Table of Contents
 

Spotlight on Implementation
This month, CBX spotlights implementation and includes write-ups of the five regional Child Welfare Implementation Centers funded by the Children's Bureau in October 2008. CBX also includes an article on how West Virginia worked with its regional IC and other partners, as well as links to background information and resources on implementation.

  • West Virginia Implements Integrated Safety System
  • The Atlantic Coast Child Welfare Implementation Center
  • The Midwest Child Welfare Implementation Center
  • The Mountains and Plains Child Welfare Implementation Center
  • The Northeast and Caribbean Child Welfare Implementation Center
  • The Western and Pacific Child Welfare Implementation Center
  • The National Implementation Research Network
  • Defining Implementation

News From the Children's Bureau
Find links to the latest Federal child welfare news, including new foster care and adoption statistics, the latest from the T&TA Network, reports from other U.S. Department of Health and Human Services agencies, and more.

  • $39 Million Awarded in Adoption Incentives
  • AFCARS Shows Reductions in Foster Care Population
  • Collection of NYTD Data Begins
  • New User Manuals Highlight Community Partnership and First Responders
  • Updates From the T&TA Network
  • NSCAW Findings on the Status of Children
  • OPRE Updates Program Managers' Guide to Evaluation
  • CDC Offers Resources on Shaken Baby Syndrome
  • New! On the Children's Bureau Site

Child Welfare Research
Child welfare news brings you reports and statistics on such issues as child well-being, child fatalities, youth transitions, and mentoring parents.

  • Data on Child Well-Being in America
  • Using Citizen Review Panels to Prevent Child Maltreatment Deaths
  • Promising Results for Youth Transitioning in New York City
  • Innovative Approaches to Engaging Parents

Strategies and Tools for Practice
CBX links you to information on effective ways to communicate with the public about child welfare issues, engaging fathers, and implementing a practice model for youth in child welfare and juvenile justice.

  • Effective Storytelling Solutions to Mobilize the Public
  • Meeting CFSR Standards of Father Involvement
  • Practice Model for Crossover Youth

Resources

  • Native American Children in Dependency Court
  • Meeting the Needs of Immigrant Children and Youth
  • Grief and Loss for Foster Parents
  • AARP Offers Database of Support for Kin Caregivers
  • Using State Legislation to Reduce the Foster Care Population

Training and Conferences

  • Visiting Between Parents and Children in Foster Care
  • NCFA Hague-Compliant Training
  • Evidence-Based Behavioral Practice (EBBP)
  • Conferences

Spotlight on Implementation

West Virginia Implements Integrated Safety System

West Virginia's Bureau for Children and Families (BCF) is implementing a new child protective services (CPS) model that makes child safety the primary consideration in child welfare decision-making. The West Virginia Safety Assessment and Management System (SAMS) is based on a comprehensive safety intervention model developed by ACTION for Child Protection, Inc. ACTION for Child Protection consulted with West Virginia to define and adapt intervention concepts, criteria, and processes that are intended to establish structure and standardization for practice and decision-making during CPS involvement with families.

West Virginia BCF partnered with the National Resource Center for CPS and the Atlantic Coast Child Welfare Implementation Center (ACCWIC) to plan and support systematic implementation of SAMS across the State.

Advantages of SAMS
SAMS represents a significant change in how West Virginia's CPS workers respond to reports of child abuse and neglect. BCF staff knew that a meaningful change in approach was necessary, especially after the State's two Federal Child and Family Services Reviews (in 2003 and 2008) indicated that West Virginia's child welfare practice did not meet the standards for child safety. In addition, the State had a high acceptance rate for reports made to CPS and a high repeat maltreatment rate.

As an evidence- and research-based model, SAMS offers a number of advantages over the previous CPS approach:

Implementing SAMS
After an extensive planning process, West Virginia is implementing SAMS in a staged rollout that began in 2009. Dr. Sarah Kaye, Director of Research & Evaluation for ACCWIC, notes, "West Virginia's approach to SAMS implementation is grounded in implementation science and brings best practices from other fields to public child welfare. The State is focusing on organizational structures and supports as well as staff competence to increase the likelihood of sustained practice change." 

The four family assessments are being introduced individually, so that workers have time to fully learn and incorporate each new process. "Special Forces" teams—composed of program managers, supervisors, child welfare consultants, and trainers who are experts in SAMS—are embedded throughout the State to provide training and mentoring to staff and supervisors. The work of Special Forces is supported by technical assistance and consultation from the National Resource Center for CPS.

Commissioner Jason Najmulski and Deputy Commissioner Louis Palma are active and visible champions of SAMS. The State is aligning policies, procedures, data systems, and quality assurance to provide the infrastructure to support SAMS. Stakeholders and collaborative partners have been engaged at the State and local level to promote community support. 

West Virginia is one of five States that was selected as an ACCWIC implementation project in 2009. ACCWIC provides technical assistance and has helped in developing a Fidelity Monitoring System to collect SAMS fidelity data during clinical case consultation that is used to inform the implementation process. Eventually, fidelity data and Federal outcome data will be integrated into data dashboards that all BCF staff across the State will be able to access.

SAMS and Workers
Both workers and stakeholders have had generally positive reactions to the new model. Amy Lawson Booth, Statewide SAMS Implementation Coordinator, explained, "Because of SAMS, we're really getting a chance to practice social work. We've moved away from investigative work, and we're intervening with families when and how we should." An online newsletter, SAMS Horizons, keeps BCF staff across the State informed of the implementation progress, provides regional news about SAMS, and spotlights an outstanding SAMS worker in each region.

Looking Ahead
BCF staff expect to see full implementation of SAMS in the fall of 2011. Besides the staged rollout, the State is making changes to its Families and Children Tracking System to be able to incorporate SAMS data. SAMS implementation is also having a big effect on the State's Program Improvement Plan (PIP) process, and staff look to SAMS to contribute to improved practice, more appropriate services for families, fewer entries and reentries into the child welfare system, more emphasis on family-centered practice, and, of course, improved safety for children.

Learn more about SAMS and access the extensive materials on the SAMS website:
www.wvdhhr.org/bcf/sams

Many thanks to Amy Lawson Booth, Statewide SAMS Implementation Coordinator, who provided the information for this article.
 

Issue Date: October 2010
Section: Spotlight on Implementation
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=120&articleid=2994


The Atlantic Coast Child Welfare Implementation Center

The Atlantic Coast Child Welfare Implementation Center (ACCWIC) partners with State and Tribal child welfare agencies in ACF Regions III and IV, serving 13 States, the District of Columbia, and 6 Tribes. ACCWIC provides long-term consultation and support to facilitate sustainable systems change. Using a systems of care framework and applying Child and Family Services Review principles, the Center:

ACCWIC is currently supporting five individualized implementation projects:

ACCWIC chartered the Learning Leaders Council (LLC) as a foundation for its peer-to-peer network. The LLC includes one representative from each State and Tribe with a depth of understanding of their child welfare programs and resources. The LLC exchanges information around the successes and challenges to implementation of sustainable systems change. It serves as a vehicle to assist in the development of the ACCWIC Learning Community by recommending structure and content for the peer-to-peer network. Members of the LLC assist with the development of strategies to target the dissemination of implementation resource information to best support each State and Tribe. Council members also provide valuable input to the planning of future ACCWIC forums.

The ACCWIC website offers a number of resources, including:

For more information about ACCWIC, contact Cathy Fisher, Project Director:
cfisher@ssw.umaryland.edu

Or visit the ACCWIC website:
http://www.accwic.org

Issue Date: October 2010
Section: Spotlight on Implementation
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=120&articleid=2988


The Midwest Child Welfare Implementation Center

The Midwest Child Welfare Implementation Center (MCWIC) is part of the Center on Children, Families and the Law (CCFL) at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. CCFL is a multidisciplinary center devoted to teaching, research, and public service on issues related to child and family policy and services.  MCWIC works with the States and Tribes in Region V (Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois, and Minnesota) and Region VII (Nebraska, Iowa, Missouri, and Kansas). Using a multidisciplinary, multilevel, and systemic approach, MCWIC is engaged in four implementation projects:

MCWIC also provides peer networking opportunities for child welfare professionals, such as:

MCWIC has a number of other child welfare and implementation resources listed on its website. To access those resources, visit:
www.mcwic.org/resources

For more information, contact Mark Ells, Project Director:
mells@ccfl.unl.edu

Or visit the MCWIC website:
www.mcwic.org

Issue Date: October 2010
Section: Spotlight on Implementation
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=120&articleid=2989


The Mountains and Plains Child Welfare Implementation Center

With a service area that cuts through the middle of the country, the Mountains and Plains Child Welfare Implementation Center (MPCWIC) supports State and Tribal child welfare agencies in Regions VI and VIII, extending from Montana south to Louisiana and covering 11 States and 66 Tribes. MPCWIC's funded projects reflect the diversity of this large area and include:

The MPCWIC approach for each implementation project will focus on aligning technical assistance and evaluation with the six stages of implementation:

  1. Exploration
  2. Installation
  3. Initial implementation
  4. Full implementation
  5. Innovation
  6. Sustainability

MPCWIC's website includes a number of presentations and other resources from its regional forums on such topics as system change and practice models. Access the resource links here:
www.uta.edu/mpcwic/link-resources

MPCWIC is operated under a cooperative agreement by the University of Texas at Arlington, School of Social Work, Judith Granger Birmingham Center of Child Welfare; the University of Denver, Butler Institute for Families, Denver, CO; and the Native American Training Institute in Bismarck, ND.

For more information, contact Dr. Maria Scannapieco, Principal Investigator:
mscannapieco@uta.edu

Or visit the MPCWIC website:
www.uta.edu/mpcwic

Issue Date: October 2010
Section: Spotlight on Implementation
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=120&articleid=2992


The Northeast and Caribbean Child Welfare Implementation Center

The mission of the Northeast and Caribbean Implementation Center (NCIC) is to facilitate communication and networking across public child welfare systems, to offer guidance and tools identifying sustainable system change strategies, and to provide resources to support intensive implementation projects that improve the quality and effectiveness of services for children, youth, and families. The NCIC serves States, territories, and title IV-B funded Tribes in ACF Region I (Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut) and Region II (New York, New Jersey, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands).

The primary work of NCIC is to provide technical assistance focused not simply on a discreet problem or issue but on topics that are substantial enough to create sustainable systemic change. To carry out our work, NCIC offers a range of activities and resources to the States and Tribes in ACF Regions I and II, including:

From engaging with these States to implement their projects, NCIC is learning many lessons about what it takes to implement large-scale system reform in public child welfare agencies. These early lessons and full descriptions of these projects can be found on the NCIC website. 

For further information, contact Susan Kanak, Project Director:
skanak@usm.maine.edu

Or visit the NCIC website:
http://ncic.muskie.usm.maine.edu

Issue Date: October 2010
Section: Spotlight on Implementation
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=120&articleid=2990


The Western and Pacific Child Welfare Implementation Center

The Western and Pacific Child Welfare Implementation Center (WPIC) partners with States, Tribes, and territories in transforming child welfare systems to improve the services delivered to children, youth, and families in ACF Regions IX (Arizona, California, Nevada, Hawaii, American Samoa, and Guam) and X (Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Alaska).

The Center provides technical assistance to overcome barriers to systems change, accelerate the pace of change, and operationalize core values systemwide to transform policy and practice. The Center has identified five interrelated key elements that are critical for implementing sustainable systems change: leadership/commitment, vision and values, environment, capacity/infrastructure, and stakeholder involvement.

To support the implementation of sustainable change, the Center administers and facilitates systems change implementation projects. These projects are intensive, in-depth technical assistance efforts tailored to the strengths and needs of child welfare systems. Based on the review and selection of their initial applications, the following sites in Regions IX and X have been selected by WPIC and the Children's Bureau to implement their proposed systems change efforts:

WPIC also provides opportunities for States, Tribes, and territories to learn from each other about planning and implementing systems change in child welfare. The Center hosted a regional forum on lessons learned in implementing systems change, coordinated webinars featuring strategies for planning and creating buy-in for systems change, and shared information through a listserv and website. The Center will be facilitating peer learning with sites approved for a systems change implementation project and providing opportunities to learn from the experiences of these sites in implementing systems change.

WPIC is led by the American Institutes for Research, working in partnership with four other national organizations:

For more information, contact Marketa Gautreau, Project Director
mgautreau@air.org

Or visit the WPIC website
www.wpicenter.org

Issue Date: October 2010
Section: Spotlight on Implementation
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=120&articleid=2993


The National Implementation Research Network

The National Implementation Research Network (NIRN) at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, offers information on implementation and its constructs, especially as it relates to social services work. The website includes documents, presentations, reports, and links to other useful information. Visit the NIRN website (www.fpg.unc.edu/~nirn/default.cfm) to find:

Related Items
A number of other websites are beginning to offer resources on implementation and human services:

Issue Date: October 2010
Section: Spotlight on Implementation
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=120&articleid=2980


Defining Implementation

A special issue of last year's Research on Social Practice, Vol. 19(5), focused on the implementation of evidence-based practice in human services fields. Two articles in particular provide background on implementation and its components.

"What Is Implementation Research? Rationale, Concepts, and Practices," by Onil Bhattacharyya, Scott Reeves, and Merrick Zwarenstein, provides an overview of implementation research in the social sciences, exploring the gap between knowledge and practice, and discusses how to bring current practice closer to best practice.

"Core Implementation Components," by Dean Fixsen, Karen Blase, Sandra Naoom, and Frances Wallace, describes both the stages of implementation and the core components, arguing that the "missing link" between science and service is implementation.

The six stages of implementation include:

The core components (or implementation drivers), which are discussed in more detail, include:

As described by the authors, the components are integrated with each other to influence staff behavior and organizational culture. They are also integrated with the stages so that it is easy to identify where implementation teams are in the implementation process (i.e., what stage) and what they are doing (e.g., what core component). 

The full articles are available for purchase on the Sage Journal website:

http://rsw.sagepub.com/content/19/5.toc
 

Issue Date: October 2010
Section: Spotlight on Implementation
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=120&articleid=2991


News From the Children's Bureau

$39 Million Awarded in Adoption Incentives

On September 15, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced the award of $39 million to 38 States and Puerto Rico for increasing the number of children adopted from foster care in FY 2009. Originally created as part of the Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997, the Adoption Incentives program awards $4,000 for every child adopted beyond the State's best year total. Under the new legislation of the 2008 Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act, States receive additional awards for increasing adoptions of older children and children with special needs. This year, Texas will receive the highest amount at over $7 million.

Commenting on the awards, David A. Hansell, HHS Acting Assistant Secretary for Children and Families said, "America's communities benefit when children grow up in stable families. We're very pleased that the adoption incentives program is helping States improve their programs and place more children into homes that are theirs forever."

To read the HHS press release, visit:

www.hhs.gov/news/press/2010pres/09/20100915b.html

To see the full list of States and awards, visit the ACF website:

www.acf.hhs.gov/news/press/2010/fy10_adoption_incentive_awards.htm

Issue Date: October 2010
Section: News From the Children's Bureau
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=120&articleid=3009


AFCARS Shows Reductions in Foster Care Population

At the end of August, the Children's Bureau posted new statistics on the numbers of children involved with the child welfare system. Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS) Report #17, which provides preliminary estimates for fiscal year (FY) 2009, indicates that, on September 30, 2009:

In addition, the report indicates that 57,466 children were adopted from foster care during FY 2009; 54 percent were adopted by their foster parent.

The numbers reflect a trend that began in 2006 of decreases in the numbers of children in foster care, entering care during the year, and awaiting adoption.  In FY 2005, there were 511,000 children in foster care.

The Children's Bureau website also provides an updated Trends in Foster Care and Adoption chart, which now displays numbers from FY 2002 through FY 2009. Through AFCARS, the Children's Bureau collects case-level information from States on all children in foster care for whom State child welfare agencies have responsibility for placement, care, or supervision and on children who are adopted from foster care.

Find the latest AFCARS reports on the Children's Bureau website:

www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb/stats_research/index.htm

Issue Date: October 2010
Section: News From the Children's Bureau
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=120&articleid=2987


Collection of NYTD Data Begins

October 1, 2010, marks the launch of the first national data collection dedicated to understanding the transitions of youth from foster care to independent living, the National Youth in Transition Database (NYTD). On this day, States begin collecting data for NYTD, including case-level information on youth and the services they receive to assist them in living independently as part of the John H. Chafee Foster Care Independence Program (CFCIP). States will also be collecting outcomes information for NYTD on certain youth who are in or who have aged out of foster care. Ultimately, these data will provide insights into where State independent living programs and services can improve youth outcomes by increasing financial self-sufficiency, educational attainment, connections with adults, and access to health insurance as well as by helping youth avoid homelessness and high-risk behaviors. Alongside the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System (NCANDS) and the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS), NYTD will assist in gaining a more complete, national picture of youth served by child welfare agencies.

The first semiannual NYTD data reporting deadline is May 15, 2011. While data collection is just beginning, States have been hard at work preparing for this historic effort since the regulation implementing the database was published in February 2008. States have partnered with foster youth, foster parents, youth service providers, and other stakeholders to determine how best to implement the NYTD data collection requirements, including how best to administer the NYTD youth outcome survey. To support these efforts, the Children's Bureau has provided technical assistance to States through the National Resource Center for Youth Development (NRCYD) and the National Resource Center for Child Welfare Data and Technology (NRCCWDT). These technical assistance efforts include three national technical assistance meetings for State representatives, the launch of a national community of practice website, and an active listserv for information sharing and dialogue among States and their stakeholders. The Children's Bureau will continue these supportive efforts, recognizing that NYTD is part of an ongoing partnership to improve our collective understanding of youth in transition through the collection of longitudinal data. 

For more information on NYTD, please contact the Children's Bureau at NYTDinfo@acf.hhs.gov

Or visit:

Issue Date: October 2010
Section: News From the Children's Bureau
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=120&articleid=2986


New User Manuals Highlight Community Partnership and First Responders

The Children's Bureau has developed two new publications in its popular User Manual series. The two resources, available for free download from the Child Welfare Information Gateway website, provide new insight into the topics of child protection and child maltreatment investigations. 

Community Partnerships: Improving the Response to Child Maltreatment discusses how communities, organizations, agencies, neighborhoods, and individuals can coordinate their efforts and create a safer and more stable environment for children. Based on the belief that multidisciplinary approaches are essential to address the challenges of today's families in crisis or at risk, the manual highlights the importance of responsive family- and community-centered approaches for the delivery of services and supports. This manual also illustrates the planning process by providing step-by-step guidance on how to establish and sustain a community partnership and measure results. The guide also includes eight appendices that offer checklists, examples of community partnerships, and a resource listing. 

www.childwelfare.gov/pubs/usermanuals/partners

The Role of First Responders in Child Maltreatment Cases: Disaster and Nondisaster Situations is written for community professionals called to assess cases of possible child abuse. Roles and responsibilities of different first responders (emergency medical technicians, law enforcement officers, and child protective service workers) are outlined. In particular, this publication underscores the importance of identifying signs of child maltreatment within the context of domestic violence or substance abuse. Risks of child trauma in a postdisaster situation are also addressed, along with issues relevant to disaster preparation and planning. This manual provides basic guidelines for conducting interviews with children and preparing for testimony in court. Appendices offer a detailed description of signs of abuse, criteria for distinguishing various types of injuries, home visit safety tips, and more.    

www.childwelfare.gov/pubs/usermanuals/first_responders/index.cfm

Both manuals are part of the Child Abuse and Neglect User Manual series published by the Children's Bureau's Office on Child Abuse and Neglect in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. To download a copy of any manual in this collection, please visit the Child Welfare Information Gateway website:

www.childwelfare.gov/pubs/usermanual.cfm

Issue Date: October 2010
Section: News From the Children's Bureau
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=120&articleid=2985


Updates From the T&TA Network

The Children's Bureau Training and Technical Assistance (T&TA) Network continues to produce resources that can help States and Tribes in their work with children and families. Some recent resources are listed below:

Issue Date: October 2010
Section: News From the Children's Bureau
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=120&articleid=2984


NSCAW Findings on the Status of Children

The Administration for Children and Families' Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation (OPRE) recently released three new research briefs based on data from the National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being (NSCAW). NSCAW is a longitudinal study of children at risk of abuse or neglect or already in the child welfare system. Data are drawn from firsthand reports from children, parents, and other caregivers, as well as reports from caseworkers, teachers, and administrative records.

www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/opre/abuse_neglect/nscaw/reports/summary_nscaw/nscaw_research_brief_main_findings.pdf (202 KB)

www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/opre/abuse_neglect/nscaw/reports/kinship_caregivers/rb_15_2col.pdf (417 PDF)

www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/opre/abuse_neglect/nscaw/reports/transition_to_adolescence/wave5_adolescence_report_final.pdf (549 KB)

A complete list of NSCAW-related reports can be found on the OPRE website:
www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/opre/abuse_neglect/nscaw

Issue Date: October 2010
Section: News From the Children's Bureau
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=120&articleid=2977


OPRE Updates Program Managers' Guide to Evaluation

The Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation (OPRE) within the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) has updated The Program Manager's Guide to Evaluation. The guide explains the value and utility of program evaluation for assessing program performance, measuring program effects on families and communities, and documenting successes. It outlines how to perform program evaluation and how to use the results to improve programs and benefit staff and families.

This updated version reflects currently accepted practices, up-to-date terminology, a glossary, and an appendix containing a comprehensive list of evaluation resources. The update is designed to be relevant to all ACF program areas. The online version now includes tips, samples, and worksheets previously available only in the hard-copy version.

The guide answers the following questions:


Access the guide on the OPRE website:

www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/opre/other_resrch/pm_guide_eval/reports/pmguide/program_managers_guide_to_eval2010.pdf (500 KB)
 

Issue Date: October 2010
Section: News From the Children's Bureau
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=120&articleid=2983


CDC Offers Resources on Shaken Baby Syndrome

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently posted a new page in its Injury Prevention & Control web section on traumatic brain injury and shaken baby syndrome (SBS). The new information includes facts, statistics, resources, and methods of prevention of SBS.

Shaking a baby is usually the result of a caregiver's frustrated response to a child's crying. A leading cause of child deaths, SBS can cause bleeding in the brain or eyes. Infants up to the age of 4 months are most at risk of injury from shaking, and inconsolable crying is the primary trigger for shaking a baby.

The webpage describes two educational booklets about SBS and its prevention:

Also available are four public service radio announcements in English and Spanish on "Coping With Crying," as well as additional resources.

Access these resources on the CDC website:

www.cdc.gov/concussion/HeadsUp/sbs.html

Issue Date: October 2010
Section: News From the Children's Bureau
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=120&articleid=2981


New! On the Children's Bureau Site

The Children's Bureau website carries information on child welfare programs, funding, monitoring, training and technical assistance, laws, statistics, research, Federal reporting, and much more. The "New on Site" section includes grant announcements, policy announcements, agency information, and recently released publications.

Recent additions to the site include:

Visit the Children's Bureau website often to see what's new!
www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb

Issue Date: October 2010
Section: News From the Children's Bureau
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=120&articleid=2982


Child Welfare Research

Data on Child Well-Being in America

Two new national reports provide easy access to current data on the well-being of children in America:

America's Children in Brief: Key National Indicators of Well-Being, 2010

The Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics (www.childstats.gov) gathers data from 22 Federal agencies to update 40 well-being indicators on children, youth, and families in this annual report. A brief report was released this year; a full report is released every 2 years. The indicators span seven domains: family and social environment, economic circumstances, health care, physical environment and safety, behavior, education, and health. Among the report's conclusions are the following major findings:

Read or download the report on the Forum's website:
www.childstats.gov/americaschildren

2010 KIDS COUNT Data Book

This annual report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, now in its 21st year, presents data on 10 key indicators of child well-being, addressing health, education, teen employment, teen pregnancy, and family economic conditions. According to the data, overall improvements in child well-being that began in the late 1990s stalled in the years just before the current economic downturn. The authors caution that, because the report uses data collected in 2008 before most families were fully affected by the economic downturn, the overall effects have yet to be measured.

Some popular features of the KIDS COUNT Data Center website include:

Visit the KIDS COUNT Data Center for more information:
http://datacenter.kidscount.org/DataBook/2010


 

Issue Date: October 2010
Section: Child Welfare Research
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=120&articleid=2997


Using Citizen Review Panels to Prevent Child Maltreatment Deaths

Although child abuse rates appear to be declining in the United States, there has been no real change in the number of child maltreatment fatalities. In a new research study, "Effects of a Citizens Review Panel in Preventing Child Maltreatment Fatalities," authors Vincent J. Palusci, Steve Yager, and Theresa Covington explore Michigan's use of a citizens review panel (CRP) to examine child maltreatment fatalities in the child welfare system.

Child fatality review teams (CFRTs) have been instituted in most U.S. States to provide a multidisciplinary, multiagency review of all or most child fatalities. CRPs were first required in 1996 for States as part of reauthorization of the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA), and many States have instituted CRPs specifically to review child maltreatment fatalities. While both CFRTs and fatality CRPs review child deaths, CRPs are constituted expressly for the purpose of reviewing deaths of children known to the child protective services agency and are charged with making recommendations primarily to that agency within the child welfare system.

Michigan instituted its Fatality CRP in 1999 to identify, understand, and respond to the system issues and prevention possibilities in these deaths. For the purposes of this study, the authors compared the annual number of child maltreatment deaths associated with each finding in the annual reports made during two 3-year periods: 1999–2001 (Period I) and 2002–2004 (Period II). These two periods were chosen because they reflected adequate time for recommendations in Period I to be implemented and affect potential future cases in Period II.

The study identified a number of problem areas in the State's child welfare system. Most of those problem areas identified were addressed by the State child protective services agency with changes in law, policy, or practice, and there was a later reduction in the number of findings and in the number of deaths associated with those findings over time. The authors conclude that further research is needed to assess the impact of CRPs on child welfare practices, but that child fatality reviews by CRPs offer the potential to reduce child maltreatment deaths by improving child protective service practices.

This study will be published in the journal Child Abuse & Neglect and is currently available online.

www.mphi.org/files/newsevents/CovingtonPublication.pdf (226 KB)

Issue Date: October 2010
Section: Child Welfare Research
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=120&articleid=2996


Promising Results for Youth Transitioning in New York City

The Academy, a program for New York City youth aging out of foster care, is helping youth achieve positive outcomes by bridging the gap between foster care and postcare services. Earlier this year, the Vera Institute for Justice published an evaluation of the Academy, and FEGS Health and Human Services System released a report summarizing the program's activities and successes.

Transition-age youth are referred to the Academy by private foster care agencies, and each youth is matched with a personal advisor who provides all services under one roof. The advisor serves as a mentor and case manager, helping youth set and meet their goals and providing constant support. Some of the Academy's key features include:

According to the FEGS report, the Academy has served 399 young people since its creation in 2007. Among youth engaged in educational services, career readiness services, or job search activities:

Vera researchers found strong support for the Academy among professionals in the field and praise for its "no reject, no eject" philosophy. Some of the challenges faced by the Academy include difficulties coordinating services and managing collaborations among the community-based and foster care organizations involved with the program.

The Academy was created in 2007 by the Heckscher Foundation for Children in close collaboration with the New York City Administration for Children's Services (ACS) and is now operated by FEGS Health and Human Services System in cooperation with multiple foster care agencies across the city. To read highlights of the activities and successes of the program, download The Academy, A Promising New Initiative: Helping Young People Aging Out of Foster Care Prepare for Their Futures: Program Results and Next Steps, by FEGS Health and Human Services System:
www.fegs.org/academy/report.pdf (2651 KB)

To review the results of the Vera Institute of Justice's process evaluation of the program, download The Academy: A Program for Older Youth Transitioning Out of Foster Care, by Allon Yaroni, Rachel Wetts, and Tim Ross, on the Vera website:
www.vera.org/download?file=2995/Heckscher-Academy-report-final.pdf (561 KB)

Issue Date: October 2010
Section: Child Welfare Research
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=120&articleid=2978


Innovative Approaches to Engaging Parents

American Humane recently released a report that highlights two parent engagement programs designed to meet the immediate needs of families and to meaningfully involve parents in decision-making. The Parent Mentoring Program and the Parent Partner Program were developed and implemented by the Washington State Division of Child and Family Services. 

The Parent Mentoring Program uses specially trained foster parents (mentors) to support parents by helping them develop an action plan that addresses immediate needs (e.g., housing, employment) as well as barriers to reunification. The program involves a training curriculum, selection criteria for both mentors and participating families, and a process that enables social workers to guide mentors in their work with parents. The program is considered innovative because it provides more individualized and intensive support than is typically available to parents in the child welfare system. A quasi-experimental evaluation of the program found that parents in the Parent Mentoring Program were more likely to reunify with their children than parents who were not in the program.

The Parent Partners Program draws on the learning experiences of parents who were able to successfully reunify with their children with the help of the Parent Mentoring Program. These parent partners are matched with parents who are currently trying to reunify with their children so that they can provide education and support and help parents advocate for themselves. Participants also attend courses designed to help them understand the child welfare system (including timelines, roles of professionals, and ways to access services).

"Engaging Parents: Innovative Approaches in Child Welfare," by Maureen Marcenko, Ross Brown, Peggy DeVoy, and Debbie Conway, is available at:

http://centerforchildwelfare.fmhi.usf.edu/kb/bppub/engaging-parents-innovative.pdf (167 KB)

 

Issue Date: October 2010
Section: Child Welfare Research
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=120&articleid=2995


Strategies and Tools for Practice

Effective Storytelling Solutions to Mobilize the Public

Research shows that stories focused on problems, such as child maltreatment, can often backfire by increasing cynicism about the government and citizens' ability to solve problems, rather than driving a community to action. The Child Advocacy 360 Foundation developed a Communications Catalyst Initiative based on the belief that stories about effective programs for children, or "solutions stories," are an overlooked tool that can educate and mobilize citizens. A new report, Solutions Storytelling: Messaging to Mobilize Support for Children's Issues, describes research based on this initiative.

Researchers used focus groups, testing, and surveys to investigate the impact of different kinds of messages about children and ways to help children. The research was based on three central components of the initiative:

Using a variety of sample messages, researchers found that solution stories that had a positive impact on participants' views about citizen advocacy and action were those that incorporated five core components:

The report was produced by the Topos Partnership and can be downloaded:

http://images.magnetmail.net/images/template/HershelSarbin/Childadvocacy/CA360FullReportMay18.pdf (880 KB)

Related Item

Suggested Strategies and Messages from this report can be found in a separate document:

www.childadvocacy360.com/files/images/SEARCH-5-10-2010-Strategies___Messages_final.pdf (80 KB)
 

Issue Date: October 2010
Section: Strategies and Tools for Practice
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=120&articleid=3000


Meeting CFSR Standards of Father Involvement

The National Family Preservation Network (NFPN) has developed a new guide, Father Involvement—Meeting CFSR Standards, designed to help child welfare agencies improve their practice and outcomes regarding fathers' involvement with their children and their children's cases.

While the Federal Child and Family Services Review (CFSR)—which assesses each State's compliance with Federal child welfare standards—has no specific measure for father involvement, there are four relevant items under Child Well-Being Outcome I. Currently, completed CFSRs indicate that States are receiving poor ratings in the area of father involvement.

NFPN's guide provides the following answers to the question, "What can be done to help States improve their practice and outcomes?"

The guide also describes how Kansas increased assessment of the fathers' needs, services for fathers, involvement of fathers in the case planning process, and the quality and frequency of the visits between the caseworker and the father.

The guide's appendices offer tools for increasing father involvement, including:

To download the full guide, visit the NFPN website: 

www.nfpn.org/images/stories/files/cfsr_father_involvement.pdf (371 KB)

Issue Date: October 2010
Section: Strategies and Tools for Practice
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=120&articleid=2998


Practice Model for Crossover Youth

Crossover youth, the population of young people who move between the child welfare and juvenile justice systems, have been the subject of extensive research over the past decade. Studies show that crossover youth are often in the child welfare system for long periods of time, regularly experiencing multiple placements; a disproportionate number of them are youth of color; and the population as a whole generally requires a more intense array of services and supports than other youth known to each system individually.

Based on this growing body of knowledge, Casey Family Programs, in partnership with the Center for Juvenile Justice Reform at Georgetown University's Public Policy Institute (CJJR), developed and published The Crossover Youth Practice Model. The manual describes the specific practices needed to reduce the number of youth who cross over between the child welfare and juvenile justice systems, the number of youth entering and reentering the State's care, and the length of stay in out-of-home care.

The practice model creates a nexus between the research and best practices known to child welfare and juvenile justice, the research related to crossover youth, and the lessons learned in practice from the Juvenile Justice & Child Welfare Integration Breakthrough Series Collaborative. States can use this model as a template for serving crossover youth because it provides a mechanism that enables agencies to strengthen their organizational structure and improve practices that directly affect outcomes for youth.

The manual describes the model:

The authors conclude that meeting the needs of crossover youth requires multisystem collaboration, as well as best practice and evidence-based programs related to child welfare, juvenile justice, mental health, substance abuse, and education.

The Crossover Youth Practice Model was written by Lorrie Lutz and Macon Stewart, with contributions from Lyman Legters and Denise Herz. It is available on the CJJR website:

http://cjjr.georgetown.edu/pdfs/cypm/cypm.pdf (7.4 MB)

Issue Date: October 2010
Section: Strategies and Tools for Practice
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=120&articleid=2999


Resources

Native American Children in Dependency Court

The Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) established minimum Federal standards for State dependency courts handling cases involving Indian children. The latest issue of The Judges' Page newsletter presents an array of articles discussing ICWA requirements to assist attorneys, judges, child advocates, court-appointed special advocate (CASA) volunteers, and social workers understand and comply with the law. Some of the issues discussed include the requirement to provide timely written notice to the child's Tribe, the preferred placement provisions of ICWA, the need for "active efforts" to prevent placement or achieve reunification, and the enhanced burden of proof in termination of parental rights cases. Another article explains national policy recognizing the special political status of Indian Tribes and the legislative intent to preserve the unique values of Indian culture.

The Judges' Page is a publication of the National CASA Association in partnership with the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges:

www.casaforchildren.org/site/c.mtJSJ7MPIsE/b.6143487/k.DE8A/July_2010.htm

Issue Date: October 2010
Section: Resources
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=120&articleid=3004


Meeting the Needs of Immigrant Children and Youth

Today, approximately a quarter of all U.S. children and youth are either the children of immigrants or are immigrants themselves. In response to the growing number of immigrant children and youth, the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) released Meeting the Needs of Immigrant Children and Youth in Child Welfare, an online Practice Update that discusses the challenges faced by members of the immigrant community and the child welfare system and caseworkers who serve them.

Immigrant families come to the attention of child welfare for many of the same reasons as other children and youth. However, immigrants also face language and cultural barriers, limited resources, and an illegal or temporary immigration status, all of which makes involvement in the child welfare system especially challenging. Additionally, issues related to immigration law, language, and culture make working with these families a time consuming and often complicated endeavor for caseworkers.

According to author Roxana Torrico, child welfare caseworkers can do the following to ensure that immigrant families and children receive the services and assistance they need:

This publication is available on the NASW website:

www.socialworkers.org/assets/secured/documents/practice/clinical/WKF-MISC-45510.ChildrenPU.pdf (74.5 KB)

Issue Date: October 2010
Section: Resources
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=120&articleid=3003


Grief and Loss for Foster Parents

A new factsheet from the Children's Administration of the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) is designed to provide foster parents with coping strategies for handling grief and loss. The factsheet explains that grief is a natural response to a loss and that everyone experiences grief at some point in their lives, including foster parents, children in out-of-home care, and parents whose children have been placed in out-of-home care.

The factsheet provides practical information on the following topics:

Download Grief and Loss Coping Strategies for Foster Parents from the Washington State DSHS website:

www.dshs.wa.gov/pdf/ca/FACTSHEETGriefLoss.pdf (303 KB)

Additional foster parenting resources from DSHS can also be found on the website:

www.dshs.wa.gov/ca/fosterparents/healthsafety.asp

Issue Date: October 2010
Section: Resources
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=120&articleid=3001


AARP Offers Database of Support for Kin Caregivers

A new online database can help grandparents and other relatives raising kin children to find support and services. The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) Foundation has launched the Grandcare Support Locator, which allows kinship caregivers to search for specific types of groups and services within their State or jurisdiction. Using the online search form, users can search within their zip code to find services (e.g., child care, health care, respite care, newsletters) or support groups (in-person, telephone support, or online). Users can limit the search to Spanish- or English-language results, and they can restrict the search to items relevant to grandparents raising grandchildren or to grandparents experiencing visitation issues.

Find the free searchable database on the AARP website:

www.giclocalsupport.org/pages/search_form.cfm

Issue Date: October 2010
Section: Resources
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=120&articleid=3002


Using State Legislation to Reduce the Foster Care Population

A new report from the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) outlines ways State legislation can promote safe reduction of the population of children in foster care and ensure that children have permanent families. In Legislative Strategies to Safely Reduce the Number of Children in Foster Care, author Madelyn Freundlich discusses how State lawmakers can affect the number of children in foster care with positive results for children, youth, and families by focusing on three areas:

The report discusses how lawmakers can support initiatives that foster the necessary collaboration to implement new practices and programs; assess outcomes; strengthen the courts and the child welfare system; and engage the community in achieving safety, permanency, and well-being for vulnerable children and youth. Examples of programs in specific jurisdictions are used to spotlight evidence-based and promising practices.

NCSL is a bipartisan organization that provides research and technical assistance to State legislators and staffs. This report is available on the NCSL website:

www.ncsl.org/documents/cyf/strategies_reducing_the_number_of_children_in_foster_care.pdf (2.85 MB)

Issue Date: October 2010
Section: Resources
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=120&articleid=3005


Training and Conferences

Visiting Between Parents and Children in Foster Care

Child Welfare Information Gateway has partnered with the National Resource Center on Permanency and Family Connections to offer an online training, "Introduction to Parent-Child Visits." Based on workshops and materials developed by Rose Marie Wentz, the six lessons provide training on maintaining parent-child and other family connections, covering such topics as goals of visits, the legislative background pertaining to visitation, and best practices.

Register to take the online training on the Information Gateway website:

http://training.childwelfare.gov/oltMain.cfm

Issue Date: October 2010
Section: Training and Conferences
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=120&articleid=3006


NCFA Hague-Compliant Training

The National Council for Adoption (NCFA) offers online training for prospective adoptive parents planning to adopt from another country that is a party to the Hague Convention. "The Intercountry Adoption Journey" fulfills 8 of the 10 training hours required of parents and has been reviewed by the U.S. State Department and the Council on Accreditation. Since its launch in 2008, more than 6,000 prospective parents have completed the training. The NCFA also includes supplemental training on specific countries. Visit the website to register:

www.hagueadoption.org/home/index.htm

Issue Date: October 2010
Section: Training and Conferences
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=120&articleid=3007


Evidence-Based Behavioral Practice (EBBP)

The EBBP.org project creates training resources to help bridge the gap between behavioral health research and practice. Currently, the project offers online training in five courses:

Sponsored by Northwestern University and the National Institutes of Health, the EBBP courses meet the requirements for Continuing Education Units (CEUs) for some professions. CE credit for social workers is scheduled to be established soon.

Visit the EBBP website to learn more:

www.ebbp.org/training.html



 

Issue Date: October 2010
Section: Training and Conferences
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=120&articleid=3008


Conferences

Upcoming national conferences on child welfare and adoption through January 2011 include:

November 2010

December 2010

January 2011

Further details about national and regional child welfare and adoption conferences can be found through the Conference Calendar Search feature on Child Welfare Information Gateway:

http://www.childwelfare.gov/calendar/index.cfm

Issue Date: October 2010
Section: Training and Conferences
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=120&articleid=2979



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