Children's Bureau ExpressJuly/August 2011 | Vol. 12, No. 6

Table of Contents
 

Spotlight on Interjurisdictional Placement
CBX spotlights Interjurisdictional Placement, with an article from AdoptUSKids that describes the many ways this organization can help workers with placements across State lines. Other articles link you to resources on ICPC, ICAMA, and more.

  • How AdoptUSKids Can Help Your Agency With Interjurisdictional Placements
  • The New Interstate Compact for the Placement of Children
  • How Effective Attorney Practice Can Improve Interstate Placements
  • Border Agreements Between States Expedite Placements of Children
  • AAICAMA and Interjurisdictional Placement
  • International Family Finding—Redux

News From the Children's Bureau
This month, we continue our Centennial Series with a brief look at the orphan train phenomenon, while other articles link you to information on the upcoming Evaluation Summit, CAPTA text, IRS wording on the adoption tax credit, and new items on the Children's Bureau website.

  • Centennial Series: America's Orphan Trains
  • 2011 National Child Welfare Evaluation Summit Agenda Updated: Register Now!
  • CAPTA Booklet
  • Adoption Tax Credit Clarification
  • New! On the Children's Bureau Site

Help Us Improve Children's Bureau Express

  • CBX Survey Launches!

Training and Technical Assistance Network Updates
The T&TA Network section shares news about new resources from the T&TA members, including family engagement strategies and performance-based contracting ideas.

  • System of Care Family Engagement Strategies
  • QIC Assesses Performance-Based Contracting Systems in Child Welfare
  • More Updates From the T&TA Network

Children's Bureau Grantee Updates
This month, CBX links you to new funding announcements, as well as articles on Children's Bureau grantees and their work.

  • Recent Grant Announcements
  • Using Comprehensive Family Assessments to Improve Child Welfare Outcomes
  • Synthesis Compiles Information on Training Supervisors in IL Services
  • Site Visit: Nonresident Fathers in the El Paso, CO, Child Welfare System

Child Welfare Research
Child Welfare News reports on new publications on prevention and immigrant children, as well as new research concerning runaway youth and permanency variations.

  • Why Prevention Matters Series
  • Runaway Youth in Foster Care
  • Examining the Well-Being of Immigrant Children
  • Exploring Timeliness to Permanency Variations

Strategies and Tools for Practice

  • Serving Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Youth
  • Training in Child and Family Team Meetings
  • Home Visiting Community Planning Tool

Resources

  • Trauma-Informed Care Tip Sheets
  • Guidance for Courts on Fostering Connections
  • Online Access to Benefit Programs
  • Families in Society E-newsletter

Training and Conferences

  • School-Based Trauma Intervention
  • Conferences

Spotlight on Interjurisdictional Placement

How AdoptUSKids Can Help Your Agency With Interjurisdictional Placements

A service of the Children's Bureau, AdoptUSKids is in its ninth year of operation. The mission of AdoptUSKids is two-fold: to raise public awareness about the need for foster and adoptive families for children in the public child welfare system and to assist U.S. States, territories, and Tribes to recruit and retain foster and adoptive families and connect them with children within and across jurisdictional boundaries. Since October 2002, more than 30,000 waiting children have been photolisted on the AdoptUSKids website. Of those children, nearly 16,000 have been placed with adoptive families, many of them across county, State, and international lines.

Among the many services provided by AdoptUSKids, two in particular provide invaluable support to child welfare agencies for the placement of children across borders. Those two services are its photolisting website and training and technical assistance.

Find Hundreds of Families in Seconds for Waiting Children
With a simple click of a button on the AdoptUSKids website, child welfare agencies can find hundreds of possible matches of home studied, licensed families for children on their caseload. The feature is part of the website's Find a Family tool available for free to agencies registered with AdoptUSKids photolisting services. The tool searches through our database of more than 4,000 active profiles of families and matches them to the needs and criteria of a child or sibling group.

Watch a short video demonstration of the tool at http://video.adoptuskids.org/v/training/findafamily.swf (Flash - 5:30 minutes) to find out more about this service and how both public and private child welfare agencies can register for free on the AdoptUSKids website at http://adoptuskids.org/admin/OrganizationRegistration.aspx?r=cbx.

Get Free Training and Technical Assistance on Interjurisdictional Placements
The National Resource Center for Recruitment and Retention of Foster and Adoptive Parents (NRCRRFAP) at AdoptUSKids provides free training and technical assistance on interjurisdictional placements, as well as materials to support agencies' ability to facilitate interjurisdictional placements. The center will soon release a set of capacity-building materials to help jurisdictions build worker knowledge and skills and sustainable infrastructures that support interjurisdictional placements.

To find out more about the center's resources:

If you have any questions about any the above services and how to access them, contact AdoptUSKids at 888.200.4005 or professionals@adoptuskids.org.

Contributed by Vanessa Casavant of AdoptUSKids

 

Issue Date: July/August 2011
Section: Spotlight on Interjurisdictional Placement
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=128&articleid=3226


The New Interstate Compact for the Placement of Children

The Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC), written in 1960, has long set the standard for ensuring the safe and stable placement of children across State lines. Enacted by all 50 States, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, the ICPC determines who is legally and financially responsible for a child placed in another State and establishes supervisory requirements for foster care and adoption services to the child and family. Since 1960, major changes in child welfare practice, technology, and society have made the original version increasingly difficult to implement. In March 2004, the American Public Human Services Association (APHSA) began an effort to rewrite the ICPC to more closely match today's foster care and adoption practices. Throughout the rewriting process, APHSA relied heavily on the input of key stakeholders such as State administrators, Federal partners, and related national child welfare organizations.

The new ICPC, renamed the Interstate Compact for the Placement of Children, makes numerous improvements to more efficiently place children across State lines and increase accountability in the ICPC process. One major improvement aims to reduce confusion concerning private custody matters by clearly stating the new ICPC applies only to children in foster care or children being placed for adoption by a public agency. Other key areas of improvement include:

The language in the new ICPC requires that 35 States must adopt it before it can go into effect. To date, 12 States have adopted it, and legislation has been introduced in another 2 States. Once the new ICPC becomes effective, the Interstate Commission will begin a collaborative process to develop rules and administrative procedures for all member States to follow. Although some States are concerned about the potential financial burden of the new ICPC or doubt its ability to significantly improve interstate processes, compact administrators highlight safeguards to address spending and to ensure State authority and involvement in the rulemaking process. APHSA emphasizes that the most important improvement in the new ICPC is the ability to hold States accountable through stronger rule enforcement, which will ultimately improve outcomes for children placed with families across State lines.

To better educate the States about the need to make the new ICPC effective nationwide, APHSA offers an extensive website that includes such helpful materials as:

Visit the APHSA website for more information:

www.aphsa.org/Policy/icpc_rewrite.htm

In addition, the following APHSA website compiles State ICPC contacts and websites and summarizes State ICPC laws, practices, and procedures:

http://icpc.aphsa.org/Home/states.asp

Related Item

The American Bar Association (ABA) Center on Children and the Law published frequently asked questions for legal professionals about the impact of the new ICPC on status offense cases for youth involved in the juvenile justice system. Download The Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children and Status Offense Advocacy on the ABA website:

www.americanbar.org/content/dam/aba/migrated/child/PublicDocuments/ICPC_factsheet.authcheckdam.pdf (164 KB)

Issue Date: July/August 2011
Section: Spotlight on Interjurisdictional Placement
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=128&articleid=3227


How Effective Attorney Practice Can Improve Interstate Placements

Court Improvement Programs (CIPs) have been in place since 1993 when Federal legislation was passed to fund State programs to assess and improve the dependency court process. In 2008, State CIPs conducted and published assessments of interstate child welfare practice, revealing many areas in judicial and agency practice in need of improvement. In an article published in ABA Child Law Practice, author Scott Trowbridge drew on data from these assessments to discuss the role that the child welfare attorney can play in improving the timeliness of interstate placements. The article, “How Attorneys Can Improve Interstate Placements: Lessons Learned From State CIP Assessments,” describes several strategies child welfare attorneys can use to reduce delays:

This article is available in the October 2009 issue of the journal ABA Child Law Practice and can be found online:

http://apps.americanbar.org/child/clp/archives/vol28/oct09.pdf

The State CIP Assessments

The recommendations for improved child welfare attorney practice were derived from an analysis of data collected for State CIP Assessments on the Legal and Judicial Role in Interstate Placement, which were mandated by the Safe and Timely Interstate Placement of Foster Children Act of 2006. States evaluated the court role in interstate placements by conducting surveys (more than 2,700) and interviews and reviewing case files. The individual State assessments include data as well as recommendations for improvements.

The State assessments are available on the National Child Welfare Resource Center on Legal and Judicial Issues website:

http://apps.americanbar.org/child/rclji/placementassessments.html
 

Issue Date: July/August 2011
Section: Spotlight on Interjurisdictional Placement
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=128&articleid=3229


Border Agreements Between States Expedite Placements of Children

Sometimes the best emergency placement for a child in State custody can be with a relative who lives nearby but in a neighboring State, and therefore, subject to the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC). In recent years, a handful of States have entered into agreements with their neighbor States to expedite these types of placements.

One such agreement is between the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services and the Oregon Department of Human Services. The ICPC Border Agreement applies specifically to the border counties of each State, and it establishes an expedited process to assess the safety and suitability of prospective caregivers who have an existing relationship with the child. The agreement is intended to increase the timeliness of interstate placements of children within the defined geographic area and reduce the placement of children in foster homes where children do not know their caregivers.

The text of the agreement is available on the Washington Department of Social and Health Services website:

www.dshs.wa.gov/pdf/ea/DSHSOHS.pdf

Another example of a border agreement is one between the northeast region of the Tennessee Department of Children's Services and the Virginia local Departments of Social Services for several counties in southwest Virginia. In this agreement, an individual who is a relative or person with whom the child has a significant relationship but who resides out-of-State but within the regions specified in the agreement may be considered for temporary placement, without the child being placed in the State foster care system in either State. 

Details of this agreement can be found on pages 104-108 of The Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children Procedures Manual, published by the Tennessee Department of Children's Services.

www.tn.gov/youth/dcsguide/manuals/ICPCProcedureandPracticeManual.doc

Issue Date: July/August 2011
Section: Spotlight on Interjurisdictional Placement
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=128&articleid=3230


AAICAMA and Interjurisdictional Placement

The Interstate Compact on Adoption and Medical Assistance (ICAMA) was written in 1986 and has been enacted into State law by 49 States to ensure that children eligible for adoption assistance who are placed across State lines continue to receive Medicaid and other services. Member States use consistent forms and services, and there is an ICAMA representative in each State who is the contact for these services.

To help ensure that ICAMA is applied consistently, the Association of Administrators of the ICAMA (AAICAMA) offers resources and training on ICAMA. The AAICAMA website includes a number of useful features, such as general information about ICAMA, definitions, training materials, and news on Federal and State laws. The website is designed to be a resource for State and local agency staff who work with families that have an adoption assistance agreement and move across State lines.

Visit the website to learn more:

http://aaicama.org/cms

Fostering Connections and Interjurisdictional Placement
The Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008 has several implications for the placement of children with foster and adoptive families who live across State lines. The legislation, which was designed to improve outcomes for children in foster care, also mandates improved incentives for adoption of children with special needs and more support and connections for relative caregivers. According to AAICAMA, these are two areas where interjurisdictional placements may benefit from Fostering Connections.

The AAICAMA website offers guidance and links to these parts of the Fostering Connections legislation that most directly affect the work of ICAMA professionals:

http://aaicama.org/cms/index.php/fostering-connections-3

Issue Date: July/August 2011
Section: Spotlight on Interjurisdictional Placement
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=128&articleid=3228


International Family Finding—Redux

In May 2011, Children's Bureau Express published "International Family Finding" about a Children's Bureau Family Connection grantee (ISS-USA) implementing an international family finding project. If you missed the article in May, you'll want to find out more about this type of interjurisdictional placement:

http://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=126&sectionid=2&articleid=3166

Issue Date: July/August 2011
Section: Spotlight on Interjurisdictional Placement
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=128&articleid=3251


News From the Children's Bureau

Centennial Series: America's Orphan Trains

This is the third article in our Centennial Series, as we count down to the Children's Bureau's 100th anniversary next year. These articles address some of the social issues, practices, and policies at the turn of the last century that laid the groundwork for the creation of the Children's Bureau.

The story of America's orphan trains, which ran between 1854 and 1929, is rooted in the history of child protection in a rapidly changing urban society. By the mid-19th century, early industrialization and the promise of jobs drew more and more families to the cities—including large numbers of immigrants—but this rapid growth caused overcrowding, disease, and squalid living conditions for many. As urban poverty grew, so did the number of children who were lost, neglected, or simply abandoned. While exact numbers are difficult to determine, 10,000 or more vagrant children were roaming the streets of New York City by the late 1840s (Holt, 2009).

In 1853, concerned with the conditions of this vulnerable population, a young clergyman named Charles Loring Brace established the Children's Aid Society (CAS) in New York City. Soon after, the CAS began its program of shipping children via trains to new families in other parts of the country, mainly west. Brace felt that a rural family setting, steady work at home or in the field, and proper schooling would offer these children the opportunity to grow into productive members of society (Holt, 2009).

Who were the children sent to new homes on the orphan trains? They were of all ages, from infants to teens, and many were immigrants. Some were true orphans from inner-city orphanages or from the streets, but many were children of single parents or parents who were ill or otherwise unable to care for their children. Some parents brought their children to CAS, hoping for a better life for them, and other children were recruited from poor neighborhoods by the CAS (Cook, 1995).

The children were sent in groups on the trains, along with an agent who was responsible for seeing that they were placed with families. Stopping at a designated station, the youngsters were taken by the placing agent to a railway platform or gathering place and lined up to be looked over by prospective parents (Holt, 2009). Siblings were often separated; if a child was not chosen at a specific town, he or she would board the train again and move on to the next destination to repeat the process (Trammell, 2009). Families who took in the children signed an agreement to care for them, although legal custody often remained with the CAS or with the children's birth parents—an arrangement designed to provide an escape clause for both children and families (O'Connor, 2001).

Some children were fortunate, landing with families who treated them with kindness and love. Others were treated as unpaid labor or even abused. During the course of 75 years, about 200,000 children were relocated from the New York area to other States by way of the orphan trains (National Orphan Train Complex, n.d.). These included children settled by the CAS, as well as children settled by other "child-saving" organizations.

Inevitably, many contemporary events had an impact on the orphan train practice. Many of the Western States where the children were placed began to protest that they were being used to provide homes for children who were a burden to their home States, and these Western States began to pass legislation banning or requiring large bonds for interstate placement (Trammell, 2009). As the perception of childhood began to shift, children were seen as innocent and in need of protection rather than as prospective laborers. Social reformers emphasized the importance of family life versus institutionalized care. Years of national campaigns eventually led to the White House Conference on the Care of Dependent Children of 1909 (U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, 1967). This symposium was instrumental in bringing the issue of child welfare to national attention and in the creation of the Children's Bureau in 1912. The new government agency supported programs and initiatives that helped reduce the need for orphan trains.

References
Cook, J. (1995). A history of placing out: The orphan trains. Child Welfare, LXXIV, 181-197.

Holt, M. I. (2009). The orphan trains as an alternative to orphanages. In R. B. McKenzie (Ed.), Home away from home. The forgotten history of orphanages (pp. 205-226). New York, NY:  Encounter Books. 

National Orphan Train Complex, inc. (n.d.) Orphan Train History. Retrieved from www.orphantraindepot.com/OrphanTrainHistory.html

O’Connor, S. (2001). Orphan trains: The story of Charles Loring Brace and the children he saved and failed. New York, NY: Houghton Mifflin Company.

Trammell, R. S. (2009). Orphan train myths and legal reality. The Modern American, 5(2), 3-13. Retrieved from
http://digitalcommons.wcl.american.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1023&context=tma

U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare, Children's Bureau (1967). The story of the White House conferences on children and youth. Retrieved from Georgetown University, Maternal and Child Health Library website:
www.mchlibrary.info/history/chbu/19074.PDF    

In addition to the references listed above, the Internet offers access to some of the history about this chapter in child welfare. For more information, visit these sites:

Related Item

Access all of the articles in the Centennial Series from here: http://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=125&sectionid=1&articleid=3131

Issue Date: July/August 2011
Section: News From the Children's Bureau
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=128&articleid=3222


2011 National Child Welfare Evaluation Summit Agenda Updated: Register Now!

Register now for the 2011 National Child Welfare Evaluation Summit! Space is limited, and spots are filling up quickly. Current registrants have already exceeded the number of attendees in 2009, so please do not delay. Learn more and register here:

http://ncwes2011.jbsinternational.com/Register2011.aspx

The Summit will be held at the Grand Hyatt Washington in Washington, DC, August 29-31, 2011, and will feature over 100 panel presentations, workshops, and roundtables and more than 50 posters that support the Summit’s themes of Building Evidence, Strengthening Practice, and Informing Policy. In addition, the Children's Bureau will host several roundtable discussions designed to generate ideas and priorities for the future of research in child welfare. As we finalize the agenda, we will continue to update the "Agenda-At-A-Glance" on the Summit website. View the agenda here:

http://ncwes2011.jbsinternational.com/Content.aspx?id=MTU=

Please contact cw-evaluationsummit@jbsinternational.com if you have any questions. We look forward to your participation in this year's Summit!
 

Issue Date: July/August 2011
Section: News From the Children's Bureau
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=128&articleid=3252


CAPTA Booklet

The Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) as amended by the CAPTA Reauthorization Act of 2010 is now available in a web-only booklet form on the Children's Bureau website. The booklet also contains the Adoption Opportunities program and Abandoned Infants Assistance Act, as amended. The updated text is an unofficial version that has been prepared based on the changes to the Act in P.L. 111-320, the CAPTA Reauthorization Act of 2010, to help States and other organizations as they prepare budgets, reports, and applications.

www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb/laws_policies/cblaws/capta/capta2010.pdf (331 KB)

Issue Date: July/August 2011
Section: News From the Children's Bureau
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=128&articleid=3253


Adoption Tax Credit Clarification

The IRS recently posted new language regarding eligibility for adoption assistance or subsidy agreements. Visit the IRS website to learn more:

www.irs.gov/individuals/article/0,,id=231663,00.html

Voice for Adoption, an advocacy organization, provides guidance on the adoption tax credit and related issues. Visit the webpage to learn more:

http://voice-for-adoption.org/advocacy-and-policy/leg_and_policy

Issue Date: July/August 2011
Section: News From the Children's Bureau
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=128&articleid=3225


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: July/August 2011
Section: News From the Children's Bureau
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=128&articleid=3224


Help Us Improve Children's Bureau Express

CBX Survey Launches!

For the second time in its 11-year history, Children's Bureau Express (CBX) is asking for reader feedback. We want to know what you think about our content, topical coverage, format, style, number and timing of issues, display, and more.

Please click on the survey link in the right navigation bar to complete this brief questionnaire. We value your opinion!

Issue Date: July/August 2011
Section: Help Us Improve Children's Bureau Express
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=128&articleid=3223


Training and Technical Assistance Network Updates

System of Care Family Engagement Strategies

The National Technical Assistance and Evaluation Center for Child Welfare Systems of Care Grantees (NTAEC) has published an article on strategies and approaches child welfare agencies use to integrate meaningful family involvement into their service delivery systems. "New Roles for Families in Child Welfare: Strategies for Expanding Family Involvement Beyond the Case Level," by Erin Williamson and Aracelis Gray, is based on document reviews and interviews with 44 individuals from nine agencies that received grants as part of the Children's Bureau's Improving Child Welfare Outcomes Through Systems of Care initiative. Grantees were interviewed about their family involvement planning and capacity-building activities.

Findings suggest that child welfare agencies primarily used human resource development to enhance family involvement. Specifically, they focused on three areas:

Recommendations include:

The authors call for further evaluation for enhancing family involvement, identifying and disseminating best practices, and building capacity for agencies to integrate family involvement in service delivery.

"New Roles for Families in Child Welfare: Strategies for Expanding Family Involvement Beyond the Case Level," was published in Children and Youth Services Reviews, Vol. 33, and is available for purchase online:

www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0190740911000594  

Related Item

The Technical Assistance Partnership for Child and Family Mental Health recently published Evidence-Based Practices/Practice-Based Evidence/Community-Defined Evidence Practices Currently Being Used by Systems of Care: A Snapshot of System of Care Communities Funded 2005–2009, which provides a table of programs in 32 States. 

www.tapartnership.org/docs/EBP-PBE-CDEUsedbySOCMatrix_05-09.pdf (738 KB)

Issue Date: July/August 2011
Section: Training and Technical Assistance Network Updates
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=128&articleid=3231


QIC Assesses Performance-Based Contracting Systems in Child Welfare

In 2005, the Children's Bureau funded the Quality Improvement Center on the Privatization of Child Welfare Services (QIC-PCW) to research and test innovative strategies for implementing performance-based contracting and quality assurance systems (PCB/QA) within a privatized context. The goal of the center was to present data to the child welfare field on research and practice about the best ways for public child welfare agencies to contract with private providers for core services. The QIC-PCW chose its demonstration sites through a competitive proposal process, and in September 2006 the QIC began evaluating the Florida, Illinois, and Missouri sites.

Recently, the QIC published the executive summary to its final report, Cross-Site Evaluation of Performance-based Contracting and Quality Assurance Systems in Child Welfare. The summary includes site descriptions, outcomes, and lessons learned, and it indicates elements for success and tips for the field. The summary identifies four factors that influenced PBC/QA, the public-private partnership, and outcomes:

The complete executive summary is available on the QIC website:

www.uky.edu/SocialWork/qicpcw/resources/pubs/ExecutiveSummaryFINAL.pdf (645 KB)

Issue Date: July/August 2011
Section: Training and Technical Assistance Network Updates
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=128&articleid=3232


More Updates From the T&TA Network

The Children's Bureau's 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: July/August 2011
Section: Training and Technical Assistance Network Updates
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=128&articleid=3233


Children's Bureau Grantee Updates

Recent Grant Announcements

The Children's Bureau recently announced three more funding opportunities:

In addition, modifications to two other funding opportunities were announced:

Issue Date: July/August 2011
Section: Children's Bureau Grantee Updates
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=128&articleid=3234


Using Comprehensive Family Assessments to Improve Child Welfare Outcomes

A comprehensive family assessment (CFA) can improve child welfare outcomes by identifying and addressing the needs and strengths of all family members over time, rather than focusing only on the incident that brought the family to the attention of the child welfare agency. In 2007, the Children's Bureau sought to further research on the use of CFAs by awarding grants to five jurisdictions that would use the Children's Bureau's CFA Guidelines for Child Welfare to develop, implement, and institutionalize their own assessment protocols and interagency processes.


Comprehensive Family Assessment

  • Recognizes patterns of parental behavior over time
  • Examines the family strengths and protective factors to identify resources that can support the family's ability to meet its needs and better protect the children
  • Addresses the overall needs of the child and family that affect the safety, permanency, and well-being of the child
  • Considers contributing factors such as domestic violence, substance abuse, mental health, chronic health problems, and poverty
  • Incorporates information gathered through other assessments and focuses on the development of a service plan or plan for intervention with the family that addresses the major factors that affect safety, permanency, and child well-being over time

 

Since 2007, the grantees have developed, implemented, and evaluated protocols and processes that assess multiple domains for families, children, and youth in a strengths-based and culturally responsive manner. Effective working partnerships with families and between child welfare agencies and community partners have played key roles to guide grantees' decision-making and case service planning. The resulting broad set of practices includes enhanced assessment tools, motivational interviewing, clinical screeners, coaching and mentoring, meaningful family/father engagement, early and better identification of services, high quality documentation, data collection, and process measurement. Dissemination efforts at the local, State, and national levels provide information directly to service agencies, stakeholders, and researchers through conference and workshop presentations.

Brief descriptions of the five grantees follow.

Later issues of Children's Bureau Express will carry articles about visits to these sites, and their final reports will be archived in the Children's Bureau Discretionary Grants Library at http://library.childwelfare.gov/cbgrants/ws/library/docs/cb_grants/GrantHome.

For additional information about these projects, please contact the Federal Project Officer, Cathy Overbagh, at cathy.overbagh@acf.hhs.gov.

 

Issue Date: July/August 2011
Section: Children's Bureau Grantee Updates
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=128&articleid=3241


Synthesis Compiles Information on Training Supervisors in IL Services

In 2005, the Children's Bureau awarded 3-year discretionary grants to five universities and one State to develop, implement, evaluate, and disseminate a training curriculum for public child welfare agency supervisors working with older youth in foster care and/or in Independent Living (IL) programs. The six projects funded in this grant cluster, Training of Child Welfare Agency Supervisors in the Effective Delivery and Management of Federal Independent Living Services for Youth in Foster Care, were:

Recently, Child Welfare Information Gateway and James Bell Associates produced a synthesis of the projects. Available on the Information Gateway website, the synthesis is presented in a format that allows the user to choose among four tabs: Summary of Projects, Overarching Themes, Evaluation, and Products. Each tab reveals a list of contents (such as youth involvement, logistics, participant recruitment) that is linked to detailed information.

Overall, the grantees' evaluations reveal improvements in the youth transition planning process following the training. Positive changes were reflected in individual attitudes and practices as well as at the agency level.

Read the full synthesis as well as individual site visit reports for each project on the Information Gateway website:

www.childwelfare.gov/management/funding/funding_sources/independent.cfm 
 

Issue Date: July/August 2011
Section: Children's Bureau Grantee Updates
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=128&articleid=3235


Site Visit: Nonresident Fathers in the El Paso, CO, Child Welfare System

The National Quality Improvement Center for Non-Resident Fathers and the Child Welfare System (QIC-NRF) awarded subgrants in 2008 to projects in four States for fatherhood classes for nonresident fathers whose children have been removed from their homes. One of the four subgrants was awarded to the Center on Fathering (COF) of the El Paso County, CO, Department of Human Services (DHS) to locate and recruit nonresident fathers of children in the child welfare system to participate in fatherhood classes. The goal is to increase fathers' involvement with their children and the child welfare system.

The fatherhood classes meet for 20 weeks and use a curriculum developed by the QIC-NRF to support nonresident fathers in engaging their children. The curriculum covers topics such as navigating the child welfare system, supporting their children, and workforce issues. Between September 2008 and September 2010, 23 fathers participated in these classes.

COF also has developed a training for caseworkers about how to engage fathers. The training, which was conducted at five State academies throughout Colorado, included practical advice on topics such as bringing fathers back into the family dynamic, closing the revolving door on cases, and how father-child visits may be different—and should be evaluated differently—from mother-child visits.

The following are examples of successful strategies used by the project to recruit, engage, and work with the fathers:

Fathers interviewed during the site visit expressed how much the project has helped them with their children. The project helped them gain a better understanding of the child welfare and court systems and provided helpful information about child development and communication.

For more information about this project, contact Ken Sanders, Program Director, at KenSanders@elpasoco.com.

The full site visit report will soon be posted on the Child Welfare Information Gateway website:

www.childwelfare.gov/management/funding/funding_sources/qicnrf.cfm

The National Quality Improvement Center for Non-Residential Fathers and the Child Welfare System is funded by the Children's Bureau (Award #90CO1025). This article is part of a series highlighting successful Children's Bureau grant-funded projects around the country, emerging from Children's Bureau site visits.
 

Issue Date: July/August 2011
Section: Children's Bureau Grantee Updates
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=128&articleid=3236


Child Welfare Research

Why Prevention Matters Series

Prevent Child Abuse America recently launched a new series of papers on different aspects of child abuse prevention written by experts across the country. Each paper provides a brief, general synopsis of research and current thinking on the prevention topic, followed by questions and answers with the author. The series includes the following:

The Making the Case: Why Prevention Matters series can be found on the Prevent Child Abuse America website:

www.preventchildabuse.org/publications/cap/why_prevention_matters.shtml

Issue Date: July/August 2011
Section: Child Welfare Research
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=128&articleid=3240


Runaway Youth in Foster Care

The National Runaway Switchboard (NRS) conducted a research study in 2010 on runaway foster youth to learn why youth run away, what can be done to prevent youth from running away, and where youth go when they leave. As a part of the study, 50 youth who had run away from foster care in the previous 12 months were interviewed. Half were living in Chicago and half in Los Angeles County, and all were between the ages of 14 and 17 years old. The results of these interviews have been published by the National Runaway Switchboard in a short paper.

The interviews with runaway foster youth show some consistent findings:

This brief, Running Away From Foster Care: Youths' Knowledge and Access of Services, can be downloaded from the NRS website:

www.1800runaway.org/assets/1/7/042111_Part_C_Exec_Summary.pdf (358 KB)

The original 2010 report, Why They Run: An In-Depth Look at America's Runaway Youth, can be found on the website:

www.1800runaway.org/learn/research/why_they_run

Issue Date: July/August 2011
Section: Child Welfare Research
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=128&articleid=3238


Examining the Well-Being of Immigrant Children

The latest issue of The Future of Children focuses on immigrant children living in the United States and efforts to improve the well-being of these youth, who are the fastest-growing population group in the country. Family arrangements for children, immigrants' role in welfare programs, and education and demographic trends are examined in the articles, among other issues.

Articles in the journal include:

The Future of Children: Immigrant Children, Vol. 21, spring 2011, can be downloaded for free from The Future of Children website:

http://futureofchildren.org/publications/journals/journal_details/index.xml?journalid=74 (1.3 MB)

Related Item

Last month, Children's Bureau Express included a short article about a new handbook from Loyola University's (Chicago) Center for the Human Rights for Children and the Center's Building Child Welfare Response to Child Trafficking. See "Handbook on Responding to Child Trafficking" in the June 2011 issue.

Issue Date: July/August 2011
Section: Child Welfare Research
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=128&articleid=3237


Exploring Timeliness to Permanency Variations

Partners for Our Children is conducting an ongoing study with the goal of better understanding the factors that contribute to permanency outcomes for children who are under the supervision of the Washington Department of Social and Health Services, Children's Administration (DSHS/CA). The organization recently published a series of resources titled Timing of Permanency Exits From Out-of-Home Care: The Importance of Systems and Implications for Assessing Accountability for Permanency Outcomes.

Notable findings from the study include:

The report also contains a discussion of the relationship between the timing of the filing of dependency court petitions and the differences in permanency rates across the State.

Partners for Our Children is affiliated with the University of Washington School of Social Work, the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services, and a number of private funders. The study's authors are Mark E. Courtney, Jennifer L. Hook, Tessa Keating, and Matt Orme.

Three publications on the study are found on the Partners for Our Children website:

www.partnersforourchildren.org/knowledge-center

Issue Date: July/August 2011
Section: Child Welfare Research
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=128&articleid=3239


Strategies and Tools for Practice

Serving Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Youth

The National Center for Lesbian Rights and the Sylvia Rivera Law Project have teamed to publish A Place of Respect: A Guide for Group Care Facilities Serving Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming Youth. This guide offers tips for ensuring that transgender youth seeking services are treated fairly and not subjected to events that may be disrespectful or harmful. The guide tackles nine sample problems that are commonly faced by transgender or gender nonconforming youth and offers practical solutions that are easy to implement and that follow facility regulations.

The guide is broken into five sections:

The guide also includes a full appendix with definitions, resources, and an example of guidelines that are respectful of transgender and gender nonconforming youth.

The publication, by Jody Marksamer, with Dean Spade and Gabriel Arkles, can be downloaded from the National Center for Lesbian Rights website:

www.nclrights.org/site/DocServer/A_Place_Of_Respect.pdf?docID=8301

Issue Date: July/August 2011
Section: Strategies and Tools for Practice
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=128&articleid=3243


Training in Child and Family Team Meetings

The North Carolina Division of Social Services uses a culturally adapted form of Child and Family Team (CFT) meetings that are integral to the State's family-centered child welfare practice. North Carolina State University's Center for Family and Community Engagement (CFCE) recently released an annual report on the North Carolina Family-Centered Meetings Project for 2009-2010, which details how the State's child welfare workforce is trained in CFT meetings. The report describes the curricula's guiding principles, training methods, evaluation, inclusion of family trainers, technical assistance, and cultural adaptation.

The report notes that the Center uses four guiding principles in developing, implementing, and evaluating training on CFT meetings:

The Center devised a CFT training program consisting of five courses:

The report indicates that workers from more than 80 of 100 counties in the State participated in formal CFT trainings during the year. In addition, the Center also offered statewide forums, regional forums, and online policy events that focused on how agencies were implementing CFT State policies. Training evaluations were based on participant satisfaction forms (completed by 761 trainees) and trainers' feedback on issues and questions brought forward by trainees in the classroom. These issues helped shape curricula revisions.

Most notably, the curricula incorporated family and youth partner trainers to offer workers the perspective of those who had personally used the services and could talk about the impact of CFT meetings. Six months after the training, a majority of those who had heard from the family trainer said they had used what they learned from the family trainer on the job and their relationships with families improved as a result.

To read the full report, North Carolina Family-Centered Meeting Projects: Annual Report to the North Carolina Division of Social Services, Fiscal Year 2009-2010, Summary, by Joan Pennell, Dara Allen-Eckard, Jenny King, and Marianne Latz, visit the CFCE website:

www.cfface.org/documents/09-10_NCFCMP_Summary_report-web.pdf

Issue Date: July/August 2011
Section: Strategies and Tools for Practice
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=128&articleid=3242


Home Visiting Community Planning Tool

ZERO TO THREE now offers an online planning tool to guide communities through the process of creating new or expanding existing home visiting services for at-risk young children and their families. Users enter information about their community and existing home visiting services as well as answer questions to help them consider implementation issues at the program and system levels. The tool covers topics such as:

In light of recent Federal funding for States and Tribes through the new Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting program, many of the questions in the tool also help communities consider how to connect their work at the local level to larger State efforts. Ultimately, ZERO TO THREE hopes the tool will help community leaders select and implement an evidence-based home visiting program according to the needs and strengths of their community.

Access the Home Visiting Community Planning Tool on the ZERO TO THREE website:

www.zerotothree.org/public-policy/state-community-policy/home-visiting-community-planning-tool-fillable-pdf.pdf (712 KB)

Issue Date: July/August 2011
Section: Strategies and Tools for Practice
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=128&articleid=3244


Resources

Trauma-Informed Care Tip Sheets

Children exposed to violence are impacted in myriad ways that can be difficult to detect. Safe Start Center has developed and made available eight tip sheets aimed at those who care for and work with children who have been exposed to violence. Each tip sheet provides users with a list of age-specific warning signs, how to help, and advice on mandated reporting. Such a diverse topic needs multipronged approaches and resources, and Safe Start's tip sheets cover a range of trauma exposure scenarios and situations. Tip sheets include:

Safe Start's trauma-informed care tips sheets are available on the Safe Start website:

www.safestartcenter.org/resources/tip-sheets.php
 

Issue Date: July/August 2011
Section: Resources
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=128&articleid=3248


Guidance for Courts on Fostering Connections

A new publication, Judicial Guide to Implementing the Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008 (PL 110-351), offers guidance to the State court judges who have responsibility for providing judicial oversight on the new Federal law's implementation. Each section of the publication addresses a different provision of the legislation and provides an overview of the issue, judicial considerations, and questions to ask from the bench. Sections include:

The Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act (P.L.110-351) is designed to promote permanent families for children and youth in foster care through encouraging family connections, supporting youth transitioning from foster care, ensuring the health and educational well-being for foster youth, and providing many Native American children important Federal protections and support for the first time by allowing Tribes to directly administer local child welfare programs.

This publication was produced by the Grandfamilies State Law and Policy Resource Center, a collaboration between Casey Family Programs, the American Bar Association Center on Children and the Law, and Generations United, and is co-sponsored by the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges and the National Center for State Courts. The publication is available on the Grandfamilies State Law and Policy Resource Center website:

www.grandfamilies.org/images/pdf/Judicial%20Guide%20to%20Fostering%20Connections.pdf

Issue Date: July/August 2011
Section: Resources
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=128&articleid=3246


Online Access to Benefit Programs

Nearly every State offers websites with information on low-income benefit programs for children and families. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) recently researched those websites and published a report detailing the different ways the public can access the following services online:

Just as there is great variation in the types of services States provide through low-income benefit programs, there is great variation in the ways the public can interact with these State programs on the Internet. In addition to listing program websites in all 50 States and the District of Columbia, CBPP summarizes whether or not individuals can perform the following tasks online:

The full report, Online Services for Key Low-Income Benefit Programs: What States Provide Online With Respect to SNAP, TANF, Child Care Assistance, Medicaid, and CHIP, is available on the CBPP website:

www.cbpp.org/files/1-14-04tanf.pdf (321 KB)
 

Issue Date: July/August 2011
Section: Resources
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=128&articleid=3245


Families in Society E-newsletter

After a hiatus of several years, Families in Society has revived its e-newsletter version of Practice & Policy Focus. The newest edition, Immigration & Social Work, explores the aftereffects of immigration and provides professionals with insight, tips, and suggestions for cultural sensitivities, in articles that address topics such as:

Archived editions are available to online users as well, with back issues examining a variety of social work and child welfare topics.

To view the newest or archived editions of Practice & Policy Focus, visit the Families in Society website:

www.familiesinsociety.org/Article.asp?ID=136

Issue Date: July/August 2011
Section: Resources
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=128&articleid=3247


Training and Conferences

School-Based Trauma Intervention

The Cognitive Behavioral Intervention for Trauma in Schools (CBITS) program is an evidence-based intervention for delivery by mental health professionals in schools. CBITS is designed to reduce trauma symptoms, including depression and behavioral problems, and improve functioning and coping skills. Using cognitive-behavioral techniques such as relaxation and social problem solving, CBITS can help students in 5th through 12th grade who have been exposed to various kinds of trauma, including abuse, accidents, and disasters.

The program consists of 10 group sessions and a smaller number of individual, parent, and teacher sessions. Materials and resources are available free of charge to professionals who register on the website. The CBITS website also includes success stories of jurisdictions where CBITS has been used, including in Louisiana to help children after Hurricane Katrina.

Find more details and registration information on the CBITS website:

http://cbitsprogram.org

Related Item

RAND Corporation has reviewed CBITS and calls it "a program that works." Read the article on RAND's evaluation of CBITS:

http://m.rand.org/content/dam/rand/pubs/research_briefs/2011/RAND_RB4557-2.pdf (144 KB)

Issue Date: July/August 2011
Section: Training and Conferences
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=128&articleid=3249


Conferences

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

August 2011

September 2011

October 2011

November 2011

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

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

Issue Date: July/August 2011
Section: Training and Conferences
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=128&articleid=3250



Articles in Children's Bureau Express are presented for informational purposes only; their inclusion does not represent an endorsement by the Children's Bureau or Child Welfare Information Gateway.

Children's Bureau Express does not disclose, give, sell, or transfer any personal information, including email addresses, unless required for law enforcement by statute.


Contact us at cb_express@childwelfare.gov.

Return to the Children's Bureau Website.