Children's Bureau ExpressJune 2013 | Vol. 14, No. 5

Table of Contents
 

Spotlight on Child Welfare and Immigration
This month, CBX looks at the intersection between child welfare and immigration. We highlight the Migration and Child Welfare National Network and its resources for child welfare and related professionals, the Bridging Refugee Youth and Children's Services technical assistance center, research on the effect of immigration enforcement on children and families, and more.

  • The Migration and Child Welfare National Network
  • Bridging Refugee Youth and Children's Services
  • Social Worker Attitudes Toward Immigrants
  • Immigration Enforcement and Children in Care
  • Welcome Initiative for LGBT Refugees
  • Working With Undocumented, Mixed-Status Children
  • The Effect of Deportation on Mexican Families

News From the Children's Bureau
A new Funding Opportunity Announcement has been made available by the Administration on Children, Youth and Families, and we also highlight the final report from NSCAW II Wave 2.

  • Quality Implementation of Child-Serving Programs
  • Final Report on NSCAW II Wave 2
  • Funding Opportunity Announcement on Training
  • New! From CB

Training and Technical Assistance Network Updates
Learn about the new issue of The Roundtable—which is focused on postadoption support and preservation services—new tools available through the In-Depth Technical Assistance Program, in-home services for families affected by substance abuse, and other updates from the T&TA Network.

  • New Issue of The Roundtable
  • Helping Families Struggling With Substance Abuse
  • In-Home Programs for Drug-Affected Families
  • More Updates From the T&TA Network

Child Welfare Research
CBX points to a series of white papers on States' implementation of the Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act, an evaluation of a new birth assessment initiative providing individualized services to teen parents in foster care, and new research on sexual abuse of children with disabilities.

  • Emergency Response Coaching
  • FosteringConnections.org Issues Final Report
  • Evaluating Illinois DCFS' Birth Assessment
  • Sexual Abuse of Children With Disabilities

Strategies and Tools for Practice

  • Working With Military Families
  • Trauma-Informed Practice Toolkits
  • Managing Sensitive Information

Resources

  • Scholarships for Adopted, Transitioning Youth
  • Child Welfare Discussions on YouTube
  • Foster, Adoptive Parent Blog

Training and Conferences

  • Mental Health Screenings Workbook
  • Conferences

Spotlight on Child Welfare and Immigration

The Migration and Child Welfare National Network

By Alan Dettlaff, Ph.D., M.S.W., University of Illinois at Chicago, Jane Addams College of Social Work

When children in immigrant families become involved in the child welfare system, they often face unique and complex challenges that need to be addressed by child welfare agencies to facilitate positive outcomes. Yet, child welfare professionals may lack the information or resources necessary to address the challenges that arise when immigration issues become barriers to achieving positive outcomes.

The Migration and Child Welfare National Network (MCWNN) is a coalition of individuals and organizations focused on the intersection of immigration and child welfare. The Network serves as a resource for child welfare and legal professionals providing services to immigrant children and families. MCWNN conducts and disseminates research, develops policy and practice recommendations, develops and disseminates resources for child welfare and legal professionals, and works with Federal, State, and local child welfare agencies to facilitate policy and practice improvements. MCWNN also provides a unique model of peer-to-peer consultation in which members learn from the experience and expertise of others, share knowledge and strategies, and participate in collaborative efforts to improve services for immigrant children and families.

MCWNN members receive bimonthly electronic newsletters containing resources and information from member agencies and have access to a wealth of local, State, and Federal expertise. Current resources available at the MCWNN website include:

  1. Practice Toolkits: These toolkits provide resources and information for child welfare and legal professionals working with immigrant children and families in the child welfare system. Toolkits are available that provide a summary of immigration status and relief options that may be available for immigrant children in foster care, a child welfare flowchart that explores the immigration issues that may arise at each stage of a child welfare case, and guidelines for integrating trauma-informed practices into child welfare services with immigrant children and families.
  2. Legal and Policy Briefs: This series of briefs examines the challenges that arise when the immigration and child welfare systems intersect, and provides policy recommendations on how the two systems can work together to better protect the interests of children and families. The most recent brief in this series reviews State appellate court decisions that have involved immigration issues in child welfare cases. For each case, a summary of the appellate court opinion is presented, along with implications for child welfare and legal systems.
  3. Research Briefs: These briefs report findings from the National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-being (NSCAW) on the characteristics, risk factors, and types of maltreatment in cases involving children of immigrants in the child welfare system. These briefs represent the first national data available on the presence of children of immigrants in this system. Additional research briefs focusing on the unique needs of this vulnerable population will be released in the coming months. 
  4. State Policies and Examples: This extensive collection of example policies and procedures from State and county child welfare agencies across the country is one of the most widely accessed resources of the MCWNN. Resources include Memoranda of Understanding with foreign consulates, policies on placement of children with undocumented relatives, procedural guides on accessing forms of immigration relief, and policies and procedures on placement of children outside the United States. These examples are provided as resources to other States to assist in developing or improving their services to this population.

In addition to these resources, the MCWNN website collects training materials and conference presentations conducted by MCWNN members, as well as an archive of the Network's electronic newsletter.

The MCWNN is housed at the Jane Addams College of Social Work, University of Illinois at Chicago. Membership in the MCWNN is free and all MCWNN resources are available to the public via the MCWNN website. Additional information and all of the resources described here are available at www.mcwnn.uic.edu. 

Issue Date: June 2013
Section: Spotlight on Child Welfare and Immigration
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=147&articleid=3887


Bridging Refugee Youth and Children's Services

The Office of Refugee Resettlement within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services provides resources to assist new populations integrating into American society. One such resource is the Bridging Refugee Youth and Children's Services (BRYCS) technical assistance center for refugee child welfare. True to its name, BRYCS is a bridge between service providers working with the refugee and immigrant communities and public child welfare professionals. The technical assistance center maintains a Clearinghouse with more than 4,000 resources, while also assisting social service agencies and workers who serve refugee and immigrant children and families by providing trainings, conference presentations, and publications.

BRYCS' training and technical assistance is focused on child welfare, strengthening families, youth development, and schools. Since 2003, the organization has gathered promising practices from across the nation, building a comprehensive database of materials that span a wide range of topics, refugee groups, and practice approaches. Among BRYCS' many toolkits, training materials, and publications are:

For these resources and much more, visit the BRYCS website:

http://www.brycs.org/

Issue Date: June 2013
Section: Spotlight on Child Welfare and Immigration
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=147&articleid=3888


Social Worker Attitudes Toward Immigrants

As the immigrant population in the United States has consistently increased over the past decade, so has the likelihood that social work practitioners will provide services to immigrant children and families. Practitioners' attitudes toward immigrants and basic knowledge of immigration may shape the quality of services provided. Additionally, a practitioners' poor knowledge and attitude toward immigrants can leave children, parents, and families feeling powerless and vulnerable when seeking services. A study in Social Work Education: The International Journal examined the relationship between practitioners' social work education and their attitudes toward immigrants and general knowledge of immigration.

The authors targeted the top 10 States with the largest overall increases in the foreign-born population and surveyed 1,032 social workers who had completed a B.S.W. and/or a M.S.W. Eight multiple-choice questions tested participants' general knowledge of immigration, including the number of legal and undocumented immigrants in the nation, immigrant population characteristics, and immigrants' eligibility to access public benefits. Open-ended questions asked workers about their personal and professional interactions with immigrants. Questions about workers' education centered on whether their training or coursework addressed the following:

The study indicated that although most practitioners had some coursework on working with immigrants, it had no impact on their attitudes toward immigrants or basic knowledge of immigration. However, findings showed that coursework on immigration policy had an impact on practitioners' positive attitudes toward immigrants. The authors also conducted an extensive literature review and noted that a practitioner's level of knowledge about a vulnerable population predicted his or her attitude toward that same population. The study's results indicate a need for schools of social work to expand course focus beyond immigration practice to include immigration policy.

"Linking Practitioners' Attitudes Towards and Basic Knowledge of Immigrants With Their Social Work Education," by Rupaleem Bhuyan, Yoosun Park, and Andrew Rundle, Social Work Education: The International Journal, 31(8), 2012, is available for purchase:

http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/02615479.2011.621081
 

Issue Date: June 2013
Section: Spotlight on Child Welfare and Immigration
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=147&articleid=3890


Immigration Enforcement and Children in Care

A 2011 study conducted by the Applied Research Center found that in jurisdictions where local authorities aggressively enforce immigration laws, children in foster care are 29 percent more likely to have a parent detained or deported than children in care in other jurisdictions. A recent research brief by the American Immigration Council and First Focus maintains that U.S. immigration policies often overlook the needs of the children and families whom they directly impact. The brief summarizes the myriad challenges that State and Federal immigration enforcement pose to the family unit and child well-being and concludes with possible solutions and policy recommendations.

The exact number of children and families separated because of immigration enforcement is unknown. According to Department of Homeland Security estimates, nearly 205,000 unauthorized immigrant parents of U.S.-citizen children were deported from the United States between July 1, 2010, and September 31, 2012. Many more children, approximately 5.5 million according to the Pew Hispanic Center, live in mixed-status families with at least one parent who is an unauthorized immigrant and at risk for detention or removal. Subsequently, these children, most of whom are U.S. citizens, also face the increased risk of entering foster care.

The research brief presents information in a question-and-answer format, with many child welfare-specific questions, including the following:

The brief links to a number of studies, statistics, reports, and case studies.

Falling Through the Cracks: The Impact of Immigration Enforcement on Children Caught Up in the Child Welfare System, by the Immigration Policy Center within the American Immigration Council and First Focus, is available in English and Spanish on the Policy Center's website:

http://www.immigrationpolicy.org/sites/default/files/docs/falling_through_the_cracks.pdf (130 KB)

Spanish version:
http://www.firstfocus.net/sites/default/files/Perdidos%20en%20el%20Sistema%20PDF.pdf (225 KB)

Issue Date: June 2013
Section: Spotlight on Child Welfare and Immigration
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=147&articleid=3889


Welcome Initiative for LGBT Refugees

While all refugees resettling in the United States face unique challenges, vulnerabilities faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT) refugees are particularly poignant. The Heartland Alliance—a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping those who are homeless, living in poverty, or seeking safety—established the Rainbow Welcome Initiative to help the LGBTQ refugee community. The Rainbow Welcome Initiative provides resettlement agencies with the tools, resources, and technical assistance necessary to provide culturally competent services to this population. One such tool is the new field manual Rainbow Response: A Practical Guide to Resettling LGBT Refugees and Asylees.

The guide is intended to help service providers tailor and strengthen service delivery to the LGBT refugee and asylee population. It outlines terminology pertaining to sexual orientation and gender identity, dispels myths and provides facts about being transgender, and includes case studies, quizzes, and best practices. Refugees, asylees, and resettlement caseworkers across the country provided feedback during several of the initiative's training workshops, and that feedback was incorporated into the field manual.

The Initiative website hosts a number of resources for service providers, including Rainbow Welcome Initiative: An Assessment and Recommendations Report on LGBT Refugee Resettlement in the United States, as well as resources for refugees and asylees, such as Know Your Rights: Information on Seeking Asylum (for LGBT or HIV positive).

The Rainbow Welcome Initiative is funded through a grant from the Office of Refugee Resettlement, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Visit the Rainbow Response Initiative website at http://www.rainbowwelcome.org/index.php.

Rainbow Response: A Practical Guide to Resettling LGBT Refugees and Asylees is available here:

http://www.rainbowwelcome.org/uploads/pdfs/Rainbow%20Response_Heartland%20Alliance%20Field%20Manual.pdf (6 MB)

Issue Date: June 2013
Section: Spotlight on Child Welfare and Immigration
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=147&articleid=3891


Working With Undocumented, Mixed-Status Children

According to the Urban Institute, almost one-fourth of all children in the United States are immigrants or U.S.-born children of immigrants. These immigrant households represent a large and growing section of the domestic population and are often composed of mixed-status families where one or both parents are undocumented immigrants and one or more children are legal U.S. citizens. As this segment of the populace increases, so do the implications for child welfare. A recent practice bulletin examines the difficulties immigrant children and families face when they come to the attention of the child welfare system, the unique challenges child welfare professionals must consider in service delivery, and the best practices for serving the immigrant population.

A study from the National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being revealed that nearly 9 percent of all children served by the child welfare system have immigrant parents, and of these children, most are U.S.-born citizens. The majority of the bulletin is dedicated to defining what best practice should be and provides recommendations, including, but not limited to:

In addition, the bulletin outlines what professionals and advocates need to know when working with these families, and it defines the roles and responsibilities of each participant involved in the child welfare case, from the child/youth and his or her parent(s) or foster parent(s) to the caseworker, attorney, and judge. The bulletin is one part of a series of publications intended to promote the safety, permanency, and well-being of children in the State's care in New Mexico.

Working With Undocumented and Mixed Status Immigrant Children and Families, collaboratively published by the Corinne Wolfe Children's Law Center at the University of New Mexico School of Law, CYFD, the New Mexico Children's Court Improvement Commission, the New Mexico Citizens Review Board, the New Mexico CASA Network, and Advocacy Inc., is available on the Corinne Wolfe Children's Law Center website:

http://childlaw.unm.edu/docs/BEST-PRACTICES/Undocumented%20Children%20and%20Families%20%282011%29.pdf (274 KB)

Additional Child Protection Best Practices Bulletins are available here:

http://childlaw.unm.edu/resources.php

Issue Date: June 2013
Section: Spotlight on Child Welfare and Immigration
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=147&articleid=3892


The Effect of Deportation on Mexican Families

Of the record number of foreign-born persons who have been deported from the United States in recent years, it is estimated that more than 100,000 of them are the parents of U.S.-born children. A high percentage of the persons who are detained and deported are from Mexico, making the impact on this population especially burdensome. 

In a recent article published in the Journal of Marriage and Family, author Joanna Dreby, a researcher at the University at Albany, State University of New York, discusses the impact that immigration enforcement policies have had on Mexican families and, in particular, the effect on the children in those families. Using examples from interviews conducted with 91 parents and 110 children in 80 households in Ohio and New Jersey, the author proposes a deportation pyramid as a framework for understanding the burden of deportation on children.

At the top of the pyramid are instances in which a deportation leaves the child without a resident parent, and the child enters the U.S. foster care system with no hope of reunification. At the next level, the deportation of one parent leaves the child either temporarily or permanently in a single-parent household and struggling to maintain financial stability. The author also discusses in detail the large number of children at the bottom of the pyramid, those who may never have been directly affected by immigration enforcement, but face insecurity about their legal status and the social stigma of being an immigrant.

"The Burden of Deportation on Children in Mexican Immigrant Families," by Joanna Dreby, Journal of Marriage and Family, 74(4), 2012, is available for purchase:

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1741-3737.2012.00989.x/abstract

Issue Date: June 2013
Section: Spotlight on Child Welfare and Immigration
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=147&articleid=3893


News From the Children's Bureau

Quality Implementation of Child-Serving Programs

A recent issue brief from the Administration for Children and Families' Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE) explores the importance of quality implementation for programs serving children and youth. The author, Joseph Durlak, notes that when evidence-based programs for this population are poorly implemented, the potential for achieving positive outcomes is reduced and already-limited public resources are wasted. The issue brief defines quality implementation, explains its importance, and presents 23 factors that can improve implementation and program effectiveness.

Implementation, according to the brief, requires a collaborative effort and is the mutual responsibility of all stakeholder groups. The 23 factors that affect implementation are grouped into five categories: (1) communitywide or societal factors, (2) practitioner characteristics, (3) characteristics of the program, (4) factors related to the organization hosting the program, and (5) factors specific to the implementation process. While rarely perfect, the brief notes that quality implementation is achieved in three phases that consist of 14 steps.

A list of lessons learned concludes the report, and the Appendix presents resources that provide assistance on selecting and implementing programs.

The Importance of Quality Implementation for Research, Practice, and Policy, by Joseph Durlak, Ph.D., Loyola University, is available on the ASPE website:

http://aspe.hhs.gov/hsp/13/KeyIssuesforChildrenYouth/ImportanceofQuality/rb_QualityImp.pdf  (300 KB)

Issue Date: June 2013
Section: News From the Children's Bureau
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=147&articleid=3884


Final Report on NSCAW II Wave 2

The Administration for Children and Families' Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation released the final report on Wave 2 of the second National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being (NSCAW II). NSCAW II is a longitudinal study that examines the functioning, service needs, and service use of children who come in contact with the child welfare system.

Researchers for NSCAW II collected data between March 2008 and September 2009 on a sample of 5,873 children ranging in age from birth to 17.5 years. Interviews were conducted with children, caregivers, and child protective services investigators. Wave 2 is a follow-up with these children and families after 18 months when the cohort ranged in age from 16 months to 19 years old. Wave 2 data were collected between October 2009 and January 2011. While Wave 1 included interviews with investigative workers for each child in the sample, Wave 2 included interviews with service workers.

OPRE's final report details experiences of a subset of children and families who came into contact with child welfare between the baseline and Wave 2 interviews. Caseworkers reported on the service needs, referrals, and receipt of services for the child and for the child's in-home caregiver or reunification caregiver. Some of the report's findings include the following:

NSCAW II Wave 2 Report: Children and Families Receiving Child Welfare Services Post-Baseline is available on the Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation website:

http://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/opre/nscaw2_welfare.pdf (595 KB)

Issue Date: June 2013
Section: News From the Children's Bureau
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=147&articleid=3885


Funding Opportunity Announcement on Training

The Administration on Children, Youth and Families announced a new funding opportunity announcement (FOA) for fiscal year (FY) 2013.

Information about planned FY 2013 FOAs is available on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Grants Forecast website:

https://www.acf.hhs.gov/hhsgrantsforecast/

To find the Children's Bureau's FOA forecasts, go to the forecast website and enter the title or Funding Opportunity Number (FON) in the search box. Please check the forecast site regularly, as forecasts are subject to change.

Issue Date: June 2013
Section: News From the Children's Bureau
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=147&articleid=3897


New! From CB

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:

For news from the Administration for Children and Families, read the latest entries in its blog, The Family Room:

http://www.acf.hhs.gov/blog

Visit the Children's Bureau website often to see what's new!

http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb

Issue Date: June 2013
Section: News From the Children's Bureau
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=147&articleid=3886


Training and Technical Assistance Network Updates

New Issue of The Roundtable

A new issue of The Roundtable, published by the National Resource Center for Adoption (NRCA), focuses on the importance of providing support and preservation services to adoptive families. The feature article, by Susan Livingston Smith, discusses the impact of the Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997 on the rate of adoptions in the United States and the benefits of finding permanency through adoption rather than long-term foster care.

The article emphasizes that postadoption services are vital to ensuring the continued well-being of children and youth who have been adopted, as well as their adoptive families. Children who are adopted often come from difficult situations and may have a history of trauma. Adoptive parents need to be equipped with the necessary knowledge and skills to successfully care for their adopted\ child. Child welfare workers must also be aware of and know how to address the ongoing needs of adopted children and families.

Other articles in the newsletter discuss collaborations among child welfare workers, adoptive families, and other community stakeholders to improve adoption outcomes and highlight Illinois adoption preservation programs and the North American Council on Adoptable Children's Community Champions Network. Finally, the newsletter provides a tip sheet for practitioners to help guide discussions on adoption issues.

Access the full edition of The Roundtable here:

http://www.nrcadoption.org/pdfs/roundtable/V26N1-2013.pdf (769 KB)

Issue Date: June 2013
Section: Training and Technical Assistance Network Updates
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=147&articleid=3894


Helping Families Struggling With Substance Abuse

The In-Depth Technical Assistance (IDTA) program at the National Center on Substance Abuse and Child Welfare (NCSACW) provides demonstration sites with support and expertise to help enhance cross-system collaboration to improve outcomes for families affected by substance use and are receiving child welfare services. NCSAWC recently released a number of products from the 17 IDTA sites. With NCSACW's assistance, the sites developed new programs and implemented wide-ranging policy and administrative changes to better work with the substance abuse, child welfare, and court systems, as well as local Tribes. Some of the tools developed include:

Visit NCSACW's website to read about each of the IDTA site's accomplishments and access their products:

http://www.ncsacw.samhsa.gov/technical/idta-site-list.aspx

To read about the successes and lessons learned from the 17 IDTA sites, see the In-Depth Technical Assistance (IDTA) Final Report 2007–2012:

http://www.ncsacw.samhsa.gov/files/IDTA_Final_Report_2007_2012_508.pdf (306 KB)

Issue Date: June 2013
Section: Training and Technical Assistance Network Updates
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=147&articleid=3895


In-Home Programs for Drug-Affected Families

The National Resource Center for In-Home Services (NRC In-Home) provides technical assistance and expertise to child welfare workers, States, and Tribes to help ensure the well-being of children and youth in their homes and avoid their placement or reentry into foster care. In an effort to provide information on supports for drug-affected families, NRC In-Home recently developed a list of programs that provide in-home services to families that are dealing with substance abuse issues. The programs are organized into categories according to their service delivery approaches.

Some of the featured programs focus on prevention and treatment for pregnant women or new mothers with substance abuse issues, families with substance-affected infants, and other high-risk pregnant women. Other programs have substance abuse specialists available to work with families and provide expertise to caseworkers. The list also points to training available through the National Center for Substance Abuse and Child Welfare that can be used by States and Tribes to help child welfare workers better support families affected by substance abuse. Other program categories include:

Access In Home Programs for Drug Affected Families through NRC In-Home's website:

http://nrcinhome.socialwork.uiowa.edu/resources/documents/drugaffectedmemo.pdf (508 KB)

Issue Date: June 2013
Section: Training and Technical Assistance Network Updates
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=147&articleid=3896


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: June 2013
Section: Training and Technical Assistance Network Updates
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=147&articleid=3910


Child Welfare Research

Emergency Response Coaching

Casey Family Programs recently released an evaluation of the Los Angeles Department of Children and Family Services' (DCFS') Emergency Response Coaching Program. The program is designed to develop in-house coaches who will transfer skills to Emergency Response (ER) colleagues. The evaluation aimed to answer the question: how does the coaching program influence staff and supervisors' job satisfaction, attitudes, and behaviors? The evaluation does not measure the program's impact on child and family outcomes.

The ER Coaching Program consists of three levels of training:

The program's pilot was introduced between 2010 and 2011. The Casey Family Programs evaluation presents findings from a web-based survey of 756 DCFS staff and supervisors—including those who participated in the program and those who did not—administered in June 2012. Evaluation data were mixed. Data do suggest, however, that the program positively affects worker attitudes about some areas of their job satisfaction, including:

An Evaluation of the Emergency Response Coaching Program Using Worker Surveys is available on the Casey Family Programs website:

http://www.casey.org/Resources/Publications/pdf/LA_EmergencyResponse.pdf (967 KB)

Issue Date: June 2013
Section: Child Welfare Research
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=147&articleid=3898


FosteringConnections.org Issues Final Report

The FosteringConnections.org project was launched in June 2009 to provide guidance and technical assistance to States as they worked to implement the requirements of the Federal Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008. The project, supported by private foundation grants as a time-limited initiative, concluded at the end of 2012.

A new publication provides a final overview of the issues addressed by the act, the progress States have made in implementing the provisions of the act, and recommendations for future policy and practice improvements. The report includes six individual sections, written by subject-area experts, which summarize the advances States are making in working with children in foster care in each of the following areas:

The report also lists collaborating organizations that will continue to offer ongoing information and support on the implementation of the Fostering Connections Act.

Although the FosteringConnections.org website has closed down, the electronic version of Perspectives on Foster Care: A Series of White Papers on the Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008 is available online:

http://www.childrensdefense.org/child-research-data-publications/data/state-data-repository/perspectives-on-fostering.pdf  (1 MB)

Issue Date: June 2013
Section: Child Welfare Research
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=147&articleid=3899


Evaluating Illinois DCFS' Birth Assessment

The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) recently partnered with Chapin Hall to facilitate an evaluation of the agency's new birth assessment policy. The new birth assessment is an initiative by DCFS to provide appropriate and individualized services to teen parents who are in foster care when their children are born. Chapin Hall published a report conveying the findings of the evaluation and potential implications for practice and research.

New birth assessments require specialty service providers to conduct one or more home visits with the new parents within 60 days of the birth of the child. During the home visits, the workers observe parent-child interactions, provide parenting education, assess unmet family needs, record safety concerns and risk factors, and provide information on community resources. During the visits, workers administer two standardized assessments to the families. Results of these assessments are used to inform case plans.

In their evaluation of the policy, researchers interviewed subsets of specialty service providers, worker supervisors, and youth receiving services. They also analyzed administrative data from agency records. The interviews from all three groups generally revealed positive attitudes toward the program. Workers indicated that the assessments can reveal a great deal about parenting abilities. They also expressed satisfaction with the ability to personalize parenting education. Workers did express concern that the 60-day timeframe may not be a long enough to complete all of the steps required for an adequate assessment. The evaluators suggest a randomized control trial as a next step in testing the effectiveness of the program.

An Evaluation of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services New Birth Assessment, by Amy Dworsky and Melissa Wojnaroski, is available on the Chapin Hall website:

http://www.chapinhall.org/research/report/evaluation-illinois-department-children-and-family-services-new-birth-assessment

Issue Date: June 2013
Section: Child Welfare Research
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=147&articleid=3900


Sexual Abuse of Children With Disabilities

According to the 2010 Administration on Children Youth and Families (ACYF) report, more than 3 million reports of child maltreatment were made in 2009. Of those cases, 10 percent involved sexual abuse, and 11 percent of sexual abuse victims reported having a disability. The Vera Institute of Justice's Center on Victimization and Safety recently partnered with the Ms. Foundation for Women to research factors contributing to the sexual abuse of children with disabilities and determine possible action steps for prevention.

The project released a research brief that begins by reviewing existing literature, which showed that children with disabilities are at a higher risk for experiencing sexual abuse than children without disabilities. To generate discussion on this issue, the researchers convened a roundtable of 25 subject-matter experts tasked with describing what is currently known about the topic.

The roundtable discussion identified the following factors that contribute to relatively high rates of sexual abuse of children with disabilities:

The authors note that the complexities associated with the problem require a unified and cohesive strategy. Because no such national strategy exists, the authors suggest creating and implementing one based on the factors outlined in the brief. They propose that a strategy can be accomplished by rallying key stakeholders at the local, State, and national levels to join in a unified and concerted effort for large-scale progress.

Sexual Abuse of Children With Disabilities: A National Snapshot, by Nancy Smith and Sandra Harrell, is available on the Vera Institute of Justice website:

http://www.vera.org/sites/default/files/resources/downloads/sexual-abuse-of-children-with-disabilities-national-snapshot-v2.pdf (385 KB)

Issue Date: June 2013
Section: Child Welfare Research
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=147&articleid=3901


Strategies and Tools for Practice

Working With Military Families

The National Healthy Marriage Resource Center (NHMRC) developed an online toolkit for practitioners working with military couples and families. The National Guard Family Strengthening Toolkit provides activities to support issues or obstacles that couples and families in the military face, such as deployment, readjusting to life after deployment, and staying connected to their partners while away. Worksheets and other information for facilitators are also included in the toolkit, along with other online resources.

Access the entire toolkit through NHMRC's website:

http://www.healthymarriageinfo.org/educators/marriage-relationship-resources/facilitator-toolkit/national-guard-toolkit/index.aspx

Issue Date: June 2013
Section: Strategies and Tools for Practice
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=147&articleid=3902


Trauma-Informed Practice Toolkits

Produced by the Chadwick Trauma-Informed System Project (CTISP), the Trauma-Informed Child Welfare Practice Toolkit provides an array of resources to support the development of a trauma-informed child welfare system. The following four documents are included:

The CTISP is a project of the Chadwick Center for Children and Families in partnership with the National Child Traumatic Stress Network. This toolkit is available for free from CTISP; however, registration is required:

http://www.surveygizmo.com/s3/1211760/Access-to-the-Trauma-Informed-Child-Welfare-Practice-Toolkit

A toolkit to help children's attorneys, guardians ad litem, judges, and CASAs develop a more trauma-informed justice system is available from the Safe Start Center. The resources provide guidance for promoting trauma-informed advocacy in the courts, including the following:

The toolkit was developed in partnership with the American Bar Association (ABA) Center on Children and the Law, Child and Family Policy Associates, and the Chadwick Center for Children and Families, and is available from the Safe Start Center website:

http://www.safestartcenter.org/resources/toolkit-court-involved-youth-exposure-violence.php

Issue Date: June 2013
Section: Strategies and Tools for Practice
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=147&articleid=3903


Managing Sensitive Information

When working with children and youth who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT), there exists a fine line between the need for asking children and youth to disclose this personal information in order to be adequately served, and the need to protect their privacy. The Center for the Study of Social Policy (CSSP) developed a set of standards for managing information related to the sexual orientation and gender identity of children in child welfare.
The guide includes an introduction and three sections, the latter including five subsections:

The guidelines were developed by CSSP in partnership with the Putting Pride into Practice Project (P4). P4 is a 3-year effort by Family Builders by Adoption, in partnership with the California Department of Social Services, to implement Child Welfare League of America's Best Practice Guidelines for Serving LGBT Youth in Out of Home Care. CSSP released the guidelines in January 2013 and is in the process of securing funds to lead field testing with up to three child welfare jurisdictions.

Guidelines for Managing Information Related to the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity and Expression of Children in Child Welfare Systems is available on the CSSP website:

http://www.cssp.org/reform/child-welfare/Guidelines-for-Managing-Information-Related-to-the-Sexual-Orientation-Gender-Identity-and-Expression-of-Children-in-Child-Welfare-Systems.pdf (417 KB)


 

Issue Date: June 2013
Section: Strategies and Tools for Practice
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=147&articleid=3904


Resources

Scholarships for Adopted, Transitioning Youth

Voice for Adoption (VFA), an advocacy organization focused on improving adoption policies, produced a factsheet with resources and information on college scholarships, tuition waivers/vouchers, financial aid provisions, and internships. The factsheet is intended for adoptive parents, adoptees, and youth formerly in foster care. Resources include the following:

This factsheet, and more resources and possible financial aid opportunities, are available on the VFA website:

http://voice-for-adoption.org/sites/default/files/VFA_College%20Financial%20Aid%20Resource%20Sheet.pdf (337 KB)

Issue Date: June 2013
Section: Resources
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=147&articleid=3905


Child Welfare Discussions on YouTube

The Attachment and Bonding Center of Ohio provides specialized treatment to children and youth who have experienced trauma. One of its many resources is a collection of YouTube videos, each focusing on a child welfare-related topic. The videos feature conversations between Gregory C. Keck, Ph.D., founder and director of the Attachment and Bonding Center of Ohio, and Arleta James, P.C.C., an adoption professional for over 15 years. Topics discussed include emotional well-being in adoptive families, expectations that come with adoption, and how child development is affected by trauma.

Access the videos from the Attachment and Bonding Center of Ohio's website:

http://www.abcofohio.net/videotalks.html

Issue Date: June 2013
Section: Resources
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=147&articleid=3906


Foster, Adoptive Parent Blog

Kid Hero, a foster care and adoptive parent blog from the Children's Hospital of Wisconsin, offers a collection of short video clips and other stories focusing on firsthand foster and adoptive parents' experiences. Among the many blog entries are the following:

The foster care and adoptive parent blog is available on the Kid Hero website:

http://kidhero.chw.org/

Issue Date: June 2013
Section: Resources
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=147&articleid=3907


Training and Conferences

Mental Health Screenings Workbook

Because children who are involved with the child welfare system often come from chaotic home environments, they have a significantly greater chance of facing mental health issues over their lifetime than children who have not been involved with child welfare. The New Jersey Mental Health Screening Tool (MHST) was developed by the New Jersey Department of Children and Families to assist frontline staff identify children who may be in need of mental health support.

A workbook for training, Child Development, Trauma and the Brain: The DYFS NJ Mental Health Screening Program, has been produced by the Institute for Families at the Rutgers University School of Social Work. The book is intended to instruct caseworkers on how to administer the MHST and to gain an understanding about their roles and responsibilities in mental health screening for these children.

The training workbook and a trainer's guide now are offered by the National Family Preservation Network (NFPN). The workbook focuses on trauma as a way of understanding the vulnerabilities of children and adolescents involved with child welfare to developing mental health challenges. Some of the issues addressed include the physical effects of trauma on children, understanding the physiological bases of mental illness, and identifying children who need mental health assessments.

The trainer's guide and participant workbook are available on the NFPN website:

http://nfpn.org/articles/269-child-development-trauma-and-the-brain.html

Issue Date: June 2013
Section: Training and Conferences
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=147&articleid=3908


Conferences

Upcoming national conferences on child welfare and adoption through September 2013 include:

July 2013

August 2013

September 2013

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: June 2013
Section: Training and Conferences
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=147&articleid=3909



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