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Children's Bureau ExpressFebruary 2014 | Vol. 15, No. 2

Table of Contents
 

Spotlight on LGBTQ Youth
It is estimated that 5 to 10 percent of the children and youth in foster care identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or questioning (LGBTQ). It is likely that this population is much higher, and these youth face unique challenges and have specific needs. This month's CBX looks at an initiative by the Center for the Study of Social Policy on the challenges affecting LGBTQ youth in child welfare settings, a guide to help child welfare professionals better care for LGBTQ youth in foster care, and more.

  • CSSP's Get R.E.A.L. Initiative
  • Stories From LGBTQ Youth in Care
  • Caring for LGBTQ Children
  • T&TA Network Resources on LGBTQ Issues

News From the Children's Bureau
CBX launched a new website that also debuts the Associate Commissioner's Page, a monthly message from the Children's Bureau's Associate Commissioner, JooYeun Chang. We also point to new Tribes with approved title IV-E plans to operate foster care, adoption assistance, and guardianship assistance programs; products from CB child welfare research and evaluation workgroups; and a new report evaluating a program that aims to reduce teen pregnancy.

  • The Associate Commissioner's Page
  • CBX Launches New Website
  • CB Capacity Building Services
  • 2014 Discretionary Grants Forecasts
  • Tribal Title IV-E Programs
  • Personal Responsibility Education
  • Child Welfare Research and Evaluation
  • New! From CB

Training and Technical Assistance Network Updates
The Children's Bureau recently awarded $21.2 million in funding to continue its support of NCWWI's work from 2013 to 2018. We also highlight a new project that aims to share the stories of individuals and families who have experienced adoption in the United States, among other updates from T&TA Network members.

  • NCWWI Announces Continued CB Funding
  • NRCA's Adoption Tapestry
  • More Updates From the T&TA Network

Child Welfare Research
CBX looks at research on meeting the needs of infants and toddlers who experience maltreatment, risk factors that make girls more susceptible to involvement with both the child welfare and juvenile justice systems, and a report exploring teen birth rates among youth involved with child protective services in Los Angeles County, CA.

  • Serving Young Children With Special Needs
  • The Unique Needs of Infants and Toddlers
  • Risk Factors for Female Crossover Youth
  • Birth Rates Among CPS-Involved Youth
  • Helping Young Children Succeed

Strategies and Tools for Practice
This section of CBX offers publications, articles, reports, toolkits, and other instruments that provide either evidence-based strategies or other concrete help to child welfare and related professionals. This month, we include a factsheet on young children's participation in and access to high-quality early care and education, trends in Federal and State investments in these programs, and more.

  • The Benefits of Trauma-Informed Care
  • Transitioning Youth With Disabilities
  • Marriage and Relationship Education
  • Getting Youth Engaged in Their Community

Resources
This CBX section provides a quick list of interesting resources, such as websites, videos, journals, funding or scholarship opportunities, or other materials that can be used in the field or with families. This month, we point to a guide on how to start a youth-serving program and bilingual resources for refugee or immigrant children and teens.

  • Starting a Youth-Serving Program
  • Guide for Grandparents Raising Grandchildren
  • Early Care, Education Factsheet
  • Safety Guides for Refugee, Immigrant Children

Training and Conferences

  • CQI E-Training Module
  • Conferences

Spotlight on LGBTQ Youth

CSSP's Get R.E.A.L. Initiative

Studies show that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) youth involved in the child welfare system generally have poorer outcomes than their peers. These youth often come into contact with child welfare as a direct result of the maltreatment and rejection they received from family and community because of their sexual orientation and gender identity. Furthermore, there is little information about the prevalence of LGBTQ youth in the child welfare system, which hinders the system's ability to provide needed services and improve outcomes for this at-risk population.

A new initiative by the Center for the Study of Social Policy (CSSP)—get R.E.A.L. (Recognize. Engage, Affirm. Love.)—was designed to address the challenges affecting LGBTQ youth in child welfare settings; to transform child welfare policy and practice to more effectively serve this population; and to ensure that healthy sexual development and gender expression are part of the framework that child welfare agencies use to promote the healthy development of all children and youth.

The get R.E.A.L. project focuses on the following components:

To read more about the get R.E.A.L. initiative, visit the CSSP website:

http://www.cssp.org/reform/child-welfare/get-r-e-a-l

Related Items

As part of the get R.E.A.L. initiative, CSSP also links to State Policies Concerning LGBTQ Youth. Current as of September 2013, this document provides a comprehensive, State-by-State look at the policies affecting LGBTQ youth. Areas addressed include public accommodations, social services (general), child welfare (specific services and programs), foster care (including child care centers, housing, and training), juvenile detention/services, school and educational facilities, and social worker guidelines.

Access the publication on the CSSP website:

http://www.cssp.org/reform/child-welfare/get-real/State-Policies-Concerning-LGBTQ-Youth-9.25.pdf (2 MB)

Children's Bureau Express featured Guidelines for Managing Information Related to Sexual Orientation and Gender Expression and Identity of Children in Child Welfare Systems in the June 2013 issue:

https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=147&sectionid=17&articleid=3904

 

Issue Date: February 2014
Section: Spotlight on LGBTQ Youth
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=154&articleid=4106


Stories From LGBTQ Youth in Care

Represent magazine utilizes youth-written stories to provide information and encouragement to youth in foster care and offer professionals insight into the related challenges this population faces. The real-life stories span a variety of topics, including child abuse, experiences in foster care, aging out of care, mental health, LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning) matters, and many others.

Represent currently has over 50 stories on a range of LGBTQ topics; most are written by teens about their LGBTQ-related challenges. The site also includes "in the news" pieces—a study on gay adoptive parents and a story on the gay foster parent debate. In one story, 14-year-old Mariah, a transgender male, explains the importance of finding a supportive foster care group home. She describes what being transgender really means, her entry into foster care, the challenges she struggled with—abuse, often physical, from her peers and social work staff—and the associated feelings of helplessness and hopelessness that led to running away from a group home. Ultimately, she was able to find a bed at a group home for gay and transgender boys, where she feels more comfortable and accepted.

Represent is a quarterly magazine published by Youth Communication, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to help marginalized teens strengthen the social, emotional, and literacy skills that contribute to success in school, work, and life. Youth Communication uses nonfiction stories to provide lessons and staff development to help Independent Living, social work, education, and other youth-serving professionals improve outcomes for youth at their agencies.

To read more, visit:

http://representmag.org/topics/gay+slash+lesbian.html

Issue Date: February 2014
Section: Spotlight on LGBTQ Youth
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=154&articleid=4107


Caring for LGBTQ Children

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) youth in foster care are not only disproportionately represented in care, they often face discrimination and abuse while in care. As part of its All Children — All Families project, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) is engaging child welfare agencies and providing resources and technical assistance and training on best practices for serving LGBTQ youth and LGBTQ families. One such resource is a guide for child welfare professionals on caring for LGBTQ children and youth in foster care.

The guide offers LGBTQ definitions and terms, data about LGBTQ children and youth growing up in the United States, and information about the legal rights of this population. Also included is a brief introduction to SOGIE (sexual orientation, gender identity, and expression). The Human Rights Campaign calls for a shift in focus from LGBTQ youth to SOGIE for all children, because every child has a sexual orientation, gender identity, and expression, and healthy development of SOGIE is paramount to every child's well-being. Resources and websites to help professionals serve all children and youth in foster care are also provided.

In addition to the guide, the All Children — All Families program offers agencies an LGBTQ cultural competency self-assessment with 10 policy and practice benchmarks. Agencies that achieve each benchmark are awarded a Seal of Recognition from the HRC.

Caring for LGBTQ Children and Youth: A Guide for Child Welfare Providers is available on the Human Rights Campaign website: 

http://www.hrc.org/files/assets/resources/HRC_Caring_For_LGBTQ_Children_Youth.pdf (2 MB)

For more information on the All Children — All Families Benchmarks of LGBT Cultural Competency, visit http://www.hrc.org/resources/entry/benchmarks-of-lgbt-cultural-competency. 
 

Issue Date: February 2014
Section: Spotlight on LGBTQ Youth
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=154&articleid=4108


T&TA Network Resources on LGBTQ Issues

Children and youth who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) often face unique challenges as they grow into adulthood. This can particularly be the case for children who receive child welfare services. The Children's Bureau's Training and Technical Assistance (T&TA) Network is committed to providing professionals with tools to help them better serve these youth, as well as tools to help LGBTQ youth themselves face the difficulties they meet head on and grow into healthy, happy adults. The T&TA Network also provides many resources for LGBTQ adults who are interested in becoming foster and adoptive families for children in care. To learn more about LGBTQ issues and child welfare, explore the following T&TA Network resources:

Issue Date: February 2014
Section: Spotlight on LGBTQ Youth
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=154&articleid=4109


News From the Children's Bureau

The Associate Commissioner's Page

The following is the first installment in the new Associate Commissioner's Page series, featuring a monthly message from JooYeun Chang, the Associate Commissioner of the Children's Bureau. Each message will focus on the current CBX Spotlight theme and highlight the Bureau's work on the topic.

There are nearly 400,000 children in foster care in the United States and, while exact numbers are difficult to pinpoint, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) youth are disproportionately represented in foster care. Estimates are that LGBTQ youth make up 5 to 10 percent of the foster care population. The actual percentage of LGBTQ youth in care may be higher, because children and youth may fear coming out due to rejection, harassment, or abuse.

The Children's Bureau is proud to support LGBTQ children and youth involved with child welfare through a range of activities, including raising public awareness and providing technical assistance, resource materials, and grants for LGBTQ-focused projects. In fiscal year 2010, we awarded a Permanency Innovations Initiative (PII) grant to the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center to address barriers to permanency for LGBTQ children and youth through its RISE (Recognize Intervene Support Empower) Initiative. The initiative targets LGBTQ children and youth ages 7–16 who are currently in foster care in Los Angeles County, CA, including those who are gender nonconforming and gender-questioning. The target population also includes youth dually involved with the child welfare and juvenile justice systems. RISE consists of three interventions:

  1. A survey of youth ages 12 and older on safety and well-being issues that gathers information from LGBTQ youth in foster care in order to assess their characteristics and service needs
  2. An outreach and relationship-building practice protocol that aims to create a supportive environment for youth, including LGBTQ competency training and coaching for staff
  3. Care Coordination teams for children and youth ages 7–16 that adapt the wraparound approach to include LGBTQ-competent family search and engagement strategies that reduce the risk of rejection and discrimination

Personal stories from youth involved with RISE were featured on the 2013 National Foster Care Month website:

https://www.childwelfare.gov/fostercaremonth/reallifestories/lgbtqyouth.cfm

A grantee profile for RISE is available on the Administration for Children and Families website:

http://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/cb/rise_grantee_profile.pdf (38 KB)

Members of the Children's Bureau's Training and Technical Assistance (T&TA) Network offer a variety of resources for child welfare and related professionals who work with LGBTQ youth, in addition to materials for youth and for LGBTQ families interested in becoming foster or adoptive parents. A list of these resources is provided in the article "T&TA Network Resources on LGBTQ Issues" in this issue of Children's Bureau Express.

The Children's Bureau remains committed to ensuring the safety, well-being, and permanence of all children in and transitioning out of foster care, regardless of his or her sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression. We hope that you will join us this month and focus on the unique needs of this population and take steps to ensure that LGBTQ youth are seen and receive appropriate services and support.

Issue Date: February 2014
Section: News From the Children's Bureau
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=154&articleid=4111


CBX Launches New Website

Welcome to the new year and the new Children's Bureau Express (CBX)! We're proud to announce the launch of our new website. The site was designed to complement the look and feel of the Children's Bureau and Administration for Children and Families websites that launched in 2012.

One of the many upgrades is a prominent Spotlight theme at the top of the page. The News From the Children's Bureau section is now center stage and will feature a monthly message from JooYeun Chang, the Associate Commissioner of the Children's Bureau.

Check out the first "Associate Commissioner's Page" in this issue: 

https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=154&sectionid=1&articleid=4111

We hope you enjoy the new CBX!

Issue Date: February 2014
Section: News From the Children's Bureau
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=154&articleid=4112


CB Capacity Building Services

The Children's Bureau (CB) continues to be committed to helping States, Tribes, and Territories build and enhance their capacities to improve child welfare services and achieve better outcomes for children, youth, and families. Just as many public child welfare agencies and their partners are striving to systematically collect information, learn from it, and implement strategies to improve, CB recently concluded an assessment of its capacity building services. This included listening to a variety of stakeholders and reviewing feedback directly from child welfare systems and technical assistance providers. Research literature, evaluation studies, and information gained from informal interviews, focus groups, and listening sessions with child welfare agency managers, professional associations, Federal staff, and service providers also informed CB's decision-making. Based on its assessment, CB has begun to pursue a course that it hopes will better meet the nation's training and technical assistance needs.

CB anticipates that from April 2014 through March 2015, its capacity building services will undergo a transition period as current technical assistance awards conclude, new Federal opportunities are competed, and newly funded projects get underway. The majority of CB-supported services will remain available during this transition, but child welfare professionals and jurisdictions that frequently request and receive training and technical assistance from the National Child Welfare Resource Centers may experience limitations on the type and scope of services available during this time.

CB looks forward to sharing more information about the future of its capacity building services in the coming months.

 

Issue Date: February 2014
Section: News From the Children's Bureau
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=154&articleid=4135


2014 Discretionary Grants Forecasts

The Children's Bureau announced new discretionary grants forecasts for fiscal year (FY) 2014.

Information about grants forecasts is available on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Grants Forecast website, a database of planned grant opportunities proposed by its agencies:

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

To find the Children's Bureau's Funding Opportunity Announcement (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: February 2014
Section: News From the Children's Bureau
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=154&articleid=4117


Tribal Title IV-E Programs

The Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoption Act of 2008 authorized federally recognized Tribes, Tribal consortia, and Tribal organizations to apply to the Administration for Children and  Families (ACF) to receive title IV-E funds directly for foster care, adoption assistance, and, at Tribal option, for guardianship assistance programs. 

The Port Gamble S'Klallam Tribe of Kingston, WA, was the first Tribe to have an approved title IV-E plan in 2012, followed by the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes of Pablo, MT, in March 2013. In December 2013, the Children's Bureau approved the title IV-E plan for the South Puget Tribal Planning Agency of Shelton, WA, the first Tribal consortium to be approved to operate the title IV-E program directly. Additional Tribes are working to develop or finalize title IV-E plans, and the Children's Bureau looks forward to approving plans later in 2014.

The law authorizing Tribes' direct participation in the title IV-E program also authorized grants of up to $300,000 for a 2-year budget period for Tribes interested in developing a title IV-E plan. These funds are awarded annually through a competitive grant application process. Tribes may use these funds to develop policies and procedures, cost allocation methodologies, begin to plan for data collection, or take other steps necessary to develop and submit an approvable title IV-E plan. Tribes interested in applying for a grant in fiscal year (FY) 2014 may wish to view the funding forecast that has been published here:

http://www.acf.hhs.gov/hhsgrantsforecast/index.cfm?switch=grant.view&gff_grants_forecastInfoID=66879

ACF anticipates awarding grants to five Tribes in FY 2014 and will continue to make these grants available in future years.

Each Tribe has the discretion to determine whether or when it wants to develop its own title IV-E program. States remain responsible for serving resident American Indian children who are not otherwise being served by an American Indian Tribe under an agreement with the State or under a direct title IV-E plan. The law explicitly permits Indian Tribes to continue existing title IV-E agreements with States and/or enter into new agreements with States to administer all or part of the title IV-E program on behalf of Indian children and to access title IV-E administration, training, and data collection resources. States are required to negotiate in good faith with Indian Tribes, Tribal consortia, and Tribal organizations seeking title IV-E Tribal/State agreements.

The Children's Bureau encourages Tribes interested in the title IV-E program to contact their Regional Office to learn more and to discuss options for the Tribe's participation.

Related Item

Children's Bureau Express featured the Port Gamble S'Klallam Tribe in the article "Tribe to Operate Child Welfare Services" (June 2012).

Issue Date: February 2014
Section: News From the Children's Bureau
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=154&articleid=4114


Personal Responsibility Education

The Administration for Children and Families' Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation (OPRE) published a report evaluating the early implementation of a program that aims to reduce teen pregnancy. The Personal Responsibility Education Program (PREP) was authorized by Congress in 2010 as part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The ongoing evaluation is intended to increase the evidence base on teen pregnancy prevention programs and the knowledge about successes and challenges in replicating and scaling up these programs.

While State PREP grantees are allowed to design their programs, curricula must align with four requirements: programs must (1) be evidence-based; (2) provide education on abstinence and contraception use; (3) educate youth on a minimum of three of six adulthood preparation topics (healthy relationships, adolescent development, financial literacy, parent-child communication, education and employment skills, and healthy life skills); and (4) target high-risk populations, such as youth in foster care, adjudicated youth, minority youth, and pregnant or parenting teens.
Interviews with grantee officials in 44 States and the District of Columbia found the following: 

Continued program implementation evaluation will be carried out through a second round of telephone interviews later this year, in addition to analysis of performance management data provided by grantees and the impacts of PREP-funded programs in four or five sites using a random assignment design. The report is the first by the PREP Multicomponent Evaluation led by Mathematica Policy Research.

The Personal Responsibility Education Program: Launching a Nationwide Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Effort, by Susan Zief, Rach Shapiro, and Debra Strong, is available on the OPRE website:

http://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/opre/prep_eval_design_survey_report_102213.pdf (2 MB)

Issue Date: February 2014
Section: News From the Children's Bureau
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=154&articleid=4115


Child Welfare Research and Evaluation

Building on the momentum created during the 2011 National Child Welfare Evaluation Summit, the Children's Bureau convened three workgroups of national child welfare experts. Each Child Welfare Research and Evaluation Workgroup was asked to examine a particular evaluation topic with the goal of improving child welfare research and evaluation and strengthening the link between research and practice. The workgroups met over several months in 2012 and 2013, and they created products in response to pressing evaluation needs in the field of child welfare. The products are intended to be practical tools and relevant for multiple audiences, including program directors and evaluators, child welfare agency administrators, funders of research studies and evaluation projects, and other important stakeholders who rely on child welfare evaluation.

In 2014, the Children's Bureau will release publications from each of the workgroups and brief videos that will highlight their key messages and recommendations. Be on the lookout for the following products that will be announced via the Children's Bureau listservs and made available on the Children's Bureau website in early 2014.

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

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

Issue Date: February 2014
Section: News From the Children's Bureau
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=154&articleid=4113


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:

Additionally, the Children's Bureau announced recently that title IV-E agencies can submit proposals for new child welfare waiver demonstration projects for consideration in fiscal year 2014. February 28, 2014, is the due date for proposal submission to ensure the Bureau has time for a thorough review process, as described in Information Memorandum ACYF-CB-IM-12-05, issued May 14, 2012. Proposals must be submitted to cwwaivers@acf.hhs.gov. 
 
For information about the Children's Bureau's 100-year history, download the new e-book, The Children's Bureau Legacy: Ensuring the Right to Childhood:

http://cb100.acf.hhs.gov/CB_ebook

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

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

Issue Date: February 2014
Section: News From the Children's Bureau
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=154&articleid=4116


Training and Technical Assistance Network Updates

NCWWI Announces Continued CB Funding

In 2013, the Children's Bureau awarded the National Child Welfare Workforce Institute (NCWWI) $21.2 million to continue its work on workforce development. For the next 5 years, NCWWI will lead the Center of Excellence on Workforce and Leadership Development within the Bureau's Training and Technical Assistance Network. In this new role, NCWWI will look to serve and work with the field through more intensive and focused approaches.

NCWWI's recent issue of National eUpdate shares some specific information about its new direction, including a strengthened vision statement, explanation of its enhanced purpose, and a list of the six partner institutions that it now comprises. The article also details NCWWI's dynamic future goals and activities, which include:

To read more about CB's continued funding and NCWWI's goals for its next phase, access the entire National eUpdate announcement article here:

http://archive.constantcontact.com/fs104/1103622714543/archive/1115872804805.html

Issue Date: February 2014
Section: Training and Technical Assistance Network Updates
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=154&articleid=4110


NRCA's Adoption Tapestry

The National Resource Center on Adoption (NRCA) is developing a project to share the stories of individuals and families who have experienced adoption in the United States. The adoption experience varies greatly from family to family, and the Adoption Tapestry project aims to share these different perspectives from families across the entire nation. The project consists of unscripted audio stories told by people who have been adopted and their families in which they share their firsthand experiences with adoption and guardianship. The stories will be collected and displayed via a map of the United States on the project's dedicated webpage on NRCA's website. The goal is to have each State represented by a personal account of an adoption experience, and NCRA will continue adding audio clips to the map throughout the year.

Through the Adoption Tapestry project, the NRCA hopes not only to share various perspectives on adoption and illustrate the diversity in adoption experiences, but also to foster community awareness of the importance of permanency, inform practice, and provide a place to raise up and preserve the voices of those touched by adoption.

Visit the NRCA's Adoption Tapestry page often to hear new audio clips as they are added:

http://www.nrcadoption.org/map/

If you would like to submit your audio story for consideration, visit the following link for additional information and instructions:

http://www.nrcadoption.org/we-need-your-adoption-stories/

Issue Date: February 2014
Section: Training and Technical Assistance Network Updates
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=154&articleid=4118


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: February 2014
Section: Training and Technical Assistance Network Updates
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=154&articleid=4119


Child Welfare Research

Serving Young Children With Special Needs

Even with thousands of children receiving early intervention and special education services in Missouri, many children and families in the State are underserved. To better meet their needs, the Community Partnership—an organization that works to match public and private funding, resources, and programs to achieve better results for children, families, and communities—established the Capable Kids and Families program (CKF). A new report from Chapin Hall provides evaluation data from the program's second year.

The program, which focuses on children birth to 6 years, has three primary components:

  1. Home visiting. Specialists visit with families to offer developmental activities, discuss family needs and provide referrals, and coordinate therapy equipment needs. These visits also are intended to help decrease isolation and stress, boost confidence, and increase awareness of other resources.
  2. Therapy equipment loans. CKF has purchased more than 1,700 pieces of therapy equipment, including books, tapes, and toys, that families can borrow free of charge. Equipment is available to address a wide range of developmental areas, such as gross and fine motor skills, speech and language, and sensory integration. This helps families to continue therapeutic activities throughout the week and not only during therapy sessions.
  3. Supportive group meetings and activities. CKF encourages socialization among the families to promote resource sharing and peer support, which can help parents discuss issues, learn new skills, and alleviate feelings of isolation. The program also has inclusive playgroups that provide experiences for children of all abilities.

In 2011, the Community Partnership contracted Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago to evaluate CKF. The evaluation included a comparison group of families receiving services from programs other than CKF and utilized a mail survey and focus groups to collect data. There were few differences between the CKF service recipients and the comparison group in terms of their experiences and satisfaction with services. CKF families, however, used therapeutic services more frequently than the comparison group, but this could be related to the fact that children receiving CKF services had more (and more severe) disabilities or diagnoses. CKF families also had higher rates of satisfaction with their relationships with service professionals than the comparison families.

Another benefit of the CKF program that emerged from the focus groups was that the CKF program includes all family members when teaching families how to incorporate therapeutic activities into regular routines as opposed to other programs, which may only include some family members. Focus group participants receiving CKF services also found the monthly playgroups and other group activities to be very helpful and supportive.

To view the full report, Evaluation of the Capable Kids and Families Program: Year 2 Findings, visit the Chapin Hall website:

http://www.chapinhall.org/research/report/evaluation-capable-kids-and-families-program-year-2-findings

Issue Date: February 2014
Section: Child Welfare Research
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=154&articleid=4120


The Unique Needs of Infants and Toddlers

Almost 200,000 children under the age of 3 come into contact with the child welfare system every year. Although young children are extremely vulnerable, the first years of life are a time when interventions can prevent and/or mitigate the negative effects of child maltreatment. A recent report from Child Trends and ZERO TO THREE suggests that high-quality, timely interventions focused on the unique needs of young children can significantly reduce the developmental damage to infants and toddlers who have been maltreated.

The report details findings from a survey of 46 State child welfare agency representatives. The goal was to identify innovative policies and practices, as well as key challenges, gaps, and barriers that agencies face in meeting the needs of infants and toddlers who experience maltreatment. Results indicate that most States have policies and practices to promote the health and well-being of all children who have been maltreated; however, there is often no distinction for the unique developmental needs of infants and toddlers. In addition, results show that States are not fully addressing the needs of birth parents.

The report indicates that States need, and some already have, policies that include more frequent visitation with birth parents; rapid screenings and services for health and developmental concerns; involvement of birth parents in services for their young children; services for birth parents; more frequent case reviews, court hearings, and caseworker visits; and specific training for child welfare staff on developmentally appropriate practices for infants and toddlers. The report includes several links to resources that may assist States.

Changing the Course for Infants and Toddlers: A Survey of State Child Welfare Policies and Initiatives is available on the Child Trend website:

http://www.childtrends.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/changing-the-course-for-infants-and-toddlers-FINAL.pdf (5 MB)

Issue Date: February 2014
Section: Child Welfare Research
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=154&articleid=4122


Risk Factors for Female Crossover Youth

An April 2013 issue brief by Advocates for Children and Youth (ACY) provides an overview of existing research, the unique risk factors of, and the trends associated with teen girls involved with the child welfare and juvenile justice systems in Maryland.

Youth involved with both child welfare and juvenile justice face myriad challenges, which generally require more intensive services than youth involved in a single system. However, these youth often do not receive the coordinated services and support they need because of the inherent barriers associated with cross-agency collaboration. Of these youth, a disproportionately large number are female, specifically women of color, yet little research exists to examine this phenomenon.

The ACY brief outlines some of the risk factors shown to make females more susceptible to involvement with both the child welfare and juvenile justice systems, including age at the time of abuse, out-of-home placement, environmental and social instability, and a history of trauma and maltreatment. It also summarizes the legislation that the Maryland General Assembly passed in 2011 that looks at gender disparities in services offered by Maryland's Department of Juvenile Services. While the resulting report focused on youth involved with juvenile justice, many trends can be applied to crossover youth. Some of these trends and a number of other key points, including demographics/data are presented.

ACY is a nonprofit, Maryland-based advocacy organization whose mission is to promote and evaluate the effectiveness of policies and programs that work to ensure that all Maryland children are safe, healthy, educated, and secure in their families and communities.

Unique Risk Factors Signal Dual Involvement for Female Youth in Child Welfare and Juvenile Justice Systems: More Research Needed to Better Serve Population, 10(4), the first of several related briefs, is available on the ACY website:

http://www.acy.org/upimages/Issue_Brief_Draft_Crossover_Girls_almost_FINAL.pdf (355 KB)

Issue Date: February 2014
Section: Child Welfare Research
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=154&articleid=4124


Birth Rates Among CPS-Involved Youth

Research has shown that youth who have involvement with child protective services (CPS) are at risk for negative outcomes across many domains, including teen birth rates. The Conrad N. Hilton Foundation recently released a report, California's Most Vulnerable Parents: When Maltreated Children Have Children, that uses linkages between CPS and birth records to provide additional analysis and understanding of teen birth rates among youth currently or formerly involved with CPS in Los Angeles County. The study was conducted by the University of Southern California in collaboration with the California Child Welfare Indicators Project at the University of California at Berkeley and the California Department of Social Services.

The following are some of the key findings from the study:

To view the full report, visit:

http://www.hiltonfoundation.org/images/stories/PriorityAreas/FosterYouth/Downloads/Vulnerable_Parents_Full_Report_11-11-13.pdf (1,700 KB)

Issue Date: February 2014
Section: Child Welfare Research
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=154&articleid=4123


Helping Young Children Succeed

The Annie E. Casey Foundation recently published a new KIDS COUNT Policy Report addressing the importance of investing in the earliest years of child development. A child's first 8 years are especially critical for fostering the cognitive, social, and emotional skills, as well as the good physical health, that lay the foundation for positive growth at later ages.

The report calls for an integrated and comprehensive system of services that meets the needs of all U.S. children between birth and 8 years of age, as well as their families. An effective early childhood system should integrate a wide variety of evidence-based programs that have demonstrated positive outcomes for families with young children. In order to meet the needs of all of the country's children, systems should focus on three primary goals:

  1. Supporting parents who are caring for their children
  2. Increasing child and family access to quality early care and education, health care, and other services
  3. Ensuring that care is comprehensive and coordinated for all children between birth and 8 years of age

The full report further outlines specific strategies that fall under each of the three main goals and concludes by emphasizing the need for stakeholders to invest in early childhood development to prevent the need to address issues that arise later on in life. Furthermore, policymakers at the Federal, State, and local levels should inform their legislative efforts using evidence from best practices within the early childhood education and development fields.

The First Eight Years: Giving Kids a Foundation for Lifetime Success, along with other KIDS COUNT data and research reports, is available on the Annie E. Casey Foundation website:

http://www.aecf.org/KnowledgeCenter/Publications.aspx?pubguid=%7bC1FB5F12-3394-4F79-9BF7-549F73DC7CA6%7d

Issue Date: February 2014
Section: Child Welfare Research
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=154&articleid=4121


Strategies and Tools for Practice

The Benefits of Trauma-Informed Care

Children who have been placed in care because of abuse or neglect likely experience further trauma after entering the system, including separation from family, friends, and community, as well as the uncertainty of their future. A publication published by the State Policy Advocacy and Reform Center (SPARC) discusses the consequences that these multiple sources of trauma and stress can have on the long-term physical, social, and emotional well-being of these children and how trauma-informed care can lead to better outcomes.

Authors Eva Klain and Amanda White, from the American Bar Association's Center on Children and the Law, summarize research on the effects of trauma on children in foster care and the benefits of trauma-informed interventions and treatments. They also describe a number of promising evidence-based therapies that help children learn coping skills, manage trauma-induced responses, and form healthy relationships. The authors also point to models of trauma-informed practices for child welfare agencies, the juvenile courts system, and legal representatives. For each model, links to more detailed information are provided.

The authors conclude by presenting five trauma-informed practice recommendations, including:

  1. Educating stakeholders about the effects of trauma on children and families
  2. Ensuring that children entering the child welfare system are screened and assessed for trauma
  3. Referring children to appropriate evidence-based, trauma-specific treatments
  4. Providing information and trauma-related services to families and caregivers
  5. Engaging stakeholders in the recovery process

Implementing Trauma-Informed Practices in Child Welfare was published by SPARC, an initiative funded by the Annie E. Casey Foundation and Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative, and is available from the SPARC website:

http://childwelfaresparc.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Implementing-Trauma-Informed-Practices.pdf (276 KB)

Issue Date: February 2014
Section: Strategies and Tools for Practice
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=154&articleid=4125


Transitioning Youth With Disabilities

Youth with disabilities face additional challenges as they transition from the child welfare system to independent living. Compared to their peers, this population is at increased risk for poor outcomes and need high-quality programs and services to help them live independently and safely.
Three guides from the Juvenile Law Center are designed to provide professionals with a framework for supporting youth with disabilities and are transitioning out of care.

A Guide for Professionals for Youth with Disabilities Transition Planning focuses on the following key topics:

Planning Tool and Protocol for Transition Planning for Youth with Disabilities from the Child Welfare System to Adulthood is structured as a companion to the Professional guide and outlines specific action steps for child welfare workers, including:

Transition Planning for Youth with Disabilities in the Child Welfare System: A Guide for Youth offers an overview of the transition planning process. Each section explores a range of topics, including:

The series of guides is available on the Juvenile Law Center website:

http://www.jlc.org/current-initiatives/improving-outcomes-court-involved-youth/permanency-and-transition-adulthood/tran

Issue Date: February 2014
Section: Strategies and Tools for Practice
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=154&articleid=4132


Marriage and Relationship Education

In recent years, relationship education has been regarded as an effective tool for teaching the skills that foster healthy relationships and strengthen marriages. A new publication from the National Healthy Marriage Resource Center (NHMRC) provides practical guidance to organizations wishing to develop effective relationship education programs in their communities. The manual, Marriage and Relationship Education (MRE) Program Development and Management Manual, integrates and expands upon resources created by NHMRC in the course of its work with federally funded healthy marriage grantees, as well as incorporating tools and strategies suggested by those working in the MRE field.

The goal of the manual is to support the work of social service providers in delivering MRE through providing how-to guidance on developing MRE programs on building capacity; budgeting and funding; curriculum development; workshop logistics; program management; building public awareness; recruitment, enrollment, and retention of participants; and evaluation. Addenda include a glossary of terms; a list of online resources; and reproducible worksheets for use in programs, including tools for assessment and budgeting and a sample press release.

The National Healthy Marriage Resource Center (NHMRC) is a clearinghouse for information, resources, and training on healthy marriage for researchers, policymakers, media, marriage educators, couples and individuals, and program providers.

Initial funding for this project was provided by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Administration for Children and Families. Hard copies of the manual are available for purchase from NHMRC, or it is available as a downloadable PDF document:

http://www.healthymarriageinfo.org/resource-detail/index.aspx?rid=4025

Issue Date: February 2014
Section: Strategies and Tools for Practice
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=154&articleid=4128


Getting Youth Engaged in Their Community

Portland State University's Research and Training Center for Pathways to Positive Futures recently published a guide for community implementation of the Photovoice program. Photovoice encourages young people to get involved in their communities by giving them the opportunity to serve as neighborhood experts. Experts use cameras to document the realities of their day-to-day lives, enabling them to highlight various strengths and challenges within their communities. Photographs are then used to spark small-group discussions with policymakers, community leaders, and power brokers within the area to promote and initiate positive neighborhood change.

The program guide was developed based on lessons learned while implementing Photovoice with urban American Indian/Alaska Native youth receiving culturally and community-based services at the Native American Youth and Family Center. The guide provides helpful strategies for implementation, as well as knowledge gained from the experiences of the researchers and youth.

The guide provides specific strategies for the following:

I Bloomed Here: A Guide for Conducting Photovoice With Youth Receiving Culturally- and Community-Based Services is available here:

http://pathwaysrtc.pdx.edu/pdf/proj5-photovoice.pdf (358 KB)

Issue Date: February 2014
Section: Strategies and Tools for Practice
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=154&articleid=4129


Resources

Starting a Youth-Serving Program

The National Clearinghouse on Families and Youth produced an online guide for adults or other youth who want to start a youth-serving program. The guide is divided into four parts, each with a series of videos featuring "Tamara," a youth and family services professional, and other downloadable tools.

  1. Define Your Niche walks users through identifying a problem to solve, how to help, and long-term goals for the program.
  2. Conceive Your Vision and Mission provides information on why every program needs a mission and vision statement and how to write these statements.
  3. Bring Your Nonprofit Into Being outlines the process for creating a nonprofit, building a board, and filing for tax exempt status.
  4. Plan Your Programs addresses the kinds of programming the youth-serving nonprofit will offer and financing.

The National Clearinghouse on Families and Youth is a free information service of the Family and Youth Services Bureau (FYSB). Its purpose is to educate the family and youth work field—including FYSB grantees and aspiring grantees—about the research and effective practices that can improve the long-term social and emotional wellbeing of families and youth.

The Start a Youth Program guide is available on its website:

http://ncfy.acf.hhs.gov/start-a-youth-program/stage-4

Issue Date: February 2014
Section: Resources
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=154&articleid=4130


Guide for Grandparents Raising Grandchildren

Grandparents and other kinship caregivers face unique challenges and have specific needs. In 1994, the Massachusetts Executive Office of Elder Affairs, in collaboration with the Executive Office of Health and Human Services, produced a guide that identified needed programs, services, and other resources and information to help grandparents raising their grandchildren. In July 2008, the State Child Advocate bill was signed into law and established the Commission on the Status of Grandparents Raising Grandchildren. This Commission is actively working to better understand and address the needs of grandparents in this situation, and this updated guide is just one result of those efforts.

The guide is divided into 11 chapters, including Getting Started: What to Consider, Care and Custody Basics, and Financial Issues, Child Support and Public Assistance. A Resource Guide for Massachusetts' Grandparents Raising their Grandchildren, a collaborative effort by the Commission on the Status of Grandparents Raising Grandchildren, the Massachusetts Executive Office of Elder Affairs, the Massachusetts Office of the Child Advocate, the Department of Children and Families, and the Massachusetts Executive Office of Health and Human Services, is available here: 

http://www.mass.gov/elders/docs/caregiver/grandparents-raising-grandchildren.pdf (411 KB)

Issue Date: February 2014
Section: Resources
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=154&articleid=4126


Early Care, Education Factsheet

Approximately 25 percent of children in the United States under the age of 6 live in poverty and 12 percent live in extreme poverty. These children often have limited early learning experiences, which can cause educational failure and other negative outcomes later in life. The Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP) and the National Center for Children in Poverty (NCCP) collaborated to produce a factsheet on young children's participation in and access to high-quality early care and education.

The factsheet outlines information about the percentages of young children with poor educational outcomes, trends in Federal and State investments in early care and education programs, and State policies that either affect or support both access to and the quality of these programs. Additional resources from CLASP and the NCCP also are provided.

Investing in Young Children: A Factsheet on Early Care and Education Participation, Access, and Quality is available on the CLASP website:

http://www.clasp.org/resources-and-publications/publication-1/Investing-in-Young-Children.pdf (874 KB)

Issue Date: February 2014
Section: Resources
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=154&articleid=4127


Safety Guides for Refugee, Immigrant Children

Bridging Refugee Youth and Children's Services (BRYCS), a project of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), produced two bilingual safety guides: one for refugee and immigrant children, and another that speaks to older youth. Intended to build self-esteem, reinforce positive behaviors, and develop awareness and boundaries for children and teens, each guide addresses the challenges facing each age group with respect to cultural assimilation, socialization with peers, and relationships with adults.

The guides are available on the BRYCS website:

Keeping Safe! A Teen Bilingual Guide (Cuídense! Una Guía Bilingüe para Jóvenes):

http://brycs.org/documents/upload/teens-bilingual-safety-guide.pdf (4 MB)

Keeping Safe! Children's Bilingual Guide (Cuídense! Una Guía Bilingüe para Niños):

http://brycs.org/documents/upload/childrens-bilingual-safety-guide.pdf (4 MB)

Issue Date: February 2014
Section: Resources
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=154&articleid=4131


Training and Conferences

CQI E-Training Module

The Administration for Children and Families(ACF) released an Information Memorandum (IM) in August 2012 providing State title IV-B and IV-E child welfare agencies with information about establishing and maintaining continuous quality improvement (CQI) systems. To help States with creating and/or implementing these systems, a new e-training module on CQI in child welfare provides an introduction to CQI and its benefits and information on leadership qualities necessary for an effective CQI sysem, the five key components for a successful CQI system—modeled after the five points outlined in the ACF IM—implementing CQI in child welfare, and additional resources.

For the Continuous Quality Improvement in Child Welfare e-training module, visit:

https://training.cfsrportal.org/e-training-platform/2476

The CQI IM is available on the ACF website:

http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb/laws_policies/policy/im/2012/im1207.pdf (315 KB)

Related Item

Children's Bureau Express featured a Spotlight section focused on CQI in the September 2013 issue:

https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewSection&issueID=149&subsectionID=51

Issue Date: February 2014
Section: Training and Conferences
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=154&articleid=4133


Conferences

Upcoming national conferences on child welfare and adoption through May 2014 include:

March 2014

April 2014

May 2014

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: February 2014
Section: Training and Conferences
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=154&articleid=4134



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.

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