Children's Bureau ExpressApril 2014 | Vol. 15, No. 4

Table of Contents
 

Spotlight on National Child Abuse Prevention Month
As part of our Spotlight on National Child Abuse Prevention Month, CBX highlights a synthesis of the 20-year findings from the Longitudinal Studies of Child Abuse and Neglect; a new literature review of the role the protective factors play in populations served by the Administration on Children, Youth and Families; and more.

  • April Is National Child Abuse Prevention Month
  • Longitudinal Findings on Child Abuse and Neglect
  • New Protective Factors Literature Review
  • Meet the Protective Factors!
  • Multidisciplinary Child Protection Teams
  • Helping Parents Communicate With Their Teens

News From the Children's Bureau
A research brief from the Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation highlights the first-year implementation activities of 14 grantees awarded discretionary grants for the Coordination of Tribal Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) and Child Welfare Services to Tribal Families at Risk of Child Abuse or Neglect. We also point to new funding opportunity announcements.

  • Associate Commissioner's Page
  • Research and Evaluation, Virtual Summit Series Updates
  • Tribal TANF and Child Welfare Services
  • Funding Opportunity Announcements
  • CB Website Updates

Training and Technical Assistance Network Updates
The National Resource Center for Child Welfare Data and Technology officially released the web section for its Framework for Managing With Data, and we highlight other updates from members of the Children's Bureau's T&TA Network.

  • NRCPFC Youth Permanency Toolkit
  • NRCCWDT's Framework for Managing With Data
  • More Updates From the T&TA Network

Child Welfare Research
We point to research on the feasibility and efficacy of supplementing a new mother's residential substance-abuse treatment with a brief and rigorous attachment-based parenting program, a report on efforts to improve permanence efforts in four States through the use of permanency roundtables, and more.

  • Differential Response in Illinois
  • Study Examines Attachment-Based Parenting
  • Outcomes of Permanency Roundtables for Youth
  • Improving Mental Health Services to Children

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.

  • Assessing Child Sexual, Physical Abuse
  • Resources to Support LGBTQI2-S Youth, Families
  • Improving Outcomes for Youth in Child Welfare, Juvenile Justice
  • Promoting Educational Success of Children in Foster Care

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.

  • Guide to Safe Harbor for Trafficking Victims
  • Resources for Working With LGBTQ Youth
  • Understanding Single-Parent Adoption
  • Factsheet on Child Trauma

Training and Conferences

  • Toddler Social Emotional Health Curriculum
  • Conferences

Spotlight on National Child Abuse Prevention Month

April Is National Child Abuse Prevention Month

Every April for the past 32 years, the Children's Bureau raises awareness about preventing child abuse and neglect through its National Child Abuse Prevention Month initiative. This year's Prevention Month is particularly special because it aligns with the 40th anniversary of President Nixon signing into law the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA), which created the National Center on Child Abuse and Neglect (now known as the Office on Child Abuse and Neglect [OCAN]). The theme for the annual Prevention Month initiative continues to reflect the theme for the 19th National Conference sponsored by OCAN. This year's theme, "Making Meaningful Connections," draws attention to the community and cross-system collaborations required to protect children and strengthen families.

A new Prevention Month website highlights resources for protecting children and strengthening families, videos from national prevention organizations, publications, and the 2014 Prevention Resource Guide: Making Meaningful Connections. Changes or updates to this year's Resource Guide include the following:

The Resource Guide is the result of collaboration among the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Children's Bureau, OCAN, Child Welfare Information Gateway, the FRIENDS National Resource Center for Community-Based Child Abuse Prevention, the Center for the Study of Social Policy, and numerous national organizations.

In addition to the Resource Guide, the Prevention Month website also features a timeline commemorating CAPTA's 40th anniversary, pointing to the major milestones to protect children over the past four decades.

For more information on CAPTA, the Prevention Month initiative, or to view or order a copy of the Resource Guide, visit the Prevention Month website:

https://www.childwelfare.gov/preventing/preventionmonth/

Issue Date: April 2014
Section: Spotlight on National Child Abuse Prevention Month
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=156&articleid=4167


Longitudinal Findings on Child Abuse and Neglect

In 1990, the Children's Bureau began funding what would become one of the longest and most comprehensive studies of child abuse and neglect: LONGSCAN (Longitudinal Studies of Child Abuse and Neglect). For 20 years, researchers in five sites around the country followed more than 900 children from age 4 into adulthood, using a variety of research methods, including interviews with children, parent reports and observations, teacher reports, and maltreatment data from a variety of sources. More than 130 publications and 25 doctoral dissertations were based on LONGSCAN research. And to ensure that the research results extended beyond academia, the Doris Duke Foundation provided funding for LONGSCAN findings to be made more accessible to practitioners in the field through a "Science to Practice" initiative.

LONGSCAN investigators recently synthesized their overall findings and met with stakeholders around the country to discuss the results and their implications. Ensuring Safety, Well-Being and Permanency for Our Children: Findings, Practice and Policy Implications From LONGSCAN: The 20-Year Longitudinal Studies of Child Abuse and Neglect summarizes this work. The short publication uses succinct text and tables to reduce the many years of research into 12 sets of findings and implications under the categories of safety and health, permanency, and well-being:

The implications in each area offer specific recommendations for the prevention and treatment of child abuse and neglect. These recommendations range from focused training to changes in policy to broader assessments and more.

The authors note that researchers will continue to follow the young adults who have been part of LONGSCAN for more than 20 years, through funding from the National Institutes of Health.

To learn more about LONGSCAN,

Issue Date: April 2014
Section: Spotlight on National Child Abuse Prevention Month
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=156&articleid=4168


New Protective Factors Literature Review

A new research brief explores the important role that protective factors play within the vulnerable populations served by the Administration on Children, Youth and Families (ACYF). Protective factors are conditions or attributes of individuals, families, communities, or the larger society that can promote well-being and reduce the risk for negative outcomes. It is especially important to understand the role these factors play in the following vulnerable populations:

In their research, the authors sought to provide a foundation for the development of a protective factors framework that could inform programs and policy to improve outcomes for these populations. To address these questions, a comprehensive literature review on protective factors was conducted and input was requested from a national expert panel, Federal agency officials, and practitioners working with the ACYF population groups.

As a result of this research, the brief provides graphic models highlighting the protective factors that have the most evidence of influence at the individual, family, and community levels for each of the subgroups within the vulnerable child and youth populations. The document also outlines recommendations to inform current and future initiatives to implement knowledge of protective factors in ACYF policies and practices.

Promoting Protective Factors for In-Risk Families and Youth: A Brief for Researchers is available here:

http://www.dsgonline.com/acyf/PF_Research_Brief.pdf (496 KB)

Related Item

Child Welfare Information Gateway, the information service for the Children's Bureau, recently published a new issue brief titled Protective Factors Approaches in Child Welfare. The issue brief, written in collaboration with the Center for the Study of Social Policy and the Children's Bureau provides an overview of protective factors approaches to the prevention and treatment of child abuse and neglect and is designed to help policymakers, administrators, child welfare and related professionals, service providers, advocates, and others understand the concepts of risk and protective factors in families and communities. The issue brief is available here:

https://www.childwelfare.gov/pubs/issue_briefs/protective_factors.cfm

Issue Date: April 2014
Section: Spotlight on National Child Abuse Prevention Month
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=156&articleid=4169


Meet the Protective Factors!

A photo of a family of five dressed like superheroes draws attention to the five protective factors established by Strengthening Families and promoted via a website created by the Great Start Collaborative and Michigan Strengthening Families. The Strengthening Families Protective Factors Framework is a national research-based initiative that has identified the protective factors that help keep families strong and promote the healthy development of children.

The Meet the Protective Factors! website provides a downloadable PDF and an explanation about the importance of each of the five protective factors within the Strengthening Families framework. The protective factors include parental resilience, social connections, concrete support in times of need, knowledge of parenting and child development, and social and emotional competence of children. In addition to explaining the protective factors, the website provides tips on how families can establish and build the protective factors within their own family.

For more information, visit the What Makes Your Family Strong? Meet the Protective Factors! website:

http://www.whatmakesyourfamilystrong.org/index.html

Issue Date: April 2014
Section: Spotlight on National Child Abuse Prevention Month
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=156&articleid=4170


Multidisciplinary Child Protection Teams

An article from the March/April 2013 issue of Social Work Today highlights the child welfare social worker's role on hospital-based multidisciplinary child protection teams. The emergency room is often the first entry point into child welfare for abused children in crisis, and these child protection teams—typically composed of individuals with many clinical specialties, including pediatrics, trauma, nursing, psychology, and social work—are essential to the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of child abuse.

The article is built around interviews from a variety of clinical team members whose input provides a consistent theme: The social worker is the glue that holds the team together. Although the professional composition of multidisciplinary teams may vary by hospital and, even within teams, roles and responsibilities may vary on a case-by-case basis, the child welfare social worker is generally responsible for and/or coordinates the following efforts:

The article also discusses the qualities of effective child protection teams, provides information and guidance geared toward maintaining and improving performance and effectiveness for teams experiencing functional issues, and presents resources and the updated guidelines for developing and operating multidisciplinary teams published by the National Association of Children's Hospitals and Related Institutions. The article concludes by highlighting the growing trend toward using a multidisciplinary child-centered approach across child welfare services in coordination with other clinical and law enforcement disciplines.

"Multidisciplinary Child Protection Teams—The Social Worker's Role," by Jennifer Van Pelt, Social Work Today, 13(2), is available on the Social Work Today website:

http://www.socialworktoday.com/archive/031513p26.shtml

Issue Date: April 2014
Section: Spotlight on National Child Abuse Prevention Month
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=156&articleid=4171


Helping Parents Communicate With Their Teens

The benefits of effective communication between parents and their teen-aged children are highlighted in a series of new factsheets published by the Alabama Cooperative Extension System. As part of the Principles of Parenting series, lead author Jennifer Kerpelman explores techniques that can improve family communications and build trust. She also shows how strong parent-teen communications can help teens build skills and protective factors that can help them successfully navigate their teen years and grow into strong, independent adults.

In addition to fostering improved communications with their parents, information in the factsheets can help teens:

The specific titles in the series include:

Jennifer Kerpelman is a professor of human development and family studies at Auburn University. The Alabama Cooperative Extension System is a joint project of Alabama A&M and Auburn Universities.

Issue Date: April 2014
Section: Spotlight on National Child Abuse Prevention Month
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=156&articleid=4172


News From the Children's Bureau

Associate Commissioner's Page

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

As we launch into April, National Child Abuse Prevention Month, we take the time to remember the more than 6 million children who are brought to the attention of child protective services (CPS) each year. We also know that there are likely more vulnerable children and families who do not come to the attention of CPS. While data points to a steady decrease in child maltreatment substantiations since 2007, we know that there is more work to do, especially around the intersections across neglect, poverty, prevention, intervention, and treatment.

We know that child maltreatment and poverty are critical issues in this country for our children. The poverty rate among children is higher than for any other group in the United States. Studies have shown that maltreatment and other adverse childhood experiences increase the risk for negative mental and physical outcomes in adulthood and place children at risk for further harm and even death. But, we also know that effective early prevention efforts are less costly to our nation and to individuals than trying to fix the adverse effects of child maltreatment. By ensuring that parents and communities have the knowledge, skills, and resources they need to care for their children, we can help promote children's social and emotional well-being and prevent child maltreatment within families and communities.

The Children's Bureau has been investing in a number of research and demonstration projects to generate knowledge around effective practices and programs focused on prevention, early intervention, and the front-end of child welfare. Some of these initiatives releasing final reports in the upcoming year include:

Each of these projects will present findings from their work at our 19th National Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect in New Orleans, April 30–May 2, 2014.  For more information, please visit:

http://www.pal-tech.com/web/NCCAN19/

We look forward to connecting with you in New Orleans!

Issue Date: April 2014
Section: News From the Children's Bureau
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=156&articleid=4173


Research and Evaluation, Virtual Summit Series Updates

Research and Evaluation Workgroup

In recent issues of Children's Bureau Express, the Children's Bureau introduced the Child Welfare Research and Evaluation Workgroups, three groups of national child welfare experts that were convened by the Bureau after the 2011 National Child Welfare Evaluation Summit. Each workgroup examined a particular evaluation topic with the goal of improving child welfare research and evaluation and strengthening the link between research and practice. In February, publications from two of the three workgroups were released and are available on the Children's Bureau website.

In March, the third and final workgroup publication was made available.

Framework Workgroup

Child welfare programs and services have the potential to improve outcomes for children and families, but sometimes, child welfare systems miss opportunities to determine which interventions work, for whom they are effective, and how they can be consistently implemented. The Bureau convened a group of national experts to create a framework to guide program evaluators, administrators, and funders through the process of building evidence and implementing evidence-supported interventions. The framework is intended to encourage the thoughtful use of evaluation to promote sound decision making. This framework is designed for anyone who implements and evaluates child welfare interventions—whether it's a new intervention, an existing evidence-supported program, or a longstanding practice that has yet to be formally tested. To learn more, download the workgroup's publication A Framework to Design, Test, Spread, and Sustain Effective Practice in Child Welfare:

http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb/resource/framework-workgroup

Virtual Summit Series

The Children's Bureau also recently announced the Child Welfare Evaluation Virtual Summit Series, a group of videos that tackle an evaluation topic, propose solutions to common evaluation problems, and direct viewers to additional tools and resources. The first three videos have been released, and subsequent videos will be released through June 2014: 

Issue Date: April 2014
Section: News From the Children's Bureau
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=156&articleid=4195


Tribal TANF and Child Welfare Services

In 2011, the Office of Family Assistance awarded demonstration grants to 14 Tribes and Tribal organizations for the Coordination of Tribal Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) and Child Welfare Services to Tribal Families at Risk of Child Abuse or Neglect. In November 2013, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation (OPRE) released a report detailing the first-year implementation activities of the 14 grantees.  

Grantees served families enrolled or eligible for TANF and at-risk for child abuse or neglect, families already involved with Indian child welfare, and families with a child in foster care. Grantee goals were specific to the needs of the children and families in their respective communities and, therefore, grantee activities and services implemented during the first year were designed to respond to those specific needs. According to the report, system coordination activities were more difficult to implement than grantee direct services activities; however, most grantees implemented their proposed system coordination and services activities in the first year. The most common services provided were family violence prevention, substance abuse and mental health services, and parenting education.

The OPRE report describes the following: 

Coordination of Tribal TANF and Child Welfare Services: Early Implementation is available on the OPRE website:

http://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/opre/initial_findings_rprt_final.pdf (1 MB)

Issue Date: April 2014
Section: News From the Children's Bureau
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=156&articleid=4175


Funding Opportunity Announcements

The Administration on Children, Youth and Families announced new funding opportunity announcements (FOAs) for fiscal year (FY) 2014.

Information about planned FY 2014 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: April 2014
Section: News From the Children's Bureau
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=156&articleid=4176


CB Website Updates

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.

In addition to the items listed below, the Children's Bureau shared three new videos that highlight the National Youth in Transition Database's data collection efforts on youth aging out of foster care, including findings from the first year of data collection and results from over 17,000 surveys conducted with youth in foster care. The videos are available here:
http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLypiJrod4DeiM7HgcFsoVDR5L_TrJIZ7G

Recent additions to the site include:

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: April 2014
Section: News From the Children's Bureau
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=156&articleid=4177


Training and Technical Assistance Network Updates

NRCPFC Youth Permanency Toolkit

The Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997 (ASFA) and the Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008 (FCA) address the importance of achieving permanence for children and youth in foster care and of making permanence a central goal of a child or youth's case plan. While older youth and young adults had previously been directed toward Independent Living services, AFSA and FCA increased the focus on achieving permanence for this population. In order to address this increased focus on youth permanence, the National Resource Center for Permanency and Family Connections (NRCPFC) developed a new online toolkit that touches on various topics related to permanence for youth and young adults in foster care.

The toolkit gives a brief history of youth permanence and discusses the various definitions of permanence, including professional definitions as well as youth perspectives. The toolkit also draws from neuroscience and other research to touch on developmentally appropriate permanence services for youth. Five core components of youth permanence form the main focus of the toolkit, and each component is discussed in detail and includes an accompanying list of related resources and policy examples. Finally, the kit offers an organizational self-study, which child welfare agencies can use to evaluate policies, practices, and training and technical assistance needs.

Access the Youth Permanency Toolkit on NRCPFC's website:

http://www.nrcpfc.org/toolkit/youth-permanency/

Issue Date: April 2014
Section: Training and Technical Assistance Network Updates
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=156&articleid=4178


NRCCWDT's Framework for Managing With Data

The National Resource Center for Child Welfare Data and Technology (NRCCWDT) officially released the web section for its Framework for Managing With Data. The framework, developed in collaboration with several child welfare data managers in the field, is intended to help agencies use data to the best advantage in order to inform practice and performance and improve child welfare outcomes. It provides tools to help agencies refine their data-collection process and focus their efforts so that the data collected are more useful and easily incorporated into business processes.

With the official release of the framework, NRCCWDT added a wealth of new descriptive information and features to the five framework steps, each of which has its own dedicated webpage:

Each framework step includes downloadable supplementary PDF materials. A new feature seen throughout the framework web section is the addition of instructional videos that offer in-depth discussion, examples, and guidance on each framework step. See an overview of the Framework for Managing With Data here:

http://www.nrccwdt.org/2014/01/framework-for-managing-with-data-an-overview/

To access one or all sections of NRCCWDT's framework, visit http://www.nrccwdt.org/managing-with-data/managing-with-data-framework/.

Issue Date: April 2014
Section: Training and Technical Assistance Network Updates
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=156&articleid=4179


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: April 2014
Section: Training and Technical Assistance Network Updates
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=156&articleid=4180


Child Welfare Research

Differential Response in Illinois

In 2009, the National Quality Improvement Center on Differential Response selected three research and demonstration sites to implement and evaluate differential response (DR). As one of the sites, Illinois conducted an experimental design study in which families with screened-in maltreatment reports who met the State's eligibility for DR services were randomly assigned to the treatment group (DR) or the control group (investigation response). A total of 7,584 families participated in the study, with 41 percent of those assigned to the DR group and 59 percent assigned to the investigation response (IR) group.

The study team used three primary sources of data: administrative data from the Illinois Statewide Automated Child Welfare Information System (SACWIS), case-specific reports completed by workers, and surveys completed by families. The following are examples of the study's findings:

Differential Response in Illinois: Final Evaluation Report is available on the Children and Family Research Center website:

http://cfrc.illinois.edu/pubs/rp_20140205_DifferentialResponseInIllinoisFinalEvaluationReport.pdf (6 MB)

Issue Date: April 2014
Section: Child Welfare Research
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=156&articleid=4181


Study Examines Attachment-Based Parenting

The Infant Mental Health Journal recently published findings from a research study that examined the feasibility and efficacy of supplementing a new mother's residential substance-abuse treatment with a brief and rigorous attachment-based parenting program. The randomized trial served as a pilot study and was inspired by previous literature documenting the high levels of interrelatedness between substance abuse and problematic parenting.

The study randomly assigned 21 new mothers receiving residential substance-abuse treatment to either participate in the Attachment and Biobehavioral Catch-up (ABC) parenting program or to a control group that did not receive this extra training. The ABC program consists of 10 home-based sessions delivered by a parenting coach. The program targets three specific behaviors, including nurturance, following the child's lead, and reducing frightening caregiver behavior.

All of the mothers participated in a postintervention parenting observation. During these assessments, researchers found that mothers receiving the ABC treatment program displayed significantly more positive behaviors toward their infants than mothers in the control group.

Results regarding the feasibility of implementing the ABC program were also positive. Researchers found that the residential treatment programs welcomed the opportunity to provide parenting programs to their mothers and that the mothers themselves were enthusiastic about participating. While the results from both the efficacy and feasibility aspects of this study are promising, results should be interpreted with caution given the small sample size.

"Promoting Supportive Parenting in New Mothers With Substance-Use Problems: A Pilot Randomized Trial of Residential Treatment Plus an Attachment-Based Parenting Program," by Lisa Berlin, Meghan Shanahan, and Karen Carmody, Infant Mental Health Journal, 35(1), 2013, is available here:

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/imhj.21427/abstract

Issue Date: April 2014
Section: Child Welfare Research
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=156&articleid=4182


Outcomes of Permanency Roundtables for Youth

Permanency roundtables (PRTs) have emerged as a strategy for expediting legal permanence for youth. In 2010, Casey Family Programs spearheaded the Multi-Site Accelerated Permanency Project (MSAPP), which used PRTs to improve permanency efforts in 11 counties in four States (Alabama, Colorado, Florida, and Ohio). PRTs are structured meetings that involve various experts, promote "outside the box" thinking, and include the following elements: oral case presentation, rating of the child's permanency status, discussion and brainstorming of current barriers to permanency, and development of a specific action plan. In the summer of 2013, MSAPP released a report on the outcomes for youth within 12 months of their PRT.

The target population for the project was older youth who faced the most challenges to legal permanency, with many of them having a goal of another permanent planned living arrangement (APPLA). The rates of achieving legal permanency within 12 months for the 726 youth participating in the project ranged from 0 to 26 percent, with an overall rate of 8.5 percent. Most youth (61.6 percent) were still in care, 27 percent had otherwise exited State custody, and 2.9 percent had run away. The report notes that the results indicate that PRTs may not be effective with this population; however, jurisdictions reported that PRTs helped staff develop a greater awareness of the definition of legal permanency, the importance of permanency, and "thinking outside the box" to establish permanency options for youth.

The Multi-Site Accelerated Permanency Project Technical Report: 12-Month Permanency Outcomes is available on the Casey Family Programs website:

http://www.casey.org/Resources/Publications/pdf/MSAPP_12Month_FR.pdf (1 MB)

Issue Date: April 2014
Section: Child Welfare Research
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=156&articleid=4183


Improving Mental Health Services to Children

According to a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 20 percent of children experience a diagnosable mental health disorder (such as depression, anxiety, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, autism, or Tourette syndrome), but only 21 percent of diagnosed children receive the treatment and services that they need. The research also shows that childhood mental health disorders can be treated and managed more effectively when they are diagnosed and treated early.

In a new factsheet from the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), Improving Children's Mental Health, authors Kristine Goodwin and Jennifer Saunders discuss many of the barriers to providing appropriate care, such as lack of funding and a shortage of qualified mental health providers. They also present an overview of efforts being made by States to address those barriers. This information may be important to child welfare and related professionals working with children who face additional barriers to the identification and treatment of mental health issues.

Some State efforts to improve services for children include increasing behavioral health coverage under Medicaid and private insurance programs; expanding workforce capacity through loan repayment programs, enhanced residency programs, and using related professionals, such as social workers and mental and substance abuse counselors; integrating mental health and primary care; and utilizing early identification and intervention programs. Federal programs that support mental health services for children also are discussed.

The factsheet, produced as part of the NCSL Legisbrief series, is available on the NCSL website:

http://ecom.ncsl.org/webimages/legisbriefs/January2014/2202.pdf (183 KB)

Issue Date: April 2014
Section: Child Welfare Research
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=156&articleid=4184


Strategies and Tools for Practice

Assessing Child Sexual, Physical Abuse

Injuries resulting from child abuse sometimes go unrecognized and misdiagnosed. According to Suspected Child Abuse: Clinical Practice Guideline (CPG), released by the Cardinal Glennon Children's Medical Center in order to reduce the possibility of misdiagnosis, there must be a high index of suspicion in the right clinical situation, as well as strong assessment tools to evaluate children. The CPG outlines the steps and responsible personnel for the assessment process and outlines the clinical pathways (i.e., guidance on clinical studies and consultations that may be conducted and/or ordered if abuse is suspected) to assist in the evaluation process.

The clinical pathways include documents addressing physical abuse and sexual abuse. The physical abuse materials are divided into three separate documents organized by the age range of the child, including birth to 2 years of age, 2 years of age to 5 years, and children older than 5. The suggested evaluations and consultations include varied skeletal surveys, computed tomography (CT) scans, ophthalmological studies, lab studies, and radiological studies. 

The clinical pathways sexual abuse materials include documents that address the collection of sexual assault evidence of prepubertal and postpubertal victims of acute sexual assault (assault occurring less than 72 hours prior to presentation), subacute sexual assault (assault occurring between 72 hours and 2 weeks prior to presentation), and nonacute sexual assault (assault occurring greater than 2 weeks prior to presentation), as well as ongoing sexual assault. In addition, guidelines for acute rape prophylaxis and HIV postexposure prophylaxis (the provision of antiretroviral drugs to prevent HIV) are included.

Suspected Child Abuse: Clinical Practice Guideline (CPG) from the Cardinal Glennon Children's Medical Center, is available here:

http://www.cardinalglennon.com/Documents/emergency-medicine/child-abuse-clinical-practce-guidelines_for-professionals.pdf (1 MB)

Issue Date: April 2014
Section: Strategies and Tools for Practice
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=156&articleid=4185


Resources to Support LGBTQI2-S Youth, Families

A new toolkit offers a variety of resources for working with children and youth who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning, intersex, and two-spirit, (LGBTQI2-S) and their families. Resources included in the toolkit range from research briefs and reports to practice recommendations and websites and other toolkits and videos. While some resources stem from Federal agencies, a majority are from non-Federal organizations, and all materials are from entities dedicated to improving the treatment, experiences, and outcomes of LGBTQI2-S children and youth.

The table of contents lists documents by title and author without descriptions. An annotated table of contents includes short descriptions of materials provided. Separate lists are included for videos, online resources, posters and signs, and resources intended for use with families and youth.

This toolkit was developed with support from the Child, Adolescent and Family Branch (CAFB), Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS), SubstanceAbuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), which in 2008 initiated the National Workgroup to Address the Needs of Children and Youth Who Are LGBTQI2-S and Their Families. 

Resources to Support Children and Youth Who Are LGBTQI2-S and Their Families is available on the SAMHSA website:

http://www.lgbtqi2stoolkit.net/

Issue Date: April 2014
Section: Strategies and Tools for Practice
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=156&articleid=4186


Improving Outcomes for Youth in Child Welfare, Juvenile Justice

The recently released Guidebook for Juvenile Justice and Child Welfare System Coordination and Integration: A Framework for Improved Outcomes (3rd Edition), reports on efforts to implement more integrated and collaborative approaches to program development and service delivery for children involved in both the child protection and juvenile justice systems.

Previous editions of the guidebook examined existing and new research, explored an array of promising approaches, and gathered information on child welfare and juvenile justice integration and reform. In this edition, the authors present the results of numerous case studies of States implementing system reform. The book also provides ideas, resources, tools, and guidance that States can use to bring about long-term, sustainable improvements to the child welfare and juvenile justice systems.

The guidebook is published by the Robert F. Kennedy Children's Action Corps and is available from the website of the Robert F. Kennedy National Resource Center for Juvenile Justice:

http://www.rfknrcjj.org/images/PDFs/Guidebook-for-JJ-and-CW-System-Coordination-and-Integration-Cover.pdf (557 KB)

A companion publication, Dual Status Youth Initiative—Technical Assistance Workbook, offers practical guidance to State and local jurisdictions in implementing the multisystem practices described in the guidebook. Using a technical assistance approach, the workbook presents a month-by-month set of activities that includes analytical tasks, expectations, products, and timelines that map a 12- to 15-month program of systems improvement.

Dual Status Youth Initiative—Technical Assistance Workbook also is available from the resource center website:

http://www.rfknrcjj.org/images/PDFs/Dual-Status-Youth-TA-Workbook-Cover.pdf  (548 KB)

These publications were produced as part of Models for Change: Systems Reform in Juvenile Justice, an initiative funded by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation that, in collaboration with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, works to replicate and disseminate successful models of juvenile justice reform in 31 States.

Issue Date: April 2014
Section: Strategies and Tools for Practice
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=156&articleid=4187


Promoting Educational Success of Children in Foster Care

Positive educational experiences and academic success can mitigate the negative impact of child maltreatment and placement instability faced by children in foster care. Findings from multiple studies indicate that many children and youth in foster care are not succeeding in school compared to their peers, and that cross-system collaboration among child welfare agencies, the courts, and education is necessary for improving educational outcomes. A recent factsheet by the National Working Group on Foster Care and Education focuses on the importance of establishing a strong educational foundation for children in care and designing effective interventions aimed at enhancing their educational outcomes.

The factsheet highlights statistics about absenteeism, school suspensions, average reading levels, and high school completion rates for children and youth in foster care. Promising practices of effective early childhood education interventions, programs to promote regular attendance, and preventing serious behavior problems are discussed, in addition to promising policies for enhancing school stability and school enrollment.

Fostering Success in Education: National Factsheet on the Educational Outcomes of Children in Foster Care is available here:

http://www.fostercareandeducation.org/DesktopModules/Bring2mind/DMX/Download.aspx?EntryId=1279&Command=Core_Download&method=inline&PortalId=0&TabId=124

Issue Date: April 2014
Section: Strategies and Tools for Practice
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=156&articleid=4188


Resources

Guide to Safe Harbor for Trafficking Victims

Human traffickers often target victims from vulnerable populations, including children involved with child welfare. While many State laws allow for the prosecution of juveniles engaging in prostitution regardless of whether the behavior is a result of exploitation, several States have enacted "safe harbor laws" that exempt children from prosecution. Minnesota's safe harbor law was enacted in 2011, and a new guidebook from Minnesota's Department of Public Safety Office of Justice Programs provides information on this emerging approach to working with victims of trafficking.

The guidebook outlines five key changes to Minnesota's safe harbor law, in addition to a new victim-centered model, No Wrong Door. The model provides recommendations for stakeholders to effectively identify exploited youth and ensure they receive appropriate services and safe housing.

No Wrong Door: A Comprehensive Approach to Safe Harbor for Minnesota's Sexually Exploited Youth is available here:

https://dps.mn.gov/divisions/ojp/forms-documents/Documents/!2012%20Safe%20Harbor%20Report%20%28FINAL%29.pdf (2 MB)

Related Item

Children's Bureau Express featured a Spotlight on Child Welfare and Human Trafficking section in the July/August 2013 issue:

https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewSection&issueID=148&subsectionID=50

Issue Date: April 2014
Section: Resources
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=156&articleid=4189


Resources for Working With LGBTQ Youth

The American Bar Association's (ABA's) Center on Children and the Law, a full-service training, technical assistance, and research program that addresses a wide variety of law- and court-related topics affecting the welfare of children, works on a number of projects aimed at improving outcomes for youth involved with child welfare. One such project is focused specifically on supporting lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) young people in foster care.

The Opening Doors project provides tools and resources to professionals in the legal and child welfare communities to support their work in improving outcomes for this high-risk population. The project website links to a variety of trainings, publications, and other information, including the companion It's Your Life interactive website (and publication with the same name) for LGBTQ youth. The website was created to help LGBTQ youth in foster care navigate the child welfare system and understand their rights. It also provides a Where to Get Help section for LGBTQ youth that may be in crisis or otherwise in need of assistance with issues pertaining to harassment, violence, discrimination, homelessness, education, health, and sexuality.

Additionally, the project website provides a section of issue-specific legal updates and connects individuals with other pertinent ABA and non-ABA projects and related groups.

For more information on the Opening Doors Project, visit the ABA website:

http://www.americanbar.org/groups/child_law/what_we_do/projects/openingdoors.html

The accompanying It's Your Life website is accessible here:

http://www.americanbar.org/groups/child_law/what_we_do/projects/itsyourlife.html

Related Item

Children's Bureau Express featured a Spotlight on LGBTQ Youth section in the February 2014 issue:

https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewSection&issueID=154&subsectionID=55

Issue Date: April 2014
Section: Resources
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=156&articleid=4190


Understanding Single-Parent Adoption

With the number of adoptions by single men and women increasing over the past 10 years, advocates from A Love Beyond Borders produced a publication that addresses the rewards and challenges of single parent adoption.

Single Parent Adoption: An Adoption Education Publication asserts that single parents ought to be considered by adoption agencies and birth mothers for their character, strength, and potential parenting capacity, rather than by their marital status. Statistically, domestic adoptions tend to favor couples over singles for placement, which leads many singles to opt for international adoption over domestic. The publication contests the underlying assumption that "all married couples will stay married, […] and all singles will forever remain single" and suggests that empathy for single persons' need to nurture can enhance the potential for successful adoption for children. 

Single Parent Adoption: An Adoption Education Publication is available on the Love Beyond Borders website:

http://www.bbinternationaladoption.com/sites/default/files/ckfinder/files/SingleAdoptiveParenting--Goingitaloneornot.pdf (99 KB)

Issue Date: April 2014
Section: Resources
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=156&articleid=4191


Factsheet on Child Trauma

The National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN) released a factsheet for child welfare and related professionals and the public with information about child traumatic stress. The factsheet defines child traumatic stress as the exposure to traumatic events. The resource also describes the consequences of child trauma and indicates that some children may not experience traumatic stress after a traumatic event; however, some children may experience significant reactions that interfere with their daily life and their ability to function or interact with others.

Additional information details the extent of resources the NCTSN offers through its website, which include products, factsheets, training opportunities, and access to the latest research and resources on child traumatic stress.

Understanding Child Trauma is available on the National Child Traumatic Stress Network website:

http://www.nctsn.org/sites/default/files/assets/pdfs/policy_and_the_nctsn_final.pdf (433 KB)

Issue Date: April 2014
Section: Resources
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=156&articleid=4192


Training and Conferences

Toddler Social Emotional Health Curriculum

A suite of 16 computer-based learning courses for frontline staff serving infants, toddlers, and their families has been made available by the Bradley Early Childhood Clinical Research Center in collaboration with Bradley Hospital's Department of Behavioral Education and the Rhode Island Association for Infant Mental Health. The online curriculum builds on work done by the National Infant and Toddler Child Care Initiative at ZERO TO THREE (http://nitcci.db.zerotothree.org/initiativesp/home.aspx). 

The training, Foundations for Infant/Toddler Social Emotional Health and Development: Provider Modules, is divided into three sections:

For more information, or to access the online training sessions, visit the website for the Rhode Island Association for Infant Mental Health:

http://riaimh.org/professional-development/online-modules/

Issue Date: April 2014
Section: Training and Conferences
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=156&articleid=4193


Conferences

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

May 2014

June 2014

July 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: April 2014
Section: Training and Conferences
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=156&articleid=4194



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


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