Children's Bureau ExpressJune 2014 | Vol. 15, No. 6

Table of Contents
 

Spotlight on Child and Family Services Reviews
As the Children's Bureau prepares to kick off its third round of Child and Family Services Reviews, CBX provides information on changes to this round of monitoring, the role of continuous quality improvement in Round 3, resources for States, and more.

  • Third Round of Child and Family Services Reviews
  • Continuous Quality Improvement in the CFSRs
  • Child Welfare CQI Academy
  • CFSR Round 3 Resources for States
  • Using CFSR Data to Inform Program Change

News From the Children's Bureau
We highlight the new National Center for Evidence-Based Practice in Child Welfare that aims to increase local jurisdictions' capacity to implement and sustain quality, accessible evidence-based treatment for children, youth, and families. We also provide information on how to apply to become a grant reviewer and point to new funding opportunity announcements.

  • Associate Commissioner's Page
  • National Center for Evidence-Based Practice in Child Welfare
  • New PII Approach Report, Materials
  • Funding Opportunity Announcements
  • Apply to Be a Grant Reviewer
  • Guide for Developmental, Behavioral Screening
  • Certificate Program on Child Welfare and Juvenile Justice
  • CB Website Updates

Training and Technical Assistance Network Updates
Among other updates from the T&TA Network, read about the new issue of The Roundtable—in which the National Resource Center for Adoption focuses on educational well-being for older adopted youth and older youth in guardianship placements.

  • NRCA's The Roundtable
  • NRCOI Literature Review
  • More Updates From the T&TA Network

Children's Bureau Grantee Updates
We highlight two grantee site visits this month, one from the Using Comprehensive Family Assessments to Improve Child Welfare Outcomes grant cluster and another from the Child Welfare - Education System Collaborations to Increase Educational Stability cluster.

  • Site Visit: Comprehensive Family Assessment in North Carolina
  • Site Visit: Cincinnati's Kids in School Rule!

Child Welfare Research
This month, CBX points to current data and literature about African-American males involved with child welfare, new research on successful family reunification, and information about the unmet mental health needs of children and youth in kinship care.

  • African-American Males in Child Welfare
  • Sexual Health Services for Youth in Care
  • New Research on Family Reunification
  • Data on the Commercial Sex Economy
  • Mental Health Needs Among Children in Kinship Care

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.

  • Using Expert Witnesses in ICWA Proceedings
  • Developments in State Adoption Laws
  • Helping Families Support LGBT Youth

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.

  • Considerations for Prospective Foster Parents
  • Protecting Children From Secondhand Smoke
  • Tips for Professionals Serving LGBTQ Youth
  • Campaign Against Child Sexual Exploitation

Training and Conferences

  • Arizona CASA Online Training Center
  • Conferences

Spotlight on Child and Family Services Reviews

Third Round of Child and Family Services Reviews

Background

Since 2001, the Children's Bureau (CB) has completed two rounds of Federal monitoring known as the Child and Family Services Reviews (CFSRs). Between each review cycle, CB solicited input from public and private child welfare agencies, States, advocacy groups, and the public on improvements to the process. In April 2011, CB sought public comment on improvements to the process for reviewing titles IV-B and IV-E of the Social Security Act through the CFSR. 

While improvements will be incorporated into the next round of monitoring, the overall goals of the reviews remain the same: 

Since 2011, CB has worked on changes to the CFSRs based on suggestions received through the public comment process. Improvements fall into three major areas: 

Similar to the first two rounds of CFSRs, the third round will continue the partnership of Federal and State staff and involve a two-level process: (1) a statewide assessment, and (2) an onsite review as required by 45 CFR 1355.33(a). After receiving the results of the review, States that are not in substantial conformity with title IV-B and IV-E requirements must enter into a Program Improvement Plan (PIP) to address areas that CB determines require improvement (45 CFR 1355.34 and 1355.35). States must still continue to engage Tribes, courts, and stakeholders in their efforts to assess and improve their programs.

The following is a brief summary of changes to the next round of monitoring. Readers can find more detailed information in the March 14, 2014, CFSR Technical Bulletin #7 (http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb/resource/cfsr-technical-bulletin-7).

Integration of Planning

State child welfare agencies must submit either their 5-year CFSPs or APSRs to CB regional offices by June 30th of each year. In addition, as part of the CFSR, States must submit a Statewide Assessment outlining performance on the seven safety, permanency, and well-being outcomes, the national data standards for safety and permanency, as well as the seven systemic factors. In the next round of monitoring, CB will more fully integrate the CFSP and the APSR with the CFSR Statewide Assessment process to reduce States' burden and align Federal planning and monitoring efforts. In the new Statewide Assessment process, States will be able to refer to their CFSP/APSR and update information only as needed. In addition, in the past monitoring cycles, States found to be in non-conformity with CFSR outcomes or systemic factors would need to develop a PIP. In the new monitoring approach, while States will still need to address nonconformity in a PIP, States will be encouraged to address PIP goals and progress through the CFSP/APSR submissions rather than developing separate plans for program improvement.     

Onsite Reviews

CB has made substantial changes to the onsite portion of the CFSR, which involved case reviews and stakeholder interviews to determine conformity with systemic factors. CB was encouraged to build on States' efforts to establish comprehensive continuous quality improvement (CQI) systems, including case reviews. In this round of reviews, States meeting CB criteria may conduct their own case reviews using a revised Federal CFSR onsite review instrument and submit the results to CB. At a minimum, CB participation will include observing the State's case review process while present in the State and reviewing completed instruments. CB will then use these results to make an initial determination of substantial conformity on the seven CFSR outcomes.

If a State does not meet the necessary criteria to use their case review process, or chooses not to do their own case reviews, CB will work with the State to prepare for a more traditional weeklong case review conducted jointly by the State and CB.

There will also be changes to the way that systemic factors are addressed. States will be required to provide specific data in the Statewide Assessment to demonstrate that a systemic factor is functioning. CB may then determine that the State sufficiently demonstrates systemic factor functioning and not require additional stakeholder interviews onsite for each systemic factor. Alternatively, where the Statewide Assessment data are insufficient to determine substantial conformity, the joint Federal-State team will determine which stakeholder interviews are necessary to gather additional information during the onsite review.

Statewide Data Indicators and National Standards

Statewide data indicators are used to inform the determination of substantial conformity on safety and permanency outcomes. The statewide data indicators are based on data available in States' Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS) and National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System (NCANDS) submissions. In the Round 2 CFSR, CB developed six statewide data indicators—two indicators for safety and four data composites for permanency. CB established methodologies for calculating the national standards, which varied depending on the indicator.

Public feedback suggested a number of challenges with the statewide data indicators that ranged from methodological issues related to use of exit cohorts, the lack of ease in interpreting composite numbers, and concerns about the comparability of States' data. CB has modified its approach by making greater use of entry cohorts, eliminating composites, and incorporating risk adjustment to help account for differences in case mixes and policies across States. Although indicators continue to use data from AFCARS and NCANDS, CB is developing a refined set of CFSR statewide data indicators based on a different approach to calculating the associated national standards. 

The proposed indicators are detailed in a recent Federal Register announcement for public comment:
https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2014/04/23/2014-09001/statewide-data-indicators-and-national-standards-for-child-and-family-services-reviews

Public comment closed in late May. Feedback gathered during this process is currently being reviewed and analyzed, after which CB will finalize the statewide data indicators and publish them in a Federal Register announcement. States scheduled for a 2015 CFSR will begin receiving their data profiles this year.

Implementation of Round 3 CFSR

Since the release of the CFSR Technical Bulletin #7, CB has hosted national calls with States and other public and private child welfare agencies, advocacy groups, and others to begin discussions regarding rollout of the next round of monitoring and to respond to initial questions from participants. CB is posting questions and answers on the CFSR portal, as well as instruments and other related documents, accessible to State child welfare staff here: https://www.cfsrportal.org/

In May and June, CB will hold five regionally based trainings with Federal and State child welfare staff to discuss further details regarding the case review process, instruments, and data measures. 

Also, beginning with the release of the Information Memorandum on CQI (http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb/resource/im1207) in August 2012, CB Regional Office and CFSR unit staff have engaged in conversations with States on how to assess, improve, and strengthen CQI functions. Since the CFSR Technical Bulletin was released, the discussions have been more focused on improving States' ability to conduct case reviews in accordance with requirements outlined in the Technical Bulletin.

Tentative CFSR Schedule

Issue Date: June 2014
Section: Spotlight on Child and Family Services Reviews
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=158&articleid=4227


Continuous Quality Improvement in the CFSRs

The Children's Bureau (CB) is excited to start its next round of monitoring of State child welfare programs known as the Child and Family Services Reviews (CFSRs). The Children's Bureau conducts each review in partnership with the State child welfare agency to assess the State on seven outcomes and seven systemic factors. The CFSRs enable CB to:

Since the end of Round 2 of the CFSRs, CB has worked to implement changes to the monitoring process that reflect a more coordinated and comprehensive approach that builds on the efforts States had already made through the CFSRs to establish Quality Assurance (QA) case reviews. In August 2012, CB issued an Information Memorandum to advise States to enhance and expand their QA systems into a more continuous quality improvement approach (see ACYF-CB-IM-12-07). To support States' efforts to achieve this, CB established a Child Welfare Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI) Training Academy to develop CQI competencies and equip States to make more informed practice and program improvements, ultimately leading to better child and family outcomes.

Moving in this direction for the next round of monitoring has also required CB to consider how to integrate the work States do to develop the 5-year Child and Family Services Plans (CFSPs) and Annual Progress and Services Reports (APSRs) into the CQI process. The most recent Program Instruction for the CFSP, issued in March 2014, sets forth requirements that will more fully integrate the CFSP and CFSR (see ACYF-CB-PI-14-03). To accomplish this, the CFSP must assess State performance on the seven child and family outcomes and the seven systemic factors in the CFSR, as well as focus goals and objectives on improving State performance on CFSR outcomes related to safety, permanency, and well-being. 

When the CFSRs were officially launched in 2001, they provided State and local child welfare systems with a set of defined outcomes and indicators to target, as well as a process for reviewing frontline practice in cases and using results to drive systems and practice changes. This new round of monitoring allows the child welfare field to apply the lessons learned from 13 years of CFSRs and Program Improvement Plans (PIPs) to create a process that is better integrated and promotes a more comprehensive approach to CQI in public child welfare systems.

Issue Date: June 2014
Section: Spotlight on Child and Family Services Reviews
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=158&articleid=4228


Child Welfare CQI Academy

In January 2014, JBS International, Inc., and its partner, the Center for the Support of Families (CSF), through a cooperative agreement with the Children's Bureau, launched the Child Welfare CQI Training Academy. The Academy is a seven-unit training program for child welfare managers who are responsible for performing and strengthening continuous quality improvement (CQI) activities and processes. Ultimately, the Academy aims to prepare these managers to facilitate a systematic problem-solving cycle, foster cultures of continuous learning and improvement, and facilitate sustainable changes in their agencies.

The Academy is organized into two training groups. A randomized controlled trial is being used to understand whether a self-directed or a group-based learning approach proves more effective at enhancing participants' knowledge and skills. The first group, comprising 158 participants, has access to self-directed learning modules only, which they can view at their own pace. The second group comprising 157 participants is exposed to the full learning program, including both self-directed and group learning activities on a predetermined schedule.

The curriculum is focused on teaching participants how to facilitate a six-step, systematic problem-solving cycle, referred to in the Academy as the Cycle of Learning and Improvement (http://www.jbsinternational.com/pdf/Advancing%20Continuous%20Quality%20Improvement.pdf). The six steps are:

For example, in the Academy's third unit, "Identifying and Understanding the Problem," participants learned the importance of collecting and analyzing data to understand "what" the problem is and "why" it's happening before moving on to solutions. They learned to conduct a root cause analysis, taking the key steps in collecting, assessing, and applying analytical techniques to identify and understand the problem. Each participant then selected a real problem in his or her agency, developed what and why questions, and determined what data to collect and how to analyze it. Participants came together in a group coaching session to refine and expand their thinking. In the words of one participant, "I appreciated the application of learning opportunity…and the information about asking the 'what' and 'why' questions—and not just to scratch the surface." 

The knowledge and skills gained by Academy participants can translate into better child welfare interventions—interventions that are built on a clear understanding of why problems exist, solid theories of how to solve problems, and solutions that are well aligned with theories of change and feasible for agencies. These new and strengthened skills can be applied in a variety contexts, including State and local participation in child and family services planning, monitoring reviews, program improvement, and ongoing CQI processes, to ultimately improve services and outcomes for children and families.

Related Items

Children's Bureau Express has featured the Child Welfare CQI Academy in the following articles:

Issue Date: June 2014
Section: Spotlight on Child and Family Services Reviews
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=158&articleid=4229


CFSR Round 3 Resources for States

To help States and Tribes prepare for the third round of the Federal Child and Family Services Reviews (CFSRs), the Children's Bureau has made available several resources. Below is a list of existing materials.

  1. Child and Family Services Review Technical Bulletin #7– The technical bulletin, released in March, provides an overview and goals of the third round of monitoring reviews, outlines revisions to the CFSR process for Round 3, and lists the Bureau's criteria for determining whether States can use their own case review process. Additionally, the bulletin provides a schedule for the reviews, which will be staggered over 4 years. The bulletin is available on the Children's Bureau's website:
    http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb/resource/cfsr-technical-bulletin-7
  2. Statewide Data Indicators and National Standards – The CFSRs determine States' substantial conformity with titles IV-B and IV-E of the Social Security Act by measuring performance on statewide data indicators on safety and permanency outcomes. Changes to the statewide indicators and calculating national standards on those indicators were announced in the Federal Register in April, and public comment on indicators and methods was open until May 23. Currently, the Bureau is taking public comment into consideration as it prepares the final data indicators and national standards, which will be announced in the coming months. The Federal Register Announcement is available here:
    https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2014/04/23/2014-09001/statewide-data-indicators-and-national-standards-for-child-and-family-services-reviews
  3. PowerPoint Presentation – This presentation and accompanying transcript were given by Miranda Lynch Thomas with the Bureau's CFSR Unit and provide an overview of the Children's Bureau's process and rationale for making revisions to the Child and Family Services Reviews. The presentation walks through four major changes to the CFSR process with regard to the integration of the Child and Family Services Plan and Statewide Assessment, the use of stakeholder interviews for determining conformity for systemic factors, a State's ability to conduct case reviews for CFSR purposes, and revisions to the statewide data indicators and national standards. The PowerPoint is available on the CFSR Information Portal:
    https://training.cfsrportal.org/resources/3044
  4. Child and Family Services Reviews Information Portal – This website provides a one-stop-shop for information and resources pertaining to the CFSRs. In addition to the above-mentioned resources, information about Program Improvement Plans, procedure manuals, instruments, and rating and measurement information will be made available in the coming months through the CFSR portal. While the portal prompts users for log-in information, the Resources and E-Training Platform tabs are available to all users. Visit the portal here:
    https://www.cfsrportal.org/

Be sure to check the Children's Bureau's website for additional information and resources:

http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb/monitoring/child-family-services-reviews/

Issue Date: June 2014
Section: Spotlight on Child and Family Services Reviews
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=158&articleid=4230


Using CFSR Data to Inform Program Change

Children and youth in foster care often experience challenges that can lead to poor educational outcomes. An article in the Journal of Family Strengths suggests that States use data from the Child and Family Service Reviews (CFSRs) to measure policy effectiveness and consider program changes to improve the educational stability for this vulnerable population. 

The article defines the scope of the problem by presenting statistics on standardized test performance, particularly for English and math, grade retention, and graduation rates for children and youth in care—all of which were shown to be lower for youth in care compared to students not in foster care. The article notes that the Federal Government took strides to address the issue when it passed the Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008, which requires States to ensure the educational stability of children and youth in foster care. Louisiana was among the first States to enact legislation to help it comply with provisions set forth by the Fostering Connections Act, namely, laws about easing residency requirements for schools and mandating transportation to school. Because CFSRs track improvements in overall child welfare services, the author suggests the same data be used to help States comply with the Fostering Connections Act by identifying their challenges in ensuring educational stability for children in foster care, designing program improvements, and tracking performance after policy changes have been implemented.

The author notes that more research is needed to understand barriers to educational achievement faced by youth in care and that increased collaboration between the child welfare and education systems is necessary for improved student success.

"Using State Wide Child and Family Services Review Data to Analyze Policies to Improve Educational Outcomes for Children in Foster Care," by Corie Hebert, Journal of Family Strengths, 13(1), 2013, is available here:

http://digitalcommons.library.tmc.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1213&context=jfs (PDF -122 KB)

Another journal recently published a special issue focused on performance measurement and included several articles centered on CFSR data. Articles focused on presenting a context of child welfare performance measurement, achieving permanency for youth in long-term foster care, timely adoption, and timely reunification. The Journal of Evidence-Based Social Work Special Issue: Performance Measurement in the Child Welfare System: Policy and Performance Pointers, 10(3), 2013, is available for purchase here:

http://www.tandfonline.com/toc/webs20/10/3#.U3Dwf3bQB2A

Issue Date: June 2014
Section: Spotlight on Child and Family Services Reviews
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=158&articleid=4231


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 in that area.

The Children's Bureau (CB) is about to embark on a third round of Child and Family Services Reviews (CFSRs) in partnership with the 50 States, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. The CFSRs are the Children's Bureau's main vehicle for monitoring the programmatic aspects of State child welfare programs. 

One of the primary benefits of the reviews is that they provide a window into the experience of children and families who are being served by child welfare agencies in their own homes. In addition, the CFSR allows CB to assess the quality of child welfare practices. This allows us to share information publicly about how children involved in child welfare are faring. It also helps us to work with States to identify the strengths States can build on and areas where additional focus is needed to achieve better systems and outcomes for children and youth. Deciding on what improvements to make, and how to achieve that progress toward outcomes, is a joint State-Federal role. We take seriously our responsibility to work with States to improve their programs and ultimately improve outcomes for vulnerable children and their families.

In addition to using the CFSRs as a direct vehicle for improvement in States, we use the CFSRs to identify how CB can be supportive to States' change efforts in multiple ways. Over the years, we have used information from CFSRs and States' program improvement to frame and then revise our training and technical assistance, create an evaluation agenda, and determine grant priorities for supporting foundational practice and new innovation.

As you will learn in depth through this issue, we have revised the review process to be responsive to the needs of States and other stakeholders that want to build stronger continuous quality improvement systems. We encourage States to take advantage of the ability to incorporate aspects of the Federal monitoring process into their day-to-day business so that they can continue to learn, adjust, and adapt their organizations and practices to sustain positive child and family outcomes.

We invite you to reflect back on our summaries of how States performed in the prior rounds of CFSRs and how they progressed by reviewing the national summaries or individual State findings and Program Improvement Plans on our website.

We hope this information provides context for dialogue within States and nationally about how we can all strive to create significant and sustainable improvements in meeting child welfare requirements and serving children and families in the best ways possible into the future.

Issue Date: June 2014
Section: News From the Children's Bureau
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=158&articleid=4232


National Center for Evidence-Based Practice in Child Welfare

The Children's Bureau recently awarded a cooperative agreement for the National Center for Evidence-Based Practice in Child Welfare to the University of Maryland, School of Social Work, Ruth H. Young Center for Families and Children. The goal of this 5-year project is to increase local jurisdictions' capacity to implement and sustain quality, accessible, evidence-based treatment for children, youth, and families served by the child welfare system.

The Center has created Partnering for Success, an integrated, sustainable, cross-systems workforce competency model, designed to improve mental health outcomes for child welfare-involved children and youth. Partnering with agencies from selected jurisdictions, the Center aims to build the capacity of the public child welfare and mental health frontline workforces, as well as leadership from both systems, to implement trauma-informed, evidence-based practices.

Organizational and workforce capacity building are important mechanisms to ensure that agencies can support successful program implementation. Partnering for Success addresses this through a multiphase intervention that begins with engagement, self-assessment, and preparatory activities with the leadership team to provide the support necessary to ensure effective implementation. The next phase features comprehensive online and in-person learning, coaching, clinical consultation, and capacity building that will be jointly implemented across both child welfare and mental health systems. Technical assistance will be available to all participating jurisdictions.

Child welfare and mental health professionals and leadership from both systems will participate in specialized learning experiences that utilize a range of learning methods, modes of delivery, and field practice applications with ongoing consultation. Content for the child welfare and mental health professionals learning track is based on the CBT+ model, designed and evaluated in Washington State. CBT+ integrates a suite of publically available evidence-based approaches to treating anxiety, depression, conduct problems, and trauma and includes a parent education component.

In the next month, the Children's Bureau will continue to provide information to State child welfare and mental health directors, provider associations, and stakeholders about the Center. The Request for Applications (RFA), followed by an informational webinar, will be issued in early July 2014. Child welfare systems in States, Tribes, and the District of Columbia are invited to apply jointly with their State public mental health system (child and adolescent division). Implementing sites can be a single city or region. The RFA will provide indepth information about organizational support for sites, content for the integrated learning tracks, participant expectations, and site selection processes.

The National Center team looks forward to working with the first site in October 2014. Please contact Project Director Leslie Rozeff, at lrozeff@ssw.umaryland.edu, with any questions and visit our website at http://www.ncebpcw.org.

Issue Date: June 2014
Section: News From the Children's Bureau
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=158&articleid=4233


New PII Approach Report, Materials

In fiscal year 2010, the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) awarded grants to six organizations to implement and evaluate innovative, evidence-based interventions to help children leave foster care in less than 3 years. The two offices within ACF that support the Permanency Innovations Initiative (PII), the Children's Bureau and the Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation (OPRE), released a new report explaining the concepts and processes of the PII Approach. 

The technical report highlights the multiple implementation stages and activities, including installation, initial and full implementation, formative and summative evaluation, sustainability, and dissemination. A comprehensive dissemination plan also is included in the report.

The report notes that the PII approach holds several benefits, including the following:

The report is accompanied by a summary, titled The PII Approach Brief, and an infographic. 

The PII Approach: Building Implementation and Evaluation Capacity in Child Welfare is available on the Children's Bureau website:

http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb/resource/implementation-and-evaluation-capacity

The PII Approach Brief is available here:

http://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/cb/pii_approach_brief.pdf (160 KB)

The infographic is available here:

http://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/cb/pii_approach_infographic.pdf (157 KB)

More information about PII can be found on the Children's Bureau website:

http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb/resource/pii-project-resources

Related Item

Children's Bureau Express featured a report that provides background information on the PII initiative and a detailed overview of its approach in the article "The Permanency Innovations Initiative Approach" (May 2014):

https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=157&sectionid=1&articleid=4205

Issue Date: June 2014
Section: News From the Children's Bureau
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=158&articleid=4257


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: June 2014
Section: News From the Children's Bureau
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=158&articleid=4234


Apply to Be a Grant Reviewer

Each spring, the Children's Bureau (CB) recruits reviewers and panel chairpersons for its discretionary grant programs. Grant reviewers receive training and then review grant applications—reading, evaluating, discussing, and scoring grant proposals. Qualified grant reviewers and chairpersons receive compensation for their time, as well as valuable experience in the Federal grant review process. Reviews occur during the summer months and are conducted remotely, via telephone and email.
 
In the coming weeks, CB will launch a new recruitment portal for prospective reviewers to register their interest in participating in CB's discretionary grant review process. To obtain funding opportunity announcement titles, or to register your interest in becoming a discretionary grant peer reviewer for CB, please send an email to InterestedReviewer@grantreview.org.

You will be notified immediately when the recruitment portal site is live.

Issue Date: June 2014
Section: News From the Children's Bureau
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=158&articleid=4235


Guide for Developmental, Behavioral Screening

As part of the Birth to 5: Watch Me Thrive initiative, the U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services and Education have produced a guide for child welfare caseworkers that is centered on child development and behavior screening. The initiative is part of a Federal effort to encourage healthy child development.

The guide addresses influences on child development and behavior, taking a team approach to screening, engaging families in the process, and referring families to services. The guide also points readers to developmentally appropriate screening tools.

Accompanying the guide is a toolkit that provides research-based developmental screening tools and other resources, including the passport. The passport is similar to an immunization card and is intended to help parents monitor their child's developmental progress and screening records.

Birth to 5: Watch Me Thrive! A Child Welfare Caseworker's Guide for Developmental and Behavioral Screening is available on the website for the U.S. Administration for Children and Families:

https://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/ecd/child_welfare_guide_march2014.pdf (155 KB)

The Birth to 5: Watch Me Thrive! Toolkit is available on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services website:

http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/ecd/watch-me-thrive

Issue Date: June 2014
Section: News From the Children's Bureau
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=158&articleid=4236


Certificate Program on Child Welfare and Juvenile Justice

The application window for the 2014 Multi-System Integration Program is now open through July 25, 2014. The Juvenile Justice and Child Welfare: Multi-System Integration Certificate Program is a weeklong program of intensive study designed for those who want to improve outcomes for youth known to multiple systems of care by improving multi-systems integration and collaboration.

The program is conducted by the Center for Juvenile Justice Reform (CJJR) at Georgetown University’s McCourt School of Public Policy, in collaboration with the National Catholic School of Social Service at Catholic University of America.

Feedback from participants of earlier certification programs has been overwhelmingly positive for both the content and the instructors. On anonymous, open-ended survey questions, some participants responded with the following:

Detailed information about the certificate program, application instructions, and information about tuition and available subsidies are available on the program's website:

http://cjjr.georgetown.edu/certprogs/public/certificatepublic.html

Direct questions can be sent to jjreform@georgetown.edu or by calling CJJR at 202.687.2749.

Issue Date: June 2014
Section: News From the Children's Bureau
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=158&articleid=4258


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.

Recent additions to the site include:

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

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

Issue Date: June 2014
Section: News From the Children's Bureau
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=158&articleid=4237


Training and Technical Assistance Network Updates

NRCA's The Roundtable

In the latest issue of The Roundtable, the National Resource Center for Adoption (NRCA) focuses on educational well-being for older adopted youth and older youth in guardianship placements. The lead article, by Dr. Angelique Day, examines the detrimental effects that multiple placements can have on young people's academic careers, including lower rates of high school graduation and college attendance. Dr. Day also discusses resources and supports that are available to assist youth in care in reaching educational goals. These include educational provisions in the Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008, such as the expanded eligibility criteria of Independent Living services and Education and Training Vouchers (ETVs); State postsecondary educational assistance programs; and the College Cost Reduction Act of 2009 (P.L. 110-84).

Other articles in the newsletter explore the importance of maintaining sibling relationships, the importance of relationships for Native American families, and adoption and guardianship with relative caregivers.

Read issue 27(1) of The Roundtable on the NRCA website:

http://www.nrcadoption.org/pdfs/roundtable/V27N1-2014.pdf (2 MB)

Issue Date: June 2014
Section: Training and Technical Assistance Network Updates
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=158&articleid=4238


NRCOI Literature Review

In order to help child welfare professionals find the most up-to-date and relevant information, the National Resource Center for Organizational Improvement (NRCOI) conducts quarterly literature reviews to identify and summarize resources related to child welfare organizational improvement. NRCOI reviews scholarly articles, reports, book reviews, and other resources to identify studies that aim to explore general concepts in topic areas such as continuous quality improvement, implementation, interagency collaboration, leadership, and more. Selected articles are then summarized in a chart that includes brief descriptions of the key concepts and methods as well as synopses of research findings.

NRCOI's most recent review, Literature Review: 10/01/2013–12/31/2013, examines 14 articles and 1 report that address a range of topics, such as implementation, strategic planning, supervision, and systemic change. A number of articles touch on how the culture of child welfare agencies can impact programming and services. The review includes a list of resources related to organizational improvement extracted from Child Welfare Information Gateway subscription services.

Access the full literature review here: http://www.nrcoi.org/rcpdfs/LitReviewOctDec2013.pdf (606 KB)

Issue Date: June 2014
Section: Training and Technical Assistance Network Updates
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=158&articleid=4239


More Updates From the T&TA Network

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

Issue Date: June 2014
Section: Training and Technical Assistance Network Updates
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=158&articleid=4240


Children's Bureau Grantee Updates

Site Visit: Comprehensive Family Assessment in North Carolina

In 2004, North Carolina's Child and Family Services Reviews (CFSR) demonstrated a clear need for more accurate and comprehensive assessments of the strengths and needs of children and families served by child welfare. Specifically, ongoing risk and safety assessments were not conducted, and families were often not involved in case planning. In addition, CFSR findings in 2007 indicated that families receiving in-home services were struggling to connect with or receive appropriate services. Using a 5-year Children's Bureau discretionary grant that began in 2007, the Alamance County Department of Social Services (ACDSS) is implementing a Comprehensive Family Assessment (CFA) project to improve safety, permanency, and well-being for the children and families it serves.

Data from 2005–2006 showed that 48 percent of the children with maltreatment reports had a prior report with ACDSS. Roughly one-fifth of children with initial reports had a second report within 1 year. Findings from the 2007 CFSR showed a disparity in services provided to in-home cases, compared to foster care cases, and children receiving in-home services had higher rates of repeat maltreatment. ACDSS identified the lack of ongoing and comprehensive assessment and planning as directly related to the frequency and purpose of caseworker visits. Its policies did not specifically address the frequency, purpose, or approach for visits, and ACDSS cited this lack of clarity as a barrier to caseworker ability to comprehensively assess family functioning.

The target population for this project was children and families receiving in-home family support or family preservation services. Prior to the onset of the CFA grant, Alamance County was one of three pilot sites in North Carolina for a System of Care (SOC) infrastructure grant awarded by the Children's Bureau in 2003. The SOC grant provided an opportunity to move the agency and the community toward a family-centered approach, and the CFA grant helped achieve that goal by enhancing assessment practices for children and families receiving in-home services.

As part of the CFA project, ACDSS developed assessment tools and family engagement and caseworker visit policies that were implemented with a pilot team in 2008. A randomly selected intervention team was implemented in 2009. Pilot and intervention staff members were trained and coached to utilize motivational interviewing (MI) to develop partnerships and engage families in assessment and case planning. Efforts to improve father engagement also were part of the project.

A number of new and modified assessment tools were developed and utilized to more comprehensively gauge families' needs. A comprehensive risk and safety guide was completed at initial visits and followed by the North Carolina DSS Risk Assessment within 48 hours, in addition to the mandated completion at case closure. At subsequent visits, social workers assessed multiple domains individually using SEEMAPS (social, economic, environmental, mental health, activities of daily living, physical health, and strengths) and screened for possible issues with substance abuse, domestic violence, and depression to obtain a holistic picture of family strengths and needs. Lastly, ACDSS implemented new policies for home visits to provide a consistent purpose, process, and approach (low risk – monthly visits; moderate risk – biweekly; high risk– weekly; this visit schedule is identical to the mandated policy for home visits for cases receiving in-home services).

Alamance County leveraged existing research findings to implement a long-term multilevel approach, utilizing MI and ongoing coaching to increase family engagement in order to obtain a truly comprehensive assessment.

Findings indicate that, overall, the CFA process has been implemented with an acceptable degree of fidelity. For the vast majority of cases:

Administrative data were analyzed to examine possible differences in child welfare outcomes between the CFA intervention and control teams:

For more information about this project, contact Adrian Daye, Child Welfare Program Manager, Adrian.Daye@alamance-nc.com. The full site visit report is available on the Child Welfare Information Gateway website:
 
https://www.childwelfare.gov/management/funding/funding_sources/familyassessments.cfm
 
This project is funded by the Children's Bureau (Award 90CA1754). This article is part of a series highlighting successful Children's Bureau grant-funded projects around the country, emerging from Children's Bureau site visits.

Issue Date: June 2014
Section: Children's Bureau Grantee Updates
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=158&articleid=4241


Site Visit: Cincinnati's Kids in School Rule!

Using a 17-month Children's Bureau (CB) grant, an existing partnership between Cincinnati Public Schools, the Hamilton County Department of Job and Family Services (JFS), and the juvenile court has been enhanced to increase school stability for students involved with child welfare or under court-ordered protective supervision. This infrastructure-building grant is part of CB's Child Welfare - Education System Collaborations to Increase Educational Stability grant cluster. The collaboration, Kids in School Rule! (KISR!), is focused on improving educational outcomes by increasing school stability, improving direct communication about students, and reducing disruptions and removals from school.

KISR! is a partnership among Cincinnati Public Schools, JFS, Hamilton County Juvenile Court, and the Legal Aid Society of Greater Cincinnati (LAS). The project actually began in 2008, prior to the grant being awarded. Before the project began, a lack of communication and collaboration between school personnel and JFS staff affected the educational stability of students served. School personnel were confused about whom to contact concerning children's educational issues and voiced concern about the number of absences of children in foster care. In addition, the child welfare agency experienced barriers enrolling their students in Cincinnati Public Schools, and caseworkers did not have sufficient knowledge and understanding of the school district to resolve common educational issues. KISR!'s primary goal was to build the infrastructure for an intensive cross-systems collaboration to improve educational outcomes. 

To help meet project goals, two education specialists assist JFS case managers with education-related issues and serve as the point of contact regarding student participants. In addition, each Cincinnati school has a KISR! liaison to support students. To ensure the educational needs of children are met, magistrates in Hamilton County Juvenile Court review educational information about each KISR! child in foster care or under court-ordered protective supervision.

In 2008, 22 Cincinnati Public Schools participated in KISR!, which served only children in the custody of JFS. The CB grant was awarded in January 2012, and the project expanded to the 56 schools within the district. In August 2012, the project began serving children under court-ordered protective supervision of JFS if the parents signed consent for the service to continue. KISR! has served 706 students since 2008. As of January 2013, the project is serving 181 students; 167 (92 percent) of the students are in the custody of JFS, and 14 (8 percent) of the students are under the protective supervision of JFS. The population of youth served who are in protective supervision were part of the KISR! project when they were in agency custody.

Evaluation activities continue and some positive outcomes have already been realized, including: 

The project recently received the first data reports from Learning Partner Dashboard, which provided powerful documentation for the need to take action to stabilize students. In addition, project data shows that KISR! students rarely miss school for counseling or family visitations.

For more information about this project, contact Elaine Fink, KISR! Project Manager, efink@lascinti.org. The full site visit report is available on the Child Welfare Information Gateway website:
 
https://www.childwelfare.gov/management/funding/funding_sources/edcollaborations.cfm
 
The
Kids in School Rule! project is funded by the Children's Bureau (Award 90CO1077). This article is part of a series highlighting successful Children's Bureau grant-funded projects around the country, emerging from Children's Bureau site visits.

Issue Date: June 2014
Section: Children's Bureau Grantee Updates
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=158&articleid=4242


Child Welfare Research

African-American Males in Child Welfare

According to data from the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS), African-American males are more than twice as likely to be in foster care as their peers of other races, and the percentage of African-American males who age out of care almost doubled between 2001 and 2010 (from 7 percent to 13 percent). A recent report from the Center for the Study of Social Policy (CSSP), Changing Course: Improving Outcomes for African American Males Involved With Child Welfare Systems, reviews the current data and literature about African-American males involved with child welfare, outlines an approach to improve their outcomes, and makes recommendations for immediate action.

The following are examples of actions outlined in the report that can be taken by child welfare agencies and their partners:

Changing Course: Improving Outcomes for African American Males Involved With Child Welfare Systems, by Oronde Miller, Frank Farrow, Judith Meltzer, and Susan Notkin, is available on the CSSP website:

(http://www.cssp.org/publications/child-welfare/alliance/Changing-Course_Improving-Outcomes-for-African-American-Males-Involved-with-Child-Welfare-Systems.pdf (1 MB)

Issue Date: June 2014
Section: Child Welfare Research
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=158&articleid=4243


Sexual Health Services for Youth in Care

Youth in foster care experience early sexual activity, pregnancy, and teen parenting at a higher rate than their peers who are not in foster care. An article in a recent issue of the National Center for Youth Law's Youth Law News explores the American Academy of Pediatrics' recommended standards of care for developing youth as outlined in the Bright Futures program. It then compared these standards to the Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnostic and Treatment (EPSDT) program services required and/or available for children and youth enrolled in Medicaid. The article explores health education, appropriate screening and tests for sexually transmitted infections, family planning services and supplies, and scheduling appointments and transportation assistance. The National Center for Youth Law found that, although some gaps in services exist, the services available under Medicaid for youth in foster care are generally consistent with the recommended standards of care guidelines established in Bright Futures.

This is the second article in a series looking at teen pregnancy among youth in foster care. The first article in the series, "Cause for Concern: Unwanted Pregnancy and Childbirth Among Adolescents in Foster Care," presented data indicating higher rates of pregnancy among youth in care than among their counterparts and highlighted various barriers to reproductive health care services for youth in foster care.

"Assessing Accessibility: Do Teens in Foster Care Have Access to the Full Range of Reproductive Health Care Services Under Medicaid?" by Jennifer Friedman, Youth Law News, 32(2), 2013, is available here:

http://www.youthlaw.org/publications/yln/2013/apr_jun_2013/assessing_accessibility_do_teens_in_foster_care_have_access/

"Cause for Concern: Unwanted Pregnancy and Childbirth Among Adolescents in Foster Care," by Jennifer Friedman, Youth Law News, 32(1), 2013, is available here:

http://www.youthlaw.org/publications/yln/2013/jan_mar_2013/cause_for_concern_unwanted_pregnancy_and_childbirth_among_adolescents_in_foster_care/

Information about Bright Futures is available here:

http://brightfutures.aap.org/

Issue Date: June 2014
Section: Child Welfare Research
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=158&articleid=4244


New Research on Family Reunification

In 2007, the National Family Preservation Network (NFPN) conducted a study that examined and compared outcomes experienced by families receiving intensive family preservation services to outcomes experienced by families receiving reunification services. Findings showed that family preservation was more successful than reunification and that reunited families experienced more problems than preserved families. In 2012, NFPN conducted another study of successful reunification.

The study was conducted in four sites in four States, and three of the four programs were based on the Homebuilders® model. Data were collected between April 2012 and February 2013 in a manner that mirrors reunification case practice: case referral, acceptance of referral, assessment, case planning/goal setting, service delivery, reassessment, case closure, and exit survey/interview. Parent and caregiver perceptions of engagement and caseworker interactions also were collected and used to examine possible connections between caregiver opinions and outcomes. The study marked three important milestones:

Findings included the following:

In addition to the study, NFPN also released new exit instruments for both intact and reunited families, which can be purchased on the NFPN website:

http://nfpn.org/products/exit-instruments

Family Assessment, Family Functioning, and Caregiver Engagement in Family Preservation and Reunification Programs, and the Relation of These and Other Factors to Reunification Service Outcomes, by Raymond Kirk and Priscilla Martens, is available on the NFPN website:

http://nfpn.org/Portals/0/Documents/2014-reunification-report.pdf (613 KB)

Related Item

The May 2014 issue of Children's Bureau Express featured an article about the 40th anniversary of the Intensive Family Preservation movement:

https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=157&sectionid=2&articleid=4197

Issue Date: June 2014
Section: Child Welfare Research
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=158&articleid=4245


Data on the Commercial Sex Economy

The growth of the underground commercial sex economy, including sex trafficking and child pornography, is an emergent issue, but policymakers often lack the reliable data they need to understand the full nature and extent of these activities. Understanding the scope of the problem is important for child welfare and related professionals because victims are often from the most vulnerable populations, including children involved with child welfare. In a new study, Estimating the Size and Structure of the Underground Commercial Sex Economy in Eight Major U.S. Cities, researchers from the Urban Institute collected both quantitative and qualitative data in an effort to provide some insights on the issues.

Existing datasets on market changes for illegal drugs and weapons in San Diego, Seattle, Dallas, Denver, Washington, DC, Kansas City, Atlanta, and Miami were analyzed to provide an estimate of the overall size of the sex trade in those markets. Qualitative data were collected through interviews with stakeholders, including local and Federal law enforcement officers and prosecutors, and with convicted offenders, including sex traffickers, sex workers, and child pornographers. Some of the findings of the study indicate:

In the area of child pornography, researchers learned that in the United States child pornography is largely noncommercialized and is often traded for free. Other findings indicate:

Finally, the researchers address the policy implications of their research, including the need for (1) training on human trafficking for law enforcement; (2) cross-training of investigators of narcotics, gangs, prostitution, and sex trafficking; and (3) strengthening child pornography laws to hold individuals who host online child pornography content criminally responsible.

The study was funded by the National Institute of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice. Estimating the Size and Structure of the Underground Commercial Sex Economy in Eight Major U.S. Cities, by Meredith Dank, Bilal Khan, P. Mitchell Downey, Cybele Kotonias, Deborah Mayer, Colleen Owens, Laura Pacifici, and Lilly Yu, is available on the Urban Institute website:

http://www.urban.org/UploadedPDF/413047-Underground-Commercial-Sex-Economy.pdf (5 MB)

Issue Date: June 2014
Section: Child Welfare Research
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=158&articleid=4246


Mental Health Needs Among Children in Kinship Care

Chapin Hall recently published the findings from an evaluation of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) that examined the degree to which the mental health needs were being met for children in kinship care. The study also looked at the relationship between the level of caseworker concern about caregivers and whether or not children were receiving services following comprehensive assessments.

Children in the study were evaluated using the Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths (CANS) instrument, which, in part, assesses need for mental health services. Researchers found that 28.4 percent of the children in the study were in need of such services; however, within 6 months of being placed in kinship care, only 14.2 percent of these children had a Medicaid claim indicating receipt of the services.

Researchers looked at caseworker concerns about caregivers on 12 separate "actionable" items or domains where interventions were needed. Overall, 25 percent of children were placed with caregivers about whom caseworkers had some degree of concern, with two actionable areas being cited most frequently as the source for that concern. These two actionable domains were knowledge, defined as the caregiver's understanding of and ability to act on the rationale for the child's treatment, and resources, or the financial and social assets that the caregiver could provide in meeting the child and family needs.

The study concludes by noting that caseworker concerns about caregivers should not prevent placement with that individual, but front-end assessments and interventions should be administered in order to increase the likelihood that concrete supports will be provided to the family.

The Unmet Mental Health Needs Among Children in Kinship Care is available on the Chapin Hall website:

http://www.chapinhall.org/research/inside/unmet-mental-health-needs-among-children-kinship-care

Issue Date: June 2014
Section: Child Welfare Research
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=158&articleid=4247


Strategies and Tools for Practice

Using Expert Witnesses in ICWA Proceedings

The Federal Indian Child Welfare Act requires that courts consider the testimony of qualified expert witnesses in all proceedings for the foster care placement of an Indian child or the termination of an Indian parent's parental rights. The challenge for States is that the term "qualified expert witness" is not defined in the law, and policy guidance from the Bureau of Indian Affairs can be ambiguous.

In codifying Federal requirements into State law, Wisconsin identified the need to more clearly define the roles and qualifications of the expert witnesses that could be called to testify in such cases. A new publication presents policy developed by the Wisconsin Indian Child Welfare Act (WICWA) State Advisory Board and the Department of Children and Families to provide guidance for consistent application of State qualified expert witness provisions.

In Wisconsin, qualified expert witnesses provide testimony to ensure that the norms, culture, or traditions of the Tribe are not used as a premise for removal of the child from his or her home and to aid the court's determination as to whether continued custody of the child by the parent or Indian custodian is likely to result in serious physical or emotional harm. In addition, Wisconsin's law creates a "tier" system that provides a clear definition and distinction between "types" or orders of preference of qualified expert witnesses.

Qualified Expert Witness: Wisconsin Indian Child Welfare Act Implementing Guidelines 2013 is available on the website for the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families:

http://dcf.wisconsin.gov/memos/num_memos/DSP/2013/2013-05attach.pdf (74 KB)

Issue Date: June 2014
Section: Strategies and Tools for Practice
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=158&articleid=4248


Developments in State Adoption Laws

A resource from the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) charts recent State legislation to expedite and streamline the adoption process. The legislative trends noted by author Nina Williams-Mbengue include eliminating certain requirements such as home study requirements for relatives adopting children; foster care licensure for prospective adoptive parents; and requirements that the adoptive child live in the adoptive home for specified time periods. Other strategies to expedite and streamline or otherwise improve the adoption process reflected in recent State legislation include expanding intra-family adoptions, allowing expedited adoption orders, providing maternity and paternity leave for adoptive parents, and requiring trauma-informed training for adoptive parents.

The chart State Legislation to Expedite and Streamline the Adoption Process 2008–2013 is available on the NCSL website:

http://www.ncsl.org/research/human-services/ncsl-streamlining-adoption-legislation-2008-2013.aspx

In another resource from NCSL, State Legislation to Provide Adoption and Post-Adoption Supports, Subsidies and Tax Credits 2005–2013, Williams-Mbengue tracks State legislation to provide adoption and postadoption supports, subsidies, and tax credits. The legislation includes expanding and increasing adoption payments and subsidies, increasing adoption tax credits, creating sliding-scale fees for adoptions based on the income of the prospective adoptive parent, extending adoption assistance, expanding the eligibility of children for postadoption assistance and support, and requiring departments of child welfare to provide information on adoption tax credits to adoptive parents (which is now a Federal requirement).

This chart also is available on the NCSL website:

http://www.ncsl.org/research/human-services/ncsl-adoption-support-and-subsidy-legislation-2005-2013.aspx

Issue Date: June 2014
Section: Strategies and Tools for Practice
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=158&articleid=4249


Helping Families Support LGBT Youth

Young people are identifying as lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) at much earlier ages than previous generations. In order to assist health and social services practitioners with understanding the critical role of family acceptance in contributing to the health and well-being of adolescents who identify as LGBT, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) released A Practitioner's Resource Guide: Helping Families to Support Their LGBT Children. The guide provides information about best practices for engaging and helping families and caregivers in their support of their LGBT children. The guide is divided into the following four sections:

In addition, the guide provides information about the Family Acceptance Project, a family intervention approach that is the result of more than a decade of interactions and interventions with LGBT children and their families.

A Practitioner's Resource Guide: Helping Families to Support Their LGBT Children is available on the SAMHSA website:

http://store.samhsa.gov/shin/content//PEP14-LGBTKIDS/PEP14-LGBTKIDS.pdf (1 MB)

For more information on the Family Acceptance Project, visit:

http://familyproject.sfsu.edu/

Issue Date: June 2014
Section: Strategies and Tools for Practice
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=158&articleid=4250


Resources

Considerations for Prospective Foster Parents

The blog TakePart recently highlighted specific considerations for readers who might be interested in becoming foster parents. Noting that foster parenting can be extremely rewarding, the author also comments on its challenges. Featuring input from experts such as Irene Clements, President of the National Foster Parent Association and foster parent of 27 years, the post addresses the training necessary for becoming a foster parent, financial matters that should be considered by potential parents, and myths about foster parenting. Additional resources also are provided.

Considerations for prospective foster parents outlined in the article include the following:

"5 Ways to Know You're Ready to Be a Foster Parent," by Solvej Schou, is available on the TakePart website:

http://www.takepart.com/article/2014/03/07/5-ways-know-youre-ready-be-foster-parent

Issue Date: June 2014
Section: Resources
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=158&articleid=4251


Protecting Children From Secondhand Smoke

According to the U.S. Surgeon General, while secondhand smoke exposure among children has declined over the past 15 years, children remain more heavily exposed to secondhand smoke than adults. As a result, Global Advisors on Smokefree Policy (GASP) posted a white paper that directly addresses States' legal, ethical, and moral obligations to provide safe and healthy homes for children and youth in foster care.

In the white paper, GASP summarized statutes from 18 States and three California counties that require smoke-free homes and transportation for children and youth in care. Child welfare agencies and programs can look to this resource to learn about new or updated requirements in their States. Additionally, GASP identified jurisdictions in which smoke-free cars are required for all children, whether or not they are in care. Supporting studies about the impact of smoking and smoke-free homes on children also are provided.

Protecting Foster/Resource Family Children From Secondhand Smoke in Homes and Cars is available on the GASP website:

http://www.njgasp.org/d_Foster_Homes_and_Cars.pdf (234 KB)

Issue Date: June 2014
Section: Resources
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=158&articleid=4252


Tips for Professionals Serving LGBTQ Youth

The National Child Traumatic Stress Network released a new factsheet designed to familiarize mental health professionals with the appropriate terminology when working with lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) youth. This resource also may be valuable to child welfare and other related professionals who work with LGBTQ children and youth and their families.

The publication includes a definition and description of the following terms:

Supported by diagrams and research findings, this resource illustrates the continuum of sex, gender, and sexual orientation and dispels myths and stereotypes about LGBTQ youth and sexual abuse. The factsheet also outlines key steps to creating a welcoming environment, maintaining confidentiality, and counseling clients after sexual abuse. 

Particular areas of concern related to the fear of disclosure, a lack of a safe arena to discuss one's sexual orientation, and the risk of self-harm are also addressed. Finally, the authors encourage professionals to follow local and national professional guidelines and policies for working with LGBTQ youth and individuals.

LGBTQ Youth and Sexual Abuse: Information for Mental Health Professionals is available on the National Child Traumatic Stress Network website:

http://www.nctsn.org/sites/default/files/assets/pdfs/lgbtq_tipsheet_for_professionals.pdf (1 MB)

Issue Date: June 2014
Section: Resources
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=158&articleid=4253


Campaign Against Child Sexual Exploitation

An online campaign to protect children from sexual predators was recently launched by the U.S. Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in partnership with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC). The project aims to curtail the growing threat of online child sexual exploitation. In 2012 alone, HIS opened more than 4,000 investigations into suspected predators.

The developmentally appropriate campaign, iGuardian, uses superhero characters and trading cards and includes outreach activities such as visits to schools where special agents offer children and parents tips for avoiding online exploitation. Internet safety and other prevention resources also are offered to families and the professionals with whom they work, including a smartphone app—the first of its kind for the Federal Government—for public help identifying fugitive and unknown suspect child predators.

Presentation requests can be sent via email to iguardian@ice.dhs.gov.

More information is available on the campaign's website:

http://www.ice.gov/cyber-crimes/iguardian.htm

Issue Date: June 2014
Section: Resources
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=158&articleid=4254


Training and Conferences

Arizona CASA Online Training Center

The Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Arizona offers an online training center with materials and resources to enhance the skills and capabilities of CASA volunteers. In addition to CASA-specific online training courses, which provide users with a certificate upon completion, the training center also offers online training courses outside CASA, including links to the following:

The CASA Arizona training center also offers links to articles and publications, podcasts, volunteer FAQs, and a form for training credit guidelines. 

Updates are made regularly, so users should check back often for new material:

http://www.azcourts.gov/casa/training.aspx

Issue Date: June 2014
Section: Training and Conferences
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=158&articleid=4255


Conferences

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

July 2014

August 2014

September 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: June 2014
Section: Training and Conferences
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=158&articleid=4256



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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.


Contact us at cb_express@childwelfare.gov.

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