Children's Bureau ExpressNovember 2014 | Vol. 15, No. 10

Table of Contents
 

Spotlight on National Adoption Month
CBX spotlights this year's National Adoption Month initiative, features an article on the pilot Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children project, highlights a study comparing sibling groups receiving Neighbor To Family services with siblings groups in traditional foster care, and points to an examination of postadoption services provided by States.

  • November Is National Adoption Month
  • National Pilot to Support Interstate Placements of Children
  • Permanency for Sibling Groups: The Neighbor to Family Model
  • Postadoption Sibling Contact in New Jersey
  • Review of Postadoption Services in the United States
  • Characteristics of Adopted Children, Stepchildren

News From the Children's Bureau
This month's "Associate Commissioner's Page" features a conversation between the Associate Commissioner and a 2014 FosterClub All Star discussing the meaning of permanence to youth in foster care. We also highlight the new AFCARS report.

  • Associate Commissioner's Page
  • New AFCARS Report Released
  • CB Website Updates

Child Welfare Research
This month, CBX points to a research brief highlighting how consumers of child welfare research can access data from the field and use them to inform their work on issues related to vulnerable children and families. We also feature a bulletin examining national- and State-level disproportionality rates for children of color in foster care.

  • Child Welfare Data Sources
  • Children of Color and Disproportionality in Foster Care
  • Justice System Involvement and Out-of-Home Care Placement
  • Migration and Child Welfare
  • LGBTQ Youth in Maryland Education, Foster Care, Juvenile Justice

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.

  • Click for Babies to Prevent Infant Abuse
  • Confidentiality Toolkit Guides Cross-System Interoperability
  • New NCSACW Resources
  • Building Healthy Relationships to Improve Outcomes

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.

  • National CASA Association Annual Report
  • Serving Expectant, Parenting Youth in Foster Care
  • Respite Care State Factsheets
  • Sexual Exploitation, Trafficking Prevention

Training and Conferences

  • Online Adoption Courses
  • State and National Training Listings
  • Conferences

Spotlight on National Adoption Month

November Is National Adoption Month

November is National Adoption Month, a time to raise awareness about the urgent need for adoptive families for the 102,000 waiting children and youth in foster care. Funded by the Children’s Bureau, the National Adoption Month initiative is a partnership between AdoptUSKids and Child Welfare Information Gateway. The theme of this year's initiative is "Promoting and Supporting Sibling Connections," which draws attention to the critical nature of sibling bonds and their importance for children's development and emotional well-being.

In keeping with this year's theme, the National Adoption Month website features an infographic from AdoptUSKids that provides data on sibling groups who are or have been photolisted on AdoptUSKids and have subsequently been placed for adoption. The infographic also provides data on prospective adoptive families registered on the AdoptUSKids photolisting who are interested in adopting sibling groups.

The National Adoption Month website also provides resources to help adoption professionals recruit adoptive families, resources for all members of the adoption triad—also known as the adoption constellation—and a message from JooYeun Chang, Associate Commissioner of the Children's Bureau.

Visit the National Adoption Month website throughout November and follow us on Facebook and Twitter:

https://www.childwelfare.gov/adoption/nam/index.cfm#twtr=pro

Issue Date: November 2014
Section: Spotlight on National Adoption Month
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=162&articleid=4339


National Pilot to Support Interstate Placements of Children

By Anita Light, Sr. Deputy Executive Director, American Public Human Services Association

Children needing placements across State borders may see shorter wait times and States may realize cost reductions if a new pilot Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC) project is successful. The American Public Human Services Association (APHSA) and its affiliate, the Association of Administrators of the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (AAICPC), in partnership with the Administration for Children and Families (ACF), Administration on Children, Youth and Families (ACYF), Children's Bureau (CB), are currently implementing the National Electronic Interstate Compact Enterprise (NEICE) pilot through a cooperative agreement. NEICE aims to improve efficiency in the administration of the ICPC. It is anticipated that implementation of NEICE will result in significantly shorter case processing times, meaning children will be placed safely and securely across State borders more quickly. In addition, participating States will accrue cost savings through reductions in copying, mailing, and staff time.

Based on an electronic system developed by the State of Florida and modified through this project by the technical vendor, Tetrus Corporation, NEICE was implemented in August 2014. The six selected pilot States include Florida, Indiana, Nevada, South Carolina, Wisconsin, and the District of Columbia. NEICE allows the electronic processing and transmittal of all case information and documents required for an interstate placement. Tetrus is using national standards, the National Information Exchange Model (NIEM), that will ultimately allow information to be exchanged among all the State systems without the need for specific interfaces between each system. An Information Exchange Package Document (IEPD) has been created for the use of information technology professionals in the States. The IEPD translates data from child welfare data systems into a standardized format. This allows for the transfer of ICPC data and documents between States. The pilot is being evaluated by WRMA, and an advisory committee has been appointed to provide feedback on sustainability and to serve as ambassadors for full implementation of NEICE.

Although the pilot is still early in the implementation stage, initial numbers are promising. During the first 8 weeks of the pilot, 585 cases involving 716 children were created, and 81 cases were approved within that timeframe. The pilot is set to continue through April 2015, and APHSA and AAICPC are exploring options for taking the system nationwide. For more information, please see http://www.aphsa.org/content/AAICPC/en/actions/NEICE.html.

Issue Date: November 2014
Section: Spotlight on National Adoption Month
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=162&articleid=4340


Permanency for Sibling Groups: The Neighbor to Family Model

Research has shown that keeping siblings together when they enter foster care bolsters positive outcomes, including reducing the trauma they experience upon being removed from their homes. The Neighbor To Family (NTF) model was designed to help keep siblings together and in their own communities. The NTF model differs from traditional foster care in its use of caregivers who are employees of the child welfare agency and who are recruited and trained specifically to serve sibling groups. The NTF caregivers receive regular support from the agency (e.g., group supervision, onsite support, monthly support groups, respite care) and are full participants in the assessment process and in the development and implementation of care plans. They also coparent with the birth parents, extended families, and any prospective adoptive parents.

A recent article in Family in Society describes a study in Georgia that compares sibling groups receiving NTF services with siblings groups in traditional foster care. The results indicate that NTF has a variety of positive outcomes for sibling groups, including the following:

The study also showed the NTF model provided significant cost savings ($27,303) per child. "Neighbor to Family: Supporting Sibling Groups in Foster Care," by Jim Rast and Jessica Rast, Families in Society, 95(2), doi: 10.1606/1044-3894.2014.95.11, is available here:

http://www.alliance1.org/sites/default/files/fis/alliance_fis_rast_neighbortofamily.pdf (852 KB)

Issue Date: November 2014
Section: Spotlight on National Adoption Month
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=162&articleid=4341


Postadoption Sibling Contact in New Jersey

State law in New Jersey makes no provision for postadoption contact agreements between adoptive and birth families, so contact between an adopted child and his or her birth siblings is left to the discretion of the adoptive parents. A recent article published in the journal Law School Student Scholarship examines New Jersey State case law and Federal case law to make the argument that children in the New Jersey foster care system who have an established relationship with their siblings have the right to continued contact after adoption.

For example, current statutes in New Jersey establishes a child's right to be placed in the same home with his or her siblings or have continued visits if they need to be placed in separate homes or programs. In a recent New Jersey Supreme Court case, the court found that termination of the parents' parental rights does not in itself justify terminating day-to-day sibling contact. In fact, the court noted that the State continues to have an affirmative obligation to nurture sibling bonds, whether or not their parents' parental rights have been terminated.

After reviewing other State and Federal court opinions, the author concludes that additional State legislation is needed to strike a balance between the needs of adopted children to maintain precious sibling bonds and to safeguard the legal autonomy of adoptive parents. Law School Student Scholarship is an e-journal published by Seton Hall University.

"Siblings' Rights to Visitation Post-Adoption," by Esther Denise Meza, Law School Student Scholarship, is available here:

http://scholarship.shu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1529&context=student_scholarship (476 KB)

Issue Date: November 2014
Section: Spotlight on National Adoption Month
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=162&articleid=4342


Review of Postadoption Services in the United States

Postadoption services can be critical to successful adoptions, particularly those that include children from foster care who may have had traumatic life experiences. To better understand postadoption services in the States, the Donaldson Adoption Institute (DAI) conducted a study that examines the types of postadoption services States provide, who is eligible to receive them, and how they are funded. DAI staff specifically asked States about the availability of seven postadoption services: information and referral, education programs or materials, support programs, therapeutic and counseling interventions, advocacy, respite, and residential services.

The study authors placed the 49 participating States into three categories based on their postadoption services:

In the majority of States, only families including children adopted from foster care are eligible for postadoption services. However, in 21 States, postadoption services are open to all adoptive families. The report, provides profiles for each participating State as well as a set of recommendations to further develop postadoption services.

Supporting and Preserving Adoptive Families: Profiles of Publicly Funded Post-Adoption Services is available here:

https://chronicleofsocialchange.org/xpanel/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/ASAP-State-Study-Final.pdf (3 MB)

Issue Date: November 2014
Section: Spotlight on National Adoption Month
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=162&articleid=4343


Characteristics of Adopted Children, Stepchildren

A report released by the U.S. Census Bureau describes the characteristics of adopted children and stepchildren and compares them to characteristics of biological children. According to the report, about 7 percent of the 64.8 million children in the United States in 2010 lived with adoptive parents or stepparents.

The first section of the report provides estimates of the number of adopted children and stepchildren of the householder (defined as the person, or one of the people, in whose name the home is owned, being bought, or rented) and explains the various data sources used to obtain the information in the report. The geographic distribution of the children is illustrated through a U.S. map. The second section of the report provides a profile of the groups and discusses differences in characteristics among stepchildren, adopted children, and biological children, such as demographic patterns and disability and poverty status. In addition, this section contains tables that show the householder characteristics, such as income, education, and job status.

The report also explores the characteristics of transracially adopted children and internationally adopted children, as well as the characteristics of the adoptive parents. The summary notes some of the more outstanding differences among the groups; for instance, adopted children had the highest prevalence of disability and also lived in households that had higher incomes, a lower percentage in poverty, higher parent education, and a higher percentage who owned their homes than stepchildren or biological children. The authors suggest that many of these differences reflect the manner in which the children became family members.

Adopted Children and Stepchildren: 2010: Population Characteristics, U.S. Department of Commerce, Economics and Statistics Administration, U.S. Census Bureau, is available here: 

http://www.census.gov/content/dam/Census/library/publications/2014/demo/p20-572.pdf (1.7MB)

Issue Date: November 2014
Section: Spotlight on National Adoption Month
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=162&articleid=4344


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.

Many of us in the child welfare field use terms like "permanency" that may not mean much to the children, youth, and families with whom we work. About 10 years ago, I had the pleasure of talking with a group of FosterClub All Stars—youth who have successfully transitioned from foster care to independent living and help inspire positive transitions for their peers. During our conversation, it became clear that no one had taken the time to ask what permanency meant to them.

For this year’s National Adoption Month, I wanted to devote my page to the youth voice and raise awareness about the meaning of permanency. Below is my conversation with Amber, a young woman who was adopted from foster care at 17. She also is a 2014 FosterClub All Star. Amber's story is one of perseverance, hope, and most important, permanent and lifelong connections.

Joo: How did you come into contact with foster care, and what was your experience like?

Amber: I entered foster care when I was about 5 years old, and I don't know why. I was never told why. I was originally in foster care in Florida, but I made my way to Michigan when I was 10 or 11. That's when I went through my first adoption, after I went into kinship care with mom's youngest sister.

Joo: Did your caseworker ask if you if you wanted to be adopted by your aunt?

Amber: Being adopted was always part of my permanency plan, but I don't remember being asked. There wasn't much of a conversation with me about it. After I had been in foster care a few years and it was apparent that my mother couldn't take care of me and my sister, I was told at the spur of the moment that I was moving in 2 weeks. I had never met my aunt. I didn't know who she was. I had never been to Michigan and didn't know anyone else there. I was just told, "You're being adopted." After about 2 years, I ran away. It wasn't a good environment for me and I didn't have anyone to reach out to.

Joo: What about your sister? Did she leave with you?

Amber: No. I didn't want her to go through that. After my adoption was disrupted, I ended up in a group home and then back in foster care. My sister joined me, and we were placed together at first. It was tough, though. We had been used to living in one home for a while, and then we were put back into foster care where we didn't want to be. I felt betrayed. The one thing we really wanted was to be with our family, and having two people in my family who didn’t want me made me wonder if anyone cared. I wondered, "Was this their plan all along? Did I do something wrong? Am I a bad kid?" It was tough being constantly traumatized by being with so many families and not finding one to call home.

Joo: Were you able to stay in contact with your sister? 

Amber: She had a friend whose parents were interested in adopting her, but they didn't realize that she had an older sister, and they didn't want a "packaged deal." So, she was adopted by her parents, and I have not spoken to her in 5 years. I ended up being in so many homes myself that I lost track. But when I was about 16, I found my adoptive family. They found me through the Michigan Adoption Resource Exchange (MARE).

Joo: What does the word "permanence" mean to you? Do you feel like you have permanence, and when did you realize you had it? 

Amber: It means unconditional love and not necessarily with someone in your biological family. It doesn't matter that I have an adoptive mom or dad. I have that sense of permanence and that notion that no matter what, they're not going to leave me. No matter what, I'm not going to be left stranded. The first time I felt it was when I was in the courthouse on adoption day. When I was adopted the first time it was different because of jurisdictional issues. I couldn't be there for the hearing. But the second time, there was a feeling that it was real. I think I even got to bang the gavel!

My dad likes to say to me that he always knew I'd be their daughter. That was the greatest feeling I ever had. He likes to remind me a lot that he loves me. It's been 4 years, and I'm comfortable with the realization that I'm not going back in foster care.

Joo: Do you have any advice for children or youth who are in foster care and waiting to be adopted?

Amber: I would say don't give up. Age is just a number. I joke and say that I could be in my 40s and my parents would still adopt me. We as foster youth have so much against us and it seems easy for us to give up, but when there's an option for permanence—and it can be adoption, guardianship, permanent kinship care, a relationship with an awesome foster family—everyone has a shot at permanency. Just don't give up and keep going.

Joo: Do you have any advice for caseworkers? 

Amber: Don't give up. Plenty of caseworkers gave up on me because they thought I was a problem kid or could never get out of the system. Caseworkers are part of our support system. They play a big part in our lives and when they give up on us, it reinforces the idea that we're never going to have that sense of permanency. So, don't give up on your kids. They may give you a hard time now, but they'll be thankful for it in the long run. There was one person who didn't give up on me.

Joo: Do you have any advice for families interested in becoming foster or adoptive families?

Amber: Keep an open mind. There are plenty of bright and amazing people in the system who need help, whether they're 9, 17, or 15. They're just looking for a home, and the best thing you can do is to keep an open mind and an open heart.

Issue Date: November 2014
Section: News From the Children's Bureau
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=162&articleid=4345


New AFCARS Report Released

The Children's Bureau recently posted new statistics on the numbers of children involved with the child welfare system. Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS) Report #21 provides preliminary estimates for fiscal year (FY) 2013 and indicates that, as of September 30, 2013:

The updated Trends report, which compiles data from FY 2002 through FY 2014, shows a substantial decline in the number of children in foster care over the years. However, 2013 shows a slight increase over the prior year, from 397,000 in FY 2012 to 402,000 in FY 2013.

Find the latest AFCARS reports on the Children's Bureau website:

Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS) Report #21:

http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb/resource/afcars-report-21

Trends in Foster Care and Adoption FY 2002–FY 2014:

http://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/cb/trends_fostercare_adoption2013.pdf (128 KB)

Issue Date: November 2014
Section: News From the Children's Bureau
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=162&articleid=4346


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: November 2014
Section: News From the Children's Bureau
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=162&articleid=4347


Child Welfare Research

Child Welfare Data Sources

The State Policy Advocacy and Reform Center (SPARC) published a research brief highlighting how consumers of child welfare research can access data from the field and use them to inform their work on issues related to vulnerable children and families. The brief gives an overview for each of the relevant datasets used by the child welfare community. It includes information on Federal sources for child welfare data; other Federal data sources that provide contextual information about the broader population of children, families, and communities; and additional, non-Federal resources containing child welfare data.

For each of these Federal child welfare data sources, the brief provides detailed information on how to access the datasets, how the data can be utilized, and examples of reports with tabulated statistics from the data sources. The brief covers the following federally sponsored datasets specific to the population of children and youth involved with child welfare:

Datasets highlighted in the brief that pertain to the broader population of children and families and not just those involved with child welfare include the following:

The brief concludes with case study examples from Pennsylvania that illustrate how data can be used by child welfare advocates. Knowing the Numbers: Accessing and Using Child Welfare Data is available on the SPARC website:

http://childwelfaresparc.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/Knowing-the-Numbers.pdf (521 KB)

Issue Date: November 2014
Section: Child Welfare Research
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=162&articleid=4348


Children of Color and Disproportionality in Foster Care

A recently published bulletin from the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (NCJFCJ) uses the latest data from the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS) and 2010 census data to examine national- and State-level disproportionality rates for children of color in foster care. Nationwide data show that children of color are consistently represented in foster care at disproportionate rates, and these data can vary by State and even by county. For example, African-American and Native American children tend to be represented at higher rates than other child populations in most States, while some States exhibit a higher proportion of Hispanic/Latino children.

The bulletin also compares data on disproportionality rates from 2000 with data from 2012 to examine how rates have changed over time. Results indicate that overall disproportionality rates among African-American children decreased from 2.5 times the rate of the general population to 2 times the rate; the rate among Native American children increased from 1.5 to 2.4; and the overrepresentation of Hispanic/Latino children occurred in seven States in 2000 but in only five States as of 2012. The changes observed during these 12 years also varied by State, with some States reducing their disproportionality rates while others experienced rate increases; some States remained relatively consistent over the years, and others had rates change mainly for certain populations.

This bulletin is part of NCJFCJ's Disproportionality Rates for Children of Color in Foster Care Technical Assistance Bulletins series, which it has published since 2011. To learn more and to download this bulletin, visit the NCJFCJ website:

Disproportionality Rates for Children of Color in Foster Care (Fiscal Year 2012) Technical Assistance Bulletin:

http://www.ncjfcj.org/resource-library/publications/disproportionality-rates-children-color-foster-care-fiscal-year-2012

Issue Date: November 2014
Section: Child Welfare Research
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=162&articleid=4349


Justice System Involvement and Out-of-Home Care Placement

Youth who have been placed in out-of-home care are more likely to become involved with the justice system than their peers who have not been placed into care. A recent article published in the Journal of the Society for Social Work and Research assessed a sample of 794 youth in an urban Pennsylvania county who had been placed in out-of-home care to determine if they could be categorized based on their justice system involvement and if there were any predictors of their involvement.

The study authors identified five groups of youth based on their justice system involvement:

Except for the no/low-involved group, every other group had more males than females, especially the chronically involved group (93.4 percent male). African-American youth were more likely than Caucasian youth to be in the chronically involved (five times more likely) and short-term/highly involved (three times more likely) groups.

The grouping with which youth were identified also was affected by time in care and type of care. Youth in the no/low-involved group had the highest percentage of total time in foster homes (as opposed to congregate care) and the highest percentage of having been in only one placement type (foster home, group home, or regular residential). Additionally, having ever been in congregate care was a significant predictor for being in the chronically involved group.

"Developmental Trajectories and Predictors of Juvenile Detention, Placement, and Jail Among Youth With Out-of-Home Child Welfare Placement," by Karen Kolivoski, Jeffrey Shook, Sara Goodkind, and Kevin Kim, Journal of the Society for Social Work and Research, 5(2), doi: 10.1086/676520, is available here:

http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/676520

Issue Date: November 2014
Section: Child Welfare Research
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=162&articleid=4350


Migration and Child Welfare

The summer 2014 issue of FOCUS, the newsletter of the Foster Family-Based Treatment Association (FFTA), highlights migration and its implications for child welfare services in the United States. According to 2010 U.S. Census data, 40 million immigrants live in the United States today; children of these immigrants make up one-quarter of all children in the United States. Most of these children are U.S.-born citizens, often living in mixed-status families where the children are citizens, but one or both parents are not. This population, along with foreign-born children and youth who have experienced migration (e.g., immigrants, refugees, asylum-seekers, undocumented persons, or unaccompanied immigrant youth) have increasingly come to the attention of child welfare. The diverse cultural, ethnic, and religious backgrounds of these children, as well as their unique needs, requires culturally competent and respectful child welfare intervention and services.

Staff from the Migration and Child Welfare National Network (MCWNN), Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, the Migration and Refugee Services Department at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB/MRS), and the Institute for Women in Migration contributed articles to this issue. One article, "Meeting the Unique Needs of Unaccompanied Refugee and Migrating Children in Specialized Foster Care in the United States," by Anne Mullooly, M.S.S.W., and Kristyn Peck, M.S.W., of USCCB/MRS, briefly explains the Unaccompanied Refugee Minors (URM) program, developed in the 1970s to enable the placement of foreign-born children in community-based foster care in the United States. The children served by the program include refugees, asylees, abused and abandoned children, and victims of human trafficking, and some of their personal stories are shared. The article also discusses how URM adapts its service provision to meet the needs of this population, specifically, refugees and victims of human trafficking.

Other articles written by subject matter experts discuss:

A list of additional State and national migration and child welfare resources is also provided. To read more, access this issue of FOCUS, 20(3), 2014, on the FFTA website:

http://www.imis100us2.com/FFTA/New_FFTA_Content/Learn/FFTA_Publications.aspx

Issue Date: November 2014
Section: Child Welfare Research
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=162&articleid=4351


LGBTQ Youth in Maryland Education, Foster Care, Juvenile Justice

A June 2014 Youth Equality Alliance (YEA) report, Living in the Margins, examines the challenges lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) youth often encounter as they navigate the education, child welfare, and juvenile justice systems in Maryland. The report also highlights the State's current efforts to address the needs of this vulnerable and underserved youth population, and it provides recommendations for addressing these issues.

Bullying from peers, rejection (or fear of rejection) from family, and lack of assistance from misinformed and/or prejudiced school personnel and related professionals can have dire consequences for this marginalized population. For example, LGBTQ youth in out-of-home care settings may encounter hostility or indifference from case workers, foster families, and other youth because of institutional bias, lack of understanding and training, and intolerance. As a result, LGBTQ youth may be removed from or run away from their foster or group homes. Data from national studies are alarming and highlight these issues:

Recommendations for addressing these myriad challenges are provided for each area—education, foster care, and juvenile justice—and include three or more overarching recommendations that are presented in more specific bulleted lists of recommendations. Regarding the challenges faced by LGBTQ youth involved in the child welfare system, YEA proposes the following actions for the Maryland Department of Human Resources (DHR):

Appendices of terminology and report contributors are also included.

Living in the Margins: A Report on the Challenges of LGBTQ Youth in Maryland Education, Foster Care, and Juvenile Justice Systems is the first report developed by YEA. The full report is available on the Free State Legal Project website:

http://freestatelegal.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/YEA-Report-2014.pdf (1 MB)

Issue Date: November 2014
Section: Child Welfare Research
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=162&articleid=4352


Strategies and Tools for Practice

Click for Babies to Prevent Infant Abuse

This month kicks off an annual campaign sponsored by the National Center on Shaken Baby Syndrome (NCSBS) that brings together knitters from across the country to make purple baby caps and create awareness about the leading trigger of infant abuse—infant crying. The purple caps are given to new parents during the month of November, in addition to a video, booklet, and other educational materials about the Period of PURPLE Crying. The "click" in the campaign title is representative of the sound knitters make, in addition to the sound of mouse and keyboard clicks by users sharing and gaining information.

The Period of PURPLE Crying is an evidence-based infant abuse prevention program that educates both parents and caregivers about normal infant crying and the dangers of shaking an infant. The program aims to remind parents that all babies go through a normal period of increased crying in the first few months of life and that it is never okay to react to the crying by shaking or otherwise harming an infant.

To learn more, visit the Click for Babies campaign website:

http://www.clickforbabies.org

To learn more about shaken baby syndrome/abusive head trauma, visit:

http://www.dontshake.org/sbs.php?topNavID=3&subNavID=317

Issue Date: November 2014
Section: Strategies and Tools for Practice
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=162&articleid=4353


Confidentiality Toolkit Guides Cross-System Interoperability

New technologies and data systems have the capability of supporting cross-systems collaboration through improved information sharing among agencies, but only if the needed data are entered into the system. However, concerns about confidentiality requirements can often hinder data collection efforts.

To support efforts to improve the level of interoperability, the Department of Health and Human Services' Administration for Children and Families (ACF) created ACF's Interoperability Initiative. The Initiative has produced a new toolkit to provide guidance to States on improving the level of information sharing in the context of the laws and rules that govern confidentiality in ACF-supported programs. The toolkit specifically addresses how States can effectively share information among agencies that provide services to families while maintaining necessary levels of confidentiality.

For each program, applicable Federal legislation and regulations are described. In addition, the toolkit provides examples of how confidentiality requirements can be addressed and met in a manner fully consistent with governing laws and underlying policies. Sample Memoranda of Understanding and data sharing agreements also are provided.

Confidentiality Toolkit: A Resource Tool From the ACF Interoperability Initiative is available on the ACF website:

https://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/assets/acf_confidentiality_toolkit_final_08_12_2014.pdf (2 MB)

Issue Date: November 2014
Section: Strategies and Tools for Practice
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=162&articleid=4354


New NCSACW Resources

The National Center on Substance Abuse and Child Welfare (NCSACW) recently posted several new resources and materials, including new and updated webpages and a new webinar.

Issue Date: November 2014
Section: Strategies and Tools for Practice
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=162&articleid=4355


Building Healthy Relationships to Improve Outcomes

Teens and young adults need to develop a variety of life skills to help them attain life goals, both personal and economic. Education is a vital aspect of attaining these goals, and so is job training and career development. But there are other life skills that can significantly impact a young person's success, as well as the well-being of their own children. The Annie E. Casey Foundation published a report on the importance of healthy relationship skills in the economic success and well-being of disadvantaged teens and young adults. Child welfare and related professionals can help teens and youth find programs and services aimed at building healthy relationship skills to help ensure positive outcomes for both youth and their children.

The report summarizes research on the increase in births of children outside of marriage and its impact on a widening income gap and poor outcomes in children. In the past few years, the Foundation has worked on strategies aimed at helping pregnant and parenting youth form and maintain healthy, two-parent relationships or marriages (when desired and appropriate). Starting in 2007, the Foundation partnered with the National Crittenton Foundation (NCF) and YouthBuild USA on initiatives to work with and support youth in building healthy relationship skills. NCF offers life-skills training to girls who are at risk or system involved and, with the aid of a Foundation grant, is developing a curriculum on healthy relationships for residents in two pilot sites. A Federal project of the Department of Labor that helps youth earning their high school diploma or GED gain job skills, YouthBuild USA developed a healthy relationship curriculum with the support of another Foundation grant, which it tested with 6 pilot programs and later expanded to 10 more programs.

When pregnant and parenting teens and youth have the skills to recognize and build the foundations of healthy relationships, they improve their own chances for life success. When children have parents that are in stable relationships, they also tend to have more positive social and economic outcomes.

To learn more about Annie E. Casey's work on this topic, read More Than Jobs: Providing Disadvantaged Teens and Young Adults With Healthy Relationship Skills as a Strategy to Reduce Poverty and Improve Child Well-Being:

http://www.dibbleinstitute.org/NEWDOCS/reports/MoreThanJobs-SummaryReport.pdf (5 MB)

Issue Date: November 2014
Section: Strategies and Tools for Practice
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=162&articleid=4356


Resources

National CASA Association Annual Report

Outreach activities, community partnerships, and fund raising efforts are a few of the many highlights in Toward a Breakthrough Year: National Court Appointed Special Advocate Association 2013 Annual Report. In 2013, the National Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) Association provided training and other support to 951 State and local CASA programs. These programs supported the work of nearly 75,000 CASA volunteers, serving more than 238,000 children who experienced abuse and/or neglect nationwide.

In the aggregate, CASA volunteers provided 5.7 million hours of service, which would be worth approximately $285 million if compensated. Beyond these numbers, the report focuses on the mission of volunteer advocates who work to make a difference in the lives of the children they represent.

The report is presented on an interactive webpage that can be accessed on the CASA website:

http://nc.casaforchildren.org/apps/annualreport2013/index.html

Issue Date: November 2014
Section: Resources
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=162&articleid=4357


Serving Expectant, Parenting Youth in Foster Care

The Center for the Study of Social Policy (CSSP) developed a resource guide for States that aims to enhance knowledge about specific evidence-informed programs for expectant and parenting youth in foster care and their children. A compendium of evidence-informed programs serving this population was released by CSSP in 2011. Over the past 2 years, CSSP has worked in four jurisdictions (Knox County, TN; New York City, NY; Washington, DC; and Washington State) to improve child welfare systems serving expectant or parenting youth in foster care, and this new resource guide includes updated information about program efficacy.

The guide is organized by three major program categories: (1) parenting supports, including coparenting and fatherhood; (2) developmental supports for children and parents, including health care and trauma-informed interventions; and (3) preparation for adulthood, including education, housing, and employment. The impact of each program, intervention, and initiative is highlighted, and training curricula are described that can increase the capacity of professionals and resource parents to better serve this young population. Other related resources such as factsheets, reports, and toolkits are also included.

Expectant and Parenting Youth in Foster Care: A Resource Guide is available on the CSSP website:

http://www.cssp.org/reform/child-welfare/pregnant-and-parenting-youth/Expectant-and-Parenting-Youth-in-Foster-Care_A-Resource-Guide.pdf (2 MB)

Issue Date: November 2014
Section: Resources
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=162&articleid=4358


Respite Care State Factsheets

The ARCH National Respite Network and Resource Center has released a compendium of State factsheets highlighting key activities and programs of State Respite Coalitions affiliated with ARCH. These State coalitions are mandated partners in the operation of the Lifespan Respite Care Program, which is funded by the Administration for Community Living, Administration on Aging, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Available for 31 States and the District of Columbia, each factsheet identifies the unique aspects of State coalitions, including their involvement with their State's Lifespan Respite program, if applicable. The factsheets cover topic areas such as:

Although there are significant differences among States, nearly all State coalitions have an advocacy component, as well as a focus on networking, research, and public awareness. Additional documents and State contact information are also provided. 

The compendium was designed to promote information sharing among State respite coalitions; national, State, and local agencies; and legislators and administrators. 

ARCH State Respite Coalitions: A Compendium of Fact Sheets is available on the ARCH website:

http://archrespite.org/images/docs/Guides_Compendiums_2014/ARCH_State_Respite_Coalitions_2014.pdf  (2 MB)

Issue Date: November 2014
Section: Resources
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=162&articleid=4359


Sexual Exploitation, Trafficking Prevention

The Washington Coalition of Sexual Assault Programs recently released a resource guide for educators, parents, and community members on identifying and preventing commercial sexual abuse and trafficking of children. After the Washington State Legislature enacted a law in 2013 pertaining to training school employees on preventing sexual abuse, the coalition was tasked with developing and distributing educational materials to help inform jurisdictions about abuse and trafficking. This resource guide is one such resource developed by the collaborative coalition.

The guide is intended to inform readers about:

Definitions of sexual exploitation and trafficking, information about resources to assist victims, and information about Washington State laws on trafficking, exploitation, and abuse also are included in the guide.

Commercial Sexual Exploitation, Abuse and Trafficking of Children and Youth: A Prevention and Intervention Resource Guide for Educators, Parents and Community Members is available here:

http://www.k12.wa.us/safetycenter/CSEC/pubdocs/Sexual-Exploitation-and-Trafficking-of-Children-and-Youth.pdf  (780 KB)

Issue Date: November 2014
Section: Resources
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=162&articleid=4360


Training and Conferences

Online Adoption Courses

Adoption Learning Partners provides an array of web-based educational adoption resources for child welfare professionals, adoptive and prospective adoptive parents and families, and adopted persons. The interactive, e-learning courses are designed to increase each individual's understanding of domestic, intercountry, and foster care adoption, as well as the joys and challenges associated with each.

Each month, Adoption Learning Partners features a course or webinar costing $10. The October feature is "Expert Advice on Your Top 5 Attachment Concerns." The website also features a Hague Package and a Hague Package China Edition, which provides coursework that meets the Hague training requirements.

In addition to the variety of online courses, Adoption Learning Partners also provides training and tools for adoption professionals, a number of articles and papers that may be downloaded for free, webinars, and a community forum. The Bite Sized Tips section provides short videos with tips for adoptive parents. Links to the organization's twitter and Facebook feeds also are available.

For more information, including a full list of courses, fees, and credit hours, visit the Adoption Learning Partners' website:

http://www.adoptionlearningpartners.org/index.cfm

Issue Date: November 2014
Section: Training and Conferences
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=162&articleid=4362


State and National Training Listings

Child Welfare Information Gateway offers two resource lists of organizations that offer training, including online training, for child welfare workers and related professionals.

Issue Date: November 2014
Section: Training and Conferences
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=162&articleid=4363


Conferences

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

December 2014

January 2015

February 2015

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: November 2014
Section: Training and Conferences
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=162&articleid=4361



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