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Children's Bureau ExpressOctober 2017 | Vol. 18, No. 7

Table of Contents
 

Spotlight on Collaboration and Data Sharing
Read about the important role collaboration in evidence-based practice has in preventing child neglect, an article that examines cross-collaboration between early intervention and child welfare systems in providing services to children with disabilities, an article about a model intervention that promotes infant-caregiver attachment and improved parenting capacity through the collaborative efforts of ancillary services, and a roadmap for strengthening the data linkages between the foster care and education systems to improve educational outcomes for students in foster care.

  • Collaborating to Sustain Evidence-Based Interventions to Reduce Child Neglect
  • Cross-Systems Collaborations Between Early Intervention and Child Welfare Systems
  • Infant-Caregiver Attachment Linked to Improved Child Welfare Outcomes
  • Roadmap for Improved Foster Care, Education System Data Sharing

News From the Children's Bureau
Read a recent report from the Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation that focuses on the term "curriculum" when applied to early education and care programs serving infants and toddlers as well as a listing of the latest updates to the Children's Bureau website.

  • Working Toward a Definition of Infant/Toddler Curricula
  • CB Website Updates

Child Welfare Research
We highlight a report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Adolescent Health that highlights how a school-based program designed to help teenage mothers improve their academic outcomes and educational attainment has increased school attendance and achievement and a report from the Kirwan Institute that acknowledges the potential benefits of using predictive analytics in child welfare as well as reasons to be wary of this practice, including the risk of perpetuating certain cognitive and structural biases.

  • High School Program for Expectant, Parenting Students Improves Academic Outcomes
  • Safeguards Against Misuse of Predictive Analytics

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.

  • Self-Assessment and Planning Tool for Nonprofits, Schools
  • Tools for Strengthening Families Leadership Teams

Resources
This section of CBX 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.

  • New Brief Links Childhood Trauma to Opioid Misuse
  • Comprehensive National, State Data on Early Childhood Home Visiting

Training and Conferences

  • Leadership Academy for Middle Managers
  • Conferences

Spotlight on Collaboration and Data Sharing

Collaborating to Sustain Evidence-Based Interventions to Reduce Child Neglect

Child neglect is the most prevalent form of child maltreatment and is responsible for nearly 80 percent of U.S. child welfare fatalities. Typically, evidence-based interventions (EBIs) have been applied to help address and prevent child neglect. The Child Abuse & Neglect article, "The Role of Collaborations in Sustaining an Evidence-Based Intervention to Reduce Child Neglect," highlights a study that found that the EBI SafeCare significantly reduces child neglect recidivism rates.

The study methods include descriptive quantitative surveys, qualitative interviews, and focus-group findings to examine the role of collaboration within the context of public-private partnerships in 11 child welfare systems that have implemented SafeCare. The participants of the study were government child welfare administrators and administrators from community-based organizations and supervisors, coaches, and home visiting staff from the SafeCare EBI.
The SafeCare study focuses on the following key points:

Five major, interrelated themes emerged as integral to supporting EBIs: shared vision, building on existing relationships, academic support, problem solving and resource sharing, and maintaining the collaboration over time. The authors conclude that the study provides evidence of the important role collaboration among stakeholders has on the implementation and sustainment of EBIs such as SafeCare, especially to avoid imbalances of power, disorganized operations, reduced accountability, and lack of cohesion.

"The Role of Collaborations in Sustaining an Evidence-Based Intervention to Reduce Child Neglect," by Amy E. Green, Elise Trott, Cathleen E. Willging, Natalie K. Finn, Mark G. Ehrhart, and Gregory A. Aarons (Child Abuse & Neglect, 53) is available at http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0145213415004354.

Issue Date: October 2017
Section: Spotlight on Collaboration and Data Sharing
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=190&articleid=5014


Cross-Systems Collaborations Between Early Intervention and Child Welfare Systems

Children who have disabilities experience a higher risk of maltreatment and often need support from multiple specialized services, such as early intervention services that focus on the development of children experiencing delays or disabilities and child welfare services that address their safety.
The article "'Not in the Same Sandbox': Cross-Systems Collaborations Between Early Intervention and Child Welfare Systems" from a recent issue of the Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal highlights a study that utilized a mixed-methods design to examine to what extent early intervention and child welfare systems collaborate to support young children with disabilities who have experienced maltreatment.

The study methods included using semistructured interviews to examine the systems level and an online survey to examine the program level. Participants in the systems-level interviews included a past president of a national early intervention professional organization, the vice president of a national child welfare professional organization, and state personnel working with the early intervention and child welfare systems. The interview questions were tailored to each participant and addressed research, policy, practice, preparation, and collaboration.

Participation in the program-level online surveys was limited to early intervention providers and service coordinators serving a large Midwestern urban area. The online survey used for these participants was based on the Professional Interventionist Child Abuse Protection and Treatment Act Survey, which was developed to assess three major concerns of early intervention providers working with children and parents involved with the child welfare system, including staff resources, optimally serving children referred from the child welfare system, and parent involvement.

The findings garnered from the interviews and the online survey indicate that participants from both the early intervention and child welfare systems agree that research efforts in their respective systems have not focused on young children with disabilities who have experienced maltreatment to the extent that they are receiving optimal support. In addition, there was a consensus that future cross-systems efforts should focus on identifying shared priorities, meaningful partnerships, clearly defined roles, and mutual resources.

"'Not in the Same Sandbox': Cross-Systems Collaborations Between Early Intervention and Child Welfare Systems," by Catherine Corr and Rosa Milagros Santos (Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal, 34), is available at https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10560-016-0470-4.
 

Issue Date: October 2017
Section: Spotlight on Collaboration and Data Sharing
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=190&articleid=5016


Infant-Caregiver Attachment Linked to Improved Child Welfare Outcomes

A model intervention that promotes infant-caregiver attachment shows promise for improving outcomes for babies and toddlers in the child welfare system, according to a recent article in Child Abuse & Neglect.

The Early Childhood Center of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine developed the Infant Parent Court Project model with New York City's Bronx Family Court. The model was created to address shortcomings in child welfare cases involving children under age 3, which were primarily a reliance on generic interventions that fail to recognize the importance of relationship-based therapy to the developing child. The model was tested in the Bronx, a New York City borough with high poverty and foster care rates.

The Infant Parent Court Project relies on evidence-based child-parent psychotherapy (CPP) as the core intervention for securing the emotional bonds and attachment between infant and primary caregiver. CPP focuses on teaching the parent how to read and respond to a baby's cues and understand infant and toddler developmental needs. The model emphasizes collaboration between CPP clinicians, judges, child welfare workers, attorneys, and mental health providers to promote informed case planning and permanency decisions.

The article evaluates the model using psychosocial measures and program outcome data and finds improved parenting interactions, increased rates of family reunification, fewer returns to foster care, and overall improved safety and well-being for families undergoing CPP. Additionally, the article reports that the project helped achieve a reunification rate of 86 percent, which is significantly higher than the nationally documented rate for infants and toddlers. The findings also show an improvement in participants' parenting capacity, which is attributed to collaborative efforts by ancillary services once their families' individual and complex needs were better understood.

"Improving Outcomes for Babies and Toddlers in Child Welfare: A Model for Infant Mental Health Intervention and Collaboration," by Susan Chinitz, Hazel Guzman, Ellen Amstutz, Joaniko Kohchi, and Miriam Alkon (Child Abuse & Neglect, 70) is available at http://ac.els-cdn.com/S0145213417302119/1-s2.0-S0145213417302119-main.pdf?_tid=dbeb5f7a-88dd-11e7-88eb-00000aacb362&acdnat=1503587392_bc7ef26336cfaca0fc9090d69ab8089c.
 

Issue Date: October 2017
Section: Spotlight on Collaboration and Data Sharing
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=190&articleid=5017


Roadmap for Improved Foster Care, Education System Data Sharing

The Legal Center for Foster Care and Education and the Data Quality Campaign have developed recommendations for strengthening the data linkages between the foster care and education systems to improve educational outcomes for students in foster care.

The recommendations identify several key focus areas that need attention to ensure high-quality data linkages between foster care and K-12 education systems, including the following:

The roadmap also includes several state examples of how the child welfare and education systems are successfully collaborating and sharing data.
The Legal Center for Foster Care and Education is a project of the American Bar Association Center on Children and the Law, the Education Law Center, and the Juvenile Law Center. The Data Quality Campaign is a nonprofit organization advocating for quality education data to inform decisions that will help students succeed.

Roadmap for Foster Care and K–12 Data Linkages: Key Focus Areas to Ensure Quality Implementation is available at https://2pido73em67o3eytaq1cp8au-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/DQC-Foster-Care-Roadmap-02282017.pdf (414 KB).
 

Issue Date: October 2017
Section: Spotlight on Collaboration and Data Sharing
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=190&articleid=5018


News From the Children's Bureau

Working Toward a Definition of Infant/Toddler Curricula

Research has shown that the first 3 years of a child's life is an important developmental period characterized by rapid brain development, reliance on relationships with adults and social interactions, and heightened responsiveness to environmental stimulation, making this period an ideal opportunity to make a long-term impact on a child's future outcomes.

The brief Working Toward a Definition of Infant/Toddler Curricula: Intentionally Furthering the Development of Individual Children Within Responsive Relationships, produced by the Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation and the Network of Infant/Toddler Researchers, focuses on the term "curriculum" when applied to early education and care programs serving infants and toddlers. The authors intend for this information to be useful for stakeholders in early childhood education, such as those who provide group care in home and center settings, including Early Head Start and Migrant and Seasonal Head Start programs.

According to the brief, existing definitions of infant/toddler curriculum combine content and teaching style. The curricular content for this age group usually includes planned experiences and activities aimed at supporting learning and that are based on the child's interests and abilities as well as their internal sleep/wake schedules. Infant and toddler curricula also include environmental aspects such as having appropriate materials aimed at supporting motor, social-emotional, cognitive, and language development.

The brief also discusses the implications of this definition for educators and researchers, how to measure and verify the implementation of an infant and toddler curriculum, current examples of the verification process, and implementation within the context of supportive and sustained relationships between educators and children's families.

The brief, Working Toward a Definition of Infant/Toddler Curricula: Intentionally Furthering the Development of Individual Children Within Responsive Relationships, is available at https://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/opre/nitr_report_v09_final_b508.pdf (4,434 KB).
 

Issue Date: October 2017
Section: News From the Children's Bureau
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=190&articleid=5019


CB Website Updates

The Children's Bureau website hosts 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 the following:

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

Issue Date: October 2017
Section: News From the Children's Bureau
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=190&articleid=5020


Child Welfare Research

High School Program for Expectant, Parenting Students Improves Academic Outcomes

A new report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Adolescent Health (OAH) shows a school-based program designed to help teenage mothers improve their academic outcomes and educational attainment has increased school attendance and achievement. The voluntary program encourages expectant and parenting students to attend and complete high school and offers both parenting and life skills classes as well as incentives for student academic achievement.

The New Heights program was initially launched in the 1990s at two of the largest high schools in Washington, DC, where the birth rate for Hispanic and African-American teens is 25 times higher than the rate for non-Hispanic white females. District of Columbia Public Schools expanded the New Heights program during the 2011-2012 school year to all large high schools to help expectant and parenting students with the challenges of pregnancy, parenthood, and completing high school.

Mathematica Policy Research evaluated the New Heights program on behalf of OAH and found positive impacts in all domains for the 2011–2015 period:

Raising the Bar: Impacts and Implementation of the New Heights Program is available at https://www.mathematica-mpr.com/our-publications-and-findings/publications/raising-the-bar-impacts-and-implementation-of-the-new-heights-program-for-expectant-and-parenting.

Issue Date: October 2017
Section: Child Welfare Research
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=190&articleid=5021


Safeguards Against Misuse of Predictive Analytics

A new report urges caution when using child welfare data to predict future trends and offers suggestions for safeguarding against its misuse. 
The 2017 report from the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity at Ohio State University acknowledges the potential benefits from using predictive analytics in child welfare (e.g., revealing patterns of social disparities and determining the best use of limited public and private resources). The report also offers reasons to be wary of this practice, including the risk of perpetuating certain cognitive and structural biases.

To guard against the misuse of predictive analytic tools, the report recommends the following:

Foretelling the Future: A Critical Perspective on the Use of Predictive Analytics in Child Welfare is available at http://kirwaninstitute.osu.edu/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/ki-predictive-analytics.pdf (209 KB).

Issue Date: October 2017
Section: Child Welfare Research
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=190&articleid=5022


Strategies and Tools for Practice

Self-Assessment and Planning Tool for Nonprofits, Schools

Improving family engagement and parent participation in programs serving children is the primary goal of a self-assessment and planning toolkit produced by the Annie E. Casey Foundation. The toolkit, geared toward leaders and staff from family-serving organizations, aims to address challenges to improving family and parental engagement in programs to help youth.

The self-assessment comprises the following four domains, each with its own set of relevant questions:

The toolkit also provides instructions on how to assess the results of the questionnaire as well as strategies to improve family and parental engagement in their programs.

Engaging Parents, Developing Leaders: A Self-Assessment and Planning Tool for Nonprofits and Schools is available at http://www.aecf.org/m/resourcedoc/AECF-EngagingParentsDevelopingLeaders-2016.pdf (202 KB).
 

Issue Date: October 2017
Section: Strategies and Tools for Practice
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=190&articleid=5023


Tools for Strengthening Families Leadership Teams

The Center for the Study of Social Policy released a toolkit for leading and coordinating Strengthening Families efforts across systems. Strengthening Families is a research-informed approach to increase family strengths, enhance child development, and reduce the likelihood of child abuse and neglect. The new toolkit reinforces the core functions of implementing Strengthening Families at any level and provides tools for reaching out to new partners.
The following resources are included:

Tools for Strengthening Families Leadership Teams is available at https://www.cssp.org/young-families-children-new/strengtheningfamilies/systems/tools-for-leadership-teams.

Issue Date: October 2017
Section: Strategies and Tools for Practice
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=190&articleid=5024


Resources

New Brief Links Childhood Trauma to Opioid Misuse

A recent brief highlighting the link between adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and opioid misuse contends that a trauma-informed approach will be essential to resolving the nation's opioid epidemic. The brief recommends the use of evidence-based therapeutic treatment programs to get at the roots of addiction and investment in both proven and promising substance use prevention and treatment strategies.

The June 2017 brief from the Campaign for Trauma-Informed Policy and Practice contends that any national strategy to combat the opioid crisis needs to include a trauma-informed approach to succeed. The brief points to one study linking ACEs with increased risk for prescription drug misuse and another showing that over 80 percent of patients seeking opioid addiction treatment suffered at least one form of childhood trauma. It notes that two-thirds of this group reported having witnessed violence.

The brief notes that a trauma-informed approach can help in two ways: programs that prevent trauma exposure and programs that use such approaches to help existing addicts heal, recover, and become productive.

Trauma-Informed Approaches Need to Be Part of a Comprehensive Strategy for Addressing the Opioid Epidemic is available at http://ctipp.org/Portals/0/xBlog/uploads/2017/7/17/CTIPP_OPB_No1.pdf (238 KB).

Issue Date: October 2017
Section: Resources
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=190&articleid=5025


Comprehensive National, State Data on Early Childhood Home Visiting

The National Home Visiting Resource Center issued its inaugural yearbook to compile comprehensive national and state data on early childhood home visiting and provide a snapshot of home visiting practice in 2017-including areas where needy families do not have access to this important support. Home visiting is a proven and cost-effective service delivery strategy associated with parent self-sufficiency, improved child health and school readiness, and greater child and family well-being.

The following are among the statistics:

James Bell Associates and the Urban Institute developed the report with support from the Heising-Simons Foundation and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

2017 Home Visiting Yearbook is available at https://www.nhvrc.org/wp-content/uploads/NHVRC_Yearbook_2017_Final.pdf (6,001 KB).

Issue Date: October 2017
Section: Resources
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=190&articleid=5026


Training and Conferences

Leadership Academy for Middle Managers

Learning to adapt to the ever-changing environment of child welfare is essential to being an effective middle manager. The National Child Welfare Workforce Institute (NCWWI) has developed a competency-based training module for middle managers who work in public and tribal child welfare systems as well as those who work for private agencies under contract with a state or county child welfare agency. The Leadership Academy for Middle Managers is based on the NCWWI Leadership Model.

This training module aims to help middle managers develop leadership skills for sustaining systems changes to improve outcomes for children, youth, and families through leadership competencies and then apply these leadership skills through a personalized professional development plan.
The training components include preparation and pretraining coaching, residential training and coaching, posttraining coaching, peer network and distance learning opportunities, and self-study or homework.

More information on the Leadership Academy for Middle Managers is available on the NCWWI website at https://ncwwi.org/index.php/teams-services/leadership-academy-for-middle-managers.

Issue Date: October 2017
Section: Training and Conferences
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=190&articleid=5027


Conferences

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November

December

Issue Date: October 2017
Section: Training and Conferences
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=190&articleid=5028



Articles in Children's Bureau Express are presented for informational purposes only; their inclusion does not represent an endorsement by the Children's Bureau or Child Welfare Information Gateway.

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


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