Children's Bureau ExpressMarch 2018 | Vol. 19, No. 2

Table of Contents
 

Spotlight on In-Home Services
In-home services prioritize family preservation and include community-based and family-focused interventions that aim to keep children safely in their homes. This month's CBX highlights a new book centered on the Homebuilder's model, an in-home intervention that provides families with counseling, life skills education, and other tools geared toward family preservation; an article that describes an evaluation of the Boys Town In-Home Family Services model; an article that discusses whether a referral to family group conferencing was associated with improved outcomes for families involved with child welfare; and a study that focuses on the differences in child well-being among children investigated for maltreatment who remained at home with a substance-using caregiver compared with children investigated for maltreatment without a substance-using caregiver in the home.

  • Intensive Family Preservation in Human Services
  • Evaluation of Boys Town In-Home Family Services With Families Referred by Child Welfare
  • Evaluation of Family Group Conferencing and Its Effects on Rereferrals and Out-of-Home Placements
  • Well-Being Outcomes and Co-Occurring Parental Substance Use Following a Maltreatment Investigation

News From the Children's Bureau
We highlight the 2016 Adoption Savings report, which compiles data from state and tribal title IV-E agencies' reported adoption savings as well as background information on adoption savings requirements; a new six-part video series covering the National Youth in Transition Database (NYTD) and the NYTD Review; the newly released Child Maltreatment 2016 report; and a list of the latest updates to the Children's Bureau website.

  • Adoption Savings Information for Federal Fiscal Year 2016
  • Introduction to the National Youth in Transition Database Video Series
  • Child Maltreatment 2016 Report Released
  • CB Website Updates

Child Welfare Research
Read a report that aims to evaluate and understand integrated approaches for simultaneously improving family self-sufficiency and child well-being by examining existing programs and research needs, a survey of state independent living coordinators that offers a detailed look at the services and supports provided to young people transitioning from foster care, and a report that focuses on the Educating Fathers for Empowering Children Tomorrow program and its effort to improve children's well-being through helping fathers become more involved and educated and increasing protective factors by investing in fatherhood programs across the state.

  • Assessing Programs Combining Support for Parent Self-Sufficiency, Child Well-Being
  • State Trends in Providing Services to Youth Transitioning From Foster Care
  • Fatherhood EFFECT Evaluation Final Report

Strategies and Tools for Practice
This section of CBX offers publications, articles, reports, toolkits, and other resources that provide either evidence-based strategies or other concrete help to child welfare and related professionals.

  • Intimate Partner Violence in Child Welfare
  • Coparenting Resources and Best Practices for Service Providers

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.

  • Tip Sheet to Help Incarcerated Parents Plan for Visits From Children
  • What Is Complex Trauma? A Resource Guide for Youth and Those Who Care About Them

Training and Conferences

  • PRIDE Model of Practice
  • Conferences

Spotlight on In-Home Services

Intensive Family Preservation in Human Services

A new book, Reaching High-Risk Families: Intensive Family Preservation in Human Services, focuses on the Homebuilders model, which is an intensive, in-home intervention that provides families with children at risk of out-of-home placement with counseling, life skills education, and other tools geared toward family preservation.

This 10-chapter book, available in both electronic and hardcopy formats, focuses on the social work discipline and the implications for professional social work education and family-centered curricula in areas such as social policy; direct practice; program design, management, and implementation; and practice research, theory, and prevention.

Chapters include "The Implications of Family Preservation as Placement Prevention," "Theories Guiding Home-Based Intensive Family Preservation," "Designing and Managing Family Preservation Services," and more.

To purchase the book, go to https://books.google.com/books?isbn=1351494767.

Issue Date: March 2018
Section: Spotlight on In-Home Services
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=194&articleid=5077


Evaluation of Boys Town In-Home Family Services With Families Referred by Child Welfare

Child maltreatment is a risk factor for a wide range of negative physical and psychological consequences that can persist into adulthood, including substance use, depression, poor relationship skills, academic difficulties, and more. Further, parents who have experienced maltreatment themselves are at risk of maltreating their children, perpetuating the cycle of abuse and neglect.

A recent study published in the Journal of Evidence-Informed Social Work describes an evaluation of the Boys Town In-Home Family Services (IHFS) model implemented with families who have been referred by a child welfare agency for having a history of child maltreatment. Boys Town IHFS is a reactive (i.e., to prevent recurrence and reduce negative outcomes), home-based, and family-centered approach to dealing with maltreatment within families that aims to preserve families, improve family functioning, and prevent future occurrences of maltreatment and involvement with child welfare.

A total of 135 participants were selected from parents referred to IHFS by a state child welfare agency in the Midwest because of suspected child maltreatment. Participants completed an intake questionnaire as well as the following parent-report questionnaires: The Addiction Severity Index-Lite, which is a 124-item semistructured interview designed to measure alcohol and drug use, medical and psychiatric health, employment status, family relations, and illegal activity, and the Strength and Stressors questionnaire, which is a 35-item interview designed to assess environment, social support, parental capabilities, family interactions, family safety, and child well-being. Participants were also required to complete a discharge questionnaire at the conclusion of the evaluation.

The results of the interviews and questionnaires indicated that, at intake, 15 percent of parents reported they received formal substance use treatment; 36 percent reported that they had tried methamphetamines at least once; 35 percent reported at least one criminal conviction; and 57 and 41 percent, respectively, reported that they were victims of physical and sexual abuse. In terms of the IHFS evaluation, according to the Strengths and Stressors questionnaire there was a statistically significant reduction in perceived child and family stressors between intake and the end of the evaluation, with the largest effects seen in the domains of family safety, parental capabilities, and environmental factors. Because a main component of IHFS is parental training, relief from stressors may be attributed to improved parenting.

These findings show the importance of building an evidence base for and conducting more rigorous research on widely disseminated programs, like IHFS, using randomized controlled trials with larger sample sizes, which will allow researchers to gauge which families respond best to IHFS; longer-term follow-up assessments; and multisource and multimethod assessment approaches to rule out parental self-report bias.

The article "Evaluation of Boys Town In-Home Family Services With Families Referred by Child Welfare," by Gilbert R. Parra, Jordan R. Ross, Jay L. Ringle, Natalie R. Samson, & Ronald W. Thompson (Journal of Evidence-Informed Social Work, 13), is available at https://www.researchgate.net/publication/297674696_Evaluation_of_Boys_Town_In-Home_Family_Services_with_Families_Referred_by_Child_Welfare.
 

Issue Date: March 2018
Section: Spotlight on In-Home Services
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=194&articleid=5078


Evaluation of Family Group Conferencing and Its Effects on Rereferrals and Out-of-Home Placements

A recent article in Child Abuse & Neglect describes a 3-year randomized controlled study that aimed to determine whether a referral to family group conferencing (FGC) was associated with improvements in three outcomes of interest: rereferrals (i.e., repeat referrals after the initial referral), substantiated rereferrals (when child protective services [CPS] has reasonable cause to believe a child has been abused or neglected), or out-of-home placements among families receiving in-home child welfare services.

Data for the study were collected from two neighboring counties in a large western state that participated in a multiyear evaluation of the use of family meetings for child welfare in-home services. A total of 542 families were included in the study, 270 randomly assigned to the treatment group (receiving FGC) and 272 randomly assigned to the comparison group. After a caseworker referred a family in the treatment group for FGC, a date was set for the FGC to take place, which was usually between 1 and 279 days after the referral, with an average of 41 days after the FGC referral. Meeting logs, developed by the researchers, tracked treatment and control groups and determined if the FGC occurred and who participated. For families participating in FGC, researchers tracked rereferrals to CPS, substantiated rereferrals, and out-of-home placements beginning 1 day after the family's FGC and throughout the rest of the study period.

Results of the study include the following:

The article suggests that, controlling for other case factors, participation in FGC did not have a statistically significant effect on the outcomes of rereferral, substantiated rereferral, or out-of-home placement. However, researchers do not suggest increasing child welfare system involvement and intervention. Rather, these findings may indicate that the FGC model may not be necessary during this phase of service to produce certain outcomes and that children remain safe as measured by substantiation and placement provision.

"Effectiveness of Family Group Conferencing in Preventing Repeat Referrals to Child Protective Services and Out-of-Home Placements," by Dana M. Hollinshead, Tyler W. Corwin, Erin J. Maher, Lisa Merkel-Holguin, Heather Allan, and John D. Fluke (Child Abuse & Neglect, 69), is available at http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0145213417301709.
 

Issue Date: March 2018
Section: Spotlight on In-Home Services
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=194&articleid=5079


Well-Being Outcomes and Co-Occurring Parental Substance Use Following a Maltreatment Investigation

Parental substance use can have a wide range of negative consequences for children, such as an elevated risk of abuse and neglect, as well as poor mental, emotional, physical, and developmental outcomes. A recent article in Children and Youth Services Review describes a study that aims to understand the differences in child well-being among families investigated for maltreatment with children who remained at home with a substance-using caregiver compared with families investigated for maltreatment with children who remained at home without a substance-using caregiver in the home.

The study used nationally representative data of children aged 6-12 who lived in a home with at least one substance-using biological or adoptive parent versus children who lived at home with parents who did not use substances. These data were gleaned from a secondary analysis of the second National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being (NSCAW II), which included all children in the United States who were investigated for child abuse and neglect by child protective services. Items from the NSCAW II Caregiver and Caseworker instruments were used in the study, as they are the appropriate instruments for assessing well-being in middle childhood. In addition, information about caregiver substance use was collected from the Caseworker instrument, which was completed by the caseworker responsible for the child's maltreatment investigation.

Findings from the study indicate that there was no difference in well-being between children who remained at home with substance-using parents and those whose parents did not use substances. These results were a departure from the researchers' initial hypothesis that among children investigated for maltreatment and remaining at home, those with substance-using parents would show lower mean levels of well-being at the 36-month follow up compared with children whose parents did not use substances. Furthermore, because there were no significant deficiencies in well-being among the children in the study, researchers suggest that at-home care, with or without a substance-using caregiver in the house, may still be the most beneficial approach to child welfare.

These findings may have implications for out-of-home placement practices. The researchers suggest that although agencies should continue to adequately screen for risk factors, it may be more beneficial to keep the child at home and preserve the family with a proper safety plan in place, since out-of-home placements can have negative effects for children, especially when multiple placements occur.  

"Remaining Home: Well-Being Outcomes and Co-Occurring Parental Substance Use Following a Maltreatment Investigation in Middle Childhood," by Rebecca Orsi, Samantha M. Brown, Kelly E. Knight, and Audrey M. Shillington (Children and Youth Services Review, 84), is available at https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0190740917307405.
 

Issue Date: March 2018
Section: Spotlight on In-Home Services
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=194&articleid=5080


News From the Children's Bureau

Adoption Savings Information for Federal Fiscal Year 2016

Since federal fiscal year (FFY) 2015, title IV-E agencies have been required to determine and report their annual adoption savings, which are the funds resulting from savings agencies achieve by applying the expanded title IV-E program eligibility criteria to applicable children. Agencies are required by law to spend an amount equal to what they saved on other child welfare services permitted under titles IV-B and IV-E of the Social Security Act. This 2016 report compiles data from state and tribal title IV-E agencies' reported adoption savings as well as background information on adoption savings requirements.

Some highlights from the report include:

Information on each title IV-E agency's Adoption Savings and expenditure information are also included in two tables. The report, Federal Fiscal Year 2016 Adoption Savings Plan, is available at http://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/cb/adoption_savings_data_2016.pdf (198 KB).
 

Issue Date: March 2018
Section: News From the Children's Bureau
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=194&articleid=5081


Introduction to the National Youth in Transition Database Video Series

A new six-part video series covering the National Youth in Transition Database (NYTD) and the NYTD Review, a federal review conducted by the Children's Bureau, is now available. NYTD collects information on youth in foster care and their outcomes when they age out, while the NYTD Review focuses on evaluating how states collect and report that data. These short, animated videos break NYTD and the review system down into easily understandable concepts. By taking the time to define jargon and explain exactly what is collected and the processes involved, these videos can be a valuable resource to educate youth, families, and others about NYTD.

This video series includes the following sections:

The video series, developed and produced by the Administration for Children and Families, is available at https://www.acf.hhs.gov/cb/resource/nytd-video-series.
 

Issue Date: March 2018
Section: News From the Children's Bureau
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=194&articleid=5082


Child Maltreatment 2016 Report Released

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released the 27th report in a series of annual reports designed to provide state-level data from the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System. Child Maltreatment 2016 includes information on reports of abuse and neglect made to child protective services (CPS) agencies, the children involved, types of maltreatment, CPS responses, child and caregiver risk factors, services, and perpetrators.

Highlights of the 2016 report include the following:

The full report is available on the Children's Bureau website at https://www.acf.hhs.gov/cb/resource/child-maltreatment-2016.
 

Issue Date: March 2018
Section: News From the Children's Bureau
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=194&articleid=5093


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: March 2018
Section: News From the Children's Bureau
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=194&articleid=5092


Child Welfare Research

Assessing Programs Combining Support for Parent Self-Sufficiency, Child Well-Being

A new report seeking to evaluate and understand integrated approaches for simultaneously improving family self-sufficiency and child well-being examines existing programs and research needs. While a parent with job and financial security may be better equipped than one who is poor and unemployed to provide the care a child needs to succeed, innovative programs that combine services for adults, children, and families to increase self-sufficiency and child well-being have not been rigorously evaluated.

The report, Exploration of Integrated Approaches to Supporting Child Development and Improving Family Economic Security, is part of a project launched in 2015 to evaluate and inform future investment in innovative programs for adults, children, and families. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Administration for Children and Families funded the project conducted by Mathematica Policy Research and Northwestern University's Institute for Policy Research.

The project included the following components:

The report's findings include the following:

The report is available at https://www.acf.hhs.gov/opre/resource/exploration-integrated-approaches-supporting-child-development-improving-family-economic-security.
 

Issue Date: March 2018
Section: Child Welfare Research
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=194&articleid=5083


State Trends in Providing Services to Youth Transitioning From Foster Care

A new survey of state independent living coordinators offers a detailed look at the services and supports provided to young people transitioning from foster care. The nationwide survey, conducted by Child Trends with support from the Better Housing Coalition and Children's Home Society of Virginia, finds that the availability of affordable and transitional housing is a primary concern for youth aging out of foster care.

The 2016 survey collected data from independent living coordinators in 47 of the 52 states and territories that were contacted. Survey responses addressed state trends in six major service areas: postsecondary education; employment and career development; financial capability; safe, stable, and affordable housing; health and mental health care; and permanent relationships with supportive adults.

Major findings include the following:

Supporting Young People Transitioning From Foster Care: Findings From a National Survey is available at https://www.childtrends.org/publications/supporting-young-people-transitioning-foster-care-findings-national-survey/.
 

Issue Date: March 2018
Section: Child Welfare Research
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=194&articleid=5084


Fatherhood EFFECT Evaluation Final Report

The Child and Family Research Partnership (CFRP) has released a new, comprehensive report on supporting father involvement: Fatherhood EFFECT Evaluation Final Report: A Comprehensive Plan for Supporting Texas Fathers and Families. The report focuses on the Educating Fathers for Empowering Children Tomorrow (EFFECT) program and its effort to improve children's well-being through helping fathers become more involved and educated and increasing protective factors by investing in fatherhood programs across the state.

Research has shown that children with involved fathers have more positive outcomes across a variety of domains than children without an involved father. However, many fathers face barriers to being the father they want to be. While there are many programs that support fathers, evidence of these programs' efficacy has been limited. CFRP focused their evaluation on four EFFECT program participants during two rounds of evaluation: Baptist Child and Family Services (BCFS) and the Child Crisis Center of El Paso (EFFECT I, launched in 2013) and NewDay Services and the Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston (EFFECT II, launched in 2015).

In this report, CFRP evaluates the EFFECT program and the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, Prevention and Early Intervention Division's (PEI's) efforts with three tiers:

The findings of the evaluation indicate that meeting the needs of fathers could be challenging because the range and variety of their needs (e.g., housing, mental health, and legal needs) were difficult to meet in a classroom-based program. Additionally, the voluntary nature of the program, among other challenges such as transportation and work schedules, made participation difficult. This highlighted a need that programs and policies should be more comprehensive and focus on the whole family as well as fathers and should work with other state and program providers to try and remove these barriers.

With over 70 programs offered in Texas through federal, state, and local funding, there is a large opportunity for collaboration. CFRP recommends that fatherhood programs be strengthened in the following ways:

The report, Fatherhood EFFECT Evaluation Final Report: A Comprehensive Plan for Supporting Texas Fathers and Families, is available at https://childandfamilyresearch.utexas.edu/sites/default/files/CFRPReport_R0140817_FatherhoodEFFECT.pdf (4,460 KB).
 

Issue Date: March 2018
Section: Child Welfare Research
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=194&articleid=5085


Strategies and Tools for Practice

Intimate Partner Violence in Child Welfare

Approximately one-third of all families who become involved with child protective services experience intimate partner violence (IPV) in the year preceding their involvement with the child welfare system. Because of this significant co-occurrence, it is important for child welfare workers to have the knowledge and skills to gauge children's exposure to IPV and implement practice considerations to mitigate the negative consequences of exposure to violence, including the potential for child maltreatment.

A recent issue of Practice Notes, a product of the Center for Advanced Studies in Child Welfare, discusses how exposure to IPV manifests in children of various ages. For infants, IPV exposure has been associated with eating and sleeping problems, lack of physical responses, and loss of previously acquired developmental skills. Preschool-aged children may show increased behavioral problems, such as irritability, regressed behavior, and even posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms. Children in school may exhibit aggression and disobedience, depression, fear and anxiety, and interpersonal conflict with peers. Adolescents exposed to IPV are at risk of emotional problems related to depression, increased aggression, and suicidal thoughts and behaviors.

The brief provides the following six key practice considerations for social workers and supervisors based on UNICEF recommendations:

The brief also provides a case example; reflection questions, such as "How do you assess for children's exposure to IPV in your day-to-day practice?"; and additional resources.

Intimate Partner Violence in Child Welfare is available at https://www.cascw.org/portfolio-items/intimate-partner-violence-in-child-welfare-pn-29/.
 

Issue Date: March 2018
Section: Strategies and Tools for Practice
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=194&articleid=5086


Coparenting Resources and Best Practices for Service Providers

Positive coparenting is a collaborative relationship that involves sharing the responsibilities and goals associated with raising a child. Children who are exposed to positive coparenting are less likely to exhibit externalizing problem behaviors, such as aggression, hyperactivity, and poor social skills. Positive coparenting is also associated with increased father involvement, particularly among nonresident fathers.

The Office of Adolescent Health recently released a resource for youth-serving professionals who support young parents and offers the following best practices for programs that offer coparenting services:

The brief also provides a listing of coparenting resources, as well as evidence-informed programs and other sources of information to help young parents.

Co-Parenting: Resources and Best Practices for Service Providers is available at https://www.hhs.gov/ash/oah/sites/default/files/coparenting-resources.pdf (389 KB).
 

Issue Date: March 2018
Section: Strategies and Tools for Practice
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=194&articleid=5087


Resources

Tip Sheet to Help Incarcerated Parents Plan for Visits From Children

A new tip sheet from YOUTH.gov is designed to help incarcerated parents anticipate issues that may arise during visitations with their children so the visits are more positive and productive for all.

The tip sheet outlines questions that an incarcerated parent should think through before the visit, including the following:

It also includes useful pointers to consider during a visit, including the following:

Postvisit tips include the following:

Tip Sheet for Incarcerated Parents: Planning for a Visit From Your Child/Children is available at https://youth.gov/sites/default/files/COIP-TipSheet-Parents_Visits_508.pdf (158 KB).
 

Issue Date: March 2018
Section: Resources
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=194&articleid=5088


What Is Complex Trauma? A Resource Guide for Youth and Those Who Care About Them

Many times, children and youth may have difficulty expressing how they feel or are affected by the negative things happening in their lives. The National Child Traumatic Stress Network developed a guide specifically for youth who have experienced complex trauma to help them get a better understanding of what it is and how it effects them. Complex trauma, or trauma that combines two or more forms of trauma exposure, such as sexual, physical, or emotional abuse; neglect; or domestic violence, among others, and its effects can be difficult for a child to understand or voice to adults. Clinicians, caregivers, and other adults can use this guide to help start and direct a conversation with youth about what complex trauma is, how it can impact them, and what coping strategies youth can use.

The resource guide is divided into the following sections:

This resource guide uses graphics and tables with examples of some possible thoughts youth may encounter and coping strategies they may be using and the reasons behind them. The guide also includes several activities youth can complete that can help them work through their feelings, explore how they believe complex trauma has affected them, reflect on how they coped with trauma in the past, and brainstorm actionable ways to help themselves recover and thrive.

The resource guide, What Is Complex Trauma? A Resource Guide for Youth and Those Who Care About Them, can be found at http://www.nctsn.org/products/what-complex-trauma-resource-guide-youth-and-those-who-care-about-them.
 

Issue Date: March 2018
Section: Resources
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=194&articleid=5089


Training and Conferences

PRIDE Model of Practice

Child Welfare League of America, in collaboration with FosterParentCollege.com, has released the New Generation PRIDE Model of Practice. This 14-step model of practice was developed to help child welfare agencies support foster and adoptive families as team members in child protection and trauma-informed care. The training opportunity features dynamic, interactive adult learning methods and integrates in-person group sessions, family assessment (home study) consultations, and online self-paced training to meet the needs of diverse families.

The New Generation PRIDE Model of Practice is based on the following five core competency categories:

The training aims to strengthen the quality of family foster care and adoption service by educating communities about the importance of resource families; recruiting families based on a comprehensive, strengths-and-needs plan; providing in-person or online, preservice training with information and skill building around the five core competencies; integrating preservice training as an essential component of the mutual family assessment (home study) process; and more.

More information on the New Generation PRIDE Model of Practice is available at https://www.cwla.org/pride-training/.
 

Issue Date: March 2018
Section: Training and Conferences
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=194&articleid=5090


Conferences

Upcoming conferences and events focusing on child welfare include the following:

March

April

May

Issue Date: March 2018
Section: Training and Conferences
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=194&articleid=5091



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