Children's Bureau Express08 2003 | Vol. 4, No. 6

Table of Contents
 

News From the Children's Bureau

  • HHS Assistant Secretary Testifies Before Congress on the President's Child Welfare Proposal
  • Keeping Children and Families Safe Act of 2003 Signed Into Law
  • Tools for Leaders: National Child Welfare Resource Center for Organizational Improvement

Child Welfare Research

  • Seeking Causes: Racial Disproportionality in Child Welfare
  • Evaluation of Family Preservation and Reunification
  • New Research Sheds Light on Kinship Care Issues
  • Former Foster Youth Spend Summer on Capitol Hill

Strategies and Tools for Practice

  • Building Successful Collaborations Between Child Welfare and Substance Abuse Treatment
  • Meeting the Challenge: Recruiting and Retaining Quality Staff

Resources

  • National Review of State Child Protective Services Policies
  • Parenting Newsletters Provide the Right Information at the Right Time
  • Compassion Capital Fund Website Launches
  • Creative Funding for Domestic Violence and Child Abuse Programs

Training and Conferences

  • Managing for Results in Child Welfare
  • Conferences

News From the Children's Bureau

HHS Assistant Secretary Testifies Before Congress on the President's Child Welfare Proposal

The President's proposal for improving the child welfare system was the focus of testimony delivered by Wade F. Horn, Ph.D., U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Assistant Secretary for Children and Families, to a House subcommittee on June 11. The proposal, included in the President's 2004 Budget, allows States the option to receive their foster care funding as a flexible grant for a period of 5 years or to maintain their programs as currently funded.

In his testimony before the Subcommittee on Human Resources of the House Committee on Ways and Means, Dr. Horn noted the Child Welfare Program Option "responds to criticisms about the current structure for addressing the needs of at-risk children and families and the Administration's desire to support innovation in addressing this critical issue."

Under the new proposal, States could use the funds for a much broader range of programs than permitted under the current funding structure, including foster care payments, prevention activities, permanency efforts (including subsidized guardianships), case management, administrative activities (including developing and operating State information systems), training, and other service-related child welfare activities. States could also receive up-front funding to develop innovative programs that would result in cost savings in later years.

States selecting the Child Welfare Program Option would still need to maintain child safety protections required under current Federal law, including those addressed in the Adoption and Safe Families Act. Though States would commit to the new funding structure for the full 5-year period, they would be able to access additional funding in a crisis through the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) contingency fund.

"The proposal would provide States with the flexibility to develop a child welfare system that supports a continuum of services to families in crisis and children at risk while removing the administrative burden of many of the current Federal requirements," said Dr. Horn. He concluded, "We believe this proposal will result in the development of innovative child welfare programs that ultimately will better serve vulnerable children."

Dr. Horn's testimony was followed by a panel of invited witnesses that included:

A complete version of testimony by Dr. Horn and other witnesses is available on the Committee on Ways and Means website at http://waysandmeans.house.gov/hearings.asp?formmode=detail&hearing=71.

Issue Date: 08 2003
Section: News From the Children's Bureau
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=44&articleid=713


Keeping Children and Families Safe Act of 2003 Signed Into Law

On June 25, 2003, President George W. Bush signed into law the Keeping Children and Families Safe Act of 2003 (P.L. 108-36). The Act reauthorizes the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA), the Adoption Opportunities program, the Abandoned Infants Assistance Act, and the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act, authorizing funding for fiscal years 2004 through 2008.

Some key provisions include:

To access the full text of this legislation, visit THOMAS, the legislative tracking service of the Library of Congress, at http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d108:SN00342:|TOM:/bss/d108query.html|.

Related Item

Read more about the "Keeping Children and Families Safe Act of 2003" in the March 2003 edition of Children's Bureau Express.

Issue Date: 08 2003
Section: News From the Children's Bureau
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=44&articleid=685


Tools for Leaders: National Child Welfare Resource Center for Organizational Improvement

Effective leadership is key to creating organizational change. In the latest issue of Managing Care (Vol. V, No. 1; http://muskie.usm.maine.edu/helpkids/), the National Child Welfare Resource Center for Organizational Improvement's online publication, four departing child welfare directors offer tips and strategies for leaders seeking to make an impact.

The directors--Jess McDonald of Illinois, Susan Dreyfus of Wisconsin, Chuck Harris of North Carolina, and Susan Chandler of Hawaii--discuss how they achieved program improvements by using data and outcomes, investing in prevention, focusing on worker training, and collaborating with community service providers, among other strategies. The issue also features recommended reading on leadership, additional resources, and an Agency Inventory and Assessment Tool designed to help child welfare administrators begin the change process by understanding how their agency is actually working.

A service of the Children's Bureau, U.S. Administration for Children and Families, the National Child Welfare Resource Center for Organizational Improvement provides training and technical assistance services to State, Tribal, and county child welfare agencies. The Center also offers a number of valuable resources through its website (http://muskie.usm.maine.edu/helpkids), including training curricula, a catalog of relevant publications, and a teleconference series, Mapping the Changes: Using Child and Family Services Reviews to Achieve Outcomes for Children and Families.

The Center's goal is to improve management and operations, bolster organizational capacity, promote service integration, and develop supervisory and management systems resulting in improved outcomes for children and families. For more information or to discuss technical assistance services, call (800) HELP KID or email clearing@usm.maine.edu.

Issue Date: 08 2003
Section: News From the Children's Bureau
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=44&articleid=698


Child Welfare Research

Seeking Causes: Racial Disproportionality in Child Welfare

Though it is well known certain racial and ethnic groups are overrepresented in the child welfare system, the reasons for this are not clear. In September 2002, the Children's Bureau hosted a Research Roundtable on Racial Disproportionality in the Child Welfare System in Washington, DC, to explore this topic further. Seven papers commissioned for that roundtable were recently published in a special issue of Children and Youth Services Review (25:5/6).

By considering the ways in which children both enter and exit the child welfare system, the papers explore a number of possible explanations for racial and ethnic disproportionality. Some of the findings include:

An eighth paper on the topic will appear in a forthcoming issue of Children and Youth Services Review. (Articles can be ordered online at www.sciencedirect.com.) All papers highlight the need for additional research in this area.

Related Item

Read more about racial disproportionality in child welfare in "Disproportionality in Juvenile Justice System May Have Roots in Child Welfare" in the December 2002/January 2003 issue of Children's Bureau Express.

Issue Date: 08 2003
Section: Child Welfare Research
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=44&articleid=688


Evaluation of Family Preservation and Reunification

Short-term gains achieved by family preservation programs do not appear to persist over time, according to a report issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in December 2002. These conclusions are based on the evaluation of four family preservation and reunification programs in four States.

Three States used the Homebuilders model, which provides in-home, short-term services to families in crisis, with an emphasis on changing family behavior. One State used a broader home-based model that focuses on changing how the family functions as a whole and within the community. In each State, the evaluation compared two groups of families whose children were considered to be at equal risk for out-of-home placement. One group received these specialized preservation and reunification services (experimental group); the other received typical child welfare services (control group).

Findings included the following:

Some aspects of the evaluation design may have contributed to the lack of more positive results. For instance, family preservation services were designed for families whose children are at imminent risk of out-of-home placement. However, as indicated by the relatively low placement rate found in the control group, very few families served by these programs were actually at risk of placement.

Based on these findings, the study's authors suggest family preservation programs may want to consider:

A full copy of the final evaluation report can be obtained at www.aspe.hhs.gov/hsp/evalfampres94/final.

Related Item

An interim evaluation report from this study was described in "Study Sheds Light on Family Preservation Programs" in the May/June 2001 issue of Children's Bureau Express.

Issue Date: 08 2003
Section: Child Welfare Research
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=44&articleid=689


New Research Sheds Light on Kinship Care Issues

Three research briefs published in April by the Urban Institute explore kinship placements and their impact on involved children and families. The briefs, When Child Welfare Agencies Rely on Voluntary Kinship Placements, Finding Permanent Homes for Foster Children: Issues Raised by Kinship Care, and Foster Children Placed with Relatives Often Receive Less Government Help, discuss the findings from intensive case studies of local kinship care policies and practices in 13 counties in Alabama, California, Connecticut, and Indiana, conducted during the spring and summer of 2001. Suggestions for practice and future research are also offered.

Some of the findings include:

Part of the Assessing the New Federalism project, the briefs can be found on the Urban Institute website at www.urban.org/content/Research/NewFederalism/Publications/ PublicationsbyTopic/Income/ChildWelfare/Child.htm.

Additional Resources on Kinship Care:

Related Items

Read more about kinship care practices in previous issues of Children's Bureau Express:

Issue Date: 08 2003
Section: Child Welfare Research
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=44&articleid=690


Former Foster Youth Spend Summer on Capitol Hill

Eight former foster youth spent 6 weeks this summer on Capitol Hill serving as Congressional interns, as part of a program co-sponsored by the Orphan Foundation of America (OFA) and the Congressional Coalition on Adoption (CCAI). The Foster Youth Intern Program's goals are twofold: offer foster youth a prestigious Hill internship usually reserved for well-connected constituents, and make foster care and adoption real to Members of Congress and their staff by putting a face on the issues.

The interns were selected from more than 80 applicants across the country. To be eligible, students must have completed at least their sophomore year of college and have spent their teen years in foster care or been adopted as a teen from the foster care system. During the program they participated in Congressional briefings on adoption issues and in social networking events. One highlight of this year's program was the opportunity to meet Bruce Willis, who came to Washington, DC, to premiere his latest movie and meet with Members of Congress to discuss foster care reform.

Congressional participants included Rep. Dave Camp (R-Mich.), Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.), Rep. Jim Cooper (D-Tenn.), Sen. Larry Craig (R-Idaho), Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.), Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), and Rep. Deborah Pryce (R-Ohio).

Funding for this year's program came from private foundations, including the Dave Thomas Foundation. Next year OFA and CCAI hope to place 75 interns on Capitol Hill and in Federal agencies that can further their career goals.

OFA executive director Eileen McCaffrey notes, "Opening the door to government service through this program will help more foster youth enter the workforce and become tomorrow's good citizens."

Issue Date: 08 2003
Section: Child Welfare Research
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=44&articleid=687


Strategies and Tools for Practice

Building Successful Collaborations Between Child Welfare and Substance Abuse Treatment

Studies suggest 40 to 80 percent of families in the child welfare system are affected by parental addiction to drugs or alcohol, but treatment services, especially those that allow families to stay together, are relatively scarce. The Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997 (ASFA), which set time limits on reunification services for families and accelerated the permanency planning process, created new challenges for these families and the systems that serve them.

Safe & Sound: Models for Collaboration Between the Child Welfare & Addiction Treatment Systems, a new report by the Legal Action Center, provides background on the problems of addiction in the child welfare system, discusses ASFA's implications for families at risk, and presents case studies of two local collaborations among addiction treatment, child welfare, and family court systems.

Cuyahoga County, Ohio, and Cook County, Illinois, were selected to represent a county-administered and a State-administered child welfare system, respectively, that recognize the role of parental addiction. The report documents how these systems have taken steps to facilitate collaboration, along with the continuing challenges they face. A model for addressing addiction among families involved in the child welfare system presents promising approaches from each case study. The model includes suggestions for identifying funding, developing criteria for assessments, cross-training, and questionnaires for treatment providers and child welfare agencies.

The report is available online from the Legal Action Center at www.saasnet.org/Resources/SafeSoundReport.pdf.

Related Items

Read more about links between substance abuse and child welfare in previous issues of Children's Bureau Express:

Issue Date: 08 2003
Section: Strategies and Tools for Practice
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=44&articleid=691


Meeting the Challenge: Recruiting and Retaining Quality Staff

Research shows widespread problems such as poor pay, a lack of growth opportunities, and limited guidance and support pose great challenges to frontline social service workers, including those in the child welfare field. A new, in-depth study by the Annie E. Casey Foundation identifies the attributes of social service systems that have a real chance of recruiting and retaining quality workers who can make a difference for children and families.

These attributes, detailed in the report The Unsolved Challenges of Systems Reform: The Condition of the Frontline Human Services Workforce, include:

The report, which addresses job conditions in the fields of child welfare, child care, juvenile justice, youth services, and employment and training, is available online from the Annie E. Casey Foundation at www.aecf.org/publications/hswip.pdf.

Related Items

The Brookings Institution Center for Public Service released a study, The Health of the Human Services Workforce, that includes a survey of the same five sectors as the Annie E. Casey Foundation's research. The report is available online at www.brookings.org/gs/cps/light20032603.htm.

Read more about workforce challenges in previous issues of Children's Bureau Express:

Issue Date: 08 2003
Section: Strategies and Tools for Practice
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=44&articleid=692


Resources

National Review of State Child Protective Services Policies

State child protective services (CPS) policies generally appear to reflect Federal Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) requirements and principles recommended by such professional organizations as the Child Welfare League of America, according to a recently released report, National Study of Child Protective Services Systems and Reform Efforts: Review of State CPS Policy. There were, however, wide variations among the States in terms of specific details. Information from this report may be useful for States that are revising their CPS policies.

Other key findings include:

The National Study, sponsored by the Administration for Children and Families within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, was initiated to examine the current status of CPS systems and improvements. The Review of State CPS Policy is one of five study components. The study also includes a literature review (released in May 2001), a local agency survey report (published in April 2003), a site visit report, and a symposium background paper and proceedings document (both forthcoming in 2003).

Print copies of the reports may be requested from:

Human Services Policy, Room 404E
Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
200 Independence Ave, SW
Washington, DC 20201
Fax: (202) 690-6562

More information about the National Study and links to electronic copies of the reports (as they become available) can be found at www.aspe.hhs.gov/hsp/cps-status03.

Related Item

For more information about the literature review, see "Lit Review Looks at Changes in CPS" in the July/August 2001 issue of Children's Bureau Express.

Issue Date: 08 2003
Section: Resources
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=44&articleid=1972


Parenting Newsletters Provide the Right Information at the Right Time

An online collection of "just in time" parenting newsletters provides developmental information, answers to common questions and concerns, and other age-appropriate tips for parents of children from birth to age 5. Each newsletter covers a specific period in a child's life (usually 1 to 3 months at a time) and is short (no more than four pages) and easy to read. Some information in the newsletters is State specific. All newsletters are in English; some are also available in Spanish.

The newsletters are produced and distributed by the National Network of Extension Specialists in Child Development and Family Life, part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service. Some of the nation's leading universities participated in the research and development of their States' newsletter series.

The newsletters can be found on the Just in Time Parenting Information website at http://www.parentinginfo.org.

Issue Date: 08 2003
Section: Resources
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=44&articleid=1973


Compassion Capital Fund Website Launches

The Compassion Capital Fund (CCF) launched its website in June 2003. CCF was created to help faith-based and community groups build capacity and improve their ability to provide social services to those in need.

The site (www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/ccf/index.html) offers helpful information about the fund, a detailed introduction to the history and purpose of the CCF National Resource Center, links to funding announcements and applications, and a toolkit for faith-based and community organizations. It also provides links to the 21 "intermediary organizations" whose purpose is to help smaller organizations operate and manage their programs effectively, access funding from varied sources, develop and train staff, expand the types and reach of social services programs in their communities, and replicate promising programs.

You can contact the Resource Center at (703) 752-4331 or Resource_Center@daremightythings.com for more information.

Issue Date: 08 2003
Section: Resources
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=44&articleid=1974


Creative Funding for Domestic Violence and Child Abuse Programs

A new publication, Funding the Work: Community Efforts to End Domestic Violence and Child Abuse, provides valuable information for community organizations seeking to end domestic violence and child abuse and neglect. Primarily focused on Federal funding opportunities from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Department of Justice (DOJ), the document also offers suggestions for seeking funding from State and local governments, private foundations, and corporations.

This paper arose out of the Greenbook Initiative--a collaboration between HHS and DOJ to address the co-occurrence of domestic violence and child maltreatment in six pilot sites. It contains a number of innovative examples of how organizations around the country have drawn on available resources to fund their work.

Funding the Work is published by the American Public Human Services Association, through a subcontract with the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges and in collaboration with the Family Violence Prevention Fund. It is available online, along with further information about the Greenbook Initiative, at www.thegreenbook.info. A limited number of print copies are available from:

American Public Human Services Association
810 First Street NE, Suite 500
Washington, DC 20002
Phone: (202) 682-0100
Website: www.aphsa.org

Issue Date: 08 2003
Section: Resources
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=44&articleid=1975


Training and Conferences

Managing for Results in Child Welfare

The Adoption and Safe Families Act (ASFA) asks child welfare managers to achieve more specific results in shorter periods of time, while continuing to ensure child safety. A training developed by the University of Kansas School of Social Welfare is designed to help managers meet this challenge and realize better outcomes for children and families.

Results-Oriented Management in Child Welfare is an online training course and learning community for public child welfare managers and front-line supervisors. The training is self-paced and open-ended; participants can complete as many or as few of the modules as they choose. A total of 25 interactive modules are being developed in three sections:

Free registration is required to access the training modules. Participants who finish all 25 will earn a certificate of completion.

The training was developed in collaboration with the Oklahoma Department of Human Services Division of Children and Family Services, as a result of a grant provided by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Children and Families. It can be accessed on the University of Kansas website at www.rom.ku.edu.

Issue Date: 08 2003
Section: Training and Conferences
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=44&articleid=696


Conferences

Upcoming national conferences on adoption and child welfare through November 2003 include:

September

October

November

Further details about national and regional child welfare conferences can be found in the "conferences" section on the National Clearinghouse on Child Abuse and Neglect Information website at http://nccanch.acf.hhs.gov/profess/conferences/index.cfm.

Further details about national and regional adoption conferences can be found in the "conferences" section on the National Adoption Information Clearinghouse website at http://naic.acf.hhs.gov/general/conferences/index.cfm.

Issue Date: 08 2003
Section: Training and Conferences
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=44&articleid=697



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.


Contact us at cb_express@childwelfare.gov.

Return to the Children's Bureau Website.