Children's Bureau Express11 2003 | Vol. 4, No. 9

Table of Contents
 

Spotlight on National Adoption Month

  • There's No Place Like Your Home: November is National Adoption Month
  • Bruce Willis Receives National Angel in Adoption Award
  • Adoption Opportunities Grant Awards

News From the Children's Bureau

  • STAR Project Focuses on Youth Leaving Foster Care
  • HHS Launches Effort to Help Children Who Witness Domestic Violence
  • Raising Awareness, Eliminating Barriers: The Collaboration to AdoptUSKids

Child Welfare Research

  • Adolescents in Residential Care Programs Likely to Have Child Welfare Involvement
  • Addressing Racial Disproportionality in Child Welfare

Strategies and Tools for Practice

  • Promising Practices for Expediting Permanency
  • Supporting Successful Transitions for Youth

Resources

  • Treating Sex Offenders
  • Building Effective Collaboration Through Group Work
  • Grants Available for Family Support
  • Healthy Families America Website Offers New Funding Resources

Training and Conferences

  • Archived Webcast: Helping the Justice and Child Welfare Systems Meet the Needs of Families Affected by Addiction
  • Conferences

Spotlight on National Adoption Month

There's No Place Like Your Home: November is National Adoption Month

Every American family has the potential to offer hope to a child waiting to be adopted from the foster care system. That's why the theme for this year's National Adoption Month 2003 Campaign is "There's No Place Like Your Home." This theme emphasizes the fact that every child needs a place to call home and encourages families across America to open their hearts and homes to children in foster care waiting for adoption.

Each year, the President proclaims November to be "National Adoption Month." The purpose of National Adoption Month is to:

This November, States, communities, public and private organizations, businesses, families, and individuals will celebrate adoption as a positive way to build families. Across the Nation, activities and observances such as recognition dinners, public awareness and recruitment campaigns, and special events will spotlight children who need permanent families. Visit the National Adoption Month website (http://www.childwelfare.gov/adoption/nam/) for more information, including suggested activities for your community.

Related Items

The Collaboration to AdoptUSKids, in partnership with the National Resource Center for Special Needs Adoption and the Children's Bureau, developed a media toolkit to help in planning activities for National Adoption Month. The toolkit was mailed to adoption agencies and adoptive parent groups across the country in early October. See "National Adoption Month 2003 Campaign Recruitment & Marketing Kit Now Available" in the October 2003 issue of Children's Bureau Express for more information.

The Collaboration to AdoptUSKids also plans a major adoptive parent recruitment campaign for the spring of 2004. For more information about AdoptUSKids, see "Raising Awareness, Eliminating Barriers: The Collaboration to AdoptUSKids" in this issue.

Saturday, November 22, is National Adoption Day, when courts across the country will finalize the adoptions of thousands of children from foster care. National Adoption Day is the creation of The Alliance for Children's Rights, in collaboration with Casey Family Services, the Children's Action Network, the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute, the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, the Freddie Mac Foundation, and Target Corporation. For more information, visit www.nationaladoptionday.org.

Issue Date: 11 2003
Section: Spotlight on National Adoption Month
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=47&articleid=730


Bruce Willis Receives National Angel in Adoption Award

The Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute (CCAI) honored Bruce Willis with a National Angel in Adoption Award at its annual gala on September 30, 2003, in Washington, DC. The actor was recognized for his service as the National Spokesperson for Children in Foster Care.

In the event program, CCAI commended Willis for his willingness to "use his celebrity status to reach out to the private and public sectors to seek support and solutions for the more than 500,000 children in the United States foster care system."

Since being named the National Spokesperson by President George W. Bush, Willis has helped raise adoption awareness on a national level by participating in a number of events to support foster children, including the rollout of the AdoptUSKids website last year and National Adoption Day 2002, when the adoptions of more than 1,400 foster children were finalized. He also created and distributed three public service announcements featuring Jamie Foxx and the stars of Charlie's Angels, Drew Barrymore, Cameron Diaz, and Lucy Liu.

In June 2003, Willis traveled to Washington, DC, for a meeting and press conference with the bipartisan leadership of the United States Senate, asking Members of Congress to come together to improve the lives of children in the foster care system. Following the press conference, Willis hosted a special screening of Rugrats Go Wild at Union Station for foster children from DC, Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania.

CCAI's Angels in Adoption program raises congressional awareness about the thousands of children in foster care in this country by providing an opportunity for Members of Congress to recognize and honor the good work of their constituents who have enriched the lives of children through adoption. Since the program's inception in 1999, Members of Congress have awarded nearly 600 congressional Angels in Adoption awards from all 50 States. Along with Willis, Muhammad and Lonnie Ali also received National Angels in Adoption Awards at this year's banquet.

For more information, visit the CCAI website at www.ccainstitute.org/index.php.

Issue Date: 11 2003
Section: Spotlight on National Adoption Month
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=47&articleid=731


Adoption Opportunities Grant Awards

The Children's Bureau, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, recently awarded approximately $7 million for Adoption Opportunities Demonstration Activities. Grants were awarded in four priority areas:

Grant awards were also announced for Child Abuse and Neglect Discretionary Activities (including nine grants in the priority area of Improving Child Welfare Outcomes Through Systems of Care), Child Welfare Training Project Activities, and Promoting Safe and Stable Families Activities. Find the full list of grantees on the Children's Bureau website at http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb/programs_fund/discretionary/2003.htm.

Issue Date: 11 2003
Section: Spotlight on National Adoption Month
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=47&articleid=744


News From the Children's Bureau

STAR Project Focuses on Youth Leaving Foster Care

STAR ("Successful Transitions for Adult Readiness") is a Children's Bureau-funded project to train child welfare practitioners to work effectively with youth transitioning out of foster care through the Chafee Foster Care Independence Program.

Developed using multidisciplinary focus groups and input from a culturally diverse advisory board of experts and representatives, the training emphasizes collaboration among all care providers, preparation for leaving care that begins the moment youth enter care, youth-driven planning, and "protecting and raising" (rather than just "protecting") youth.

Three levels of training are included in the project:

Training participants have cited many benefits, including increased interagency collaboration and increased youth involvement in planning.

The STAR project is a public-private partnership between the Public Child Welfare Training Academy, Casey Family Programs, San Diego County Health and Human Services, Southern Indian Health Council, and Grossmont College Foster and Kinship Care Education, Children's Initiative. Full curricula, background information, and suggestions for implementing the training successfully are available on the Public Child Welfare Training Academy website at http://pcwta.sdsu.edu/star/.

Issue Date: 11 2003
Section: News From the Children's Bureau
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=47&articleid=1990


HHS Launches Effort to Help Children Who Witness Domestic Violence

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Tommy G. Thompson recently announced a new initiative to help children who witness domestic violence develop into healthy, well-adjusted adults and prevent the cycle of violence from continuing from one generation to the next.

A significant percentage of children who witness domestic violence eventually become abusers or victims of abuse. This initiative, called "Safe and Bright Futures for Children," will incorporate evidence-based practices such as treatment for child and adolescent trauma, mentoring, and mental health services, while also addressing risk and protective factors to negate the cyclical effects of violence. It will encourage the integration of these services at the local and regional level by building collaborations of community, faith-based, or other programs that identify, assess, treat, and provide long-term services.

"Each year, there are nearly 700,000 documented incidents of domestic violence that threaten the well-being of children and families across our Nation," Secretary Thompson said. "This new effort will provide preventive services and support to help children affected by this violence to enjoy a safe and bright future and to break the cycle of violence. We want to provide our youth with the skills and tools they need to make healthy choices in their lives."

Under the new effort, HHS expects to provide funding for demonstration projects nationwide to serve children and adolescents who witness or are exposed to domestic violence. Grantees must establish partnerships between agencies, organizations, and other referral services within the community. Recipients may include faith-based, community, and other organizations that have demonstrated a commitment to providing counseling and mental health services to children and youth living in their communities. Awards will depend on the size of the community and the scope of the project, with priority given to communities with a high incidence of domestic violence.

HHS plans to devote about $5 million to support one or more demonstration projects in fiscal year 2004. For more information about this initiative, see the full press release on the HHS website at www.hhs.gov/news/press/2003pres/20031008.html.

Issue Date: 11 2003
Section: News From the Children's Bureau
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=47&articleid=732


Raising Awareness, Eliminating Barriers: The Collaboration to AdoptUSKids

Note: Although not a National Resource Center, the Collaboration to AdoptUSKids is a member of the Children's Bureau's Technical Assistance Network.

Nearly 300,000 children entered foster care during fiscal year 2001 (the most recent year for which data is available). Although many of these children eventually return home to their families, at the end of that year 126,000 children were waiting for someone to adopt them. Many potential adoptive parents do not understand there is little or no cost to adopt these children, and support (financial and otherwise) is available. In October 2002, the Children's Bureau contracted with the Adoption Exchange Association and partners (the Collaboration to AdoptUSKids) to address these misconceptions and help find families for these waiting children.

The Collaboration to AdoptUSKids was charged with devising and implementing a national adoptive family recruitment and retention strategy, operating the AdoptUSKids website (www.adoptuskids.org), encouraging and enhancing adoptive family support organizations, and conducting research projects on adoption. In the project's first year, they have made tremendous progress in many areas:

Other projects include:

The Adoption Exchange Association is the principal contractor for the Collaboration to AdoptUSKids. Other partners include the Child Welfare League of America, the Northwest Adoption Exchange, the Adoption Exchange Education Center, the University of Texas School of Social Work and the Center for Social Work Research, and Holt International Children's Services. For more information, visit the website at www.adoptuskids.org or contact the Adoption Exchange Association at (888) 200-4005 or bholtan@adoptuskids.org.

Issue Date: 11 2003
Section: News From the Children's Bureau
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=47&articleid=743


Child Welfare Research

Adolescents in Residential Care Programs Likely to Have Child Welfare Involvement

Adolescents who live in mental health residential care programs (RCPs) are often "system kids" who have been shuffled between the juvenile justice and child welfare systems, and separated from families and mainstream schools, according to a new report, Latest Findings in Children's Mental Health. These youth are among the most troubled in the mental health system. Approximately one-half of the adolescents in RCPs are victims of abuse or neglect, and about one-fifth experience post-traumatic stress.

When compared to children in all mental health settings, adolescents in RCPs are more likely to:

Many of these children also:

The report also provides demographic information about these youth. Of the youth in RCPs, more are boys (61 percent) than girls, and more are white (65 percent) than black (21 percent) or Hispanic (12 percent). Before entering care, youth in RCPs tend to live outside of traditional families in group homes (17 percent), juvenile detention centers (13 percent), and foster homes (8 percent). They are more often referred for treatment by social service agencies (37 percent) or courts (27 percent) than families (9 percent) or schools (3 percent).

Though their problems are usually complex, the report claims most of these children could be helped to return to their communities with timely, intensive care. Because many of the children in this study were involved with more than one system, the authors suggest policy makers and service providers consider the needs of children in all types of residential facilities--whether in the mental health, juvenile justice, or child welfare system--for services to help them rejoin their communities and lead productive lives.

Latest Findings in Children's Mental Health is a series of nonpartisan bulletins produced by a partnership between Rutgers University, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the Annie E. Casey Foundation. The data are based on the 1997 Client/Patient Sample Survey conducted by the U.S. Center for Mental Health Services, which is part of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. The findings are available online at www.ihhcpar.rutgers.edu/downloads/summer2003.pdf.

Related Item

For another perspective on institutional care, see "Review Finds Little Evidence to Support Institutional Care" in the May 2003 issue of Children's Bureau Express.

Issue Date: 11 2003
Section: Child Welfare Research
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=47&articleid=733


Addressing Racial Disproportionality in Child Welfare

Recent research indicates overrepresentation of children of color in the foster care system is a widespread concern. A new paper by Casey Family Programs, Mitigating the Effects of Racial/Ethnic Disproportionality highlights practices that might alleviate the effects of this disproportionality on children and families already involved with the system by improving permanency and well-being outcomes. These practices include:

The report also suggests the child welfare system can examine and employ some of the strategies being used by the juvenile justice, education, and health care systems to decrease the disparity of outcomes for children who are served by multiple systems.

View the report on the Casey Family Programs website at www.casey.org/cnc/policy_issues/mitigating_disproportionality.htm.

Related Items

Find more information on disproportionality in child welfare in previous issues of Children's Bureau Express:

Issue Date: 11 2003
Section: Child Welfare Research
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=47&articleid=734


Strategies and Tools for Practice

Promising Practices for Expediting Permanency

The Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997 (ASFA) mandated that States reduce the length of time courts take to finalize permanent placements for children removed from the custody of their birth families. Although ASFA focuses on the initial trial, appeals are also an important part of the permanency process. Permanency cannot be achieved if a child's case is awaiting resolution of an appeal. Some appellate courts are recognizing this concern and are beginning to address it by developing procedures that limit time extensions, set specific time goals for resolution, and more.

The National Center for State Courts recently released a report, Expediting Dependency Appeals: Strategies to Reduce Delay, that examines the effectiveness of these procedures to expedite appeals in dependency cases (e.g., child abuse and neglect, children in need of special assistance, foster care, or adoption) in State courts. The first section of the report describes all such procedures in State courts across the country and reviews their implementation. The second section focuses on specific illustrations of how States are expediting dependency appeals in Georgia, Iowa, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Vermont, and Virginia.

The report offers eight steps any appellate court can follow to implement an expedited appeals process. An appendix includes a copy of all relevant State rules and statutes. These may be useful for States needing to develop such a statute or rule. The full report is available electronically on the National Center for State Courts website at www.ncsconline.org/WC/Publications/KIS_ExpDepAppealsPub.pdf.

Issue Date: 11 2003
Section: Strategies and Tools for Practice
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=47&articleid=737


Supporting Successful Transitions for Youth

Youth raised in foster care face greater difficulty achieving common goals, such as completing high school, identifying a career path, and securing reliable transportation and health care. Historically, services addressing these challenges have been offered by independent living programs, which are often under-funded and unable to serve all eligible youth. A new report, Promising Practices: How Foster Parents Can Support the Successful Transition of Youth from Foster Care to Self-Sufficiency, serves as a source of information for foster parents who want to help prepare the youth in their care to live independently.

The report focuses on foster parents who have already had success with adolescents in their homes. These parents offered unique ideas, proven strategies, and real-life examples. The report also clarified factors contributing to the success of foster parents and confirmed that these parents:

A follow-up to Promising Practices: Supporting the Transition of Youth Served by the Foster Care System (1999), the report was initiated by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, Edmund S. Muskie School of Public Service at the University of Southern Maine, and the National Resource Center for Youth Services at the University of Oklahoma. View the report on the National Resource Center for Youth Services website at www.nrcys.ou.edu/PDFs/Publications/PPII.pdf.

Related Items

Read more about the issues of youth transitioning out of foster care in previous issues of Children's Bureau Express:

Issue Date: 11 2003
Section: Strategies and Tools for Practice
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=47&articleid=738


Resources

Treating Sex Offenders

Treating Sex Offenders: A Guide to Clinical Practice with Adults, Clerics, Children, and Adolescents, Second Edition, updates the original volume with new material that emphasizes similarities and differences between adolescent and adult sex offenders in personality type, behavior, and treatment. The second edition also includes additions and changes to treatment techniques, progress reports on case study subjects, reader feedback from the original book, and new information on religious personnel who molest children.

Contents of the book include:

Author William Prendergast has more than 30 years of experience in the diagnosis and treatment of habitual sex offenders. The book is available for $49.95 (hard cover) or $34.95 (soft cover) from The Haworth Press, Inc., at www.haworthpress.com/store/product.asp?sku=4882.

Issue Date: 11 2003
Section: Resources
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=47&articleid=1986


Building Effective Collaboration Through Group Work

Crossing Boundaries and Developing Alliances Through Group Work examines how changing technological, economic, and social conditions require social workers to create alliances to better serve their clients. The book addresses how basic principles and techniques of group work can transcend geographical and cultural boundaries when dealing with issues such as HIV/AIDS, parenting, adoption, and sex offenses.

The book examines partnerships between research teams and agencies, collaborations between schools and practice settings, learning communities, service learning, new technologies (teleconferencing, the Internet), and how "mixing and matching" methodologies can produce a more effective intervention strategy.

Crossing Boundaries and Developing Alliances Through Group Work is available for $49.95 (hard cover) or $24.95 (soft cover) from The Haworth Press, Inc., at www.haworthpress.com/store/product.asp?sku=4922.

Issue Date: 11 2003
Section: Resources
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=47&articleid=1987


Grants Available for Family Support

Editor's Note: A spokesperson for the A.L. Mailman Family Foundation clarifies that while Family Support is listed as a foundation priority, more emphasis is placed on other funding areas. In addition, though it was correctly reported that letters of inquiry should be submitted by December 1, full proposals will be accepted only from invited applicants, based upon evaluation of the letter of inquiry. The foundation does not fund locally focused direct service projects.

The A.L. Mailman Family Foundation funds projects of national or regional significance in the early childhood field. Family support is one of the foundation's three priority areas. Letters of inquiry should be submitted by December 1, and full proposals by January 15, for consideration in the spring.

The foundation looks for projects that could, over time, lead to a significant improvement in many children's life experiences or life chances. They look for strategic impact in proposals from organizations engaged in research, policy analysis, or advocacy.

Current priorities in the area of family support include:

The foundation supports U.S. organizations with 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status. National organizations (beyond one State or region) are eligible, as are nationally focused projects such as research studies. Locally focused direct service projects are not eligible. The average grant is $25,000 for 1 year.

For more information about the foundation, visit the website at www.mailman.org.

Issue Date: 11 2003
Section: Resources
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=47&articleid=1988


Healthy Families America Website Offers New Funding Resources

A newly redesigned Healthy Families America (HFA) website provides a useful tool for home visiting programs researching potential funding streams. The site's "Network Resources" section provides information about Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, Medicaid, Early Head Start, Title IV-B, the Federal Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act, and more.

For each funding stream, users can find:

Launched in 1992 by Prevent Child Abuse America, HFA works to promote positive parenting, encourage child health and development, and prevent child abuse and neglect. In addition to the funding information, the website also offers updated information for State and regional contacts, research, publications, and more. Access the site at www.healthyfamiliesamerica.org.

Issue Date: 11 2003
Section: Resources
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=47&articleid=1989


Training and Conferences

Archived Webcast: Helping the Justice and Child Welfare Systems Meet the Needs of Families Affected by Addiction

Nearly 1.7 million of the 2 million adult Americans in prison or jail are seriously involved with drugs or alcohol. In addition, increasing rates of children have incarcerated parents--current estimates suggest almost 200,000 children under age 18 have an imprisoned mother and more than 1.7 million have an imprisoned father. Both imprisonment and addiction are recognized as contributing factors to child abuse and neglect, and both can pose significant barriers to family reunification.

A recent Webcast sponsored by the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT) examines how the justice and child welfare systems and drug courts have evolved over the years to work in collaboration to address substance abuse disorders. An expert panel highlights innovative strategies that are helping both systems better meet the needs of parents and children affected by substance abuse.

The Webcast is hosted by Ivette Torres, Associate Director for Consumer Affairs, CSAT. Panelists include Shay Bilchik, Child Welfare League of America; Judge Arthur Burnett, District of Columbia Superior Court; Gloria Danzinger, Center for Families, Children, and the Courts; and the Honorable Karen Freeman-Wilson (ret.), National Association of Drug Court Professionals.

Find the archived Webcast on the Recovery Month website at www.recoverymonth.gov/2003/multimedia/w.aspx?id=219.

Issue Date: 11 2003
Section: Training and Conferences
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=47&articleid=1991


Conferences

The National Center on Substance Abuse and Child Welfare, a joint initiative of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's Center for Substance Abuse Treatment and the Administration on Children, Youth and Families' Children's Bureau is holding its first National Conference on Substance Abuse and Child Welfare on July 14 and 15, 2004, in Baltimore, MD. Proposals are being sought for workshops and symposia that will address policy and programmatic issues related to working with children and families who are affected by substance abuse and involved in the child welfare and dependency court systems. Submissions are encouraged from front-line practitioners and administrators of child welfare and substance abuse services and the dependency court, as well as policy makers and researchers. Proposals are due by December 5, 2003. For more information and to submit a workshop proposal, visit www.cffutures.com/National_Center/SavetheDate/SavetheDate.pdf.

Upcoming national conferences on adoption and child welfare through February 2004 include:

December 2003

January 2004

February 2004

Further details about national and regional adoption and child welfare conferences can be found in the Conference Calendar on Child Welfare Information Gateway: www.childwelfare.gov/calendar

Issue Date: 11 2003
Section: Training and Conferences
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=47&articleid=742



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.