Children's Bureau Express11 2004 | Vol. 5, No. 9

Table of Contents
 

Spotlight on National Adoption Month

  • November Is National Adoption Month -- Join In!
  • HHS Awards Adoption Bonuses to States
  • Angels in Adoption™ Awards Announced

News From the Children's Bureau

  • New National Child Welfare Resource Center Contracts Announced
  • Regional Forums to Focus on a Shared Vision for the Neediest Youth

Child Welfare Research

  • Keys to Successful Adolescent Adoptions
  • Postadoption Services Improve Family Stability and Functioning
  • Client-Worker Relationship Is a Factor in Parenting Behaviors

Strategies and Tools for Practice

  • Permanency Planning Mediation: Decreasing Time to Permanence
  • Strengthening Families Through Early Care and Education
  • Improving Responses to Allegations of Severe Child Abuse

Resources

  • Aging Out of Foster Care
  • Parenting and Addiction
  • Public Access to Court Child Protection Hearings
  • Munchausen by Proxy
  • Programs to Support Relatives as Caregivers

Training and Conferences

  • Computer Training for Foster Families, Relative Caregivers
  • Conferences

Spotlight on National Adoption Month

November Is National Adoption Month -- Join In!

Join the Children's Bureau and its partners in celebrating National Adoption Month 2004!

The theme for this year's National Adoption Month is "Answering the Call--You don't have to be perfect to be a perfect parent." This theme builds on the Collaboration to AdoptUSKids' national recruitment campaign, Answering the Call.

There are many ways to join in the celebration:

Find more ways to celebrate--one for each day in November--on the Adoption Month calendar (http://naic.acf.hhs.gov/general/adoptmonth/activities_calendar.cfm). (Editor's note: Link no longer active)

National Adoption Month is celebrated throughout the United States during the month of November. The Collaboration to AdoptUSKids and the National Adoption Information Clearinghouse, both services of the Children's Bureau, collaborated to create this year's National Adoption Month website.

Issue Date: 11 2004
Section: Spotlight on National Adoption Month
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=59&articleid=878


HHS Awards Adoption Bonuses to States

On October 14, 2004, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Tommy G. Thompson announced the awarding of $17,896,000 in adoption bonuses to 31 States and Puerto Rico. The funding comes from the Adoption Incentives Program and is given to States that were successful in increasing the number of adoptions from the public child welfare system over the number of adoptions in 2002.

This is the first time that bonuses have been given to States and territories since the program was revised and strengthened in December 2003. The bonuses go to State child welfare agencies for a variety of child welfare and other related services including adoption and adoption-related services.

"Adoption is a wonderful option for families and must be promoted by all levels of government," said Secretary Thompson. "The Federal bonuses we are announcing reward States that have worked hard to help children--particularly older children--in the child welfare system find loving, adoptive homes."

The Adoption Incentive Program, which was revised and strengthened last December by the Bush Administration, for the first time adds a focus on the growing proportion of children aged 9 years old and above who are in dire need of adoption before they "age out" of foster care. Two key changes that strengthen States' adoption and child welfare services are:

"President Bush has worked hard to increase the number of adoptions so more children can grow up in safe, stable, and loving homes," said Dr. Wade F. Horn, HHS Assistant Secretary for Children and Families. "Today's grants continue this Administration's efforts to promote adoption from the foster care system so no child will be left behind."

Currently, there are 129,000 children in the public child welfare system waiting to be adopted. Of this number, approximately 50,000 children each year are placed into adoptive families. Approximately 19,000 children "age out" of the foster care system without ever having the opportunity to be adopted. The adoption bonus is in addition to a website previously launched by ACF--www.adoptuskids.org--aimed at the recruitment and retention of adoptive families for children in the foster care system.

For a complete list of HHS adoption bonuses, go to http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb/resource/adoption-awards.

Related Item

For more information about the Adoption Incentive Program, read "President Signs Adoption Promotion Act of 2003" in the December 2003/January 2004 issue of Children's Bureau Express.

Issue Date: 11 2004
Section: Spotlight on National Adoption Month
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=59&articleid=894


Angels in Adoption™ Awards Announced

The annual Angels in Adoption™ Awards Gala was held on September 23, 2004, at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington, DC. Actress Jane Seymour, PGA golfer Kirk Triplett, and NBA executive Pat Williams were among the 170 people from across the nation honored at the awards banquet hosted by the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute (CCAI).

This annual event boasts the most congressional participation of any child welfare event in the nation. Every member of Congress is encouraged by CCAI to [select] an individual, family, or organization from the member's home State who has made a significant contribution to changing the lives of children in need through adoption and foster care. National Angel Awardees--including Seymour, Williams, and Triplett--are chosen by the congressional directors of CCAI, namely, Senators Landrieu and Craig and Representatives Camp and Oberstar, for their advocacy on a national scale.

CCAI is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to raising congressional and public awareness about the tens of thousands of foster children in this country and the millions of orphans around the world in need of permanent, safe, and loving homes and to eliminating the barriers that hinder these children from realizing their basic need for families. The Angels in Adoption Program, CCAI's public awareness campaign, was established in 1999.

For additional information on the Angels in Adoption Program, visit the CCAI website at:

www.angelsinadoption.org

Issue Date: 11 2004
Section: Spotlight on National Adoption Month
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=59&articleid=880


News From the Children's Bureau

New National Child Welfare Resource Center Contracts Announced

The Children's Bureau recently announced the award of contracts for the operation of seven National Child Welfare Resource Centers (NRCs). Through the establishment of these NRCs and an emphasis on coordination of efforts and evidence-based practice, the Children's Bureau hopes to further assist States, tribes, and other public agencies in their delivery of child welfare services to ensure the safety, permanency, and well-being of children, youth, and families.

The 5-year cooperative agreements were awarded as follows:

These seven NRCs will function as a network to provide training and technical assistance to State, local, tribal, and other public child welfare agencies and family and juvenile courts in order to build capacity to address Federal requirements administered by the Children's Bureau. A major focus of these training and technical assistance efforts will be States' conformity with the outcomes and systemic factors outlined in the Child and Family Services Reviews (CFSRs) and with the development and implementation of States' Program Improvement Plans.

Along with the award of these cooperative agreements, the Children's Bureau will make some modifications in the management of the NRCs to address some of the concerns that arose from the first round of CFSRs. Four major management changes will be made:

  1. The NRC on Organizational Improvement will serve as the single point of entry for all States and tribes to request onsite training and technical assistance from all NRCs.
  2. All NRCs will work with the Training and Technical Assistance Coordination Committee, which will be composed of Federal staff (including Project Officers, CFSR National Review Team members, and Regional and other staff).
  3. All NRCs will work with AdoptUSKids, the Children's Bureau Clearinghouses, and other members of the training and technical assistance network.
  4. The NRC on Organizational Improvement will evaluate the results of technical assistance provided by all seven NRCs.

The award announcements can be found on the Children's Bureau website at http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb/resource/cb-discretionary-grant-awards/.

Related Item

The Children's Bureau also announced the award of two additional cooperative agreements: The NRC for Community-Based Grants for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect (awarded to the Chapel Hill Training-Outreach Project, Inc.) and the Infant Adoption Awareness Training Program (six organizations funded, with the largest grant to Spaulding for Children), as well as Discretionary Grants in the following categories:

These announcements also can be found at http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb/resource/cb-discretionary-grant-awards/.

Issue Date: 11 2004
Section: News From the Children's Bureau
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=59&articleid=892


Regional Forums to Focus on a Shared Vision for the Neediest Youth

Leaders from State agencies on workforce investment, education, juvenile justice, and foster care have been invited to participate in the launching of a new vision for youth at three regional conferences sponsored by the Department of Labor in partnership with the Departments of Health and Human Services, Education, and Justice. The focus of "A Shared Vision for Youth" will be on collaborative approaches to prepare the neediest youth, including those aging out of the foster care system, for success in a demand-driven economy. This focus will be carried out through:

The regional forums are one of several activities planned by the Department of Labor in partnership with the Administration on Children, Youth and Families, led by Children's Bureau Associate Commissioner Susan Orr, to implement the new shared vision and to prepare youth from the foster care system for employment.

The forums are scheduled to take place in Philadelphia (November 9-10), Chicago (November 15-16), and Phoenix (December 13-14). Invitations were mailed to State leaders. More information is available on the forums' website at www.dtiassociates.com/YouthRegionalForums/. (This link is no longer available.)

Issue Date: 11 2004
Section: News From the Children's Bureau
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=59&articleid=893


Child Welfare Research

Keys to Successful Adolescent Adoptions

Characteristics of successful adolescent adoptions, factors influencing the adoption decision, and testable models for adolescent adoption were the subject of a research project by the Center for Child and Family Studies at the University of South Carolina's College of Social Work. Funded by a grant from the Children's Bureau, researchers set out to identify the factors that produce positive outcomes for adolescent adoptions.

A qualitative approach to data collection and analysis was used that included interviewing 58 adoptive parents and 37 of their children who had been adopted when 12 to 18 years old and whose adoptions had never dissolved. The children were also asked to complete an instrument designed to measure life satisfaction.

When asked about keys to success in their adoptions, parents and adolescents cited a variety of factors:

Based on the interviews and life satisfaction instrument, a number of recommendations were proposed for agencies to promote the successful adoption of adolescents:

Information on this study, "Field-Initiated Research on Successful Adolescent Adoptions," can be accessed on the Center for Child and Family Studies' website at http://ccfs.sc.edu/images/pdfs/fullfinalreport.pdf (PDF - 1,065 KB).

Related Item

"Permanency for Adolescents" in the October 2004 issue of Children's Bureau Express highlights some programs that offer permanency options for adolescents.

Issue Date: 11 2004
Section: Child Welfare Research
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=59&articleid=882


Postadoption Services Improve Family Stability and Functioning

In a study of efforts to support New York State's TANF-eligible families after adoption, parents reported a significant positive impact of postadoption services on their families' happiness and ability to stay together. The study, "Strengthening and Preserving Adoptive Families: A Study of TANF-Funded Post Adoption Services in New York State," was published in April 2004.

Thirteen community-based agencies were awarded TANF funds in June 2000 to establish Regional Adoption Centers and provide postadoption services. The study is based on data from worker-completed intake forms and from parent satisfaction surveys sent to 815 of the 1,053 families (both TANF and non-TANF eligible) who were served during the first 18 months of project funding. The author cautions that a low overall response rate (19 percent, or 153 surveys) limited the type of analyses that could be performed with the data.

Some key findings include:

Characteristics of the families served by the project varied. Approximately 58 percent of the families were nonkin adoptions, 26 percent were kin adoptions, and in 16 percent of cases the relationship could not be determined. Nearly 62 percent of the cases were known to be adoptions from foster care; in another 28 percent of cases the type of adoption was not identified. The majority of the children had special needs, including behavioral problems (40 percent) and emotional problems (36 percent). These special needs appeared to become more prominent as the children aged.

Report appendixes include information on the services provided by participant agencies, the survey instruments, and extensive verbatim survey responses by families. The report can be downloaded from the New York State Citizen's Coalition for Children website at http://nysccc.org/wp-content/uploads/tanfaverypasrpt.pdf (PDF - 400 KB).

Issue Date: 11 2004
Section: Child Welfare Research
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=59&articleid=883


Client-Worker Relationship Is a Factor in Parenting Behaviors

According to a study published recently in the journal Research on Social Work Practice, a good client-worker relationship can have a positive impact on parents' discipline and emotional care of their children.

This study was conducted using 100 families formerly involved with the child welfare system in Long Beach, CA. Of these families, 45 percent were from a family preservation (FP) program and 55 percent were from a traditional family management casework program (FM). Researchers used the Parent Outcome Interview to measure children's academic adjustment, children's conduct, physical child care, discipline and emotional care of children, children's symptomatic behavior, parents' coping, and parents' relationship with the social worker. Findings from the study included:

Based on these findings, the authors conclude that the client-worker relationship can directly impact parents' actions but not a child's outcomes. In addition, they suggest that relationship-building between caseworkers and families should be a priority for child welfare agencies and training programs.

The full article, "Is the Client-Worker Relationship Associated with Better Outcomes in Mandated Child Abuse Cases?," is available in the September 2004 issue of Research on Social Work Practice (http://rsw.sagepub.com/content/14/5/351.abstract).

Issue Date: 11 2004
Section: Child Welfare Research
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=59&articleid=884


Strategies and Tools for Practice

Permanency Planning Mediation: Decreasing Time to Permanence

A recently released final evaluation report from the Permanency Planning Mediation Pilot (PPMP) Program in Michigan suggests mediation in child welfare cases can result in positive outcomes for children, families, professionals, and systems without increasing the overall costs of judicial and administrative handling of child welfare cases. The report, released in June 2004, provides a retrospective look at the first 3 years of child protection mediation in seven pilot program sites.

Researchers analyzed case characteristics and outcomes for 207 (86 percent) of the 289 mediation referrals during 1999, 2000, and 2001. Cases represented all types of child maltreatment and were referred to the program at all stages in the legal process, from preadjudication through completion of petitions to adopt. Some key findings included:

In addition to the positive permanency outcomes, the evaluation data suggest participants in all roles were satisfied with the mediation process:

From their findings, authors conclude that mediation is a reasonable option in the range of legal responses to child maltreatment and protection. The authors also suggest that while precise financial savings were not demonstrated by this study, it is reasonable to conclude there are financial benefits to be gained from a mediation program staffed with trained volunteers.

The 75-page report, including lessons learned and recommendations for future study, can be downloaded from the Michigan Courts website at http://courts.mi.gov/scao/resources/publications/reports/%20PPMPevaluation2004.pdf (PDF - 515 KB).

Issue Date: 11 2004
Section: Strategies and Tools for Practice
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=59&articleid=885


Strengthening Families Through Early Care and Education

The Center for the Study of Social Policy (CSSP) has developed a new strategy to build on evidence-based protective factors for children and families to prevent the occurrence child abuse and neglect. Information on the CSSP website suggests this strategy, referred to as "Strengthening Families Through Early Care and Education," differs from past efforts in that:

CSSP has been studying the role of early care and education in helping to prevent child abuse and neglect and strengthen families since 2001. They find this environment a promising one for prevention due to the relationships between caregiver/teacher and parent, the opportunity for daily observations with parents, the resources early childhood programs provide for parents, and the fact that parents are bringing their children to these programs by choice rather than as recipients of services.

CSSP lists the following as additional advantages of this strategy:

Evidence has shown that this approach can have an impact on child abuse and neglect rates. An 18-year longitudinal study at the University of Wisconsin found resource coordinators in federally funded childcare programs in Chicago helped parents obtain services they needed to care for their children at home. Children who attended this preschool intervention program had a 52 percent lower rate of maltreatment by age 17 than those who did not.

For more information about Strengthening Families Through Early Care and Education, visit the CSSP website at www.cssp.org/doris_duke/index.html. (Editor's note: This link is no longer active. To learn about CSSP's Strengthening Families initiative, visit http://www.cssp.org/reform/strengthening-families.)

Related Items

For more information on the study conducted by the University of Wisconsin, read "Study Shows Preschool Can Help Prevent Child Abuse" in the March 2003 issue of Children's Bureau Express.

In 2002, NAEYC embarked on a national initiative to help early childhood educators play a key role in the primary prevention of child abuse and neglect. Find more about the initiative, Supporting Teachers, Strengthening Families, on the NAEYC website at http://www.naeyc.org/ecp/trainings/stsf.

Issue Date: 11 2004
Section: Strategies and Tools for Practice
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=59&articleid=886


Improving Responses to Allegations of Severe Child Abuse

Since 1998, New York City's Administration for Children's Services (ACS) has been collaborating with the New York police department and district attorneys in an effort to reduce trauma to children when allegations of severe abuse and neglect are present and to effect the speedy arrest and prosecution of the perpetrators. This collaboration, called the Instant Response Team (IRT) Program, was the subject of a study recently published by the Vera Institute of Justice.

The IRT Program brings together child protective workers, police, and prosecutors to respond to child abuse and neglect accusations within a 2-hour timeframe. All interviews with the children are conducted in a child-friendly environment. Protocols are in place to coordinate the investigation, and information sharing is encouraged among all agencies involved in the investigation.

Vera researchers analyzed data from the IRT Program and compared it with data from the State Central Registry in New York, which maintains all allegations of child maltreatment in the State. Researchers also conducted interviews with program staff and shadowed child protective workers on one case. Vera identified many strengths of the IRT Program, including:

Vera noted that the main challenge the IRT Program faced was rapid growth. IRT caseloads have increased 160 percent from 1999 to 2002. This increase allows for more efficient use of child welfare resources but has placed a larger burden on law enforcement and prosecutors.

More information on the Vera Institute of Justice report is available on the website at http://www.vera.org/sites/default/files/resources/downloads/Responses_to_allegations_of_child_abuse.pdf (PDF - 967 KB).

Related Item

Another recent publication from the Vera Institute, "Youth Who Chronically AWOL from Foster Care: Why They Run, Where They Go, and What Can Be Done" (http://www.vera.org/pubs/youth-who-chronically-awol-foster-care-why-they-run-where-they-go-and-what-can-be-done) reports on interviews with foster care staff and adolescents in foster care with a history of AWOL behaviors. It discusses where the youth go when they leave foster care and how staff can prevent this pattern of behavior.

Issue Date: 11 2004
Section: Strategies and Tools for Practice
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=59&articleid=887


Resources

Aging Out of Foster Care

A new book puts a personal face on the challenges of youth aging out of foster care. On Their Own: What Happens to Kids When They Age Out of the Foster Care System by Martha Shirk and Gary Stangler tells the stories of 10 youth and their struggles to take on adult responsibilities once they became too old for foster care. Some of the common challenges faced by these youth included finding employment, finishing their education, finding affordable housing, and, in too many cases, dealing with life on the street.

The final chapter of the book suggests strategies at the local, State, and national levels that can help improve the lives of these youth by improving their experiences with education, employment, housing, health care, and personal and community engagement. The Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative is cited as an example of a national effort aimed at helping youth transition out of foster care. Currently, the Initiative is focusing on demonstration projects in up to 18 cities in which youth are provided with an "opportunity passport" to gain access to services, funds, and programs that will help them work toward independence.

On Their Own is published by Westview Press; more information can be found at www.westviewpress.com.

Related Items

For more information about youth aging out of foster care, see the following articles in previous issues of Children's Bureau Express:

Issue Date: 11 2004
Section: Resources
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=59&articleid=2147


Parenting and Addiction

Providing children with the caring, nurturing environment necessary for healthy physical and emotional development is difficult when one or more caregivers are addicted to drugs or alcohol. A recently released book, The Lowdown on Families Who Get High: Successful Parenting for Families Affected by Addiction, by Patricia O'Gorman and Philip Diaz, describes the impact of addiction on children and families and offers parenting strategies for each stage of a child's life.

The first two sections of the book use a combination of research and personal stories to describe the issues from various perspectives, including the addicted parent, the recovering parent, the partner of an addicted parent, parents who are adult children of addicts, and caregivers of children of addicted parents. The section on parenting strategies emphasizes a 12-step approach, revised for parents and caregivers. The third section of the book, written specifically for professionals, provides the legal framework for substance abuse and child welfare issues, as well as information on how to engage families in treatment.

The book can be ordered online from the Child Welfare League of America at https://www.cwla.org/pubs/pubdetails.asp?PUBID=8739.

Issue Date: 11 2004
Section: Resources
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=59&articleid=2148


Public Access to Court Child Protection Hearings

With the passage of the Keeping Children and Families Safe Act of 2003, the most recent amendment to the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act, States were explicitly granted the flexibility to determine their own policies on opening child protection hearings to the public. A new Technical Assistance Brief from the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (NCJFCJ), To Open or Not to Open: The Issue of Public Access in Child Protection Hearings, offers guidance on the issues States need to consider to make these decisions.

The publication presents arguments both for and against open hearings in three topical areas:

A State-by-State listing of the current legislation and hearing status and a brief overview of research on the effects of open hearings also are presented. The publication was funded by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, U.S. Department of Justice. Copies may be purchased for $5.00 each by contacting NCJFCJ by e-mail at ppcd@ncjfcj.org or by telephone at (775) 327-5300.

Issue Date: 11 2004
Section: Resources
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=59&articleid=2149


Munchausen by Proxy

Munchausen by proxy (MBP) refers to a form of child maltreatment in which a parent or other primary caretaker repeatedly falsifies, exaggerates, or induces symptoms in a child in order to gain medical attention. A new book by Louisa Lasher and Mary Sheridan serves as a primer on MBP for child welfare workers, as well as for physicians, judges, and law enforcement personnel who might be unfamiliar with this form of child abuse. Munchausen by Proxy: Identification, Intervention, and Case Management presents clear, informative descriptions of MBP, the investigation and confirmation process, and case planning when MBP is confirmed. Interspersed with this information are examples of MBP cases.

The usefulness of this book for child welfare personnel lies in its clear outline of the procedures to be followed when MBP is suspected, including how to gather and report information, suggested interview questions, and steps to take in making the confirmation/disconfirmation decision. In cases in which MBP is confirmed, there is a risk assessment worksheet that can be used to plan for the victim's protection. A chapter on legal activities provides guidance on preparing to present a case of MBP in court, and an appendix provides recommended case plan elements.

Munchausen by Proxy is published by the Haworth Maltreatment and Trauma Press; more information can be found at www.haworthpressinc.com.

Issue Date: 11 2004
Section: Resources
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=59&articleid=2150


Programs to Support Relatives as Caregivers

The Brookdale Foundation's Relatives as Parents Program (RAPP) provides seed grants to local agencies and State grantees to establish programs that support grandparents or other kin who are caring for children. Each year, grants of $10,000 are awarded over a 2-year period to up to 15 local community-based agencies and up to 5 State agencies. Local grants focus on providing services and developing or strengthening linkages between community-based agencies. State grants focus on developing statewide networks of service providers and establishing inter-system task forces to address issues related to relatives as caregivers.

Currently, RAPPs provide extensive services to grandparents and other relative caregivers in 41 States. Examples of services include linking caregivers to trainings and other sources of information, providing assessment and referrals, providing respite care, and developing or expanding support groups.

RAPP requests for proposals (RFPs) and their guidelines are disseminated on an annual basis. This year, applicants must apply for local grants by January 13, 2005; State grant applications are due February 10, 2005. The 2005 RFP, along with a more complete description of the program, is available on the foundation's website at www.brookdalefoundation.org.

Issue Date: 11 2004
Section: Resources
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=59&articleid=889


Training and Conferences

Computer Training for Foster Families, Relative Caregivers

Two programs designed to teach computer skills to foster families and to relative caregivers offer promising models for bringing technology skills to these populations. These groups traditionally have had less exposure to computer use and training due to lower incomes and residential instability; in addition, grandparent caregivers may have had only limited exposure to computer training due to their age. Training these groups in technology skills may promote both educational success and job marketability for caregivers and the children in their care.

The "Building Skills-Building Futures" project was developed by Casey Family Services, with the help of outside experts, to promote information technology skills for 32 foster families in the Bridgeport, CT, area. The model integrates foster family access to information technology training with ongoing foster care service activities. As part of the program, foster families are provided with computer hardware, software, and supplies, as well as with monthly Internet access; ownership of these items is transferred to the foster parents. Social workers use an individualized technology plan (ITP) to assess technology skills, set goals, and refer foster families to training opportunities. Progress is measured against the ITP at regular intervals, and goals are refined when necessary. Preliminary evaluation of the training has focused on collecting baseline data and evaluating the program implementation and costs; outcomes are not yet available.

Using a different training approach, researchers in Florida provided computer training for kin caregivers and found that they made gains in both skills and social opportunities. In this model, 46 kinship caregivers (the majority of whom were grandmothers) attended an 8-week computer training course. Results from participant interviews and from computer efficacy scales completed before and after the training show that the caregivers gained in self-efficacy, career skills confidence, and confidence in helping with their children's education, as well as in awareness of the need to monitor their children's use of the Internet. In addition, the participants developed new friendships with others in the course, which led to greater social support.

An article about the Casey Family Services project, "Building Skills-Building Futures: Providing Information Technology to Foster Families," can be found in the April - June 2004 issue of Families in Society: The Journal of Contemporary Social Services and can be accessed at http://alliance1.metapress.com/content/284w78243681310w/?p=0246058c4a7042958dfb363e345daabb&pi=2. "Developing a Network of Support for Relative Caregivers," about the Florida program, can be found in the July 2004 issue of Children and Youth Services Review and can be accessed at http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0190740904000477.

Issue Date: 11 2004
Section: Training and Conferences
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=59&articleid=890


Conferences

Upcoming national conferences on adoption and child welfare through February 2005 include:

December 2004

January 2005

February 2005

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 2004
Section: Training and Conferences
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=59&articleid=891



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