Children's Bureau ExpressDec 2005/Jan 2006 | Vol. 6, No. 10

Table of Contents
 

News From the Children's Bureau

  • New Children's Bureau Website Launched
  • Promising Approaches Webpage Now Available
  • Increasing Alaskan Native Fathers' Positive Involvement
  • Dealing With Racial Disproportionality in Child Welfare
  • Substance Abuse Issues in CFSRs
  • Guide to Future Care and Custody Planning for Children
  • Using Spiritual Interventions to Help Troubled Youth

Child Welfare Research

  • Two Studies of Racial Disproportionality
  • Improving Home Visitors' Skills
  • Preparing an Agency for Disaster

Strategies and Tools for Practice

  • States Respond to Children Missing From Care
  • College Students Find Promising Futures Through Summer Internship Program

Resources

  • Experiences From the Children's Psychotherapy Project
  • A New Handbook for Child Welfare
  • Impact of Child Maltreatment on Adult Income and Employment
  • Marriage and Child Well-Being
  • Legal Resources for Dependency Cases
  • The Center for Early Education and Development Merges With the Harris Center
  • Relatives as Parents Program

Training and Conferences

  • Trauma-Focused Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy Training
  • Online Tutorials for Understanding Substance Abuse
  • Conferences

News From the Children's Bureau

New Children's Bureau Website Launched

The new Children's Bureau website now gives users better access to information on promoting the safety, permanency, and well-being of children. The new website contains all of the information found on the former website and more. Users are now able to search the entire site by topic. They can locate Children's Bureau-sponsored conferences and find details about the Children's Bureau's various Divisions. Other enhancements include:

The new website is available at www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb

Issue Date: Dec 2005/Jan 2006
Section: News From the Children's Bureau
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=70&articleid=1027


Promising Approaches Webpage Now Available

In response to the Child and Family Services Reviews (CFSRs) and as part of the subsequent Program Improvement Plans (PIPs), States have developed a variety of creative programs and practices that allow them to better serve children and families. The Children's Bureau has now created a webpage to share these State resources. While no claims are made about the effectiveness of these approaches, brief descriptive information is provided, as well as contact information for further details. The approaches are listed by State and by topic, including court collaboration, foster parent licensing, and quality assurance. To date, approximately 40 programs in 23 States have been identified.

To view the Promising Approaches webpage, go to http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb/resource/promising-approaches.

Issue Date: Dec 2005/Jan 2006
Section: News From the Children's Bureau
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=70&articleid=1070


Increasing Alaskan Native Fathers' Positive Involvement

Native Alaskan fathers involved with the child welfare system in Anchorage have been able to strengthen their relationships with their children and improve their parenting skills as a result of a program developed by the Cook Inlet Tribal Council (CITC). Based on interviews with Native Alaskan fathers who identified parenting needs, CITC staff developed the Healthy Homes Father Involvement Enhancement Project. The project includes:

As a group, Native Alaskan fathers face a number of challenges that often make it difficult for them to parent effectively, and their children are disproportionately overrepresented in the child welfare system. Many were abused as children and grew up in the foster care system and in government boarding schools, leaving them with few models of healthy family relationships. One of the goals of the Father Involvement Enhancement Project is to help fathers learn to connect with their children and with the mothers of their children.

While preliminary evaluation data are not available, program staff at the Healthy Homes Father Involvement Enhancement Project, as well as the fathers themselves, report success with the program. In addition, the program has established a positive and visible presence in the community. Much of the success is attributed to the initial involvement of fathers in the program's development and the fact that the case manager is a single father and an American Indian.

For more information on this program, contact:

Sylvia Berg
Healthy Homes Father Involvement Enhancement Project
Cook Inlet Tribal Council, Inc.
3600 San Jeronimo Drive
Anchorage, AK 99508
Phone: 907.793.3600

Note: The Healthy Homes Father Involvement Enhancement Project was funded by the Children's Bureau, Grant 90-CA-1705, under the Children's Bureau Priority Area: 2002C2: Grants to Tribes, Tribal Organizations, and Migrant Programs for Community-Based Family Resource and Support Programs. This article is part of a series highlighting successful Children's Bureau Grant-funded projects around the country, emerging from official Children's Bureau site visits.

Issue Date: Dec 2005/Jan 2006
Section: News From the Children's Bureau
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=70&articleid=1076


Dealing With Racial Disproportionality in Child Welfare

The National Resource Center for Family-Centered Practice and Permanency Planning (NRCFCPPP), in partnership with the Child Welfare League of America, hosted two recent teleconferences on “Racial Disproportionality in Child Welfare: Tools and Strategies for Change.” Speakers included a number of child welfare experts who presented an overview of the issue. In addition, State, Tribal, and local efforts to reduce disproportionality were discussed.

Audio files of the teleconference presentations are available on the NRCFCPPP website, along with all handouts distributed to teleconference participants. The materials can be found online at http://www.hunter.cuny.edu/socwork/nrcfcpp/teleconferences/teleconference_archives.html#disproportionality1

Issue Date: Dec 2005/Jan 2006
Section: News From the Children's Bureau
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=70&articleid=2179


Substance Abuse Issues in CFSRs

The National Center on Substance Abuse and Child Welfare (NCSACW) used information from States' Child and Family Services Reviews (CFSRs) and Program Improvement Plans (PIPs) to analyze and summarize substance abuse issues that States face and how they are approaching these issues. Several of the overall findings include:

The complete report, "A Review of Alcohol and Other Drug Issues in the States' Child and Family Services Reviews and Program Improvement Plans," by N. K. Young, S. L. Gardner, B. Whitaker, S. Yeh, and C. Otero, is available at www.ncsacw.samhsa.gov/files/SummaryofCFSRs.pdf

Issue Date: Dec 2005/Jan 2006
Section: News From the Children's Bureau
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=70&articleid=2180


Guide to Future Care and Custody Planning for Children

A new monograph from the National Abandoned Infants Assistance Resource Center (AIA) presents information and recommendations for child custody planning for parents who are terminally ill. Future care and custody planning—which is sometimes referred to as voluntary permanency planning—enables parents to designate caregivers who can assume responsibility for their children in the event that the parents die or become incapacitated. This type of planning has developed significantly in recent years, particularly in response to the HIV crisis that has left many children orphaned.

The new monograph, Guide to Future Care and Custody Planning for Children, with Recommendations for State Legislation, presents the discussions and recommendations of an expert group convened by the AIA. The monograph explores a number of approaches to planning, ranging from private documentation to more public judicial processes. Policy recommendations and a discussion of specific permanency planning tools are provided.

The publication is available from the AIA website at http://aia.berkeley.edu/media/pdf/fccp_monograph.pdf

Issue Date: Dec 2005/Jan 2006
Section: News From the Children's Bureau
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=70&articleid=2178


Using Spiritual Interventions to Help Troubled Youth

The National Child Welfare Resource Center for Youth Development (NRCYD) has released a new report that explores the uses of spiritual activities in providing effective therapeutic services to youth. Adolescent Heart and Soul: Achieving Spiritual Competence in Youth-Serving Agencies was prepared by M. Wilson of the New England Network for Child, Youth, and Family Services. The report examines how seven agencies, some religious and some secular, have developed spiritual programming in their work with young people.

The agencies selected work with youth aged 14 to 22, most of whom are in residential treatment or transitional living programs. The agencies believe that providing opportunities for spiritual development or introspection is a critical component of their overall treatment. The particular form of introspection is considered relatively unimportant, so the agencies offered a range of spiritual activities, both religious and secular.

The report is intended to be a guide for agencies wishing to develop and expand the spiritual component of their programs. Many tools and resources developed by the agencies are reprinted in the appendix of the report.

The report is available for download from the NRCYD website at http://nrcyd.ou.edu/publication-db/documents/adolescent-heart-and-soul.pdf (PDF - 1,382 KB).

Issue Date: Dec 2005/Jan 2006
Section: News From the Children's Bureau
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=70&articleid=2177


Child Welfare Research

Two Studies of Racial Disproportionality

Racial disproportionality in child welfare is widely acknowledged, and studies are now focused on identifying the types of disparity, as well as where in the process the unequal treatment occurs. Two recent State-specific studies explored these topics by examining (1) the disproportionate number of Hispanic children in the Utah child welfare system and (2) neglect cases of African-American children in Minnesota.

Ethnicity was the best predictor of length of time in out-of-home placement in a study that compared Hispanic and White non-Hispanic children involved with the child welfare system in Utah. The study, which reviewed 16,581 reported and 1,001 substantiated cases of abuse or neglect, found that Hispanic children spent significantly longer time in out-of-home care than White children and were younger when they were brought into the system.

The study's authors suggest that systematic discrimination may occur when caseworkers perceive younger Hispanic children, or those in households with single mothers, as being at higher risk for maltreatment. The results show the need for increased cultural awareness among child welfare professionals, especially at the stages of case assessment and decision-making.

The complete study, "Maybe Ignorance Is Not Always Bliss: The Disparate Treatment of Hispanics Within the Child Welfare System," appears in the December 2005 issue of Children and Youth Services Review. The abstract is available online at http://dx.doi.org/doi:10.1016/j.childyouth.2005.01.003.

In a study of neglect cases in four Minnesota counties, few differences were found between cases involving African-American and Caucasian children in terms of services and outcomes; however, findings suggest disproportionality in reporting and possibly in screening cases and in the wait for adoption.

In the study of neglect cases, differential treatment occurred at the point at which a worker would determine whether or not an investigation was warranted. For example, in cases in which maternal drug abuse was involved, the case was more likely to be investigated when the child was African-American.

The Executive Summary for the "African American Comparative Case Review Study Report," which was recommended to the Minnesota Department of Human Services by the African American Disparity Advisory committee, is available at edocs.dhs.state.mn.us/lfserver/Legacy/DHS-4575-ENG

Related Items

Read more about racial disparity in this current issue in "Dealing With Racial Disproportionality in Child Welfare" in the News From the Children's Bureau section and in these past issues of Children's Bureau Express:

Issue Date: Dec 2005/Jan 2006
Section: Child Welfare Research
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=70&articleid=1073


Improving Home Visitors' Skills

Success of home visitation may depend on the specific competencies and skills of the home visitor, according to a recent study that explored the difficulty and frequency of situations encountered by child welfare workers making home visits. The study sought to identify these difficult situations in order to recommend areas of training for home visitors.

Focus groups composed of 114 home visitors from Arizona were used to generate a sample of common problematic situations that face home visitors. These problematic situations were then rated on a questionnaire by 91 home visitors completing a mail survey. Some of the most difficult situations included:

The study's authors suggest that many difficult situations encountered by home visitors are context-specific and training curricula should focus on developing the competencies needed to deal with these situations. This type of training may be more effective than just providing information or requiring home visitors to have advanced degrees.

The study, "Improving the Quality of Home Visitation: An Exploratory Study of Difficult Situations," by C. W. LeCroy and K. Whitaker, can be found in the September 2005 issue of Child Abuse and Neglect: The International Journal, available online at http://dx.doi.org/doi:10.1016/j.chiabu.2005.04.003

Issue Date: Dec 2005/Jan 2006
Section: Child Welfare Research
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=70&articleid=1074


Preparing an Agency for Disaster

In the wake of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, many child welfare agencies have begun to review their own disaster preparedness plans. Carmen Weisner, former Assistant Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Social Services Office of Community Services and current Executive Director of the Louisiana Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers, as well as a long-time social worker in Louisiana, is able to speak firsthand about agency preparedness. As the invited keynote speaker at an October 2005 meeting of the Council on Accreditation (COA), Ms. Weisner talked about issues that child welfare agencies should consider when developing their disaster plans.

Major considerations for child welfare agencies should be:

For the full text of Ms. Weisner's speech, visit the COA website at www.coanet.org/Files/RoundtableLuncheon.pdf (Editor's note: Link no longer active).

Issue Date: Dec 2005/Jan 2006
Section: Child Welfare Research
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=70&articleid=1071


Strategies and Tools for Practice

States Respond to Children Missing From Care

States are addressing the issue of runaway children and other children missing from child welfare custody in a variety of creative ways, according to a recent article in Children's Voice, from the Child Welfare League of America (CWLA). The article discusses the increasing focus on missing children over the last few years and notes how States have responded. Some of these responses include:

Preventing youth from running away may save them from further victimization, according to this article. Youth will be less likely to run away if foster care services are improved, youth opinions are considered in decisions that affect them, and importance is placed on relationships between caseworkers and youth.

The complete article, "Children Missing From Care," is available in the September/October 2005 issue of Children's Voice and on the CWLA website at http://www.cwla.org/how-should-agencies-respond/.

Related Items

Children's Bureau Express covered the issue of missing children in the following articles:

Issue Date: Dec 2005/Jan 2006
Section: Strategies and Tools for Practice
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=70&articleid=1077


College Students Find Promising Futures Through Summer Internship Program

The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) piloted an internship program in the summer of 2005 for 29 college students served by the State’s child welfare system. "Find Your Future" provides students with relevant work experience that can help them in developing their careers. Internships are provided by a variety of employers, including law and investment firms, publishing companies, public schools, and television stations.

Other activities sponsored by the program include workshops on resume writing, interview training, mentoring opportunities, a visit to the Illinois Supreme Court, and attending baseball games.

DCFS plans to continue the program next summer. Information about the program can be found at http://www.kaleidoscope4kids.org/?page_id=381.

Issue Date: Dec 2005/Jan 2006
Section: Strategies and Tools for Practice
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=70&articleid=1078


Resources

Experiences From the Children's Psychotherapy Project

The Children's Psychotherapy Project (CPP) provides pro bono high-quality therapy to children in foster care following the tenet of "one child, one therapist, for as long as it takes." Since its inception in 1993, the CPP has grown from a local to a national program that has helped more than 200 children and adolescents. Now, the stories and experiences of therapists involved with the CPP are available in a book, Building a Home Within: Meeting the Emotional Needs of Children and Youth in Foster Care.

Each chapter in Building a Home Within is written by a different CPP therapist and focuses on a single child or adolescent and that child's particular issues. The problems faced by children in foster care are wide-ranging; some of the issues addressed in the book include:

The book is written for psychologists, social workers, counselors, and program administrators, as well as for graduate students and anyone interested in foster care. The stories provide compelling reading and may serve as a resource for those who work with children and adolescents in out-of-home care.

Building a Home Within was edited by T. V. Heineman and D. Ehrensaft, two founders of the CPP, and is published by Brookes Publishing. It is available through the website for A Home Within at www.ahomewithin.org

Related Item

Children's Bureau Express covered the Children's Psychotherapy Project in "Meeting the Mental Health Needs of Foster Children: The Children's Psychotherapy Project" (February 2004).

Issue Date: Dec 2005/Jan 2006
Section: Resources
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=70&articleid=2169


A New Handbook for Child Welfare

A new handbook brings together the writings of more than 75 eminent academics, policymakers, and practitioners in the field of child welfare to talk about safety, permanency, and well-being of children and the impact of current child welfare practice. Child Welfare for the 21st Century: A Handbook of Practices, Policies, and Programs is based on the philosophical orientation that strengthening and supporting families is the best way to ensure children's safety, permanency, and well-being. Following a broad overview of child welfare history and legislation, the chapters are divided among four sections:

Contributors for each chapter identify both promising practices and evidence-based practices, as well as ethical issues relevant to their topic. An extensive index contributes to the usability of the large volume.

Child Welfare for the 21st Century was edited by G. Mallon and P. M. Hess. It is available from Columbia University Press at www.columbia.edu/cu/cup

Issue Date: Dec 2005/Jan 2006
Section: Resources
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=70&articleid=2170


Impact of Child Maltreatment on Adult Income and Employment

The effects of child abuse and neglect often last far into adulthood, and research has shown that there can even be socioeconomic impact for some adults abused as children. In the July 2005 issue of Policy Matters, D. S. Zielinski discusses some of these repercussions:

The costs to society are discussed, and the author suggests that these costs could be reduced by:

The article, "Long-Term Socioeconomic Impact of Child Abuse and Neglect: Implications for Public Policy," is available at http://familyimpactseminars.org/s_nmfis02c03.pdf

Issue Date: Dec 2005/Jan 2006
Section: Resources
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=70&articleid=2171


Marriage and Child Well-Being

Marriage and its impact on child well-being are the focus of the fall 2005 issue of The Future of Children. In this special issue, leading scholars address such issues as:

The articles confirm that children benefit from growing up in a family with two married biological parents and that government could actively encourage two-parent families. Two public policies appear to be especially promising: improving economic conditions of low-income two-parent families and supporting marriage enhancement programs that are tailored to the needs of low-income parents.

The Future of Children is published by the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University and the Brookings Institution and is available at http://futureofchildren.org/futureofchildren/publications/journals/journal_details/index.xml?journalid=37

Issue Date: Dec 2005/Jan 2006
Section: Resources
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=70&articleid=2172


Legal Resources for Dependency Cases

First Star is a national nonprofit organization that advocates for improving the laws and systems that protect child victims of abuse and neglect. First Star provides an array of resources for education and training, public policy, and public awareness.

As part of this effort, First Star reviewed and compiled statutes relating to the representation of children in abuse and neglect proceedings, public access to such proceedings, and public access to dependency court records for all 50 States and the District of Columbia. Each of the three publications is presented in a table format, with citations and brief summaries of the laws.

Publications may be accessed online at www.firststar.org/policy-legislation.aspx

Issue Date: Dec 2005/Jan 2006
Section: Resources
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=70&articleid=2173


The Center for Early Education and Development Merges With the Harris Center

The University of Minnesota's Center for Early Education and Development (CEED) has merged with the Harris Training Center for Infant and Toddler Development to provide a comprehensive organization and website focused on improving developmental outcomes for children through applied research, training, and outreach. Product offerings include parent training curricula, online professional training, and information on parenting infants and toddlers.

CEED is a program of the University of Minnesota's College of Education and Human Development. More information is available online at http://education.umn.edu/ceed

Issue Date: Dec 2005/Jan 2006
Section: Resources
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=70&articleid=2174


Relatives as Parents Program

As part of its Relatives as Parents Program (RAPP), the Brookdale Foundation offers seed grants of $10,000 to local agencies and State public agencies to create or expand services for grandparents or other relatives raising kin. RAPPs provide extensive direct services, primarily to relative caregivers caring for children outside the foster care system, in 44 States. As part of the program, RAPP grantees attend an orientation and training conference and receive technical assistance, as well as opportunities for networking and information exchange.

The deadline for local proposals is January 12, 2006; the deadline for State proposals is February 9, 2006. For more information, visit the Brookdale Foundation website at http://www.brookdalefoundation.net/RAPP/rapp.html.

Issue Date: Dec 2005/Jan 2006
Section: Resources
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=70&articleid=2422


Training and Conferences

Trauma-Focused Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy Training

The Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC), in partnership with the National Child Traumatic Stress Network, offers training on trauma-focused cognitive-behavioral therapy through its website.

Topics covered in the program include psychoeducation, stress management, affect expression and modulation, cognitive processing, and behavior management therapy. Resource lists are targeted to therapists, parents, and children and provide links to published materials, online worksheets, annotated bibliographies, and external websites.

Participation in the program is restricted to individuals who have master’s degrees or are currently enrolled in a graduate degree program in a mental health discipline. Registration is required for access to the training modules.

Information is available on the MUSC website at http://tfcbt.musc.edu

Issue Date: Dec 2005/Jan 2006
Section: Training and Conferences
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=70&articleid=2175


Online Tutorials for Understanding Substance Abuse

The National Center on Substance Abuse and Child Welfare (NCSACW) offers a new tutorial to educate child welfare workers about substance abuse. “Understanding Substance Abuse Disorders, Treatment, and Family Recovery: A Guide for Child Welfare Professionals,” is now available as an online training from the NCSACW website. This is the second in a series of four self-tutorials, geared toward four different target audiences, that will work to establish a knowledge base on substance abuse and child abuse and to support cross-systems work.

The courses are free and offer CEU credit.

[Editor's note: This link is no longer available.]

Issue Date: Dec 2005/Jan 2006
Section: Training and Conferences
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=70&articleid=2176


Conferences

Upcoming national conferences on adoption and child welfare through April 2006 include:

January

February

March

April

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

Issue Date: Dec 2005/Jan 2006
Section: Training and Conferences
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=70&articleid=1083



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

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


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