Children's Bureau ExpressJuly/August 2006 | Vol. 7, No. 6

Table of Contents
 

News From the Children's Bureau

  • Child Welfare Information Gateway Now Open!
  • Debut of Fatherhood User Manual
  • Safety Intervention in Methamphetamine-Using Families
  • PART Outcomes and Workgroup Information

Child Welfare Research

  • Nonresident Fathers and the Child Welfare System
  • Government Costs for Adoption vs. Foster Care
  • Frequently Encountered Families

Strategies and Tools for Practice

  • Providing Permanency With Subsidized Guardianship
  • Survey of Practices to Reduce Disproportionality
  • Systems of Care for the Most Vulnerable Families

Resources

  • Helping Children Recover From Sexual Abuse
  • Giving Foster Youth Their Say
  • Examining the Effects of Child Trauma
  • Child Welfare News Online
  • National Evaluation of the Court Improvement Program
  • Meeting the Special Education Needs of Foster Children
  • The California Evidence-Based Clearinghouse
  • The Janus Foundation

Training and Conferences

  • Managing Juvenile Services
  • Working With Fathers
  • Conferences

News From the Children's Bureau

Child Welfare Information Gateway Now Open!

The Children's Bureau's States and Tribes meeting provided the setting for the opening of Child Welfare Information Gateway on June 20. In a presentation that included remarks by Susan Orr, Associate Commissioner of the Children's Bureau, Child Welfare Information Gateway was presented to Federal staff and representatives from Tribal Social Services, Court Improvement Projects, and State CPS Programs from all over the nation.

With its debut, Child Welfare Information Gateway, a service of the Children's Bureau, is now offering its full spectrum of information services to child welfare and other professionals across the country. Information Gateway represents the consolidation and expansion of two federally mandated clearinghouses—the National Clearinghouse on Child Abuse and Neglect Information and the National Adoption Information Clearinghouse. This consolidation allows for streamlined access to the resources that child welfare professionals need, all in one place.

Child Welfare Information Gateway connects professionals to information and resources on:

Information Gateway provides professionals with easy access to:

These free services include:

Visit Child Welfare Information Gateway today and stay connected!

www.childwelfare.gov
1.800.394.3366

Issue Date: July/August 2006
Section: News From the Children's Bureau
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=76&articleid=1180


Debut of Fatherhood User Manual

Working with fathers of children involved in the child welfare system often requires specialized understanding and different approaches by CPS caseworkers than might be used with mothers. The effective engagement of fathers is the focus of the newest User Manual from the Office on Child Abuse and Neglect. The Importance of Fathers in the Healthy Development of Children provides information to frontline caseworkers and other professionals about the profound impact of fathers on their children, as well as practical guidance on engaging fathers in assessment, case planning, and services when children suffer maltreatment.

The Importance of Fathers in the Healthy Development of Children, by J. Rosenberg and W. B. Wilcox, is part of the Child Abuse and Neglect User Manual series produced by the Children's Bureau's Office on Child Abuse and Neglect in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Other manuals in the series provide child welfare caseworkers, supervisors, and other professionals with information about recognizing and responding to child maltreatment.

To download any User Manual or to order a copy, visit the following Child Welfare Information Gateway webpage:

www.childwelfare.gov/pubs/usermanual.cfm

Related Item

Children's Bureau Express explores the topic of father involvement in a related article in this issue: "Nonresident Fathers and the Child Welfare System."

Issue Date: July/August 2006
Section: News From the Children's Bureau
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=76&articleid=1182


Safety Intervention in Methamphetamine-Using Families

In response to the increasing number of methamphetamine-using families entering the child welfare system, the National Resource Center for Child Protective Services is developing a series of articles exploring workers' safety and decision-making responsibilities with families using methamphetamine.

The series of articles will provide guidance in identifying, assessing, and responding to specific behaviors or conditions, with each article addressing a specific issue related to safety assessment and intervention. The first article in the series, “Safety Intervention in Methamphetamine Using Families: A Practice Guide for Safety Decision Making and Safety Management in Child Protective Services,” provides an overview to the series. It is available online:

www.nrccps.org/PDF/Finalintropracticeguidemethoct05.pdf (PDF - 54 KB)

The second article in the series, “Safety Intervention During CPS Intake with Methamphetamine Using Caregivers," is also available:

www.nrccps.org/PDF/SafetyInterventionDuringCPSIntakewithMethamphetamine.pdf (PDF - 146 KB)

Issue Date: July/August 2006
Section: News From the Children's Bureau
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=76&articleid=1885


PART Outcomes and Workgroup Information

The FRIENDS National Resource Center for Community-Based Child Abuse Prevention (CBCAP) has recently posted information to its website about the Federal Office of Management and Budget's Program Assessment Rating Tool (PART). The PART is used in the review and evaluation of many federally funded programs and was included in a CBCAP review in 2004. As a result, the Children's Bureau is working with grantees to demonstrate results of the CBCAP program.

FRIENDS is part of this ongoing effort, which includes a workgroup that will identify and propose efficiency measures as well as begin to develop a comprehensive evaluation plan for the National CBCAP Program. For information on PART and on the workgroup, visit the FRIENDS website:

www.friendsnrc.org/CBCAP/PART/index.htm

Issue Date: July/August 2006
Section: News From the Children's Bureau
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=76&articleid=1886


Child Welfare Research

Nonresident Fathers and the Child Welfare System

Finding and engaging nonresident fathers carries the potential for significant benefits for children in the child welfare system. When fathers are identified and involved in decisions about their children, there is the possibility for a strengthened father–child relationship, increased permanency, and access to more family information and resources.

A recent study, What About the Dads? Child Welfare Agencies' Efforts to Identify, Locate and Involve Nonresident Fathers, explored the ways that child welfare agencies in four States find and engage nonresident fathers. Findings from interviews with 1,222 caseworkers showed that:

This exploratory study of nonresident fathers also examined practices and initiatives that may increase father involvement. Recommendations include:

What About the Dads? by K. Malm, J. Murray, and R. Geen, was prepared by the Urban Institute and released by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE), with funding from the Children's Bureau. It is available on the ASPE website:

http://aspe.hhs.gov/hsp/06/CW-involve-dads/report.pdf (PDF - 820 KB)

Related Items

Children's Bureau Express (http://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov) has explored the topic of father involvement in a number of articles, including the following:

Issue Date: July/August 2006
Section: Child Welfare Research
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=76&articleid=1181


Government Costs for Adoption vs. Foster Care

While the social benefits of adoption over long-term foster care for children are widely recognized, a new study shows that adoption also means significant cost savings for governments. The study found that adoption, including the cost of adoption assistance, provides substantial savings in government funding when compared to the cost of maintaining children in long-term foster care.

In "A Comparison of the Governmental Costs of Long-Term Foster Care and Adoption," the authors compared the costs of similarly situated North Carolina children in long-term foster care (n=691) and adoption (n=1,902). Costs included those covered by Federal, State, and local contributions for adoption subsidies, foster care placements, group home placements, emergency care, home studies, administrative costs, and other child welfare and court costs. The discrepancy was significant:

In providing these figures, the authors point out that adoption expenditures tend to be higher toward the beginning of an adoption case and then decrease, whereas the costs of long-term foster care increase as the child gets older. They also cite studies showing that cuts in adoption assistance result in decreases in adoptions.

The results suggest a number of implications for funding adoption assistance. While some jurisdictions are considering cutting subsidies due to tight budgets, an increase in adoption assistance amounts actually might generate greater savings over the long run, as more children may move from long-term foster care to adoption. Funding activities such as recruitment of adoptive families and bonuses for families who adopt older children may also increase adoptions.

"A Comparison of the Governmental Costs of Long-Term Foster Care and Adoption," by R. P. Barth, C. K. Lee, J. Wildfire, and S. Guo, appeared in the March 2006 issue of the Social Service Review. It is available through the journal website:

www.journals.uchicago.edu/SSR/

Related Item

Children's Bureau Express examines the related topic of subsidized guardianship in another article in this issue, "Providing Permanency With Subsidized Guardianship."

Issue Date: July/August 2006
Section: Child Welfare Research
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=76&articleid=1183


Frequently Encountered Families

In most child welfare systems, there is a small percentage of families who require a disproportionate amount of caseworker time and agency resources. These "frequently encountered" (FE) families were the subject of a research study aimed at identifying characteristics of these families, as well as ways to strengthen the families and lessen their involvement with the child welfare system.

The study drew on data from two samples of families who were the subject of accepted reports by child welfare agencies. In a Minnesota sample of 797 reported families, 19 percent were FE (three or more reports in 27 months). Among 33,395 reported Missouri families, 21 percent were considered FE families (five or more reports in 5 years). Expenditures for these FE families were disproportionate. In Missouri, even though the FE families constituted only one-fifth of the reported families, half of the total CPS expenditures—more than $91 million—was spent on them over 5 years.

In evaluating the FE families in these two samples, three overriding characteristics were identified:

Additional characteristics often found in these families included domestic violence, mental illness or disabilities in a parent or child, and untreated substance abuse. In tracking these families over time, the author found that reports of physical abuse tended to decrease, while reports of neglect tended to increase. Specifically, neglect related to unmet basic needs (e.g., lack of food, unsanitary living conditions) and medical neglect (e.g., untreated diseases or injury, medications not administered) tended to increase over time for these families.

The complexity of the problems of FE families sometimes makes it difficult to identify and provide appropriate and sufficient services. In addition, changes in family structure or income over time may help or hinder the family's ability to cope. These situations demand that child welfare agencies identify these families early and provide preventive services. Specific recommendations include:

The full report, Families Frequently Encountered by Child Protection Services: A Report on Chronic Child Abuse and Neglect, by L. A. Loman, was produced by the Institute of Applied Research and is available on its website:

www.iarstl.org/papers/FEfamiliesChronicCAN.pdf (PDF - 404 KB)

Issue Date: July/August 2006
Section: Child Welfare Research
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=76&articleid=1185


Strategies and Tools for Practice

Providing Permanency With Subsidized Guardianship

A significant proportion of children in long-term foster care live with relatives—at least 25 percent—but many are unable to achieve permanency because their kinship caregivers cannot afford to lose the payments that foster care provides. For some of these families, adoption is not an acceptable option because it would alter the family structure by terminating the parents' rights and assigning these rights to a grandparent or other relative. Without an affordable alternative, many of these children remain in long-term foster care.

A recent report from Generations United describes subsidized guardianship, an alternative currently offered by 35 States. Under subsidized guardianship programs, parental rights are not terminated, but permanent legal custody is assigned to a relative. The advantages of guardianship over long-term foster care are significant:

As noted in the Generations United report, the drawback of subsidized guardianship involves funding. Federal title IV-E funding can be used for foster care payments or adoption assistance, but not for subsidized guardianship.

Eleven States have received time-limited waivers allowing them to use the Federal funds for subsidized guardianship. In these States, and in the States that have been able to find local and State funds to pay for a subsidized guardianship program, the program's success has been significant. For instance, California and Illinois have been able to reduce the number of children in long-term foster care with relatives by subsidizing guardianship. The disadvantage of State financing is that it leaves programs vulnerable to cuts in times of budget shortfalls.

The full report from Generations United, All Children Deserve a Permanent Home: Subsidized Guardianships as a Common Sense Solution for Children in Long-Term Relative Foster Care, was funded by the Pew Charitable Trusts. It is available on the Generations United website:

http://ipath.gu.org/documents/A0/All_Children_Deserve_A_Permanent_Home.pdf (PDF - 1060 KB)

Related Item

Children's Bureau Express reported on kinship care in a previous article:

"Children Find Permanence in Subsidized Guardianship" (December 2004/January 2005)

Issue Date: July/August 2006
Section: Strategies and Tools for Practice
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=76&articleid=1186


Survey of Practices to Reduce Disproportionality

While a number of studies have documented the overrepresentation of minority children in the child welfare system, effective strategies to address this problem have been scant. A recent survey of State child welfare directors asked them to rate 42 promising practices for reducing overrepresentation based on how widespread each practice was in their State and how supported each practice was by staffing and funding.

Thirty-one State child welfare directors responded to the survey. In addition, disproportionality for each minority group in each State's child welfare system was determined. Comparing disproportionality in a State with the promising practices being implemented in that State led to the following conclusions:

The complete study, Disproportionate Representation in the Child Welfare System: Emerging Promising Practices Survey, was written by K. F. Vandergrift for the National Association of Public Child Welfare Administrators, an affiliate of the American Public Human Services Association (APHSA). It is available on the APHSA website:

www.aphsa.org/NAPCWA/docs/Disproportionate-Representation.pdf (PDF - 297 KB)

Related Items

The topic of minority overrepresentation in child welfare was explored in Children's Bureau Express in the following articles:

Issue Date: July/August 2006
Section: Strategies and Tools for Practice
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=76&articleid=1187


Systems of Care for the Most Vulnerable Families

The rise in the number of children and youth in need of behavioral health (mental health or substance abuse) services requires greater coordination among behavioral health systems and the child welfare and juvenile justice systems. A series of summits by the Child Welfare League of America (CWLA) and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation examined how a systems of care approach could improve the quality of care for these vulnerable children and their families. Two hundred policymakers, government officials, agency personnel, researchers, and consumers attended the summits to exchange ideas about the potential of systems of care. Two resulting monographs outline the problems faced by the behavioral health, child welfare, and juvenile justice systems and the ways that collaboration and integration among the systems can improve outcomes for children and families.

Issue Date: July/August 2006
Section: Strategies and Tools for Practice
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=76&articleid=1188


Resources

Helping Children Recover From Sexual Abuse

Children who are recovering from the trauma of sexual abuse require special understanding and support. The May 2006 issue of Fostering Perspectives features several articles that provide information and resources for foster parents who care for sexually abused children. Specific topics include understanding the child's emotions, dealing with the child's birth parents, and addressing difficult behaviors. Statistics and links to additional resources are also provided.

Fostering Perspectives is published by the North Carolina Division of Social Services and the Family and Children's Resource Program. This issue is available online:

www.fosteringperspectives.org/fp_v10n2/v10n2.htm

Issue Date: July/August 2006
Section: Resources
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=76&articleid=1875


Giving Foster Youth Their Say

My Voice, My Life, My Future is a booklet of art, essays, and poetry by youth living in foster care. The collection was assembled by Home At Last, with the Children's Law Center of Los Angeles, in conjunction with the May 2006 Foster Care Awareness Campaign. The booklet provides an opportunity for foster youth to express their feelings about the foster care experience, being separated from family, wanting a voice in decisions that affect their lives, and dreaming of better futures.

Home At Last is a national, nonpartisan education and outreach project, supported through a grant from The Pew Charitable Trusts to Occidental College. The booklet is available online:

http://fostercarehomeatlast.org/reports/MyVoice.pdf (PDF - 1820 KB)

Issue Date: July/August 2006
Section: Resources
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=76&articleid=1876


Examining the Effects of Child Trauma

The Winter 2006 issue of the Juvenile and Family Court Journal is a special issue devoted to the long-term effects of trauma and abuse on children. The articles focus on information to help courts and judges deal effectively with these difficult cases. Articles include:

The journal is published by the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges. A sample article, abstracts, and ordering information are available online:

www.ncjfcj.org/content/blogcategory/138/180/

Issue Date: July/August 2006
Section: Resources
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=76&articleid=1877


Child Welfare News Online

There are several resources that provide news clippings or abstracts of news stories focusing on child welfare issues. Subscribing to these services allows child welfare professionals to stay current with relevant news stories from around the country.

Issue Date: July/August 2006
Section: Resources
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=76&articleid=1878


National Evaluation of the Court Improvement Program

The Children’s Bureau has funded a 5-year study to examine the efforts by State courts to improve their oversight of foster care and adoption cases and analyze the outcomes achieved. These efforts are now being featured on a new website.

The National Evaluation of the Court Improvement Program (CIP) has three interrelated components:

Findings from the three study components will capture the ongoing nationwide process of court reform supported by the CIP. The study is being conducted by Planning and Learning Technologies (Pal-Tech, Inc.), the Urban Institute, and the Center for Policy Research.

www.pal-tech.com/cip/index.cfm

Issue Date: July/August 2006
Section: Resources
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=76&articleid=1879


Meeting the Special Education Needs of Foster Children

The impact of foster care placement on the emotional health and school performance of youth was the focus of the April 5, 2006, web conference presented by Chapin Hall Center for Children at the University of Chicago. The conference focused on three areas:

An audiovisual recording of the conference, Charting a Course: Meeting the Special Education Needs of Foster Children, is available on the Chapin Hall website, along with a PowerPoint presentation, a written log of questions and answers, and the report “Behavior Problems and Education Disruptions Among Children in Out-of-Home Care in Chicago.”

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


Issue Date: July/August 2006
Section: Resources
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=76&articleid=1880


The California Evidence-Based Clearinghouse

The California Evidence-Based Clearinghouse for Child Welfare (CEBC) recently launched their website of evidence-based child welfare programs and practices. Child welfare professionals and others can use the site to identify evidence-based practices that have received empirical support or are of considerable interest in California. While the website has a California focus, the program information has value for a national audience.

Staff at CEBC use a standardized process to identify and review child welfare programs and practices for inclusion in the CEBC database. Programs receive a rating based on supporting evidence, child welfare outcomes, and relevance to child welfare populations. Users can search the database by topical area, maltreatment type, scientific rating, or goals and outcomes. For each program included in the database, users will find ratings, a summary, other websites that highlight the program, contact information, and a link to a detailed report.

The CEBC is run by the Chadwick Center for Children and Families, in cooperation with the Child and Adolescent Services Research Center.

www.cachildwelfareclearinghouse.org

Issue Date: July/August 2006
Section: Resources
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=76&articleid=1881


The Janus Foundation

The Denver-based Janus Foundation offers cash grants to qualified nonprofit organizations across the country in the following specific areas:

The foundation reviews applications monthly, so there is no application deadline. Complete details and an application packet are available online:

[Editor's note: this link no longer exists.] 

Issue Date: July/August 2006
Section: Resources
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=76&articleid=1882


Training and Conferences

Managing Juvenile Services

The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) sponsors a series of training sessions on managing juvenile services and other related subjects, including child fatality investigations, protecting children online, and responding to missing and abducted children. Many of the sessions are intended for law enforcement personnel only, while others require participation by interdisciplinary teams.

The classes are conducted in locations around the country by Fox Valley Technical College. A listing of classes scheduled for 2006, course descriptions, and registration information can be found online:

http://dept.fvtc.edu/ojjdp/index.htm

Issue Date: July/August 2006
Section: Training and Conferences
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=76&articleid=1883


Working With Fathers

The National Family Preservation Network (NFPN), in collaboration with other organizations, has formed the Working with Fathers Institute to provide comprehensive resources and onsite training to practitioners in the areas of father involvement, support groups for fathers, marriage and parenting, and safely working with fathers involved in domestic violence.

The Working with Fathers Institute will prepare a customized onsite training proposal for any interested agency. African-American and Hispanic associate trainers are also available through the Institute. Additional information is available on the NFPN website:

www.nfpn.org/component/content/article/32-news-for-2006/76-working-with-fathers-institute-provides-training-and-resources.html

Issue Date: July/August 2006
Section: Training and Conferences
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=76&articleid=1884


Conferences

Call for Abstracts

The Children's Bureau has announced a Call for Abstracts for its 16th National Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect, Protecting Children, Promoting Healthy Families, and Preserving Communities. The conference will be held in Portland, OR, April 16–21, 2007. Abstracts must be submitted electronically, no later than July 31, 2006, to the following site:

www.pal-tech.com/web/callforpapers

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

August

September

October

November

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

Issue Date: July/August 2006
Section: Training and Conferences
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=76&articleid=1193



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.

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