News From the Children's Bureau
- Annual Child Abuse Prevention Month Slated for April
National, State, and local organizations will recognize April 2000 as Child Abuse Prevention Month, an annual observation aimed at educating individuals and communities about how they can help prevent the abuse and neglect of children.
The National Clearinghouse on Child Abuse and Neglect Information, sponsored by the Children's Bureau, is among the many entities that will distribute information resources and sponsor special programs and events to commemorate the month. April has been designated as Child Abuse Prevention Month by presidential proclamation since 1983.
At the center of the Clearinghouse's 2000 campaign is a new Child Abuse Prevention website (http://www.calib.com/nccanch/prevmnth/index.cfm). (Editor's note: this link is no longer available.) The site, built around the Children's Bureau year 2000 theme "You Have the Power of Prevention," will continue to add enhancements through April. The site will feature:
- Information on program evaluation
- Profiles of prevention programs
- Prevention tips to share with parents
- Additional contacts and resources.
The Clearinghouse also will distribute packets of print products as well as a four-color poster to support commemoration efforts. Among organizations prominently supporting Child Abuse Prevention Month are:
- Prevent Child Abuse America
- National Indian Child Welfare Association
- National Alliance of Children's trust and Prevention Funds
- FRIENDS Technical Assistance Resource Center for Community-Based Family Resource and Support Programs
- Federal Agencies represented on the Interagency Work Group on Child Abuse and Neglect.
For more information about Clearinghouse and Children's Bureau Prevention Month plans, contact the Clearinghouse by phone at 800-FYI-3366 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- HHS-Funded Research on Children With Sexual Behavior Problems
A new set of publications provides a resource for professionals who assess and treat children with sexual behavior problems.
Children with Sexual Behavior Problems: Assessment and Treatment and three companion treatment manuals are based on a long-term study conducted by Barbara L. Bonner and Eugene Walker at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center and Lucy Berliner at the University of Washington. The study's principal objectives were three-fold:
- To assess and treat a broad range of children ages 6-12 with sexual behavior problems
- To develop a typology for children with sexual behavior problems
- To compare the efficacy of two approaches (cognitive-behavioral vs. dynamic group play therapy) to treating children with sexual behavior problems through a controlled treatment outcome study.
Cognitive-behavioral group therapy for children emphasizes cognitive rules, decision making, impulse control, and education. Dynamic group play therapy focuses on child-directed activities, such as story telling, team play, and arts and crafts, within controlled conditions established by a therapist.
Both approaches to treatment were found to be effective in reducing children's inappropriate or aggressive sexual behavior.
Some notable findings described by the researchers are:
- At younger ages, males and females were equally represented, but as age increased, there was a tendency for males to outnumber females in sexual behavior problems.
- Although the children with sexual behavior problems had suffered significantly higher rates of sexual abuse than the comparison group, there were no significant differences in terms of a history of physical abuse, neglect, or emotional abuse.
- Children with sexual behavior problems were more disturbed and pathological than the comparison group.
- Three subgroups of children were identified, based on examining their particular sexual behaviors-Sexually Inappropriate, Sexually Intrusive, and Sexually Aggressive
- Outcome data indicated a significant improvement in test scores from pre-treatment to post-treatment.
The study began in 1991 and concluded in 1998.
Children with Sexual Behavior Problems: Assessment and Treatment is available online from the National Clearinghouse on Child Abuse and Neglect Information at http://nccanch.acf.hhs.gov/pubs/otherpubs/childassessment/index.cfm.
- Adoption 2002 Nominated for Innovations in Government Award
The national Adoption 2002 initiative has been nominated by the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) for an Innovations in American Government award. The competition is jointly sponsored by the Ford Foundation, the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, and the Council for Excellence in Government.
Adoption 2002 is the Department of Health and Human Services' response to President Clinton's initiative to double by 2002 the number of children in foster care who are adopted or otherwise permanently placed. Many of the recommendations of the Adoption 2002 report prepared by HHS were included in the Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997. The recommendations included financial incentives for States to increase adoptions, put the safety of children first in placement decisions, and set shorter time frames for permanent placement decisions. In late 1999, HHS awarded the first-ever adoption bonuses to States for increases in adoption of children from the public foster care system. Adoption 2002 is administered by the Administration on Children, Youth, and Families within ACF.
ACF also nominated five other programs for the award. The programs are:
- Welfare Reform Peer Technical Assistance Network
- Partnership for Self-Sufficiency
- Office of Community Services Liaison Project
- Early Head Start
- Agency-wide Automated Comprehensive Unified Grant Processing System/Subtitled Grant Administration, Tracking and Evaluation system (GATES).
Learn more about ACF offices and programs at http://www.acf.hhs.gov/.
- Federal Law Targets Funds to Child Abuse Prevention
New Federal legislation awaiting the President's signature will boost resources available to child abuse and neglect prevention efforts nationwide by giving States more leeway in how they spend Federal law enforcement grants and by targeting additional funds toward prevention and treatment:
- By amending existing legislation, the Child Abuse Prevention and Enforcement Act (CAPE) allows States to spend certain Federal grant dollars on efforts to share criminal history records with child welfare agencies and other agencies with responsibility for child protection and foster care placements.
- CAPE allows States to use Federal grants to enforce laws against child abuse and neglect and child sexual abuse and to fund prevention programs.
- The Act specifically encourages States to fund cooperative efforts between law enforcement agencies and media organizations to improve identification and apprehension of criminals.
- CAPE provides a formula for increasing from $10 million to as much as $20 million annually the amount of money earmarked from the Crime Victims Fund to help victims of child abuse. The Fund accumulates forfeited assets, bail bonds, and fines paid to the government.
- A section known as Jennifer's Law authorizes $6 million in grants over the next 3 years to help States report and share data about unidentified deceased and missing persons.
President Clinton is expected to sign the measure this month. The bill number is H.R.764. For details on the bill, visit Thomas, a service of the Library of Congress (http://thomas.loc.gov).
- Report Takes Detailed Look at Federal Independent Living Program
A new report released by the Children's Bureau this month analyzes a decade of State data on the Federal Independent Living Program, which helps young people move from foster care to self-sufficiency.
IV-E Independent Living Programs: A Decade in Review creates a national picture of youth served by States between 1987 and 1997, including their demographic and care characteristics. The report describes the array of ILP services provided and highlights trends and service approaches in the areas of:
- Educational and vocational training
- Mental health
- Health care
- Youth development.
The report recommends ways to enhance the annual ILP reporting process and improve assessment of the effectiveness of ILP services and outcomes for youth served. The report also makes recommendations related to policy and programs that address the following themes:
- Expanding services
- Supporting independent living as a continuous process
- Providing experiential and hands-on activities
- Addressing the needs of special populations
- Involving current and former foster care youth in ILP services delivery
- Collaborating with other agencies and community services
- Conducting and receiving training
- Resolving transportation issues
- Sharing information and promising approaches.
To obtain a copy of the executive summary or full report, contact
National Clearinghouse on Child Abuse and Neglect Information
330 C St. SW
Washington, DC 20447
800 FYI 3366
The report is available online at www.calib.com/nccanch/pubs/otherpubs/il/index.cfm. (Note: this publication is no longer available.)
- HHS Releases Kinship Care Multi-State Study
With increasing numbers of children placed with relatives rather than in foster care, data on these "kinship care" placements are needed. Child welfare policies and practices, which were originally designed for caretakers who are strangers, are evolving to meet this trend.
Data for this study were collected in seven States (California, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota, New York, and Utah) in 1996. Additionally, States provided demographic and fiscal data for children placed in related and nonrelated placements for 5 years (1991-1995). The final report, entitled Children Placed in Foster Care With Relatives: A Multi-state Study, builds on the Office of the Inspector General's 1992 report on kinship care in 29 States. It provides descriptive information to the Department of Health and Human Services' Children's Bureau on:
- State policies and practices
- Fiscal and demographic trends
- Services provided to foster children, foster parents, and birth parents in related and unrelated foster care placements
In examining caseworkers and foster care providers, the study specifically addressed:
- Case management practices
- Foster care providers' involvement in case planning and with birth parents
- Birth parent visits
- Demographic and socioeconomic characteristics of foster parents
- Health status and motivation of foster parents
- Caregiving experiences
Governmental policies in the seven States revealed a preference for care by relatives rather than nonrelatives. In analyzing the two types of placements, program structure, demographic trends, costs, and experiences of caseworkers and foster caregivers were compared. Among the findings were the following:
- In most States, licensed or certified relative homes are eligible to receive foster care maintenance subsidies.
- The number and percentage of children placed with relatives increased, especially among African Americans.
- Minority children and children with less placement experience were more likely to placed with relatives, while children with disruptive behavior, those in special education, and those with mental illness were usually placed with nonrelatives.
- The comparative costs of relative and nonrelative care could not be determined on the basis of the data provided because the States maintain data that covered differing periods.
- Workers' case management practices were similar for foster parents, birth parents, and foster children, regardless of the type of placement.
- Foster care workers had positive opinions regarding relative caregivers and the well-being of children placed in their care.
Implications and recommendations based on the findings for foster care policies, practices, and research are discussed. Appendices include a bibliography, fiscal information on the seven States surveyed, and State-by-State findings of relative vs. non-relative placements.
While supplies last, copies the Final Report and an Executive Summary of this multi-state study are available free of charge from the National Clearinghouse on Child Abuse and Neglect Information (http://nccanch.acf.hhs.gov), 800-394-3366.
For more information about the related 1992 OIG report and other materials on kinship care, search the documents database of the National Clearinghouse on Child Abuse and Neglect Information (http://basis.caliber.com/cwig/ws/library/docs/gateway/SearchForm).
- HHS and DOJ Will Jointly Fund Community Initiatives Addressing Child Maltreatment and Domestic Viole
HHS and DOJ Will Jointly Fund Community Initiatives Addressing Child Maltreatment and Domestic Viole
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and Department of Justice will jointly fund demonstration projects in five communities focused on collaborative interventions for battered women and their children.
Communities will receive funding to conduct projects using the guidelines on effective domestic violence and child maltreatment interventions recently published by the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (NCJFCJ). A national evaluation of the projects will take place. In addition, one or more organizations will receive Federal funding to provide technical assistance in planning and implementing the guidelines.
At a minimum, communities must collaborate with their local domestic violence service and advocacy provider; public child welfare agency; and juvenile, dependency, or family court. Special consideration will be given to funding a rural site or Indian Tribe as one of the five communities. The Federal agencies plan to fund the projects for at least 3 years and possibly up to 5 years.
Communities were instructed to send a postcard indicating their interest in applying to the Office of Justice Programs by February 29, 2000. These communities have until April 14, 2000, to submit a concept paper to the Administration on Children, Youth and Families Operations Center. The Federal agencies will evaluate the papers and select 10 of the communities to submit formal applications by mid-June 2000.
For copies of the NCJFCJ guidelines, Effective Interventions in Domestic Violence and Child Maltreatment: Guidelines for Policy and Practice, call NCJFCJ at (775) 784-6012.
For more information about the funding of the projects, contact the Administration on Children, Youth and Families Operations Center at (800) 351-2293.
- Children's Bureau Launches Electronic Digest
Welcome to the first issue of the Children's Bureau Express. The CB Express is a monthly electronic digest for professionals concerned with child abuse and neglect, child welfare, and adoption. CB Express is produced and disseminated jointly by the National Clearinghouse on Child Abuse and Neglect Information and the National Adoption Information Clearinghouse as a service of the Children's Bureau, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. We've designed the CB Express to give you a fast, concise, and timely source of information that makes it easy to stay in touch with developments in the field without spending a lot of time online. Look to the CB Express for:
- Top Stories: Short reports on timely and topical news relevant to your field as well as news from the Children's Bureau and the Administration for Children and Families
- Research: The latest studies and findings from the field
- Prevention: Summaries of activities that focus on preventing child abuse and neglect
- News You Can Use: Resources, tools, articles, publications, websites
- Spotlight on the National Child Welfare Resource Centers: Regular updates on the activities of, and resources from, the Centers.
CB Express is more than a periodical--it's a forum for practitioners and policy makers concerned with child well-being. Send us your feedback--what do you like about the Express? What can we do better? Send us an email telling us what is happening in your community or State; share your ideas.
Use the CB Express to communicate with your colleagues. The point-and-click option provided on each page lets you email an article or the entire issue to a colleague with a personalized message. You just need your recipient's email address.
Sign up if you would like us to send you an email alert each month when the new issue is posted. We'll briefly describe the stories in that month's issue and provide you with a direct link.
If you do not have access to the World Wide Web, or you would prefer to receive the CB Express via email, subscribe for the email edition of the CB Express. The content is exactly the same; we just send the new issue each month in a readable and printable format to your email address.
For more details on how to get the most out of the Children's Bureau Express, look under the Using this Site option on our home page menu bar.
- P.L. 105-89 Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997: Issues for Tribes and States Serving Indian Chil
P.L. 105-89 Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997: Issues for Tribes and States Serving Indian ChilDavid Simmons and Jack Trope. The National Indian Child Welfare Association, Inc., and The National Child Welfare Resource Center for Organizational Improvement. November 1999; 32 pages.
When Congress enacted the Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997 (ASFA), lawmakers did not specifically address how ASFA would apply to the legally unique population of Indian children in State and Tribal child welfare systems. This document explores the potential effects of ASFA on Indian children, families, and Tribes. The authors summarize and compare the legislative history and provisions of ASFA with the Indian Child Welfare Act, the primary Federal child protection law for Indian children. They consider how the two laws might mesh in practice. They also look at ways that ASFA might affect Tribal-operated child welfare programs and raise issues for consideration by policy makers and child welfare practitioners. The publication was prepared under a cooperative agreement with the Children's Bureau, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
To obtain a copy of the document, contact:
National Clearinghouse on Child Abuse and Neglect Information
330 C St., SW
Washington, DC 20447
Tel.: 800-FYI-3366 or 703-385-7565
Other contacts: National Indian Child Welfare Association
5100 SW Macadam Ave., Suite 300
Portland, OR 97201
National Child Welfare Resource Center for Organizational Improvement
Edmund S. Muskie School of Public Service
University of Southern Maine
P.O. Box 15010
Portland, ME 04112-5010
- Final Rule Implementing Child Welfare Laws Aims to Improve Outcomes for Children and Families
New regulations that take effect this month significantly alter the process and tighten the standards by which the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will evaluate State compliance with Federal child welfare programs.
The regulations explain how HHS will assess States' performance in serving children who are abused and neglected, children in foster care, and children awaiting permanent placements.
HHS officials said the new regulations are designed to foster systems improvements in child welfare that will promote the safety, permanent placement, and well-being of children. In brief, the rule spells out how HHS will monitor States for:
- Delivering child welfare services to children and families
- Measuring the results of those services
- Qualifying children for Federal foster care assistance
- Implementing certain requirements of the Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997 (ASFA).
The rule also clarifies the way HHS will enforce the Multiethnic Placement Act (MEPA), as amended. MEPA prohibits discrimination in adoptive and foster placements.
For State-level professionals, the new regulations will focus their attention and decision making on data regarding programs and on quality of service delivery to children and families. For front-line supervisors and workers, the new regulations will bring about significant changes in practice, including changes in how foster families are licensed and how children are qualified as eligible for certain programs.
HHS developed the regulations after extensively consulting with States and stakeholders and conducting pilot tests and focus groups. According to HHS, the intent of the regulations is to engage States as partners in evaluating and strengthening programs and improving outcomes for children and families by providing States with meaningful information on what works well in their systems and what does not. HHS said the regulations reflect the spirit of ASFA and MEPA by shifting the Agency's focus from only monitoring States' processes and paperwork to assessing results for children and families.
Reviews of States' Child and Family Services programs will be conducted as a two-tier process, including a statewide assessment and an on-site review. Among the indicators of performance to be monitored by HHS are the length of time children spend in foster care, instances of maltreatment of children in foster care, the quality of systems for regularly reviewing the cases of children in foster care, and the recruitment of prospective adoptive parents.
The Child and Family Services reviews will evaluate qualitative as well as quantitative data. Sources of qualitative data will include interviews with children, families, foster and adoptive parents, court personnel, guardians ad litem, and other key stakeholders identified by States.
Reviews of States' Federal IV-E foster care programs will entail a primary review and, for States found not in compliance, a secondary review. Review teams will include both Federal and State representatives and will focus on States' eligibility determinations and payments for children receiving Title IV-E foster care maintenance payments.
In the Child and Family Services reviews, States will have an opportunity to make program improvements in areas determined not to be in substantial conformity before Federal funds are withheld. However, penalties will be assessed if the States fail to correct the areas of non-conformity, and the amount of the penalties gradually increases for continuous failure to make corrections over time. In the Title IV-E foster care eligibility reviews, immediate disallowances are taken on cases determined to be ineligible, but States determined not to be in substantial conformity also have the opportunity to implement program improvement plans to address areas of non-conformity.
Implementing ASFA, MEPA
The rule implements certain ASFA provisions aimed at speeding permanent placements of children who enter foster care, such as provisions related to terminating parental rights and family reunification.
Reviews related to implementation of MEPA will take place on a case-by-case basis. States that are found to have discriminated against an individual will immediately be assessed a penalty as provided for in the law. If HHS determines that a State has a policy or practice that violates the law, the State will have 6 months to correct the policy or practice or face penalties.
The regulations also address other entities, such as private agencies that receive Federal funding, that can be assessed penalties for violations of MEPA.
The regulations take effect March 27, 2000. The final rule was published in the January 25, 2000, issue of the Federal Register. For a free copy of the new regulations, contact the National Adoption Information Clearinghouse (http://www.childwelfare.gov) at 888-251-0075 or the National Clearinghouse on Child Abuse and Neglect Information (http://nccanch.acf.hhs.gov) at 800-FYI-3366. The final rule is available online at the Children's Bureau website (http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb) along with an executive summary and a press release.
- Communities Have the Power to Prevent Child Abuse and Neglect
The Value of Partnerships
All community organizations have a part to play in ensuring the safety and well-being of children. Well-implemented partnerships benefit communities by building strong relationships among agencies and organizations, enhancing service delivery, reducing fragmentation and duplication, and providing a safer environment for children and their families. Many public and private entities across the nation already work together on behalf of child abuse and neglect prevention efforts.
Deciding to Form a Partnership
Successful partnerships, like any worthwhile endeavor, take time, energy, and planning. A healthy partnership involves give and take. Before you approach potential partners, think carefully about what you bring to the collaboration and what you hope to achieve. Consider the following questions:
- Is your organization meeting its goals regarding child abuse prevention?
- Could a collaborative effort enhance or expand your prevention activities?
- Do other organizations in your community provide similar services or target similar audiences?
- Could another organization help your group gain access to community leaders, target audiences, funding sources, or other resources?
- Are your organization's environment, leadership, and staff open to sharing information and resources with potential partners?
Good partners respect each other's differences while pursuing common goals. Being flexible and staying open to feedback and criticism are as essential to building a partnership as providing leadership and direction.
Searching for Partners
Once your organization decides to pursue a partnership, begin the search by surveying your staff, volunteers, and leadership for promising contacts. Canvass your local area and expand statewide if necessary. Aim to align with organizations that can help expand your services or provide access, space, advertising, or even a new focus. Potential prevention partners may include:
- Education associations
- Health agencies
- Parenting organizations
- Social services agencies
- Law enforcement agencies
- Local government groups.
Try thinking "outside the box" to include non-traditional partners such as:
- Arts and humanities organizations
- Faith communities.
Once place to get started on your search is the website of the National Clearinghouse on Child Abuse and Neglect Information (http://nccanch.acf.hhs.gov), which provides information about, and links to, child-focused organizations.
Building a Partnership
Once you establish relationships with potential partners, you need to develop a strategic plan. The strategic plan defines the partnership's future and develops the necessary procedures and operations. Essential plan elements include:
- Analysis of environmental factors
- Mission statement
- Organizational assessment
- Measures of success or failure
- Action plan
- Implementation plan.
Building partnerships for the prevention of child abuse and neglect is hard work. Remember that even the smallest of successes is important when launching a new initiative.
- Studies Link Child Mortality to Abused Mothers
A report that takes a worldwide look at domestic violence includes studies that link child mortality to abuse against their mothers.
According to the authors of "Ending the Violence Against Women," the studies cited are the first to demonstrate such a link. A Nicaraguan study concluded that children of abused women were six times more likely than other children to die before age 5. An Indian study found that abused women are at higher risk of miscarriages, stillbirths, and infant deaths. While it is unclear exactly how domestic violence affects child survival, battered women are more likely to give birth to low birth weight children, a risk factor for neonatal and infant deaths. Mothers with violent partners may also have lower self-esteem, less mobility, weaker bargaining power, and less access to resources and thus are less able to keep their children healthy. In Nicaraguan and Indian studies, children of abused women were more likely to be malnourished. Additional 1998 data show that Nicaraguan children of battered mothers were more likely to have had a recent untreated case of diarrhea and less likely to have been immunized against childhood diseases.
Women that are physically and sexually abused as adults were often sexually abused as children. From the few representative surveys that exist, the authors note that child sexual abuse is widespread in virtually all societies. Studies show that girls are least 1.5 to 3 times more likely to be victims of sexual abuse than boys. A study in Barbados found that 30% of women and 2% of men reported sexual abuse in childhood or adolescence. Women who are sexually abused in childhood can suffer behavioral, mental, and emotional problems. They are also more likely to be suicidal, abuse alcohol and drugs, and take sexual risks. Regardless of the sex of the victim, the vast majority of child sexual abuse perpetrators are male and known to the victim.
The report analyzes data from 2,000 domestic violence studies conducted in at least 20 countries. Based on their findings, the authors estimate that one-third of women worldwide have been abused in some way. The report characterizes violence against women as a worldwide health problem.
The report was released in January by Johns Hopkins School of Public Health and the Center for Health and Gender Equity and is available full-text at http://www.jhuccp.org/pr/l11edsum.stm.
- National Videoconference Examines Model Court Practices in Abuse and Neglect Cases
"Model" courts serving victims of child abuse have found ways to dramatically speed case processing time and have strengthened collaboration on behalf of their young clients by establishing advisory committees with representatives from various agencies.
These were among the accomplishments highlighted during a national videoconference Feb. 10 that examined efforts to improve court practices in child abuse and neglect cases.
The videoconference focused on three courts in El Paso, Texas; Newark, New Jersey; and Louisville, Kentucky. They are among 20 Child Victims Model Courts nationwide serving as laboratories for developing and implementing new practices and processes for handling child abuse cases. The Model Court Project was launched in 1992 by the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (NCJFCJ) with funding from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP), U.S. Department of Justice.
OJJDP, the Children's Bureau, and NCJFCJ hosted the videoconference, which included video overviews of the three courts, live discussions with the lead judges in each court, and a panel discussion by representatives of the field and of Federal and State agencies.
Several common themes emerged as instrumental in bringing about change in the courts:
- Judicial leadership
- Court/agency community collaboration
- Shared vision and collective action
- Strategic planning
- A systems focus
- Critical reflection and evaluation
- Creativity and innovation.
Linda Chew of Advocacy Inc. in El Paso talked about "the joy and success of the model court. It is a team effort with attorneys, parents, therapists, caseworkers, CASA [Court Appointed Special Advocates], and the guardians ad litem" coming together and representing children.
Viewers from across the country called in questions to panelists gathered at Eastern Kentucky University Training Resource Center.
Mary Mentaberry of NCJFCJ suggested ways that communities can "model" the model courts:
- Consulting NCJFCJ's Resource Guidelines: Improving Court Practice in Child Abuse & Neglect Cases
- Finding a judicial leader willing to make a commitment to pull all the key players in the system together
- Tying into the State Court Improvement Programs nationwide
- Tying into existing model courts
- Utilizing the resources available through NCJFCJ such as publications, training, technical assistance, coordination of site visits to model courts, and its website at http://www.pppncjfcj.org/
Also supporting the reform effort are the State Court Improvement Program, the Children's Justice Act Program, the Edna McConnell Clark Fund, the Annie E. Casey Foundation, and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.
To download a participant packet containing brief histories and contact information for each of the Model Courts profiled, as well as other background information, visit the Juvenile Justice Teleconference Website: http://www.juvenilenet.org. A videotape of the proceedings is available from the Juvenile Justice Clearinghouse at 800-638-8738.
- Innovations in Child Protection
For a look at some new approaches to child protection being tried by various States, refer to the December 1999 issue of State Legislatures, the monthly magazine of the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL).
The article by NCSL writers Nina Williams-Mbengue and Kyle Ramirez-Fry focuses on States that are trying to involve community groups in new ways with traditional child protective services. The common goals of the programs profiled are to deliver services more effectively to families before they are in crisis and to enable child protection workers to concentrate more time and resources on the most troubled families. Among the efforts spotlighted are programs in Missouri, Iowa, and Arizona.
Read the article online at http://www.ncsl.org/programs/pubs/1299chil.htm.
To order copies of the article or for subscription information, contact:
National Conference of State Legislatures
1560 Broadway, Suite 700
Denver, CO 80202
- Opening the Toolbox: Resources for States Seeking to Improve Health Care for Children in Foster Care
Opening the Toolbox: Resources for States Seeking to Improve Health Care for Children in Foster CareJoanne Rawlings-Sekunda. National Academy for State Health Policy. December 1999. 700 pages. $50 ($30 for government and non-profit organizations).
Efforts in Ensuring Health Care to Children in Foster Care: Case Studies of Nine States. Joanne Rawlings-Sekunda et al.. National Academy for State Health Policy. December 1999. 60 pages plus appendices. $35 ($20 for government and non-profit organizations).
These documents are two of nine reports produced by the State Institute on Improving Health Care for Children in Foster Care, a 3-year project to support and encourage interagency collaboration between Medicaid and State child welfare services. Intended for State-level policy makers, other professionals who will find the documents useful are child welfare agency administrators, members of interagency task forces, health care providers, and child advocacy organizations.
The Toolbox publication compiles resource documents used by States in efforts to remove barriers to health care faced by children in foster care. The documents focus on such key elements of the delivery system as case management/tracking (including automated health passport systems), screening and treatment standards, Medicaid managed care enrollment, performance evaluation, training, and release of information. One helpful feature is a side-by-side comparison of screening and treatment standards for children in foster care recommended by the Child Welfare League of America, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and Medicaid Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnosis, and Treatment (EPSDT).
The Case Studies provide an in-depth account of how some States have worked to improve access to health care for foster children. Detailed examinations of some of these efforts provide a sense of the time and effort required to achieve specific results. The nine States included in the report are: Alaska, California, Colorado, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, New York, Texas, and Utah.
The Institute is funded by the Nathan E. Cummings Foundation and developed and operated by the National Academy of State Health Policy.
For more information or to place an order, contact:
National Academy for State Health Policy
50 Monument Square, Suite 502
Portland, ME 04101
- Journal of the Center for Children and the CourtsVol. 1, 1999. Judicial Council of California. Annual. 184 pages. Free.
You'll find legal issues of national scope related to children covered in this new journal even though its stated aim is to foster improvement in the California judicial system. The first part of the debut issue broadly examines legal representation of children. Contributors represent a range of perspectives, including attorneys, judges, and a former foster child. Topics covered include funding, the role of attorneys as advocates and prosecutors, and the historical development of children's representation.
The second part of the journal addresses such issues as child custody evaluations and the movement in California toward coordinating unified family courts. The last section offers essays from a judge in a coordinated family court and a teenager with a long history in the child welfare system.
The journal receives funding from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
To subscribe for a copy of the journal, contact:
Journal of the Center for Children and the Courts
Judicial Council of California
455 Golden Gate Ave., 5th floor
San Francisco, CA 94102-3660
- Latino Children and Families Profiled
For insights on pressing issues facing Hispanic children and families, visit the Connect for Kids website (http://www.connectforkids.org) sponsored by the Benton Foundation and read Caitlin Johnson's interview with three advocates for Latino children and families:
- Robert Ortega, associate professor, University of Michigan's School of Social Work
- Elba Montalbo, executive director, Committee for Hispanic Children
- Layla Suleiman, Federal monitor for the Burgos Consent Decree (a mandate requiring the Illinois Department of Children and Families to offer all services in Spanish and placement options in Spanish-speaking families)
The three discuss economic, immigration, policy, and other issues affecting Hispanics in the United States. Their observations include the following:
- Inter-ethnic adoption placements and efforts to recruit Latino families need to be addressed
- Not a lot of data are available on Latinos and the child welfare system
- Latino access to health care is limited
- Latina girls have the highest rate of pregnancy and are at high risk for sexually transmitted diseases
- Developing a network of home-based day care providers addresses child care quality and need in Latino communities
The article is available online at http://www.connectforkids.org/.
- Genetics and Genetics Services: A Child Welfare Workers' GuideKaren Eanet and Julia B. Rauch. Child Welfare League of America. 1999. $22.95.
Add genetics to the list of tough issues that child welfare workers and other child placement professionals must grapple with. Medical advances enable more children with genetic disorders to survive longer and they are an increasing population in the child welfare system. Advances in genetic tests for disorders that develop later in life have implications for adoption placements.
Genetics and Genetics Services: A Child Welfare Workers' Guide (http://www.cwla.org/pubs/pubdetails.asp?PUBID=7750) was written for professionals who are involved with families affected by genetic disorders. Part I discusses current genetic services and such practice issues as taking a family history and recording and transmitting information. Part II of the book focuses on psychosocial intervention with children and families affected by genetic disorders. The guide includes references and exercises.
To order, contact:
Child Welfare League of America
440 First Street, NW, Third Floor
Washington, DC 20001-2085
- Article Chronicles Problems Faced by Foster Children in School
In Connect for Kids, a website and an electronic newsletter, Susan Kellam writes about the problems that many foster children--and their foster parents--encounter in school.
Kellam interviewed officers of State affiliates of the National Foster Parent Association as well as educators and other professionals and advocates for the article.
Transience, emotional delays, and learning disabilities complicate schooling for many children in foster care, the article notes. Foster parents report having trouble securing needed services for their foster children and encountering teachers and administrators who do not understand the particular educational challenges faced by children in foster care.
Kellam's article includes a discussion of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act as it applies to foster children and offers suggestions from foster parents about how schools could improve services to children in foster care.
Connect for Kids is sponsored by the Benton Foundation. Visit the site at http://www.connectforkids.org
Read the article online at http://www.connectforkids.org/.
- The Foster Care Crisis, Translating Research into Policy and PracticeEdited by Patrick A. Curtis, Grade Dale Jr., and Joshua C. Kendall. University of Nebraska Press and the Child Welfare League of America. 1999. 258 pages. Hardcover $50, softcover $19.95.
Intended as a reference for both practitioners and policy makers, this new compilation of research delves into the chronic crisis of too many children living in out-of-home care for too long. The book aims to provide an overview of the foster care crisis, describe the special needs of children living in foster care, and identify policies and practices that address the foster care crisis. Specific topics addressed include welfare reform, reporting systems, family reunification, mental health services and the needs of minority children. The book also offers a vision of what foster care might look like in the 21st century. Authors review current research, suggest how to focus and improve future research, and consider the implications and applications of research to practice.
The book is part of the Child, Youth, and Family Services series of the University of Nebraska Press. Purchase the book online at http://www.nebraskapress.unl.edu/
- Trauma, Violence, and Abuse: A Review JournalJanuary 2000, Vol. 1, Number 1. Sage Publications, Inc. Quarterly. 110 pages. $61 a year for individuals, $198 a year for institutions.
This peer-reviewed, interdisciplinary journal debuted in January to focus on "organizing, synthesizing, and expanding knowledge on all forms of trauma, abuse, and violence." The first issue includes articles on treating traumatized children and physical punishment and abuse by parents.
In explaining the reasons for the start-up, Editor John R. Conte of the University of Washington points to an "explosion" of interest and research in the fields of child abuse, trauma, and violence over the last 20 years and a concurrent blurring of disciplinary demarcations among these fields.
Along with articles examining research, theory, and case law, the quarterly journal will regularly spotlight different perspectives on topical issues in its "Hot Topics" section--this issue takes a point-counterpoint look at sexual predator laws. The journal also encourages readers to pose questions about practice and research and suggest experts who could provide answers for its "Because You Asked" department. Other regular features are book, media, and product reviews.
For more information or to order, contact:
Sage Publications, Inc.
2455 Teller Road
Thousand Oaks, CA 91320
- Link to Hispanic Health Resources
Find links to Hispanic health resources on a new website for the Hispanic Agenda for Action launched in January 2000 by HHS's Office of Minority Health.
The site, although still under construction, contains extensive background information about the history of the Hispanic Agenda for Action, the presence of Hispanics/Latinos in the United States, and regional cultural distinctions in Latin America. Under "Health Issues," the areas addressed include border health, international health, migrant health, and other health issues. The site includes a link to health information resources in Spanish on the Federal government healthfinder website (http://www.healthfinder.gov), launched by the Surgeon General last year to address the growing Hispanic population in the United States.
The Office of Minority Health is soliciting links and information about HHS activities related to the Hispanic Agenda for Action to post on this site.
The Hispanic Agenda for Action website can be accessed through the Office of Minority Health Resource Center at http://www.haa.omhrc.gov. A companion website of the Initiative to Eliminate Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Health is also available through the same gateway at http://www.raceandhealth.gov. (Editor's note: this link is no longer available, but relevant information can be found at www.omhrc.gov/rah/.)
- Funding Child Welfare Services Through TANF
For guidance on financing child welfare and youth services using Federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families funds or State Maintenance of Effort funds, see Questions & Answers on TANF Policy and Data Reporting issued by ACF's Office of Family Assistance. The Office answers such issues as the following:
- Are State (non-IV-E) foster care payments carried over from the former EA program regarded as assistance?
- Is foster care for a child in the home of a non-relative allowable under TANF?
- May a State use Federal TANF or State MOE funds for adoption assistance?
The document is available online at http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/ofa/polquest/index.htm
- Guidelines for a Model System of Protective Services for Abused and Neglected Children and Their Fam
Guidelines for a Model System of Protective Services for Abused and Neglected Children and Their FamNational Association of Public Child Welfare Administrators (NAPCWA). 1999. $14 NAPCWA and APHSA members, $16 non-members.
These revised guidelines by NAPCWA, an affiliate of the American Public Human Services Association, reflect current trends and data in child welfare policy and practice including cultural competency, managed care, and community-based partnerships.
To order a copy, contact:
American Public Human Services Association
810 First Street, NE, Suite 500
Washington, DC 20002-4267