December/January 2023Vol. 23, No. 10Spotlight on Domestic Violence and Child Welfare
This issue of CBX highlights the intersection of domestic violence and child welfare. Many children involved with the child welfare system are victims of domestic violence and abuse, which can lead to detrimental consequences for children, youth, and families, such as trauma, behavioral issues, and disrupted brain development. Because many child welfare cases overlap with cases of violence in the home, it is important to understand the intersection of domestic violence and child welfare involvement. Read a message from Associate Commissioner Aysha E. Schomburg about the importance of acting without delay when working to keep children safe and in their homes. This issue also includes valuable resources for professionals and the families they serve.
- Feel Every Second, A Message From the Associate Commissioner
Feel Every Second, A Message From the Associate Commissioner
Feel Every Second
Written by Aysha E. Schomburg
We are back in the holiday season again. I’m always in awe about how fast time passes. For many, it will be the first holiday season in 2 years where families can gather indoors in a crowded house. We are heading into the new year and can spend some time reflecting on the past year. I have been thinking about my own family. We aren’t nearly as close as we used to be; the “children” in the family are grown up now and the elders are frail. I’m finding it hard to watch my parents get older, especially my mom who is so dear to me and whose health has declined significantly. My mother has always been my protector. Now, I want to protect her, but I cannot. Still, I see her as often as I can. I cherish our time together. I’m realizing how much I love to hear her laugh. I don’t take any second for granted. I’m thankful for every second. Every second has meaning.
Yet, as I write this, there are approximately 400,000 children in foster care in this country. How will they experience this holiday season? How are their families doing? What are we saying to the child who has been away from their parents for a month—how many seconds have they lost? What message are we sending to the youth who have been away from their parents for years? That’s not ok. They are not okay. They are losing seconds. As professionals in this field, we must understand the value of a second. We know that children experience time differently than adults. What we think is just a few days can feel like an eternity to a child. Separated children feel every second. Many of these children are living temporarily with other family members, and we hope this will keep the family connection strong and decrease the time to reunification. But is that enough to the child who wants to be with their mom and dad for the holidays? I have wonderful aunts, but when I’m going to see my mother, it’s because I want to be with my mom.
I have a request this holiday season. Let’s think about how a child experiences time. Let’s feel every second. I want us all to work harder, smarter, and faster. I want to call on our profession to reevaluate their protocols that make it difficult for parents to see their children. We should reevaluate protocols that add time to a child’s stay in foster care. You don’t have to change everything at once—but accept this challenge to make one small change this holiday season that will bring families back together faster. Consider creating a team that can review current policies and propose new protocols that will eliminate the obstacles parents face that prevent them from spending real quality time with their children. Parents want to hear their children laugh. Parents understand that every second has value.
Sometimes when I am thinking about particular tasks I want to accomplish, I will use the familiar phrase “all deliberate speed.” When I say it out loud to my team, they know it means that I want us to act without delay. We need to act with all deliberate speed to bring children safely home. Every second has value.
- Defining Child Exposure to Domestic Violence: Lessons From a Historical Review of the Literature
Defining Child Exposure to Domestic Violence: Lessons From a Historical Review of the Literature
Policies and practices about child witnesses of domestic violence vary across the United States. A paper published in Greenwich Social Work Review, "Defining Child Exposure to Domestic Violence: Lessons Learned From a Historical Review of the Literature," suggests that these policies and practices need to be clarified and refined. It explores the history of child welfare and the driving forces behind child welfare policies and practices, particularly in relation to child exposure to domestic violence, and provides evidence-based recommendations for creating policies that protect children who are exposed to domestic violence.
The paper examines the cultural assumptions and legal practices around parent-child relationships. It explains the evolution of legally recognized child maltreatment, which included poverty as neglect, child sexual abuse, and eventually child witnesses of domestic violence in the various evolutions of child welfare. In the mid-20th century, the child welfare field took on a medical model approach, which assumed that parents who abuse their children are pathological and need professional intervention and treatment. At first, this resulted in children being separated from their family (including the nonoffending parent), which could exacerbate the negative effects for the child. Conflicts between the child welfare and domestic violence fields resulted as laws and policies began to construe being a victim of domestic violence as being a perpetrator of child maltreatment since they were not preventing the child from being exposed to violence.
The paper makes the following policy and practice recommendations:
- Policies and practices should be grounded in a family-focused, strength-based model.
- Policies should focus on family preservation whenever possible.
- Child welfare agencies should partner with the family to build on their strengths.
- States should emphasize partnering with families and connecting them with community supports.
- Child welfare agencies should establish clear and standardized protocols for interventions.
Additional recommendations include creating clear guidelines at child welfare agencies and employing a more holistic view of child exposure to domestic violence when creating statutes.
For more details on the history of child welfare and the recommendations, read the paper.
- How Child Protection Agencies Can Partner With Domestic Violence Programs
How Child Protection Agencies Can Partner With Domestic Violence Programs
Casey Family Programs published an article that discusses how child protection agencies and domestic violence programs have historically responded to victims separately although both have the goal of protecting children and families from violence. It also discusses how domestic violence impacts child and adult survivors as well as strategies agencies and programs can use to build capacity and increase collaboration.
The article posits that this traditionally disjointed approach can have grave consequences, such as increased distrust in the system and the removal of children from the adult survivor and charging them with neglect. An extensive understanding of the intersection of child welfare and domestic violence is needed to provide comprehensive, community-based prevention and intervention programs.
The article also shares examples of strategies for building capacity and collaboration. It also highlights the Greenbook Project as well as materials from the Resource Center on Domestic Violence: Child Protection and Custody.
The authors suggest that cross-training professionals is one of the most important strategies and provide specific suggestions for child protection agencies, including the following:
- Establish and use clear guidelines when working with families.
- Require interagency collaboration.
- Include cultural considerations.
- Adopt, create, or adapt tools.
- Integrate strategies into program improvement plans that build upon collaboration.
- Create the structure to incorporate consultation from domestic violence organizations.
For more details about the suggestions and a deeper look at the intersection between domestic violence and child welfare, read "How Can Child Protection Agencies Partner With Domestic Violence Programs?"
- Child Welfare and Domestic Violence: The Report on Intersection and Action
Child Welfare and Domestic Violence: The Report on Intersection and Action
A report from the Pritzker Center for Strengthening Children and Families focuses on the dilemma faced by a parent who is a survivor of domestic violence (DV) and is losing custody of their child due to an isolated DV incident. Removing children from their homes and placing them in foster care as a result of DV can create further trauma for both the DV survivor and the children. While the report focuses on Los Angeles County, many counties and states have similar dependency laws.
The report reviews current literature and efforts to address this issue. It also highlights approaches from other jurisdictions and provides recommendations for training, enhanced specialization, and reform within the child welfare system.
The report suggests that training should be expanded beyond just learning about how to recognize signs of domestic violence to also include information about the power and control dynamics within DV relationships and the effects of that trauma. It also recommends that all mandated reporters engage in a baseline training about DV.
The report also makes the following other recommendations for Los Angeles County and California that may be applicable in other jurisdictions:
- Child welfare agencies should establish partnerships with DV organizations, such as the placement of a DV specialist in the agency.
- States should include parent and child survivors of DV as eligible candidates for Family First Prevention Services Act funding and submit DV-related programs to the Title IV-E Prevention Services Clearinghouse for review.
- Counties can pilot a specialized DV dependency court track.
- States should adjust their statutes to consider additional circumstances for DV as contributing factors to a parental deficiencies.
- Child welfare agencies should ensure services are targeted, nuanced, and accessible to families.
Read Child Welfare and Domestic Violence: The Report on Intersection and Action to learn more.
Spotlight on Incorporating Youth Engagement and Lived Experience Into Child Welfare Practice
Spotlight on the Title IV-E Prevention Program and the Family First Prevention Services Act
News From the Children's Bureau
In this section, find the latest news, resources, and publications from the Administration for Children and Families, the Children's Bureau, and other offices within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services as well as a listing of the latest additions to the Children's Bureau website.
- Reflections From the First Year of the Human Trafficking Youth Prevention Education Demonstration Program
Reflections From the First Year of the Human Trafficking Youth Prevention Education Demonstration Program
Human trafficking affects multiple systems, including child welfare. The Human Trafficking Youth Prevention Education (HTYPE) demonstration program was established in 2020 by the Office on Trafficking in Persons within the Administration for Children and Families within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to help fund local educational agencies’ efforts to collaborate with a nonprofit or nongovernmental organization to develop and implement education and skills-based training for educators, other school staff, and students to build the capacity for educational institutions to prevent youth from becoming victims of trafficking.
Human Trafficking Youth Prevention Education (HTYPE) Demonstration Program: Year 1 Reflections presents HTYPE findings, highlights, and challenges from its first year (the 2020–2021 school year), including about planning and start-up activities conducted by eight HTYPE demonstration grant recipients and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on schools and students. It provides a high-level overview of the projects and project contexts, a cross-project synthesis describing year 1 project activities and accomplishments, and a cross-project synthesis of project goals for year 2 and beyond. The report also outlines the demonstration sites’ plans for the second year of the project.
To learn more about the demonstration site activities, achievements, and challenges during the first year of HTYPE, read Human Trafficking Youth Prevention Education (HTYPE) Demonstration Program: Year 1 Reflections.
- Strategies Programs Use to Help More Dads Participate in Fatherhood Services
Strategies Programs Use to Help More Dads Participate in Fatherhood Services
Responsible fatherhood programs promote healthy relationships, improve parenting skills, and help fathers attain economic stability. In order for programs to improve fathers’ outcomes, fathers must be actively recruited and engaged in the program activities and services. Helping fathers maintain this engagement and active participation in services can be challenging. A brief from the Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation within the Administration for Children and Families of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services details ways to encourage fathers to participate in services that programs can implement to address common barriers to participation in fatherhood programs. These approaches were developed based on the results of a literature scan and conversations with fathers, practitioners, researchers, policymakers, and other subject-matter experts.
The approaches were divided based on four main reasons fathers reported being unable to attend services:
- I am not interested.
- I do not think the program is right for me.
- I have unmet basic needs.
- I have other relationships or commitments to attend to.
To help programs address these issues, the program addresses practices inside and outside the program. Practitioners can find over 100 ideas to better meet the needs, motivations, and concerns of the fathers they serve.
Explore the brief—What Strategies Can Programs Use to Help More Dads Participate in Fatherhood Services?—to learn more about these promising approaches.
- CB Website Updates
CB Website Updates
The Children's Bureau website hosts information on child welfare programs, funding, monitoring, training and technical assistance, laws, statistics, research, federal reporting, and much more.
Recent additions or updates to the site include the following:
- Cost Allocation Demonstration Webinar
- Child Welfare Outcomes 2019: Report to Congress
- Children With SHCN: Data Brief 2
- Technical Bulletin #6: Data Quality Plan
Visit the Children's Bureau website often to see what's new.
Training & Technical Assistance Updates
This section features resources and updates from the Children's Bureau's technical assistance partners to support practices and systems that improve the lives of children and families.
- QIC-WD to Hold Webinars on Workforce Retention
QIC-WD to Hold Webinars on Workforce Retention
Child welfare leaders from across the country have expressed concerns about how best to manage and retain their workforce. Last fall, they submitted questions to the Quality Improvement Center for Workforce Development (QIC-WD). QIC-WD will be hosting the following webinars, drawing from the available research and the expertise of an interdisciplinary team of experts, to respond to the field’s pertinent workforce questions. Each webinar will be 1 hour in duration. They are designed for supervisors, managers, human resources (HR) professionals, and other child welfare decision-makers. Register for one or all webinars on the QIC-WD website. Dates and times could shift, and additional webinars may be added so you are encouraged to monitor the website for the latest information.
- "Supporting Virtual Supervision as part of a Hybrid Workforce"
Wednesday, February 8, 2023: 11 A.M. PT/12 P.M. MT/1 P.M. CT/2 P.M. ET
- "Measuring Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in your Child Welfare Workforce"
Tuesday, April 18, 2023: 11 A.M. PT/12 P.M. MT/1 P.M. CT/2 P.M. ET
- "Attracting and Hiring Workers: Evidence-informed Strategies"
Tuesday, June 6, 2023: 10 A.M. PT/11 A.M. MT/12 P.M. CT/1 P.M. ET
If you have additional workforce questions, check out available evidence-informed QIC-WD resources on topics from recruitment to retention and many common challenges in between.
- Umbrella Summaries provide a synopsis of the published meta-analyses of a specific workforce topic. The research is summarized in a straightforward question-and-answer format. Each summary highlights the implications of the research for child welfare professionals.
- QIC-Takes summarize key workforce issues, document what the QIC-WD team is seeing in the field, and provide recommendations for future action by child welfare decision makers.
- QIC-Tips provide succinct, evidence-informed guidance on workforce-related topics.
You can review the videos and summaries of the work QIC-WD has recently completed with eight public child welfare agencies to identify, implement, and evaluate workforce interventions that address resiliency, onboarding, job design, selection, technology, agency culture and climate, supportive supervision, and telework. Resources from QIC-WD’s institutes on workforce data analytics are also available and provide information on topics such as workforce metrics, linking HR and child welfare data, and workforce scorecards.
QIC-WD is dedicated to bringing reliable, research-informed information to child welfare directors, HR professionals, and other decision-makers tasked with supporting the child welfare workforce. Their team continues to add resources to their webpage as they finalize evaluation reports from their site work and lead additional site-based projects to establish data dashboards and conduct rapid evaluations of recruitment efforts. Sign up for the QIC-WD newsletter or follow the project on Twitter (@QICWD) to stay informed.
- Disrupting Stigma Can Improve Outcomes for Families Affected by Substance Use and Mental Disorders
Disrupting Stigma Can Improve Outcomes for Families Affected by Substance Use and Mental Disorders
The stigma surrounding child abuse and neglect and parental substance use and mental health disorders can affect the attitudes of health-care, treatment, child welfare, court, and other professionals; family and friends; and the person with the substance use or mental health disorder. Negative attitudes toward parents with substance use and/or mental health disorders can impede their access to services and supports as well as exacerbate disparities in access to services and outcomes for traditionally underserved communities, including Black, Indigenous, and other people of color; individuals who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning, and other identities; and those living in poverty.
A brief from the National Center on Substance Abuse and Child Welfare, Disrupting Stigma: How Understanding, Empathy, and Connection Can Improve Outcomes for Families Affected by Substance Use and Mental Disorders, provides strategies to reduce stigma in interactions, expectations, and policies affecting families that are based on data gleaned from best practices in the field and a thorough review of the literature.
It proposes the following strategies for overcoming stigma among professionals working with parents with substance use disorders and their families:
- Recognize substance use disorders as a chronic disease and brain disorder and reflect this understanding in language, responses, and policies.
- Debunk common myths and misconceptions.
- Understand and value data about access, treatment, and recovery.
- Integrate peers and recovery specialists into service delivery and work with families.
- Provide training, education, and ongoing support to staff and collaborative partners.
- Identify stigma in interactions, expectations, language, and policies.
- Use a strengths-based perspective and focus on what is going well.
- Listen to clients and remain patient during the recovery process.
- Understand there are different responses to self-stigma or shame.
- Honor the individual’s role as a parent and the child’s attachment to the parent.
- Make mindful language choices and recognize that words have power.
To learn more, including the definitions of the the different types of stigma, information about the history of substance use stigma in U.S. drug policies, and additional resources, read Disrupting Stigma: How Understanding, Empathy, and Connection Can Improve Outcomes for Families Affected by Substance Use and Mental Disorders.
- Updates From the Children's Bureau's Training and Technical Assistance Partners
Updates From the Children's Bureau's Training and Technical Assistance Partners
The Children's Bureau funds several technical assistance centers to provide professionals with tools to better serve children, youth, and families.
The following are some of the latest resources from these partners:
Child Welfare Information Gateway
- El cuidado por parientes y el sistema de bienestar de menores (Kinship Care and the Child Welfare System)
- La adopción de hijastros (Stepparent Adoption)
- Developing & Sustaining Prevention Programs [Webpage update]
Visit the Information Gateway website for more.
Child Welfare Capacity Building Collaborative
- Center for States
- A Look Inside Sharing Power in Child Welfare [Podcast series]
- Center for Tribes Tribal Information Exchange
Visit the Child Welfare Capacity Building Collaborative website for more.
FRIENDS National Resource Center
- "The Trestle Fund Project: Concrete Supports for NH Families" [Webinar]
- Parents & Practitioners [Fall newsletter]
Visit the FRIENDS National Resource Center website for more.
Children's Bureau Learning & Coordination Center (CBLCC)
- "Children's Bureau Champion Awards: Honoring Outstanding Work in Support of Children and Families" [Video]
- "Why Parent Well-Being Matters: Children's Social Emotional Development and Mental Health" [Video]
- "Engaging Parents Around Newly Approved Pediatric COVID-19 Vaccines and Building Vaccine Confidence" [Digital dialog]
Visit the CBLCC website for more.
- "What I Want Foster and Adoptive Parents to Know" [Blog post]
- Post-Adoption and Guardianship Support Across the Country
- "Participación estralégica de los jóvenes en asuntos de permanencia" [Webinar]
Visit the AdoptUSKids website for more.
National Data Archive on Child Abuse and Neglect (NDACAN)
- Understanding Post Adoption and Guardianship Instability for Children and Youth Who Exit Foster Care (PAGI): The NSCAW Adoption Study[Dataset]
Visit the NDACAN website for more.
National Child Welfare Workforce Institute (NCWWI)
- Rethinking Child Welfare Recruitment
- "Centering: Child Welfare Worker Well-Being" [Infographic]
- "How Peer Support Can Reduce Burnout and Improve Worker Well-Being" [Infographic]
Visit the NCWWI website for more.
Quality Improvement Center on Engaging Youth in Finding Permanency (QIC-EY)
- Barriers to Authentic Youth Engagement in Permanency Planning
- Expert Interviews: People With Lived Expertise
- Qualitative Analysis of Workforce Expert Interviews
Visit the QIC-EY website for more.
National Center on Substance Abuse and Child Welfare (NCSACW)
- Engaging Parents and Youths With Lived Experience: Strengthening Collaborative Policy and Practice Initiatives for Families With Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders
- Comprehensive Framework to Improve Outcomes for Families Affected by Substance Use Disorders and Child Welfare Involvement
- Understanding Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders: Child Welfare Practice Tips
Visit the NCSACW website for more.
James Bell Associates
- Judicial, Court, and Attorney Measures of Performance (JCAMP)
- Understanding Judicial Decision-Making and Hearing Quality in Child Welfare[Project webpage]
- Measuring Implementation Quality in MIECHV-Funded Evidence-Based Home Visiting Programs [Project webpage]
Visit the James Bell Associates website for more.
- Reclaiming the Child Welfare Narrative Podcast Series
Reclaiming the Child Welfare Narrative Podcast Series
The Capacity Building Center for Tribes released a podcast series that addresses the importance of ensuring child welfare programs for tribal communities are informed by their community values, culture, and worldviews. The podcast series features Jackie Crow Show, an enrolled member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa, as she connects with child welfare experts across Indian Country.
Season 1 of the series features the following episodes:
- Episode 1: “Looking Back to Understand Where We Are Now”—Delves into the history of child welfare in tribal communities and how the removal of Native children was a means of colonization and forced assimilation
- Episode 2: “The Interconnectedness of Language and Culture”—Explores how traditional languages can help create solutions rooted in Indigenous perspectives and wisdom
- Episode 3: “Restoring Our Children to Their Original Value of Sacred Beings”—Discuses insights from a respected elder about shifting the mindset of the child welfare field as well as the whole community to see the care and development of children as a sacred and shared responsibility
- Episode 4: “Making Communities Whole Through Restorative Justice”—Features the Yurok Tribe and how it established a justice system reflective of its culture as well as the importance of changing the child welfare profession and courts to serve as part of the community’s extended family
- Episode 5: “Are Child Welfare Decisions Better Using Peacemaking Circles?”—Discusses how restoring sustainable peacemaking practices, such as peacemaking circles, can help resolve conflicts and improve outcomes for children in a healthy way
To learn more, listen to the podcast series, Reclaiming the Child Welfare Narrative Podcast Series.
- Study on Survivor-Centered Approach to Help Families Experiencing Domestic Violence
Study on Survivor-Centered Approach to Help Families Experiencing Domestic Violence
Addressing the interconnected experiences and needs of adult survivors of domestic violence (DV) and their children improves safety and permanency outcomes for children. The Quality Improvement Center on Domestic Violence in Child Welfare (QIC-DVCW) at Futures Without Violence was funded by the Children’s Bureau to conduct a research study and implement an adult and child survivor-centered approach to helping child welfare-involved families experiencing DV. The approach was designed based on more than 30 years of work with survivors involved with child welfare as well as research about the impacts of systems and trauma on families and communities that have been marginalized. The project included collaborations at three project sites (Illinois, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania) that involved child welfare agencies, DV programs serving survivors and people using violence, judges and other dependency court personnel, and community-based organizations.
The approach encompasses six principles and two strategies for practice. The principles include collaboration, connectedness of safety and well-being of adult and child survivors, planning with survivors, responding to unique circumstances of families, advancing racial and gender equity, and promoting healing and well-being.
The following are the two practice strategies of the approach:
- Building five protective factors that reduce the negative impacts of DV and advance the well-being of all survivors (safer and more stable conditions; social, cultural, and spiritual connections; resilience and a growth mindset; nurturing parent-child interactions; and social and emotional abilities)
- Utilizing the power of relationships, as well as the authority of systems, to establish accountability for the person using violence and coercion and to provide meaningful support for them to change
Information and practice tools for utilizing these strategies can be found on the QIC-DVCW website.
The following are findings from the study:
- Improved child safety and permanency
- Child maltreatment recurrence rates were lower where the approach was utilized.
- For families experiencing co-occurring child maltreatment and DV, there was a 38 percent higher likelihood of maltreatment recurrence in comparison sites than in implementation sites.
- Reunification rates of children with parents rose from 0.6 percent to 6.8 percent at implementation sites.
- More favorable perception of adult survivors
- Caseworkers who utilized the approach rated adult survivors more highly in (1) identifying strategies to counter the negative impact of DV on their children, (2) expressing confidence that they can achieve positive goals, (3) recognizing tough or bad situations as temporary, and (4) persevering even when they encounter challenges.
- Improved communication and collaboration
- Communication and collaboration improved within implementation teams and made a difference for families (e.g., children were not removed where they would have been previously).
- Improved child welfare and community partner practices
- Practice changes included the adoption of approach language, increased use of protective factors practice behaviors among caseworkers and community partners, and improvements in child welfare planning and decision-making.
- Child welfare staff reported improvements in accountability practices.
- Intervention sites felt well-prepared to actively engage in equity practice, and there was an upward trend in equity practice behaviors.
For more information, visit the QIC-DVCW website.
Child Welfare Research
In this section, we highlight recent studies, literature reviews, and other research on child welfare topics.
- Meta-Analysis Examines Effectiveness of Mentoring Programs for Youth in Foster Care
Meta-Analysis Examines Effectiveness of Mentoring Programs for Youth in Foster Care
An article published in the Journal of Youth and Adolescence presents findings from a study examining whether mentoring programs are effective for youth involved in foster care. Using a meta-analytic approach, the study assessed the effectiveness of nine formal mentoring programs in the United States.
Previous research suggests that mentoring programs may promote a variety of positive outcomes in youth populations. However, there is limited research on the impact of these programs for youth in foster care. The purpose of the study was to examine the overall effectiveness of the nine mentoring programs for youth in care as well as the extent to which the effectiveness varies as a function of mentor and youth characteristics and outcomes.
The mentoring programs included in the study varied in format and structure (e.g., offering mentoring as the sole intervention vs. offering mentoring in conjunction with other interventions, one-to-one format vs. group format). Program outcomes (including mental well-being, academics and career, externalizing and behavioral problems, service utilization, and social competencies) were used to assess the effectiveness of the programs.
The following are key findings from the evaluation:
- Most programs had a small-to-medium effect.
- Smaller effects were found in programs with higher proportions of youth with emotional abuse histories.
- Near-peer mentors (mentors close in age to mentees) were more than twice as effective as intergenerational mentors.
The results highlight the potential benefits of mentoring programs for youth in care as well as implications for future research and practice. This includes the need for additional research on near-peer mentoring interventions and the importance of training related to emotional attunement and trauma-informed mentoring practices.
More information is available in the article, “A Meta-Analysis of the Effects of Mentoring on Youth in Foster Care.”
- Lessons Learned From the CHaRMED Fatherhood Project
Lessons Learned From the CHaRMED Fatherhood Project
The Coparenting and Healthy Relationship and Marriage Education for Dads (CHaRMED) project is a federal evaluation conducted by Child Trends that began in 2018. Its goals were to better understand how responsible fatherhood programs support healthy relationships and coparenting, to examine how these approaches align with the needs of fathers, and to recommend future directions for related programming.
A blog post on the Child Trends website, "Fatherhood Programs Can Support Fathers’ Healthy Relationships With Children and Coparents," highlights important lessons learned from the CHaRMED study over the last 3 years, including the following:
- Tailoring curricula to participants can make relationship education more relevant for fathers.
- Fathers feel more connected to healthy relationship programming when they build personal connections with program staff and other participating fathers.
- Many fathers are eager to build their coparenting skills.
- Legal and social system involvement can prevent fathers from seeing their children and can strain coparenting relationships.
- Virtual programming may increase fathers’ access to relationship programming.
This work is significant since positive father-child relationships can lead to improved outcomes for children, and a crucial component of improved father involvement is a strong coparenting and/or romantic relationship with their partner.
Child Trends plans to release more information about CHaRMED later in the year. Visit the project page for more information and updates.
Strategies and Tools for Practice
This section of CBX offers publications, articles, reports, toolkits, and other resources that provide evidence-based strategies or other concrete help to child welfare and related professionals.
- Resource Hub Provides Professionals With Sexual and Reproductive Health Research
Resource Hub Provides Professionals With Sexual and Reproductive Health Research
Activate: The Collective to Bring Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health Research to Youth-Supporting Professionals is an online resource hub designed for professionals who work with youth involved in child welfare and juvenile justice, as well as youth experiencing homelessness and opportunity youth. Activate was developed by Child Trends, in partnership with Chapin Hall and Healthy Teen Network, and is funded through a grant from the Office of Population Affairs (OPA) within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Activate was designed to bridge the gap between research and practice in support of OPA’s mission to prevent teen pregnancy and promote adolescent sexual and reproductive health. The research-based, online hub gathers, synthesizes, and disseminates information about effective adolescent sexual and reproductive health policies and practices. It also facilitates a dialogue on adolescent sexual and reproductive health between researchers and professionals. Activate maintains partnerships with a research alliance of researchers, professionals who work with youth, young people, and other collaborators to guide the work.
The following resources are currently available on the Activate website:
- Helping Young People Choose the Birth Control Method Right for Them: A Guide for Youth-Supporting Professionals
- "Sex-Based Harassment in the Workplace: A Training for Professionals Who Support Opportunity Youth"
- Understanding the Sexual and Reproductive Health of Opportunity Youth
- Using Trauma-Responsive, LGBTQ+ Affirming Care to Connect Young People to Sexual and Reproductive Health Services
- Incorporating Social Determinants of Health and Equity in Practice to Address Sexual and Reproductive Health for Young People Involved in Foster Care
For more resources and more information about Activate, visit the Activate website.
This section of CBX presents interesting resources, such as websites, videos, journals, funding or scholarship opportunities, or other materials, that can be used in the field or with families.
- Tips for Foster and Adoptive Parents on Creating an Affirming Home for LGBTQ+ Youth
Tips for Foster and Adoptive Parents on Creating an Affirming Home for LGBTQ+ Youth
It is estimated that nearly one-third of youth in foster care identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning, or other diverse identity (LGBTQ+). With the mental health risks and challenges associated with this young group in mind, a post from the AdoptUSKids blog provides foster and adoptive parents with advice on how to create an affirming home environment.
The following tips—based on the lived experience of two child-serving professionals and advocates, one of whom is an African American transgender youth formerly involved with the system—can help foster and adoptive parents create an environment in which LGBTQ+ youth feel welcome, safe, and supported:
- Educate yourself about the mental health risks for LGBTQ+ youth
- Believe—and help your child believe—that they can have a happy future
- Support the gender-diverse youth in your care for who they are and how they choose to express their identity
- Use an LGBTQ+ affirmation calendar (all year long!) to recognize and celebrate your child
- Provide emotional permanency
- Help your child develop positive coping skills
The post includes links to a variety of pertinent organizations, projects, studies, and resources, including the webinar from which the information in this article was developed. To learn more, read "Creating an Affirming Home for LGBTQ+ Youth as a Foster or Adoptive Parent" on the AdoptUSKids website.
- A Guide for Preventing the Sexual Abuse and Trafficking of Children
A Guide for Preventing the Sexual Abuse and Trafficking of Children
The Children’s Assessment Center developed a guide for parents, youth-serving organizations, and communities with the purpose of preventing the sexual abuse and sex trafficking of children and youth. The colorful and engaging guide discusses the importance of prevention, lists the signs of abuse, and provides tips on how to talk to children and youth about abuse. This information is organized into the following sections:
- The importance of prevention
- Information for parents and caregivers
- Information for youth-serving organizations and schools
- Child sex trafficking
- Internet safety
- Educational resources
- Reporting abuse
The Children’s Assessment Center, one of the largest child abuse advocacy centers in the Nation and an accredited member of the National Children’s Alliance, provides multidisciplinary services to child sexual abuse and child sex trafficking victims and their families. To learn more, read the guide, 2022 Child Abuse Prevention Guide: A Guide for Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse and Child Sex Trafficking Written for Parents, Youth Serving Organizations, and Community Members.
Training and Conferences
Find trainings, workshops, webinars, and other opportunities for professionals and families to learn about how to improve the lives of children and youth as well as a listing of upcoming events and conferences.
- SOAR Online Training Provides Information on Human Trafficking and its Impact on Youth
SOAR Online Training Provides Information on Human Trafficking and its Impact on Youth
The "SOAR for School-Based Professionals" online training is designed to equip youth-serving professionals to better understand human trafficking and its impact on youth. The course was designed to help those who work with middle- and high-school-aged students identify indicators of human trafficking and use protective factors to support youth at highest risk.
After completing the course, professionals will be able to do the following:
- Describe the types of trafficking in the United States
- Recognize indicators of trafficking in school settings
- Understand the importance of using a trauma-informed approach when addressing human trafficking in a school setting
- Develop a trafficking response protocol for their organization
- Assess the needs of those who have experienced or are at risk of trafficking using a multidisciplinary approach
The training can be accessed on the TRAIN Learning Network website.
Upcoming conferences and events on child welfare and adoption include the following:
"Building Protective Factors Through Family Resource Centers" [Webinar]
“Living the Protective Factors” [Online training]
Be Strong Families
"An Anti-Racist Approach to Child Neglect Investigations" [Webinar]
"To Tell or Not to Tell: Collegians With Foster Care Background Self-Disclosure Attitudes and Experiences on Campus" [Webinar]
National Research Collaborative for Foster Alumni and Higher Education
"Listening to What Voters Want for Children" [Webinar]
Brazelton Touchpoints Center
ZERO TO THREE LEARN Institute
ZERO TO THREE
San Diego, CA, December 7–8
“Integrating Race, Power, Privilege & Perspective Into Child Protective Services” [Webinar]
American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children
"A Pandemic 'Black Box' on Abuse in Later Life and the Courts" [Webinar]
Futures Without Violence & National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges
OJJDP Tribal Youth National Conference
U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, Tribal Youth Resource Center
San Diego, CA, December 13–15
38th Annual San Diego International Conference on Child and Family Maltreatment
Chadwick Center for Children and Families at Rady Children's Hospital, San Diego
2023 Healing Together Conference
Native American Fatherhood and Families Association