News From the Children's Bureau
- State Agencies Preparing for Federal Child and Family Services Reviews to Receive Assistance
State Agencies Preparing for Federal Child and Family Services Reviews to Receive Assistance
In support of the effort to encourage collaboration between State agencies and the courts in the CFSRs, the National Child Welfare Resource Center on Legal and Judicial Issues has recently released two new publications. The first, Child and Family Services Reviews (CFSRs): How Judges, Court Administrators and Attorneys Should be Involved, focuses on the judicial system audience. The paper provides an overview of the process and the legal and judicial issues involved in each step, especially the stakeholder interviews, and explains in detail how court involvement in the CFSR can enhance the court improvement process.
The second publication, How and Why to Involve the Courts in Your Child and Family Services Review (CFSR): Suggestion for Agency Administrators, targets State child welfare agency administrators. This paper explains the benefits to the State agency under review in involving legal system representatives from the beginning and throughout the review process, and details how agencies can provide incentives for the courts to participate in the process--with the goals being improved court programs and better outcomes for children. Both publications include an appendix that lists the specific legal and judicial issues suggested by each of the CFSR performance indicators.
Since Federal regulations require CFSRs to address judicial processes such as permanency hearings and semiannual reviews, the Resource Center advocates that State agencies involve the courts in the reviews and encourage court participation from the earliest stages of the process.
Both publications are available in PDF format on the Resource Center website at http://www.abanet.org/child/rclji/online.html.
- HHS and National Adoption Center Launch AdoptUSKids Website
HHS and National Adoption Center Launch AdoptUSKids Website
A new website created to increase adoption opportunities for children in foster care was launched in July 2002 by a partnership between the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the National Adoption Center.
AdoptUSKids, a service of the Children's Bureau, features photographs and biographies of children in the foster care system across the country who are available for adoption. The website will link potential families with children they might not have been aware of. The site will also maintain a database of approved adoptive families, raise public awareness, recruit families for waiting children, provide information and referral services to prospective and approved adoptive families and provide training and technical assistance to States and adoption exchanges.
In a press release, Dr. Wade Horn, Assistant Secretary for Children and Families, said not only does the site show what can be done when the government collaborates with its partners, but even more importantly, it also offers hope that many more foster children will get loving, permanent homes.
Visit the AdoptUSKids website at http://www.AdoptUSKids.org
- Child Maltreatment 2000 Soon to be Released
Child Maltreatment 2000 Soon to be Released
Child Maltreatment 2000, the eleventh annual Federal publication of child abuse and neglect data, is soon to be released by the Children's Bureau, Administration on Children, Youth and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. This publication presents data reported by State child welfare agencies to the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System (NCANDS). Data are reported for child maltreatment victims and perpetrators, fatalities, and preventive and protective services. Some of the key findings include:
- An estimated 879,000 children were victims of child maltreatment throughout the United States in 2000.
- Three million referrals concerning approximately five million children were made to CPS agencies.
- Almost two-thirds (63 percent) of the victims suffered neglect, 19 percent suffered physical abuse, 10 percent suffered sexual abuse, and 17 percent of victims experienced other forms of maltreatment.
- Nationally, an estimated 1,200 children died from abuse or neglect.
This report provides invaluable information to policy makers, practitioners, researchers, advocates, the media, and others concerned about child abuse and neglect. The report will be available online at http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb/publications/index.htm, and copies of the report can be requested from the National Clearinghouse on Child Abuse and Neglect Information at 800-FYI-3366 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
- HHS Commissioner of ACYF Speaks at Opening Ceremonies of 14th International Congress on Child Abuse
HHS Commissioner of ACYF Speaks at Opening Ceremonies of 14th International Congress on Child Abuse
Joan E. Ohl, HHS Commissioner of the Administration on Children, Youth and Families, spoke at the opening ceremonies of the 14th International Congress on Child Abuse and Neglect held in Denver this July. In her speech, Ohl remarked on the great strides and progress made in strengthening families and keeping children safe. Ohl focused on the Bush Administration's continued commitment to these issues, and stated that by working together nationally and internationally progress on these issues can continue.
The congress, held every 2 years, brings together professionals from around the world to share practical information and research, and to meet and discuss opportunities to advance a worldwide effort to prevent child abuse and neglect.
Ohl stated that the Bush Administration is strongly committed to strengthening families and reducing the number of maltreated children through prevention. Ohl outlined the following recent activities under the current Administration that demonstrate its support of these efforts:
- Promoting Safe and Stable Families -- was reauthorized in 2001 for 5 years. In 2002, an additional $70 million was provided, for a total of $375 million. The President's 2003 budget requests full funding of $505 million per year for this program.
- Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) -- currently the Administration is working with Congress to reauthorize and strengthen this legislation, which contains four major programs that are critical to improving the system and ensuring the safety and well-being of children: the Child Abuse and Neglect Basic State Grant program, CAPTA Discretionary funds, the Community-Based Family Resource and Support (CBFRS) grants, and the Children's Justice Act.
- Child and Family Services Review -- the Children's Bureau is working closely with States to improve their child welfare systems through this process. These reviews will enable the Children's Bureau to ensure conformity with Federal child welfare requirements, determine what is actually happening to children and families involved in child welfare services, and help States enhance their capacity to help children and families achieve positive outcomes.
There is also a new partnership involving Early Head Start and child welfare. This demonstration initiative will enhance and expand services for children and their families who are part of the child welfare services system. Of the $72 million funding expansion Early Head Start will receive this year, $10 million of it will be reserved for the Early Head Start/child welfare collaboration. It is expected that 1,000 children referred by child welfare will be served through this collaboration.
Within HHS, other initiatives also deal with child abuse and neglect. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has a pilot project in the public health systems of five States. From this effort, HHS will develop a statewide surveillance tool to ultimately help define the scope of the child abuse and neglect problem and inform intervention and prevention efforts. The National Institutes of Health is funding more child abuse and neglect research to help better understand the causes and consequences of child abuse and neglect to ultimately inform our future prevention efforts.
Ohl summarized the Presidential and Secretarial initiatives established across HHS to strengthen families and improve the well-being of children and youth. These initiatives include:
- Promoting Responsible Fatherhood and Healthy Marriages
- Positive Youth Development
- Faith-Based and Community Initiative
- Early Childhood Literacy
- Rural Initiative
- Prevention Initiative
Ohl concluded her remarks by reiterating the purpose of the international congress: charting our progress in strengthening families and keeping children safe.
For more information about ISPCAN, visit their website at http://www.ispcan.org.
- $11.4 Million in Grant Awards for National Child Traumatic Stress Initiative
$11.4 Million in Grant Awards for National Child Traumatic Stress Initiative
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Tommy Thompson announced in June $11.4 million in new grants to improve treatment and services for children and adolescents exposed to traumatic events. The awards are part of the National Child Traumatic Stress Initiative, which provides Federal support for a national effort to improve treatment and services for child trauma. The grants are funded through HHS' s Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Some of the money for the grants comes from $7.2 million in Public Health Service Emergency Supplemental (PHSE) funds requested by President Bush last fall.
SAMHSA Administrator Charles Curie stated in a press release that "traumatic stress can result from many incidents—experiencing natural and human-caused disasters, child abuse, rape or other dangerous crimes, as well as witnessing such trauma happening to a loved one. The initiative will increase our understanding and help provide the best interventions for children and adolescents."
The initiative comprises the National Center for Child Traumatic Stress, which was funded last fall; Intervention Development and Evaluation Centers; and Community Treatment and Service Centers.
Eighteen grants were awarded to organizations across the United States. Awards focusing specifically on child abuse, neglect, child maltreatment, and children in the foster care system include:
- Children's Hospital and Health Center, San Diego, California ($600,000 per year for 3 years) will utilize its large, culturally diverse community service environment to explore effective treatments crossing trauma types from child abuse and witnessing intimate partner violence, to child accident victims or those experiencing painful medical procedures.
- Child Abuse Trauma Treatment Replication Center, Cincinnati, Ohio ($600,000 per year for 3 years) will implement effective community-level treatment services necessary to positively change the life course of large numbers of traumatized children and adolescents by providing a Replication Package of training, tools, and strategies for the deployment of proven child abuse treatments.
- National Children's Advocacy Center Inc., Huntsville, Alabama ($588,307 per year for 3 years) will collect information on existing and promising approaches to treatment and services for victims of child maltreatment and their families or caregivers.
- New York University, New York, New York ($1,730,064 estimated funding from PHSE for a total of 3 years) will focus on the assessment and treatment of children who have been physically abused, assaulted, as well as those who have witnessed domestic or family violence.
- Maine General Medical Center, Augusta, Maine ($288,259 per year for 3 years) will demonstrate a decentralized model suited to the needs of children and adolescents who have experienced or witnessed traumatic events including children in the foster care system, in rural and small town service settings.
More about the awards, including the entire list of recipients, can be found on the HHS website at http://www.hhs.gov/news/press/2002pres/20020619.html.
Read about previous trauma grant awards in "New HHS Initiative Focuses on Child Trauma" from the January 2002 issue of the Children's Bureau Express.
- Spaulding Takes Lead in Faith-based Parent Support Initiative
Spaulding Takes Lead in Faith-based Parent Support Initiative
Spaulding For Children launched a "Parent Help Center Project" in five Detroit-area churches in October 1, 1999. The project has grown to include eight local churches and is presently facilitated through Spaulding's Institute for Family and Community Development. Funded through a 3-year, $855,000 grant awarded by The Skillman Foundation, Spaulding partnered with area churches to strengthen and support birth, kinship, foster, and adoptive families in their communities. The project, which was expanded in 2001 to include eight churches, has the goal of maintaining children safely within their families.
Initially, each of the participating churches formed advisory groups, conducted a needs assessment, and developed a plan unique to their community's needs, while the Spaulding Institute provided technical assistance, information and referral, training, parent education, and staffing for child/family support groups. Spaulding supported their partner churches as they moved along the continuum below depending on their needs/resources:
- Level 1--Augmenting existing resources within a church. Training programs may meet once or twice a week in a church basement or classroom with Spaulding providing the staffing.
- Level 2--A Staffed Center within the church with space dedicated to the Parent Help Center. Full or part-time staff and/or volunteers manage the center, which is open during the week, some evenings and/or weekends to provide resources for parents. Spaulding provides support by training volunteers and staff and accepting referrals for families needing crisis intervention or other services.
- Level 3--Comprehensive Family Resource Center with active outreach to families and youth, which may include on-site counseling and crisis services and active participation in community building activities for families. Spaulding provides training for trainers, technical assistance and other resources to complement the Center's activities and assist them in becoming self-sufficient.
The services provided by different centers included: parenting training for grandparents and kin raising children; training on issues of discipline, drug abuse, and sexual abuse; support groups for teens, grandparents, and kin; mentor programs; tutoring programs; computer classes for children and adults; and, in one case, collaboration with a program for infants and young children funded by the Skillman Foundation and the Children's Trust Fund. The programs have been well received in the churches and communities. While the Institute's involvement with the project will formally end on September 30, 2002, it is expected that many of the Centers will continue.
For more information regarding the Parent Help Center Project or the Spaulding Institute for Family and Community Development, contact:
Vice President, Spaulding for Children
Read the following articles from previous issues of the Children's Bureau Express for more information about faith-based initiatives:
- "HHS Launches New Center for Faith-Based and Community Initiatives" (February/March 2002)
- "Unlevel Playing Field: Service Areas for Faith-Based and Community-Based Organizations" (November/December 2001)
- "Faith-based Campaigns: Answering the Call to Find Homes for Waiting Children" (May/June 2001)
Child Welfare Research
- GAO Report Examines ASFA's Impact on Foster Care
GAO Report Examines ASFA's Impact on Foster Care
In 1997, the Adoption and Safe Families Act (ASFA) was passed to help States expedite permanency for children in foster care, either by reunifying them with their families or moving them more quickly to a permanent placement with a family. Members of Congress recently asked the General Accounting Office (GAO) to examine the impact of this legislation on foster care. The GAO responded to this request with a report entitled "Foster Care: Recent Legislation Helps States Focus on Finding Permanent Homes for Children, but Long-Standing Barriers Remain," which was released June 28, 2002.
While the GAO report describes characteristics of children and their experiences in foster care, the analysts found that there are no comparable data prior to ASFA with which to compare and illuminate ASFA's influence. For example, the report found that:
- The annual number of adoptions from foster care increased 57 percent from 31,000 in 1997 to 48,600 in 2000, but adoptions had been increasing prior to 1997 as well.
- The median length of stay in foster care for all children who left care between 1998 and 2000 was almost 1 year. Children who left foster care through adoption, however, spent a median of 3 and one-half years in care.
- Most children exited foster care to reunite with their families, but one-third of the children who were reunited in 1998 returned to foster care within 3 years.
In addition to examining foster care outcomes, the report discusses States' experiences implementing two key ASFA provisions known as "fast track" and "15 of 22." Fast track allows States, in extreme circumstances, to deviate from their usual efforts to prevent removal of children from their families or reunify children with their families (e.g., when a child has been abandoned). The second provision, "15 of 22," requires States to file for Termination of Parental Rights (a critical step in the adoption process) when a child has been in foster care for at least 15 out of the previous 22 months, except in certain circumstances. These provisions are designed to move children through foster care to permanent homes more quickly.
Information gathered from the States indicates that the fast track provision rarely is being used, because few children meet the requirements and also due to systemic barriers, such as court systems that are reluctant to bypass prevention or reunification efforts. The report also found that there are many instances in which children are exempted from the "15 of 22" provision, often due to difficulties finding adoptive placements for children with special needs.
In spite of these difficulties, States did report that ASFA has assisted them in "finding permanent homes for children more quickly." States are using funds provided by ASFA to address barriers to permanency by expanding court resources, recruiting more adoptive families for children with special needs, and improving access to services for families working to reunify with their children.
The report recommends that the Department of Health of Human Services (HHS), the Federal agency with responsibility for children in foster care, improve data collection related to the ASFA requirements. HHS staff generally agreed with the report's findings and recommendations and have already established a team to review the data issues.
The full report, number GAO-02-585, is available online at http://www.gao.gov/.
- Children's Defense Fund Reports Latest U.S. Child Poverty Rankings
Children's Defense Fund Reports Latest U.S. Child Poverty Rankings
The Children's Defense Fund's (CDF) latest poverty rankings based on new data from the 2000 Census provides information on how children fare in the nation's counties, largest cities, and States. The findings show that child poverty is a widespread phenomenon in rural as well as urban areas. For example, 38 counties, nearly all of them rural, have higher rates of child poverty than the poorest large cities (those with populations of 100,000 or more). Research has shown that poverty is associated with higher rates of child maltreatment. Poor children also are at a greater risk than non-poor children of low birth weight, stunted growth, lead poisoning, expulsion from school, being held back a grade, and dropping out of school. The report notes that child poverty rates dropped during the 1990s, a period of rising wages and low unemployment. As employment rates drop, those gains are eroding, according to CDF.
The report found that 14 counties had poverty rates of more than 50 percent. Those counties were in Texas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, West Virginia, and South Dakota.
Brownsville, Texas, and Hartford, Connecticut, which are among the nation's largest cities, had the highest poverty rates, 45.3 percent and 41.3 percent, respectively. Other large cities with high poverty rates include New Orleans, Providence, Atlanta, Buffalo, Miami, and Cleveland.
The poverty rates of all States and the District of Columbia were listed as well. In nine States and the District of Columbia, one in five children is poor. The District of Columbia's child poverty rating was the highest at 37.1 percent. States following the District with high rates of poverty include Mississippi, Louisiana, New Mexico, West Virginia, Arkansas, Alabama, Kentucky, Texas, and New York.
For the full report, visit www.childrensdefense.org/pressreleases/2002/020604.aspx.
Read the following article from the July 2002 issue of the Children's Bureau Express:
- "Two Reports Aim Attention at Children in Poverty"
- Study Shows Spanking May be Harmful to Children
Study Shows Spanking May be Harmful to Children
New research has shown that spanking may actually cause the behaviors it is meant to curb. While temporarily making children more compliant, corporal punishment raises the risk of children becoming aggressive and increases the likelihood of future antisocial, criminal, and delinquent behavior. In addition, spanking might also turn to child abuse according to the author of the study, Elizabeth Thompson Gershoff, a researcher at Columbia University's National Center for Children in Poverty.
Gershoff's study is based on an analysis of 88 studies spanning the latter half of the 20th century and quantifies the effects of spanking on 11 child behaviors. Gershoff recommends avoiding corporal punishment altogether, instead opting for more positive, nonphysical types of discipline. Surveys indicate that 94 percent of American parents spank their children by the time they are 3 or 4 years old.
Other researchers argue that spanking can be an effective punishment, but not appropriate as an initial technique. Robert Larzelere, an associate professor of psychology at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha, states spanking may be beneficial if reasoning and nonphysical punishments do not work.
Gershoff's study and Larzelere's response were published in the July 2002 issue of Psychological Bulletin, a publication of the American Psychological Association.
See "Study Examines Spanking Among Minnesota Parents" from the April 2002 issue of the Children's Bureau Express.
- New Report Gives Statistical Portrait of Parents in U.S.
New Report Gives Statistical Portrait of Parents in U.S.
Child Trends has released a new report, Charting Parenthood: A Statistical Portrait of Fathers and Mothers in America. The report presents comparable data on mothers and fathers in the United States for more than 40 indicators regarding family formation, fertility, and parenting.
Generally, the focus in research has been on the experiences of women and mothers. By including men and fathers, a greatly expanded picture is presented. Divergence is shown in some areas, as well as agreement in others. The data also provide important insights into the value men place on family life and childrearing, and on the multiple contributions that fathers can make to the lives of their children.
Within the parenting section, data were provided on topics such as:
Attitudes towards parenting
- Importance of becoming a parent
- Adult attitudes about the value of children
- Parents: can one be as good as two?
- Parents' beliefs about raising children
- Adults' attitudes toward spanking
- Parents' responsibility for children
- Limit setting
- Conflict resolution in families
Closeness and conflict between parents and children
- Degree of closeness adolescent feels toward parent
- Expressions of warmth and affection
- Conflict between parents and adolescents
- Incidence of harsh punishment, violence, or abuse
Charting Parenthood is available online at http://www.childtrends.org/pdf/parenthoodrpt2002.pdf. (Editor's note: this link is no longer available.)
See "National Fatherhood Group Examines Statistical Trends in U.S. Families" from the June 2002 issue of the Children's Bureau Express.
Strategies and Tools for Practice
- New Report on Evidence-Based Practices in Mental Health Services for Foster Youth
New Report on Evidence-Based Practices in Mental Health Services for Foster Youth
The California Institute for Mental Health (CIMH) has released "Evidence-Based Practices in Mental Health Services for Foster Youth." The report is a tool to inform those who plan, implement, and participate in mental health services for foster youth. In tandem with a training series planned for the Winter of 2002, the objective is to encourage the use of research information in the planning and delivery of mental health services for foster youth.
The report is a component of the CIMH Caring for Foster Youth initiative. This project has focused on the promotion of mental health assessments and services for foster children throughout California. Two screening tools have been created to support child and family service systems in these efforts: The Mental Health Screening Tool (MHST) 0-5 and MHST 5-adult. Both screening tools and the report are available on the CIMH website at http://www.cimh.org/.
Read "Promising Approaches to Meeting the Health Care Needs of Children in Foster Care" from the July issue of Children's Bureau Express.
- Developing a Parent Leadership Team as an Innovative Parent Leadership Strategy
Developing a Parent Leadership Team as an Innovative Parent Leadership Strategy
In July 2001, Parents Anonymous® Inc. and the California Department of Social Services, Office of Child Abuse Prevention launched the first-ever California Parent Leadership Team (CPLT), thereby creating a statewide structure to develop leadership roles for parents throughout California. The CPLT will enhance meaningful parent and provider partnerships by bringing their voices and experiences in family-strengthening programs to the discussions, activities, and decisions related to family support services in California. The CPLT is composed of 15 diverse mothers and fathers who were nominated from community-based, family-strengthening programs all across California and reflect the wide variety of families who utilize family support services. The CPLT works in partnership with Parents Anonymous staff to provide training and technical assistance to administrators, staff, and parents in family support programs throughout the State. CPLT members also participate in policy and planning activities locally and statewide, develop parent leadership materials and serve as mentors and role models to other parents interested in developing their leadership skills and involvement in parent leadership activities.
Parents Anonymous and the California Department of Social Services, nationally recognized for their commitment to shared leadership, developed innovative strategies to ensure meaningful parent leadership within the State. The addition of a statewide California Parent Leadership Team will serve as a replicable model for county and statewide family service systems throughout the country. With support and training, parents can become active partners and advocates in promoting policies and programs that help families to enhance the development of their children, prevent child abuse, and create supportive communities.
For more information about this innovative project or to discuss developing parent leadership teams, contact:
Meryl Levine, MSSA
Vice President of Development
Parents Anonymous® Inc.
675 W. Foothill Blvd., Suite 220
Claremont, CA 91711
- Pilot Initiative in New York City to Better Support Families Affected by Domestic Violence
Pilot Initiative in New York City to Better Support Families Affected by Domestic Violence
At the National Association of Public Child Welfare Administrators summer meeting July 20, 2002, William Bell, Commissioner of the Administration for Children's Services (ACS) in New York City, presented on New York City's response to a class action law suit filed in 2000. In the case Nicholson v. Williams, plaintiffs alleged that ACS, as a matter of policy, removes children from mothers who are victims of domestic violence and charges them with neglect solely because they are victims of domestic violence. The estimated number of removals in cases involving domestic violence during a 3-year period was 3,658. A State review of New York's ACS protective service cases investigated during 1999 found that 19 percent included a history of domestic violence. In New York City alone, ACS investigates 55,000 child abuse and neglect reports each year, which can involve 85,000-90,000 children. Many of the cases may stem from domestic violence.
As a result of this lawsuit, New York City has dramatically shifted its focus to better support families affected by domestic violence. Mr. Bell described the city's pilot initiatives to implement best practices in which child welfare and domestic violence advocates better collaborate to protect victims and children, and batterers are held accountable. Kathryn Conroy and Randy Magen of the Columbia University School of Social Work developed a 2-day screening curriculum. The training was provided to contract preventive service programs in the city and training was provided for all new child protective services caseworkers. Training emphasized the dynamics of domestic violence, routine assessment, and safety planning with the victim as the primary intervention. In addition to training, the pilot project includes:
- Routine screening for domestic violence (routine assessment for domestic violence has doubled identification rates).
- Case-by-case assessment of child and adult safety and risk.
- Emphasis on safety planning with the victim.
- Increasing emphasis on holding abusive partners accountable.
- Safety interventions, including child removal, are made when necessary to ensure child safety.
Cross-systems strategic planning was also conducted with Office of Domestic Violence and Child Welfare. Twelve clinical teams that include domestic violence, mental health, and substance abuse specialists are now placed in field offices to provide consultation and training to staff. A domestic violence protocol has been developed that includes tools for interviewing the victim and abusive partner, which are required whenever domestic violence is reported or suspected.
More information on best practices in responding to domestic violence can be found in the following resources:
- In Harm's Way: Domestic Violence and Child Maltreatment on the website of the National Clearinghouse on Child Abuse and Neglect Information (note: this publication is no longer available).
- Guidelines for Public Child Welfare Agencies Serving Children and Families Experience Domestic Violence from the National Association of Public Child Welfare Administrators, American Public Human Services Association. The PDF version can be found at http://www.aphsa.org/Publications/Doc/dvguidelines.pdf; the Word format is at http://www.aphsa.org/hotnews/dvguidelines.doc. (Editor's note: this link is no longer available.)
- Guidelines for Conducting Family Team Conferences When There is a History of Domestic Violence from the Family Violence Prevention Fund at http://endabuse.org/programs/display.php3?DocID=159.
- Domestic Violence: A National Curriculum for Children's Protective Services from the Family Violence Prevention Fund at http://endabuse.org/programs/display.php3?DocID=79.
- Effective Intervention In Domestic Violence & Child Maltreatment Cases: Guidelines for Policy and Practice (also know as the "Greenbook" Initiative) from the National Council of Juvenile & Family Court Judges, Family Violence Department at http://www.ncjfcj.org/dept/fvd/publications/.
- New Guide Offers Assistance in Developing Tribal Court CASA Programs
New Guide Offers Assistance in Developing Tribal Court CASA Programs
Tribal communities wanting to create Tribal Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) programs now have a resource to guide them through the many steps to develop and manage effective programs tailored to their needs. The National Court Appointed Special Advocate Association (National CASA) began the Tribal Court CASA Project in 1994 to support programs where volunteers act as advocates for abused or neglected American Indian and Alaska Native children. National CASA partnered with the Tribal Law and Policy Institute to offer training and technical assistance to support the Tribal Court CASA Project. From this partnership, the Tribal Court CASA: A Guide to Program Development (the Guide) was published to lead tribal communities through each step of planning and operating a Tribal Court CASA program.
Sections and specific chapters of the Guide provide information on:
- Assessing the community's problems with child abuse and neglect and its response, including how well the child welfare systems and judicial systems work together.
- Recruiting volunteers from the tribal community, outlining the training process, and explaining important aspects of managing and retaining volunteers.
- Setting up a financial system that complies with generally accepted accounting principles.
- Minimizing risks--particularly liability of the individual volunteer, liability of the organization to the volunteer, and liability of the organization because of the actions of volunteers--and considerations in purchasing liability insurance.
- Using formal rules and procedures to support program operations, such as a manual of policies and procedures, confidentiality and personnel policies, and procedures for handling complaints.
Information about the Tribal Court CASA, including a PDF version of the Guide, can be found at http://www.casanet.org/program-services/tribal/.
Supporting materials, including a free video on the development of Tribal Court CASA programs and ordering free printed copies of the Guide, that explain the history of CASA and its effect in tribal communities can be obtained by contacting:
Tribal Court Program Specialist
National Court Appointed Special Advocate Association
100 W. Harrison, North Tower, Suite 500
Seattle, WA 98119
Phone: 206-270-0072, ext. 25 or 800-628-3233
- Call for Abstracts for Special Issue of the Child Welfare Journal
Call for Abstracts for Special Issue of the Child Welfare Journal
The National Council on Research in Child Welfare will devote a special issue of Child Welfare to the evidence base in child welfare and the role of evidence in improving outcomes for children, youth, and families. The issue, to be published in September/October 2003, will be organized by themes that are consistent with the Federally mandated areas of safety, permanency, and child and family well-being. The proposed special issue will include collaborative research with service providers that has led to demonstrable changes in practice and improved outcomes for children, youth, and families.
Those interested in having an article published are invited to submit an abstract. Nine to eleven papers in APA style of 12 to 15 double-spaced pages (including tables, figures, and references) will be published. Abstracts of 200 to 250 words will be accepted in the following two categories:
- Programs and/or practices that have conducted evaluation processes using research methodology to obtain evidence regarding the effectiveness of the programs and/or practices.
- Evidence that has been incorporated into decision-making processes to change service delivery and/or practice with the goal of improving outcomes for children, youth, and/or families.
The deadline for the receipt of abstracts is September 1, 2002. Three copies of the abstracts should be sent to:
Margo Coleman, Ph.D.
Child Welfare League of America
50 F Street, 6th Floor
Washington, DC 20001
Abstracts should also be emailed as a Microsoft Word attachment to email@example.com. Authors of submitted abstracts will be notified to submit a paper to Child Welfare by October 15, 2002; papers will be due by December 1, 2002.
For more information, contact Dr. Margo Coleman at 202-942-0304 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
- OJJDP Issues Program Announcement for Multi-System Decision-Making Training and Technical Assistance
OJJDP Issues Program Announcement for Multi-System Decision-Making Training and Technical Assistance
The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) has issued a Program Announcement for the Multi-System Decision-Making Training and Technical Assistance Project to build capacity in communities--initially and primarily Safe Start initiative communities--to collaboratively conduct a comprehensive, data-driven, decision-making model for improving services and systems of agencies serving children exposed to violence and their families.
This project will provide direct and intensive training and technical assistance to help communities conduct multi-system case analysis and develop structured decision-making tools to inform their systems improvement. Agencies supported in this model are those systems working with children who have been victims of maltreatment or who have witnessed adult violence in the home, the perpetrators of their victimization, and their families. The agencies include law enforcement, courts, domestic violence service providers, child protective services, mental health providers, and medical systems.
To view the Federal Register Notice and obtain an application, visit the OJJDP website at http://ojjdp.ncjrs.org/grants/current.html#020719. (Editor's note: this link is no longer available.) For further information, contact:
Child Protection Division, OJJDP
- Multicultural Guide Prepares Professionals for Cultural Differences
Multicultural Guide Prepares Professionals for Cultural Differences
Parent educators, social workers, family therapists, and other helping professionals now have another resource to assist them in working with families of different cultures. The Multicultural Parenting Education Guide is one of the many products of the Nurturing Parenting Programs published by Family Development Resources, Inc. The Nurturing Parenting Programs are family-centered, extensively field-tested, and validated programs that teach nurturing skills to parents and children while reinforcing positive family values. The guide presents information on various cultures that professionals should know before their involvement with families begins. It is approximately 200 pages in length and includes descriptions of the following cultures:
- African American
- El Salvadoran
- Puerto Rican
Specifically, the guide addresses the history of each culture, the most important family values, selected values related to the culture, family life, parenting/child rearing traditions and practices, key things parent educators who are not of the culture must know in order to teach parenting to people of the culture, expression of emotions, special topics, words and phrases, approaching families of the culture, adapting to the dominant culture, and what every parent educator needs to know about the culture but would probably not discover on their own.
The guide is $24.95 and is written in English. The complete Nurturing Parenting product catalog is in PDF format and can be found on the Web at http://www.nurturingparenting.com/catalog_pdfs/index.htm
For more information about Nurturing Parenting Programs, contact:
Family Development Resources, Inc.
3070 Rasmussen Road, Suite 109
P.O. Box 982350
Park City, Utah 84098
See the following articles in the Children's Bureau Express:
- "Highlights of the 13th National Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect," where the theme was Faces of Change: Embracing Diverse Cultures and Alternative Approaches (May/June 2001)
- "Understanding Recruitment of Latino Resource Parents" (January 2002)
- Federal Office Releases Brochures on Child Maltreatment
Federal Office Releases Brochures on Child Maltreatment
The Office for Victims of Crime (OVC), Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice, has released the "OVC Help Series" brochures. Included in the online series are three brochures specific to child abuse and neglect: "Child Abuse Victimization," "What You Should Know About Child Abuse (For Children Ages 6-11)," and "What You Should Know About Child Abuse (For Teenagers Ages 12-16)."
The brochures provide crime facts, information on the victim's experience, and how to seek help. They are available online at http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/ovc/publications/ infores/help_series/welcome.html.
- Lighting the Way: Volunteer Child Advocates Speak Out
Lighting the Way: Volunteer Child Advocates Speak Out
National Court Appointed Special Advocate Association, Seattle, WA. (Editor). Child Welfare League of America, Inc., Washington, DC. 2002. 104 pp. $9.95. Paperback.
The Court-Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) program trains laypersons to learn about a child's situation and collect crucial information for judges so they can make knowledgeable court decisions concerning the child's best interests and needs. Fifteen volunteer child advocates from around the country share their experiences working for children involved in the family court system, and the differences they've made in these children's lives. Foreword by Anna Quindlen.
To purchase a copy, contact:
CWLA c/o PMDS
P.O. Box 2019
Annapolis Junction, MD 20701-2019
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.
- Fourteenth National Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect
Fourteenth National Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect
The Fourteenth National Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect, Gateways to Prevention, will be held in St. Louis, Missouri, March 31 through April 5, 2003. The conference theme, Gateways to Prevention, focuses on efforts to challenge existing assumptions about how to prevent child maltreatment and consider a range of strategies to protect children and support families and communities.
The Fourteenth National Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect is sponsored by the Children's Bureau's Office on Child Abuse and Neglect (OCAN) in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The conference is designed for child protection workers and administrators, social workers, educators, researchers, health care practitioners, law enforcement professionals, policy makers, child advocates, members of the clergy, parents, volunteers, and others committed to ensuring the protection of children. Those attending will have the opportunity to hear from staff of demonstration projects and learn from the experiences of colleagues who are working to engage both families and communities in preventing the occurrence and recurrence of child maltreatment. The six Learning Clusters focus on serving diverse populations, child protective services systems changes, faith-based and community initiatives, research to practice, strengthening families, and interagency collaboration.
The Call for Abstracts is underway now. Abstracts are due no later than September 6, 2002. See the website below for more information and submission forms, or call the conference coordinators at 703-528-0435.
More information about the conference can be found at http://nccanch.acf.hhs.gov/profess/conferences/cbconference/fourteenth/index.cfm.
- News From the Child Welfare Training Resources (CWTR) Online Network: New Video, <I>Parent's Choices
News From the Child Welfare Training Resources (CWTR) Online Network: New Video, <I>Parent's Choices
Parent's Choices, a video developed in 2002 as a product of an Adoption Opportunities grant to the Colorado Department of Human Services, is intended to increase a parent's awareness of the judicial/social services processes in a dependency case. Using a case vignette format that is narrated from a child's perspective, the 14-minute video helps parents to visually and emotionally understand the impact for their child(ren) of their decisions regarding court-ordered treatment plans and permanency planning.
The video's conceptual framework was developed with input from judges, attorneys, Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASAs), and county department supervisors as a tool for workers and court facilitators to use with families before their first court appearance. The video covers family group conferencing and a kinship placement with a relative in another State using the Interstate Compact for the Placement of Children (ICPC). An accompanying brief guide is designed for use by professionals with parents, and contains Questions for Discussion, a flow chart of the Dependency and Neglect Process in Colorado, and brief capsules of information related to Family-Group Decision Making, Family Service Plans, Visitation, Kinship Care, and the Permanency Process in Colorado. The video is currently being used in all Colorado social service agencies, and can be adapted to other areas as well, if paired with State-specific information.
The Parent's Choices video was developed as part of Project UPLIFT, a large systemic change initiative designed to address geographic barriers to permanency for children funded through a Children's Bureau Adoption Opportunities Grant. The grant project developed staff training for caseworkers, judges, attorneys, CASAs, and other parties involved in the permanency process for children and families. This multi-year grant has:
- Addressed establishing Adolescent Connections in five targeted county departments to identify permanency options for adolescents aging out of child welfare.
- Standardized Colorado's foster and adoption home study process to utilize a single assessment.
- Partnered with the Rose Foundation to develop the Adoptive Family Resource Registry (AFRR) that allows Colorado workers to search for adoptive families for children by inputting the demographics of a child who they are trying to place.
- Conducted training to caseworkers, judges, and judicial officers on Interstate Compact for the Placement of Children (ICPC).
The grant also assisted in the development of a Web page for recruitment of foster and adoptive families. The website is http://www.changealifeforever.org.
The video was developed by Nicholson, Spencer & Associates (NS&A), a Professional and Family Training Institute that offers training, parent education, a Parent Assistance Line, and assistance in non-profit board development. Visit their website at http://www.nsatraininginstitute.org.
To order a copy of Parent's Choices, available for $30 plus tax and shipping, call NS&A at 303-433-6449 or email NS&A at email@example.com.
- Upcoming Conferences
More information on these and other conferences related to child abuse and neglect and adoption on the following websites:
- National Clearinghouse on Child Abuse and Neglect Information at http://nccanch.acf.hhs.gov/profess/conferences/index.cfm.
- National Adoption Information Clearinghouse at http://naic.acf.hhs.gov/general/conferences/index.cfm.
- 13th Annual Family Preservation Conference
- 16th Annual Children's Network Conference: Developing Community Assets
- 5th Annual KIDS ARE WORTH IT Conference
- PCSAO 16th Annual Statewide Child Protection Conference
- 4th National Conference on Shaken Baby Syndrome
- Alternatives 2002 Building Partnerships: Strengthening Network and Taking Action Together
- The National Human Association Conference 2002
- 7th International Conference on Family Violence
- New Strategies for Old Teams
- 2002 National Conference on Health Care and Domestic Violence
- 8th Joint Conference on Juvenile Services
- National Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences 2002 Annual Session
- ATTAch 2002 Conference "Sharpening the Focus on Attachment"
- 6th Annual New England Conference on Child Sexual Abuse "A Community Response to Prevention, Investigation, Prosecution and Treatment of Child Sexual Abuse"
- NBCDI (National Black Child Development Institute) 32nd Annual Conference
- National Clearinghouse on Child Abuse and Neglect Information at http://nccanch.acf.hhs.gov/profess/conferences/index.cfm.