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July/August 2008Vol. 9, No. 6Spotlight on Youth Permanency and the Shared Youth Vision

Issue Spotlight

  • ACYF Focuses on Collaboration to Support Foster and Homeless Youth

    ACYF Focuses on Collaboration to Support Foster and Homeless Youth

    Collaboration among youth-serving programs is a growing movement that promises to expand support for youth and broaden the population of youth who can be served. Focusing on this collaboration, the 14th National Pathways to Adulthood Conference on Independent Living and Transitional Living, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Administration on Children, Youth and Families (ACYF), brought together representatives of these programs from all 50 States, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. Held in Pittsburgh on May 14-16, the conference highlighted collaborations between Independent Living Programs (ILPs) funded by ACYF's Children’s Bureau and the Transitional Living Programs (TLPs) funded by ACYF's Family and Youth Services Bureau. The 624 participants represented ILPs, TLPs, runaway and homeless youth programs, and various service organizations for children and youth.

    Joan Ohl, Commissioner of ACYF, delivered a keynote presentation at the conference on collaboration among youth-serving agencies at all levels—from the community to the Federal level—to help at-risk youth who are transitioning to adulthood. Commissioner Ohl provided more detail on the collaboration between the ILPs and the TLPs. While ILP grants are designated for youth in foster care (or formerly in foster care), TLP grants target homeless and runaway youth. Clearly, the needs of both sets of youth are pressing and, in many cases, overlapping. These needs include support with housing, education, employment, health care, and daily living skills.

    Given the similar needs addressed by these two types of funding, collaboration between ILPs and TLPs seems both logical and cost-effective. This type of partnership can lessen the "silo effect" that limits the impact of so many funding streams. To promote this ILP/TLP collaboration, address service gaps, and avoid duplication in services for these at-risk youth, ACYF is focusing on three goals:

    • Increasing community collaborations, including helping ILP and TLP grantees identify each other in their own communities so that they can work together
    • Encouraging greater partnership with education at every level, including the U.S. Department of Education and other Federal departments
    • Enhancing programming for special populations, including minority youth overrepresented in these at-risk populations and pregnant and parenting teens

    Commissioner Ohl has appointed Linda Reese-Smith to oversee the ILP/TLP collaboration initiative and coordinate these efforts at the national level. According to Ms. Reese-Smith, there are several examples of these collaborations around the country, but they do not always know about each other. One of her goals is to identify examples of successful ILP/TLP collaborations and disseminate that information so that other programs may learn from these innovators.

    After all, youth who end up on the street because of abuse in the home are not usually concerned about the origin of the funding that helps them find housing, enroll in a GED program, access health care, or find a job; what is important to them is that they receive the support they need to make a successful transition to adulthood.

    For more information on the ILP/TLP initiative, including specific examples of collaborative programs, read the May 2008 issue of The Exchange, published by the National Clearinghouse on Families & Youth:
    http://ncfy.acf.hhs.gov/tools/publications

    If you know of a successful ILP/TLP collaboration or would like additional information on this initiative, contact Linda Reese-Smith at linda.reesesmith@acf.hhs.gov.

  • Convening on Youth Permanence

    Convening on Youth Permanence

    The 2008 National Convening on Youth Permanence brought together youth leaders from around the country to discuss the theme "Families for Life: Powerful, Possible, and a Priority for Youth in Foster Care." The Annie E. Casey Foundation and Casey Family Programs sponsored the May 2008 conference at which attendees shared ideas for improving public policies and practices to achieve the goal of providing every child with a permanent family connection.

    Resources from the Convening are now available on the website and include the full program and PowerPoint presentations from plenary and workshop sessions. The wide variety of sessions covered such topics as promising strategies to promote youth permanency, programs for targeted youth, and serving emancipated youth. Other publications produced as part of the Convening include a report on creative funding strategies and a team planning guide that provides discussion questions to help communities strategically plan ways to achieve better outcomes for youth and families.

    Additional resources to be released in the coming months include a summary of themes and lessons generated from the Convening, video and audio clips, and more. Visit the official website for the National Convening on Youth Permanence:

    www.youthpermanence.org/materials/

  • Family Search and Engagement Steps

    Family Search and Engagement Steps

    In recent years, child welfare professionals have increasingly focused on the importance of permanent connections for older youth who might otherwise age out of foster care into an uncertain adulthood. A new guide outlines the steps to identifying, locating, and engaging family members who may offer permanency to youth in foster care. The premise of the guide is that there may be relatives who would gladly adopt or support youth currently in long-term group or foster care, if they just knew about them. In Six Steps to Find a Family: A Practice Guide to Search and Engagement, author Mardith J. Louisell builds on the family search and engagement model, designed to find permanent relationships for youth by helping adults make realistic decisions about their involvement in a youth's life.

    The guide outlines steps for agencies in this process:

    • Setting the stage—ensuring that both the youth and adults involved in the search process are prepared
    • Discovery—using personal interviews, files, and technology to locate and document as many relatives as possible
    • Engagement—contacting relatives and fictive kin and preparing for visits between the youth and interested adults
    • Exploration and planning—merging the newly found adults with the youth's team to begin considering permanency options
    • Decision-making and evaluation—developing plans for legal and emotional permanency
    • Sustaining the relationship—reviewing commitments and resources and preparing the team/family to be self-sustaining

    The guide also includes a number of resources to be used in family finding and engagement, including forms, checklists, sample letters, phone scripts, and tips for searching and for talking to youth about permanency.

    The guide was developed by the National Resource Center for Family-Centered Practice and Permanency Planning (NRCFCPPP) and the California Permanency for Youth Project and is available for download on the NRCFCPPP website:

    www.hunter.cuny.edu/socwork/nrcfcpp/downloads/SixSteps.pdf (PDF - 2,899 KB)

    Related Item

    Children's Bureau Express most recently wrote about locating family members in "Improving Relative Search and Engagement" (May 2008).

  • Child Welfare and the McKinney-Vento Act

    Child Welfare and the McKinney-Vento Act


    The McKinney-Vento Act was passed to ensure educational rights and protections for homeless children and youth, including those awaiting foster care placement. The act addresses such issues as:

    • Barriers to enrolling in school, including residency and documentation
    • Transportation to and from the school of origin
    • Immediate school enrollment
    • Eligibility for title I education services
    • Changes in "best interest" determination
    • Homeless education liaisons in all school districts

    The rights of children in foster care may differ, depending on a State or jurisdiction's interpretations of eligibility. However, every school district has a local education agency liaison for homeless education who can discuss eligibility requirements.

    Child welfare professionals may want to familiarize themselves with the following resources on the McKinney-Vento Act:

  • Permanency Planning Resources

    Permanency Planning Resources

    The National Resource Center for Family-Centered Practice and Permanency Planning (NRCFCPPP) offers a wealth of resources on permanency planning for youth. Susan Dougherty, Information Specialist at the NRCFCPPP, compiled the following list of webpages:

    Many of the other NRC "Hot Topics" are relevant to the process of achieving permanency for the young people involved with child welfare systems. Visit the list:
    www.hunter.cuny.edu/socwork/nrcfcpp/information.html

  • New Website on Youth Permanency Grantees

    New Website on Youth Permanency Grantees

    A new website highlights the accomplishments of the grantees in the Children's Bureau Youth Permanency Grant cluster. The 5-year grants were awarded in 2005 to nine organizations to implement effective open adoption programs for youth and sibling groups. The website features the progress of the grantee projects and includes:

    • Background information on the grant and its purpose
    • Reports and descriptions of each project, including such information as the target population and preliminary outcomes
    • Resources, tools, curricula, and surveys for working with birth and resource families, youth, courts, and social workers

    Grantees have demonstrated success in connecting youth to permanent families through reunification, relative placement, and open adoption. The diversity of projects lends variety to the number and type of resources available on the new website, and this information may be useful to multiple programs in child welfare. New resources and updates will continue to be added to the website as they are developed by the grantees.

    Announcement of the new website was made in May by three Children's Bureau National Resource Centers:

  • Preventing Youth Disconnectedness

    Preventing Youth Disconnectedness

    A white paper by the Schuyler Center for Analysis and Advocacy takes a new perspective on youth disconnectedness by focusing on ways to prevent disconnection in the first place and engage youth before it is too late. The study examined youth in New York State about to age out of the child welfare or mental health systems and at risk of becoming disconnected or disengaged from society. In 2005, 8 percent of New York's 16-19 year olds were not working and not in school.

    To address these daunting challenges, the Schuyler Center convened two workgroups with key stakeholders that included agency representatives, advocates, and city youth. The workgroups formulated a series of principles for preventing youth disconnectedness, including:

    • Adequate family-centered systems of care
    • Youth empowerment through the development of problem-solving skills
    • Care coordination among all agencies that come into contact with children and youth
    • Concurrent planning between systems
    • Constancy of relationships between service providers and youth
    • Integration of mental health services in school settings
    • Early and effective intervention

    The workgroups also made 18 recommendations to promote cross-system collaboration, including the establishment of a central coordination point, more training for human services workers, and empowerment of youth. The paper cites three initiatives as examples of successful cross-system collaboration:

    • The Child and Family Clinic Plus program, which offers mental health and wellness screening for children in school settings
    • The Children's Cabinet, which is a group of State agencies working to strengthen State systems
    • The Children's Mental Health Act, which gives school districts the opportunity to implement a mental heath plan for children

    To read Disconnected Youth: An Answer to Preventing Disengagement, by Jenn O'Connor, visit:

    www.scaany.org/documents/disconnected_youth_whitepaper_000.pdf (PDF - 239 KB)

  • The Shared Youth Vision: Collaboration at All Levels

    The Shared Youth Vision: Collaboration at All Levels

    Imagine a collaboration that extends from some of the largest Federal agencies down through State and community service programs, all focused on helping the most vulnerable youth make a successful transition to adulthood. That's the mission of the Shared Youth Vision, an initiative that grew out of a 2003 White House Task Force Report on Disadvantaged Youth. Citing the need for better coordination and communication among youth-serving agencies, the report led to the Shared Youth Vision so that "the Nation's neediest youth will acquire the talents, skills, and knowledge necessary to ensure their healthy transition to successful adult roles and responsibilities." The initiative places a special emphasis on ensuring that youth are educated and prepared to join the workforce.

    The Federal partnership among the U.S. Departments of Education, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, Justice, Labor, and others promotes collaborative approaches to serving youth through outreach and the development of strategies, training, and tools and resources. Since 2004, the Shared Youth Vision has sponsored Regional Youth Forums, technical assistance initiatives, Regional meetings, and other opportunities for States and local jurisdictions to make connections and exchange ideas. A series of webinars have focused on self-assessment tools for youth-serving organizations, promising practices from the field, and resource and gap mapping.

    In 2006, the Federal partnership funded 16 States to begin Shared Youth Vision collaborations and activities at the State and local levels. State teams, mirroring the Federal partnership, have worked for the last 2 years to plan and implement statewide Shared Youth Vision activities to serve the neediest youth. More recently, these funded States have begun to mentor other States in beginning their own Shared Youth Vision collaborations and activities. An implementation study is underway, as States continue to expand their partnerships to reach out to the most vulnerable youth and ensure that they make successful transitions to adulthood.

    The original 16 State teams were drawn from Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Iowa, Kansas, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, New Hampshire, Ohio, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, and Utah. New States now being mentored include Illinois, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Vermont, and Wisconsin.

    State teams have implemented pilot programs that focus on a variety of system reform efforts, ranging from sharing data and information to leveraging resources. When gaps in service are identified, teams seek new partners, public or private, to fill the gaps. Youth in foster care should be the big winners of these activities, since the majority of State teams have selected these youth as their target population.

    To provide training and technical assistance to these efforts, the Federal partnership selected the National Child Welfare Resource Center for Youth Development to set up a Solutions Desk portal and serve as a general resource. The Solutions Desk also hosts monthly dialog calls, publishes a monthly e-newsletter, and maintains a listserv. The web portal is now available for all States to share information, find resources and help for their youth collaborations activities, and post policy questions directly to the Federal Partnership. Visit the web portal at
    www.nrcys.ou.edu/yd/solutionsdesk.

    For one example of a State's Shared Youth Vision initiative, visit the Minnesota Shared Youth Vision Activities website:
    www.deed.state.mn.us/youth/SYV/SYV.htm

    To read more about the Shared Youth Vision at the Federal level, visit the website:
    www.doleta.gov/ryf/

    Dorothy Ansell at the National Child Welfare Resource Center for Youth Development contributed to this article.

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News From the Children's Bureau

  • The Source Focuses on Economic Self-Sufficiency

    The Source Focuses on Economic Self-Sufficiency

    The spring 2008 issue of the National Abandoned Infants Assistance (AIA) Resource Center's The Source is a special issue on economic self-sufficiency for families affected by HIV and/or substance abuse. The journal includes articles on integrating vocational services into substance abuse treatment, social ventures involving clients and the service agency, a job readiness program that supports women and families, and workforce reentry and effective employment services for people living with HIV/AIDS.

    http://aia.berkeley.edu/media/pdf/source_vol17_no1.pdf (PDF - 3,538 KB)

     

    Two new factsheets also are available from the AIA Resource Center:

    • Women and Children With HIV/AIDs covers such topics as HIV prevention, testing, and treatment; mother-to-child transmission; psychosocial issues; effects on children; case management; and child care and custody.
      http://aia.berkeley.edu/media/pdf/2009_hiv.pdf (PDF - 199 KB)
    • Prenatal Substance Exposure addresses the incidence of substance use among pregnant women, social and psychological issues, effects on children of specific substances, societal impacts, legislation, and treatment interventions.
      http://aia.berkeley.edu/media/pdf/2008_perinatal_se.pdf (PDF - 1,000 KB)
  • Promising Practices in Diligent Recruitment of Foster and Adoptive Families

    Promising Practices in Diligent Recruitment of Foster and Adoptive Families

    Recruiting foster and adoptive parents who reflect the race and ethnicity of the children in foster care not only helps agencies meet Federal requirements, it also is a hallmark of best practice in child welfare. The Federal Government helps States promote and support diligent recruitment in three main ways:

    • Training and technical assistance (T&TA)
    • Child welfare monitoring
    • Funding opportunities

    As a result of these kinds of efforts by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Children's Bureau, a number of promising practices have emerged in the area of diligent recruitment.

    Training and Technical Assistance

    Among members of the Children's Bureau Training and Technical Assistance (T&TA) Network, the Collaboration to AdoptUsKids provides the bulk of T&TA on diligent recruitment. AdoptUsKids provides onsite T&TA to States, maintains a national online photolisting of children who need families, and offers resource materials for States and agencies on recruitment and retention of foster and adoptive parents. The website also includes Spanish-language information about the adoption process and children in the foster care system, and AdoptUsKids has sponsored public service advertising campaigns to publicize its Spanish-language information and increase awareness about adoption among Latino families.

    In its T&TA capacity, AdoptUsKids focuses on both the macro and micro issues of recruitment, encouraging States to look at their children and youth data, including age, race, ethnicity, locale, and other needs, to determine placement resource gaps. By comparing their child and family data, States can determine which communities and family characteristics need to be targeted to meet their diligent recruitment goals for all children and youth they serve. By going a step further and using marketing techniques to ascertain lifestyle characteristics of targeted families, it is possible to tailor recruitment messages and methods to reach families in the communities where they live, work, and worship. Implementing recruitment in specific zip codes and neighborhoods and developing community, business, and faith-based partnerships may then help States enhance their diligent recruitment outcomes.

    AdoptUsKids also focuses its services on helping States support foster and adoptive families through the process of licensing and/or approving and retaining existing resource families. AdoptUsKids has developed Recruitment Response Teams to assist States in supporting families who call in response to the National Ad Campaign. Through T&TA, AdoptUsKids can help a State and/or Tribe build capacity to recruit, support, and retain specifically targeted populations of families, such as Hispanic, Native American, and/or African-American resource families, and then follow up to help the State maintain and improve its efforts.

    In a complementary effort, the National Child Welfare Resource Center on Adoption provides adoption T&TA to States, focusing on helping agencies provide culturally responsive services. The NRC encourages agencies to use a holistic systems perspective that focuses on all the components of their child welfare system. In providing T&TA, the NRC helps States enhance cultural competence of child welfare professionals and engage communities of color and faith-based groups. The NRC also provides guidance to Children's Bureau grantees implementing adoption demonstration projects and encourages minority leadership through the establishment of the Minority Adoption Leadership Development Institute (MALDI). MALDI participants are drawn from States in which minority children are overrepresented in the child welfare system. The focus of MALDI is to develop leaders who can help their States address the overrepresentation through such initiatives as diligent recruitment.

    (See the related article in this issue, "New Website on Youth Permanency Grantees".)

    Child Welfare Monitoring

    The Children's Bureau conducts the Child and Family Services Reviews (CFSRs) to monitor State compliance with Federal laws regarding child welfare, including desired outcomes for child safety, permanency, and well-being. State child welfare systems are evaluated on 45 items, one of which (item 44) requires States to have a plan for diligent recruitment of adoptive and foster parents. States that are not in compliance develop a Program Improvement Plan to address needed changes to improve outcomes for children and families.

    In the first round of the CFSRs, 18 States, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico received a rating of "Strength" for item 44 and their diligent recruitment process. Their CFSR Final Reports relate a number of strategies used by these jurisdictions to recruit foster and adoptive parents who reflect the ethnicity and race of children in foster care, which include:

    • Targeting recruitment activities to the neighborhoods and communities of families who reflect the diversity of children in foster care
    • The establishment of a diversity council to enhance recruitment in the community
    • Helping minority parents meet foster care licensing requirements through special community initiatives
    • Use of the Annie E. Casey Family-to-Family program to establish out-of-home care that is neighborhood-based
    • Participation in the Casey Family Programs' Breakthrough Series Collaborative on Recruitment
    • Recruitment at ethnic and heritage festivals
    • Publicity in ethnic newspapers and on ethnic radio and television stations
    • The use of minority foster and adoptive parents to recruit and mentor other minority parents
    • Establishment of a Hispanic adoption support network
    • Partnerships with African-American churches

    Funding Opportunities

    States and other jurisdictions, as well as agencies, universities, and other nonprofit groups, have received Children's Bureau Adoption Opportunities (AO) Discretionary Grants to improve adoption outcomes for children in foster care. In a number of cases, these grants have been used to support diligent recruitment efforts. Several examples follow, each one illustrating a creative promising practice:

  • A 2002 AO grant to Loving Homes of Denver, CO, funded the Me and My Shadow Program. This mentoring program focused on recruiting and matching mentors to Hispanic youth awaiting adoption. In a number of cases, the mentoring relationship led to adoption. The recruiting component of the program included publicity efforts at Hispanic churches and community events and in the local media.
  • The DePelchin Children's Center in Houston, TX, received an AO grant in 2002 to fund Creating Adoption Neighborhoods. Using social marketing in predominantly African-American rural neighborhoods, the project began with an outreach campaign designed to send the message that "adoption is the norm." The campaign involved easy access to parent training for interested families and well-publicized information about adoption and supports for families. Early evaluations documented both growing awareness of the value of adoption, as well as increased foster and adoptive placements in targeted neighborhoods.
  • In 2002, Another Choice for Black Children of North Carolina used its funds to start Project MECCA (Men Embracing Children Collectively Through Adoption), which focused on recruiting married and single African-American men to become adoptive parents. During the first year, the project focused on extensive outreach to the community, including sharing information in places like barbershops and churches. Other recruitment efforts included a Black Male Summit, mentoring programs, and community service activities.
  • A 2003 AO grant to the Virginia Department of Social Services involved working with the Virginia One Church One Child Program, partnering with more than 300 churches to find homes for African-American and other children in foster care.
  • Spaulding for Children of Houston, TX, received a 2003 AO grant to oversee the Rural Adoption Partnership to reach out to prospective families in rural areas, especially the majority Hispanic population. Recruitment and support services were designed to be culturally sensitive and available in Spanish. The partnership included involvement with Catholic parishes, missions, and other religious institutions in targeted communities.
  • In 2008, the Children's Bureau announced a new AO grant specifically for diligent recruitment (www.acf.hhs.gov/grants/closed/HHS-2008-ACF-ACYF-CO-0046.html). Grantees will collaborate with AdoptUsKids to develop and incorporate diligent recruitment programs "for a range of resource families for children in foster care, including kinship, foster, concurrent and adoptive families."

  • Collaboration Leads to Culturally Responsive Curriculum

    Collaboration Leads to Culturally Responsive Curriculum

    A unique international collaboration has produced a culturally responsive training curriculum for child welfare professionals working with Latino children and families in Illinois. The Loyola University Chicago School of Social work teamed with the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, the Latino Consortium, and the Consulate General of Mexico in Chicago to implement the project "Culturally Responsive Child Welfare Practice With Latino Children and Families: A Child Welfare Staff Training Model."

    Project staff developed a curriculum that was used to train child welfare professionals in Chicago and then throughout the State, with members of the Latino Consortium serving as trainers. The training focused on strengths-based, culturally competent practice, addressing such issues as:

    • Federal and State mandates affecting child welfare practice with Latino families
    • Relevant Latino cultural factors
    • Risk and protective factors
    • Communication patterns
    • Migratory experiences
    • The various legal status classifications of immigrants
    • Acculturation stress and the assimilation process
    • Traditional help-seeking behaviors

    The curriculum also included a detailed case study for discussion and analysis. All of the materials were designed to help workers focus on family and community strengths within the cultural framework of their client.

    To reach the maximum number of child welfare professionals, several 2-day "train the trainer" sessions were held. By the third year of the project, 766 public and private child welfare staff and court personnel had been trained. Evaluations found that participants showed a significant gain in knowledge about topics covered by the curriculum. When asked about the most useful aspects of the training, participants cited the material on immigration status, legal mandates, cultural differences, linguistic issues, demographics, and family stresses related to migration.

    The project partnership led to a number of other positive developments:

    • Loyola University developed a migration studies specialization within the social work curriculum, and much of the course material was developed as part of the project.
    • In 2007, the project partnered with American Humane to host an international roundtable, "Migration as a Critical Issue for Child Welfare: A Transnational Policy and Research Forum."
    • A special issue of Protecting Children was published, based on the manuscript of the roundtable.
    • The roundtable led to the formation of the Migration and Child Welfare National Network.
    • The project's collaboration with Iberoamericana University in Mexico resulted in student exchange programs between Iberoamericana and Loyola.
    • An educational video was produced in Spanish with the Mexican Consulate General of Chicago to educate recent Mexican immigrants about the child welfare system, their legal rights, and services offered by their consulates.
    • A number of journal articles and conference presentations were developed by project staff.

    Many of these developments will have a long-lasting impact on the training of child welfare professionals in Illinois and, ultimately, on the services that Latino families and children receive.

    For more information, please contact the principal investigator:
    Dr. Maria Vidal de Haymes
    Loyola University School of Social Work
    6525 N. Sheridan Road
    Chicago, IL 60626
    312.915.7020
    mvidal@luc.edu

    Culturally Responsive Child Welfare Practice With Latino Children and Families: A Child Welfare Staff Training Model is funded under the Children's Bureau, Grant 90CT0131, under the Children's Bureau Priority Area: Field Initiated Training Projects for Effective Child Welfare Practice With Hispanic Children and Families. This article is part of a series highlighting successful Children's Bureau grant-funded projects around the country, emerging from Children's Bureau site visits.

  • Final Days to Apply for CB Grants

    Final Days to Apply for CB Grants

    A number of grant opportunities from the Children's Bureau (CB) have July 2008 deadlines. For more information, visit the Open Funding Opportunities webpage on the Administration for Children and Families website:

    www.acf.hhs.gov/grants/open.html

  • New Child Welfare Outcomes Report Released

    New Child Welfare Outcomes Report Released

    The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has released Child Welfare Outcomes 2002-2005: Report to Congress, the seventh in a series of reports designed to inform Congress, the States, and the public about State performance on delivering child welfare services. The Child Welfare Outcomes report provides information about State performance on seven national child welfare outcomes related to the safety, permanency, and well-being of children involved in the child welfare system. The outcomes reflect widely accepted performance objectives for child welfare practice.

    The first six Child Welfare Outcomes reports presented data for each State regarding 12 measures developed by the Department to assess State performance relevant to the seven national child welfare outcomes. The current report includes data on the 12 original outcome measures as well as four composite measures (including 15 individual measures) recently developed for the second round of the Child and Family Services Reviews that began in March 2007.

    Highlights of the recent report include:

    • Of the States submitting data for all 4 years, 64 percent demonstrated an improvement in performance on the measure of maltreatment recurrence.
    • The majority of children in all States who were legally free for adoption at the time of exit from foster care in both 2004 and 2005 were discharged to a permanent home.
    • In 2005, many States that had a relatively high percentage of children reunified in less than 12 months also had a relatively high percentage of children reentering foster care in less than 12 months.
    • In 2005, many States that had a high percentage of reunifications occurring in less than 12 months also had a high percentage of adoptions occurring in less than 24 months.
    • States were generally effective in achieving placement stability for children in foster care for less than 12 months, but placement stability declined dramatically for children in foster care more than 12 months.

    The report can be found on the Children's Bureau website:

    www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb/stats_research/index.htm#cw

  • Strengthening Marriages and Families Affected by Incarceration

    Strengthening Marriages and Families Affected by Incarceration

    Thirteen programs around the country were funded in 2006 under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' (HHS) Responsible Fatherhood, Marriage, and Family Strengthening Grants for Incarcerated and Re-entering Fathers and Their Partners (MFS-IP) grant program. State, local, and Tribal agencies and private community and faith-based organizations are using the funds to develop services that promote healthy relationships for couples with children, where one parent is (or recently was) incarcerated.

    A new report presents the first results of a 7-year evaluation of the MFS-IP grantees that began in October 2006. Focusing on the evaluation design, this study describes all 13 projects along a variety of dimensions and describes the evaluation framework that will be used in upcoming reports. This framework will assess the inputs (e.g., funding, partnerships),"throughputs" (e.g., services), outputs (e.g., systems change), and outcomes (e.g., child well-being, family violence) of the project.

    The brief was prepared by Christine Lindquist and Anupa Bir of RTI International, under contract to the HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE), and is available on the ASPE website:

    http://aspe.hhs.gov/hsp/08/MFS-IP/rb.pdf (339 - KB)

  • Developing Models for Workforce Recruitment and Retention

    Developing Models for Workforce Recruitment and Retention

    The cost of workforce turnover in the child welfare field is twofold: There is the expense of recruiting and training workers—and then doing it all over again when those workers leave after only a short time—which is a financial drain on many child welfare systems. But turnover has an additional cost in terms of the negative impact on children and families, who lose their caseworkers, and on agencies, which may experience decreased morale and increased workloads for the workers who remain.

    To promote new models of workforce development, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Children's Bureau funded projects in 2003 through the "Developing Models of Effective Child Welfare Staff Recruitment and Retention Training" grants. The 5-year grants were awarded to eight projects around the country that proposed to develop, test, revise, implement, evaluate, and disseminate training curricula for recruiting and retaining child welfare workers. All of the projects have the following in common:

    • Reliance on data in their assessments, surveys, and evaluations
    • Strong university-agency partnerships
    • A focus on building organizational capacity

    The eight projects have used a variety of innovative strategies to focus on better recruitment of new workers, improved retention of desirable workers, and more effective training for supervisors in hiring and maintaining personnel. Some examples of their promising practices follow.

    Recruitment strategies have included:

    • An emphasis on realistic job portrayal during interviews and in recruitment materials
    • Use of a video that depicts real job experiences or interviews with clients
    • Availability of a staff member who can be on call for job candidates with questions
    • A marketing approach to recruitment that includes the use of public service announcements, a logo, and a website
    • A competency-based selection process that may include candidates' completion of a realistic caseworker exercise
    • Mutual decision-making in which both the applicant and agency discuss job suitability

    Retention strategies have included:

    • Surveys of worker satisfaction—and follow-up activities
    • Voluntary focus groups
    • Legal training that brings in court officials and attorneys
    • Longitudinal surveys of worker satisfaction, job mastery, and personal values
    • Development of a strategic plan, with a planning team that includes staff at all levels
    • A mentoring program in which a staff member is paired with a supervisor for 1 year
    • Development of a leadership institute

    Specific activities for supervisors have included:

    • Trainings in core supervisory activities, as well as in secondary trauma
    • Training on building a mission-centered agency culture
    • Establishment of a Supervisory Academy that focuses on four levels of professional development
    • Certificate program
    • Graduate-level coursework and credit
    • Coursework on leading positive change

    A number of projects have developed curricula that include workbooks and online trainings. Most of the projects currently have websites that describe their ongoing activities and offer resources. Several projects also developed courses or modules to be included in undergraduate or graduate programs in social work.

    Children's Bureau representatives made site visits to all eight projects in 2006 and 2007, and Children's Bureau Express (CBX) articles about these site visits are available on this website. The following list of the eight grantees includes links to the project website (where available) and citations of the relevant CBX articles:

    • The School of Social Welfare, University at Albany, State University of New York (New York State Social Work Education Consortium)
    • The Jordan Institute for Families, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
      • CBX article—"Worker Recruitment and Retention Project in North Carolina" (September/October 2006)
      • Project website: http://ssw.unc.edu/jif/rr/
    • The Butler Institute for Families, University of Denver
    • Michigan State University
    • The University of Michigan
    • The Maine Child Welfare Training Institute, University of Southern Maine
    • The University of Iowa
    • Children FIRST, Fordham University
      • CBX article—"Building Management Capacity for Workforce Recruitment and Retention" (May 2007)
  • New! On the Children's Bureau Site

    New! On the Children's Bureau Site

    The Children's Bureau website carries information on child welfare programs, funding, monitoring, training and technical assistance, laws, statistics, research, Federal reporting, and much more. The "New on Site" section includes grant announcements, policy announcements, agency information, and recently released publications.

    Recent additions to the site include:

    • CFSP/APSR Toolkit Updates - Includes a match calculator for Tribes to use in determining title IV-B allotment amounts
    • New resources on the National Youth in Transition Database (NYTD)

    Visit the Children's Bureau website often to see what's new!

    www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb/

  • National Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect Call for Abstracts

    National Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect Call for Abstracts

    The 17th National Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Children's Bureau Office on Child Abuse and Neglect (OCAN), will be held March 30 to April 4, 2009, in Atlanta, GA. The theme for the 2009 conference, "Focusing on the Future: Strengthening Families and Communities," emphasizes the need for every child to enjoy a healthy family life in a nurturing community.

    Conference organizers recently released a call for abstracts for proposed presentations. Abstracts should address one of the following learning clusters:

    • Preventing maltreatment
    • Translating science into service
    • Building cooperative teams and multidisciplinary systems
    • Responding to co-occurring disorders
    • Developing the workforce
    • Transforming services and systems

    The deadline for submission is August 15, 2008. Selected presenters will be notified no later than October 31. For complete information and instructions on abstract submission, visit:

    www.pal-tech.com/web/callforpapers/

  • Legislative Background of the Multiethnic Placement Act

    Legislative Background of the Multiethnic Placement Act

    The Multiethnic Placement Act (MEPA) was signed into law on October 20, 1994, in response to concerns that many children, in particular those from minority groups, were spending long periods of time in foster care awaiting placement in adoptive homes. MEPA reflected Congress's judgment that children are harmed when placements are delayed longer than necessary to find qualified families. In particular, it focused on the possibility that the State agency policies that gave preference to placing children with families of the same race, culture, or ethnicity were resulting in delays, or even denials, in the placement of children with qualified families for foster care or adoption. MEPA required States to develop a large and diverse pool of potential foster and adoptive families, so that all children can be quickly placed in homes that meet their needs.

    In short, the primary purposes of MEPA were to decrease the length of time that children wait to be adopted; to prevent discrimination in the placement of children on the basis of race, color, or national origin; and to facilitate the identification and recruitment of foster and adoptive parents who can meet children's needs.

    Specific measures of the law as enacted in 1994 included:

    • State agencies and other entities that receive Federal funding are prohibited from delaying, denying, or otherwise discriminating when making a foster care or adoption placement decision on the basis of the parent or child's race, color, or national origin.
    • State agencies and other entities that receive Federal funds are prohibited from categorically denying any person the opportunity to become a foster or adoptive parent solely on the basis of race, color, or national origin of the parent or the child.
    • States are required to develop plans for the recruitment of foster and adoptive families that reflect the ethnic and racial diversity of children in the State for whom families are needed.
    • An agency or entity is allowed to consider the cultural, ethnic, or racial background of a child and the capacity of an adoptive or foster parent to meet the needs of a child with that background when making a placement.
    • The act has no effect on the provisions of the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978.
    • Failure to comply with MEPA is also made a violation of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VI).

    1996 Amendments to MEPA

    Language in MEPA that permitted an agency to consider "the child's cultural, ethnic, and racial background and the capacity of prospective foster or adoptive parents to meet the needs of a child of this background" was repealed when MEPA was amended in 1996 by title I, subtitle H, section 1808, Interethnic Adoption Provisions (IEAP), of the Small Business Job Protection Act of 1996 (P.L. 104-188) (collectively, "MEPA-IEAP"). It also removed the words "categorically" and "solely" from the provision that prohibited denying individuals the opportunity to foster or adopt. That change reinforced the fact that such denials are prohibited.

    The IEAP amendments provide for all of the following:

    • States may not delay or deny a child's placement into foster care or an adoptive home on the basis of the child or the parent's race, color, or national origin.
    • States may not deny an individual the opportunity to parent a child on the basis of the parent's or the child's race, color, or national origin.
    • States will be assessed a penalty for MEPA-IEAP violations.

    The IEAP made the foregoing provisions to theTitle IV-E State plan requirements. The amendments did not change:

    • The Title IV-B diligent recruitment requirement
    • The provision that MEPA-IEAP does not impact ICWA's placement preferences
    • The provision that a violation of MEPA-IEAP is a civil rights violation of Title VI

    Current Implementation Activities

    Since the enactment of MEPA, the Children's Bureau has been working with States to implement the requirements of law. Efforts have focused on the following elements:

    • Active, diligent, and lawful recruitment of potential foster and adoptive parents of all backgrounds is both a legal requirement and an element of good child welfare practice.
    • The operative standard in foster care or adoptive placements has been and continues to be "the best interests of the child."
    • Delays in placing children who need adoptive or foster homes and denials in placement that are based on any consideration prohibited by law are not permitted.
    • Discrimination, whether directed toward potential foster or adoptive parents or children in need of placement, is not permitted.

    The Children's Bureau and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office for Civil Rights have provided extensive guidance to States on the requirements of MEPA/IEAP in the form of Information Memoranda, Program Instructions, technical assistance, and training. The most current information can be found in the Child Welfare Policy Manual on the Children's Bureau website (www.acf.hhs.gov/j2ee/programs/cb/laws_policies/laws/cwpm/index.jsp).

    The Children's Bureau and the Office for Civil Rights continue to work toegether to implement MEPA through the committed work of the Regional Offices.

  • Resources for Diligent and Targeted Recruitment

    Resources for Diligent and Targeted Recruitment

    The following resources offer ideas, promising practices, and strategies for States and agencies seeking new ways to recruit adoptive and foster parents who reflect the race and ethnicity of children in foster care.

    Federal Resources

    State and County

     

  • National Youth in Transition Database Webinar Materials

    National Youth in Transition Database Webinar Materials

    Materials from the National Youth in Transition Database (NYTD) webinar held by the Children's Bureau on April 10, 2008, are now available from the National Resource Center for Child Welfare Data and Technology. NYTD webinar materials include a Windows Media presentation featuring Gail Collins, Director of the Division of Program Implementation at the Children's Bureau, presentation slides and transcripts, NYTD timelines and population, and a draft of the NYTD glossary.

    www.nrccwdt.org/resources/nytd/nytd.html

  • Innovative Recruitment Strategies: The Latino Family Institute

    Innovative Recruitment Strategies: The Latino Family Institute

    A number of programs have received Adoption Opportunities grants from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Children's Bureau to carry out demonstration projects designed to improve outcomes for children adopted from foster care. One highly successful program highlighted here illustrates how these grants can be used to find permanent families for specific groups of children, in this case—Latino children in Los Angeles.


    In 2000, the Latino Family Institute (LFI) received a 3-year grant from the Children's Bureau to place 40 Latino children with families. By the end of the project period, the results spoke for themselves: 69 Latino children had been placed in adoptive homes, and 198 prospective Latino families had been recruited. In addition, the awareness of the need for adoptive homes had been heightened in the Latino community, and more than 200 child welfare professionals had received training on using culturally responsive approaches to recruitment and placement.

    Some of the strategies used by LFI included:

    • Culturally responsive outreach using print and electronic media
    • Presentations to Latino professional, civic, student, and religious groups
    • Development of a new curriculum for applicants
    • "While you wait" events for waiting families
    • Workshops for child welfare professionals
    • Bilingual and bicultural staff
    • Intensive collaboration with the public adoption agencies that had the legal jurisdiction over the children to be placed

    Since the end of funding, LFI has continued to provide adoption services and was able to expand programs after receiving additional Federal grants. In 2005, LFI opened a new office following the award of the Abandoned Infants Assistance grant targeting families impacted by substance abuse and HIV/AIDS. In 2007, LFI finalized 76 adoptions. Currently, LFI conducts the Infant Adoption Awareness Training Program in California and Puerto Rico.

    According to Maria Quintanilla, executive director of LFI, much of the success of the recruitment program stems from addressing and overcoming barriers that may have precluded Latino families from adopting in the past. By identifying both organizational and cultural barriers, LFI is able to educate and empower these families. In an article on removing these barriers, Ms. Quintanilla offers a number of recommendations to other agencies, including:


    • Reinforce that services are not just for the wealthy.
    • Clarify the agency's relationship with the government.
    • Establish personal relationships between staff and prospective families.
    • Acknowledge stereotypes and help families examine their biases.
    • Address spirituality.
    • Recognize that services need to be culturally translated.
    • Explain who the children are and where they are from.
  • Building on the Strengths of Rural Child Welfare Practice in North Carolina

    Building on the Strengths of Rural Child Welfare Practice in North Carolina

    In order to enhance the effectiveness of rural child welfare workers and supervisors in North Carolina, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has developed the Rural Success Project, a comprehensive intervention focusing on the following components:

    • A multimodule competency-based training course for rural child welfare supervisors and case workers
    • A series of agency and community engagement dialogs
    • A series of summits for rural child welfare professionals

    As a first step, project staff engaged community members to assess strengths and challenges. They conducted focus groups in each of the 14 counties selected for the project and invited individuals and families to share their stories. One of the major themes that emerged was a desire for rural communities to share information about what they are doing well. However, they often were missing the concrete performance information they needed to illustrate their success. As part of its response to this finding, project staff researched and analyzed county-level information, including rural county Child and Family Services Review outcomes. Through this process, they discovered that rural communities perform just as well, if not better, than their urban counterparts on some outcome areas.

    Project staff then developed trainings and electronic learning courses in response to what they learned through the assessment process. One training curriculum, "Working With Outcomes by Building on Partnerships," was designed to assist supervisors in tracking and evaluating outcomes. Surveys administered before and after trainings were used to evaluate changes in knowledge and skills but also to gather additional information on how rural communities could achieve outcomes comparable to metropolitan areas when they have fewer resources available.

    One innovative part of the project's data collection process focused on collecting audio stories and photographs from the 14 counties that depict how rural families perceive their own strengths and challenges. This process introduced project staff to a network of informal systems of care within these communities and helped them to understand how families and communities were succeeding in rural North Carolina. These stories and photographs also were used to develop a powerful video about the challenges and strengths of rural North Carolina families.

    Additional information can be found on the project's website:
    www.ruralsuccess.org

    For more information, contact the project director:
    Christine Howell
    Jordan Institute for Families
    Family and Children's Resource Program
    301 Pittsboro Street, CB #3550
    Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3550
    919.962.6419
    chowell@email.unc.edu

    Rural Success Project is funded by the Children's Bureau, Grant 90CT0108, under the Children's Bureau Priority Area: Training for Effective Child Welfare Practice in Rural Communities. This article is part of a series highlighting successful Children's Bureau grant-funded projects around the country, emerging from Children's Bureau site visits.

  • Child Welfare Research

    • Your Program Can Help Child Welfare Research

      Your Program Can Help Child Welfare Research

      Two national organizations have publicized opportunities for child welfare agencies and programs to participate in or contribute data to national research efforts.

      Apply to Be Part of Casey's Next Breakthrough Series

      The August 1, 2008, deadline is fast approaching for public agencies that would like to be involved with Casey Family Programs' Breakthrough Series Collaborative (BSC) on Timely Permanency Through Reunification. Casey will sponsor 20 teams of public child welfare agencies/Tribal social service agencies along with a court or Tribal court partner. During the 2-year program, teams will identify, develop, and test promising practices in their agencies and courts that may improve timely reunification for children.

      The BSC is an approach used by Casey in previous projects such as improving kinship care and addressing disproportionality in the child welfare system. As part of a BSC, teams test strategies on a small scale at their pilot sites, share results with other teams, and then retest the most promising strategies at multiple sites.

      For more information and the application for the latest BSC, visit the Casey website:

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

      Data Collection on Older Youth

      The National Family Preservation Network (NFPN) is collecting data on older youth involved in the child welfare system to find out more about how these youth can be served. The study will take place in the context of ensuring that older youth have family connections with biological, kinship, guardianship, or adoptive families. If your family preservation or reunification program has data on older youth, please contact the NFPN Executive Director, Priscilla Martens:
      director@nfpn.org

    Strategies and Tools for Practice

    • Strengths-Based Child Welfare Practices

      Strengths-Based Child Welfare Practices

      A new issue brief describes strategies to improve outcomes for children and families by promoting and facilitating an individualized, strengths-based approach to child welfare practices and policies. "An Individualized, Strengths-Based Approach in Public Child Welfare Driven Systems of Care" is the second report in the series A Closer Look, which summarizes findings from the nine grantees participating in the Children's Bureau's Improving Child Welfare Outcomes Through Systems of Care demonstration initiative.

      According to the issue brief, the challenges to implementing an individualized, strengths-based approach include agency culture and characteristics of families involved with child protective services, staff turnover, time constraints, and lack of services and access to services. Learning from the experiences of the grantees, the report concludes that agencies can address these challenges by:

      • Offering consistent and ongoing staff training
      • Providing strengths-based supervision to caseworkers
      • Revising assessment tools to focus on child and family strengths
      • Improving interagency collaboration in order to increase availability and awareness of informal and community supports

      The series is produced by the National Technical Assistance and Evaluation Center for Systems of Care, which will release several more A Closer Look reports in the coming months. Visit the Child Welfare Information Gateway website for more information:

      www.childwelfare.gov/management/reform/soc/communicate/initiative/closerlook

    • Guide for Advocates on the Co-Occurrence of Domestic Violence and Child Maltreatment

      Guide for Advocates on the Co-Occurrence of Domestic Violence and Child Maltreatment

      Domestic violence and child maltreatment are often linked in ways that have serious consequences for the safety of the children and victimized parent. A new guidebook for advocates helping domestic violence victims focuses on the co-occurrence of domestic violence and child maltreatment, describing supportive interventions and advocacy, as well as addressing such topics as implications for confidentiality, information sharing, and mandatory reporting.

      Helping Battered Women and Their Children: A Guide for Domestic Violence Advocates on the Co-Occurrence of Domestic Violence and Child Maltreatment was prepared for the St. Louis County Greenbook Initiative and funded by the U.S. Departments of Justice and Health and Human Services. This initiative strives to improve outcomes in households where there is co-occurrence of domestic violence and child maltreatment. The guidebook is designed to help domestic violence agencies, courts, and others:

      • Enhance advocates' knowledge about co-occurrence
      • Ensure advocates have the resources they need to respond to child maltreatment
      • Foster cross-system collaboration to provide safety for the victims and ensure that the batterer is held responsible
      • Offer guidelines to advocates on how to respond when either the batterer or the victimized parent is maltreating the children
      • Find supportive ways to assist battered mothers who maltreat their children

      A section on cultural competence provides guidelines to help advocates recognize and respect cultural and ethnic differences.

      The guidebook was written by Nicole Baran and Lauren J. Litton and is available on the Greenbook Initiative website:

      www.thegreenbook.info/documents/STL_helping.pdf

    Resources

    • IASWR Listserv for Social Workers

      IASWR Listserv for Social Workers

      The Institute for the Advancement of Social Work Research (IASWR) recently revamped its listserv format to give the weekly emails a fresh and user-friendly look. The listserv messages provide timely updates on conferences, calls for papers, funding, training, research, resources, and more for social workers and related professionals. To sign up for a free subscription, visit the website and select "Listserv" in the left navigation bar:

      www.iaswresearch.org/

    • Forum for Youth Launches New Website

      Forum for Youth Launches New Website

      A new website has been launched by the Forum for Youth Investment in support of its initiative, the "Ready by 21TM Challenge." The Ready by 21 big picture approach encourages leaders - from young people to parents, program directors to policymakers - to work collaboratively to ensure that all young people are ready by age 21 for the challenges of college, work, and life. The approach encourages leaders to view youth and their families as agents of change rather than clients and to invest early and often in programs that support youth and build on their strengths.

      The Forum for Youth Investment is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that provides information, connections, and tools to the policymakers, advocates, researchers, program professionals, and youth and adult leaders who work in youth programs. Resources on the website include a listing of publications and subscriptions to free electronic newsletters.

      www.forumforyouthinvestment.org/

    • DVD on Family Violence

      DVD on Family Violence

      "Something My Father Would Do: Overcoming Legacies of Family Violence" is a 15-minute documentary of three men who grew up with abusive fathers and then struggled with their own choices about domestic and child abuse. The DVD was produced by the Family Violence Prevention Fund (FVPF) and may serve as an educational tool for general audiences, child welfare groups, or men who batter. Questions that trained facilitators may want to use also are included. For more information, visit the FVPF website:

      http://fvpfstore.stores.yahoo.net/something-my-father-would-do--overcoming-legacies-of-family-violence.html

      In addition, the FVPF offers a free manual, Fathering After Violence: Working With Abusive Fathers in Supervised Visitation that provides guidance to child welfare professionals supervising abusive fathers' visits at safe haven centers:

      www.endabuse.org/programs/children/files/FAV-final.pdf (PDF - 890 KB)

    • Promoting Adoption of Children From Foster Care

      Promoting Adoption of Children From Foster Care

      The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption promotes adoption from foster care through its Wendy's Wonderful Kids program. The foundation awards grants to local adoption organizations to hire recruiters to execute aggressive, child-focused recruitment programs targeted exclusively on placing children in foster care with adoptive families. The Foundation also supports a limited number of other adoption efforts by invitation only. Organizations may share information about themselves by submitting a letter.

      The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption is a nonprofit public charity dedicated exclusively to increasing the number of adoptions of children waiting in the foster care system. Created by Wendy's founder, Dave Thomas, who was adopted as a child, the Foundation leads signature national service programs and works to streamline the adoption process and make adoption more affordable for families. More information and links to resources can be found on the Foundation website:

      www.davethomasfoundation.org/How-We-Can-Help-You/Grants

    • Professional Development Series for Youth Workers

      Professional Development Series for Youth Workers

      The National Youth Development Information Center now offers an online information series to help organizations attract, develop, and retain youth development workers. Each 4-page publication is a snapshot of a particular topic in youth development work. Series topics include:

      • Exploring Common Ground in Youth Development
      • Preparing Staff to Work with Immigrant Youth
      • Professional Development Standards
      • Recognitions and Rewards
      • Recruitment
      • Youth Development Worker Retention
      • Professional Associations
      • Certificates, Credentials, Degrees
      • Mentoring Youth Workers
      • Blended Learning (E-learning and Classroom Learning)
      • Recruitment and Selection
      • Competencies for Youth Development Workers

      To read more about the National Youth Development Information Center or the professional development series visit:

      www.nydic.org/nydic/staffing/profdevelopment.htm

    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.

    • Conferences

      Conferences

      Upcoming national conferences on adoption and child welfare through October 2008 include:

      August

      • 31st National Juvenile and Family Law Conference
        National Association of Counsel for Children
        August 3–6, Savannah, GA
        http://www.naccchildlaw.org/events/event_details.asp?id=22928
      • Scaling the Summit Institute
        Western Regional Recruitment and Retention Project of the Butler Institute for Families at the Graduate School of Social Work, University of Denver, and the Children's Bureau
        August 5–6, Denver, CO

      September

      • The 21st Annual National Independent Living Conference
        Growing Pains 2008

        Daniel Memorial
        September 3–6, Orlando, FL
      • Crossing Borders, Connecting Families: International Social Work in the 21st Century
        International Social Service, United States of America Branch, Inc.
        September 18–20, Baltimore, MD
      • 2008 Annual ATTACh Conference
        Attachment: Developing Connections, Saving Lives

        Association for Treatment and Training in the Attachment of Children
        September 24–27, Charlotte, NC
        http://www.attach.org/2008confinfo.pdf

      October

      • Seventh North American Conference on Shaken Baby Syndrome
        National Center on Shaken Baby Syndrome
        October 5–7, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
      • 2008 Alliance National Conference
        The Power of Purpose/The Purpose of Our Power

        Alliance of Children and Families
        October 28–30, Baltimore, MD

      Further details about national and regional adoption and child welfare conferences can be found through the Conference Calendar Search feature on Child Welfare Information Gateway:

      http://www.childwelfare.gov/calendar/index.cfm

    • Adolescent Permanency Training for Supervisors

      Adolescent Permanency Training for Supervisors

      Research shows that the support and direction supervisors provide to their staff play a key role in fostering positive youth development and adolescent permanency practice. To improve supervisors' ability to work with their staff and the youth and families they serve, the Massachusetts Department of Social Services and its partner, the Center for Adoption Research at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, developed a series of modules to train supervisors on specific strategies to engage and support social workers as they promote permanency and prepare adolescents for adulthood. The modules address the following key issues for youth in care:

      • Positive youth development
      • Community ties and lifelong connections
      • Education and workforce
      • Physical and mental health needs
      • Public safety and juvenile justice

      Find the Supervisory Training to Enhance Permanency Solutions (STEPS) series on the University of Massachusetts Medical School website:

      www.steps-umms.org/

    • Enhancing Leadership in Child Maltreatment

      Enhancing Leadership in Child Maltreatment

      The PREVENT Institute is currently accepting applications from teams wishing to participate in their intensive 6-month Enhancing Leadership in Child Maltreatment training. The three-pronged training will include:

      • An initial 3 days of onsite coursework and team-based activities (November 16-19, 2008)
      • A 6-month project back home with an experienced coach
      • A final 3 days of onsite courses and team presentations
      Participants will leave the program with such tangibles as:
      • A detailed, team-based 6-month action plan
      • A logic model for transitioning the 6-month plan into a primary prevention program over 5 years
      • A framework for program evaluation
      • Communication strategies for media and legislative advocacy
      • Approaches for program sustainability

      Applications are due August 1. To learn more, visit the PREVENT Institute website:

      www.prevent.unc.edu/education/institute.htm