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June 2013Vol. 14, No. 5Spotlight on Child Welfare and Immigration

This month, CBX looks at the intersection between child welfare and immigration. We highlight the Migration and Child Welfare National Network and its resources for child welfare and related professionals, the Bridging Refugee Youth and Children's Services technical assistance center, research on the effect of immigration enforcement on children and families, and more.

Issue Spotlight

  • The Effect of Deportation on Mexican Families

    The Effect of Deportation on Mexican Families

    Of the record number of foreign-born persons who have been deported from the United States in recent years, it is estimated that more than 100,000 of them are the parents of U.S.-born children. A high percentage of the persons who are detained and deported are from Mexico, making the impact on this population especially burdensome. 

    In a recent article published in the Journal of Marriage and Family, author Joanna Dreby, a researcher at the University at Albany, State University of New York, discusses the impact that immigration enforcement policies have had on Mexican families and, in particular, the effect on the children in those families. Using examples from interviews conducted with 91 parents and 110 children in 80 households in Ohio and New Jersey, the author proposes a deportation pyramid as a framework for understanding the burden of deportation on children.

    At the top of the pyramid are instances in which a deportation leaves the child without a resident parent, and the child enters the U.S. foster care system with no hope of reunification. At the next level, the deportation of one parent leaves the child either temporarily or permanently in a single-parent household and struggling to maintain financial stability. The author also discusses in detail the large number of children at the bottom of the pyramid, those who may never have been directly affected by immigration enforcement, but face insecurity about their legal status and the social stigma of being an immigrant.

    "The Burden of Deportation on Children in Mexican Immigrant Families," by Joanna Dreby, Journal of Marriage and Family, 74(4), 2012, is available for purchase:

  • Immigration Enforcement and Children in Care

    Immigration Enforcement and Children in Care

    A 2011 study conducted by the Applied Research Center found that in jurisdictions where local authorities aggressively enforce immigration laws, children in foster care are 29 percent more likely to have a parent detained or deported than children in care in other jurisdictions. A recent research brief by the American Immigration Council and First Focus maintains that U.S. immigration policies often overlook the needs of the children and families whom they directly impact. The brief summarizes the myriad challenges that State and Federal immigration enforcement pose to the family unit and child well-being and concludes with possible solutions and policy recommendations.

    The exact number of children and families separated because of immigration enforcement is unknown. According to Department of Homeland Security estimates, nearly 205,000 unauthorized immigrant parents of U.S.-citizen children were deported from the United States between July 1, 2010, and September 31, 2012. Many more children, approximately 5.5 million according to the Pew Hispanic Center, live in mixed-status families with at least one parent who is an unauthorized immigrant and at risk for detention or removal. Subsequently, these children, most of whom are U.S. citizens, also face the increased risk of entering foster care.

    The research brief presents information in a question-and-answer format, with many child welfare-specific questions, including the following:

    • What are the short- and long-term risks for children who have been impacted by State and Federal immigration enforcement policies?
    • How many children are in the child welfare system due to a parent's detention or deportation?
    • How do children enter the child welfare system?
    • What are the challenges for family reunification when a parent is in immigration detention or removed or facing removal from the United States?
    • What are possible solutions to minimize family separation due to immigration enforcement?

    The brief links to a number of studies, statistics, reports, and case studies.

    Falling Through the Cracks: The Impact of Immigration Enforcement on Children Caught Up in the Child Welfare System, by the Immigration Policy Center within the American Immigration Council and First Focus, is available in English and Spanish on the Policy Center's website: (130 KB)

    Spanish version: (225 KB)

  • Working With Undocumented, Mixed-Status Children

    Working With Undocumented, Mixed-Status Children

    According to the Urban Institute, almost one-fourth of all children in the United States are immigrants or U.S.-born children of immigrants. These immigrant households represent a large and growing section of the domestic population and are often composed of mixed-status families where one or both parents are undocumented immigrants and one or more children are legal U.S. citizens. As this segment of the populace increases, so do the implications for child welfare. A recent practice bulletin examines the difficulties immigrant children and families face when they come to the attention of the child welfare system, the unique challenges child welfare professionals must consider in service delivery, and the best practices for serving the immigrant population.

    A study from the National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being revealed that nearly 9 percent of all children served by the child welfare system have immigrant parents, and of these children, most are U.S.-born citizens. The majority of the bulletin is dedicated to defining what best practice should be and provides recommendations, including, but not limited to:

    • Make sure that child welfare staff receive cultural sensitivity training and are educated about the various immigration relief programs and other immigration issues that may arise in a case
    • Provide culturally and linguistically appropriate services to immigrant children and families, have interpreters readily available, and never use children as interpreters for their parents
    • Know the services and rights afforded to immigrant children and families

    In addition, the bulletin outlines what professionals and advocates need to know when working with these families, and it defines the roles and responsibilities of each participant involved in the child welfare case, from the child/youth and his or her parent(s) or foster parent(s) to the caseworker, attorney, and judge. The bulletin is one part of a series of publications intended to promote the safety, permanency, and well-being of children in the State's care in New Mexico.

    Working With Undocumented and Mixed Status Immigrant Children and Families, collaboratively published by the Corinne Wolfe Children's Law Center at the University of New Mexico School of Law, CYFD, the New Mexico Children's Court Improvement Commission, the New Mexico Citizens Review Board, the New Mexico CASA Network, and Advocacy Inc., is available on the Corinne Wolfe Children's Law Center website: (274 KB)

    Additional Child Protection Best Practices Bulletins are available here:

  • Bridging Refugee Youth and Children's Services

    Bridging Refugee Youth and Children's Services

    The Office of Refugee Resettlement within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services provides resources to assist new populations integrating into American society. One such resource is the Bridging Refugee Youth and Children's Services (BRYCS) technical assistance center for refugee child welfare. True to its name, BRYCS is a bridge between service providers working with the refugee and immigrant communities and public child welfare professionals. The technical assistance center maintains a Clearinghouse with more than 4,000 resources, while also assisting social service agencies and workers who serve refugee and immigrant children and families by providing trainings, conference presentations, and publications.

    BRYCS' training and technical assistance is focused on child welfare, strengthening families, youth development, and schools. Since 2003, the organization has gathered promising practices from across the nation, building a comprehensive database of materials that span a wide range of topics, refugee groups, and practice approaches. Among BRYCS' many toolkits, training materials, and publications are:

    For these resources and much more, visit the BRYCS website:

  • Welcome Initiative for LGBT Refugees

    Welcome Initiative for LGBT Refugees

    While all refugees resettling in the United States face unique challenges, vulnerabilities faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT) refugees are particularly poignant. The Heartland Alliance—a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping those who are homeless, living in poverty, or seeking safety—established the Rainbow Welcome Initiative to help the LGBTQ refugee community. The Rainbow Welcome Initiative provides resettlement agencies with the tools, resources, and technical assistance necessary to provide culturally competent services to this population. One such tool is the new field manual Rainbow Response: A Practical Guide to Resettling LGBT Refugees and Asylees.

    The guide is intended to help service providers tailor and strengthen service delivery to the LGBT refugee and asylee population. It outlines terminology pertaining to sexual orientation and gender identity, dispels myths and provides facts about being transgender, and includes case studies, quizzes, and best practices. Refugees, asylees, and resettlement caseworkers across the country provided feedback during several of the initiative's training workshops, and that feedback was incorporated into the field manual.

    The Initiative website hosts a number of resources for service providers, including Rainbow Welcome Initiative: An Assessment and Recommendations Report on LGBT Refugee Resettlement in the United States, as well as resources for refugees and asylees, such as Know Your Rights: Information on Seeking Asylum (for LGBT or HIV positive).

    The Rainbow Welcome Initiative is funded through a grant from the Office of Refugee Resettlement, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Visit the Rainbow Response Initiative website at

    Rainbow Response: A Practical Guide to Resettling LGBT Refugees and Asylees is available here: (6 MB)

  • The Migration and Child Welfare National Network

    The Migration and Child Welfare National Network

    By Alan Dettlaff, Ph.D., M.S.W., University of Illinois at Chicago, Jane Addams College of Social Work

    When children in immigrant families become involved in the child welfare system, they often face unique and complex challenges that need to be addressed by child welfare agencies to facilitate positive outcomes. Yet, child welfare professionals may lack the information or resources necessary to address the challenges that arise when immigration issues become barriers to achieving positive outcomes.

    The Migration and Child Welfare National Network (MCWNN) is a coalition of individuals and organizations focused on the intersection of immigration and child welfare. The Network serves as a resource for child welfare and legal professionals providing services to immigrant children and families. MCWNN conducts and disseminates research, develops policy and practice recommendations, develops and disseminates resources for child welfare and legal professionals, and works with Federal, State, and local child welfare agencies to facilitate policy and practice improvements. MCWNN also provides a unique model of peer-to-peer consultation in which members learn from the experience and expertise of others, share knowledge and strategies, and participate in collaborative efforts to improve services for immigrant children and families.

    MCWNN members receive bimonthly electronic newsletters containing resources and information from member agencies and have access to a wealth of local, State, and Federal expertise. Current resources available at the MCWNN website include:

    1. Practice Toolkits: These toolkits provide resources and information for child welfare and legal professionals working with immigrant children and families in the child welfare system. Toolkits are available that provide a summary of immigration status and relief options that may be available for immigrant children in foster care, a child welfare flowchart that explores the immigration issues that may arise at each stage of a child welfare case, and guidelines for integrating trauma-informed practices into child welfare services with immigrant children and families.
    2. Legal and Policy Briefs: This series of briefs examines the challenges that arise when the immigration and child welfare systems intersect, and provides policy recommendations on how the two systems can work together to better protect the interests of children and families. The most recent brief in this series reviews State appellate court decisions that have involved immigration issues in child welfare cases. For each case, a summary of the appellate court opinion is presented, along with implications for child welfare and legal systems.
    3. Research Briefs: These briefs report findings from the National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-being (NSCAW) on the characteristics, risk factors, and types of maltreatment in cases involving children of immigrants in the child welfare system. These briefs represent the first national data available on the presence of children of immigrants in this system. Additional research briefs focusing on the unique needs of this vulnerable population will be released in the coming months. 
    4. State Policies and Examples: This extensive collection of example policies and procedures from State and county child welfare agencies across the country is one of the most widely accessed resources of the MCWNN. Resources include Memoranda of Understanding with foreign consulates, policies on placement of children with undocumented relatives, procedural guides on accessing forms of immigration relief, and policies and procedures on placement of children outside the United States. These examples are provided as resources to other States to assist in developing or improving their services to this population.

    In addition to these resources, the MCWNN website collects training materials and conference presentations conducted by MCWNN members, as well as an archive of the Network's electronic newsletter.

    The MCWNN is housed at the Jane Addams College of Social Work, University of Illinois at Chicago. Membership in the MCWNN is free and all MCWNN resources are available to the public via the MCWNN website. Additional information and all of the resources described here are available at

  • Social Worker Attitudes Toward Immigrants

    Social Worker Attitudes Toward Immigrants

    As the immigrant population in the United States has consistently increased over the past decade, so has the likelihood that social work practitioners will provide services to immigrant children and families. Practitioners' attitudes toward immigrants and basic knowledge of immigration may shape the quality of services provided. Additionally, a practitioners' poor knowledge and attitude toward immigrants can leave children, parents, and families feeling powerless and vulnerable when seeking services. A study in Social Work Education: The International Journal examined the relationship between practitioners' social work education and their attitudes toward immigrants and general knowledge of immigration.

    The authors targeted the top 10 States with the largest overall increases in the foreign-born population and surveyed 1,032 social workers who had completed a B.S.W. and/or a M.S.W. Eight multiple-choice questions tested participants' general knowledge of immigration, including the number of legal and undocumented immigrants in the nation, immigrant population characteristics, and immigrants' eligibility to access public benefits. Open-ended questions asked workers about their personal and professional interactions with immigrants. Questions about workers' education centered on whether their training or coursework addressed the following:

    • Practice with immigrant children and families
    • Immigrants' eligibility for public welfare benefits
    • Immigration policies

    The study indicated that although most practitioners had some coursework on working with immigrants, it had no impact on their attitudes toward immigrants or basic knowledge of immigration. However, findings showed that coursework on immigration policy had an impact on practitioners' positive attitudes toward immigrants. The authors also conducted an extensive literature review and noted that a practitioner's level of knowledge about a vulnerable population predicted his or her attitude toward that same population. The study's results indicate a need for schools of social work to expand course focus beyond immigration practice to include immigration policy.

    "Linking Practitioners' Attitudes Towards and Basic Knowledge of Immigrants With Their Social Work Education," by Rupaleem Bhuyan, Yoosun Park, and Andrew Rundle, Social Work Education: The International Journal, 31(8), 2012, is available for purchase:

    Recent Issues

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News From the Children's Bureau

A new Funding Opportunity Announcement has been made available by the Administration on Children, Youth and Families, and we also highlight the final report from NSCAW II Wave 2.

  • Quality Implementation of Child-Serving Programs

    Quality Implementation of Child-Serving Programs

    A recent issue brief from the Administration for Children and Families' Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE) explores the importance of quality implementation for programs serving children and youth. The author, Joseph Durlak, notes that when evidence-based programs for this population are poorly implemented, the potential for achieving positive outcomes is reduced and already-limited public resources are wasted. The issue brief defines quality implementation, explains its importance, and presents 23 factors that can improve implementation and program effectiveness.

    Implementation, according to the brief, requires a collaborative effort and is the mutual responsibility of all stakeholder groups. The 23 factors that affect implementation are grouped into five categories: (1) communitywide or societal factors, (2) practitioner characteristics, (3) characteristics of the program, (4) factors related to the organization hosting the program, and (5) factors specific to the implementation process. While rarely perfect, the brief notes that quality implementation is achieved in three phases that consist of 14 steps.

    A list of lessons learned concludes the report, and the Appendix presents resources that provide assistance on selecting and implementing programs.

    The Importance of Quality Implementation for Research, Practice, and Policy, by Joseph Durlak, Ph.D., Loyola University, is available on the ASPE website:  (300 KB)

  • Funding Opportunity Announcement on Training

    Funding Opportunity Announcement on Training

    The Administration on Children, Youth and Families announced a new funding opportunity announcement (FOA) for fiscal year (FY) 2013.

    Information about planned FY 2013 FOAs is available on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Grants Forecast website:

    To find the Children's Bureau's FOA forecasts, go to the forecast website and enter the title or Funding Opportunity Number (FON) in the search box. Please check the forecast site regularly, as forecasts are subject to change.

  • New! From CB

    New! From CB

    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:

    For news from the Administration for Children and Families, read the latest entries in its blog, The Family Room:

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

  • Final Report on NSCAW II Wave 2

    Final Report on NSCAW II Wave 2

    The Administration for Children and Families' Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation released the final report on Wave 2 of the second National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being (NSCAW II). NSCAW II is a longitudinal study that examines the functioning, service needs, and service use of children who come in contact with the child welfare system.

    Researchers for NSCAW II collected data between March 2008 and September 2009 on a sample of 5,873 children ranging in age from birth to 17.5 years. Interviews were conducted with children, caregivers, and child protective services investigators. Wave 2 is a follow-up with these children and families after 18 months when the cohort ranged in age from 16 months to 19 years old. Wave 2 data were collected between October 2009 and January 2011. While Wave 1 included interviews with investigative workers for each child in the sample, Wave 2 included interviews with service workers.

    OPRE's final report details experiences of a subset of children and families who came into contact with child welfare between the baseline and Wave 2 interviews. Caseworkers reported on the service needs, referrals, and receipt of services for the child and for the child's in-home caregiver or reunification caregiver. Some of the report's findings include the following:

    • More than 80 percent of children were reported as having at least one service need, the most frequent of which were health exams and immunizations.
    • Three-quarters of caregivers were reported as having at least one service need.
    • More than half of all caregivers were in need of mental health services.
    • Compared to current reunification or reunification-effort caregivers, in-home caregivers were less likely to need of or referred for mental health services, substance use services, housing assistance, or legal aid.
    • In-home caregivers and current reunification caregivers were more likely to receive domestic violence services.

    NSCAW II Wave 2 Report: Children and Families Receiving Child Welfare Services Post-Baseline is available on the Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation website: (595 KB)

Training and Technical Assistance Update

Learn about the new issue of The Roundtable—which is focused on postadoption support and preservation services—new tools available through the In-Depth Technical Assistance Program, in-home services for families affected by substance abuse, and other updates from the T&TA Network.

Child Welfare Research

CBX points to a series of white papers on States' implementation of the Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act, an evaluation of a new birth assessment initiative providing individualized services to teen parents in foster care, and new research on sexual abuse of children with disabilities.

  • Issues Final Report Issues Final Report

    The project was launched in June 2009 to provide guidance and technical assistance to States as they worked to implement the requirements of the Federal Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008. The project, supported by private foundation grants as a time-limited initiative, concluded at the end of 2012.

    A new publication provides a final overview of the issues addressed by the act, the progress States have made in implementing the provisions of the act, and recommendations for future policy and practice improvements. The report includes six individual sections, written by subject-area experts, which summarize the advances States are making in working with children in foster care in each of the following areas:

    • Adoption
    • Education
    • Health services
    • Kinship care and guardianship
    • Supports for older youth
    • Direct access to Federal resources for Indian Tribes

    The report also lists collaborating organizations that will continue to offer ongoing information and support on the implementation of the Fostering Connections Act.

    Although the website has closed down, the electronic version of Perspectives on Foster Care: A Series of White Papers on the Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008 is available online:  (1 MB)

  • Emergency Response Coaching

    Emergency Response Coaching

    Casey Family Programs recently released an evaluation of the Los Angeles Department of Children and Family Services' (DCFS') Emergency Response Coaching Program. The program is designed to develop in-house coaches who will transfer skills to Emergency Response (ER) colleagues. The evaluation aimed to answer the question: how does the coaching program influence staff and supervisors' job satisfaction, attitudes, and behaviors? The evaluation does not measure the program's impact on child and family outcomes.

    The ER Coaching Program consists of three levels of training:

    • A 3-day training, "Skills for Leaders and Supervisors," through the Academy for Coaching Excellence
    • A 3-day training, "Coaching ER Supervising Children's Social Workers toward Excellent Practice," through the California State University at Long Beach Child Welfare Training Center
    • Monthly supervision training for 6 months

    The program's pilot was introduced between 2010 and 2011. The Casey Family Programs evaluation presents findings from a web-based survey of 756 DCFS staff and supervisors—including those who participated in the program and those who did not—administered in June 2012. Evaluation data were mixed. Data do suggest, however, that the program positively affects worker attitudes about some areas of their job satisfaction, including:

    • The general office environment
    • The perceived level of importance of their work
    • The extent to which they feel valued and recognized
    • The quality of office communication

    An Evaluation of the Emergency Response Coaching Program Using Worker Surveys is available on the Casey Family Programs website: (967 KB)

  • Sexual Abuse of Children With Disabilities

    Sexual Abuse of Children With Disabilities

    According to the 2010 Administration on Children Youth and Families (ACYF) report, more than 3 million reports of child maltreatment were made in 2009. Of those cases, 10 percent involved sexual abuse, and 11 percent of sexual abuse victims reported having a disability. The Vera Institute of Justice's Center on Victimization and Safety recently partnered with the Ms. Foundation for Women to research factors contributing to the sexual abuse of children with disabilities and determine possible action steps for prevention.

    The project released a research brief that begins by reviewing existing literature, which showed that children with disabilities are at a higher risk for experiencing sexual abuse than children without disabilities. To generate discussion on this issue, the researchers convened a roundtable of 25 subject-matter experts tasked with describing what is currently known about the topic.

    The roundtable discussion identified the following factors that contribute to relatively high rates of sexual abuse of children with disabilities:

    • Aspects of children's disabilities and their receipt of disability-specific services heighten risk of sexual abuse.
    • There is a lack of primary prevention tactics aimed at impeding the sexual abuse of children with disabilities.
    • Children with disabilities who have been sexually abused are less likely to receive support services for healing and seeking justice.
    • There are low levels of public awareness with regard to the sexual abuse of children with disabilities.

    The authors note that the complexities associated with the problem require a unified and cohesive strategy. Because no such national strategy exists, the authors suggest creating and implementing one based on the factors outlined in the brief. They propose that a strategy can be accomplished by rallying key stakeholders at the local, State, and national levels to join in a unified and concerted effort for large-scale progress.

    Sexual Abuse of Children With Disabilities: A National Snapshot, by Nancy Smith and Sandra Harrell, is available on the Vera Institute of Justice website: (385 KB)

  • Evaluating Illinois DCFS' Birth Assessment

    Evaluating Illinois DCFS' Birth Assessment

    The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) recently partnered with Chapin Hall to facilitate an evaluation of the agency's new birth assessment policy. The new birth assessment is an initiative by DCFS to provide appropriate and individualized services to teen parents who are in foster care when their children are born. Chapin Hall published a report conveying the findings of the evaluation and potential implications for practice and research.

    New birth assessments require specialty service providers to conduct one or more home visits with the new parents within 60 days of the birth of the child. During the home visits, the workers observe parent-child interactions, provide parenting education, assess unmet family needs, record safety concerns and risk factors, and provide information on community resources. During the visits, workers administer two standardized assessments to the families. Results of these assessments are used to inform case plans.

    In their evaluation of the policy, researchers interviewed subsets of specialty service providers, worker supervisors, and youth receiving services. They also analyzed administrative data from agency records. The interviews from all three groups generally revealed positive attitudes toward the program. Workers indicated that the assessments can reveal a great deal about parenting abilities. They also expressed satisfaction with the ability to personalize parenting education. Workers did express concern that the 60-day timeframe may not be a long enough to complete all of the steps required for an adequate assessment. The evaluators suggest a randomized control trial as a next step in testing the effectiveness of the program.

    An Evaluation of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services New Birth Assessment, by Amy Dworsky and Melissa Wojnaroski, is available on the Chapin Hall website:

Strategies and Tools for Practice

  • Managing Sensitive Information

    Managing Sensitive Information

    When working with children and youth who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT), there exists a fine line between the need for asking children and youth to disclose this personal information in order to be adequately served, and the need to protect their privacy. The Center for the Study of Social Policy (CSSP) developed a set of standards for managing information related to the sexual orientation and gender identity of children in child welfare.
    The guide includes an introduction and three sections, the latter including five subsections:

    • Guiding Principles
    • Laying the Groundwork for Implementation
    • Information Guidelines
      • Collecting Information for Individual Case Planning
      • Collecting Information for Agency Assessment and Planning
      • Recording Information
      • Disclosing Information
      • Institutionalizing Practice

    The guidelines were developed by CSSP in partnership with the Putting Pride into Practice Project (P4). P4 is a 3-year effort by Family Builders by Adoption, in partnership with the California Department of Social Services, to implement Child Welfare League of America's Best Practice Guidelines for Serving LGBT Youth in Out of Home Care. CSSP released the guidelines in January 2013 and is in the process of securing funds to lead field testing with up to three child welfare jurisdictions.

    Guidelines for Managing Information Related to the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity and Expression of Children in Child Welfare Systems is available on the CSSP website: (417 KB)


  • Trauma-Informed Practice Toolkits

    Trauma-Informed Practice Toolkits

    Produced by the Chadwick Trauma-Informed System Project (CTISP), the Trauma-Informed Child Welfare Practice Toolkit provides an array of resources to support the development of a trauma-informed child welfare system. The following four documents are included:

    • Creating Trauma-Informed Child Welfare Systems: A Guide for Administrators: This publication explains the essential elements of trauma and includes a chapter on the use of psychotropic medications.
    • Desk Guide on Trauma-Informed Mental Health for Child Welfare: This publication assists child welfare workers in understanding mental health services available for children and families in the child welfare system.
    • Desk Guide on Trauma-Informed Child Welfare for Child Mental Health Practitioners: This publication assists mental health professionals in understanding the child welfare system.
    • Guidelines for Applying a Trauma Lens to a Child Welfare Practice Model: This publication provides strategies for child welfare agencies to develop more trauma-informed practices.

    The CTISP is a project of the Chadwick Center for Children and Families in partnership with the National Child Traumatic Stress Network. This toolkit is available for free from CTISP; however, registration is required:

    A toolkit to help children's attorneys, guardians ad litem, judges, and CASAs develop a more trauma-informed justice system is available from the Safe Start Center. The resources provide guidance for promoting trauma-informed advocacy in the courts, including the following:

    • Checklist and Resource Guide on Identifying Polyvictimization and Trauma Among Court-Involved Children and Youth
    • Tips for Staff and Advocates Working With Children Polyvictimization
    • Victimization and Trauma Experienced by Children and Youth: Implications for Legal Advocates
    • Tips for Staff and Advocates Working With Children
    • Tips for Child Welfare Staff

    The toolkit was developed in partnership with the American Bar Association (ABA) Center on Children and the Law, Child and Family Policy Associates, and the Chadwick Center for Children and Families, and is available from the Safe Start Center website:

  • Working With Military Families

    Working With Military Families

    The National Healthy Marriage Resource Center (NHMRC) developed an online toolkit for practitioners working with military couples and families. The National Guard Family Strengthening Toolkit provides activities to support issues or obstacles that couples and families in the military face, such as deployment, readjusting to life after deployment, and staying connected to their partners while away. Worksheets and other information for facilitators are also included in the toolkit, along with other online resources.

    Access the entire toolkit through NHMRC's website:


  • Child Welfare Discussions on YouTube

    Child Welfare Discussions on YouTube

    The Attachment and Bonding Center of Ohio provides specialized treatment to children and youth who have experienced trauma. One of its many resources is a collection of YouTube videos, each focusing on a child welfare-related topic. The videos feature conversations between Gregory C. Keck, Ph.D., founder and director of the Attachment and Bonding Center of Ohio, and Arleta James, P.C.C., an adoption professional for over 15 years. Topics discussed include emotional well-being in adoptive families, expectations that come with adoption, and how child development is affected by trauma.

    Access the videos from the Attachment and Bonding Center of Ohio's website:

  • Scholarships for Adopted, Transitioning Youth

    Scholarships for Adopted, Transitioning Youth

    Voice for Adoption (VFA), an advocacy organization focused on improving adoption policies, produced a factsheet with resources and information on college scholarships, tuition waivers/vouchers, financial aid provisions, and internships. The factsheet is intended for adoptive parents, adoptees, and youth formerly in foster care. Resources include the following:

    • Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
    • Fostering a Future Scholarship (specific to adopted youth from foster care)
    • UMPS CARE Charities All-Star Scholarship for Adopted Youth
    • States with college tuition waivers for youth formerly in care
    • General scholarship search engines
    • FosterClub All-Star Internship Program
    • CCAI's Foster Youth Internship (FYI) Program

    This factsheet, and more resources and possible financial aid opportunities, are available on the VFA website: (337 KB)

  • Foster, Adoptive Parent Blog

    Foster, Adoptive Parent Blog

    Kid Hero, a foster care and adoptive parent blog from the Children's Hospital of Wisconsin, offers a collection of short video clips and other stories focusing on firsthand foster and adoptive parents' experiences. Among the many blog entries are the following:

    • Our Family's Special Day: Adoption Day portrays the journey of a foster parent who adopted. 
    • Taking the Leap of Faith to Become a Foster Parent describes the emotional process that led a couple to open their home to vulnerable children.
    • Foster Kids Do Not Need Perfect. They Need Love, Laughter and Security provides a glimpse into the life of a licensed foster parent who learned to let go of the need to be perfect.
    • My Role As a Foster Parent Advocate for Children's Hospital of Wisconsin Community Services highlights the mission of a foster parent advocate—who is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week—to support and assist foster parents from a child's initial placement to family reunification, a move to another home, or adoption.

    The foster care and adoptive parent blog is available on the Kid Hero website:

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


    Upcoming national conferences on child welfare and adoption through September 2013 include:

    July 2013

    August 2013

    September 2013

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

  • Mental Health Screenings Workbook

    Mental Health Screenings Workbook

    Because children who are involved with the child welfare system often come from chaotic home environments, they have a significantly greater chance of facing mental health issues over their lifetime than children who have not been involved with child welfare. The New Jersey Mental Health Screening Tool (MHST) was developed by the New Jersey Department of Children and Families to assist frontline staff identify children who may be in need of mental health support.

    A workbook for training, Child Development, Trauma and the Brain: The DYFS NJ Mental Health Screening Program, has been produced by the Institute for Families at the Rutgers University School of Social Work. The book is intended to instruct caseworkers on how to administer the MHST and to gain an understanding about their roles and responsibilities in mental health screening for these children.

    The training workbook and a trainer's guide now are offered by the National Family Preservation Network (NFPN). The workbook focuses on trauma as a way of understanding the vulnerabilities of children and adolescents involved with child welfare to developing mental health challenges. Some of the issues addressed include the physical effects of trauma on children, understanding the physiological bases of mental illness, and identifying children who need mental health assessments.

    The trainer's guide and participant workbook are available on the NFPN website: