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October 2017Vol. 18, No. 7Spotlight on Collaboration and Data Sharing

Read about the important role collaboration in evidence-based practice has in preventing child neglect, an article that examines cross-collaboration between early intervention and child welfare systems in providing services to children with disabilities, an article about a model intervention that promotes infant-caregiver attachment and improved parenting capacity through the collaborative efforts of ancillary services, and a roadmap for strengthening the data linkages between the foster care and education systems to improve educational outcomes for students in foster care.

 

Issue Spotlight

  • Cross-Systems Collaborations Between Early Intervention and Child Welfare Systems

    Cross-Systems Collaborations Between Early Intervention and Child Welfare Systems

    Children who have disabilities experience a higher risk of maltreatment and often need support from multiple specialized services, such as early intervention services that focus on the development of children experiencing delays or disabilities and child welfare services that address their safety.
    The article "'Not in the Same Sandbox': Cross-Systems Collaborations Between Early Intervention and Child Welfare Systems" from a recent issue of the Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal highlights a study that utilized a mixed-methods design to examine to what extent early intervention and child welfare systems collaborate to support young children with disabilities who have experienced maltreatment.

    The study methods included using semistructured interviews to examine the systems level and an online survey to examine the program level. Participants in the systems-level interviews included a past president of a national early intervention professional organization, the vice president of a national child welfare professional organization, and state personnel working with the early intervention and child welfare systems. The interview questions were tailored to each participant and addressed research, policy, practice, preparation, and collaboration.

    Participation in the program-level online surveys was limited to early intervention providers and service coordinators serving a large Midwestern urban area. The online survey used for these participants was based on the Professional Interventionist Child Abuse Protection and Treatment Act Survey, which was developed to assess three major concerns of early intervention providers working with children and parents involved with the child welfare system, including staff resources, optimally serving children referred from the child welfare system, and parent involvement.

    The findings garnered from the interviews and the online survey indicate that participants from both the early intervention and child welfare systems agree that research efforts in their respective systems have not focused on young children with disabilities who have experienced maltreatment to the extent that they are receiving optimal support. In addition, there was a consensus that future cross-systems efforts should focus on identifying shared priorities, meaningful partnerships, clearly defined roles, and mutual resources.

    "'Not in the Same Sandbox': Cross-Systems Collaborations Between Early Intervention and Child Welfare Systems," by Catherine Corr and Rosa Milagros Santos (Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal, 34), is available at https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10560-016-0470-4.

  • Collaborating to Sustain Evidence-Based Interventions to Reduce Child Neglect

    Collaborating to Sustain Evidence-Based Interventions to Reduce Child Neglect

    Child neglect is the most prevalent form of child maltreatment and is responsible for nearly 80 percent of U.S. child welfare fatalities. Typically, evidence-based interventions (EBIs) have been applied to help address and prevent child neglect. The Child Abuse & Neglect article, "The Role of Collaborations in Sustaining an Evidence-Based Intervention to Reduce Child Neglect," highlights a study that found that the EBI SafeCare significantly reduces child neglect recidivism rates.

    The study methods include descriptive quantitative surveys, qualitative interviews, and focus-group findings to examine the role of collaboration within the context of public-private partnerships in 11 child welfare systems that have implemented SafeCare. The participants of the study were government child welfare administrators and administrators from community-based organizations and supervisors, coaches, and home visiting staff from the SafeCare EBI.
    The SafeCare study focuses on the following key points:

    • How collaborations operate within the context of public-private partnerships
    • The role external partners, such as academic researchers, intervention purveyors, and outside funders, have in supporting the EBI
    • How less formally developed collaborations of multiple stakeholders can affect the implementation and sustainment of an EBI

    Five major, interrelated themes emerged as integral to supporting EBIs: shared vision, building on existing relationships, academic support, problem solving and resource sharing, and maintaining the collaboration over time. The authors conclude that the study provides evidence of the important role collaboration among stakeholders has on the implementation and sustainment of EBIs such as SafeCare, especially to avoid imbalances of power, disorganized operations, reduced accountability, and lack of cohesion.

    "The Role of Collaborations in Sustaining an Evidence-Based Intervention to Reduce Child Neglect," by Amy E. Green, Elise Trott, Cathleen E. Willging, Natalie K. Finn, Mark G. Ehrhart, and Gregory A. Aarons (Child Abuse & Neglect, 53) is available at http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0145213415004354.

  • Roadmap for Improved Foster Care, Education System Data Sharing

    Roadmap for Improved Foster Care, Education System Data Sharing

    The Legal Center for Foster Care and Education and the Data Quality Campaign have developed recommendations for strengthening the data linkages between the foster care and education systems to improve educational outcomes for students in foster care.

    The recommendations identify several key focus areas that need attention to ensure high-quality data linkages between foster care and K-12 education systems, including the following:

    • A shared vision between the child welfare and education agencies
    • Well-delineated roles and responsibilities for each agency (with clear processes and timetables to ensure accountability)
    • Adequate capacity (via structure and staffing) to manage, analyze, and share linked data
    • Identification and data matching to ensure both the secure and sustainable linkage of data
    • Data quality (a system should be developed to ensure that the linked data is accurate and useful)
    • Data analysis, reporting, and use (determine who will have access to the linked data and how it will be used to support student success)
    • Privacy and security to ensure shared data is protected and consistent with federal and state information-sharing law

    The roadmap also includes several state examples of how the child welfare and education systems are successfully collaborating and sharing data.
    The Legal Center for Foster Care and Education is a project of the American Bar Association Center on Children and the Law, the Education Law Center, and the Juvenile Law Center. The Data Quality Campaign is a nonprofit organization advocating for quality education data to inform decisions that will help students succeed.

    Roadmap for Foster Care and K–12 Data Linkages: Key Focus Areas to Ensure Quality Implementation is available at https://2pido73em67o3eytaq1cp8au-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/DQC-Foster-Care-Roadmap-02282017.pdf (414 KB).

  • Infant-Caregiver Attachment Linked to Improved Child Welfare Outcomes

    Infant-Caregiver Attachment Linked to Improved Child Welfare Outcomes

    A model intervention that promotes infant-caregiver attachment shows promise for improving outcomes for babies and toddlers in the child welfare system, according to a recent article in Child Abuse & Neglect.

    The Early Childhood Center of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine developed the Infant Parent Court Project model with New York City's Bronx Family Court. The model was created to address shortcomings in child welfare cases involving children under age 3, which were primarily a reliance on generic interventions that fail to recognize the importance of relationship-based therapy to the developing child. The model was tested in the Bronx, a New York City borough with high poverty and foster care rates.

    The Infant Parent Court Project relies on evidence-based child-parent psychotherapy (CPP) as the core intervention for securing the emotional bonds and attachment between infant and primary caregiver. CPP focuses on teaching the parent how to read and respond to a baby's cues and understand infant and toddler developmental needs. The model emphasizes collaboration between CPP clinicians, judges, child welfare workers, attorneys, and mental health providers to promote informed case planning and permanency decisions.

    The article evaluates the model using psychosocial measures and program outcome data and finds improved parenting interactions, increased rates of family reunification, fewer returns to foster care, and overall improved safety and well-being for families undergoing CPP. Additionally, the article reports that the project helped achieve a reunification rate of 86 percent, which is significantly higher than the nationally documented rate for infants and toddlers. The findings also show an improvement in participants' parenting capacity, which is attributed to collaborative efforts by ancillary services once their families' individual and complex needs were better understood.

    "Improving Outcomes for Babies and Toddlers in Child Welfare: A Model for Infant Mental Health Intervention and Collaboration," by Susan Chinitz, Hazel Guzman, Ellen Amstutz, Joaniko Kohchi, and Miriam Alkon (Child Abuse & Neglect, 70) is available at http://ac.els-cdn.com/S0145213417302119/1-s2.0-S0145213417302119-main.pdf?_tid=dbeb5f7a-88dd-11e7-88eb-00000aacb362&acdnat=1503587392_bc7ef26336cfaca0fc9090d69ab8089c.

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News From the Children's Bureau

Read a recent report from the Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation that focuses on the term "curriculum" when applied to early education and care programs serving infants and toddlers as well as a listing of the latest updates to the Children's Bureau website.

Child Welfare Research

We highlight a report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Adolescent Health that highlights how a school-based program designed to help teenage mothers improve their academic outcomes and educational attainment has increased school attendance and achievement and a report from the Kirwan Institute that acknowledges the potential benefits of using predictive analytics in child welfare as well as reasons to be wary of this practice, including the risk of perpetuating certain cognitive and structural biases.

  • Safeguards Against Misuse of Predictive Analytics

    Safeguards Against Misuse of Predictive Analytics

    A new report urges caution when using child welfare data to predict future trends and offers suggestions for safeguarding against its misuse. 
    The 2017 report from the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity at Ohio State University acknowledges the potential benefits from using predictive analytics in child welfare (e.g., revealing patterns of social disparities and determining the best use of limited public and private resources). The report also offers reasons to be wary of this practice, including the risk of perpetuating certain cognitive and structural biases.

    To guard against the misuse of predictive analytic tools, the report recommends the following:

    • Develop a code of ethics to help guide how the field uses these tools and other applications to analyze large sets of data.
    • Increase accountability by explaining algorithms and giving families recourse to dispute data-driven decisions to ensure greater transparency in decision-making.
    • Gauge the equity impact of these tools through a thorough evaluation of predictive analytic models to address the disparities in child welfare.
    • Broaden the scope beyond individual-level risk predictions to include neighborhood and citywide mapping to identify systemic risk factors such as poverty and lack of opportunity.

    Foretelling the Future: A Critical Perspective on the Use of Predictive Analytics in Child Welfare is available at http://kirwaninstitute.osu.edu/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/ki-predictive-analytics.pdf (209 KB).

  • High School Program for Expectant, Parenting Students Improves Academic Outcomes

    High School Program for Expectant, Parenting Students Improves Academic Outcomes

    A new report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Adolescent Health (OAH) shows a school-based program designed to help teenage mothers improve their academic outcomes and educational attainment has increased school attendance and achievement. The voluntary program encourages expectant and parenting students to attend and complete high school and offers both parenting and life skills classes as well as incentives for student academic achievement.

    The New Heights program was initially launched in the 1990s at two of the largest high schools in Washington, DC, where the birth rate for Hispanic and African-American teens is 25 times higher than the rate for non-Hispanic white females. District of Columbia Public Schools expanded the New Heights program during the 2011-2012 school year to all large high schools to help expectant and parenting students with the challenges of pregnancy, parenthood, and completing high school.

    Mathematica Policy Research evaluated the New Heights program on behalf of OAH and found positive impacts in all domains for the 2011–2015 period:

    • New Heights reduced unexcused absences by 4.5 days per semester among parenting females, representing a reduction in school absences of 18.6 percent.
    • New Heights increased the number of excused absences per semester among parenting females by 1.4, representing a 23.7 percent jump in excused absences.
    • New Heights increased school attendance for parenting females by about 7.0 days per school year, representing a 5.8 percent increase.
    • New Heights increased the number of credits received for parenting females by 1.1 annually, representing a 24.4 percent increase in credits earned per year.
    • New Heights increased semester graduation rates among parenting females who were 17 or older by 18.8 percent.

    Raising the Bar: Impacts and Implementation of the New Heights Program is available at https://www.mathematica-mpr.com/our-publications-and-findings/publications/raising-the-bar-impacts-and-implementation-of-the-new-heights-program-for-expectant-and-parenting.

Strategies and Tools for Practice

This section of CBX offers publications, articles, reports, toolkits, and other instruments that provide either evidence-based strategies or other concrete help to child welfare and related professionals.

  • Self-Assessment and Planning Tool for Nonprofits, Schools

    Self-Assessment and Planning Tool for Nonprofits, Schools

    Improving family engagement and parent participation in programs serving children is the primary goal of a self-assessment and planning toolkit produced by the Annie E. Casey Foundation. The toolkit, geared toward leaders and staff from family-serving organizations, aims to address challenges to improving family and parental engagement in programs to help youth.

    The self-assessment comprises the following four domains, each with its own set of relevant questions:

    • Building a culture of respect, inclusion, and equity: For this domain, questions include, "Does your organization collect, break out, and analyze outcome data by race and ethnicity in programs?", "Are staff culturally, racially, and linguistically representative of the parents and caregivers they work with?", and "Is the relationship between staff and parents mutually respectful?"
    • Coaching parents on competence and confidence: For this domain, questions include, "Does your organization provide training for parents and caregivers on parenting and child development?", "Do you offer opportunities for parents to build their parenting and other skills?", and "Does your organization help facilitate peer groups and support among parents and caregivers through networking opportunities?"
    • Listening to and forming partnerships with parents: For this domain, questions include, "Does your organization offer services during nontraditional hours and provide child care and meals?", "Do you have a parent advisory board?", and "Have your staff been trained on the strengths and challenges of the community you serve?"
    • Partnering with other organizations to serve the whole family: For this domain, questions include, "Do you know the organizations providing parent and caregiver services in your community?", "Do you connect parents and caregivers with requested services that other organizations provide?", and "Do families have ways to easily find and connect with services during and outside of business hours?"

    The toolkit also provides instructions on how to assess the results of the questionnaire as well as strategies to improve family and parental engagement in their programs.

    Engaging Parents, Developing Leaders: A Self-Assessment and Planning Tool for Nonprofits and Schools is available at http://www.aecf.org/m/resourcedoc/AECF-EngagingParentsDevelopingLeaders-2016.pdf (202 KB).
     

  • Tools for Strengthening Families Leadership Teams

    Tools for Strengthening Families Leadership Teams

    The Center for the Study of Social Policy released a toolkit for leading and coordinating Strengthening Families efforts across systems. Strengthening Families is a research-informed approach to increase family strengths, enhance child development, and reduce the likelihood of child abuse and neglect. The new toolkit reinforces the core functions of implementing Strengthening Families at any level and provides tools for reaching out to new partners.
    The following resources are included:

    • A PowerPoint presentation called "Leading and Coordinating Strengthening Families Efforts" that focuses on five core strategies for implementing Strengthening Families in a variety of programs, agencies, systems, communities, and states
    • Handouts, including an overview and two factsheets exploring leadership roles at each level of Strengthening Families implementation
    • Information on coordinating a Strengthening Families initiative
    • A PowerPoint presentation called "Tools to Support Strengthening Families Implementation"
    • Communications tools
    • Customized Strengthening Families logos, and more

    Tools for Strengthening Families Leadership Teams is available at https://www.cssp.org/young-families-children-new/strengtheningfamilies/systems/tools-for-leadership-teams.

Resources

This section of CBX provides a quick list of interesting resources, such as websites, videos, journals, funding or scholarship opportunities, or other materials that can be used in the field or with families.

  • Comprehensive National, State Data on Early Childhood Home Visiting

    Comprehensive National, State Data on Early Childhood Home Visiting

    The National Home Visiting Resource Center issued its inaugural yearbook to compile comprehensive national and state data on early childhood home visiting and provide a snapshot of home visiting practice in 2017-including areas where needy families do not have access to this important support. Home visiting is a proven and cost-effective service delivery strategy associated with parent self-sufficiency, improved child health and school readiness, and greater child and family well-being.

    The following are among the statistics:

    • More than 18 million pregnant women and families currently lack access but could benefit from home visiting.
    • Over a quarter of a million families received home visiting services in 2015.
    • States support home visiting programs by pooling resources (e.g., funds from taxes and lotteries, tobacco settlements, and line items from state budgets).
    • Home visiting is implemented in all 50 states, and 40 percent of counties have at least one agency offering a program.

    James Bell Associates and the Urban Institute developed the report with support from the Heising-Simons Foundation and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

    2017 Home Visiting Yearbook is available at https://www.nhvrc.org/wp-content/uploads/NHVRC_Yearbook_2017_Final.pdf (6,001 KB).

  • New Brief Links Childhood Trauma to Opioid Misuse

    New Brief Links Childhood Trauma to Opioid Misuse

    A recent brief highlighting the link between adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and opioid misuse contends that a trauma-informed approach will be essential to resolving the nation's opioid epidemic. The brief recommends the use of evidence-based therapeutic treatment programs to get at the roots of addiction and investment in both proven and promising substance use prevention and treatment strategies.

    The June 2017 brief from the Campaign for Trauma-Informed Policy and Practice contends that any national strategy to combat the opioid crisis needs to include a trauma-informed approach to succeed. The brief points to one study linking ACEs with increased risk for prescription drug misuse and another showing that over 80 percent of patients seeking opioid addiction treatment suffered at least one form of childhood trauma. It notes that two-thirds of this group reported having witnessed violence.

    The brief notes that a trauma-informed approach can help in two ways: programs that prevent trauma exposure and programs that use such approaches to help existing addicts heal, recover, and become productive.

    Trauma-Informed Approaches Need to Be Part of a Comprehensive Strategy for Addressing the Opioid Epidemic is available at http://ctipp.org/Portals/0/xBlog/uploads/2017/7/17/CTIPP_OPB_No1.pdf (238 KB).

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.