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April 2004Vol. 5, No. 3Spotlight on National Child Abuse Prevention

Issue Spotlight

  • Building a Nation of Strong Families: Family Support and Prevention

    Building a Nation of Strong Families: Family Support and Prevention

    In an effort to help State and local programs infuse family support principles into their prevention strategies and improve outcomes for children and families, Family Support America recently released a monograph, Building a Nation of Strong Families: Family Support and Prevention. This document offers child abuse and neglect prevention program standards originally developed by the New Jersey Task Force on Child Abuse and Neglect. The standards, applicable to programs throughout the United States, recognize that efforts to reduce child abuse and neglect are most successful when services and supports embody a strengths-based, family support approach that builds on assets and positive characteristics of families and their environment.

    The working group that developed these standards reviewed literature on effective prevention programs from multiple fields including child welfare, public health, juvenile justice, substance abuse, and mental health to identify conceptual standards, practice standards, and administrative standards for effective programs. Family Support America has repackaged these standards so that other States may benefit from New Jersey's work.

    Suggested practical applications include:

    • Requiring that grantees seeking State funding adhere to the standards.
    • Applying language from the standards to mission statements and written materials for State agencies and their programs.
    • Building the standards into evaluation and review processes for State agencies and the programs they administer.
    • Using the standards to educate legislators and decision-makers as they develop policy and provide support to prevention programs.
    • Offering the standards as a resource to help individuals, families, and community members who use prevention services determine which services are most effective.

    Building a Nation of Strong Families: Family Support and Prevention is a powerful tool for advancing a family support approach to the prevention of child abuse and neglect across all systems, in all States. The document can be downloaded from the Family Support America website at www.familysupportamerica.org/downloads/FinalNJDoc11-14-03.pdf (Editors note: Link no longer active).

  • HHS Releases 2002 National Statistics on Child Abuse and Neglect

    HHS Releases 2002 National Statistics on Child Abuse and Neglect

    An estimated 896,000 children across the country were victims of abuse or neglect in 2002, according to national data released April 1 by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The statistics indicate about 12.3 out of every 1,000 children were victims of abuse or neglect, a rate slightly below the previous year’s victimization rate of 12.4 out of 1,000 children.

    "Our hearts break when we hear of a child being physically or emotionally abused or neglected," HHS Secretary Tommy G. Thompson said. "The abuse of children remains a national tragedy that demands our commitment and action. President Bush’s budget plan gives the child welfare system at the community level more resources and more flexibility to better protect children from abuse and neglect."

    The statistics, released at the start of Child Abuse Prevention Month, are based on information collected through the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System. The data show that child protective service agencies received about 2,600,000 reports of possible maltreatment in 2002. There were 896,000 substantiated cases of maltreatment of children--the majority of which involved cases of neglect. About 1,400 children died of abuse or neglect, a rate of 1.98 children per 100,000 children in the population.

    The rate of child neglect and abuse in 2002 was about 20 percent less than the rate in 1993, when maltreatment peaked at an estimated 15.3 out of every 1,000 children. As recently as 1998, the rate was 12.9 per 1,000 children. During the past three reporting years, the maltreatment rate has been fairly constant. Rates for 2000, 2001, and 2002 were 12.2, 12.4, and 12.3 respectively.

    Also on April 1, Surgeon General Richard H. Carmona announced he would create a new working group to focus attention on the problem of child abuse and neglect and to identify ways to reduce it. The Surgeon General’s Workshop on Child Maltreatment will involve experts in criminal justice, medicine, child welfare, and education.

    "While child maltreatment has traditionally been thought of as a criminal justice issue, it is also very much a public health issue," Dr. Carmona said. "The wrenching mental and physical health effects of child maltreatment continue for that child long after he or she is placed in a safe environment. And the frequency with which child maltreatment occurs in our society compels us to be aggressive in developing ways to stop it. This new Surgeon General’s Workshop on Child Maltreatment will help shine a bright light on this problem and help find ways to end this scourge in society."

    President Bush’s fiscal year 2005 budget proposal for HHS would double funding for two critical child abuse prevention programs. For the Basic State Grant Program, the funding would increase from $21 million this year to $42 million next year. This program provides funds for States to improve their child protective service systems.

    For the Community-Based Grants for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect, funding would increase from $32 million this year to $66 million in fiscal year 2005. The additional funds would enhance States’ ability to investigate reports of abuse and neglect, to reach more at risk children and families with prevention services and to provide additional types of community-based prevention services including home visiting, parent education, parent support, respite care, outreach and education, and other family support services.

    In addition, the President’s fiscal year 2005 budget proposal would fully fund the Promoting Safe and Stable Families Program at its authorized level of $505 million--an increase of more than $100 million above the amount appropriated by Congress for fiscal year 2004. This program supports a wide array of services to support, strengthen, and preserve families at risk for abuse or neglect.

    "President Bush realizes effective child welfare isn’t just about more money. It’s also about greater flexibility," said Wade Horn, Ph.D., Assistant Secretary for Children and Families.

    As part of HHS' fiscal year 2004 budget request, the Bush Administration proposed a new approach to protecting children in the child welfare system. Under the plan, States and Tribes would have the option of using some money now designated solely for foster care to support a range of abuse-prevention services and programs. The proposal provides the flexibility and sustained financial support necessary to build innovative programs for children and families aimed at preventing maltreatment and removal from home.

    The full report, Child Maltreatment 2002, is available at https://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb/resource/child-maltreatment-2002.

  • Resources for Child Abuse Prevention Month

    Resources for Child Abuse Prevention Month

    Child abuse prevention continues to be a key priority for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Children's Bureau, Office on Child Abuse and Neglect (OCAN) and its National Clearinghouse on Child Abuse and Neglect Information. Building on the success of the Prevention Initiative launched in April 2003, OCAN and its National Clearinghouse have continued to partner with key national child abuse prevention organizations to identify strategies to promote greater visibility of child abuse prevention activities for Child Abuse Prevention Month in April, and throughout the year.

    As part of this initiative, the National Clearinghouse website (https://www.childwelfare.gov/index.cfm) recently launched an updated section on child abuse prevention featuring public awareness information, emerging practices, and links to resources and organizations for more information. New for 2004, the site also includes a special section on "Developing and Sustaining Child Abuse Prevention Programs in Tough Times." This online toolkit offers resources on collaboration, marketing, Federal and private funding sources, evaluation, and conducting cost analysis of child abuse prevention programs. Links to national, State, and local examples of successful efforts in these areas are featured throughout the toolkit.

    Finally, copies of the 2004 Child Abuse Prevention Community Resource Packet (2nd Edition) in Spanish and English are being disseminated nationally for Child Abuse Prevention Month. Copies of the English version are available at https://www.childwelfare.gov/preventing/pdfs/packet2004.pdf.

  • Project Fatherhood

    Project Fatherhood

    The presence of involved, nurturing fathers has a positive effect on the emotional, behavioral, and cognitive development of children. Yet, traumatic experiences in a father's background can and often do impede his ability to parent his children effectively. Project Fatherhood, a program of Children's Institute International (CII) in Los Angeles, seeks to increase the positive involvement of low-income, high-risk urban fathers in their children's lives by helping fathers identify and resolve early traumas in their own lives.

    Project Fatherhood has three primary goals:

    1. Participating fathers will more consistently and effectively fulfill their responsibilities as parents and parent their children in a more healthy and nurturing manner.
    2. Children of participating fathers will demonstrate improved functioning at home, at school, and in relation to peers and will be free from abuse and neglect.
    3. Child welfare agencies will become better able to competently engage and serve biological fathers of high-risk children.

    "Men in Relationships Groups" (ongoing men-only therapeutic groups) are the program's cornerstone. In addition to learning about basic child development principles, appropriate discipline techniques, and other parenting skills, fathers in these groups receive help in dealing with traumatic experiences in their own histories that continue to impact their relationships with their children and partners. Flexibility is important: groups meet at the end of a normal workday, membership is open-ended, and members are not penalized for tardiness or sporadic attendance. In response to an identified need among the target population, one Spanish-speaking group is now offered.

    Other services include:

    • Individual and family counseling (for fathers, partners, and children)
    • Crisis intervention
    • Case management
    • Peer mentors
    • Parent education classes
    • A "job club"
    • Advocacy with the Dependency Court and Department of Children and Family Services
    • Referrals for food, housing, shelter, health care, employment training, and legal assistance, as needed
    • Father/child activities such as fishing, camping, and sports events

    Project Fatherhood has operated since 1996 with private foundation funding. In 2001, CII received a grant from the Children's Bureau to expand and enhance the project by serving more clients, developing a longitudinal research study and a training program for therapists, and publishing and distributing materials necessary for program replication. So far, more than 40 staff representing at least 30 agencies have received training.

    For more information about the program or how to obtain a copy of the curriculum, contact:

    Dr. Hershel Swinger
    Senior Vice President of Clinical Services, CII
    Founder, Project Fatherhood
    (213) 385-5100

    Note: The Project Fatherhood demonstration program was funded by the Children's Bureau, Grant # 90 CA 1692. This article is part of a series highlighting successful Children's Bureau Discretionary Grant-funded projects around the country, emerging from official Children's Bureau site visits.

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News From the Children's Bureau

  • Using Outcome Measures

    Using Outcome Measures

    The Federal Child and Family Service Reviews have generated increasing interest in outcome accountability in child welfare. American Humane recently published a special edition of their journal, Protecting Children, to address this issue. Using Outcome Measures to Improve Child Safety, Permanency, and Well-Being carries six articles that grew out of the 10th Annual Roundtable on Outcome Measures in Child Welfare Services, convened by American Humane in October 2002. The articles include:

    • "Using Outcome Data to Improve Adoption Practice" (S. Cohick, M. Kovacevic, & J. Biesecker)
    • "State Compliance with the Indian Child Welfare Act to Improve Outcomes for American Indian Families and Children" (G.E. Limb, T. Chance, & E.F. Brown)
    • "The Juvenile Protective Association's Family Functioning Scale: Development and Use of a Family Outcome Measure in the Treatment of a High-Risk Service Population" (M. Nickels)
    • "Administrative and Standardized Assessment Data to Measure Safety, Permanency, and Well-Being: Experience in Philadelphia" (P. Randall, P. Kutzler, & R. Halnon)
    • "Continuous Quality Improvement: Integrating Client Outcome Data into Ongoing Service Design and Delivery Using SACWIS and Other Data" (D. Tindall & K. Metz)
    • "Behavioral Health Screening in a Child Welfare System" (J. Alexander & E. Kniznik)

    This journal can be ordered on the American Humane website, at http://www.americanhumane.org/children/professional-resources/protecting-children-journal/.

  • Opportunity for Public Comment: New Child Welfare Demonstration Proposals

    Opportunity for Public Comment: New Child Welfare Demonstration Proposals

    The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is authorized to approve as many as 10 States per year to conduct demonstration projects involving the waiver of certain requirements of Titles IV-B and IV-E of the Social Security Act (the portions governing child welfare services, the Promoting Safe and Stable Families program, foster care, adoption assistance, and the Chafee Foster Care Independence program). These projects provide States with greater flexibility to use Title IV-B and Title IV-E foster care funds for services that can facilitate improved safety, permanency, and well-being for children.

    On November 24, 2003, HHS issued an Information Memorandum (https://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb/resource/im0306) inviting States to submit proposals for new demonstration projects. In response, the Department has received proposals for new child welfare waiver demonstration projects from 12 States. Several additional States have expressed interest in a new child welfare waiver demonstration project but have not yet submitted a formal proposal.

    Brief summaries of all proposals received will be posted on the Children's Bureau website to inform the public and provide an opportunity for public comment. HHS will neither approve nor disapprove any new proposal for at least 30 days from this notice, to allow time to receive and consider comments. Find the proposal summaries, and instructions for submitting written comments, at www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb/initiatives/cwwaiver/proposals/index.htm (Editor's note: Link no longer active).

    Related Item

    Since 1996, 17 States have implemented 25 child welfare waiver demonstration project components through 20 Title IV-E waiver agreements. (Some States have multiple waiver agreements, and some waiver agreements have multiple components.) Summaries of these projects may be viewed at https://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb/programs/child-welfare-waivers.

  • Child Well-Being and the Pennsylvania PIP

    Child Well-Being and the Pennsylvania PIP

    Pennsylvania's Office of Children, Youth and Families (OCYF) recently published an update on their services and programs that promote well-being among children who are in or at risk for out-of-home placement. The breadth of articles demonstrates the cross-cutting among programs that has occurred as the OCYF strives to implement their Program Improvement Plan (PIP) and create change that will ensure the safety, permanency, and well-being of Pennsylvania's children and families. The articles in the January 2004 issue of Child Welfare Update cover such topics as:

    • A review of all regulations regarding children and families, as part of the PIP
    • Collaboration between physical and mental health systems in Pennsylvania's Medicaid
    • Funding for higher education for youth aging out of the system
    • Development of creative visitation plans for children in foster care
    • Federal audit of Title IV-E claims
    • The impact of a family group conferencing program for youth in the justice system
    • Pennsylvania's Family Centers and Fatherhood programs
    • Post-permanency services for adoptive families

    Pennsylvania's Child Welfare Update can be accessed online at www.pccyfs.org/dpw_ocyfs/OCYFNews_2004_01.pdf (Editor's note: Link no longer active).

  • Improving Independent Living Services

    Improving Independent Living Services

    The National Resource Center for Youth Development (NRCYD) recently released two more publications in its series of Promising Practices Monographs dealing with foster youth transitioning to independence. The series was developed in response to the Foster Care Independence Act of 1999, which mandates improved independent living programs for these youth (ages 18 to 21 years old), as well as greater accountability.

    The monographs released to date include:

    • Aftercare Services, released in 2003, addresses the myriad support services agencies can provide, including help with housing, jobs, and education. Numerous examples describe the innovative practices of local agencies in meeting these needs.
    • Tribal Approaches to Transition, released in early 2004, provides information for practitioners who work with Tribal youth preparing to transition to independence. Programs are described that provide transitioning services to Native American youth while adhering to the Federal mandates of youth development, cultural competence, permanent relationships, and collaboration.
    • The Transition Years: Serving Current and Former Foster Youth Ages 18 to 21, released in April 2004, provides insight into the needs of older youth aging out of care and the current trends in transition among the general population. Structured around the four core principles--youth development, collaboration, permanent connections, and cultural competency--this monograph describes available services and current barriers to serving this population.

    The NRCYD is scheduled to release a fourth monograph in this series (Collaboration) this summer. Current monographs can be downloaded from the NRCYD website at http://www.nrcyd.ou.edu/learning-center/publications/.

  • Implementation of Program Improvement Plans

    Implementation of Program Improvement Plans

    In the current issue of its online digest, Managing Care, the National Child Welfare Resource Center for Organizational Improvement (NCWRCOI) focuses on State implementation of Program Improvement Plans (PIPs), highlighting examples from Vermont and Oklahoma. The issue includes:

    • An interview conducted with the Policy and Practice Chief for the Social Services Division of Vermont Social and Rehabilitative Services, who notes some of the features of successful PIPs.
    • An interview with the Program Administrator for the Continuous Quality Improvement Unit of the Oklahoma Department of Human Services, who discusses case reviews and county-level planning as features of PIP implementation.
    • Excerpts from NCWRCOI teleconferences focusing on measuring progress in PIPs and using PIPs for systemic change.
    • Tips for using the PIP to transform quality assurance to quality improvement.

    Managing Care can be accessed at http://muskie.usm.maine.edu/helpkids/rcpdfs/mcV-2.pdf (108 KB). Information about future teleconferences sponsored by the NCWRCOI can be found at http://muskie.usm.maine.edu/helpkids/tele.htm.

Child Welfare Research

  • Explaining the Decline in Cases of Child Sexual Abuse

    Explaining the Decline in Cases of Child Sexual Abuse

    In the January 2004 edition of the Juvenile Justice Bulletin, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) reviews six possible explanations for a 40 percent drop in substantiated sexual abuse cases between 1992 and 2000 (from 149,800 to 89,355). While it is likely that multiple factors are involved, the article concludes there is evidence indicating that a "real decline," as opposed to changes in reporting trends or data collection, is responsible for the trend.

    Evidence cited includes:

    • A decline in the number of self-reports of sexual abuse by victims
    • Declines in related social problems (such as teen pregnancy)
    • Declines in the most readily preventable sexual abuse cases
    • An increase in incarceration of sexual abuse offenders

    The article also explores five other possible explanations for the decline in substantiated child sexual abuse cases, including:

    • Increasing conservatism within child protection agencies regarding the cases they investigate and substantiate
    • Exclusion of cases that do not involve caretakers
    • Changes in child protection services data collection methods or definitions
    • Diminished reporting due to a sexual abuse backlash
    • A reduction in the supply of older but previously undisclosed cases available for new disclosures

    The authors did not find consistent evidence for any of these alternate explanations. While there is partial evidence in some areas of the country or during some time periods for some of these, the overall decline is so widespread and concerns so many age groups and types of abuse that the authors found the theory of "real decline" most plausible.

    A full copy of this report can be accessed on the OJJDP website at http://www.ojjdp.gov/publications/PubAbstract.asp?pubi=199298&ti=&si=&sei=&kw=&PreviousPage=PubResults&strSortby=date&p=&strPubSearch=.

    Related Item

    The OJJDP last reported on this topic in January 2001. Find a summary of that article in "Researchers Ponder Causes for Decline in Child Sexual Abuse Cases" in the May/June 2001 issue of Children's Bureau Express.

  • Achieving Permanency After Parental Rights Are Terminated

    Achieving Permanency After Parental Rights Are Terminated

    A study published in the December 2003 issue of Children and Youth Services Review uses Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS) data to demonstrate that a large proportion of children whose parental rights are terminated (TPR) still do not achieve permanence within 1 year. The study also examines how particular case factors, including age, race, and geographic location, affect how quickly children exit foster care.

    The authors studied a cohort of 1,995 foster children in 42 States, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico whose parental rights were terminated during the same month (October 1997). Of these children, only 35 percent were found to have exited foster care within 1 year. The report then provides descriptive information about the children and compares factors typical of children discharged from foster care within 1 year of their birth parents' rights being terminated to those typical of children not discharged within 1 year. Characteristics found to be associated with leaving at a slower rate included:

    • Age. 44 percent of the children entering foster care as infants were discharged within 1 year, compared to 31 percent of children who were over age 1 when they entered care.
    • Race. The author found that on any given day, African American children were 23 percent less likely than children of other races or ethnicities to exit care.
    • Kinship placement. 55 percent of children in pre-adoptive placements were discharged within 1 year, compared to 19 percent of children in kinship placements.
    • Multiple placement settings. Children who were discharged within 1 year of TPR had an average of 2.97 previous placement settings, while children not discharged within 1 year had an average of 3.46 placement settings.

    The study also found that the rate of exiting foster care after TPR varied by State. Some State differences remained even after accounting for client demographics and other caseload differences. The author suggests this might be a result of how different States view permanency or may reflect policy and practical differences affecting foster children. Further research will be necessary to account for State differences.

    The author concludes that these findings raise concerns about the large proportion of children who do not have permanence within 1 year after TPR. The author questions whether policy changes are needed to decrease the lengths of stay after TPR and stresses the need for more empirical studies on the meaning of legal permanency to children and alternative ways to recognize family bonds.

    The study, "After Parental Rights are Terminated: Factors Associated with Exiting Foster Care," can be found in Children and Youth Services Review, Vol. 25, No. 12. Find ordering information on the ScienceDirect website at http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0190740903001051. Requests for reprints should be sent to Brenda D. Smith (bsmith@albany.edu), School of Social Welfare, State University of New York, 135 Western Avenue, Albany, NY 12222.

  • Risk Factors for Chronic Child Maltreatment

    Risk Factors for Chronic Child Maltreatment

    Results from a recent study published in the Journal of Family Violence (Vol. 19, No. 1) indicate that certain psychosocial risk factors are associated with a mother's high potential for child abuse and neglect over time. These results may help practitioners identify families who are at greatest risk of chronic maltreatment and implement long-term interventions that take these risk factors into account.

    The study involved 56 mothers who either maltreated their children or were at high risk for maltreatment. After 4 years, the women who still had an open case with a child protection agency or displayed strong tendencies for abuse (chronic abuse problems) were compared with those women with inactive child protection cases and those who displayed weak tendencies for abuse (transitory abuse problems). Results show that 6 of the 14 risk factors studied were associated with chronic abuse problems after 4 years:

    • High potential for abuse and neglect at intake
    • Presence of both a mother and father in the home*
    • Large number of children
    • Mother had been in foster care as a child
    • Mother had been sexually abused
    • Mother had run away as an adolescent

    Additionally, mothers with more than eight risk factors were found to be much more likely to have chronic abuse problems than mothers with fewer than eight risk factors.

    An abstract and ordering information are available on the Journal of Family Violence website at http://link.springer.com/article/10.1023/B%3AJOFV.0000011579.18333.c9.

    *This finding is not consistent with other research.

    Related Items

    Read more about risk factors for child maltreatment in previous issues of Children's Bureau Express:

    • "Predictors of Recurrence in Child Protective Cases Involving Substance Abuse" (October 2003)
    • "LONGSCAN Examines Fatherhood" (April 2002)
  • Child Welfare Risk Assessment

    Child Welfare Risk Assessment

    Estimating the likelihood of future child maltreatment is an integral part of case planning and management, yet current policies and practices in risk assessment may be inadequate or flawed. This topic is the subject of a recent white paper published by the Center for Child Welfare Policy of the North American Resource Center for Child Welfare.

    Six issue areas are identified and discussed:

    • Lack of agreement regarding the purpose and scope of risk assessment
    • Inconsistency among concepts, terminology, and measures in risk assessment
    • Methodological problems in risk assessment models and their validation
    • Barriers to large-scale implementation of formal risk assessment
    • Inappropriate use of risk assessment, such as for activities other than estimating recurrence of child maltreatment in a family
    • Insufficient consideration of ethical and legal issues involved in risk assessment

    Recommendations that emerge from this discussion focus on large-scale system changes needed throughout the child protective services field, such as standardizing assessment terminology, developing valid instruments, and distinguishing risk assessment from family assessment and safety assessment.

    An abbreviated version of Issues in Risk Assessment in Child Protective Services will appear in the Advisor, a publication of the American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children, while an expanded version is planned for a monograph series by the Child Welfare League of America.

    The full text of the paper can be downloaded from the NARCCW website at www.ihs-trainet.com/CCWP/RA%20for%20PDF.pdf (322 KB).

Strategies and Tools for Practice

  • Mental Health Support for Young Children at Risk

    Mental Health Support for Young Children at Risk

    A pilot program to research and improve the mental health of high-risk infants and young children in Florida has shown promising results. The multisite program, funded in 2000 by the State legislature, provided psychotherapy to children and their families to promote attachment and positive interactions between the child and mother (or primary caregiver). The program was designed to serve very young children who were at risk for out-of-home placement or already in foster care due to abuse and neglect.

    The 25 sessions of psychotherapy incorporated methods to promote parental attachment and empathy, such as behavior-based strategies, play, and verbal interpretations. Extensive engagement activities, including case management and outreach services, were used to keep families in treatment.

    A 3-year evaluation showed the following results:

    • Of the 105 infant/caregiver pairs referred to the program, 84 completed the pre-assessment, 43 completed treatment, and 20 were in treatment at the time of the report.
    • None of the parents had abuse reports during treatment.
    • All children who were out of parental custody at referral were reunified or placed permanently.
    • Fifty-eight percent of children showed improvements in developmental delays.
    • Parent-child relationship functioning improved significantly.

    A full report of this study, which was sponsored by the Florida State University Center for Prevention & Early Intervention Policy, can be accessed at www.fsu.edu/~cpeip/EvalGrntFinalRep.pdf. An article about one of the pilot sites (Miami) was recently published on the website of the National Center for State Courts at www.ncsconline.org/WC/Publications/KIS_MenHea_Trends03.pdf.(Editor's note: Both links are no longer active.)

    Related Items

    Read about another mental health intervention program for at-risk children in "New Jersey Taking Integrated Approach to Mental Health Needs of Children and Families" in the January 2002 issue of Children's Bureau Express.

    A program that combines therapy for preschoolers with training for parents and foster parents is profiled in the March/April 2001 issue, in "Researchers Study Early Intervention for Preschool Foster Children."

  • Providing and Funding Post-Adoption Services

    Providing and Funding Post-Adoption Services

    Tens of thousands of children are adopted through the U.S. child welfare system each year. While many of these children do not require ongoing supports and services after their adoptions are finalized, a significant number do. Casey Family Services and The Casey Center for Effective Child Welfare Practice recently released two white papers to assist States in promoting and supporting post-adoption services for these children and their families.

    Promising Practices in Adoption-Competent Mental Health Services (http://www.aecf.org/KnowledgeCenter/Publications.aspx?pubguid={6D4613B4-E919-4209-80DE-9E4EA83E2F19}) helps States address the complex mental health needs of adopted children and their families by highlighting creative services, training initiatives, and collaborations that can emerge among child welfare, mental health, and Medicaid systems. While the paper reviews relevant research on the need for adoption-competent mental health services, its primary focus is on the perspectives and experiences of adoption professionals and families who have adopted children through the public welfare system. The practices described are strengths-based and family-centered, and include public policies, funding strategies, and mental health programs. The paper also offers 10 steps that public child welfare, mental health, and Medicaid agencies can implement right away.

    Creative Strategies for Financing Post-Adoption Services (http://www.aecf.org/KnowledgeCenter/Publications.aspx?pubguid={CE8CE638-3745-4B61-A813-DE2D6961DF84}) provides detailed descriptions of Federal funding streams, including which post-adoption services may be funded under each program. The report then offers examples of creative ways to utilize existing Federal funds to fund specific services (e.g., using Medicaid to support respite care). Finally, the paper offers specific strategies to assist States in developing and sustaining funding for post-adoption services.

    A third white paper in the series, An Approach to Post-Adoption Services, was released previously (http://www.aecf.org/KnowledgeCenter/Publications.aspx?pubguid={49ED6A2C-9AE5-4BC6-B9E9-C4904E6B1030}). As a group, these papers provide States with a road map to establishing and sustaining comprehensive post-adoption services.

    Related Items

    More information about post-adoption services can be found in previous issues of Children's Bureau Express:

    • "Study Explores Use, Helpfulness of Post-Adoption Services" (June/July 2003)
    • "Casey Family Services Releases White Paper on Post-Adoption Services" (April 2002)
    • "New Study Looks at Success Rates of Adoptions of Children from Foster Care" (Nov/Dec 2001)
  • Addressing the Relationship Between Child Maltreatment and Juvenile Delinquency

    Addressing the Relationship Between Child Maltreatment and Juvenile Delinquency

    The Juvenile Justice Division of the Child Welfare League of America (CWLA) has gathered evidence on the connection between child maltreatment and juvenile delinquency in a recently published monograph, Understanding Child Maltreatment and Juvenile Delinquency: From Research to Effective Program, Practice, and Systemic Solutions.

    Part 1 of the monograph reviews four studies that documented the relationship between childhood victimization and delinquent behavior. Part 2 reviews program efforts that have been implemented to break this cycle of violence. Some examples of successful programs include:

    • Home visitation by a nurse to at-risk mothers during their pregnancy
    • High-quality preschool that includes a home visitation component
    • Response to child abuse or neglect that engages the family in service plan development
    • Response to early delinquency through assessment, integration of service delivery, and community support
    • Multisystemic therapy for serious juvenile offenders

    The publication also calls for more widespread changes in policies and systems to meet the needs of all children in the child welfare and juvenile justice systems. To justify the costs of these programs, the report cites studies that measure the costs of early intervention against the much greater costs of later crime, incarceration, and child abuse.

    The monograph can be found on the CWLA website at www.cwla.org/programs/juvenilejustice/ucmjd.htm.

    Related Items

    More information about the relationship between child maltreatment and juvenile delinquency can be found in previous issues of Children's Bureau Express:

    • "Disproportionality in Juvenile Justice System May Have Roots in Child Welfare" (December 2002/January 2003)
    • "New Report Examines the Link Between Childhood Maltreatment and Juvenile Delinquency" (November/December 2001)

Resources

  • Helping Children Cope with Crisis

    Helping Children Cope with Crisis

    A cooperative effort among the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), the National Black Child Development Institute, and other organizations serving the African American community to provide resources for parents to use with children in times of crisis has resulted in An Activity Book for African American Families: Helping Children Cope with Crisis. The activity book includes guidance for parents, as well as a series of activities to help parents communicate with their children and promote a sense of safety in children and strength within the family. Some of the topics include:

    • Helping your child feel safe
    • Giving your child information that is age appropriate
    • Making a plan with your child for emergencies
    • Identifying signs of stress in your child

    Each chapter of the book focuses on an activity such as a poem, art project, song, or craft. Also included is a quotation or proverb, a list of supplies, background on the activity, instruction, notes to parents, and additional information. Activities are designed for children ages 5 to 12 years old.

    The activity book can be ordered or downloaded from the NICHD website at http://www.nichd.nih.gov/publications/pubs/cope_with_crisis_book/Pages/index.aspx.

  • Focus on Adolescent Maltreatment

    Focus on Adolescent Maltreatment

    Abuse research often does not differentiate child abuse from adolescent abuse; therefore, the developmental impact of abuse at different ages is not always considered. The Prevention Researcher, which serves as an intermediary between researchers and service professionals in the field of abuse and neglect, specifically addresses the topic of adolescent maltreatment in its February 2004 issue. Noting that 25 percent of abuse cases in 2001 involved youths 12 to 17 years old, the six articles in this issue focus on research involving the effects of abuse and neglect that takes place during adolescence, rather than during childhood. The articles are:

    • "Adolescent Maltreatment: An Overview of the Research" (C. Kimball & J. Golding)
    • "Adolescent Maltreatment and Its Impact: Timing Matters" (C.A. Smith, T.P. Thornberry, & T.O. Ireland)
    • "Maltreatment and Victimization in Homeless Adolescents: Out of the Frying Pan and Into the Fire" (A.M. Cauce, K.A. Tyler, & L.B. Whitbeck)
    • "The Female Detention Project: The Typical Girl in Detention in Philadelphia" (S. Simkins & S. Katz)
    • "Teachers' Awareness of Maltreatment" (N.D. Reyome & W. Gaeddert)
    • "Assisting the Abused Adolescent: An Interview With Dr. Deanna Pledge"

    To view the articles, visit http://www.tpronline.org/issue.cfm/Adolescent_Maltreatment.

  • William T. Grant Scholars Program

    William T. Grant Scholars Program

    Applications are due July 1, 2004 for this year’s William T. Grant Scholars program. Post-doctoral scholars from academic institutions or tax-exempt organizations in the United States and abroad are eligible to apply. Each year, the foundation chooses four to six applicants who demonstrate creative and intellectually rigorous research plans that focus on one of these areas:

    • Youth development
    • Programs, policies, and institutions that affect young people
    • Adults’ attitudes and perceptions of young people.

    Research should focus on youth ages 8 to 25. Each grantee is awarded $300,000 over 5 years. Awards will be announced in March 2005.

    The program, now in its 24th year, has funded more than 110 Scholars since its inception. Find more information on the William T. Grant Foundation website, at www.wtgrantfoundation.org/info-url_nocat3042/ info-url_nocat_list.htm?attrib_id=4398 (Editor's note: Link no longer active).

  • 2004 Grant Opportunities Notebook

    2004 Grant Opportunities Notebook

    A guide to this year's Federal funding opportunities for faith-based and community organizations across the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is now available. This notebook was developed by the HHS Center for Faith-Based and Community Initiatives in partnership with the Administration on Children and Families, the Health Resources Services Administration, and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

    Included in the notebook is grant information on the following areas:

    • At-Risk Children and Youth
    • Economic Development
    • Health
    • Substance Abuse
    • Significant Block and Formula Grants

    Also included is information on the Compassion Capital Fund, how to be a grant reviewer, how to make a Freedom of Information request, and web resources for organizations interested in Federal funding. The 2004 Grant Opportunities Notebook is available for download from the Center for Faith-Based and Community Initiatives at www.hhs.gov/fbci/docs/FBCI2004GrantsNotebook.pdf. (Editor's note: This link is no longer active, but visit http://www.hhs.gov/partnerships/grants/index.html for grant information from the HHS Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships.)

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 July 2004 include:

    May

    • Finding Better Ways 2004 "Responding to the Changing Faces of Residential Services" (Child Welfare League of America; May 3 through 5, Atlanta, GA)
    • 34th Annual Education Conference (National Foster Parent Association; May 10 through 15, Orlando, FL)
    • Family Support America's 10th Biennial National Conference (May 12 through 15, Chicago, IL)
    • Teleconference: Implementing a Program-Wide Anger Management Intervention (Walker Trieschman Center-CWLA; March 25)
    • "Spreading the Magic of Prevention" (Prevent Child Abuse America; May 16 through 19, Disney World Resort, FL)

    June

    • National Foster Care Conference "Footsteps to the Future" (Daniel Memorial Institute; June 3 through 5, Jacksonville, FL)
    • National CASA Conference (National CASA Association; June 5 through 8, Washington, DC)
    • 2004 Conference on Family Group Decision Making "From Margin to Mainstream" (American Humane; June 6 through 9, Harrisburg, PA)
    • 7th National Summit on Fatherhood (National Fatherhood Initiative; June 7 through June 9, Atlanta, GA)
    • APSAC Forensic Interview Clinic (American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children; June 14 through 18, Norfolk, VA)
    • Training Institutes 2004: Developing Local Systems of Care for Children and Adolescents with Emotional Disturbances and Their Families (National Technical Assistance Center for Children's Mental Health; June 23 through 27, San Francisco, CA)

    July

    • Victimization of Children & Youth: An International Research Conference (Family Research Laboratory; July 11 through 14, Portsmouth, NH)
    • National IV-E Training Conference "Weaving Resources for Better Child Welfare Outcomes" (University of Oklahoma/School of Social Work; July 12 through 14, Santa Fe, NM)
    • Putting the Pieces Together: 1st National Conference on Substance Abuse, Child Welfare and the Dependency Court (National Center on Substance Abuse and Child Welfare; July 14 through 15, Baltimore, MD)
    • Foster Family-Based Treatment Association's 18th Annual Conference on Treatment Foster Care (July 18 through 21, Nashville, TN)
    • 67th National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges Annual Conference (July 18 through 21, Portland, OR)
    • 30th Anniversary NACAC Conference "30 Years of Celebrating Families" (North American Council on Adoptable Children; July 29 through 31, Minneapolis, MN)

    Further details about national and regional adoption and child welfare conferences can be found in the Conference Calendar on Child Welfare Information Gateway: www.childwelfare.gov/calendar

     

  • Resources for Working With Allied Professionals

    Resources for Working With Allied Professionals

    New resources have recently become available to help child welfare professionals offer guidance to pediatricians and judges who interact with foster and adoptive families.

    Educating Pediatricians About Adoption

    A recent article in Pediatrics discusses how adoptions and adoptive families have changed over the years and offers guidance to pediatricians in the following areas:

    • Medical issues, including issues specific to children adopted from another country and to those with special needs
    • Developmental understanding of adoption
    • Losses in adoption, both for the child and the families involved
    • Communicating about adoption with children
    • Racial, ethnic, and cultural differences between an adoptive family and child
    • Kinship adoption
    • Searching for family and cultural ties
    • Modeling positive adoption language

    For each topic, the article discusses how the child's pediatrician can facilitate communication within the adoptive family or, when necessary, with other professionals.

    "Families and Adoption: The Pediatrician's Role in Supporting Communication" appeared in the December 2003 issue of Pediatrics, the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, and can be accessed at http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/112/6/1437.full.

    Resources for Family Court Judges

    Information was recently distributed to 3,000 family court judges to guide them in preventing the loss of health coverage for children and youth who are discharged from foster care. The information packet was put together by the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured and was distributed by the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges. Included in the packet were:

    • A laminated checklist that judges can use to evaluate risk points and strategies to promote health coverage for children returning home after foster care.
    • "Children Discharged from Foster Care: Strategies to Prevent the Loss of Health Coverage at a Critical Transition," an executive summary of the Kaiser Commission's research report that includes relevant statistics on the difficulty of maintaining health insurance for many of these children and youth.

    The full text of the research report can be accessed at www.kff.org/medicaid/4095-index.cfm. More information can be obtained from the author, Pat Redmond, at Redmond@cbpp.org. To obtain additional copies of the complete packet, contact Rakesh Singh at RSINGH@kff.org.

    Related Item

    Judges have an additional new resource in the Judges' Page, a web page for those who hear child welfare cases. Sponsored by the National Court Appointed Special Advocate Association (CASA) and the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (NCJFCJ), the main feature of the Judges' Page is an online newsletter that carries brief articles about recent cases, commentaries, and resources pertinent to child welfare cases. The Judges' Page can be found at www.nationalcasa.org/JudgesPage/index.htm.

  • Teleconferences for Family Support Programs

    Teleconferences for Family Support Programs

    A series of free technical assistance teleconferences is being offered on behalf of the FRIENDS National Resource Center for Community-Based Grants for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect, Prevent Child Abuse America, Circle of Parents, and Healthy Families America. Home visiting programs, self-help parent support programs, child abuse prevention organizations, and CBCAP leads and programs are invited to attend.

    Upcoming topics include:

    • April--Cultural considerations in working with Hispanic agencies and families
    • May--Reaching and serving families in the armed forces
    • June--Developing groups for parents who are incarcerated
    • July--How to make groups accessible to fathers and encourage men to consider parent leadership roles

    For more information or to register, contact Sue Campbell at (312) 663-3520, Ext. 171, or scampbell@preventchildabuse.org.