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April 2014Vol. 15, No. 4Spotlight on National Child Abuse Prevention Month

As part of our Spotlight on National Child Abuse Prevention Month, CBX highlights a synthesis of the 20-year findings from the Longitudinal Studies of Child Abuse and Neglect; a new literature review of the role the protective factors play in populations served by the Administration on Children, Youth and Families; and more.

Issue Spotlight

  • Longitudinal Findings on Child Abuse and Neglect

    Longitudinal Findings on Child Abuse and Neglect

    In 1990, the Children's Bureau began funding what would become one of the longest and most comprehensive studies of child abuse and neglect: LONGSCAN (Longitudinal Studies of Child Abuse and Neglect). For 20 years, researchers in five sites around the country followed more than 900 children from age 4 into adulthood, using a variety of research methods, including interviews with children, parent reports and observations, teacher reports, and maltreatment data from a variety of sources. More than 130 publications and 25 doctoral dissertations were based on LONGSCAN research. And to ensure that the research results extended beyond academia, the Doris Duke Foundation provided funding for LONGSCAN findings to be made more accessible to practitioners in the field through a "Science to Practice" initiative.

    LONGSCAN investigators recently synthesized their overall findings and met with stakeholders around the country to discuss the results and their implications. Ensuring Safety, Well-Being and Permanency for Our Children: Findings, Practice and Policy Implications From LONGSCAN: The 20-Year Longitudinal Studies of Child Abuse and Neglect summarizes this work. The short publication uses succinct text and tables to reduce the many years of research into 12 sets of findings and implications under the categories of safety and health, permanency, and well-being:

    • Safety and health
      • Identification of children at risk
      • Impact of witnessing violence
      • Multiple exposures
      • Neglect
      • Psychological maltreatment
      • Suicide
    • Permanency
      • Instability in permanent placements
      • Safety in permanent placements
      • Multiple forms of instability
    • Well-being
      • Role of the father
      • Social support
      • Public health approach

    The implications in each area offer specific recommendations for the prevention and treatment of child abuse and neglect. These recommendations range from focused training to changes in policy to broader assessments and more.

    The authors note that researchers will continue to follow the young adults who have been part of LONGSCAN for more than 20 years, through funding from the National Institutes of Health.

    To learn more about LONGSCAN,

    • Visit the website on the University of North Carolina Injury Prevention Research Center: 
    • Read Ensuring Safety, Well-Being and Permanency for Our Children: Findings, Practice and Policy Implications From LONGSCAN: The 20-Year Longitudinal Studies of Child Abuse and Neglect: (818 KB)
  • Helping Parents Communicate With Their Teens

    Helping Parents Communicate With Their Teens

    The benefits of effective communication between parents and their teen-aged children are highlighted in a series of new factsheets published by the Alabama Cooperative Extension System. As part of the Principles of Parenting series, lead author Jennifer Kerpelman explores techniques that can improve family communications and build trust. She also shows how strong parent-teen communications can help teens build skills and protective factors that can help them successfully navigate their teen years and grow into strong, independent adults.

    In addition to fostering improved communications with their parents, information in the factsheets can help teens:

    • Figure out the kind of person he or she is
    • Prepare to take on adult responsibilities
    • Learn to effectively deal with problems and difficult situations
    • Learn to make good decisions
    • Learn the ability to think independently

    The specific titles in the series include:

    Jennifer Kerpelman is a professor of human development and family studies at Auburn University. The Alabama Cooperative Extension System is a joint project of Alabama A&M and Auburn Universities.

  • Multidisciplinary Child Protection Teams

    Multidisciplinary Child Protection Teams

    An article from the March/April 2013 issue of Social Work Today highlights the child welfare social worker's role on hospital-based multidisciplinary child protection teams. The emergency room is often the first entry point into child welfare for abused children in crisis, and these child protection teams—typically composed of individuals with many clinical specialties, including pediatrics, trauma, nursing, psychology, and social work—are essential to the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of child abuse.

    The article is built around interviews from a variety of clinical team members whose input provides a consistent theme: The social worker is the glue that holds the team together. Although the professional composition of multidisciplinary teams may vary by hospital and, even within teams, roles and responsibilities may vary on a case-by-case basis, the child welfare social worker is generally responsible for and/or coordinates the following efforts:

    • Serves as the clinical and team coordinator
    • Serves as a liaison to families
    • Communicates and arranges visits with outside agencies, including child welfare, law enforcement, and prosecuting attorneys
    • Is knowledgeable about and connects children, families, and staff with local child abuse programs
    • Provides psychosocial diagnostic assessment (such as child interviewing), family support, and therapy/counseling services
    • Ensures effective communication throughout diagnosis and treatment of child abuse cases, especially in cases of child sexual abuse when family and staff may be uncomfortable with the abusive situation

    The article also discusses the qualities of effective child protection teams, provides information and guidance geared toward maintaining and improving performance and effectiveness for teams experiencing functional issues, and presents resources and the updated guidelines for developing and operating multidisciplinary teams published by the National Association of Children's Hospitals and Related Institutions. The article concludes by highlighting the growing trend toward using a multidisciplinary child-centered approach across child welfare services in coordination with other clinical and law enforcement disciplines.

    "Multidisciplinary Child Protection Teams—The Social Worker's Role," by Jennifer Van Pelt, Social Work Today, 13(2), is available on the Social Work Today website:

  • April Is National Child Abuse Prevention Month

    April Is National Child Abuse Prevention Month

    Every April for the past 32 years, the Children's Bureau raises awareness about preventing child abuse and neglect through its National Child Abuse Prevention Month initiative. This year's Prevention Month is particularly special because it aligns with the 40th anniversary of President Nixon signing into law the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA), which created the National Center on Child Abuse and Neglect (now known as the Office on Child Abuse and Neglect [OCAN]). The theme for the annual Prevention Month initiative continues to reflect the theme for the 19th National Conference sponsored by OCAN. This year's theme, "Making Meaningful Connections," draws attention to the community and cross-system collaborations required to protect children and strengthen families.

    A new Prevention Month website highlights resources for protecting children and strengthening families, videos from national prevention organizations, publications, and the 2014 Prevention Resource Guide: Making Meaningful Connections. Changes or updates to this year's Resource Guide include the following:

    • The 2014 Resource Guide has been refreshed with new information, while maintaining some of its main content structure. It has a different theme and design and updated statistics.
    • Chapter One, "Protective-Factors Approaches to Promoting Well-Being," contains information about protective factors that help reduce child abuse and neglect, established protective factors approaches, and ways in which some State and local agencies are implementing protective factors approaches to create lasting change in how communities support families.
    • This year's guide includes 16 strength-based parent tip sheets—in English and Spanish—that providers can use in discussions or visits with parents and caregivers.
    • Three activity calendars—one each for prevention programs, parents, and community partners—give suggestions for promoting well-being while using protective factors. The calendar, "30 Ways to Promote Child Well-Being," also provides activities to support children and families throughout the entire month of April.

    The Resource Guide is the result of collaboration among the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Children's Bureau, OCAN, Child Welfare Information Gateway, the FRIENDS National Resource Center for Community-Based Child Abuse Prevention, the Center for the Study of Social Policy, and numerous national organizations.

    In addition to the Resource Guide, the Prevention Month website also features a timeline commemorating CAPTA's 40th anniversary, pointing to the major milestones to protect children over the past four decades.

    For more information on CAPTA, the Prevention Month initiative, or to view or order a copy of the Resource Guide, visit the Prevention Month website:

  • Meet the Protective Factors!

    Meet the Protective Factors!

    A photo of a family of five dressed like superheroes draws attention to the five protective factors established by Strengthening Families and promoted via a website created by the Great Start Collaborative and Michigan Strengthening Families. The Strengthening Families Protective Factors Framework is a national research-based initiative that has identified the protective factors that help keep families strong and promote the healthy development of children.

    The Meet the Protective Factors! website provides a downloadable PDF and an explanation about the importance of each of the five protective factors within the Strengthening Families framework. The protective factors include parental resilience, social connections, concrete support in times of need, knowledge of parenting and child development, and social and emotional competence of children. In addition to explaining the protective factors, the website provides tips on how families can establish and build the protective factors within their own family.

    For more information, visit the What Makes Your Family Strong? Meet the Protective Factors! website:

  • New Protective Factors Literature Review

    New Protective Factors Literature Review

    A new research brief explores the important role that protective factors play within the vulnerable populations served by the Administration on Children, Youth and Families (ACYF). Protective factors are conditions or attributes of individuals, families, communities, or the larger society that can promote well-being and reduce the risk for negative outcomes. It is especially important to understand the role these factors play in the following vulnerable populations:

    • Children exposed to domestic violence
    • Homeless and runaway youth
    • Pregnant and parenting teens
    • Victims of child abuse and neglect
    • Youth in and aging out of the foster care system

    In their research, the authors sought to provide a foundation for the development of a protective factors framework that could inform programs and policy to improve outcomes for these populations. To address these questions, a comprehensive literature review on protective factors was conducted and input was requested from a national expert panel, Federal agency officials, and practitioners working with the ACYF population groups.

    As a result of this research, the brief provides graphic models highlighting the protective factors that have the most evidence of influence at the individual, family, and community levels for each of the subgroups within the vulnerable child and youth populations. The document also outlines recommendations to inform current and future initiatives to implement knowledge of protective factors in ACYF policies and practices.

    Promoting Protective Factors for In-Risk Families and Youth: A Brief for Researchers is available here: (496 KB)

    Related Item

    Child Welfare Information Gateway, the information service for the Children's Bureau, recently published a new issue brief titled Protective Factors Approaches in Child Welfare. The issue brief, written in collaboration with the Center for the Study of Social Policy and the Children's Bureau provides an overview of protective factors approaches to the prevention and treatment of child abuse and neglect and is designed to help policymakers, administrators, child welfare and related professionals, service providers, advocates, and others understand the concepts of risk and protective factors in families and communities. The issue brief is available here:

    Recent Issues

  • May 2024

    Spotlight on National Foster Care Month

    Spotlight on National Foster Care Month

  • April 2024

    Spotlight on National Child Abuse Prevention Month

    Spotlight on National Child Abuse Prevention Month

News From the Children's Bureau

A research brief from the Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation highlights the first-year implementation activities of 14 grantees awarded discretionary grants for the Coordination of Tribal Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) and Child Welfare Services to Tribal Families at Risk of Child Abuse or Neglect. We also point to new funding opportunity announcements.

  • Associate Commissioner's Page

    Associate Commissioner's Page

    The following is the monthly message from JooYeun Chang, the Associate Commissioner of the Children's Bureau. Each message focuses on the current CBX Spotlight theme and highlights the Bureau's work on the topic.

    As we launch into April, National Child Abuse Prevention Month, we take the time to remember the more than 6 million children who are brought to the attention of child protective services (CPS) each year. We also know that there are likely more vulnerable children and families who do not come to the attention of CPS. While data points to a steady decrease in child maltreatment substantiations since 2007, we know that there is more work to do, especially around the intersections across neglect, poverty, prevention, intervention, and treatment.

    • Of children with substantiated cases of child abuse and neglect, 78.3 percent of children were neglected.
    • Of child fatalities, 69.9 percent suffered neglect either exclusively or in combination with other maltreatment types.
    • One-year-olds had the highest rate of victimization rate at 21.9 per 1,000 children compared to children of all other ages (9.3 per 1,000).
    • Nearly three-quarters (70.3 percent) of all child fatalities were younger than 3 years.

    We know that child maltreatment and poverty are critical issues in this country for our children. The poverty rate among children is higher than for any other group in the United States. Studies have shown that maltreatment and other adverse childhood experiences increase the risk for negative mental and physical outcomes in adulthood and place children at risk for further harm and even death. But, we also know that effective early prevention efforts are less costly to our nation and to individuals than trying to fix the adverse effects of child maltreatment. By ensuring that parents and communities have the knowledge, skills, and resources they need to care for their children, we can help promote children's social and emotional well-being and prevent child maltreatment within families and communities.

    The Children's Bureau has been investing in a number of research and demonstration projects to generate knowledge around effective practices and programs focused on prevention, early intervention, and the front-end of child welfare. Some of these initiatives releasing final reports in the upcoming year include:

    • Supporting Evidence-Based Home Visiting to Prevent Child Maltreatment – This national evaluation examined the strategies used by 17 organizations in 15 States supported as part of an initiative funded to determine the most critical factors in supporting the implementation of home-visiting models with fidelity, consistent with how the models were intended to be delivered to families with young children. The evaluation also looked at infrastructure-building activities conducted and the role that local and State collaborations play in the replication, scale-up, and sustainability of these models. The full report will soon be available here: 
    • Rigorous Evaluations of Existing Prevention Programs (REECAPP) – In 2009, the Children's Bureau initiated the REECPP grant program. Awards were made to conduct randomized controlled trials (RCTs) of four well established community based child abuse and neglect prevention programs, including home-visiting and parenting programs, located in three regions across the United States. Over the past 5 years, extensive pilot work for each trial was conducted, and participants were recruited, randomized, and followed across time. Findings from each of the studies will be available later this year and help to build the research base on the effectiveness of programs that aim to prevent child abuse and neglect.
    • Quality Improvement Center on Differential Response (QIC-DR) – The QIC-DR was funded in 2008 with the goal of generating and disseminating knowledge on differential response (DR) as a system reform in CPS systems. The QIC-DR supported three research and demonstration sites to implement and evaluate the implementation and outcomes of differential response (DR). Each local evaluation employed random assignment of families, which allowed for a rigorous evaluation design. A multimethod approach that included child welfare administrative data, focus groups, family and caseworker surveys, was developed to answer the research questions. This month, the final report from the QIC-DR cross-site evaluation will be published. The findings of the cross-site report add considerably to the current knowledge base on differential response in four key areas: parent engagement, service provision, child safety, and cost. The results highlight the complexity of the work and systems change efforts in CPS systems.  More information is available here:
    • Quality Improvement Center on Early Childhood (QIC-EC) – The QIC-EC was funded in 2008 to promote the development, dissemination, and integration of new knowledge about how collaborative interventions increase protective factors and decrease risk factors to achieve optimal child development, increased family strengths, and decreased likelihood of child maltreatment within families of young children at high risk for child maltreatment. The QIC-EC funded four research and demonstration projects that targeted families of young children (0–2 years) with diverse risk factors for child maltreatment.  Each innovative project tested a different evidence-based or evidence-informed intervention that incorporated supporting parents to build parental resilience, social connections, knowledge of parenting and child development, concrete support in times of need, and children's social and emotional competence—as well as nurturing and attachment as an independent factor. Findings from the QIC-EC and the four research and demonstration projects will share their findings in the November 2014 issue of the Zero to Three Journal. The final cross-site evaluation report will be available in late summer 2014. More information is available here:

    Each of these projects will present findings from their work at our 19th National Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect in New Orleans, April 30–May 2, 2014.  For more information, please visit:

    We look forward to connecting with you in New Orleans!

  • Research and Evaluation, Virtual Summit Series Updates

    Research and Evaluation, Virtual Summit Series Updates

    Research and Evaluation Workgroup

    In recent issues of Children's Bureau Express, the Children's Bureau introduced the Child Welfare Research and Evaluation Workgroups, three groups of national child welfare experts that were convened by the Bureau after the 2011 National Child Welfare Evaluation Summit. Each workgroup examined a particular evaluation topic with the goal of improving child welfare research and evaluation and strengthening the link between research and practice. In February, publications from two of the three workgroups were released and are available on the Children's Bureau website.

    In March, the third and final workgroup publication was made available.

    Framework Workgroup

    Child welfare programs and services have the potential to improve outcomes for children and families, but sometimes, child welfare systems miss opportunities to determine which interventions work, for whom they are effective, and how they can be consistently implemented. The Bureau convened a group of national experts to create a framework to guide program evaluators, administrators, and funders through the process of building evidence and implementing evidence-supported interventions. The framework is intended to encourage the thoughtful use of evaluation to promote sound decision making. This framework is designed for anyone who implements and evaluates child welfare interventions—whether it's a new intervention, an existing evidence-supported program, or a longstanding practice that has yet to be formally tested. To learn more, download the workgroup's publication A Framework to Design, Test, Spread, and Sustain Effective Practice in Child Welfare:

    Virtual Summit Series

    The Children's Bureau also recently announced the Child Welfare Evaluation Virtual Summit Series, a group of videos that tackle an evaluation topic, propose solutions to common evaluation problems, and direct viewers to additional tools and resources. The first three videos have been released, and subsequent videos will be released through June 2014: 

    • Cost Analysis in Program Evaluation: Cost Analysis in Program Evaluation Parts 1 and 2 discuss why and how to perform cost analysis in child welfare. Dr. Phaedra Corso, a national expert in economic evaluation, and Mike Shaver, a private agency executive, provide a fun and practical introduction to cost analysis, explaining how it can be a helpful tool when integrated with program evaluation. They introduce concepts and steps that can be applied by agency directors and managers, program directors, and evaluators.
    • Casework and Evaluation: Learning From My Success Story: A caseworker recalls one of her most rewarding and successful child welfare cases and explains the unexpected role that evaluation played in delivering the services and supports that made a difference for two teenage girls and their mother. This video is relevant for all stakeholders involved in child welfare evaluation and for child welfare caseworkers, supervisors, managers, and program evaluators in particular.
    • What's the Difference? Constructing Meaningful Comparison Groups: With the help of animated characters, this video uses straightforward language to explain why comparison groups are important. The narrators introduce four common types of comparison groups and describe how and when they can be used to strengthen program evaluation. While potentially useful for a wider audience, the video was designed with agency directors and managers, project directors, and program evaluators in mind.
  • CB Website Updates

    CB Website Updates

    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.

    In addition to the items listed below, the Children's Bureau shared three new videos that highlight the National Youth in Transition Database's data collection efforts on youth aging out of foster care, including findings from the first year of data collection and results from over 17,000 surveys conducted with youth in foster care. The videos are available here:

    Recent additions to the site include:

    For information about the Children's Bureau's 100-year history, download the new e-book, The Children's Bureau Legacy: Ensuring the Right to Childhood:

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

  • Tribal TANF and Child Welfare Services

    Tribal TANF and Child Welfare Services

    In 2011, the Office of Family Assistance awarded demonstration grants to 14 Tribes and Tribal organizations for the Coordination of Tribal Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) and Child Welfare Services to Tribal Families at Risk of Child Abuse or Neglect. In November 2013, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation (OPRE) released a report detailing the first-year implementation activities of the 14 grantees.  

    Grantees served families enrolled or eligible for TANF and at-risk for child abuse or neglect, families already involved with Indian child welfare, and families with a child in foster care. Grantee goals were specific to the needs of the children and families in their respective communities and, therefore, grantee activities and services implemented during the first year were designed to respond to those specific needs. According to the report, system coordination activities were more difficult to implement than grantee direct services activities; however, most grantees implemented their proposed system coordination and services activities in the first year. The most common services provided were family violence prevention, substance abuse and mental health services, and parenting education.

    The OPRE report describes the following: 

    • An overview of Coordination of Tribal TANF and Child Welfare Services grants and grantees
    • Grantee approaches to address coordinated service delivery
    • Services implemented by grantees
    • Project partners
    • Grantee first-year progress

    Coordination of Tribal TANF and Child Welfare Services: Early Implementation is available on the OPRE website: (1 MB)

  • Funding Opportunity Announcements

    Funding Opportunity Announcements

    The Administration on Children, Youth and Families announced new funding opportunity announcements (FOAs) for fiscal year (FY) 2014.

    Information about planned FY 2014 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.

Training and Technical Assistance Update

The National Resource Center for Child Welfare Data and Technology officially released the web section for its Framework for Managing With Data, and we highlight other updates from members of the Children's Bureau's T&TA Network.

  • More Updates From the T&TA Network

    More Updates From the T&TA Network

    The Children's Bureau's Training and Technical Assistance (T&TA) Network continues to produce resources that can help States and Tribes in their work with children and families. Some recent resources are listed below:

  • NRCCWDT's Framework for Managing With Data

    NRCCWDT's Framework for Managing With Data

    The National Resource Center for Child Welfare Data and Technology (NRCCWDT) officially released the web section for its Framework for Managing With Data. The framework, developed in collaboration with several child welfare data managers in the field, is intended to help agencies use data to the best advantage in order to inform practice and performance and improve child welfare outcomes. It provides tools to help agencies refine their data-collection process and focus their efforts so that the data collected are more useful and easily incorporated into business processes.

    With the official release of the framework, NRCCWDT added a wealth of new descriptive information and features to the five framework steps, each of which has its own dedicated webpage:

    • Define an Area of Focus and Key Questions
    • Use Data to Explain
    • Use Data to Select Strategies and Tools
    • Design and Implement Plan
    • Use Data to Monitor/CQI

    Each framework step includes downloadable supplementary PDF materials. A new feature seen throughout the framework web section is the addition of instructional videos that offer in-depth discussion, examples, and guidance on each framework step. See an overview of the Framework for Managing With Data here:

    To access one or all sections of NRCCWDT's framework, visit

  • NRCPFC Youth Permanency Toolkit

    NRCPFC Youth Permanency Toolkit

    The Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997 (ASFA) and the Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008 (FCA) address the importance of achieving permanence for children and youth in foster care and of making permanence a central goal of a child or youth's case plan. While older youth and young adults had previously been directed toward Independent Living services, AFSA and FCA increased the focus on achieving permanence for this population. In order to address this increased focus on youth permanence, the National Resource Center for Permanency and Family Connections (NRCPFC) developed a new online toolkit that touches on various topics related to permanence for youth and young adults in foster care.

    The toolkit gives a brief history of youth permanence and discusses the various definitions of permanence, including professional definitions as well as youth perspectives. The toolkit also draws from neuroscience and other research to touch on developmentally appropriate permanence services for youth. Five core components of youth permanence form the main focus of the toolkit, and each component is discussed in detail and includes an accompanying list of related resources and policy examples. Finally, the kit offers an organizational self-study, which child welfare agencies can use to evaluate policies, practices, and training and technical assistance needs.

    Access the Youth Permanency Toolkit on NRCPFC's website:

Child Welfare Research

We point to research on the feasibility and efficacy of supplementing a new mother's residential substance-abuse treatment with a brief and rigorous attachment-based parenting program, a report on efforts to improve permanence efforts in four States through the use of permanency roundtables, and more.

  • Differential Response in Illinois

    Differential Response in Illinois

    In 2009, the National Quality Improvement Center on Differential Response selected three research and demonstration sites to implement and evaluate differential response (DR). As one of the sites, Illinois conducted an experimental design study in which families with screened-in maltreatment reports who met the State's eligibility for DR services were randomly assigned to the treatment group (DR) or the control group (investigation response). A total of 7,584 families participated in the study, with 41 percent of those assigned to the DR group and 59 percent assigned to the investigation response (IR) group.

    The study team used three primary sources of data: administrative data from the Illinois Statewide Automated Child Welfare Information System (SACWIS), case-specific reports completed by workers, and surveys completed by families. The following are examples of the study's findings:

    • Parent perceptions and child protective services: Parents in the DR group were more likely than parents in the IR group to feel hopeful, comforted, encouraged, and thankful after the initial worker visit and were less likely to feel angry, worried, stressed, disrespected, and discouraged.
    • Service provision: DR cases typically lasted longer than IR cases, and families in the DR group were more likely to report that the type and amount of services they received were enough to help them.
    • Cost analysis: The overall cost of DR cases (initial visit and follow-up) was much lower than the overall cost of IR cases.

    Differential Response in Illinois: Final Evaluation Report is available on the Children and Family Research Center website: (6 MB)

  • Improving Mental Health Services to Children

    Improving Mental Health Services to Children

    According to a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 20 percent of children experience a diagnosable mental health disorder (such as depression, anxiety, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, autism, or Tourette syndrome), but only 21 percent of diagnosed children receive the treatment and services that they need. The research also shows that childhood mental health disorders can be treated and managed more effectively when they are diagnosed and treated early.

    In a new factsheet from the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), Improving Children's Mental Health, authors Kristine Goodwin and Jennifer Saunders discuss many of the barriers to providing appropriate care, such as lack of funding and a shortage of qualified mental health providers. They also present an overview of efforts being made by States to address those barriers. This information may be important to child welfare and related professionals working with children who face additional barriers to the identification and treatment of mental health issues.

    Some State efforts to improve services for children include increasing behavioral health coverage under Medicaid and private insurance programs; expanding workforce capacity through loan repayment programs, enhanced residency programs, and using related professionals, such as social workers and mental and substance abuse counselors; integrating mental health and primary care; and utilizing early identification and intervention programs. Federal programs that support mental health services for children also are discussed.

    The factsheet, produced as part of the NCSL Legisbrief series, is available on the NCSL website: (183 KB)

  • Outcomes of Permanency Roundtables for Youth

    Outcomes of Permanency Roundtables for Youth

    Permanency roundtables (PRTs) have emerged as a strategy for expediting legal permanence for youth. In 2010, Casey Family Programs spearheaded the Multi-Site Accelerated Permanency Project (MSAPP), which used PRTs to improve permanency efforts in 11 counties in four States (Alabama, Colorado, Florida, and Ohio). PRTs are structured meetings that involve various experts, promote "outside the box" thinking, and include the following elements: oral case presentation, rating of the child's permanency status, discussion and brainstorming of current barriers to permanency, and development of a specific action plan. In the summer of 2013, MSAPP released a report on the outcomes for youth within 12 months of their PRT.

    The target population for the project was older youth who faced the most challenges to legal permanency, with many of them having a goal of another permanent planned living arrangement (APPLA). The rates of achieving legal permanency within 12 months for the 726 youth participating in the project ranged from 0 to 26 percent, with an overall rate of 8.5 percent. Most youth (61.6 percent) were still in care, 27 percent had otherwise exited State custody, and 2.9 percent had run away. The report notes that the results indicate that PRTs may not be effective with this population; however, jurisdictions reported that PRTs helped staff develop a greater awareness of the definition of legal permanency, the importance of permanency, and "thinking outside the box" to establish permanency options for youth.

    The Multi-Site Accelerated Permanency Project Technical Report: 12-Month Permanency Outcomes is available on the Casey Family Programs website: (1 MB)

  • Study Examines Attachment-Based Parenting

    Study Examines Attachment-Based Parenting

    The Infant Mental Health Journal recently published findings from a research study that examined the feasibility and efficacy of supplementing a new mother's residential substance-abuse treatment with a brief and rigorous attachment-based parenting program. The randomized trial served as a pilot study and was inspired by previous literature documenting the high levels of interrelatedness between substance abuse and problematic parenting.

    The study randomly assigned 21 new mothers receiving residential substance-abuse treatment to either participate in the Attachment and Biobehavioral Catch-up (ABC) parenting program or to a control group that did not receive this extra training. The ABC program consists of 10 home-based sessions delivered by a parenting coach. The program targets three specific behaviors, including nurturance, following the child's lead, and reducing frightening caregiver behavior.

    All of the mothers participated in a postintervention parenting observation. During these assessments, researchers found that mothers receiving the ABC treatment program displayed significantly more positive behaviors toward their infants than mothers in the control group.

    Results regarding the feasibility of implementing the ABC program were also positive. Researchers found that the residential treatment programs welcomed the opportunity to provide parenting programs to their mothers and that the mothers themselves were enthusiastic about participating. While the results from both the efficacy and feasibility aspects of this study are promising, results should be interpreted with caution given the small sample size.

    "Promoting Supportive Parenting in New Mothers With Substance-Use Problems: A Pilot Randomized Trial of Residential Treatment Plus an Attachment-Based Parenting Program," by Lisa Berlin, Meghan Shanahan, and Karen Carmody, Infant Mental Health Journal, 35(1), 2013, is available here:

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.

  • Improving Outcomes for Youth in Child Welfare, Juvenile Justice

    Improving Outcomes for Youth in Child Welfare, Juvenile Justice

    The recently released Guidebook for Juvenile Justice and Child Welfare System Coordination and Integration: A Framework for Improved Outcomes (3rd Edition), reports on efforts to implement more integrated and collaborative approaches to program development and service delivery for children involved in both the child protection and juvenile justice systems.

    Previous editions of the guidebook examined existing and new research, explored an array of promising approaches, and gathered information on child welfare and juvenile justice integration and reform. In this edition, the authors present the results of numerous case studies of States implementing system reform. The book also provides ideas, resources, tools, and guidance that States can use to bring about long-term, sustainable improvements to the child welfare and juvenile justice systems.

    The guidebook is published by the Robert F. Kennedy Children's Action Corps and is available from the website of the Robert F. Kennedy National Resource Center for Juvenile Justice: (557 KB)

    A companion publication, Dual Status Youth Initiative—Technical Assistance Workbook, offers practical guidance to State and local jurisdictions in implementing the multisystem practices described in the guidebook. Using a technical assistance approach, the workbook presents a month-by-month set of activities that includes analytical tasks, expectations, products, and timelines that map a 12- to 15-month program of systems improvement.

    Dual Status Youth Initiative—Technical Assistance Workbook also is available from the resource center website:  (548 KB)

    These publications were produced as part of Models for Change: Systems Reform in Juvenile Justice, an initiative funded by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation that, in collaboration with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, works to replicate and disseminate successful models of juvenile justice reform in 31 States.

  • Resources to Support LGBTQI2-S Youth, Families

    Resources to Support LGBTQI2-S Youth, Families

    A new toolkit offers a variety of resources for working with children and youth who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning, intersex, and two-spirit, (LGBTQI2-S) and their families. Resources included in the toolkit range from research briefs and reports to practice recommendations and websites and other toolkits and videos. While some resources stem from Federal agencies, a majority are from non-Federal organizations, and all materials are from entities dedicated to improving the treatment, experiences, and outcomes of LGBTQI2-S children and youth.

    The table of contents lists documents by title and author without descriptions. An annotated table of contents includes short descriptions of materials provided. Separate lists are included for videos, online resources, posters and signs, and resources intended for use with families and youth.

    This toolkit was developed with support from the Child, Adolescent and Family Branch (CAFB), Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS), SubstanceAbuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), which in 2008 initiated the National Workgroup to Address the Needs of Children and Youth Who Are LGBTQI2-S and Their Families. 

    Resources to Support Children and Youth Who Are LGBTQI2-S and Their Families is available on the SAMHSA website:

  • Assessing Child Sexual, Physical Abuse

    Assessing Child Sexual, Physical Abuse

    Injuries resulting from child abuse sometimes go unrecognized and misdiagnosed. According to Suspected Child Abuse: Clinical Practice Guideline (CPG), released by the Cardinal Glennon Children's Medical Center in order to reduce the possibility of misdiagnosis, there must be a high index of suspicion in the right clinical situation, as well as strong assessment tools to evaluate children. The CPG outlines the steps and responsible personnel for the assessment process and outlines the clinical pathways (i.e., guidance on clinical studies and consultations that may be conducted and/or ordered if abuse is suspected) to assist in the evaluation process.

    The clinical pathways include documents addressing physical abuse and sexual abuse. The physical abuse materials are divided into three separate documents organized by the age range of the child, including birth to 2 years of age, 2 years of age to 5 years, and children older than 5. The suggested evaluations and consultations include varied skeletal surveys, computed tomography (CT) scans, ophthalmological studies, lab studies, and radiological studies. 

    The clinical pathways sexual abuse materials include documents that address the collection of sexual assault evidence of prepubertal and postpubertal victims of acute sexual assault (assault occurring less than 72 hours prior to presentation), subacute sexual assault (assault occurring between 72 hours and 2 weeks prior to presentation), and nonacute sexual assault (assault occurring greater than 2 weeks prior to presentation), as well as ongoing sexual assault. In addition, guidelines for acute rape prophylaxis and HIV postexposure prophylaxis (the provision of antiretroviral drugs to prevent HIV) are included.

    Suspected Child Abuse: Clinical Practice Guideline (CPG) from the Cardinal Glennon Children's Medical Center, is available here: (1 MB)

  • Promoting Educational Success of Children in Foster Care

    Promoting Educational Success of Children in Foster Care

    Positive educational experiences and academic success can mitigate the negative impact of child maltreatment and placement instability faced by children in foster care. Findings from multiple studies indicate that many children and youth in foster care are not succeeding in school compared to their peers, and that cross-system collaboration among child welfare agencies, the courts, and education is necessary for improving educational outcomes. A recent factsheet by the National Working Group on Foster Care and Education focuses on the importance of establishing a strong educational foundation for children in care and designing effective interventions aimed at enhancing their educational outcomes.

    The factsheet highlights statistics about absenteeism, school suspensions, average reading levels, and high school completion rates for children and youth in foster care. Promising practices of effective early childhood education interventions, programs to promote regular attendance, and preventing serious behavior problems are discussed, in addition to promising policies for enhancing school stability and school enrollment.

    Fostering Success in Education: National Factsheet on the Educational Outcomes of Children in Foster Care is available here:


This CBX section 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.

  • Resources for Working With LGBTQ Youth

    Resources for Working With LGBTQ Youth

    The American Bar Association's (ABA's) Center on Children and the Law, a full-service training, technical assistance, and research program that addresses a wide variety of law- and court-related topics affecting the welfare of children, works on a number of projects aimed at improving outcomes for youth involved with child welfare. One such project is focused specifically on supporting lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) young people in foster care.

    The Opening Doors project provides tools and resources to professionals in the legal and child welfare communities to support their work in improving outcomes for this high-risk population. The project website links to a variety of trainings, publications, and other information, including the companion It's Your Life interactive website (and publication with the same name) for LGBTQ youth. The website was created to help LGBTQ youth in foster care navigate the child welfare system and understand their rights. It also provides a Where to Get Help section for LGBTQ youth that may be in crisis or otherwise in need of assistance with issues pertaining to harassment, violence, discrimination, homelessness, education, health, and sexuality.

    Additionally, the project website provides a section of issue-specific legal updates and connects individuals with other pertinent ABA and non-ABA projects and related groups.

    For more information on the Opening Doors Project, visit the ABA website:

    The accompanying It's Your Life website is accessible here:

    Related Item

    Children's Bureau Express featured a Spotlight on LGBTQ Youth section in the February 2014 issue:

  • Guide to Safe Harbor for Trafficking Victims

    Guide to Safe Harbor for Trafficking Victims

    Human traffickers often target victims from vulnerable populations, including children involved with child welfare. While many State laws allow for the prosecution of juveniles engaging in prostitution regardless of whether the behavior is a result of exploitation, several States have enacted "safe harbor laws" that exempt children from prosecution. Minnesota's safe harbor law was enacted in 2011, and a new guidebook from Minnesota's Department of Public Safety Office of Justice Programs provides information on this emerging approach to working with victims of trafficking.

    The guidebook outlines five key changes to Minnesota's safe harbor law, in addition to a new victim-centered model, No Wrong Door. The model provides recommendations for stakeholders to effectively identify exploited youth and ensure they receive appropriate services and safe housing.

    No Wrong Door: A Comprehensive Approach to Safe Harbor for Minnesota's Sexually Exploited Youth is available here:!2012%20Safe%20Harbor%20Report%20%28FINAL%29.pdf (2 MB)

    Related Item

    Children's Bureau Express featured a Spotlight on Child Welfare and Human Trafficking section in the July/August 2013 issue:

  • Factsheet on Child Trauma

    Factsheet on Child Trauma

    The National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN) released a factsheet for child welfare and related professionals and the public with information about child traumatic stress. The factsheet defines child traumatic stress as the exposure to traumatic events. The resource also describes the consequences of child trauma and indicates that some children may not experience traumatic stress after a traumatic event; however, some children may experience significant reactions that interfere with their daily life and their ability to function or interact with others.

    Additional information details the extent of resources the NCTSN offers through its website, which include products, factsheets, training opportunities, and access to the latest research and resources on child traumatic stress.

    Understanding Child Trauma is available on the National Child Traumatic Stress Network website: (433 KB)

  • Understanding Single-Parent Adoption

    Understanding Single-Parent Adoption

    With the number of adoptions by single men and women increasing over the past 10 years, advocates from A Love Beyond Borders produced a publication that addresses the rewards and challenges of single parent adoption.

    Single Parent Adoption: An Adoption Education Publication asserts that single parents ought to be considered by adoption agencies and birth mothers for their character, strength, and potential parenting capacity, rather than by their marital status. Statistically, domestic adoptions tend to favor couples over singles for placement, which leads many singles to opt for international adoption over domestic. The publication contests the underlying assumption that "all married couples will stay married, […] and all singles will forever remain single" and suggests that empathy for single persons' need to nurture can enhance the potential for successful adoption for children. 

    Single Parent Adoption: An Adoption Education Publication is available on the Love Beyond Borders website: (99 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.