xposure to violence in the home can contribute to behavioral, social, or emotional problems in children. Some families may also experience the co-occurrence of domestic/intimate partner violence and child maltreatment. This month's CBX features resources to help professionals better serve children and families in domestic violence situations.
- Collaboration in Domestic Violence Dependency Cases
Dependency proceedings involving child maltreatment and domestic violence can be complicated and involve several parties, including child welfare agencies, the courts, and domestic violence organizations. Collaboration among all the professionals working with affected families is key to ensuring all family members' needs are met and voices are heard. A recent issue of the Synergy newsletter, published in May of this year, addresses the importance of collaboration among child welfare agencies, the courts, and domestic violence organizations in working toward positive outcomes for children and families affected by domestic violence.
Produced by the Resource Center on Domestic Violence, a project of the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (NCJFCJ), the issue highlights an initiative for encouraging collaboration among the systems involved in cases of co-occurring child maltreatment and domestic violence. The U.S. Departments of Justice and of Health and Human Services funded six demonstration sites from 2000 to 2007 to implement policy recommendations delineated in NCJFCJ's Effective Intervention in Domestic Violence and Child Maltreatment Cases: Guidelines for Policy and Practice, also known as the Greenbook. The issue shares the top 10 lessons learned by the Greenbook demonstration sites, which include the following:
- Collaboration is not an outcome in and of itself, but rather a potential strategy for improving results for families.
- Successful multisystem collaborations require clarity and structure (e.g., adopting a shared leadership model with at least one leader from each discipline).
- Open and ongoing communication is essential.
- A one-size-fits-all approach is not effective in child maltreatment cases involving domestic violence—services should be tailored to meet the unique needs of the family.
Other articles in the issue include a discussion on the domestic violence provisions found in the 2010 Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA), interviews with leaders of State collaboration initiatives, and a spotlight on evidence-based approaches to community collaboration.
Access Synergy, 19(2), on the NCJFCJ website at http://www.ncjfcj.org/resource-library/publications/synergy-vol-19-no-2.
- Resources to Foster Resilience and Healthy Growth in Child Welfare
The National Resource Center on Domestic Violence (NRCDV), funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, published a special collection of resources titled "Fostering Resilience, Respect and Healthy Growth in Child Welfare and Beyond." The tools and resources included in this collection are intended to help create positive environments where children can thrive and increase their resilience throughout their lifetimes.
The collection addresses prevention strategies that focus on fostering healthy behaviors, understanding trauma as it relates to child development, and exploring posttraumatic growth. The collection is available through the National Online Resource Center on Violence Against Women, VAWnet.org, an NRCDV initiative that uses electronic communication technology to enhance efforts to prevent violence against women and intervene more effectively when it occurs. As such, this collection was created with the understanding that an important aspect of working to end gender-based violence is the promotion of healthy attitudes, behaviors, resilience, and well-being for all children to foster nonviolence in future generations.
With resources available for use by young people, parents and caregivers, teachers and school-based professionals, gender-based violence intervention and prevention advocates, other related professionals, and communities and organizations, the collection's resources touch on topics that include the following:
- Children's experiences with gender violence
- Understanding trauma within the context of child development
- Resilience as an innate human capacity
- Healthy relationships and sexuality
- Gender socialization
- Media and digital safety
Access the special collection at http://www.vawnet.org/special-collections/ChildrenResilience.php.
- Enhancing Response of Domestic Violence Programs
Futures Without Violence, the Family and Youth Services Bureau's Family Violence Prevention and Services Program, and the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence collaborated to publish a new resource that shares guidelines and suggestions for improving services to children who have been exposed to domestic violence. The paper explores how providing integrated interventions to the entire family in domestic violence situations—as opposed to separate interventions for children and their protective caregivers—can produce better outcomes for children, protective caregivers, and the family as a whole.
The paper begins by addressing some basic needs of children to help protect them from the effects of violence in the home, such as adults who will listen to, believe in, and shelter them; a sense of routine and normalcy; and learning that domestic violence is wrong and that there are nonviolent ways to resolve conflicts. There is also discussion about the importance of recognizing the resilience and potential of all members in a family affected by domestic violence, as well as the importance of including the voices and perspectives of domestic violence survivors when developing programs.
The resource offers several key considerations to help guide domestic violence programs' work with children, including the following:
- Recognize children as more than just "secondary" victims—they have also experienced trauma, and their needs and rights must be considered along with that of their parents.
- Involve children, youth, and parents in program design.
- Recognize cultural relevance as an essential characteristic of successful programming.
- Ensure that programming is developmentally appropriate.
- Focus on enhancing well-being in addition to safety.
Building off of these considerations, the paper offers three levels of strategies to help guide program development: Getting Started, Next Steps in Program Development, and Continuing to Enhance Your Program. Each of these strategies include specific details regarding overall approach, programming, staffing, training, partnerships, and evaluation/research.
Access Building Promising Futures: Guidelines for Enhancing Response of Domestic Violence Programs to Children and Youth, by Eleanor Lyon, Julia Perilla, and Anne Menard, at https://www.futureswithoutviolence.org/building-promising-futures/.
- Safe Practices for Workers in Domestic Violence Cases
An article in the April 2016 Practice Notes, published by the North Carolina Division of Social Services and the Family and Children's Resource Program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, addresses safe practices for child welfare professionals who are working with families involved in domestic violence cases. The article shares steps and suggestions taken from North Carolina's child welfare policy that child welfare workers can consider to safeguard themselves and others.
The article urges "extreme caution" in domestic violence cases and includes recommendations for mitigating risk and recognizing possible abusers, including specific guidelines for high-risk and threatening situations. The article also addresses guidelines professionals should consider before performing a home visit in a potentially risky situation, triggers that may cause a violent confrontation, and suggestions for what to do when facing a threatening situation, including the following:
- Trust your instincts. If the situation feels unsafe, it probably is.
- Stay calm. The abuser will try to test limits. Do not engage in a confrontation.
- End the visit if the abuser's anger cannot be deescalated by efforts to calm him or her down.
- Always notify the nonoffending parent/adult victim prior to a visit with the perpetrator.
- Always notify the nonoffending parent/adult victim of escalation in the abuser's anger and risk to the children or the nonoffending parent/adult victim.
Access the article "Worker Safety When There Is Domestic Violence" at http://practicenotes.org/v21n2/DV.htm.
- Promising Futures Website
It is estimated that domestic violence is present in 30 to 60 percent of all child abuse cases.1 Given this rate of co-occurrence, it is vital for domestic violence programs to prioritize interventions that address the needs of all family members exposed to domestic violence—both parents and children. Futures Without Violence developed the Promising Futures—Best Practices for Serving Children, Youth, and Parents Experiencing Domestic Violence (Promising Futures) website to help programs do just that. Funded by the Division of Family Violence Prevention of the Family and Youth Services Bureau at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services under the Expanding Services for Children and Youth Exposed to Domestic Violence Program, Promising Futures offers resources—including best practices, evaluation tools, research-informed strategies, and more—to help advocates and domestic violence programs improve and advance their trauma-informed and developmentally appropriate practices. The website is divided into five main sections:
- What Do Kids Need?: Includes general information and statistics about the effects of domestic violence on children and parenting and outlines guiding principles for enhancing services for children and youth
- Program Guidelines: Helps programs examine their infrastructure, physical environment, policies, and practices to better support the mother-child relationship
- Interventions for Children and Youth: Offers a searchable database of promising practices and evidence-based clinical interventions for children and youth to help programs promote healing and resilience among mothers and children together
- Advancing the Field: Provides information for advocates on implementing research-informed practices and trauma-informed strategies and partnering with researchers to document success, as well as a section highlighting innovative leaders in the field
- Tools: Offers resources to assist programs in capacity building (e.g., training curricula, resources for families, tools for research and evaluation)
Access Promising Futures at http://promising.futureswithoutviolence.org/.
1 Edleson, J. L. (1999). Children’s witnessing of adult domestic violence. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 14, 839–870; Herrenkohl, T. I., Sousa, C., Tajima, E. A., Herrenkohl, R. C., & Moylan, C. A. (2008). Intersection of child abuse and children’s exposure to domestic violence. Trauma, Violence and Abuse, 9, 84–89.
Futures Without Violence, the Family and Youth Services Bureau's Family Violence Prevention and Services Program, and the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence collaborated to publish a new guide for improving services to children who have been exposed to domestic violence. Read more in this month's issue of CBX.
- Supporting Survivor Parents Affected by Domestic Violence
The National Center on Domestic Violence, Trauma and Mental Health published a guide for staff in domestic violence programs that offers guidance on engaging survivor parents in conversations about parenting and their children's needs. The guide provides suggestions for working with survivor parents to build their parenting strengths and capacities and, in turn, strengthen the nurturing relationship between the survivor parent and his or her child.
The framework for working with survivor parents presented in the guide is built on approaches that are relationship based, family centered, strengths oriented, and trauma informed. The guide focuses on six specific strategies to help professionals in supportive engagement with parents affected by domestic violence:
- Use empathic inquiry to explore where the parent is emotionally at the moment.
- Practice mindful awareness and self-regulation to retain a sense of composure and maintain presence and engagement with the parent.
- "Be with" the parent: holding and containing strong feelings (e.g., offering a quiet presence, sitting with a parent, or listening without judgment).
- Engage in collaborative exploration during which professionals and parents together work to understand both the parent's and child's needs.
- Strengthen attunement and responsive parenting (e.g., giving specific feedback can help encourage and reinforce positive parent-child interactions).
- Enhance capacity for reflective parenting to help parents step back and reflect on the needs of their children.
Throughout the guide, readers will find self-guided questions, reflection, and real-life examples to help professionals in their conversations with parents, as well as resources for building trauma-informed parent-child practices and an appendix offering suggestions and resources on emotional regulation and relaxation techniques for children and parents.
Guide for Engaging and Supporting Parents Affected by Domestic Violence: Enhancing Parenting Capacity and Strengthening Parent-Child Bonds, by Susan Blumenfeld, 2016, is available at http://www.nationalcenterdvtraumamh.org/2016/04/new-resource-guide-for-engaging-and-supporting-parents-affected-by-domestic-violence/.
The National Domestic Violence Hotline provides tools and immediate support to help people in abusive situations find safety. Callers can access The Hotline, which is confidential and free of cost, 24 hours a day and 7 days per week at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233). For more information, visit http://www.thehotline.org/.
Spotlight on Creating a More Equitable Child Welfare System
Spotlight on Child and Family Services Review, Round 4
News From the Children's Bureau
We highlight a report from the Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation on the prevalence and experiences of intimate partner violence among target populations for adult healthy relationship programs, as well as Arizona's efforts to identify and promote the long-term safety and well-being of child sex trafficking victims.
- 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.
Recent additions to the site include:
- Adoption Savings Data - Provides the first annual report compiling data from State and Tribal title IV-E agencies' reported Adoption Savings, as well as background information on Adoption Savings requirements: http://www.acf.hhs.gov/cb/resource/adoption-savings-data-2015
- Letter to Child Welfare Leaders About Ensuring Educational Stability for Children in Foster Care - This letter from the Administration on Children, Youth and Families provides guidance to child welfare leaders about recent and upcoming policies regarding educational stability for children in foster care: http://www.acf.hhs.gov/cb/resource/child-welfare-leaders-educational-stability-letter
Visit the Children's Bureau website often to see what's new at http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb.
- Arizona's Office for Sex Trafficking Intervention Research
The Arizona State University Office for Sex Trafficking Intervention Research (STIR) is helping the State's child welfare professionals identify and promote the long-term safety and well-being of child sex trafficking victims. With funding from a Children's Bureau grant to address trafficking within the child welfare population, the project aims to (1) identify which system-based child sex trafficking identification method works best for the Arizona child welfare system; (2) develop, implement, and sustain an enhanced array of trainings to increase awareness of child sex trafficking and promote identification; (3) develop multiagency engagement through regular trainings and meetings; and (4) train providers serving trafficked youth in targeted, trauma-informed intervention and treatment protocols that focus on sex trafficking, with the goal of preventing reentry into child sex trafficking situations.
In addition to partnering with Arizona's child welfare agency, STIR worked with a grantee of the Family and Youth Services Bureau's (FYSB's) Runaway and Homeless Youth Program to gain perspective on the overlap that can occur between sex trafficking and survival sex activities among runaway and homeless youth. STIR has also collaborated with the Arizona Administrative Office of the Courts to train juvenile justice professionals on child sex trafficking issues.
STIR's new community website provides information on trauma-focused and victim-centered agencies serving sex trafficking victims throughout the State. Visit the site at http://sextraffickinghelp.com/.
Learn more about STIR and the Children's Bureau's grant to address human trafficking and its other grantees at http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb/resource/discretionary-grant-awards-2014 and in a recent article by FYSB's National Clearinghouse on Families and Youth at http://ncfy.acf.hhs.gov/news/2016/06/children-s-bureau-grant-helps-raise-trafficking-awareness-among-arizona-youth-serving.
- Responding to Intimate Violence in Relationship Programs
A report from the Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation addresses the prevalence and experiences of intimate partner violence (IPV) among target populations for adult healthy relationship programs. The paper is the first in a series produced by the Responding to Intimate Violence in Relationship Programs (RIViR) project, conducted by the Administration for Children and Families. The goal of the RIViR project is to understand how to best identify and address IPV in the context of healthy relationship programming.
The first report in the series explores why IPV is a critical consideration in healthy relationship programming, what Federal healthy relationship programs do, the prevalence of IPV in programs' target populations, the experiences of victims, and what program staff need to understand about domestic and dating violence. The report offers a series of next steps and implications for future healthy relationship program research and practice, including the following:
- Healthy relationship program staff should expect that many program participants have experienced, or are experiencing, IPV.
- IPV is complex, and involvement from domestic violence professionals can enhance the capacity of healthy relationship programs to address it appropriately.
- Future research is needed to understand how experiences of marginalization and justice system involvement may shape IPV in healthy relationship program populations.
The report also includes appendices exploring the RIViR project's study aims and research questions, as well as a project glossary of terms.
Access RIViR Paper #1: Prevalence and Experiences: Intimate Partner Violence Prevalence and Experiences Among Healthy Relationship Program Target Populations, by Tasseli McKay, Julia Cohen, Marni Kan, Anupa Bir, Lexie Grove, and Stacey Cutbush, 2016, at http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/opre/resource/prevalence-experiences-intimate-partner-violence-among-healthy-relationship-program-target-populations.
For more information on the project and to access more reports in this project, visit http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/opre/research/project/responding-to-intimate-violence-in-relationship-programs-rivir.
Find a research brief addressing elements of effective practice for children and youth in therapeutic residential care, a white paper from the American Academy of Pediatrics on abusive head trauma, and more.
- Effective Practice in Therapeutic Residential Care
Casey Family Programs published a research brief that calls for more targeted services for children and youth in therapeutic residential care (TRC), better data to inform appropriate interventions, and more focused consideration of alternative treatment options. The brief summarizes research data on the use of TRC facilities for children and youth and suggests how various interventions and overall systems reform can help ensure more appropriate and targeted services and work toward improved permanency outcomes for children and youth.
The authors note that 14 percent of all youth placed in out-of-home care are placed in TRC settings—group homes, residential treatment centers, or psychiatric residential treatment facilities—serving seven or more children. The brief explains that there has been an evolution in the child welfare field over the last few decades regarding the use of congregate care, and that many States are reconsidering how they use this form of care. TRC facilities have been encouraged to assess their intervention models and the target populations they are designed to serve.
The authors note that children and youth may often be placed in congregate care for reasons that might not be consistent with their actual needs and that there are substantial data gaps regarding the clinical diagnoses of these individuals, the demographic characteristics of their families of origin, and interventions this population may have received prior to entering this more involved level of care. The authors contend that most children and youth can be more appropriately served with less restrictive and less costly treatment.
The brief cites the following TRC interventions as "well-supported" based on current data: Attachment Biobehavioral Catch-Up, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Cognitive Processing Therapy, Coping Cat, Ecologically-Based Family Therapy, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, Multisystemic Therapy for Youth With Problem Sexual Behavior, PAX Good Behavior Game, and Trauma-Focused CBT. However, the brief concludes that better research data would help the field discern which interventions are most useful for children and youth with specialized needs and encourages the routine evaluation of such measures to better inform child welfare practice.
Elements of Effective Practice for Children and Youth Served by Therapeutic Residential Care, by Peter J. Pecora and Diana J. English, 2016, can be accessed at http://www.casey.org/residential-care/.
A summary of key elements of effective TRC and related infographics are also available at http://www.casey.org/media/residential-care-infographic.pdf (862 KB).
- Needs of Infants in Child Abuse and Neglect Court Cases
A new court-based program designed to improve outcomes for infants in child abuse proceedings has issued an initial report indicating early positive results and including recommendations for improvement. The Strong Starts Court Initiative, launched in June 2015 by the Center for Court Innovation in the Bronx Family Court, aims to help reduce the negative impacts that infants and very young children experience as a result of child welfare proceedings.
The Strong Starts initiative has four goals:
- To develop a specialized court approach that will increase the court's ability to help children age 3 years and younger and their families who are involved with the Bronx Family Court
- To assess and understand the court-related needs of infants and children under age 3 and their families
- To improve service delivery to this highly vulnerable population
- To help reunite court-involved infants or very young children and their families
The program model includes a dedicated presiding judge in the Bronx Family Court who oversees eligible cases, which include child abuse and neglect cases in the very early stages—before the fact-finding and dispositional hearings—and involve at least one child 3 years old or younger. Cases can be referred by either the presiding judge or an attorney on the case. Cases where there are older siblings involved are not eligible. The Strong Starts program is staffed by one full-time coordinator who works with clients and all involved parties. The program engages clients in comprehensive screenings and assessments, individual and family case management, community-based referrals for children and adults, and monthly court appearances.
Parents involved with the initiative reported that their court cases were handled fairly; that the Strong Starts coordinator was a welcome advocate for both themselves and their children; and that they received a range of referrals for jobs, parenting, mental health, substance use, early intervention for children, and medical needs.
The following are among the report's recommendations:
- An administrative database should be established to evaluate program success.
- Formal program protocols need to be developed to address client noncompliance and promote consistency.
- Dedicated attorneys and service providers should be assigned in addition to the dedicated judge.
- Client and stakeholder feedback should be solicited.
Read Meeting the Needs of Infants in Child Abuse and Neglect Cases—A Process Evaluation of the Strong Starts Court Initiative at http://www.courtinnovation.org/sites/default/files/documents/SSCI_Report.pdf (482 KB).
- Abusive Head Trauma in Infants and Children
A white paper from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) explains the phenomenon of abusive head trauma (AHT) in infants and young children and identifies a variety of AHT-related injuries. The paper defines AHT as "a well-recognized constellation of brain injuries caused by the direct application of force to an infant or young child resulting in physical injury to the head and/or its contents." It details the various signs of AHT, including subdural hematoma, retinal hemorrhages, and hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy. The paper also provides a discussion of controversy surrounding the use of the "triad" of subdural hematoma, retinal hemorrhage, and encephalopathy to diagnose AHT. Data presented were compiled from the practices of pediatricians, neurologists, ophthalmologists, critical care doctors, radiologists, neuroradiologists, physiatrists, and neurosurgeons.
Understanding Abusive Head Trauma in Infants and Children, by Cindy W. Christian and AAP's Committee on Child Abuse and Neglect and Section on Child Abuse and Neglect, is available at http://www2.aap.org/sections/childabuseneglect/PDFs/Understanding_AHT_Infants_and_Children.pdf (559 KB).
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.
- Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Decision-Making Guide
The National Center for Injury Prevention and Control's Division of Violence Prevention, part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, issued a new technical package on preventing child abuse and neglect, featuring strategies that are designed to be implemented in a multilevel approach that cuts across health, education, justice, social services, business, and government sectors. Intended to help guide and inform prevention decision-making in communities and States, this resource recommends select child abuse and neglect prevention strategies based on the best available evidence, including:
- Stronger economic supports for families (e.g., boosting financial support measures for families, family-friendly work policies)
- Support for parents and education on positive parenting (e.g., public education campaigns, legislative approaches to reduce corporal punishment)
- Access to quality care and education early in life (e.g., preschool enrichment, family engagement, licensing/accreditation of child care)
- Education for parents to promote children's healthy development (e.g., home visitations in early childhood, parenting skills)
- Interventions to reduce harms and prevent future risk (e.g., improved primary care, parental behavior training programs)
Access Preventing Child Abuse and Neglect: A Technical Package for Policy, Norm, and Programmatic Activities at http://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/pdf/can-prevention-technical-package.pdf (4 MB).
- Special Initiative: National Hispanic Heritage Month
Each year, National Hispanic Heritage Month, from September 15 to October 15, celebrates the histories, cultures, and contributions of the United States' Hispanic/Latino community. Starting in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week under President Lyndon Johnson, the initiative was expanded and made into law by President Ronald Reagan in 1988. The dates were chosen to honor several Latin American countries that celebrate their independence day on or near September 15.1
While at a national level, Hispanic children are slightly underrepresented in child welfare, there are significant State and regional differences in representation.2 It is important for child welfare professionals who work with Hispanic families to be aware of and sensitive to the concerns of these families and the barriers they face, such as language or cultural differences. Being trained in cultural competence and providing families with materials and information in their native language can help child welfare professionals better serve this population.
Child welfare cases involving immigration issues can be particularly challenging due to many professionals' unfamiliarity with immigration issues, changing legislation, and a lack of resources for addressing the unique challenges that arise in these cases. Immigration issues vary from State to State, data on the immigration status of parents and families are not uniformly collected, and some States may not collect information at all. Also, some families may be reluctant to voluntarily share their immigration status out of fear of government systems.
For more information on working with Hispanic families, see the following resources:
- Nuestra Familia, Nuestra Cultura: Promoting & Supporting Latino Families in Adoption and Foster Care
http://adoptuskids.org/_assets/files/NRCRRFAP/resources/nuestra-familia-nuestra-cultura.pdf (848 KB)
The Center on Immigration and Child Welfare
- Unaccompanied Immigrant Children
Child Welfare Information Gateway
- Helping Immigrant Families Overcome Challenges
- Immigration and Child Welfare
The Committee for Hispanic Children and Families, Inc. (http://www.chcfinc.org/)
National Resource Center for Permanency and Family Connections
- Cultural Competence
- Latino Issues in Child Welfare
1 Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua celebrate their independence day on September 15, while Mexico and Chile celebrate on September 16 and 18, respectively (http://www.hispanicheritagemonth.gov/about/).
2 Dettlaff, A. (2011). Disproportionality of Latino children in child welfare. In D.K. Green (ed.), Challenging racial disproportionality in child welfare: Research, policy & practice (pp. 119–129).
- Nuestra Familia, Nuestra Cultura: Promoting & Supporting Latino Families in Adoption and Foster Care
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.
- Financial Education Tool for Parents, Caregivers
A new resource from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau aims to help parents and caregivers educate the children and youth in their care about positive money skills, habits, and attitudes. Created for use with children and youth of all ages, the Money as You Grow website offers age-appropriate activities and conversation starters caregivers can use to broach a number of topics related to planning and problem solving, waiting for what they want, making good choices, and thinking about the future.
The tool includes sections for early childhood (ages 3 to 5), middle childhood (ages 6 to 12), and teen years and young adulthood (ages 13 to 21). It also includes tips and information for parents and caregivers about how children develop money skills according to their developmental stages, as well as common questions and answers children may have about money.
Access the Money as You Grow website at http://www.consumerfinance.gov/money-as-you-grow/.
- Guidelines for Pediatric Sexual Abuse Medical Forensic Examinations
The U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Violence on Women (OVW), published a set of protocols for forensic medical examinations of children suspected to have experienced sexual abuse. A National Protocol for Sexual Abuse Medical Forensic Examinations—Pediatric is a guide for health-care providers who conduct sexual abuse medical forensic examinations of prepubescent children and for professionals and entities that coordinate with health-care providers to arrange for such procedures. OVW funded the International Association of Forensic Nurses to develop the pediatric version of the guidelines—previously issued guidelines (PDF - 893 KB) focused on adults and adolescents. The advisory committee included child abuse pediatricians, pediatric sexual assault nurse practitioners, children's hospitals, hospital emergency departments, children's advocacy centers, law enforcement agencies, and prosecutors.
The protocol offers recommendations to establish the standardized examination of prepubescent children suspected to have experienced sexual abuse and to coordinate across disciplines to best serve the needs of children and their families. The medical examination is designed to address victims' health-care needs, promote healing, and serve as important forensic information in legal proceedings to prosecute perpetrators of sexual violence. Guidelines include specific considerations for how best to treat children during the sensitive process of the forensic examination as well as examination directions.
Access A National Protocol for Sexual Abuse Medical Forensic Examinations—Pediatric at http://c.ymcdn.com/sites/www.kidsta.org/resource/resmgr/Docs/national_pediatric_protocol_.pdf (2 MB).
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.
- Webinar on Developing Trauma-Informed Agencies
The National Child Welfare Workforce Institute (NCWWI) posted the recording and materials from a webinar that encourages the development of trauma-informed child welfare agencies nationwide, using the experience of the Waupaca County Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) as its model. The webinar, Becoming a Trauma-Informed Child Welfare Agency—The Waupaca County Journey, is the sixth installment in the NCWWI national webinar series designed to "mind the gap" and address workforce challenges impacting child welfare organizations across the country.
Chuck Price, Director of the Waupaca County DHHS, explains in the webinar that DHHS intentionally embraced a new philosophy of infusing trauma-informed care across the agency as opposed to merely launching a new program. DHHS made the recruitment of the "right" leadership team and a hand-picked staff a top priority in developing "a center of excellence" for trauma-informed care. In addition, DHHS drafted a leadership charter for modeling trauma-informed care, including the following nine principles:
- Partner with clients
- Be welcoming
- Respect human rights
- Be strength based
- Earn trust
- Offer a helping hand
- Promote safety
- Be person centered
- Share power
As part of its effort to adopt a trauma-informed culture, DHHS asked all of its staff members to take the Adverse Childhood Experiences personal inventory to help foster empathy between DHHS staff and those they are serving. The webinar emphasizes that agency culture and recruiting "the right people" are essential in bringing about the culture shift necessary to move to a trauma-informed approach, and it offers the following observations:
- Leadership buy-in is essential.
- The entire agency must be trauma informed.
- All partners should be engaged early on.
The webinar shares the activities and trainings that have been offered to DHHS staff to promote professional development and employee retention. To access the webinar recording, PowerPoint presentation, and other webinar materials, visit http://ncwwi.org/index.php/link/256-mind-the-gap-6-becoming-a-trauma-informed-child-welfare-agency-the-waupaca-county-journey.
Upcoming national conferences on child welfare and adoption through December 2016 include:
- 28th Annual ATTACh Conference
Association for Training on Trauma and Attachment in Children (ATTACh)
September 22–25, St. Louis, MO
- NCCD Conference on Children, Youth, and Families: Creating Solutions
National Council on Crime and Delinquency (NCCD)
October 4–6, Garden Grove, CA
- ISS-USA's 6th Annual Fall Conference
"The Ties That Bind: Exploring the Causes and Consequences of Children Separated From Their Families Across International Borders"
International Social Service (ISS) - USA Branch/University of Maryland School of Social Work
October 13, Baltimore, MD
- Together We Can Conference
Pelican Center for Children and Families, Louisiana Supreme Court/CIP Program; Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services - Children's Justice Act; LouisianaChildren.org; Louisiana Children's Trust Fund; National Association of Social Workers, Louisiana Chapter
October 24–26, Lafayette, LA
- Inter-Agency Council on Child Abuse and Neglect (ICAN) Nexus XXl
"Violence Within the Home and Its Effects on Children"
ICAN and ICAN Associates
October 26, Pasadena, CA
- National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth 2016 Conference
National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth
October 29–November 1, Orlando, FL
- APHA's 2016 Annual Meeting and Expo
American Public Health Association (APHA)
October 29–November 2, Denver, CO
- International Conference on Innovations in Family Engagement
Kempe Center for the Prevention and Treatment of Child Abuse and Neglect
November 1–4, Ft. Worth, TX
- 2016 JuST Conference
Shared Hope International
November 9–11, National Harbor, MD
- ZERO TO THREE’s Annual Conference 2016
ZERO TO THREE
December 7–9, New Orleans, LA
Further details about national and regional child welfare and adoption conferences can be found through the Conference Calendar Search feature on the Child Welfare Information Gateway website at http://www.childwelfare.gov/calendar/index.cfm.
- 28th Annual ATTACh Conference