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Dec/Jan 2009Vol. 9, No. 10Spotlight on Leadership in Child Welfare

This month, CBX focuses on child welfare leadership and its impact on the workforce. Read about two CB-funded Institutes that are effecting change this area, and find out more about leadership preparation and training.

Issue Spotlight

  • Workforce Institute Launches With Ambitious Program

    Workforce Institute Launches With Ambitious Program

    The National Child Welfare Workforce Institute (NCWWI) was recently funded by the Children's Bureau as a 5-year project to raise national awareness about child welfare workforce issues and cultivate leadership at multiple levels within child welfare agencies, expanding the skills and knowledge of professionals in public, private, and Tribal child welfare systems. As a member of the Children's Bureau Training and Technical Assistance (T&TA) Network, the NCWWI will serve as a workforce resource to other members that provide T&TA to States and Tribes.

    "We know that child welfare workforce issues have a real impact on outcomes for children and families," noted NCWWI Project Director Nancy Dickinson, Ph.D. "For instance, high turnover among caseworkers has been linked to higher rates of repeat maltreatment and slower permanency. And we also know that mid-manager and supervisory leadership is key to building a healthy workforce."

    Staff members on the NCWWI project have an interesting history together. Almost all are faculty from social work schools at eight universities around the country funded by the Children's Bureau in 2003 as grantees for "Developing Models of Effective Child Welfare Staff Recruitment and Retention Training." During their 5-year projects, the eight grantees were able to share information and develop strong working relationships. This established collaboration has given the group a running start as they launch the NCWWI. Their newest partner, the National Indian Child Welfare Association, adds important expertise related to Tribal systems.

    The Institute will undertake a broad range of activities to promote effective child welfare practice and leadership development. Early in the NCWWI's first year, project staff are focusing on knowledge assessment and management (KAM) in an effort to assemble a comprehensive collection of best practices in workforce development, leadership, and cultural competence. Content for competency-based training curricula and other resources will grow out of this KAM effort. Other components of the NCWWI will include:

    • A Leadership Academy for Managers that will provide residential training for 622 mid-level child welfare managers at 5 sites around the country over 5 years
    • A Leadership Academy for Supervisors that will provide online training for child welfare supervisors
    • Funding and oversight of child welfare traineeship programs at nine M.S.W. and B.S.W. universities, where participating students will have field placements in child welfare, enroll in relevant classes, and work in a child welfare agency upon graduation (see "Workforce Grants for M.S.W. and B.S.W. Programs" in this issue)
    • Development of peer-to-peer networks among individual manager and supervisor groups, university faculty, B.S.W. and M.S.W. students and, eventually, at a more inclusive, national level
    • A national dissemination network
    • An extensive project evaluation and cross-site evaluation of five other regionally based workforce projects funded by the Children's Bureau

    All of these NCWWI components will be grounded in a systems of care framework. Training will focus on helping child welfare leaders bring about systemic change at all levels—from university programs to child welfare agencies to States, Tribes, and national networks. The goal is to change organizational climates to incorporate the following:

    • An intentional focus on recruitment and retention of a qualified child welfare workforce
    • Leadership planning and preparation
    • Distributed leadership within an organization so that staff at all levels feel they have a voice
    • A supportive environment for supervisors and caseworkers

    Leading the effort is the University at Albany, State University of New York, which is joined by the University of Denver, Fordham University, University of Iowa, Michigan State University, University of Michigan, University of North Carolina, University of Southern Maine, and the National Indian Child Welfare Association. Co-principal investigators are Mary McCarthy, Ph.D., and Katharine Briar-Lawson, Ph.D.

    For more information on the NCWWI, contact Nancy Dickinson at ndickins@email.unc.edu.

    Many thanks to Nancy Dickinson, who provided the information for this article.

  • The National Child Welfare Leadership Institute Trains Future Leaders

    The National Child Welfare Leadership Institute Trains Future Leaders

    The National Child Welfare Leadership Institute (NCWLI) is a 17-month project created to provide leadership training to mid-level child welfare managers in public and Tribal agencies around the country. Training focuses on the use of evidence-based management skills to implement organizational change and includes group training events and individual technical assistance. The project is currently in its final phase, with funding ending in February 2009.

    Funded through a cooperative agreement with the Children's Bureau, the NCWLI is a project of the Social Research Institute at the College of Social Work, University of Utah. Partners include Independent Living Resources, Inc., American Humane Association, the National Implementation Research Network, and the University of South Florida (USF). Norma Harris, Ph.D., serves as project director and Ray Kirk, Ph.D., as co-principal investigator.

    The project began with a review of the leadership literature, which led project staff to target leadership change as the project's focus, incorporating a "stages of change" model adapted for child welfare. Project staff also chose to focus on mid-level managers, since these managers will be the ones taking leadership positions when current child welfare leaders retire. Eighty-eight mid-level managers nominated by their CEOs or Tribal leaders were accepted into the program. Before they began the initial training, participants were asked to present a change initiative they wanted to implement in their own agency. The change initiatives covered a wide range of child welfare topics, from implementing systems of care in child welfare, to improving CPS interactions with juvenile court, to implementing uniform safety, risk, and family assessment practices.

    The leadership training has occurred in four phases:

    • A 5-day training event. In the first training event, held at four locations around the country, participants spent 2 days developing leadership skills and 2 days exploring how these leadership skills could be applied in two topical areas: family assessment (including engagement, formal assessment, and family-centered practice) and disproportionality in child welfare (including disparity and building cultural competency and responsiveness). On the final day, participants used their new skills to design a plan for their own change initiative.
    • A 3-month transfer of learning. During this phase, trainees began their change initiatives within their agencies. Project staff developed a private website for each of the four training sites to give trainees the opportunity to share information about their initiatives. Project staff also provided technical assistance over the websites and held teleconferences every 2 weeks.
    • A 3-day training event. For the second onsite training event, project staff conducted a review and held training sessions on program evaluation, dealing with the media and the public, and recognizing and anticipating secondary stress among CPS workers.
    • A 5-6 month implementation phase. The project is currently in this phase. Participants are continuing with the implementation of their change initiatives, and project staff are offering intensive technical assistance. Project staff also developed a series of webcasts on child welfare topics.

    Researchers from the Florida Mental Health Institute at USF are evaluating the project. The training modules were evaluated after every session, and this information was used to make adjustments in the materials used for later trainings. While USF researchers are conducting the overall project evaluation, the co-principal investigators hope to collect information on the participants' individual projects to find out how their initiatives changed their agencies and, eventually, outcomes for children and families.

    Anecdotal feedback to date has been extremely positive. Participant reactions include, "This is the best professional development experience I've ever had," and "I now have hope and optimism so I can do the job," as well as other similar responses. Project staff report strong commitment and enthusiasm among participants for the training, their individual change initiatives, and the child welfare field in general.

    For more information about the NCWLI or to learn more about the training curriculum and materials, visit the NCWLI website at www.ncwli.org or contact Norma Harris at Norma.Harris@socwk.utah.edu.

    Many thanks to Norma Harris, who provided the information for this article.

  • Workforce Grants for M.S.W. and B.S.W. Programs

    Workforce Grants for M.S.W. and B.S.W. Programs

    The newly funded National Child Welfare Workforce Institute (see "Workforce Institute Launches With Ambitious Program" in this issue) will be issuing a Request for Proposals (RFP) for Child Welfare Traineeship Projects in B.S.W. and M.S.W. programs in December 2008. The traineeship projects will support educational experiences to teach and reinforce core competencies in child welfare practice and leadership and help public and Tribal agencies recruit and retain qualified staff.

    Nine university programs will be selected, and implementation will begin in fall 2009. Each program will receive $110,000 for each of 5 years to support child welfare education for current or prospective practitioners enrolled or planning to enroll. For more information, visit:

    www.charityadvantage.com/iaswr/pre%20announce.pdf (214 - KB)

  • Preparing for Successful Transitions in Leadership

    Preparing for Successful Transitions in Leadership

    As organizations grow and mature, they will inevitably face a change in leadership. Good succession planning can help organizations prepare for that change in ways that can strengthen the organization while preserving essential external relationships.

    A new publication from the Annie E. Casey Foundation (AECF) presents three models of succession planning designed particularly for nonprofits. Building Leaderful Organizations: Succession Planning for Nonprofits provides nonprofit boards and executive directors a framework for succession planning activities that can help the organization make a smooth leadership transition.

    The first section contains extended explanations of the three approaches to succession planning: strategic leader development, emergency succession, and departure-defined succession planning. The second part looks at issues that organizations may face when planning for succession. The last section offers tools and resources that have been developed by leadership consultants.

    This monograph is the sixth volume in a series on executive transitions and executive transition management. It was written by Tim Wolfred of CompassPoint Nonprofit Services and is available on the AECF website:

    www.aecf.org/~/media/Pubs/Other/B/BuildingLeaderfulOrganizationsSuccessionPlann/Building%20Leaderful%20Organizations.pdf (244 - KB)

    Related Item

    An article in Children's Voice magazine outlines the leadership succession process undertaken by one child welfare agency. "Exiting Executives," by Jennifer Michael, describes the succession planning of a Texas agency that was fortunate enough to have the time and expertise to develop a plan when its executive director announced his impending retirement. Jeff Bormaster, a Child Welfare League of America (CWLA) senior consultant who worked with the agency, has helped child welfare agencies nationwide with succession planning. Bormaster advises that boards take responsibility for succession planning and begin planning 18 months out. This article outlines the 10-step model succession process that Bormaster provides agency boards.

    To read about how the Texas agency developed their strategic plan, access the full article, "Exiting Executives," in the Nov/Dec 2007 issue of Children's Voice on the CWLA website:

    www.cwla.org/voice/0711management.htm

  • Emerging Leaders Contributing to the Adoption Field

    Emerging Leaders Contributing to the Adoption Field

    The National Child Welfare Resource Center for Adoption (NCWRCA) continues preparing emerging minority leaders through its groundbreaking Minority Adoption Leadership Development Institute (MALDI). The Institute's primary goal is to increase the leadership capacities of potential emerging minority leaders from States across our nation that have the largest number of children of color awaiting adoption and high rates of disproportionality. The Institute also informs practice and promotes new perspectives for increasing permanency options for children and families in the child welfare system.

    The Institute will convene its final onsite learning session December 1-3, 2008, in Washington, DC. With this final learning session, the second phase of MALDI will be completed. Phase I of MALDI convened in 2005-2006 and included nine individuals. With both phases completed, a total of 18 emerging leaders from across the country will have participated in two 2-day onsite learning sessions of leadership and technical skills training. Furthermore, all emerging leaders will have been mentored by a State Adoption Program Manager; engaged in a leadership assessment process; and participated in a problem solving, on-the-job project guided by their training in the plan-do-study-act model. These projects are designed to inform practice while offering new perspectives for increasing permanency options for children and families in the child welfare system.

    In follow-up interviews conducted 1 year after their participation in MALDI Phase I, respondents were asked to tell if their MALDI experience effectively addressed their goals in developing leadership skills. One hundred percent rated their experience as either "very effective or effective." Slightly more than 55 percent reported that the MALDI experience resulted in changes in their job role or title. Approximately 78 percent of the participants reported the MALDI experience was "very useful" in preparing emerging leaders in adoption.

    In the 2-day learning session for Phase II, faculty will present information on Grant Writing 101, Leadership in Adoption - Change From the Middle, Leading With the Youth Perspective, and Overcoming Barriers in Minority Adoption-Disproportionality. These topics, along with the areas covered in the first Institute (October 2006), will round out the emerging leaders foundational training for increasing awareness and knowledge in adoption leadership within the public child welfare system.

    The finale for MALDI Phase II will consist of presentations from the nine participants sharing outcomes from their year-long, on-the-job projects. They also will be given the opportunity to reflect on their MALDI experience of preparing emerging leaders who have the challenge to continue informing and contributing to the field of adoption leadership within the child welfare system.

    We encourage you to visit the MALDI pages to review the findings from the participants' on-the-job projects as well as archived tapings of the onsite learning sessions at the NCWRCA website:

    www.nrcadoption.org/maldi/index.html

    Many thanks to Natalie Lyons and Janice King of the NCWRCA for submitting this article.

    Related Item

    CBX last wrote about MALDI in "Increasing Minority Leadership in Child Welfare" (September 2007).

  • Leadership Impacts Job Satisfaction Among Social Workers

    Leadership Impacts Job Satisfaction Among Social Workers

    A new study in the journal Administration in Social Work found that social workers' perceptions of leader behavior significantly affected job satisfaction. A national sample of 833 practicing social workers rated their supervisors on measures of expected and actual leadership behavior and also rated their own job satisfaction. A larger difference between social workers' expectations and perceptions of their supervisor's leadership behaviors was associated with greater job dissatisfaction. Respondents gave the lowest job satisfaction ratings in the following areas:

    • Opportunities for promotion
    • Amount of funding for programs
    • Quality of supervision received
    • Leadership behavior of supervisor
    • Supervisor's recognition of work

    The study's authors note that many workers in social service agencies are placed in leadership roles with little formal preparation, which can result in greater dissatisfaction for both supervisors and their employees. To increase levels of satisfaction in this area, agencies should focus on improving leadership development through job training and other learning opportunities, as well as partnering with schools of social work to offer more leadership courses. Agencies may also consider adopting a total quality management approach, which requires leaders to engage their employees in quality improvement efforts and emphasizes issues such as customer satisfaction, team building, organizational communication, and staff training.

    "Organizational Leadership and Its Impact on Social Workers' Job Satisfaction: A National Study," by Kathy Elpers and David J. Westhuis, was published in Administration in Social Work, Vol. 32(3) and is available online:

    www.haworthpress.com/store/ArticleAbstract.asp?sid=RT6N7QBD1C258KGGU2NF517J466J8NPF&ID=111363

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News From the Children's Bureau

The President signs child welfare legislation, and CBX links you to a Tribal site visit, T&TA resources, evaluation information on ILPs, and more.

  • From the Associate Commissioner's Office

    From the Associate Commissioner's Office

    Welcome to the December/January issue of Children's Bureau Express. As the year comes to a close, we at the Children's Bureau (CB) are taking this opportunity to not only look back at what we have accomplished, but to look ahead to the coming months. Since the passage of the Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008 (P.L. 110-351), CB has issued a Program Instruction (www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb/laws_policies/policy/pi/2008/pi0805.htm) and an Information Memorandum (www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb/laws_policies/policy/im/2008/im0803.htm), both of which are posted on our website. CB also has conducted two informational teleconferences for States and Tribes. I encourage you to check the Children's Bureau website often as we will continue to provide guidance over the coming months to both the States and the Tribes around this new law.

    The Children's Bureau also is in the midst of implementing the second round of the Child and Family Services Review (CFSR) process. To date, all States, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico have completed their first-round 2-year CFSR Program Implementation Plan (PIP) period resulting from the first round CFSRs conducted from 2001 to 2004. The second round of CFSRs began in 2007. To date, CB has completed 32 CFSRs, and the remaining 20 CFSRs will occur during FYs 2009 and 2010. As with the first round, all States that have thus far completed their second round CFSR will be required to develop a PIP, and CB is actively engaged with States in this process to ensure the safety, permanency, and well-being of children.

    November was National Adoption Month and a wonderful time to honor both the dedicated professionals who work to find homes for the children in foster care as well as the families who have opened their hearts to these children. States continue to make great strides in finding permanent homes for children in foster care. Twenty-one States earned awards from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for increasing the number of children adopted from foster care in FY 2007 through our Adoption Incentives program. States use these Adoption Incentive awards to enhance their child welfare programs. So far, States have reported that over 51,000 adoptions were finalized in FY 2007. This number is an increase of over 1,000 adoptions from the same point in time for FY 2006. And as States can report finalized adoptions at any time, we expect this number to increase over time.

    This issue of the CBX includes a Spotlight on Child Welfare Leadership and its impact on the workforce. CB has recently awarded new funding in this area, including a 5-year cooperative agreement to support a National Child Welfare Workforce Institute to strengthen the child welfare workforce among public, private, and Tribal child welfare systems. I encourage you to read the articles in the Spotlight to learn more about current resources and new opportunities in this area.

    Thank you for subscribing to CBX, and I encourage you to share this newsletter with others who may benefit from these resources. I wish you a safe and happy holiday season.

    Christine M. Calpin
    Associate Commissioner
    Children's Bureau

  • Evaluation of Two Independent Living Programs

    Evaluation of Two Independent Living Programs

    Evaluations of two Los Angeles Independent Living Programs (ILPs) funded under the John H. Chafee Foster Care Independence Program (CFCIP) have implications for improving ILPs to better help youth preparing to live independently. Evaluations were recently conducted on the Life Skills Training (LST) program and the Early Start to Emancipation Preparation (ESTEP) Tutoring program.

    The LST program is a 5-week curriculum at 19 community colleges designed to help foster youth with seven competency skill areas: education, employment, daily living skills, survival skills, choices and consequences, interpersonal/social skills, and computer/Internet skills. The impact of the LST program was measured by such factors as education, employment, and economic well-being using pre- and posttest assessments with 482 17-year-old foster youth, half of whom participated in LST. Results showed that LST had little or no positive impact on any of the concrete indicators of successful transition to adulthood.

    The study's authors suggest that classroom-based ILPs may not be the most effective way to prepare foster youth for the transition to adulthood. Instead, foster youth benefit from numerous sources of independent living assistance, including their biological parents and other family members, teachers and schools, foster parents, and caseworkers.

    The ESTEP Tutoring program was created in 1998 to improve the reading and math skills of foster youth. ESTEP Tutoring is provided through 12 community colleges by college student tutors and offered primarily in the foster youths' homes. Among 445 foster youth, approximately half of whom participated in ESTEP Tutoring, there were no significant changes over time in academic grades. In addition, few long-term mentoring relationships developed between foster youths and their tutors.

    Results from the ESTEP study highlight the educational difficulties many foster youth continue to face and the need for more evaluation of the services and programs available to this population.

    The Foster Care Independence Act of 1999 mandated the evaluation of ILPs funded under the CFCIP. To fulfill this mandate, the Children's Bureau contracted with the Urban Institute, Chapin Hall Center for Children at the University of Chicago, and the National Opinion Research Center to evaluate the LST program and the ESTEP Tutoring program. The full evaluations are available on the ACF Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation website:

    Related Item

    For more about ILPs, read "Review of Tools Assessing Independent Living Programs" in this issue.

  • Adoption Campaign Reinforces "You Don't Have to Be Perfect"

    Adoption Campaign Reinforces "You Don't Have to Be Perfect"

    The Ad Council, in partnership with the Children's Bureau and AdoptUsKids, recently launched its newest series of public service announcements (PSAs) designed to promote the adoption of teens from foster care. The ads are the latest in a continuing series of PSAs produced by the partnership. The light-hearted ads carry a serious message: "You don't have to be perfect to be a perfect parent. There are thousands of teens in foster care who would love to put up with you."

    The radio, television, and print ads draw on easily recognizable teenage experiences to make their point. Print ads show a series of greeting cards with humorous messages from a teen to a parent; for instance, a card with a photo of a soccer ball is accompanied by the message, "Mom, you're the best, even though you sometimes cheer for the wrong team."

    The PSAs will help to raise public awareness about the 496,000 children in foster care, especially the 130,000 awaiting adoption, many of whom are teens. Often, prospective parents are reluctant to consider adopting a teenager, so these ads are designed to open prospective families' minds and hearts to that possibility.

    To read the Ad Council press release and preview the ads, visit the Ad Council website:

    www.prnewswire.com/mnr/adcouncil/35825/

  • Community-Based Services for Tribal Families

    Community-Based Services for Tribal Families

    Oppression, separation, and forced relocation of Indian families through the generations have had a crippling effect on many traditional Indian family values and parenting strategies that used to be passed down through the generations. As a result, many American Indian parents today face such stressors as unemployment, depression, and substance use, which impact their ability to nurture and support their children. In response to these families' needs, the Cahuilla Band of Mission Indians developed and implemented a community-based program to strengthen families and prevent child abuse and neglect.

    Project staff adapted the Incredible Years evidence-based parenting program to create a culturally competent program that incorporates the inherent strengths of American Indian culture. The program emphasizes cross-Tribal values and encourages a "circle of support" approach to raising children. Parents are taught to use a combination of traditional child-rearing strategies informed by their cultural and spiritual traditions, along with modern-day parenting strategies.

    The program includes community-based services as well as in-home services targeted to families at risk for child abuse or neglect. The community-based program is offered on a weekly basis at a local community center and is open to all interested families. Activities include:

    • An academic group for school-age children (ages 5-10)
    • Cultural activities for both children and parents
    • A parent group for improving parenting skills, marital relationships, and cultural connections
    • Storytelling for children (ages 2-10) during parent groups

    The in-home services teach families the same skills as the community-based classes using an adapted version of the group materials. Case management also is provided for 6 months to follow up with families and connect them with community resources as needed.

    The program, which has served 52 parents and 46 children, has received high parental satisfaction ratings. Preliminary evaluations show decreases in children's aggressive behavior and increases in the use of positive parenting practices. Program staff found that recruitment efforts are most successful at powwows, and a powerful incentive for families' participation is the incorporation of cultural activities and language classes into the program.

    Partnerships with the local Indian Child and Family Services (ICFS) and with nearby courts and public child welfare agencies have been critical to the success of the program. By educating local professionals about the different Tribes in their community and the culturally competent services that are available to American Indian families, program staff have improved their relationships with local agencies and courts, resulting in more referrals to the program.

    Indian Child and Family Services and the Torres Martinez Tribal TANF program have committed resources to continue with the SPIRIT parenting program. In addition, the project director has given several presentations to child abuse councils and individuals interested in child abuse prevention in Tribal communities.

    For more information, contact the project director:
    Renda Dionne, Ph.D.
    Cahuilla Band of Indians
    31805 HWY 79 South #552
    Temecula, CA 92592
    951.764.3943
    dionner@msn.com

    Cahuilla Tribal Family Resource Room is funded by the Children's Bureau, Grant 90CA1732, under the Children's Bureau Priority Area: Grants to Tribes, Tribal Organizations, and Migrant Programs for Community-Based Child Abuse Prevention Programs. This article is part of a series highlighting successful Children's Bureau grant-funded projects around the country, emerging from Children's Bureau site visits.

  • How the Children's Bureau Supports Interjurisdictional Placement

    How the Children's Bureau Supports Interjurisdictional Placement

    Every year, child welfare agencies place thousands of children with foster parents, prospective adoptive parents, or relatives who live in other States. The Children's Bureau actively supports interjurisdictional placement of children to achieve their permanency plans and has developed a number of initiatives to further these efforts.

    Interjurisdictional placements include placements between counties and judicial districts and across State lines. Agencies placing children across State lines are required to follow the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC), a binding agreement adopted by all States, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Virgin Islands designed to safeguard children placed outside their own jurisdiction. By establishing responsibilities for sending and receiving States, the ICPC provides a consistent process for agencies to follow in out-of-State placements. As an agreement that exists exclusively among States, the Federal Government has no part in administering or implementing the ICPC.

    Children's Bureau efforts on behalf of interjurisdictional placements for children include support for the ICPC and other initiatives in order to achieve the goal of safety, permanency, and well-being for all children. These efforts include:

    • Report to Congress. In 2006, the Children's Bureau completed the Report to Congress on Interjurisdictional Adoption of Children in Foster Care. This report provides a historical perspective about interjurisdictional placement and identifies relevant issues according to States' concerns and interests. States' successful strategies for achieving interjurisdictional placement are outlined, as are Children's Bureau efforts to facilitate the interstate placement process through the Child and Family Services Reviews, the Training and Technical Assistance (T&TA) Network, and discretionary grants.
      www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb/pubs/ij_adopt/ij_adopt.pdf (218 - KB)
    • Survey of States. Also in 2006, the Children's Bureau issued a comprehensive report, Interjurisdictional Placement of Children in the Child Welfare System: Improving the Process, which included results from a survey of child welfare leaders in 48 States regarding challenges to timely interjurisdictional placement. In addition, the report collected solutions to these challenges, listing 151 strategies.
      www.hunter.cuny.edu/socwork/nrcfcpp/downloads/IJReport.pdf (1,237 - KB)
    • Participation on the ICPC Committee. To address ambiguities in the original 1960 version of the ICPC, the Association of Administrators of the ICPC (AAICPC) drafted a new version in 2006. The Children's Bureau had representation on the ICPC Development and Drafting Team.
      www.aphsa.org/Policy/ICPC-REWRITE/Development%20Drafting%20Team/ICPC%20Development%20and%20Drafting%20Team%20Members.pdf (66 - KB)
    • T&TA efforts. The Children's Bureau T&TA Network offers assistance and resources to States. Three members that list related publications on their website include the National Resource Center for Family-Centered Practice and Permanency Planning, AdoptUsKids, and Child Welfare Information Gateway.
    • ICPC training manuals. From 1999 to 2002, a Children's Bureau Adoption Opportunities grant funded the American Public Human Services Association (APHSA) as the secretariat of ICPC in the development of training manuals for juvenile and family court judges, caseworkers, and ICPC administrators. Contact AAICPC for more information.
      http://icpc.aphsa.org
    • Report on staffing State ICPC office. Under the same grant that funded the training manuals, APHSA released a report in 2002 that outlined staffing policies and strategies in State ICPC offices. Staffing of State Offices of the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children was based on a survey designed to measure the impact of the Adoption and Safe Families Act on ICPC administrators. http://tinyurl.com/6rrvfy
    • Grants to promote interstate cooperation. Children's Bureau Adoption Opportunities grants have funded partnerships among States to help them facilitate interstate placement. Grantees developed partnerships to resolve interjurisdictional challenges and expedite interjurisdictional placements. For instance, grant reports are available on efforts by (1) California, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington and (2) South Carolina and Georgia.
      1. http://tinyurl.com/69nf4z
      2. http://tinyurl.com/5bn9de

    The Children's Bureau is committed to safe and timely permanency for all children, no matter where their permanent home may be. For more information on Children's Bureau initiatives, visit the website:

    www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb

  • The Source Focuses on the Impact of HIV and Substance Abuse

    The Source Focuses on the Impact of HIV and Substance Abuse

    The fall 2008 issue of the National Abandoned Infants Assistance (AIA) Resource Center's The Source looks at children's well-being in families affected by HIV and/or substance abuse. The journal covers such topics as the mental health treatment of infants and toddlers, interventions for children affected by alcohol and drug exposure, a relational approach to foster attachment, and ways to improve children's well-being in Latino families living with HIV/AIDS. For instance:

    • "Mental Health Treatment of Infants and Toddlers: Creating an Integrated System of Care for Infants and Toddlers in the Child Welfare System" explores infant mental health concepts and spotlights the value of a multidisciplinary team approach in responding to the health needs of infants, toddlers, and their families (Kathryn Orfirer and Jill C. Rian).
    • "Interventions That Help Children Affected by Alcohol and Drug Exposure" highlights the importance of early identification of prenatally exposed children to maximize the chances of an effective intervention (Claire D. Coles, Mary Ellen Lynch, and Viorica Pencea).
    • "Keeping Kids at Home: Family-Centered Treatment at SHIELDS for Families" describes the services of a family treatment program that seeks to enhance the parenting and child developmental skills of substance abusing mothers while meeting the needs of their children at home (Kathryn Icenhower).
    • "Improving Child Well-Being in Latina-Headed Families Faced With Substance Abuse and HIV/AIDS: Moving Theory into Practice With Outcomes" examines Project Milagro's family-centered humanistic and culturally sensitive approach to serving Latino families affected by HIV and substance abuse (Lourdes Carranza, Martha Cristo, and Eva Estrada).

    The complete issue is available for free download on the AIA website:

    http://aia.berkeley.edu/media/pdf/source_vol18_no1.pdf (4.1 - MB)

  • New! On the Children's Bureau Site

    New! On the Children's Bureau Site

    The Children's Bureau website carries information on child welfare programs, funding, monitoring, training and technical assistance, laws, statistics, research, Federal reporting, and much more. The "New on Site" section includes grant announcements, policy announcements, agency information, and recently released publications.

    Recent additions to the site include:

    • The FY 2009 Title IV-E Eligibility Review schedule
    • Minnesota's second round CFSR report

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

    www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb/

  • President Bush Signs New Child Welfare Legislation

    President Bush Signs New Child Welfare Legislation

    On October 7, 2008, President George W. Bush signed into law H.R. 6893, the Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008. The new law, Public Law (P.L.) 110-351, generally amends titles IV-B and IV-E of the Social Security Act to provide support to some relative caregivers, provide for Tribal foster care and adoption access, and improve incentives to promote adoption.

    Major provisions of the Act include:

    • Extending and expanding adoption incentives through Federal fiscal year (FFY) 2013
    • Creating an option to provide kinship guardianship assistance payments
    • Creating an option to extend eligibility for title IV-E foster care, adoption assistance, and kinship guardianship payments to age 21 beginning in FFY 2011
    • Phasing in the de-linking of adoption assistance from Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) eligibility beginning in FFY 2011
    • Providing federally recognized Indian Tribes or consortia with the option to operate a title IV-E program beginning in FFY 2010

    The Children's Bureau provides guidance on the new Act in a Program Instruction and an Information Memorandum:

    Additional materials will be posted to the Children's Bureau website in the coming months.

    The full-text of P.L. 110-351 can be found online:
    http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/getdoc.cgi?dbname=110_cong_bills&docid=f:h6893enr.txt.pdf (109 - KB)

    A draft compilation of the revised Social Security Act also can be found on the Children's Bureau website:
    www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb/laws_policies/cblaws/safe2008draft.htm

  • Linking Prevention Programs and Child Welfare Services

    Linking Prevention Programs and Child Welfare Services

    Over the last several years, the Office on Child Abuse and Neglect at the Children's Bureau has emphasized the need for more joint planning efforts between the Community-Based Child Abuse Prevention (CBCAP) programs and child welfare agencies in order to more effectively respond to the needs of children and families. Such partnerships might also provide an additional funding stream for certain child welfare needs. To determine the extent of these types of joint efforts, the FRIENDS National Resource Center for CBCAP reviewed reports from the first round of Child and Family Services Reviews (CFSRs) and Program Improvement Plans (PIPs).

    The FRIENDS report, An Analysis of Primary and Secondary Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention in the 2001-2004 Child and Family Service Reviews and Program Improvement Plans, indicates that State child welfare agencies were significantly challenged in providing support and assistance to children and families. The CFSR reports showed that State collaboration with CBCAP State Lead Agencies (SLAs) occurred primarily in the area of the CFSR systemic factor System Array. However, there are a number of other areas where collaboration between CBCAP and child welfare agencies could be beneficial:

    • Prevention
    • Service gaps
    • Family engagement and involvement
    • Collaboration and coordination

    Many States already have begun using collaboration to accommodate stakeholder input as part of the Statewide Assessment that occurs with the CFSR process. Better coordination between prevention and child welfare programs could potentially have a positive impact on States' performance on the CFSRs and subsequent PIPs.

    The full report is available on the FRIENDS website:

    www.friendsnrc.org/download/cfsranalysis.pdf (1,004 - KB)

  • The T&TA Network Offers New Resources on Workforce, Change, Outcomes, and NYTD

    The T&TA Network Offers New Resources on Workforce, Change, Outcomes, and NYTD

    The Children's Bureau Training and Technical Assistance (T&TA) Network offers many new resources for States and agencies. Some recent updates and releases include:

    • Child Welfare Information Gateway website enhancements now provide better support to child welfare and related professionals working with children, youth, and families. Both the Workforce and Training web sections have been expanded and reorganized to offer more tools, training models, curricula, and other concrete aids for strengthening the child welfare workforce and enhancing training efforts.
      www.childwelfare.gov/systemwide/training
      www.childwelfare.gov/systemwide/workforce
      In addition, the Resources in Spanish section of the Information Gateway website (formerly, En Español) now provides easier access to publications and other online resources written in Spanish to support child welfare workers in their interaction with Spanish-speaking families.
      www.childwelfare.gov/spanish/index.cfm?event=catalog.viewEspanol
    • Implementing Change at the Local Level: Strategies for Success is the focus of the fall/winter 2008 issue of Child Welfare Matters from the National Child Welfare Resource Center (NRC) for Organizational Improvement. The lead article outlines 10 steps agencies can take to implement change, all illustrated with real-life examples from States and counties.
      http://muskie.usm.maine.edu/helpkids/rcpdfs/cwmatters8.pdf (937 - KB)
    • Update on Laws and Policies Affecting Children and Families is a PowerPoint presentation developed by the NRC on Legal and Judicial Issues and posted on the website of the NRC for Child Protective Services.
      www.nrccps.org/documents/2008/ppt/CRPIssues.ppt
    • Preparing for Adulthood—Supervising for Success (PASS) Final Report and Program Evaluation are now available from the NRC for Family-Centered Practice and Permanency Planning. PASS is a 3-year curriculum development and training project funded by the Children's Bureau and designed to strengthen supervision of staff's interventions with older youth in foster care.
      www.hunter.cuny.edu/socwork/nrcfcpp/pass/
    • The NRC for Child Welfare Data and Technology website has an updated look designed to be more user friendly. New content on the website includes a recently launched webpage on Disaster Planning Resources and a Tips, Tools, and Trends page that includes technology information (e.g., tablet PCs, digital pen technology), with examples from jurisdictions.
      www.nrccwdt.org/index.html
    • A National Youth in Transition Database (NYTD) webpage is now available on the NRC for Youth Development website. The webpage provides basic information and several presentations on NYTD, which will feature case-level information on youth in care, including services paid for or provided by the State agencies that administer the Chafee Foster Care Independence Program, as well as outcome information on youth who are in or who have aged out of foster care.
      www.nrcys.ou.edu/yd/nytd2.html
  • New Information Gateway Website Resources

    New Information Gateway Website Resources

    Child Welfare Information Gateway website enhancements now provide better support to child welfare and related professionals working with children, youth, and families. Both the Workforce and Training web sections have been expanded and reorganized to offer tools, training models, curricula, and other concrete aids for strengthening the child welfare workforce and training efforts. Topics addressed in these two sections include:

    • Recruitment, hiring, and retention
    • Managing and supervising the workforce
    • Training for administrators, supervisors, caseworkers, families, and community partners
    • Training curricula, tools, and materials in Spanish
    • Assessing and evaluating training programs
    • Education and training organizations and social work programs

    Visit the Training section (www.childwelfare.gov/systemwide/training) and the Workforce section (www.childwelfare.gov/systemwide/workforce) of the Information Gateway website for more information.

    In addition, the Resources in Spanish section of the Information Gateway website (formerly, En Español) now provides easier access to publications and other online resources written in Spanish to support child welfare workers in their interaction with Spanish-speaking families. The web section is written in both English and Spanish and offers general resources as well as resources organized according to topics on the Information Gateway website, including:

    • Preventing and responding to child abuse and neglect
    • Supporting and preserving families
    • Out-of-home care
    • Adoption

    Visit the redesigned Resources in Spanish section of the Information Gateway website:
    www.childwelfare.gov/spanish/index.cfm?event=catalog.viewEspanol

Child Welfare Research

CBX links you to research on kinship foster care outcomes, child victims of sexual assault, and a long-term project on interventions that address both domestic violence and child maltreatment.

  • Greenbook Updates on Child Welfare and Domestic Violence

    Greenbook Updates on Child Welfare and Domestic Violence

    The Greenbook Initiative is a Federal project that focuses on the intersection of domestic violence and child maltreatment. The Greenbook Initiative began in the 1990s with the publication of a groundbreaking manual on effective intervention in cases of child maltreatment and domestic abuse. Since that time, pilot studies have been conducted across the country, and longitudinal research has explored the efficacy of interventions that address both issues. A national evaluation project continues to provide new information about promising practices in child welfare and domestic violence prevention and services.

    Recent Greenbook Initiative publications include the following:

    • Cross-System Dialogue: An Effective Strategy to Promote Communication Between the Domestic Violence Community, Child Welfare System, and the Courts (Stacy M. Lowry and Olga Trujillo) discusses the cross-system dialog as an effective tool for addressing controversial topics that may arise in the course of collaboration.
      www.thegreenbook.info/documents/crosssystemdialogue.pdf (93 - KB)
    • The Greenbook Initiative Final Evaluation Report assesses the extent to which the Greenbook implementation activities facilitated cross-system and within-system change and practice in child welfare agencies, dependency courts, and domestic violence service providers.
      www.thegreenbook.info/documents/FinalReport_Combined.pdf (543 - KB)
    • The Journal of Interpersonal Violence, Vol. 23(7), is a special issue that includes Greenbook Initiative national evaluation findings for a wide research- and policy-oriented audience.
      http://jiv.sagepub.com/content/vol23/issue7/

    For a comprehensive collection of Greenbook publications, visit the website:

    www.thegreenbook.info/read.htm

  • Statistics on Sexually Assaulted Children

    Statistics on Sexually Assaulted Children

    The estimated number and characteristics of children who were sexually assaulted in the United States in 1999 are presented in a new bulletin released by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. In the report, Sexually Assaulted Children: National Estimates and Characteristics, researchers David Finkelhor, Heather Hammer, and Andrea Sedlak present data from the National Household Surveys of Adult Caretakers and Youth, which are part of the Second National Incidence Studies of Missing, Abducted, and Thrownaway Children (NISMART-2). This report differs from other sources because it provides data on sexual crimes specifically against children as perpetrated by caregivers and others.

    Estimates of the number of sexually assaulted children are based on telephone interviews of a nationally representative sample of children and their caregivers. Some key findings indicate that:

    • In 1999, an estimated 285,000 children were victims of a sexual assault.
    • Sexual assault victims were disproportionally female and ages 12 to 17.
    • Most of the victims were assaulted by a male.
    • Police were contacted in regard to the assault only 30 percent of the time.
    • There are many indications that these incidents are underreported, so exact figures may be higher.

    The report also provides the definitions of sexual assault used in the analysis, a discussion of the methodology used, and a comparison of NISMART-2 data with other data systems.

    The report is available on the National Criminal Justice Reference Service website:

    www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/ojjdp/214383.pdf (570 - KB)

  • Comparing Outcomes for Children in Kinship and Foster Care

    Comparing Outcomes for Children in Kinship and Foster Care

    A recent study of permanency, safety, and stability outcomes for children in out-of-home care concluded that children placed in kinship care fare as well as or better than children in foster care. Outcome data were collected from 12 Colorado counties that strongly value kinship care as an out-of-home placement option. After controlling for variables, researchers studied 318 matched pairs of children in kinship care or foster care who spent more than 60 days in out-of-home care.

    The children in kinship care experienced fewer placements and were seven times more likely to achieve permanency through guardianship. In contrast, children in foster care were 10 times more likely to have a new allegation of institutional abuse or neglect, 6 times more likely to be involved with the juvenile justice system, and 2 times more likely to be reunified with their biological parents. An exploratory comparison of paid and unpaid kinship care providers also revealed that outcomes for children in these placements were comparable, suggesting that kinship placement may be a more cost-effective option.

    The authors caution that these findings do not support the adoption of a blanket policy increasing the use of kinship care. Placement decisions should still take into consideration the needs of the child and an assessment of the kin caregiver. However, the authors call for a greater commitment by child welfare professionals, policymakers, and researchers to make kinship care a more viable out-of-home placement option for children and families.

    "Matched Comparison of Children in Kinship Care and Foster Care on Child Welfare Outcomes," by Marc A. Winokur, Graig A. Crawford, Ralph C. Longobardi, and Deborah P. Valentine, was published in Families in Society: The Journal of Contemporary Social Services, Vol. 89(3), and is available online:

    www.familiesinsociety.org/New/Teleconf/081007Winokur/89-3Winokur.pdf (172 - KB)

    Related Item

    To read more about kinship foster care, see "Effective Foster Parent Training for Kinship Caregivers" in this issue.

Strategies and Tools for Practice

Find information about a new online community for those who work with Tribes and learn about links and resources on assessments, case management, and improving outcomes for children and families.

  • Effective Foster Parent Training for Kinship Caregivers

    Effective Foster Parent Training for Kinship Caregivers

    Child welfare agencies face special challenges in developing training programs and policies that meet the needs of relative caregivers. Of particular concern is the need to structure foster parent training for kinship caregivers in ways that provide needed information while respecting existing family relationships.

    A new publication, Training Kin to Be Foster Parents: Best Practices From the Field, published by Childfocus, provides an overview of efforts to adapt foster parent training to the unique needs and circumstances of kinship caregivers. The issue brief addresses the following topics:

    • Federal licensing requirements, including requirements for foster care training
    • Limitations of traditional foster parent training for kinship caregivers
    • State and county efforts to develop training programs tailored specifically for kin
    • Common themes related to kin-specific training
    • Questions that States and localities should consider as they develop kin-specific training

    The report describes examples of kin-specific training in three States and one county. A checklist for making training relevant to kinship caregivers also is included.

    Shalonda Cawthon was the report's principal researcher and author. The publication is available on the ChildFocus site:

    www.childfocuspartners.com/images/Training_Kinship_Caregivers_0708.pdf (100 - KB)

    Related Item

    For more on kinship caregivers, read "Comparing Outcomes for Children in Kinship and Foster Care" in this issue.

  • Review of Tools Assessing Independent Living Programs

    Review of Tools Assessing Independent Living Programs

    The Independent Living Program (ILP) helps youth in foster care transition to independent living by equipping them with the skills they need to live as adults. To advance evidence-based practice in this area, researchers conducted a study of tools designed to evaluate the effectiveness of ILPs. Using a "rapid instrument review" process, eight tools were identified in the literature. These were organized into two groups: life skills instruments and ILP service assessments. Only four instruments reported any statistical properties, and only one showed fair to excellent reliability for measuring outcomes of ILPs.

    The study's authors discuss the results in the context of evidence-based practice in child welfare. To identify what works best for children and families, researchers need to develop and test evaluation tools, and the statistical properties of these tools must be reported. Tools need to be administered across populations and across time, and information about reliability and validity needs to be readily accessible.

    "A Rapid Instrument Review (RIR) of Independent Living Program (ILP) Evaluation Tools," by Toni Naccarato, Emily DeLorenzo, and AeLy Park, was published in the Journal of Public Child Welfare, Vol. 2(2), and is available from Haworth Press:

    http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/15548730802312818

    Related Item

    For more on ILPs, read "Evaluation of Two Independent Living Programs" in this issue.

  • Safe Start Centers Reduce the Impact of Exposure to Violence

    Safe Start Centers Reduce the Impact of Exposure to Violence

    Helping communities develop evidence-based strategies for reducing the impact of children's exposure to violence is the focus of the Safe Start Initiative, a program funded by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) within the U.S. Department of Justice.

    Phase I of the program supported 11 demonstration sites from 2000 to 2006. The focus was on systems change and collaboration building, as well as creating a comprehensive service delivery system to improve the accessibility, delivery, and quality of services for children exposed to violence and their families at any point of entry. Phase II of the program, funded in 2005, created 15 Promising Approaches pilot sites. The work at these sites is focused on implementing and measuring evidence-based, developmentally appropriate services for children exposed to violence within the context of the systems that serve them. A new booklet from OJJDP describes each of the 15 Safe Start Promising Approaches communities, outlines how these programs are integrating evidence-based or promising practices as well as other complementary interventions, and provides examples of how these promising practices have worked with a particular family.

    Evidence-based approaches being utilized at the Phase II sites include:

    • Assessment-based treatment
    • Child development-community policing
    • Child-parent psychotherapy
    • Child welfare-domestic violence collaboration
    • Home visitation
    • Integrated case management
    • Intensive family-centered treatment

    The booklet, Safe Start: Promising Approaches Communities, is available on the Safe Start website:

    www.safestartcenter.org/pdf/safestartbooklet.pdf (182 MB)

    OJJDP has developed the Safe Start Center, a national center designed to support the Safe Start Initiative. The Center works with national partners and a multidisciplinary group of experts to provide training and technical assistance to the 15 Promising Approaches Pilot Sites. Resources on the Center's website include e-newsletters, factsheets, posters, public service announcements, guides and manuals, and articles on research and evaluation. The website can be found on the Internet:

    www.safestartcenter.org

  • Assessing Early Developmental Delays in Young Children in Foster Care

    Assessing Early Developmental Delays in Young Children in Foster Care

    Research has demonstrated that children in foster care are disproportionately at risk for early developmental delays. Early identification and intervention can make an enormous difference in the long-term adjustment and development of these children. A recent study at the University of Illinois evaluated the effectiveness of conducting centralized assessments of young children entering foster care in order to identify early childhood developmental delays.

    Data were collected on 94 young children entering foster care in Cook County, IL, who had been assessed through the Department of Child and Family Services' Early Education Project between 2003 and 2006. All assessments were conducted by trained evaluators. Results showed that 57.2 percent of assessed children had probable developmental delays, and 98 percent were referred for a formal evaluation. Findings suggest that a centralized assessment conducted by trained specialists in a designated unit can result in earlier identification of developmental delays and higher referral rates for appropriate intervention services that are shown to be associated with improved outcomes for children in care.

    "Centralized Assessment of Early Developmental Delays in Children in Foster Care: A Program That Works" was written by Christina M. Bruhn, Denise Duval, and Richard Louderman and published in Children and Youth Services Review, 30(5). It can be purchased online:

    www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=ArticleURL&_udi=B6V98-4R53SSC-2&_user=10&_rdoc=1&_fmt=&_orig=search&_sort=d&view=c&_acct=C000050221&_version=1&_urlVersion=0&_userid=10&md5=cfe65e8e6007177d9dc3eb46d14ed0ff.

  • Structured Decision-Making in Case Management

    Structured Decision-Making in Case Management

    Structured Decision Making® (SDM) is an evidence-based model designed to help agencies and caseworkers make accurate risk assessments about families and children. A new guide from the Children's Research Center (CRC) reviews the principles of the SDM model and provides updated information on its use in jurisdictions around the country.

    The SDM model includes several components:

    • Tools for assessing families and structuring agency response at specific decision points in a case
    • The use of service levels to focus efforts on families with the greatest need
    • A workload measurement system
    • A management information system

    The Structured Decision Making Model: An Evidenced-Based Approach to Human Services provides examples of these components in action. For instance, a CRC study of more than 10,000 California cases where SDM was used to designate cases as either "immediate response at intake" or "10-day response time" showed that child removal rates were four times higher for the immediate response group. Results suggest that the SDM response priority tools accurately identified cases that needed an immediate response. In Michigan, a study found that use of the SDM reunification assessment helped more children achieve permanency within 15 months when compared to traditional methods of making permanency decisions.

    To find out more about SDM and download the new CRC guide, go to:

    http://nccd-crc.org/crc/pdf/2008_sdm_book.pdf (1,438 - KB)

  • American Indian Child Welfare Community of Practice

    American Indian Child Welfare Community of Practice

    The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) Policy Research Center and the National Indian Child Welfare Association have launched an online community of practice (CoP) for organizations and individuals working in Indian child welfare. The CoP is designed to address issues related to expanded Tribal authority for administering federally funded Tribal foster care programs. Sponsors of the CoP are planning to recruit policymakers and researchers who can identify options for Tribes as they deal with some of these new responsibilities.

    Registered members of the CoP can communicate with each other and with staff at the NCAI Policy Research Center. Registration is free and open to everyone.

    For more information, visit the website:

    http://childwelfare.ncaiprc.org/

Resources

  • LONGSCAN Special Research Meeting

    LONGSCAN Special Research Meeting

    The National Data Archive on Child Abuse and Neglect (NDACAN) is renaming its 2009 summer institute to be the LONGSCAN Special Research Meeting. The meeting will focus primarily on data from the Longitudinal Studies of Child Abuse and Neglect (LONGSCAN) gathered by the LONGSCAN Consortium. The meeting will be held June 8–12 on the Cornell University campus in Ithaca, NY. Participants will be selected on a competitive basis from such disciplines as psychology, social work, and medicine. Applications are due January 30, 2009. For more information, visit the NDACAN website:

    www.ndacan.cornell.edu

  • Establishing Tribal Court CASA Boards and Advisory Committees

    Establishing Tribal Court CASA Boards and Advisory Committees

    Court-appointed special advocate (CASA) programs and advisory committees developed for Tribal courts have proven to be effective mechanisms for advocacy in child abuse and neglect proceedings involving Native American children. Tribal Court CASA programs train community members to be advocates for child victims of abuse and neglect in both State and Tribal courts.

    The National CASA Association has published a manual defining the primary functions and responsibilities of both the boards of directors and advisory committees of these programs. The manual outlines core roles, responsibilities, and relationships that will assist a Tribal Court CASA board, advisory committee, and staff in maintaining these programs. Tribal political issues, potential conflicts, and liability also are addressed. The guide's appendices include samples from local Tribal Court CASA programs and the National CASA Association, as well as a list of assessment tools.

    The guide can be downloaded from the National CASA Association's website:

    www.casanet.org/download/tribal-casa/0801_tribal_board_guide_0012.pdf (719 - KB)

  • Effective Advocacy Handbook for Nonprofit Organizations

    Effective Advocacy Handbook for Nonprofit Organizations

    Effective advocacy, especially at the local and State levels, can help promote a nonprofit organization's mission and enhance services and funding. A new online booklet, Effective Advocacy at All Levels of Government, is designed to prepare nonprofit organizations for engaging in advocacy by exploring the following elements:

    • Generalized processes and principles of how to influence public policy
    • Guiding questions that will help translate an understanding of general principles into appropriate strategies
    • Case stories and sample advocacy plans

    This publication also provides an extensive list of advocacy resources, and users may find it helpful to view sample advocacy plans from the Montana Nonprofit Association and Des Moines Public Schools.

    Effective Advocacy at All Levels of Government was developed through a partnership between the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and the Center for Lobbying in the Public Interest and is now a website:

    ww2.wkkf.org/advocacyhandbook/index.html

  • New State Department Website on Intercountry Adoption Issues

    New State Department Website on Intercountry Adoption Issues

    The Office of Children's Issues at the U.S. Department of State recently launched a new website that focuses on intercountry adoption issues. The website is designed to guide prospective parents, service providers, and members of the international adoption community through the adoption process and includes information on adoptions from Hague Convention countries and other countries. Visit the website at:

    www.adoption.state.gov

  • Court Improvement Program Conference Materials

    Court Improvement Program Conference Materials

    Presentation and handout materials from the October 2008 Court Improvement Program (CIP) conference are available on the Courts and Children website. Downloading the zip file of "CIP Meeting Materials" provides access to more than 80 conference documents and presentations on such topics as infant brain development, using data in child welfare cases, youth in court, and termination of parental rights. Another zip download provides CIP information on every State. The Courts and Children website is sponsored by the American Bar Association, the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, and the National Center for State Courts and receives some funding from the Children's Bureau.

    www.courtsandchildren.org

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.

  • Interviewing Children With Disabilities

    Interviewing Children With Disabilities

    Children with disabilities may have an increased vulnerability for child maltreatment. To help child welfare professionals conduct accurate and sensitive interviews with children with disabilities, the State of Oregon has developed a training guide. Oregon Project Ability: Demystifying Disability in Child Abuse Interviewing provides background information on the topic and then goes on to address:

    • Basic interviewing
    • Child development
    • Communication disabilities
    • Intellectual disabilities
    • Social and emotional disabilities
    • Physical disabilities

    The curriculum was funded by Oregon's Children's Justice Act Task Force and developed by CARES Northwest. It is available for download:

    www.oregon.gov/DHS/children/committees/cja/proj-abil.pdf (3,293 - KB)

  • Online Training in Child Welfare Legal Matters

    Online Training in Child Welfare Legal Matters

    The University of Washington School of Law created the Court Improvement Training Academy (CITA) to provide a learning community for judges, lawyers, and other professionals involved in the juvenile court dependency process. CITA offers a variety of trainings and training materials, many of which are available on the CITA website. These materials, developed by experts in the field, cover such topics as Federal Child Welfare Law, the Hague Convention, Racial Disproportionality, and Visitation. Four full-length online trainings are available:

    • Best Practices in Dependency: Planned, Purposeful, and Progressive Visitation
    • The Racial Geography of Child Welfare
    • Reasonable Efforts and Court Improvement
    • Substance Abuse Treatment for Child Welfare Families

    The project is funded by the Washington State Administrative Office of the Courts with money provided through a Federal Court Improvement Program training grant.

    Visit the CITA website for more information:

    www.uwcita.org/index.html

  • Conferences

    Conferences

    Upcoming national conferences on adoption and child welfare through April 2009 include:

    January 2009

    • SSWR Thirteenth Annual Conference
      Research That Promotes Sustainability and (Re)Builds Strengths

      Society for Social Work and Research
      January 16–18, New Orleans, LA
      http://www.sswr.org/conferences.php
    • 23rd Annual San Diego International Conference on Child and Family Maltreatment
      Chadwick Center for Children and Families
      January 26–30, San Diego, CA

    February 2009

    • Association of Maternal & Child Health Programs Annual Conference
      Launching Maternal and Child Health: Opportunities for a New Era

      February 21–25, Washington, DC
    • Fourth International Conference on Post Adoption Services
      Adoption Connections Training Institute: OneWorld Neighborhood

      Center for Family Connections
      February 23–25, Cambridge, MA
      http://www.kinnect.org/training.html#ACTION
    • CWLA 2009 National Conference
      Children Today . . . America's Future!

      Child Welfare League of America
      February 23–25, Washington, DC
      http://www.cwla.org/conferences/ShowConference.asp?CONF=NATIONAL&YEAR=2009

    March 2009

    • 36th Annual New England Adoption Conference
      Adoption Community of New England, Inc.
      March 28, Bellingham, MA
      http://adoptioncommunityofne.org
    • 17th National Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect
      Focusing on the Future: Strengthening Families and Communities

      Children's Bureau, Office on Child Abuse and Neglect
      March 30–April 4, Atlanta, GA

    April 2009

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

    http://www.childwelfare.gov/calendar