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May 2014Vol. 15, No. 5Spotlight on National Foster Care Month

As part of our Spotlight on National Foster Care Month, CBX highlights the 2014 initiative, the 40th anniversary of Intensive Family Preservation Services, a report on the financial challenges youth face as they transition out of foster care, and more.

Issue Spotlight

  • May Is National Foster Care Month

    May Is National Foster Care Month

    The Children's Bureau joins with many other organizations to support National Foster Care Month each year through a website on Child Welfare Information Gateway. This year's National Foster Care Month theme, "Building Blocks Toward Permanent Families," highlights the fundamental practices in child welfare that are key to supporting permanence for children, youth, and families:

    1. Building family and community connections
    2. Enhancing well-being for children, youth, and families
    3. Engaging families in case planning
    4. Enriching caseworker and family visits
    5. Strengthening families through permanence
    6. Supporting families and caregivers through services

    This year's website features resources for youth, caregivers, and professionals with information about each of the building blocks to support efforts to strengthen families throughout the permanence process. The website also includes several real-life stories from children and youth in foster care and formerly in foster care, families, child welfare professionals, and others involved in child welfare. The Promote section provides a variety of tools to help organizations, agencies, and individuals spread the word about National Foster Care month. An updated map offers State-by-State foster care information, including State officials' contact information and agency websites.

    Along with the Children's Bureau, National Foster Care Month is co-sponsored by its information service, Child Welfare Information Gateway, the National Association of State Foster Care Managers, the National Foster Parents Association, the National Resource Center for Permanency and Family Connections, the National Resource Center for Youth Development, and Voice for Adoption.

    Resources and more are available on the National Foster Care Month initiative website:

    https://www.childwelfare.gov/fostercaremonth/?utm_source=Spotlight&utm_medium=CBX&utm_content=homepage&utm_campaign=NFCM2014

  • California Foster Care Reentry Data

    California Foster Care Reentry Data

    Twice a month, the Chronicle of Social Change's Focus on the Figures series features data on different California child well-being indicators from Kidsdata.org. In January 2014, the Chronicle focused on children who reenter foster care after being reunited with their families. In 2011, data showed that 12 percent of children in California who attempted reunification with their families reentered foster care within 1 year, although reentry rates varied greatly by county—ranging from 1 percent in one county to 32 percent in another county.

    The article notes that reentry rates are some of the most important data reported by child welfare agencies, as they can be used as a measure for successful intervention and/or reunification timeliness. The author also notes that the Children's Bureau's Child Welfare Outcomes Report measures reentry differently than Kidsdata.org. The Bureau measures national reentry "within 12 months of a prior episode" and "more than 12 months after a prior episode." Child Welfare Outcomes data for 2011 show that, in California, nearly 9 percent (8.7) of children reentered foster care within 12 months of a prior episode and nearly 13 percent (12.9) of children reentered care more than 12 months after a prior episode. County-specific data are not included in the Bureau's Child Welfare Outcomes Report.

    Other recent Focus on the Figures topics have included the first type of placement in foster care, reasons for removing a child from his or her home, foster care demographics, and more.

    "Focus on the Figures: Re-Entry into Foster Care," by John Kelly, and other articles in this series, are available on the website for the Chronicle of Social Change:

    https://chronicleofsocialchange.org/news/focus-on-the-figures-re-entry-into-foster-care/4850

    The most recent Child Welfare Outcomes report, Child Welfare Outcomes 2008–2011: Report to Congress, is available on the Children's Bureau's website:

    http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb/resource/cwo-08-11

    Search for State-specific data on the Child Welfare Outcomes Data Site:

    http://cwoutcomes.acf.hhs.gov/data/overview

    Related Item

    Children's Bureau Express featured recent updates to the Child Welfare Outcomes Data Site that provide users with increased capabilities for viewing race/ethnicity data. Read the article "Child Welfare Outcomes Data Site Update" (March 2014):

    https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=155&sectionid=1&articleid=4137

  • Supporting Youth in Transition

    Supporting Youth in Transition

    Young adults often are ill-prepared to be fully self-sufficient and continue to rely on parental supports, financially and otherwise, for a number of years. Youth aging out of foster care rarely have such support from their families and are much less likely to successfully support themselves. An article in the Summer 2013 issue of the American Bar Association's e-newsletter, Children's Rights Litigation, highlights the role that lawyers, judges, and other advocates can play in improving outcomes for youth in transition.

    The article provides an overview of Federal laws, such as the Chaffee Act and the Fostering Connections Act, that fund programs to support transitioning youth. Key provisions of these laws, such as transition planning that includes a plan for education and job training, extension of or return to foster care, health-care coverage through Medicaid, and the availability of Supplemental Security Income (SSI) for youth who have disabilities, also are highlighted. The author provides specific examples of steps advocates can take on behalf of youth to ensure that they are receiving needed supports and benefits, including:

    • Making adult connections: Research shows that having stable, positive relationships with adults in the community directly correlates with the extent to which youth engage in services.
    • Obtaining birth certificates and other documents: Access to birth certificates or other identification is crucial for obtaining employment, training, and other services. Advocates should make sure that these documents are given to youth before they exit care. 
    • Obtaining credit reports and other records: Advocates also should make sure that youth older than age 16 receive copies of their credit reports, as well as assistance in correcting credit errors or addressing credit issues. In addition, upon turning 18, youth must receive copies of their medical and educational records.

    "Tackling Foster Care Age-Out Issues," by Kimberly McFarlane, Children's Rights Litigation, is available on the American Bar Association website:

    https://apps.americanbar.org/litigation/committees/childrights/content/articles/summer2013-0713-tackling-foster-care-age-out-issues.html

  • Well-Being of Children Adopted From Foster Care

    Well-Being of Children Adopted From Foster Care

    Although adoption is generally viewed as a positive outcome for children residing in foster care, there is little research comparing the life circumstances and well-being of children adopted from foster care with those who remain in foster care. An upcoming article in Children and Youth Services Review, "Health and Well-being of Children Adopted From Foster Care," compares these two populations, using data from the 2011–2012 National Survey of Children's Health, which was sponsored by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Health Resources and Services Administration, Maternal and Child Health Bureau, and conducted by HHS, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics.

    The following are examples of the study's findings:

    • Children adopted from foster care have more favorable home environments than children remaining in foster care.
    • Adopted children are more likely to have consistent health insurance coverage.
    • Finding adoptive homes for children in foster care is less costly to the public than having children remain in foster care or returning them to high-risk birth families.
    • The favorable home environments for adopted children are not associated with fewer child health, achievement, or behavior problems than for children who remain in foster care.

    "Health and Well-Being of Children Adopted From Foster Care," (in press), by Nicholas Zill and Matthew Bramlett, Children and Youth Services Review, 40, is available for purchase here:

    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0190740914000450

  • Financial Challenges Faced by Transitioning Youth

    Financial Challenges Faced by Transitioning Youth

    Noting the financial barriers to success faced by youth transitioning out of foster care, the National Foster Care Coalition formed a working group in 2008 to examine barriers and explore strategies for overcoming them. In July 2013, the Coalition—in partnership with youth formerly in foster care, nonprofit partners, and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)—held a listening session to hear from youth. A report released by the Coalition outlines the scope of the problem, youth comments at the session, policies and practices for addressing the issue, and online resource guides.

    At the session, youth offered their firsthand experiences with credit fraud, identity theft, and struggles with transitioning to financial independence. Youth suggested that training on financial literacy be provided not just to youth, but also to caseworkers and other professionals working with youth leaving foster care.

    While the Child and Family Services Improvement Act of 2011 requires child welfare agencies to provide youth with a copy of their credit reports annually, in addition to an explanation of its contents and guidance on addressing any issues, the Coalition's report contends that more must be done. Policy and practice efforts to address the issue are also highlighted in the report:

    • ChildFocus is working to assist States in implementing financial provisions of the Child and Family Services Improvement Act of 2011. ChildFocus also has partnered with Credit Builders Alliance in the State of Maryland to build some models on credit education and credit building.
    • The American Bar Association Center on Children and the Law is tracking States enacting legislation on the issue and has produced the report Preparation of Foster Youth for Financial Management and Related Skills about requirements around financial protection and education in 20 States.

    A Listening Session: Youth in Foster Care & Financial Challenges is available here:

    http://www.nationalfostercare.org/uploads/8/7/9/7/8797896/a_listening_session--youth_in_foster_care__financial_challenges.pdf (1 MB)

    Related Item

    Children's Bureau Express featured a CFPB report released in September, Financial Empowerment Training for Social Service Programs: A Scan of Community-Based Initiatives, in the article "Financial Empowerment Training," (December 2013):

    https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=152&sectionid=6&articleid=4067

  • Intensive Family Preservation Services Turns 40

    Intensive Family Preservation Services Turns 40

    Before the mid-70s, the term "family preservation" did not exist in child welfare. Interventions designed to keep children safely at home and out of foster care were not at the core of child welfare practice as they are today. This year marks the 40th anniversary of Intensive Family Preservation Services (IFPS)—a term often used to refer to programs based on the HOMEBUILDERS® model, which was established in Washington State in 1974. HOMEBUILDERS® and IFPS work to reduce the number of children entering out-of-home care by strengthening and preserving families.

    Charlotte Booth, Executive Director of the Institute for Family Development, notes that IFPS began in response to a growing national concern about the number of children being removed from their homes.

    "Child protective services didn't exist until the 1960s, and then States started building systems to place children into safe homes when necessary. Because those systems grew so rapidly, the number of children removed [from home] grew dramatically, too," she said.

    In the 1970s, talk within the field turned to whether sending therapists into homes to work with families could improve outcomes and keep families together. While this outreach approach was being used in the field of mental health, it was new to child welfare.

    "It was such a systems shift. Everything was deficit-based then instead of strengths-based. The entire field wasn't going to change because a couple programs had good results," Booth said. That's when the Washington IFPS group settled on the HOMEBUILDERS® program—intensive, in-home intervention for families with children at imminent risk of entering foster care. IFPS developed materials to help train others on the model, and the Washington State legislature expanded it statewide; however, replication and fidelity issues arose.

    "When that happened, we worked to build capacity, and a decision was made to trademark the program so that States and agencies using the model stayed true to its components to ensure fidelity and sustainability," said Booth.

    The Edna McConnell Clark Foundation, and later the Annie E. Casey Foundation, enlisted key players in child welfare to spur this systems change nationwide. The Adoption Assistance and Child Welfare Act of 1980 created a framework for child welfare and required that "reasonable efforts" be employed to maintain children safely in their homes. Family preservation took root in the 1980s; now, Booth says, "Even if your State doesn't have IFPS, everyone knows what family preservation means. The initial thought in child welfare cases now is, 'Of course we do our best to keep the family together when it is safe to do so.' That is a tremendous change." 

    The National Family Preservation Network (NFPN) was created in 1992 to serve as the national voice for intensive family preservation.

    "We were established as a clearinghouse," said Priscilla Martens, Executive Director of NFPN. "We provide resources, training and technical assistance, and research on family preservation, reunification, and father engagement. The HOMEBUILDERS® model and IFPS have tremendously affected child- and family-serving systems, and NFPN has promoted the extension of IFPS from what was originally intended to serve intact families to also focus on reuniting families."

    When asked what she's most proud of over the past 40 years, Booth said there was much to tout, "The history and stories related to the incredible systems reform initiative in child welfare are astonishing. So much was done, from agency and judicial training, to 13 States passing legislation calling for IFPS, to reshaping how the public views families involved with child welfare."

    What's next for IFPS and NFPN? Martens said work is currently underway to create a repository of IFPS history and make related materials and information easily accessible to the public to preserve it for future generations.

    "It's deeply important that the HOMEBUILDERS® model and IFPS stay in place," Booth said. "We really do want to make sure that the philosophy of change endures and continues to demonstrate that this approach works and is better for children and their families."

    The repository has begun in the form of the IFPS Coast to Coast Bloghttp://ifpscoasttocoast.wordpress.com/

    More information on the Institute for Family Development is available on its website: http://www.institutefamily.org/default.asp

    The National Family Preservation Network website is available here: http://www.nfpn.org/

    Special thanks to Charlotte Booth, Executive Director of the Institute for Family Development, and Priscilla Martens, Executive Director of the National Family Preservation Network, for providing information for this article.

  • Involving Youth in Case Reviews

    Involving Youth in Case Reviews

    Noting the importance of youth engagement, the Jim Casey Initiative released an issue brief that guides jurisdictions in establishing quality foster care case review processes for young adults in extended foster care. According to the brief, outcomes for youth transitioning out of foster care improve when they are involved—in developmentally appropriate ways—in their review process and when opportunities for youth to receive the supports and services they need to successfully transition into adulthood are maximized. Information for the brief was obtained, in part, from feedback from young adult leaders from the Jim Casey Initiative sites.

    The brief recommends that jurisdictions evaluate current practices and processes for youth ages 14 to 17 years to ensure that they are afforded meaningful, developmentally appropriate involvement in the foster care case review process. The authors outline three core principles that should guide the design and implementation of the case review process, or re-examination of existing processes, for young adults in extended care:

    • Reviews should be conducted in locations that are youth/young adult friendly.
    • Youth should be offered client-directed advocates, in lieu of best-interest advocates, and the chance to speak on their own behalf.
    • Youth should be prepared for the review process, and their involvement should be encouraged and supported.

    The issue brief also summarizes the key components of the federally mandated foster care review process.

    Success Beyond 18: Re-Examining the Foster Care Review Process: Extended Foster Care as a Catalyst for Improved Practices and Better Outcomes is available on the Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative website:

    http://jimcaseyyouth.org/sites/default/files/SB18%20Brief%20Best%20Practice.final_.pdf (471 KB)

    Related Item

    The Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative launched Success Beyond 18, a national campaign that develops policies and practices that address the unique needs of young people transitioning from foster care. Children's Bureau Express featured the initiative in the September 2013 article "Success Beyond 18 Campaign":

    https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=149&sectionid=3&articleid=3974

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    Spotlight on Youth, Authentic Youth Engagement, and Lived Experience

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News From the Children's Bureau

The final cross-site evaluation report from the Bureau's Supporting Evidence-Based Home Visiting (EBHV) to Prevent Child Maltreatment grantee cluster has been released, a new report provides the background of the Permanency Innovations Initiative, and new funding opportunity announcements have been made.

  • Funding Opportunity Announcements

    Funding Opportunity Announcements

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

    Information about planned FY 2014 FOAs is available on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Grants Forecast website:

    https://www.acf.hhs.gov/hhsgrantsforecast/

    To find the Children's Bureau's FOA forecasts, go to the forecast website and enter the title or Funding Opportunity Number (FON) in the search box. Please check the forecast site regularly, as forecasts are subject to change.

  • The Permanency Innovations Initiative Approach

    The Permanency Innovations Initiative Approach

    The Administration for Children and Families (ACF), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, developed the Permanency Innovations Initiative (PII) to achieve faster and safer permanency for children. In fiscal year 2010, ACF awarded grants to six organizations to implement and evaluate innovative, evidence-supported interventions to help children leave foster care in less than 3 years. ACF also established two teams to support the grantees: the PII Training and Technical Assistance Project (PII-TTAP), which provides training and technical assistance regarding the implementation and sustainability of the interventions, and the PII Evaluation Team (PII-ET), which is designing and conducting site-specific and cross-site evaluations of the interventions. A recent report by the PII-TTAP and PII-ET discusses the background of the PII initiative and provides a detailed overview of its approach.

    The PII approach integrates implementation science and rigorous program evaluation and includes the following stages:

    • Exploration, during which the grantee creates readiness for change and examines the appropriateness of the proposed interventions
    • Installation, which sets a foundation to ensure the structural and functional changes needed to support implementation are in place
    • Initial Implementation, during which children and families begin to experience the intervention, and a formative evaluation is conducted
    • Full Implementation, at which point the intervention is being implemented as intended, and a summative evaluation occurs

    The report, The PII Approach: Building Implementation and Evaluation Capacity in Child Welfare, is available here:

    http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/opre/resource/pii-approach-building-implementation-and-evaluation-capacity-in-child-welfare

    More information on PII, including the grantees, PII-TTAP, and PII-ET, is available on the Children's Bureau's website:

    http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb/resource/pii-project-resources

  • CB Website Updates

    CB Website Updates

    The Children's Bureau website carries information on child welfare programs, funding, monitoring, training and technical assistance, laws, statistics, research, Federal reporting, and much more.

    Recent additions to the site include:

    • IM-14-01 – This Information Memorandum (IM) provides guidance for direction-setting and decisions regarding child welfare reporting mandated by title IV-E and the potential acquisition of tribal child welfare information systems:
      http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb/resource/im1401
    • PI-14-02 – This Program Instruction (PI) provides instruction on the availability of Federal fiscal year (FFY) 2014 funds under the Community-Based Grants for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect program created by Title II of the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) as amended by Public Law (P.L.) 111-320:
      http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb/resource/pi1402
    • PI-14-03 – This PI provides guidance to States and Tribes on actions they are required to take to receive their allotments for Federal fiscal Year (FY)1 2015 authorized under title IV-B, subparts 1 and 2, section 106 of CAPTA, John H. Chafee Foster Care Independence Program, and Education and Training Voucher programs:
      http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb/resource/pi1403
    • Child and Family Services Review Technical Bulletin #7 –
      http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb/resource/cfsr-technical-bulletin-7  

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

    http://cb100.acf.hhs.gov/CB_ebook

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

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

  • Associate Commissioner's Page

    Associate Commissioner's Page

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

    This month, we celebrate the good work being done around the country to help the nearly 400,000 children and youth in out-of-home care achieve permanence. The Children's Bureau, with its information service Child Welfare Information Gateway and other partners, sponsors the National Foster Care Month initiative each year. The 2014 theme, "Building Blocks Toward Permanent Families," highlights the six building blocks that form the fundamental practices for supporting permanence for children, youth, and families:

    1. Building family and community connections
    2. Enhancing well-being for children, youth, and families
    3. Engaging families in case planning
    4. Enriching caseworker and family visits
    5. Strengthening families through permanence
    6. Supporting families and caregivers through services

    The Children’s Bureau firmly believes that all children deserve permanent, loving families and all children need and can achieve permanency. The Bureau is committed to these goals and to ensuring that all children and youth have opportunities to become successful, productive adult citizens. We are especially focused on the youth in foster care—the 12–17 year olds who comprise one-third of the foster care population and who are in danger of leaving foster care without a permanent family. In recent years, a number of Federal initiatives and grant programs have made strides in helping these youth.

    The Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoption Act of 2008 (P.L. 110-351) created the Family Connection Grants Program to help children who are in, or at-risk of entering, foster care to reconnect with family. In 2010, the Children's Bureau committed to awarding $100 million over 5 years to six grantees to test innovative approaches to improving outcomes for youth in foster care. My "Associate Commissioner's Page" in the March issue of CBX highlighted these Permanency Innovations Initiative (PII) grants, which aim to improve outcomes for subgroups of children, like older youth, who have the most serious barriers to permanency.

    While many in the field are focused on helping youth who transition out of foster care to independence, our goal should be ensuring that no one ages out of care. No one is too old for permanency. Proving this point is a video from our National Resource Center for Permanency and Family Connections (NRCPFC), titled "Connect the Dots," that highlights Casey's story. Casey, a teenage boy who moved from foster homes to group homes and even experienced homelessness, found a permanent relationship with Martin, a mentor at a behavioral school in Bangor, ME, and later Casey's adoptive father. The NRCPFC also offers a publication specifically aimed at permanence for older youth and young adults. Facilitating an Adult Adoption as a Pathway to Permanence for Older Youth, can be found here: http://www.nrcpfc.org/is/downloads/Adult%20Adoption.pdf 

    Organizations like You Gotta Believe—the only organization in New York City that limits its practice to finding permanent families for young adults, teens, and preteens in foster care—are also working to help the vulnerable population of young adults in (or formerly in) foster care find permanent, loving families. While Independent Living is a set of services and skills that should be provided based on a young person's developmental needs, it is not a permanency option. Casey Family Programs designed a specific intervention targeting the permanency planning process for youth. Casey’s Permanency Roundtables are structured meetings that involve various experts and promote "outside the box" thinking about permanence. More information on this intervention is available on the Casey Family Programs website: http://www.casey.org/resources/initiatives/PermanencyRoundtables/default.htm

    Some permanency success stories for older youth were shared by PII and Fostering Connection grantees in the Real-Life Stories section of the 2014 National Foster Care Month website. One real-life story shared by PII grantee the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services highlights the story of a teenage boy found love and support through kinship care with his grandmother. Read his story here: https://www.childwelfare.gov/fostercaremonth/reallifestories/target.cfm/?utm_source=ACpage&utm_medium=CBX&utm_content=RLS&utm_campaign=NFCM2014

    To read all of the 2014 real-life stories and find resources for youth, caregivers, and professionals that support efforts to strengthen families throughout the permanence process, visit the National Foster Care Month website: https://www.childwelfare.gov/fostercaremonth/?utm_source=ACpage&utm_medium=CBX&utm_content=homepage&utm_campaign=NFCM2014

    The building blocks highlighted in the 2014 National Foster Care Month initiative create strong foundations for children, youth, and families involved with child welfare. No matter the end goal of a child's permanency plan, we hope our work at the Federal level helps your work at the State, Tribal, and local levels in achieving permanence and well-being for all children in foster care.

  • Supporting Evidence-Based Home Visiting

    Supporting Evidence-Based Home Visiting

    The final cross-site evaluation report from the Children's Bureau's Supporting Evidence-Based Home Visiting (EBHV) to Prevent Child Maltreatment grantee cluster has been released. The Children's Bureau and the Administration for Children and Families funded Mathematica Policy Research and Chapin Hall to conduct the evaluations of the 17 grantees in 15 States. The evaluation set out to accomplish the following goals:

    • Examine systems change
    • Document program implementation fidelity
    • Identify implementation strategies and challenges

    Implications of the evaluation findings and recommendations for future research also are included in the report.

    Making Replication Work: Building Infrastructure to Implement, Scale-Up, and Sustain Evidence-Based Early Childhood Home Visiting Programs With Fidelity is available on the Supporting Evidence-Based Home Visiting website:

    http://supportingebhv.org/home

  • Changes to Training and Technical Assistance

    Changes to Training and Technical Assistance

    In February, the Children's Bureau announced that it had concluded an assessment of its capacity-building services and had begun to pursue a course to better meet the nation's training and technical assistance (T&TA) needs. In April, JooYeun Chang, the Children's Bureau Associate Commissioner, held an online briefing during which she outlined the upcoming changes to the delivery of T&TA to support States, Tribes, territories, and courts.

    The briefing provided an overview of T&TA Network projects concluding services in September 2014 and an outline of future awards for three new National Capacity Building Centers.

    A copy of the briefing presentation is available on the Children's Bureau's website:

    http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb/resource/changes-to-tta-delivery

    Related Item

    Changes to the Children's Bureau's T&TA Network services were announced in the article "CB Capacity Building Services" (February 2014):

    https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=154&sectionid=1&articleid=4135

Training and Technical Assistance Update

Read about a new issue brief that provides an overview of protective factors approaches to the prevention and treatment of child abuse and neglect, a guide to administering the Spanish adaptation of the Protective Factors Survey, and other updates from the Bureau's T&TA Network members.

  • New Information Gateway Protective Factors Brief

    New Information Gateway Protective Factors Brief

    Child Welfare Information Gateway published a new issue brief that provides an overview of protective factors approaches to the prevention and treatment of child abuse and neglect. Child maltreatment prevention and intervention strategies have traditionally focused on the reduction of risk factors (the stressful conditions, events, or circumstances that can increase poor family outcomes). This issue brief discusses the growing recognition and evidence that employing a protective factors approach to positively engage families can help to outweigh risk factors and improve overall family outcomes.

    The brief is designed to help policymakers, administrators, child welfare and related professionals, service providers, advocates, and others understand the concepts of risk and protective factors in families and communities. Protective factors (conditions or attributes of individuals, families, communities, or the larger society that mitigate risk and promote healthy development and well-being) are discussed in detail, along with several key protective factors approaches currently used in the field. The approaches themselves are also analyzed, and connections between protective factors defined in each approach are mapped. Finally, the brief provides examples of jurisdictions that are already applying protective factors approaches and gives information on some of their recent activities.

    The issue brief was written in collaboration with the Center for the Study of Social Policy and the Children's Bureau. Information Gateway is pleased to announce that Protective Factors Approaches in Child Welfare is the first of its publications to launch with a fresh, new design. Access this new brief here:

    https://www.childwelfare.gov/pubs/issue_briefs/protective_factors.cfm

  • More Updates From the T&TA Network

    More Updates From the T&TA Network

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

  • Administering the Spanish Protective Factors Survey

    Administering the Spanish Protective Factors Survey

    The National Resource Center for Community Based Child Abuse Prevention (FRIENDS) published a guide to administering the Spanish adaptation of the Protective Factors Survey (S-PFS). FRIENDS developed the S-PFS in collaboration with University of Kansas Center for Public Partnerships and Research and with the expertise and assistance of researchers, administrators, workers, and experts who specialize in family support, maltreatment measurement, and psychological measurement. The survey is designed to be used with caregivers receiving child maltreatment prevention services before they receive services and again after they receive services. It measures 20 items related to protective factors that address family functioning and resiliency, social support, concrete support, nurturing and attachment, and knowledge of parenting/child development.

    The guide provides instructions for staff on how to administer the survey, as well as scripts and survey clarifications with paraphrasing instructions to help administrators answer participants' questions. These are presented in Spanish and English. The translated S-PFS materials benefited from the language expertise of bilingual and bicultural early childhood providers as well as parents, who provided initial translations and feedback.

    Access The Spanish Protective Factors Survey: A Guide to Administering the Spanish Adaptation of the Protective Factors Survey here:

    http://cssr.berkeley.edu/cwscmsreports/LatinoPracticeAdvisory/FINAL%20Spanish%20PFS%20Manual%20in%20English_1_24_14.pdf (1 MB)

  • NRCYD's Youth Port

    NRCYD's Youth Port

    Youth Port, the National Resource Center for Youth Development's (NRCYD's) newsletter, provides timely information, resources, and tools for youth who are in foster care, transitioning to adulthood, or aging out of the foster care system. The January/February 2014 edition of Youth Port spotlights NRCYD's 2014 National Pathways to Adulthood: A Convening on Youth in Transition, to be held August 6–8, 2014, in Philadelphia, PA. The convening will provide a platform to present innovative practices that promote positive transitions to adulthood, highlight successful public and private collaborations, share strategies for developing and delivering transition services, and provide cross-system networking opportunities.

    The newsletter also highlights NRCYD's new product, State Spotlight, which helps States share information about the successful programs and services they provide for youth in their jurisdictions. New State Spotlights will be added every few weeks, and States are encouraged to submit their information. View the latest spotlights here:

    http://www.nrcyd.ou.edu/learning-center/publications/All/Spotlight

    For more information on this project, contact Matthew Hudson at mhudson@ou.edu.

    To read the entire edition of Youth Port, which includes opportunities for youth leaders, announcements from the field, and a section dedicated to helping youth understand the foster care system, visit the NRCYD website: 

    http://www.nrcyd.ou.edu/januaryfebruary-2014-youth-port

Child Welfare Research

CBX points to a guide outlining the best international policies to protect children who experience child abuse and neglect, violence, trafficking, and other injustices; a program in New York City that is working to reduce caseworker turnover; and more.

  • Adoption Competency in Social Work

    Adoption Competency in Social Work

    While most social workers who work in child welfare will encounter adoption-related issues in their work, not all clinical social workers have been trained on adoption competency. According to the article "Adoption Competency in Clinical Social Work," published in the November/December 2013 issue of Social Work Today, adoption competency is not a required component of curriculum in accredited schools of social work. Therefore, most social workers will need postgraduate training on adoption competency.

    The article acknowledges that there is no universally accepted definition of adoption competency in social work, but indicates that a review of adoption competency training programs for mental health providers and related professionals suggests consensus about some components of adoption competency. The article provides an overview of adoption competency, including a list of core values for competent social work practice in adoption. In addition, the article identifies three categories of adoption competency knowledge and skills including societal context, relational dynamics, and intrapsychic, which includes trauma and behavioral health issues.

    "Adoption Competency in Clinical Social Work," by Deborah Siegel, is available on the Social Work Today website:

    http://www.socialworktoday.com/archive/111113p16.shtml

  • Best Child Protection Practices From Around the World

    Best Child Protection Practices From Around the World

    Organizations and government agencies around the world are actively working to provide protection to children who experience child abuse and neglect, violence, child prostitution and pornography, trafficking, and other injustices. The Protection Project at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies and the International Centre for Missing and Exploited Children have released the third edition in the series of 100 Best Practices in Child Protection, which provides examples from around the world of successful initiatives established  by individuals, governments, and organizations concerned with protecting children.

    The document is divided into the following seven parts and includes a brief synopsis of the selected programs under the corresponding topic:

    • Part I. Child Protection Principles and Definitions
    • Part II. Child Protection Measures and Services
    • Part III. Protection of Children in the Family and Community
    • Part IV. Protection of Children from Sexual Exploitation
    • Part V. Protection of Children from Economic Exploitation
    • Part VI. Protection of Children in Situations of Emergency
    • Part VII. Protection of Children in the Justice System

    100 Best Practices in Child Protection is available on the International Centre for Missing & Exploited Children website:

    http://www.icmec.org/en_X1/icmec_publications/Best_Practices_in_Child_Protection_2013.pdf (1 MB)

    For more information on the Protection Project, visit its website:

    http://www.protectionproject.org/

  • Efforts to Reduce Caseworker Turnover

    Efforts to Reduce Caseworker Turnover

    Research has shown that children in foster care who have one caseworker throughout the life of their child welfare case achieve permanency three-quarters of the time, but each caseworker change reduces the odds of achieving permanency. Yet, nationwide, an estimated 20 to 40 percent of caseworkers leave their jobs, and most agencies face an ongoing challenge in hiring and retaining qualified staff.

    In "Looking After the Welfare of Child Welfare Workers," an article published by City Limits, author Rachel Blustain describes Children's Corps, a program in New York City, that works to help reduce caseworker turnover. The program was founded in 2011 by Barry Chaffkin, a veteran staffer of foster care agencies in New York City, and Vivianne DeMilly, a long-time administrator for New York City's Children's Services.
    The basic elements of the program include:

    • A rigorous interview process to identify people who have perseverance and nonjudgmental, flexible thinking
    • Four weeks of training that includes meeting with panels of parents, foster parents, and youth
    • Posttraining group meetings
    • Professional mentors who are available at any time

    With the first cohort of new workers, the retention rate after 1 year was approximately 86 percent, compared to a 60 percent retention rate citywide. After 2 years, the retention rate went down to 71 percent; however, exactly one-half of caseworkers stayed for a third year, and the other half had enrolled in a graduate school program geared toward working in child welfare.

    Rachel Blustain is a journalist, social worker, and editorial director of Rise, a publication written by and for parents affected by the child welfare system. City Limits is a New York City-based nonprofit news agency that publishes investigative and in-depth reporting on urban life and policy.

    "Looking After the Welfare of Child Welfare Workers" is available on the City Limits website:

    http://www.citylimits.org/news/articles/5034/looking-after-the-welfare-of-child-welfare-workers#.UxX_cs4sZKu

    Related Item

    Children's Bureau Express has featured articles from Rise in the following issues:

Strategies and Tools for Practice

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

  • Aligning Engagement Frameworks

    Aligning Engagement Frameworks

    The Strengthening Families approach and the Head Start (HS) Parent, Family and Community Engagement (PFCE) Framework were both developed to engage parents as partners in supporting children's early learning and development. The Center for the Study of Social Policy (CSSP) released a paper, How Strengthening Families Aligns With the Head Start Parent, Family and Community Engagement Framework, that explores the alignment between the two approaches. The paper provides an overview of both Strengthening Families and the HS PFCE framework and describes their similarities and differences.

    Strengthening Families, a research-informed approach to increase family strengths, enhance child development, and reduce the likelihood of child abuse and neglect, is based on engaging families, programs, and communities in building five protective factors: (1) parental resilience, (2) social connections, (3) knowledge of parenting and child development, (4) concrete support in times of need, and (5) social and emotional competence of children. The HS PFCE framework, a research-based approach that demonstrates how programs and systems can work together to promote parent and family engagement and child learning and development, is a tool for implementing HS performance standards and best practices. The purpose of the paper is to help organizations understand the programs and their intended uses and to assist in making an informed decision about which program best meets their needs. The paper includes a section entitled Resources for Program Implementation that provides links to the Strengthening Families self-assessment tool and online training curriculum, as well links to the PFCE Assessment Tools and Guides and the Parent, Family, and Community Engagement Interactive Framework.

    How Strengthening Families Aligns With the Head Start Parent, Family and Community Engagement Framework is available on the Center for the Study of Social Policy website:

    http://www.cssp.org/reform/strengthening-families/2014/HOW-STRENGTHENING-FAMILIES-ALIGNS-WITH-THE-HEAD-START-PARENT-FAMILY-AND-COMMUNITY-ENGAGEMENT-FRAMEWORK.pdf

  • Substance Abuse Treatment for Women

    Substance Abuse Treatment for Women

    As part of its Treatment Improvement Protocol (TIP), the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) produced Substance Abuse Treatment: Addressing the Specific Needs of Women in 2009—number 51 in the TIP series. Recently, SAMHSA produced a companion guide, Quick Guide for Administrators Based on TIP 51 Substance Abuse Treatment: Addressing the Specific Needs of Women.

    The companion guide explains the TIP program and is based on clinical practice and research centered on women stemming from the experiences of women, rather than comparing women to men. The Quick Guide then highlights the principles of gender-responsive treatment, physiological effects of substance use in women, barriers to treatment, three core treatment strategies in program development, and more.

    Quick Guide for Administrators Based on TIP 51 Substance Abuse Treatment: Addressing the Specific Needs of Women is available here:

    http://store.samhsa.gov/shin/content/SMA13-4788/SMA13-4788.pdf (7 MB)

    Substance Abuse Treatment: Addressing the Specific Needs of Women is available here:

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK83252/

  • Youth Health-Care Coverage Toolkit

    Youth Health-Care Coverage Toolkit

    Youth formerly in foster care are eligible for health-care coverage through Medicaid until age 26, regardless of income, due to a provision in the Affordable Care Act. The "Former Foster Care Youth and the Affordable Care Act (ACA) Toolkit," developed by the Schuyler Center for Analysis and Advocacy, presents an array of resources for service providers that describes the new health-care provision.

    The resources include links to videos, PowerPoint presentations, factsheets, and webinars that explain the importance of obtaining health-care coverage, health insurance options for youth, and strategies for engaging youth in the enrollment process. One presentation also provides instructions for completing an enrollment.

    Development of the toolkit was supported by Casey Family Programs, Robert Sterling Clark Foundation, and Atlantic Philanthropies. The toolkit is available on the Schuyler Center's website: 

    http://www.scaany.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/Former-Foster-Care-Youth-Toolkit-final.pdf (80 KB)

    The Schuyler Center for Analysis and Advocacy, a statewide, nonprofit, policy analysis and advocacy organization located in Albany, NY, has long worked in the area of advocating for youth who are involved in the child welfare and mental health systems.

    Related Item

    In 2007, the Center published Disconnected Youth: An Answer to Preventing Disengagement, which reports on the efforts of two workgroups to formulate principles for preventing youth disconnectedness and provide recommendations to promote cross-system collaboration. Children's Bureau Express featured Disconnected Youth: An Answer to Preventing Disengagement in the article "Preventing Youth Disconnectedness" (July/August 2008):

    https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=96&sectionid=2&articleid=2128

  • Cross-System Service Delivery Toolkit

    Cross-System Service Delivery Toolkit

    In order to provide a framework for effective service delivery for public child welfare and mental health leaders and practitioners, the Core Practice Model was developed by the California Department of Social Services (CDSS) and the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS). The framework was developed to unite the two departments and facilitate teaming with families and providers in the provision of mental health services to children involved with child welfare.

    To support the implementation of the Practice Model, CDSS and DHCS teamed with the California Social Work Education Center (CalSWEC) to develop a Child Welfare/Mental Health Learning Collaborative Toolkit. The toolkit serves as an information hub and provides a compendium of resources designed to assist county administrators and staff implement integrated child welfare and mental health services for families and children participating in both systems.

    The tools are organized in categories that each address a specific aspect of implementation, including tools for assessment and screening; communication; planning; policies and procedures; outcomes and evaluation; funding; and training, coaching, and transfer of learning. The toolkit also provides:

    • A page for counties to share resources
    • A calendar of events that support implementation of the practice model and a form to join the Learning Collaborative listserv
    • Contact information for available training and technical assistance
    • Information about technical assistance services offered by collaborating organizations

    The Toolkit is maintained by CalSWEC, School of Social Welfare, University of California, Berkeley, and can be found on the CalSWEC website:

    http://calswec.berkeley.edu/toolkits/child-welfare-mental-health-learning-collaborative-katie

Resources

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.

  • Model Programs Guide

    Model Programs Guide

    The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) released a new edition of the Model Programs Guide (MPG). The MPG includes information about evidence-based juvenile justice and youth prevention, intervention, and reentry programs. It is a web-based guide that serves as a resource for juvenile justice practitioners and communities about what works, what is promising, and what does not work in juvenile justice, delinquency prevention, and child protection and safety. The website contains a resource section, recently posted programs section, and various search options.

    The Model Programs Guide is available on the OJJDP website:

    http://www.ojjdp.gov/mpg/

  • Becoming a Foster Parent in Massachusetts

    Becoming a Foster Parent in Massachusetts

    The Massachusetts Department of Children and Families has developed a new guide for prospective foster parents. This resource provides answers to common questions about the children in care, as well as the licensing process in the State. Some questions answered in the guide include the following:

    • Who are the children awaiting foster care?
    • How long do children stay in foster care?
    • Is there any contact with the child’s parents?
    • What are the requirements?
    • Are there support services available?

    The guide also highlights critical areas of foster parenting such as the Massachusetts Approach to Partnership in Parenting (MAPP) training, which is designed to help parents acquire skills that can help make foster parenting more successful. Particular attention is also given to some of the desirable qualities of a foster parent and the availability of financial assistance and supportive services, such as an afterhours toll-free helpline.   

    Your Guide to Foster Parenting in Massachusetts is available on the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families website:

    http://www.mass.gov/eohhs/docs/dcf/foster-parenting-guide.pdf (142 KB)

  • Raising Mental Health Awareness Toolkit

    Raising Mental Health Awareness Toolkit

    The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) released a toolkit to support presentations to college-age students about mental health. Raising Mental Health Awareness—Educate Yourself and Educate Others offers educators key resources to inform students about mental health issues. The presentation tools promote productive dialogue about various issues related to mental health and point to resources available for those who need help.

    The toolkit contains a presentation guide, presentation slides, factsheets, resource templates, and marketing outreach templates. Each component can be downloaded and customized to meet individual needs. While designed for educators, this toolkit can easily be adapted to aid social workers and other child welfare professionals in discussing mental health-related issues with youth.

    The toolkit is available on the NAMI website:

    http://www.nami.org/Template.cfm?Section=Check_Out_Resources&Template=/ContentManagement/ContentDisplay.cfm&ContentID=

  • Cost of Adoption 2012-2013

    Cost of Adoption 2012-2013

    Adoptive Families magazine recently featured an article with results from its survey of more than 1,100 families that adopted a child between 2012 and 2013. The survey inquired about the cost of intercountry and domestic adoption before adoption-related employee benefits or the adoption tax credits were received.

    According to survey results:

    • On average, domestic adoptions cost less than intercountry adoptions.
    • Total expenses for most adopting families averaged $35,000.
    • The least-expensive adoption option is adoption from the U.S. foster care system.

    "Cost of Adoption Update: 2012–2013" is available on Adoptive Families website:

    http://www.adoptivefamilies.com/articles/585/domestic-international-foster-adoption-expenses-2012-2013

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.