News From the Children's Bureau
- Resources to Help Communities Prepare for National Adoption Month 2004
The Children's Bureau's 2004 National Adoption Month website is now available, just in time to help adoption agencies, parent groups, and States plan their celebrations for National Adoption Month in November.
The website builds on the Collaboration to AdoptUSKids' national recruitment campaign, Answering the Call, as well as the adoption public service campaign launched this summer. (See Related Item, below.) Recruitment efforts are highlighted throughout the site to encourage America's families to "answer the call" to ensure the safety, permanency, and well-being of our nation's children.
Highlights of the 2004 National Adoption Month website include:
- Information about National Adoption Day 2004 (Saturday, November 20), when hundreds of children around the country will have their adoptions finalized in local jurisdictions
- A toolkit created by AdoptUSKids to help professionals promote adoption, including sample press releases and tips for engaging the media
- Resources to support adoption professionals in their efforts to recruit and retain adoptive families for children waiting in foster care
- Information about children who are waiting for adoptive families
- Information on how to adopt, for people just getting started
- Resources to help parents and teachers support adopted children and their families
The Collaboration to AdoptUSKids and the National Adoption Information Clearinghouse, both services of the Children's Bureau, collaborated to create this year's National Adoption Month website.
Look for more information about National Adoption Month in the November issue of Children's Bureau Express.
For more about the national recruitment campaign, see "National Campaign Urges Americans to Adopt" in the June 2004 issue of Children's Bureau Express.
- Tribal Independent Living Curriculum
Independent living programs across the country provide valuable services to help ease the transition into adulthood for youth in foster care. However, services designed to help tribal youth meet their unique cultural needs as they transition have traditionally been limited or nonexistent. In response to this gap in services, the University of Oklahoma National Resource Center for Youth Services (NRCYS) received a grant from the Children's Bureau, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, in fiscal year 2000 to develop and evaluate a competency-based training curriculum to strengthen the intervention skills of tribal and public agency child welfare staff working with older tribal youth transitioning to adulthood.
Development of this curriculum was a collaborative effort led by the University of Oklahoma, NRCYS, including the National Indian Child Welfare Association, New Mexico Child Youth and Family Department, Oklahoma Department of Human Services, New Mexico Indian Child Welfare Association, tribal Elders, and tribal youth. Tribal involvement was critical in identifying the needs of older tribal youth and in overcoming anticipated challenges, such as the incompatibility of some independent living principles with traditional Native American values and practices. Tribal involvement included:
- A Project Advisory Group and Tribal Competency Work Group comprised of youth, adult tribal representatives, and Indian child welfare practitioners representing the 57 federally recognized tribes in Oklahoma and New Mexico (including both reservation and nonreservation tribes)
- Focus groups with tribal adults and youth
- Tribal host sites to pilot the curriculum
The resulting curriculum is based on a set of four core principles that emerged from the literature review and focus groups: youth development philosophy, collaboration, cultural competency, and lifelong connections. The interactive and experiential curriculum includes the following competencies:
- Adolescent development
- Positive youth development
- Tribal identity
- Federal and social policy
- Community and tribal resources
- Assessment and goal planning
- Life skills instruction
To date, a total of 301 tribal and nontribal child welfare staff in Oklahoma and New Mexico have participated in trainings or train-the-trainer sessions. Evaluation results show the curriculum is effective in increasing worker competency in tested areas. NRCYS will continue to deliver the training upon request to individual tribes and at State, national, and tribal conferences and roundtables after the grant has ended. Staff completing the train-the-trainer sessions also have committed to providing two additional trainings each to help further disseminate the curriculum.
It is expected that other States and tribes will be able to adapt the curriculum, and that this process will encourage further collaboration between tribal and State child welfare agencies to more effectively serve tribal youth. The project's final report and the curriculum will be available on the NRCYS website (http://www.nrcys.ou.edu/).
For more information, contact:
Peter Correia III, M.S.W., Director
National Resource Center for Youth Services
University of Oklahoma-Tulsa Schusterman Center
4502 E 41st Street
Building 4 West
Tulsa, OK 74135-2512
Phone: (918) 660-3700
Fax: (918) 660-3737
Note: This program was funded by the Children's Bureau, Grant #90-CT-0065. This article is part of a series highlighting successful Children's Bureau Discretionary Grant-funded projects around the country, emerging from official Children's Bureau site visits.
A monograph on The John H. Chafee Foster Care Independence Program, Tribal Approaches to Transition, is available on the NRCYS website at http://www.nrcyd.ou.edu/publication-db/documents/tribal-approaches-to-transition.pdf (PDF - 633 KB).
- Permanency for Adolescents
The summer newsletter of the National Resource Center for Youth Development (NRCYD) focuses on permanency for adolescents, examining such options as adoption and independent living. The articles include:
- "Successful Adolescent Adoptions," which follows the stories of 49 families who adopted youth ages 12 to 19, examining the factors that made the adoptions successful.
- "CSR/Massachusetts Families for Kids--Lifelong Family Connections: An Adolescent Permanency Model," which explores seven components that assist in establishing lifelong family relationships for adolescents.
- "Merging Permanency and Independent Living: Lifelong Family Relationships and Life Skills for Older Youth," which discusses ways that the "permanency" outcome can be included with the "safety" and "well-being" outcomes for older youth.
- "The Path to Permanence: Innovative Strategies for Life Long Connections," which looks at youth-generated ideas for permanency.
The NRCYD Update can be downloaded at www.nrcys.ou.edu/nrcyd/publications/yd%20update/ydusum04.pdf (Editor's note: Link no longer active).
- Child and Family Services Review Data Released
The Children's Bureau of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released its report on findings from the initial Child and Family Services Reviews (CFSRs) for 2001 to 2004. This is the first report that includes data from all 50 States, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico regarding States' conformity with Federal standards for child welfare.
The CFSRs are a comprehensive monitoring process that incorporates three phases: (1) a self-assessment by each State of its child welfare system, (2) an onsite assessment of each State's child welfare system by HHS reviewers, and (3) development of a program improvement plan (PIP) by each State to address areas in need of improvement. The CFSRs set outcome goals for the safety, permanency, and well-being of children and families, as well as for systemic factors related to child welfare agency operations. Each State is assessed against these outcomes by measuring performance on 45 indicators.
This latest report on the CFSRs includes information on State-level analyses and case-level analyses. State-level data show how many States were in substantial conformity with the outcomes and indicators, common challenges faced by the States, and relationships between systemic factors and outcomes for safety, permanency, and well-being. Case-level analyses provide information on cases involving children in foster care and in-home cases reviewed across all States. Analyses also examined key characteristics of these cases (e.g., age of child, race, caseworker visits), as well as the relationships between these characteristics and outcomes and indicators.
Major findings from this latest round of CFSR reports show that:
- Of the seven outcomes measured by the CFSRs, Well-Being Outcome 2 ("children receive services to meet their educational needs") was met by the highest number of States (16). No States achieved substantial conformity to Well-Being Outcome 1 ("families have enhanced capacity to provide for children's needs") or to Permanency Outcome 1 ("children have permanency and stability in their living situations").
- States performed better on systemic factors, with more than half of States showing substantial conformity with each of five of the seven factors: (1) Training, (2) Quality Assurance, (3) Statewide Information Systems, (4) Agency Responsiveness to the Community, and (5) Foster and Adoptive Parent Licensing, Recruitment, and Retention.
Currently, most States are in various stages of developing or implementing their PIPs; as of October 1 four States have been determined to have successfully completed the PIP implementation process. When PIP implementation is complete, States will participate in a second round of reviews to measure their progress.
Additional information about the CFSRs, including results and reports, can be found at http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb/monitoring/child-family-services-reviews.
Read about CFSR results for the first 17 States in the October 2002 issue of Children's Bureau Express in "Results of 2001 Child and Family Services Reviews Released."
- Adoption Support and Preservation Services
The summer issue of The Roundtable, the newsletter of the National Resource Center for Special Needs Adoption, focuses on the availability and sustainability of adoption support and preservation services. A number of articles examine State programs that show promising results in their postadoption services:
- New Jersey's services include (1) a publicly funded postadoption counseling network of private agency providers, (2) an Adoption Certificate program for clinicians, and (3) the establishment of the New Jersey Adoption Resource Clearing House.
- Oregon has established the Oregon Post Adoption Resource Center to sustain adoptive families with services such as supportive listening and problem solving, information assistance, a lending library, and parent training.
- A number of additional States show promising practices, including Alabama's Post Adoption Connection, Wisconsin's six Post Adoption Resource Centers, and the Texas Post Adoption Service Program.
This issue of The Roundtable can be downloaded at http://www.nrcadoption.org/pdfs/roundtable/V18N1-2004.pdf (PDF - 889 KB).
- Positive Messages Encourage Public's Involvement With Children
The public has a more positive view of children than a decade ago, and they respond better to positive messages about helping children than negative ones, according to a recent report from the Ad Council. The Ad Council conducted telephone surveys with more than 1,000 adults to determine their opinions about children and childrearing. When the 2004 survey results were compared with those of a similar survey conducted in 1995, the Ad Council found major shifts in the public's view of children.
Not only did the 2004 results indicate that the public has a more positive view of children, but they also showed that most Americans now acknowledge the importance of community support in helping parents raise children. The increased optimism of the 2004 respondents is also reflected in the fact that 78 percent indicated they would like to help children in their community.
The survey also tested the persuasiveness of various messages about helping children and found that messages that were the most effective with respondents:
- Emphasized that helping kids results in stronger and safer communities
- Talked about the personal rewards of helping kids
- Focused on the future prosperity and security of the country
- Emphasized compassion for parents
The Ad Council also gathered advice from more than 30 experts in the fields of advertising, marketing, and communications regarding the use of advertising to make children a top priority among the public. Their recommendations included the following:
- Conduct research about the target audience.
- Focus the message so that it is brief, clear, and constantly reinforced.
- Make the message motivating and persuasive.
- Be sensitive to tone, for instance, focusing on positive statements.
- Choose the messenger carefully.
- Keep current with demographic trends.
To read the full Ad Council report, "Turning Point: Engaging the Public on Behalf of Children" (funded by the Annie E. Casey Foundation and the MetLife Foundation), go to the Ad Council website at www.adcouncil.org/pdf/commitment_children_turning_point_report.pdf (Editor's note: Link no longer active).
The Ad Council's findings are consistent with recent research commissioned by Prevent Child Abuse America, a summary of which can be found in the June 2004 issue of Children's Bureau Express in "Prevention Leaders Strategize to Reframe Child Abuse Messages."
The Ad Council recently partnered with the United States Department of Health and Human Services' Administration for Children and Families and the Collaboration to AdoptUSKids to develop a public education campaign, Answering the Call: A National Campaign to Encourage Adoption of Children from Foster Care. The campaign seeks to increase public awareness and encourage adoption of children from the public foster care system. Read more about the campaign in "National Campaign Urges Americans to Adopt" in the June 2004 issue of Children's Bureau Express or visit the Ad Council website at http://www.adcouncil.org/Our-Work/Current-Work/Family-Community/Adoption-from-Foster-Care.
- Evaluating the Effectiveness of Tribal/State Title IV-E Agreements
Almost all American Indian tribes in the United States administer foster care and adoption assistance programs. While States are eligible to receive Title IV-E funding directly from the Federal government to implement these services, tribes are not. Many tribes are able to access these funds by entering into cooperative agreements with their States, which then provide pass-through funds to Title IV-E-eligible children under tribal jurisdiction. An article in the July/August 2004 issue of Child Welfare Journal, "Using Tribal/State Title IV-E Agreements to Help American Indian Tribes Access Foster Care and Adoption Funding," explores whether these agreements are effective in providing the funding tribes need to serve eligible Indian children.
By conducting telephone interviews and focus groups with tribal and State representatives in 15 States, researchers concluded that the agreements have been effective in helping tribes provide child welfare services. For tribes, these agreements have enabled them to increase the level of services provided to children, provide culturally sensitive services, and keep children with tribal members. State administrators feel that the agreements have been cost-effective, have helped States better comply with the provisions of the Indian Child Welfare Act, and have helped Indian children achieve permanency faster than they did in the past.
A content analysis of existing Title IV-E agreements, contracts, or grants, however, found a number of limitations, including:
- No standard Title IV-E agreement exists; agreements vary widely from State to State and tribe to tribe.
- Many agreements lack specificity regarding standards and practices.
- While all of the agreements reviewed include provisions for foster care administration, and most (94 percent) include provisions for foster care maintenance payments, only 29 percent of the agreements contain provisions for Title IV-E-eligible adoption costs and services.
- Provisions addressing the training of tribal social service providers and foster and adoptive parents are largely absent from the agreements.
The authors offer the following recommendations to make tribal/State agreements more effective:
- Tribal child welfare advocates should develop a model agreement that identifies key components and model contract language.
- Tribes and States should consider developing agreements that include two parts: a general agreement that recognizes a government-to-government relationship between the tribe and State, and a contract to provide pass-through dollars from States to tribes.
- Tribes and States must be aware that tribes are eligible for Title IV-E training and administrative costs.
- Tribes and States should collaborate to improve intergovernmental relationships that will make the agreement process more successful.
This research was conducted under the sponsorship of the National Indian Children's Alliance. Reprints of the article can be requested from:
Gordon E. Limb, Ph.D.
Department of Social Work, Arizona State University West
4701 W. Thunderbird Rd.
Glendale, AZ 85306
Phone: (602) 543-6664
- Study Finds Unmet Mental Health Needs Among Children in the Child Welfare System
In a recent study involving a nationally representative sample of children ages 2 to 14 involved in the child welfare system, nearly one-half were found to have clinically significant emotional or behavioral problems. But far fewer children, only about one-quarter, received mental health treatment. Data for the study, published in the August 2004 issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, were obtained from the National Study of Child and Adolescent Well-Being (NSCAW), a study that includes both children who remained at home and those who were removed from the home.
The study found that the greatest predictor of receiving mental health services was the level of clinical need, as determined by the Child Behavioral Checklist (CBCL). Those children with higher (more severe) CBCL scores were more likely to receive services in the 12 months prior to the interview than those with lower scores. Other predictors of mental health service utilization included:
- Age. Children ages 11 to 14 were more likely to receive services than younger children.
- Placement Type. Children in nonrelative foster care or a group home were more likely to receive services than those who remained at home.
- Type of Maltreatment Reported. Children who were referred to child protective services for neglect were less likely to receive mental health services than those who were referred for other types of maltreatment.
- Parenting Skills. Children of parents with impaired parenting skills (as reported by child welfare workers) were more likely to receive services than those whose parents were not reported as having impaired parenting skills.
According to the authors, these results speak to the need to overcome systemic barriers to providing mental health services to children in the child welfare system. The authors pointed to several specific needs, including more mental health needs assessments and referrals by child welfare workers, an enhanced ability of the public mental health system to address the unique needs of this population, parent-focused interventions, and stronger links between child welfare and mental health service systems.
The full article, "Mental Health Needs and Access to Mental Health Services by Youth Involved with Child Welfare: A National Survey," is available in the August 2004 issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry 43(8). Find information about the journal at www.jaacap.com.
Another recently published article from the NSCAW research group examines how children in foster care, kinship care, and group home care feel about topics such as their current living situation and contact with their biological families. The article, "Children's Voices: The Perceptions of Children in Foster Care," is available in the American Journal of Orthopsychiatry 74(3) at http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1037/0002-94126.96.36.1993/abstract.
Find more information about the NSCAW study in "Well-Being of Children in Foster Care" in the March 2004 issue of Children's Bureau Express.
- New Tool Helps State Child Welfare Agencies Track Performance
More than ever, State child welfare agencies are focused on outcomes for the children and families they serve. Stakeholders across the board--government regulators, the media, and the public--want to know that public investments in child welfare are achieving measurable improvements in the lives of children and families. Through a paid subscription, the new Center for State Foster Care and Adoption Data (http://csfcad.chapinhall.org; Editor's note: Link no longer active), a partnership of the American Public Human Services Association (APHSA) and Chapin Hall Center for Children at the University of Chicago, offers State child welfare agencies a national database to help manage local programs and assess local agency performance and improvement over time.
The Center's database model, which uses State administrative data, was developed at Chapin Hall to bring member child welfare agencies cutting-edge information technology for performance measurement. Guided by an advisory board of State public child welfare administrators, the Center's database gives members the capacity to:
- Analyze key child welfare outcomes, including time to reunification, time to adoption, placement stability, and re-entry to care
- Compare outcomes for different administrative offices within their State or with other States
- Trace outcomes from the aggregate to the individual child level
- Project future service patterns based on historical trends
- Test the impact of service and policy innovations
- Set performance goals and monitor progress
- Link financial decision-making to outcome measures
- Tell their story to the media and make their case to legislators
In addition to the longitudinal database, subscribing agencies receive technical assistance on installation and use of the database and access to multi-State data for benchmarking. Optional features include web tools for data mining and additional technical assistance in the strategic use of data for program evaluation, budgeting, policy analysis, and compliance reporting.
The Center is operated in collaboration with the Jordan Institute for Families at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the Center for Social Services Research at the University of California at Berkeley. Technical assistance for subscribers is provided in coordination with APHSA and its affiliate, the National Association of Public Child Welfare Administrators. Core funding for the Center comes from the Annie E. Casey Foundation. For more information about the Center, contact:
American Public Human Services Association
810 First Street NE
Washington, DC 20002
Phone: (202) 682-0100
- Promoting a Positive Educational Experience for Children in Foster Care
Recognizing the impact of education on the lives and futures of children in foster care, the Vera Institute of Justice and the New York City Administration for Children's Services conducted a pilot project, Safe Start, to experiment with ways to help adults improve the school experience of children in foster care. Safe Start innovations were designed to address some of the typical educational difficulties of children in foster care, including poor attendance, poor academic performance, and greater incidence of behavior problems.
During the project's 3 years, Safe Start staff identified a number of barriers to optimal educational experiences for children in foster care:
- Multiple placements that result in multiple schools
- Medical and court appointments that cause children to miss school
- Lack of emphasis on education by the child welfare and judicial systems
- Low expectations for educational achievement on the part of caseworkers, school personnel, and foster parents
- Lack of one adult who serves as a child's educational advocate
- Aftereffects of abuse or neglect
- Lack of coordination between the child welfare and educational systems
- School policies that make it difficult to enroll children
In response, Safe Start found that increasing adult involvement in the education of children in foster care would help children overcome many of these obstacles. Two specific and relatively inexpensive recommendations were made:
- Assign primary responsibility for monitoring a child's education to one adult. In many cases there is a great deal of confusion over who is responsible for enrolling the child, signing permission slips, meeting with the teacher, and more. Foster parents are sometimes uncomfortable with the school system, or they believe that they do not have the right to act as a legal guardian for the child. In some cases, birth parents are still capable of taking responsibility. The key is for the caseworker to designate an adult and for the court to ensure that such a person is appointed.
- Encourage foster parents to interact with the school and teachers. Foster parents can receive training on attending parent-teacher conferences and finding out important information about the children for whom they provide foster care.
As a result of the pilot project, the Vera Institute published a three-part packet to cover the themes of "Meeting the Challenges," "Adult Involvement," and "Enrollment and Transfers." Included in the packet are sample letters and forms to help in enrollment and release of records, as well as tip sheets for foster parents (in English and Spanish) regarding questions to ask at a parent-teacher conference and ways to help with homework.
The packet, Foster Children and Education: How You Can Create a Positive Education Experience for the Foster Child, can be downloaded from the Vera website at www.vera.org/publications/publications_5.asp?publication_id=241 (Editor's note: Link no longer active).
Read more about the issue of education for children in foster care in "Overcoming Educational Barriers for Children in Foster Care" in the May 2004 issue of Children's Bureau Express.
- Critical Components for Program Replication
Replicating a proven program model can be one way to get a new program off to a good start. But how the model is implemented may be just as important as what model is used, according to a recent report by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP).
In its Blueprints for Violence Prevention initiative, 9 programs (8 violence prevention and 1 drug prevention program) in 147 sites were examined in terms of the extent to which agencies had accomplished specific program objectives (e.g., serving the targeted population, hiring and training qualified staff). The results of this process evaluation identified several critical components of successful program implementation:
- Site Assessment. Communities should assess their needs, the commitment to the program, and resources for implementation.
- Effective Organization. Organizations need to have support from administrators, agency stability, and links to other agencies.
- Qualified Staff. Staff should be committed to the new program, have the credentials and experience for the job, have adequate time to commit to the program, and be paid for their efforts.
- Program Champions. Every program needs one or more people to guide the daily operations, motivate staff, and foster communication.
- Program Integration. It is important to link the new program to the goals and objectives of the host agency.
- Training and Technical Assistance. These services increase staff understanding of the program and its philosophies, encourage administrative and community support, and provide direction.
- Implementation Fidelity. This includes adherence to the original program design (protocols, materials); the number, length, or frequency of services; the quality of program delivery by staff; and engagement and involvement of participants.
By focusing on these critical components, agencies can foster a positive experience for both staff and participants that results in higher quality implementation and more positive outcomes.
A copy of this report can be obtained from the OJJDP website at https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/ojjdp/204274.pdf (PDF - 1,137 KB). More information on the Blueprints for Violence Prevention initiative also is available on the OJJDP website at http://ojjdp.ncjrs.org/publications/PubAbstract.asp?pubi=11721 (Editor's note: This link is no longer active. More information about this program, which is now known as Blueprints for Healthy Youth Development, can be found at http://www.blueprintsprograms.com/.)
- Adding Up the Benefits of Prevention
The Washington State Institute for Public Policy has compiled information on early intervention programs for youth in Washington State to ascertain whether specific programs result in savings of taxpayer dollars. The Institute was directed by the State Legislature to identify and evaluate prevention and early intervention programs for youth that have specific outcomes in seven areas, including reductions in child abuse and neglect, substance abuse, and teen pregnancy. Their results have been released in a report, "Benefits and Costs of Prevention and Early Intervention Programs for Youth."
In estimating costs and benefits for the programs, researchers conducted extensive literature reviews and then constructed a benefit-cost model for each program to assign monetary values to changes in desired effects (such as a reduction in child abuse and neglect). Results are presented in a table that lists 61 programs, along with their benefits, costs, benefits per dollar of cost, and benefits minus costs. Of these, 37 showed a positive value for benefits minus costs, indicating that they have the potential to save taxpayer dollars. The Institute also developed several recommendations to address the issue of local program costs that result in savings at the State level, including reimbursement arrangements that give State funds to local programs.
The report can be downloaded at the Institute's website at www.wsipp.wa.gov/pub.asp?docid=04-07-3901.
Read about another approach to cost analysis in "Calculating the Costs of Child Maltreatment" in the July/August 2001 issue of Children's Bureau Express.
More information on economic analysis of prevention programs is available at https://www.childwelfare.gov/preventing/developing/economic.cfm.
- Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption
The deadline for the December 2004 funding cycle of the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption is November 5. The Foundation provides funding to U.S. and Canadian tax-exempt organizations that work to move children from foster care into adoptive homes. The Foundation is especially interested in addressing the permanency needs of children who are older, medically or emotionally challenged, or from an ethnic minority, or sibling groups who seek to be adopted together.
Preference is given to applications that:
- Propose innovative recruitment and adoption awareness efforts
- Develop methods to overcome financial, bureaucratic, or procedural barriers to adoption
- Define outcome measures and are cost effective
- Partner with other organizations, corporations, or foundations
- Propose innovative service delivery to adopted children and adoptive families
The Foundation excludes certain kinds of requests, including individual adoption expenses, operating budgets, endowments or capital campaigns, adoption searches or reunions, scholarships, and special events. Go to the Foundation's website (https://www.davethomasfoundation.org/) for more information about funding priorities, exclusions, and the application process.
- Missing from Care--Children Who Are Runaways, Abducted, or Lost to the System
The Children Missing from Care Project has released a report on the current state of knowledge regarding missing children, causes, and possible solutions. "Children Missing from Care: An Issue Brief" reviews results from several American and British studies on the characteristics, prevalence, reasons, and responses to children missing from care.
The report notes that researchers distinguish among three groups of children: (1) those who run away, (2) those who are abducted, and (3) those who are lost to the child welfare system. Each of these groups has its own characteristics, and strategies to address the problem must be tailored to each group. The report also cites several programs that show promise for prevention, tracking, and response.
The Children Missing from Care Project is a collaboration between the Child Welfare League of America (CWLA) and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, with the goal of providing guidance to law enforcement and child welfare agencies regarding children in foster care who are missing. The complete report can be downloaded from the CWLA site at www.cwla.org/programs/fostercare/childmiss.htm.
- Federal Funding for Youth Initiatives
The Guide to Federal Funding Sources for the Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative and Other Youth Initiatives, a publication of the Finance Project, provides comprehensive information on sources of Federal funding for services, supports, and activities for vulnerable and disadvantaged youth. This resource was developed to assist youth-focused programs in maximizing Federal funding opportunities.
The Guide is divided into two sections:
- A narrative section summarizes the available Federal funding sources and lists each funding program by functional and expenditure categories.
- The main body of the report provides information on 65 Federal programs with the potential to support services and activities for youth. Types of information in this section include a profile of each Federal funding source, allowable uses of funds, eligible applicants, matching requirements, and potential partners for accessing these funds.
Although the funding sources were identified for the Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative, which focuses on children aging out of foster care, the resources in this publication are more broad based and can support a variety of youth initiatives.
The publication can be accessed on the Finance Project website at http://www.financeproject.org/publications/JCYOIFundingGuide.pdf (PDF - 633 KB).
- Child Welfare Social Workers Give Positive Survey Responses
Child welfare caseworkers with degrees in social work appear to have more positive experiences and be better prepared for their work than other child welfare caseworkers, according to a recent survey by the National Association of Social Workers (NASW). The NASW surveyed their members in the Child Welfare Specialty Practice Section about issues such as salaries, workload, and satisfaction with various aspects of the job. A total of 534 responded to the mail survey. Survey results were then compared to those from other surveys of all child welfare caseworkers, although no distinction was made between workers in public and private child welfare agencies.
In addition to survey responses about existing conditions, the report offers a number of recommendations for improvements in the field. Social workers' suggestions included more positive portrayals in the media, better funding, more emphasis on children's well-being, and better trained staff.
The NASW survey publication, "If You're Right for the Job, It's Best Job in the World," can be downloaded from the NASW website at www.naswdc.org/practice/children/NASWChildWelfareRpt062004.pdf.
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.
Upcoming national conferences on adoption and child welfare through January 2005 include:
- Adolescence and the Transition to Adulthood: Rethinking Public Policy for a New Century (Chapin Hall Center for Children at the University of Chicago; November 8 through 9, Chicago, IL)
- 2004 National Adoption Training Conference "All in the Family: Achieving Excellence in Adoption" (Child Welfare League of America; November 8 through 10, Los Angeles, CA)
- Children's Rights Council 15th Annual National Conference "The Best Parent Is Both Parents" (November 11 through 13, Toledo, OH)
- 66th Annual National Council on Family Relations Conference (November 17 through 20, Orlando, FL)
- Helping Children Whose Parents Are Incarcerated: What They Need -- What You Can Do (Child Welfare League of America; November 18, Teleconference)
- APSAC's Second Annual Trauma Treatment Clinic (American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children; November 29 through December 3, Maui, HI)
- 19th National Training Institute "A Changing World for Babies" (Zero to Three; December 3 through 5, Sacramento, CA)
- Federation of Families for Children's Mental Health 16th Annual Conference (December 9 through 12, Washington, DC)
- 19th Annual San Diego Conference on Child and Family Maltreatment (Chadwick Center for Children and Families, Children's Hospital-San Diego; January 24 through 28, San Diego, CA)
Further details about national and regional adoption and child welfare conferences can be found in the Conference Calendar on Child Welfare Information Gateway: www.childwelfare.gov/calendar
- Foster Parent College
The Foster Parent College series offers interactive, multimedia training courses online and on DVD for adoptive, kinship, and foster parents.
In each course, Dr. Rick Delaney, a well-known psychologist and foster parenting expert, talks with parents about specific challenges many foster and adoptive parents face. Dramatizations of fictionalized cases are used to illustrate each point. Each course helps the viewer:
- Develop an understanding of the problem
- Recognize early warning signs
- Gain insights
- Discover possible steps to take in solving these problems
Courses available now include:
- Eating Disorders
- Sexualized Behavior
- Anger Outbursts
- Sleep Problems
- Soiling and Wetting
Titles coming soon include stealing, running away, self-harm, and reactive attachment disorder.
Each course is approximately 30 to 45 minutes long, but the interactive format allows parents to proceed at their own pace and review chapters at any time. Each course concludes with an interactive question and answer section. Parents then have an opportunity to earn 2 hours of foster parent training credit.
All courses are available on DVD for $15 for parent use, or online for $8 per course per person. Online accounts allow registered users to keep track of their progress in each course they have purchased and access discussion boards about the courses they have completed. Groups may purchase courses on DVDs or in bulk for online access.
Foster Parent College is produced by Northwest Media, Inc., through a grant from the National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Visit www.fosterparentcollege.com to watch free previews of each course, or call (800) 777-6636 for more information.