This issue of CBX highlights kinship care and how placing children in need of out-of-home care with relatives can help them maintain connections to family, community, and culture. This month's message from Associate Commissioner Aysha E. Schomburg features the lived experience of a kinship caregiver that addresses the importance of providing support to families who take in the children of relatives. This issue also includes valuable resources for professionals and the families they serve.
- New Grandfamilies and Kinship Support Network Formed
The Administration for Community Living (within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services) and Generations United have partnered to form the new Grandfamilies & Kinship Support Network. Funded by a 5-year cooperative agreement, the network is the first national technical assistance center focused on supporting government agencies, kinship navigator programs, and nonprofit organizations in states, tribes, and territories to work across jurisdictions to improve supports and services for grandfamilies and kinship families. The network will also have a diverse steering committee composed of the nation’s leading experts on kinship and grandfamilies, including caregivers from the GRAND Voices Network.
The network will include collaborations between Generations United, the National Caucus and Center on Black Aging, the National Indian Child Welfare Association, USAging, ZERO TO THREE, and Child Trends to help increase the capacity of states, territories, tribes and tribal organizations, nonprofits, and other community-based organizations to support kinship families and grandfamilies. The network will also provide technical assistance to enable peer learning, integrate subject-matter expertise into solutions, and develop and document best-practice models of collaboration across jurisdictions.
- Genia Newkirk's Story
When children and youth require out-of-home care, placement with family, known as kinship care, should be our first approach. Kinship care allows children to maintain connections with their families, friends, and communities and preserves their cultural identity. This National Kinship Care Month, I’m amplifying the voice of Genia Newkirk and her story of caring for her brother’s daughter, Nadia, and the importance of supporting kinship caregivers by providing them with the resources they need to ensure the best outcomes for the children in their care.—Aysha E. Schomburg, Associate Commissioner of the Children’s Bureau
I became a kinship caregiver after finding out my brother had a little girl—Nadia—in foster care, which spurred me into action. Nadia had been in four foster homes after being removed from her mother’s care. Even though we’d never met before, I knew taking Nadia in and caring for her was something I had to do. But I didn’t really know how to make it happen. After doing some research on my own, I made my way through North Carolina’s Department of Health and Human Services’ process and became a licensed foster caregiver in about 6 months. I became Nadia’s guardian in September 2019, when she was 6 years old. Caring for Nadia has changed me. It’s transformed me into really having a heart for children from various walks of life. It’s made me curious about a child’s potential. What is waiting in this child that could possibly bloom into something wonderful? Prior to coming to live with me, Nadia wasn’t in a structured environment where she was disciplined with love. It’s been transformative for me to see how she’s changed.
There is a belief that kinship caregivers can rely on family members for assistance. That is not true in my case. Unfortunately, my family has been unable to step in to offer a helping hand. With that being said, I would like to see the same resources that are offered to foster families extended to kinship families. Resources like respite, stipends, and peer support aren’t always available to us. Just because we’re relatives doesn’t mean we don’t need the same resources. For instance, Nadia is going through growth spurts. While in foster care, the need was met when Nadia grew out of her clothes. When those needs arise now, the kinship caregiver is the sole resource. There is no one to call. There is no one to lean on. There is a distinct difference between the availability of resources for foster and kinship families in my state. While I am clear that foster children are the state’s responsibility, why does providing for children equitably differ between foster and kinship families?
Nadia couldn’t understand that the conditions with her mother were unsafe. I would love to access a support group and therapy to help Nadia process her emotions. Can there be someone there to help us walk through this? It would be great to have a kinship liaison who works to facilitate building the familial bond and assist with working through the new relationship that now exists between the family members. Kinship caregivers need access to crisis-management services. That means workers need to be more available. Kinship caregivers should also have access to their children’s basic needs like food and clothing. Help with family visits and training is needed badly, too. Ultimately, support kinship caregivers in such a way that they know, without a doubt, that their community is behind them.
- Speaking of Change: How Can Kinship Care Advance Racial Equity in Child Welfare?
Amara's Kinship Program has a second installment in its Speaking of Change webinar series. This webinar, "Speaking of Change: How Can Kinship Care Advance Racial Equity in Child Welfare," seeks to break down common assumptions and misconceptions about foster care and adoption by sharing stories of people engaged in child and family welfare. Community members from King County, WA, discuss kinship care and how supporting kin caregivers is a necessary step toward racial equity within child welfare.
Kin caregivers who are Black and Native American/Alaska Native face additional challenges compared with their White counterparts due to systemic racism, historical trauma, and a complex history of legal and social factors that continue to impact diverse families. It is important to keep kinship care at the forefront of discussions and options and to create support systems to ensure the success of long- and short-term kin caregivers.
To learn more, watch the full webinar, "Speaking of Change: How Can Kinship Care Advance Racial Equity in Child Welfare."
- Reimagining Permanency: The Struggle for Racial Equity and Lifelong Connections
A series of articles in Family Integrity and Justice Quarterly, "Reimagining Permanency: The Struggle for Racial Equity and Lifelong Connections," discusses the importance of maintaining familial relationships in the wake of out-of-home care, the need for permanency, and the damage that severing ties with family means to children and youth involved with child welfare, especially children of color. In addition to being overrepresented in foster care, Black children also face higher rates of poor outcomes—including being less likely to be adopted and more likely to age out of foster care.
The article emphasizes familial connections and the benefits of these stable relations as a "buffer" against the negative effects of adverse life experiences and asks readers to reexamine the preference for adoption over other, more flexible and connected options, such as guardianship. Relational permanency can help maintain vital familial, lifelong connections. Additionally, it describes how youth in foster care have stepped forward to challenge what permanency means and how the Children's Bureau has met with youth to learn how they value relational permanency.
The article walks readers through the child welfare laws and policies enacted during the 1990s and explains how these perpetuated biases against Black families and mothers. It also calls attention to how, despite the outpouring of apparent support for Black lives during the summer of 2020 and the suspension of many child welfare services, parental-rights terminations continued. Throughout the article, the authors ask readers to question how the adoption and foster care systems are working for families and the role humanity plays in foster care.
"Reimagining Permanency: The Struggle for Racial Equity and Lifelong Connections" is available in the winter 2022 issue of Family and Integrity Justice Quarterly.
- Benefits of Kinship Placement
The American Bar Association (ABA) developed a tool for lawyers to use in trial or during their appellate arguments to help them advocate for kinship placement. Benefits of Kinship Placement includes information and resources that counsel may be able to include in their clinical summaries or to provide to experts, social workers, or any workgroup or committee in their jurisdiction. Counsel for parents and children who support kinship care can use this resource to advocate for and help caregivers obtain the benefits, supports, and services they need to be successful.
This resource provides talking points that include key takeaways and background information to educate those involved in the court about the benefits of kinship care and the issues that kin caregivers face and help counsel persuade judges and child welfare agencies to place children with kin. The talking points cover the various outcomes that tend to be better for children placed with kin compared with those who are not and include multiple citations or short summaries of specific resources.
Links are also provided to legal resources regarding kinship placements; research that supports advocating for appropriate services and resources to support kin caregivers; general recommendations for creating a kin-first culture; examples of the types of support services kin caregivers need to be successful; and cultural, racial, and ethnic considerations.
Benefits of Kinship Placement is available on the ABA website.
Spotlight on Creating a More Equitable Child Welfare System
Spotlight on Child and Family Services Review, Round 4
News From the Children's Bureau
In this section, find the latest news, resources, and publications from the Administration for Children and Families, the Children's Bureau, and other offices within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services as well as a listing of the latest additions to the Children's Bureau website.
- Kinship Navigation Facilitates Permanency and Equity for Youth in Child Welfare
Although kinship care is regarded as the best placement for children and youth who must be removed from their families and enter out-of-home care, only 34 percent of children in foster care were placed in a relative foster family home in 2020 according to data from the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System. A recent article in Children and Youth Services Review, “Kinship Navigation: Facilitating Permanency and Equity for Youth in Child Welfare,” examines how a kinship navigator program helped mitigate the challenges associated with kinship care by providing kin caregivers with information, education, referrals, and other supports to allow them to maximize their ability to provide safety, stability, and permanency for the children and youth placed with them.
The article focuses on the kinship navigator program at A Second Chance, Inc. (ASCI) in Allegheny County, PA. ASCI’s kinship navigators, who work in the office of the county’s Office of Children, Youth and Families, shadow caseworkers and support cases beginning at children’s removal from their homes. This allows the kinship navigators to begin their family-finding efforts immediately, help relatives prepare their homes for kinship care, link relatives to essential information and resources, and prepare them for foster parent certification and licensing. ASCI’s model places racial and cultural competencies at the forefront by acknowledging the existence of racial inequities and recognizing the importance of kinship care to maintaining youth’s racial and cultural identities.
The study of ASCI’s kinship navigator program included 471 youth who were served by the program and a comparison group of 637 youth who were served by other agencies or programs in Allegheny County. It examined the types of services received, the costs associated with each service, where and when the services were provided, and when and how the case was closed.
More than three-quarters of both the kinship navigator and comparison groups reunited with their families, but children receiving kinship navigator services who did not reunify had different exit patterns than those in the comparison group who did not reunify. Children who received kinship navigator services were significantly more likely to achieve permanent legal custodianship (also known as legal guardianship) (13 percent) than children in the comparison group (4 percent). Children in the comparison group were much more likely to exit to adoption (12 percent) than children who received kinship navigator services (7 percent). Additionally, study data suggest that ASCI’s kinship navigator program had more racially equitable outcomes than those in the comparison group. Among children who were not reunified, there was no significant difference in attaining permanency between White children (21 percent) and African American children (19 percent) who received kinship navigator services, but there was a significant difference in the comparison group (20 percent of White children achieved permanency compared with 12 percent of African American children).
The article highlights the benefits of permanent legal custodianship for kin caregivers. They are able to assume all legal responsibilities and authority for the child without necessitating the termination of parental rights and children being permanently separated from their parents. Furthermore, in Pennsylvania and other states, kin caregivers may receive a subsidy similar to that of nonrelative foster caregivers. The study also suggests that kinship navigator programs may be an approach to improve permanency and decrease disparities in outcomes for African American children.
To learn more about ASCI’s program and the effectiveness of kinship navigators, read the article, “Kinship Navigation: Facilitating Permanency and Equity for Youth in Child Welfare.”
- CB Website Updates
The Children's Bureau website hosts 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 the following:
- LGBTQIA2S+ Resources [Webpage]
- AFFIRM Caregiver: Affirmative Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Caregivers of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender & Questioning (LGBTQ+) Populations
- Youth AFFIRM: Affirmative Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender & Questioning (LGBTQ+) Populations
- Chosen Affirming Family Finding
- “Cuyahoga County’s System Transformation for Serving LGBTQ+ Youth in Foster Care” [Infographic]
- Journey Ahead
- “Rollout of Data Collection on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity” [Infographic]
- Collecting SOGIE Data
- Working Virtually With Families of LGBTQ+ Youth
- Working With Families of LGBTQ+ Youth
- LGBTQ+ Youth Engagement Virtually and In-Person
- Youth Acceptance Project
- Design for the Cross-Center Evaluation of the Child Welfare Capacity Building Collaborative, 2020–2025
- Capacity Building Service Strategies: A Review of the Literature
- “AFCARS 2020 Compliance and Penalties” [Webinar]
Visit the Children's Bureau website often to see what's new.
- September Is National Child Welfare Workforce Development Month
Each year since 2017, the National Child Welfare Workforce Institute (NCWWI), a service of the Children’s Bureau, celebrates the professionals who work to ensure the well-being of families involved with the child welfare system. National Child Welfare Workforce Development Month is an opportunity for child welfare professionals to celebrate their achievements and connect with colleagues, for child welfare leaders to focus on how to best support and recognize their workforce, for social work students to learn about child welfare practice, and for social work programs and faculty to refresh the child welfare curriculum with the latest resources.
As in previous years, this year’s initiative includes a weeklong recognition of the hard work and dedication child welfare professionals have shown in their responsibilities to the families they serve. Child Welfare Workforce Appreciation Week, which runs from September 12–16, will include a 1-hour virtual recognition event on Tuesday, September 13 at 3:00 p.m. ET. This event will be hosted by NCWWI and the Children’s Bureau and will give workers a chance to reflect, connect, and recharge.
Visit NCWWI’s National Child Welfare Workforce Development Month webpage for a recognition event kit that agencies can use to plan their own local events; social media messaging, graphics, and outreach materials; registration information for the virtual recognition event on September 13; and more.
- Relative and Kin Connections Keep Families Strong
Staying connected to the important adults in a child's or youth's life plays an important role in reducing the impact of trauma. A The Family Room blog post from Children's Bureau Associate Commissioner Aysha Schomburg discusses the importance of maintaining kinship connections for children and youth in foster care. The post highlights stories from kin caregivers who benefitted from connecting with kinship navigator programs in their area. Kinship navigator programs allowed these families to successfully take in and care for the youth in their families.
These highlighted stories were taken from the National Foster Care Month (NFCM) 2022 website. These firsthand accounts demonstrate how kinship care positively impacts families and communities. Read the blog and access the NFCM website for more information on kinship navigator programs; culturally responsive kin caregiver recruitment; and how kinship care continues to build protective factors in families, children, and youth.
- New Changes to the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program Bring Borrowers Closer to Loan Forgiveness
New Changes to the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program Bring Borrowers Closer to Loan Forgiveness
As a result of the financial hardships brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. Department of Education has temporarily amended rules for qualifying for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program. According to these changes, employees of the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human services, grant recipients, and partners may now be eligible for PSLF for their important public service, even if they were not eligible before.
Typically, to qualify for the PSLF program, borrowers must be be employed by a U.S. federal, state, local, or tribal government, a 501(c)3 nonprofit, or a nonprofit organization that provides a qualifying service (including military service); work full-time for a qualifying organization(s); have direct loans (or consolidate other federal student loans into a direct loan); repay loans under an income-driven repayment plan; and make 120 qualifying payments.
For a limited time under the current PSLF waiver, borrowers may receive credit for past periods of repayment that would otherwise not qualify for PSLF. Past periods of repayment will now count regardless of whether a payment was actually made and whether that payment was made on time, for the full amount due, or under a qualifying repayment plan. Periods of deferment or forbearance, and periods of default, however, continue to not qualify.
ACF has a webpage that has additional information on how to qualify for the PSLF program; resources, including short videos on loan forgiveness for the human services workforce; and the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Messaging Toolkit, which provides sample social media posts, email text, and newsletter content that can be tailored to various communities.
Applications to qualify for the PSLF waiver are due by October 31, 2022.
This section features resources and updates from the Children's Bureau's technical assistance partners to support practices and systems that improve the lives of children and families.
- Updates From the Children's Bureau's Training and Technical Assistance Partners
The Children's Bureau funds several technical assistance centers to provide professionals with tools to better serve children, youth, and families.
The following are some of the latest resources from these partners:
Child Welfare Information Gateway
- Stepparent Adoption
- From Complaint to Resolution: Understanding the Child Welfare Grievance Process
- Disproportionality [Webpage update]
Visit the Child Welfare Information Gateway website for more.
FRIENDS National Center for Community-Based Child Abuse Prevention
- “Using the FRIENDS Report and Application Portal to Create the 2022 CBCAP Application” [Webinar]
- “CBCAP Around the U.S.: Images of Prevention” [Video]
- Parents & Practitioners (Spring 2022 newsletter)
Visit the FRIENDS National Resource Center website for more.
Child Welfare Capacity Building Collaborative
- Center for States
- Center for Tribes Tribal Information Exchange
Visit the Child Welfare Capacity Building Collaborative website for more.
Children's Bureau Learning & Coordination Center (CBLCC)
- “Caring for Kinship Caregivers” [Webinar]
Visit the CBLCC website for more.
- “While You Wait: Preparing to Be Matched” [Blog post]
- “Creating an Affirming Home for LGBTQ+ Youth as a Foster or Adoptive Parent” [Blog post]
- “Understanding, Engaging, and Supporting Native Families” [Webinar]
Visit the AdoptUSKids website for more.
National Child Welfare Workforce Institute (NCWWI)
- “Overrepresentation of Black Children in Child Welfare” [One-page article summary]
- Child Welfare Appreciation Week Poster
Visit the NCWWI website for more.
Quality Improvement Center for Workforce Development (QIC-WD)
- “The Child Welfare Workforce Crisis – What We’re Hearing From the Field” [Blog post]
- “A Quick Guide to Workforce Analytics for Child Welfare Agencies” [Blog post]
Visit the QIC-WD website for more.
National Center on Substance Abuse and Child Welfare (NCSACW)
- Comprehensive Framework to Improve Outcomes for Families Affected by Substance Use Disorders and Child Welfare Involvement
- Understanding Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders: Child Welfare Practice Tips
- Understanding Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders for Substance Use Treatment Professionals
Visit the NCSACW website for more.
James Bell Associates
- “Introducing a Podcast on Equity in Child Welfare Evaluation”
- “Finding Opportunities to Prevent Adverse Childhood Experiences in the Wake of the Opioid Crisis”
- Reflective Supervision: What We Know and What We Need to Know to Support and Strengthen the Home Visiting Workforce
Visit the James Bell Associates website for more.
- New Podcast Available on Advancing Support for Kinship Caregivers
Kinship care is the preferred resource for children who must be removed from their families and placed in out-of-home care. Relatives (kin), as well as close family friends (fictive kin), can help children in these situations to maintain a sense of normalcy and close connections to their culture, communities, and families.
The podcase episode “Advances in Supporting Kinship Caregivers – Part 1” is a part of a series of podcasts released by Child Welfare Information Gateway that features ways child welfare agencies have strengthened kinship families and helped them to mitigate the challenges they have faced and their unique needs.
This episode discusses a group of kinship-centered programs and services from Rhode Island’s Department of Children, Youth and Families (DCYF). The agency implemented a separate team dedicated to family finding and engagement to identify and retain relatives for kinship placements and use strategies that leverage caregiver peers as mentors to provide emotional support and connect families to supports and services.
The following topics are discussed:
- Why kin caregivers should be treated differently by agencies and caseworkers and the specific challenges kin caregivers face
- How to strengthen relationships between caseworkers and kin caregivers
- The roles and responsibilities of Rhode Island’s family search and engagement team
- How to adapt a customer service approach across DCYF and what it means for caseworkers to “manage emotions first”
The episode features Melissa Aguiar-Rivard, L.M.H.C., chief of practice standards, Recruitment Development and Support, DCYF; Lori D’Alessio, deputy chief of licensing, DCYF; and Dorn Dougan, regional director, region 4, DCYF.
Listen to the podcast, “Advances in Supporting Kinship Caregivers – Part 1,” to learn more.
- NTDC Focuses on Tools and Training for Kinship Families
Written by April Dinwoodie
Did you know that the most decorated gymnast and recent Presidential Medal of Freedom Honoree, Simone Biles, is also part of a kinship adoption family? Simone and her sister were adopted by her grandparents when she was a child. For Simone, her sister, and grandparents, this is just how her family is. Simone’s family is not alone; there are countless families that are experiencing adoption in this way.
Recognizing that kinship families have a unique kind of closeness and may also experience additional challenges, the National Training and Development Curriculum for Foster and Adoptive Parents (NTDC) created training and tools that specifically address the unique aspects of being a kinship caregiver.
This theme helps participants understand the importance of self-care and practical ideas for how to do it. Participants will understand signs of stress and burnout and recognize the importance of maintaining their mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being. This theme describes parental resilience, why resilience is important, and covers how caring for children who have experienced trauma, separation, or loss can impact a caregiver’s own well-being. This theme also covers the behaviors that foster a protective environment for parents and children.
This theme acknowledges the complexities associated with caring for children who are related, including divided loyalties, redefined roles and relationships, setting boundaries with parents and other relatives, and the range of emotions including anger, resentment, guilt, and/or embarrassment that caregivers can feel. Strategies for how to manage family dynamics and conflicts, identify triggers, and effectively manage stress are shared.
With the pilot period complete and evaluation of NTDC winding down, the curriculum is now available to the public at no cost. This state-of-the-art resource is based on research and input from experts, families who have experience with fostering or adopting children, and adults with lived experience in the child welfare system. It provides potential foster, kinship, and adoptive parents with the information and tools needed to parent children who have experienced trauma, separation, or loss.
In this short video, hear directly from parents and professionals about how this free resource is educating and empowering them with trauma-informed, culturally relevant, and flexible training and tools. Click here to view. And click here to learn how to access the curriculum materials.
Contact Sue Cohick for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org
In this section, we highlight recent studies, literature reviews, and other research on child welfare topics.
- Drug Testing Brief Provides Practice Tips for Child Welfare Workers and Supervisors
The National Center on Substance Abuse and Child Welfare released part 2 of a series of briefs on drug testing in child welfare. The first brief in the series was written for child welfare administrators and policymakers and highlights key steps to consider when developing drug-testing policies for child welfare practice. The second brief, Drug Testing for Parents Involved in Child Welfare: Three Key Practice Points, outlines drug-testing practice considerations for child welfare workers and supervisors when implementing drug testing in their practice.
The brief includes three key practice points designed to help child welfare workers consider drug testing using an engagement approach that promotes family well-being and recovery:
- Drug testing is just one tool used to guide case planning and permanency decisions with families affected by substance use disorders (SUDs).
- Drug testing can provide caseworkers with opportunities to discuss a parent’s substance use and motivate them to follow their case plans and engage in treatment.
- A strengths-based, motivational approach to engagement supports the well-being of children and families.
Key takeaways include the following:
- Drug test results alone cannot identify an SUD.
- Drug test results alone cannot determine if a parent is abstinent or in recovery.
- Early identification and treatment of SUDs are critical for successful outcomes.
- Caseworkers should base decisions on facts and not assumptions about parents.
- Motivational interviewing can enhance engagement and retention in SUD treatment.
- Restricting family time should never be used as a punishment.
The series of briefs aims to highlight the importance of agencies and workers understanding the benefits and limitations of drug testing in child welfare. Agencies risk relying too heavily on drug test results when making decisions about child placement, and drug testing can be expensive and limited in terms of determining child risk and safety.
Read the full brief, Drug Testing for Parents Involved in Child Welfare: Three Key Practice Points for more information.
To learn more about part 1 of the series, visit the Children's Bureau Express article "Brief Explores Drug Testing in the Child Welfare System," found in the July/August 2022 issue (Vol. 23, No. 6).
- Brief Explores Tie Between Economic Hardship and Child Abuse in AAPI Families
A recent article in the International Journal on Child Maltreatment: Research, Policy and Practice, "Child Maltreatment in Asian American and Pacific Islander Families: The Roles of Economic Hardship and Parental Aggravation," examines the relationship between economic hardship and parental aggravation and child maltreatment among Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) families. (Parental aggravation is a caregiver's perceptions and experiences of strain and intolerance toward caring for a child.)
The study explored three types of child maltreatment—physical assault, psychological aggression, and neglect—in a sample of 146 AAPI children. To measure the occurrence of maltreatment, the researchers asked participants whether (1) they used punishments such as spanking, pinching, shaking, slapping, and hitting with a hard object in order to determine the presence of physical aggression; (2) whether they shouted, yelled, or screamed at their child or threatened to spank them (but did not actually do so) in order to determine the presence of psychological aggression; and (3) they neglected their child's basic need for food, shelter, medical care, education, and proper supervision in order to determine the presence of neglect.
Findings demonstrated that economic hardship was positively associated with psychological aggression and physical assault, while aggravation in parenting was positively associated with neglect. This suggests that AAPI parents are more likely to use certain forms of child maltreatment when they experience specific stressors, according to the study. The findings are in line with other research demonstrating economic hardship increases family stress, which can lead to harsh parenting and child maltreatment. In addition, parenting is a constant responsibility, and when parents become stressed, they may have difficulty performing parenting activities and display negative attitudes toward their children.
The study notes that child maltreatment in the AAPI community is relatively understudied compared with other racial and ethnic groups and that more research is needed about parental stress contributing to maltreatment, specifically among AAPI families.
For more information, read the full research article, “Child Maltreatment in Asian American and Pacific Islander Families: The Roles of Economic Hardship and Parental Aggravation.”
This section of CBX offers publications, articles, reports, toolkits, and other resources that provide evidence-based strategies or other concrete help to child welfare and related professionals.
- CBX Survey Launches!
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And now we are asking for reader feedback.
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- Toolkit Provides Guidance for Child Welfare Professionals Supporting Children and Youth During and After Natural Disasters
Toolkit Provides Guidance for Child Welfare Professionals Supporting Children and Youth During and After Natural Disasters
Child Trends released A Toolkit for Child Welfare Agencies to Help Young People Heal and Thrive During and After Natural Disasters, which is designed for child welfare professionals looking to support young people during and after natural disasters. About 14 percent of children and youth have experienced at least one natural disaster by the age of 18. Although the toolkit was not tested with children and youth during a pandemic, it may still be useful during and after pandemics given that natural disasters and pandemics have a number of similar challenges.
The toolkit includes three sections:
- Recommendations for child welfare professionals to prepare for and respond to natural disasters
- An overview of trauma-informed care and other methods to promote healing and resilience after natural disasters
- Interventions to support children and youth who experience a natural disaster
In addition, the toolkit includes the following:
- Resources for incorporating youth, program, and community voices in disaster planning
- A summary of evidence on trauma, healing, and resilience during and after natural disasters
- Tools for implementing trauma-informed care
- Strategies to promote culturally responsive care
- Guidance for partnering with community service providers
The intended audience for the toolkit is frontline caseworkers and administrators, as well as community partners, looking to promote healing and resilience. The toolkit can also be integrated into agency disaster plans.
The toolkit, which was developed by Child Trends with support from the Annie E. Casey Foundation and the National Child Traumatic Stress Network, is available on the Child Trends website.
- September Is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month
September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness month. During this time, it is important to acknowledge those affected by suicide, raise awareness, and connect individuals with suicidal ideation to treatment services.
Many times, children and youth come into the care of the child welfare system with trauma as a result of adverse childhood experiences, such as abuse and neglect. Research indicates that youth involved with child welfare have higher rates of suicide ideation and attempts than their peers who are not, especially for male, African American, and LGBTQ+ youth. In addition, suicide is the second leading cause of death among people aged 10 to 24.
The National Child Traumatic Stress Network, a service of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) within the Administration for Children and Families of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, has a webpage dedicated to providing parents and caregivers, children and teens, mental health providers, educators and school staff, and policy makers with important resources that focus on topics such as childhood traumatic grief, understanding child suicide for military parents, suicide among refugee children and youth, how to deal with the death of a caregiver, helping teens with traumatic grief, and more, as well as materials available in Spanish.
SAMSHA also has a Help Prevent Suicide webpage that provides important information about suicide; where and how to find help; resources from SAMHSA, federal agencies, and other sources; and more. In addition, SAMHSA also has a Suicide Prevention Resources webpage for American Indian and Alaska Native communities that provides organizations, articles, and other resources that they can use to strengthen suicide prevention efforts.
Visit the National Child Traumatic Stress Network and SAMHSA websites for more information.
This section of CBX presents interesting resources, such as websites, videos, journals, funding or scholarship opportunities, or other materials, that can be used in the field or with families.
- How Parents Who Are Incarcerated Can Support Their Children's Education
An article from Corrections Today, the professional membership magazine of the American Correctional Association, provides information and guidance for families touched by parental incarceration on how to best support their children’s academic needs and improve educational outcomes.
According to the article, 2.7 million children in the United States are impacted by parental incarceration—a factor that is regarded as one of the most profound adverse childhood experiences. The challenges associated with having an incarcerated parent permeate every aspect of a child’s life, particularly at school where feelings of isolation and shame can impede interactions with peers and teachers and hinder children’s educational opportunities and success.
To help parents who are incarcerated achieve a more active role in their children’s education, the article offers tips on how to plan and participate in parent-teacher conferences, expectations for parents, and topics for discussion.
Although the article’s information is geared toward parents and families, schools and other child-serving systems may also find this beneficial in their work.
For more information, read “Getting the Most Out of Parent-Teacher Conferences With Incarcerated Parents,” in Corrections Today.
- Guide Helps Current and Former Youth in Care Pursue Postsecondary Education
For many young adults exiting foster care, the dream of going to college is just that—a dream. Often, youth aging out of the system lack the information and skills needed to pursue postsecondary education and employment. A spring 2022 guide from the Arizona Friends of Foster Children Foundation (AFFCF) aims to address these challenges by providing youth currently and formerly in foster care and those who support them with information and resources to help them reach their educational goals.
The 27-page guide is organized into four main sections that use colorful and engaging infographics and photos and a question-and-answer format to address the following questions:
- What are my options after high school or getting my GED?
- How will I pay for my education?
- How will I pay for my living costs?
- Who can I turn to for support?
The guide includes a variety of appendices on topics such as scholarships and resources for undocumented students.
AFFCF is a nonprofit organization that works to build self-esteem and empower children and youth in foster care by funding a myriad of athletic, educational, and social activities for youth in foster care; through the Keys to Success program, which empowers older youth on the verge of aging out of foster care through individualized career planning, education, and employment services; and by offering postsecondary scholarship program funds to help cover the tuition and fees associated with attending higher learning institutions.
To learn more, visit the AFFCF website and read Dream It, Learn It, Do It: What's Your It? An Education Guide for Youth Currently and Formerly in Foster Care.
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 conferences and events on child welfare and adoption include the following:
“The Keys to Effective Collaboration” [Webinar]
Grandfamilies & Kinship Support Network
“What Queer Theory Can Teach Us About Personality, Fluidity and Multiplicity of Racial Identities” [Webinar]
American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children
“Positive Indian Parenting” [Virtual training institute]
National Indian Child Welfare Association
Baltimore, MD, September 13–14
“Kinship and Grandfamilies Affected by Substance Use and Mental Health Disorders” [Webinar]
National Center on Substance Abuse and Child Welfare
Georgia Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect [Virtual]
Prevent Child Abuse Georgia
Strengthening Colorado Families and Communities Conference
Illuminate Colorado & Colorado Department of Human Services
Pueblo, CO, September 19–21
"Advancing EDI for a More Perfect Union" [Webinar]
45th National Child Welfare Law Conference [Virtual]
National Association of Counsel for Children
“Virtual Forensic Interviewing Clinic” [Virtual clinic]
American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children
September 26 and 30 & October 3 and 7
"Advancing EDI for a More Perfect Union" [Webinar]
Child Welfare Virtual Expo 2022 [Virtual]
Capacity Building Center for States
“How Using Contingency Management Can Support Families Affected by Substance Use Disorders” [Webinar]
National Center on Substance Abuse and Child Welfare
2022 International Virtual Conference: A Call to Action to Change Child Welfare [Virtual]
"Advancing EDI for a More Perfect Union" [Webinar]
“Addressing Family Violence & Abuse Training” [In-person and virtual]
Native American Fatherhood & Families Association
Mesa, AZ and virtual, October 4–6
LSWO Latinx Social Work Conference
Latino Social Workers Organization
Seattle, WA, October 6–8
Annual Prevent Child Abuse Illinois Statewide Conference
Prevent Child Abuse Illinois
Springfield, IL, October 13–14
2022 NSDTA Annual Education Conference
American Public Human Services Association
Spokane, WA, October 16–19
Together for Families Conference [Virtual]
Center for the Study of Social Policy, Families Canada, & National Family Support Network
"Advancing EDI for a More Perfect Union" [Virtual workshop]
November 1, 8, and 15
18th Annual "Fatherhood Is Leadership" National Conference
Native American Fatherhood & Families Association
Mesa, AZ, November 2–4
Strengthening Families Conference [Virtual]
Family Education and Support Services
“Race & Racism: How Are Children of Color Doing in Our Child Welfare Systems?” [Webinar]
American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children
2022 Annual CQI Conference
Illinois CQI Community Group & University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign School of Social Work
Champaign, IL, November 15–16
- Child Welfare Virtual Expo 2022
The Capacity Building Center for States, a service of the Children's Bureau, will hold its annual Virtual Child Welfare Virtual Expo on September 28, 2022. The theme of this year's expo is "Power in Partnerships: Prioritizing Lived Expertise in Child Welfare."
Attendees will be able to participate in dynamic online sessions, including "Methods and Emerging Strategies to Engage People With Lived Experience," "Listen, Engage, and Reflect: How to Authentically and Respectfully Engage Individuals With Lived Experience in Storytelling Practices," "Authentic Youth and Family Engagement: Deploying Individuals With Lived Experience as Advisors," and more. In addition, attendees will have the chance to exchange ideas with experts, peers, and colleagues as well as virtually network and connect with other professionals.
- Recovery Coach Program Provides Substance Use Treatment for Parents
Treatment Alternatives for Safe Communities' Recovery Coach Program (RCP) was designed to improve outcomes of parents in substance use treatment. The program connects parents with substance use issues to a recovery coach, who provides individual case management services and outreach to help parents work toward recovery and reunification, when appropriate. The program is designed for parents of children ages 0–18 who are in the custody of the state.
The following are the essential components of RCP:
- Evaluating the family’s strengths and needs
- Addressing identified substance use problems in coordination with the child welfare case plan
- Providing ongoing case management
The program requires a minimum of four contacts per month for approximately 2.5 years: two face-to-face contacts lasting around 1.5 hours each and two phone contacts lasting about 30 minutes each. Random drug testing twice per month and case management services are also provided.
More information about the program is available on the California Evidence-Based Clearinghouse for Child Welfare website.