News From the Children's Bureau
- Cost-Effective Strategies for Preventing Child Abuse and Neglect
A new report brings together some of the recent information on the cost-effectiveness of child abuse prevention programs. Produced by the FRIENDS National Resource Center for Community-Based Child Abuse Prevention Programs, the report provides a brief review of the value of prevention and describes some of the difficulties in measuring effectiveness of prevention programs. The bulk of the report is devoted to descriptions of noteworthy prevention programs. These fall under a variety of categories:
- Home visitation programs
- Parent education programs
- Parent support groups
- Programs offered in school or childcare settings
- Respite and crisis care programs
- Family resource and support centers
The report concludes with a listing of web resources and a discussion of factors to consider in implementing replications of prevention programs.
The full report, Making the Case for Preventing Child Abuse and Neglect: An Overview of Cost Effective Prevention Strategies, is available on the FRIENDS website at www.friendsnrc.org/joomdocs/Report1.pdf (PDF - 155 KB).
- Supporting Families Facing a Parent's AIDS-Related Death
Families in which a parent is dying from AIDS or another terminal illness face multiple challenges, ranging from custodial planning for the children to addressing psychosocial issues to securing necessary medical care. In cases in which the children were prenatally exposed to drugs or born with HIV, there are additional needs.
The Family Center in New York City was created in 1994 to address the needs of these families and to aid the parents in securing permanency plans for their children. The Family Center staff includes family specialists, attorneys, mental health clinicians, and specialists in substance abuse and entitlements. Staff members work in multidisciplinary teams to assist parents in formulating permanency plans for their children and in carrying out these plans. A family specialist serves as the coordinator for services for each family, usually visiting the family in the home on a biweekly basis.
Services extend to support for the family after the parent's death. New caregivers may require parent training or legal support; family members may need grief counseling or help with entitlements. The Family Center continues to support the newly configured family through the adjustment.
Staff at the Family Center cite six principles that help them to best serve families:
- Recruit excellent staff members
- Provide exceptional training and supervision
- Honor the parent's decisions
- Link clients to appropriate services
- Value clients as an important resource, making important contributions to program planning, implementation, and evaluation
- Ensure service quality and effectiveness through research
The Family Center operates two Children's Bureau grant-funded Abandoned Infants Assistance Projects for families affected by AIDS or substance abuse:
- Project Protect provides comprehensive permanency planning and support services to help parents develop and legalize custody plans and ensure the permanence of the family.
- Project Promise provides a variety of educational services for kinship care families, including group sessions, caregiver workshops, and individual visits.
A third program, Family Pride, until recently was funded by the Children's Bureau:
- Family Pride addressed the psychosocial adjustment of children affected by AIDS through family communication workshops, summer camp, and other events.
For more information about the program, contact:
Ivy Gamble Cobb, Deputy Executive Director
The Family Center, Inc.
66 Reade Street
New York, NY 10007
Note: Project Protect, Project Promise, and Family Pride were funded by the Children's Bureau, Grants 90-CB-0111, 90-CB-0105, and 90-CB-0109, respectively. This article is part of a series highlighting successful Children's Bureau Grant-funded projects around the country, emerging from official Children's Bureau site visits.
- Rule Proposes To Amend Regulations for Title IV-E Costs and Eligibility
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Administration for Children and Families (ACF) is soliciting written comments on proposed regulation changes that would affect both administrative costs and eligibility for Title IV-E foster care funds. Title IV-E of the Social Security Act provides Federal funds to help States care for foster children; funds can be used for certain costs, including foster care maintenance, staff training, and administrative costs.
The proposed changes would affect three main areas:
- State agencies could not use Title IV-E funds for administrative costs for children placed in ineligible facilities (e.g., detention centers, hospitals); a 1-month transition period from an ineligible to an eligible facility would be covered.
- Claims for children placed in unlicensed foster homes would be prohibited; however, administrative costs would be allowed for the short-term when an eligible child was placed in the unlicensed home of a relative while the relative was awaiting a State license (with certain limitations).
- Title IV-E foster care eligibility would have to be redetermined every 12 months; eligibility for Title IV-E candidacy would have to be determined every 6 months.
- Youth Development the Focus of Center's Newsletter
The most recent issue of the National Child Welfare Resource Center for Youth Development's electronic newsletter, Youth Development Update, provides information for youth development advocates. This issue focuses on new initiatives for supporting successful transitions to independent living for youth aging out of foster care. The newsletter is published twice a year to provide information on promising practices in the areas of positive youth development, independent living, and permanency planning for adolescents.
Improving Outcomes for Older Youth: What Judges and Attorneys Need to Know, a new publication from the National Child Welfare Resource Center for Youth Development, is now available on the website. This book is a comprehensive guide to the obstacles facing youth aging out of care, as well as the laws and programs at both the State and Federal levels that can be utilized to address the problems that foster youth face. The book is available electronically at www.nrcys.ou.edu/catalog/product.php?productid=145 (PDF 2.49 MB).
- Education and Training Vouchers: The First Year
A new source of financial help for youth aging out of foster care was created in February 2003 when over 41 million Federal dollars were designated for Education and Training Vouchers (ETVs) as part of the Chafee Foster Care Independence Program. States were first able to access these funds in 2004 to provide up to $5,000 per student to former foster youth enrolled in accredited colleges, universities, or other training programs. The flexibility of the funding allowed States to develop a variety of strategies to publicize and administer their ETV programs.
With the program still in its early stages, the National Child Welfare Resource Center for Youth Development (NRCYD) undertook a study to determine how States were implementing their ETV programs for eligible youth and what strategies appeared to be working. The NRCYD conducted web-based surveys with State Independent Living Coordinators and held discussion groups at a national conference. Results of the study focus on how States carried out the outreach, application, implementation, and collaboration components of the voucher program. The NRCYD study found that:
- States employed a variety of outreach methods to inform eligible youth about the program. These included websites, brochures, and mass mailings, although direct-care staff appeared to be the most effective way to inform youth about ETVs.
- All students were required to complete an application process to access ETVs. Many States required a written educational plan, and some required interviews and/or letters of recommendation.
- States developed guidelines and procedures regarding implementation of the ETV program. These involved decisions such as whether institutions or students would receive checks, what the vouchers could be used for, and what would determine "successful progress" in education for youth who wished to continue receiving vouchers.
- States developed a number of collaborative relationships to further the educational achievements of youth. Many States worked with the financial aid departments at postsecondary institutions where eligible youth were enrolled; a number worked with private-sector initiatives such as the Orphan Foundation of America and Casey Family Programs. Several States matched youth with mentors or established mentoring programs.
The study suggests that, in order to be most effective, States' ETV programs should adhere to four core principles: youth development, collaboration, cultural competence, and permanent connections. Thus, successful voucher programs for youth aging out of foster care will involve youth in all phases of the program, promote community and interagency collaboration, strive to be culturally competent, and assist youth in developing lifelong permanent connections.
This study, Educating Youth in Care: The First Year of Education and Training Vouchers, was prepared by the University of Oklahoma, NRCYD, through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Children's Bureau. The full report can be found on the NRCYD website at http://www.palstep.com/downloads/PAL-STEP%20Caseworker%20Resources/Caseworker%20Resources/Educating%20Youth%20in%20Care%20-%20Training%20Vouchers.pdf (PDF - 806 KB).
- Prevention 2005
In preparation for National Child Abuse Prevention Month in April, new community resource materials on child abuse prevention are now available on the National Clearinghouse on Child Abuse and Neglect Information website. This year's theme, "Safe Children and Healthy Families Are a Shared Responsibility," is carried throughout the community resource packet. The theme emphasizes the roles that parents, families, neighborhoods, and communities can play in ensuring children's health and well-being.
The resource packet, which includes both English and Spanish materials, provides short factsheets that can be used individually or as part of the packet. The factsheets offer concrete suggestions for ways that organizations and individuals can share responsibility for preventing abuse and neglect. Organizations will find guidance on building collaborations, developing community awareness activities, and effectively publicizing prevention by focusing on a positive message. Individuals will find a variety of useful factsheets on topics that often cause stress for parents--for example, crying infants, temper tantrums, and sibling rivalry. Additional factsheets provide information and statistics about child abuse and neglect today, as well as recognizing and reporting abuse and neglect.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Children's Bureau, Office on Child Abuse and Neglect (OCAN) and its National Clearinghouse on Child Abuse and Neglect Information have teamed with 28 national organizations to work together to promote prevention activities as part of National Child Abuse Prevention Month in April. This is the third year that OCAN and the Clearinghouse have partnered with national organizations in this effort. These activities reflect the strong emphasis that the Children's Bureau continues to place on child abuse prevention.
The early release of these materials was planned to allow agencies and organizations to have sufficient time to design their own prevention campaigns for Child Abuse Prevention Month. Community resource packets can be downloaded from the Clearinghouse website at http://nccanch.acf.hhs.gov/topics/prevention/index.cfm (Editor's note: Link no longer active).
- Transitions for Infants and Toddlers
In the most recent issue of its newsletter, The Source, the National Abandoned Infants Assistance (AIA) Resource Center focuses on the theme of transitions for infants and toddlers who are moving to a new caregiver situation. The lead article, "Creating Threads of Continuity: Helping Infants and Toddlers Through Transitions in Foster Care," examines the typical child welfare experience, young children's experience of disruption and loss, and the experience of parents and caregivers. Approaches that can create "threads of continuity" for transitioning children are described.
Other articles on transition include:
- "Helping Children Transition to New Caregivers"
- "Making the Transition: Learning to Cope Through Art"
- "Supporting the Transition of Infants With Prenatal Substance Exposure From Foster to Adoptive Homes"
- "Transition Issues for Children of Incarcerated Parents"
The Fall 2004 issue of The Source can be downloaded on the AIA website at http://aia.berkeley.edu/media/pdf/source_vol13_no2.pdf (PDF 481 KB).
- The Collaboration to AdoptUSKids Research Project Is Recruiting!
Two studies are being conducted at the Center for Social Work Research, at The University of Texas at Austin, by Ruth McRoy, Ph.D., Principal Investigator. As a part of the larger AdoptUSKids initiative funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Children's Bureau, the objectives of the research component are to:
- Identify actual and potential barriers to the completion of the adoption process from the perspectives of current families seeking to adopt and families who have dropped out of the process, as well as agency personnel (Study 1)
- Assess factors that lead to favorable long-term outcomes for families who adopt children with special needs, from the viewpoints of adoptive families and agency staff (Study 2)
Families and staff are currently being recruited for participation and will be interviewed through September 2005; the project will conclude in October 2007. The ultimate goal of the research is to provide recommendations for improving special needs adoption practice.
For Study 1, a nationwide, purposive sample of 300 families from public and private agencies who are seeking to adopt children with special needs from the public child welfare system are being followed from initial inquiry through placement. The following participants are needed for Study 1:
- Families who are (all of the following): currently trying to adopt from the foster care system; first-time adopters; early in the application process; not trying to adopt a foster child who is in their home. Also, these families cannot currently have a child placed in their home for adoption.
- Families who applied to adopt a child from the foster care system and then discontinued the adoption process at any point from application to completed home study and final approval, and have not had a child placed with them.
- Public or private agency staff members whose job duties and responsibilities relate to adoption or the adoption process.
For Study 2, a 4-5 year prospective examination of a nationwide sample of 150 families who have adopted children with special needs is underway. Participation is needed from families who have adopted from the foster care system and (all of the following):
- Who adopted a nonrelated child 18 months to 5 years ago
- Whose adopted child was age 6 or older at the time of adoptive placement, and the child's adoption remains intact
- Whose adopted child is currently under the age of 18
If you would like more information about the project, please contact the Project Office at (toll-free) (866) 471-7372 or FAX (512) 471-9514.
Ruth G. McRoy, Principal Investigator: (512) 471-0551 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Susan Ayers-Lopez, Project Manager: (512) 471-0550 or email@example.com
- What Makes Citizen Review Panels Effective?
Effective Citizen Review Panels can give a voice to the citizen-volunteers tasked with evaluating State child welfare systems; the extent of their effectiveness in influencing policy, however, depends on a number of factors, including their ability to work collaboratively with Child Protective Services (CPS) administrators.
This was one of the conclusions of a recent study that focused on identifying factors that make Citizen Review Panels effective, as well as those factors that act as barriers to meaningful citizen participation. Survey responses from Citizen Review Panels for CPS in 10 States suggested four ways that review panels and CPS could work together more effectively:
- Communication between the two groups should be increased and improved.
- Citizen review members should become more aware of the limitations and roles of CPS.
- CPS should use the review panels for true collaboration, not just a "feel-good" exercise.
- The review panels should establish concrete goals for incremental change.
When asked to list obstacles that hinder collaboration between Citizen Review Panel members and CPS, respondents offered four main types of suggestions:
- Lack of trust between panel members and CPS
- Time constraints for Citizen Review Panels
- Lack of knowledge by both panel members and CPS of each other's roles
- Poor communication
The establishment of Citizen Review Panels for all State CPS systems was mandated by Federal legislation in 1996. These panels are expected to evaluate State CPS systems and offer recommendations for improvements. CPS liaisons are required to be part of each panel to enhance the collaboration between the two groups. Study results suggest that enhanced collaboration between State CPS systems and Citizen Review Panels will help these panels become truly effective in offering feedback to improve services to children and families.
The current study, "Effectiveness of Citizen Review Panels," appears in the December 2004 issue of Children and Youth Services Review. The article is available online at http://www.uky.edu/SocialWork/crp/files/CRPEffectiveness.pdf (PDF - 112 KB).
- Early Intervention Foster Care Yields Positive Results for Permanency
A randomized trial of an Early Intervention Foster Care (EIFC) program found that preschoolers participating in the program had significantly fewer failed permanent placements than children in regular foster care. The study involved 90 children ages 3 to 6 years who were placed in Oregon's foster care system. Children were randomly placed in either EIFC or regular foster care (RFC). EIFC involved extensive training, support, and supervision for foster parents. In addition, children received behavioral services and therapeutic playgroup sessions, and they participated in family therapy. Children typically received services for 6 to 9 months. During the study, 54 children were placed in a permanent living situation (29 from EIFC, and 25 from RFC). Permanency placements failed for 36 percent of children in RFC, but for only 10 percent of children in EIFC. For both groups, most permanent placements failed between month 8 and month 14 of the placement, but failure rates were higher for children in RFC during this time period. Additionally, the number of prior foster placements was associated with a failed permanent placement for RFC children but not for EIFC children.
The authors of the study conclude that EIFC has a positive impact on successful permanency placements for very young children in foster care. In addition, EIFC appears to mitigate a risk factor for failed permanency placements, namely, the number of prior placements. The study also points to the need for additional services to families during the critical period of 8 to 14 months after a permanency placement is made.
This article, "The Early Intervention Foster Care Program: Permanent Placement Outcomes from a Randomized Trial," is available in the February 2005 issue of Child Maltreatment and can be viewed at http://www.mtfc.com/2005%20Fisher%20Permanent%20Placement%20Outcomes.pdf (PDF - 139 KB)
For an earlier report on this program, see the March/April 2001 issue of Children's Bureau Express for "Researchers Study Early Intervention for Preschool Foster Children."
- State Data Provide Key Information on Risk Factors for Infant Maltreatment
Children under the age of 1 year account for the largest percentage of maltreatment victims in this country. In a recent study, researchers investigated perinatal and sociodemographic risk factors associated with infant maltreatment. The study involved nearly 4,500 infants in Florida with a verified report of maltreatment prior to the age of 1 year. Data were gathered from several State databases, including Vital Statistics (birth certificates), Child Protective Services, and Medicaid. Of the 15 risk factors included in the analysis, 11 were associated with infant maltreatment. The five most significant risk factors were:
- Smoking during pregnancy
- More than two siblings
- Medicaid beneficiary
- Unmarried marital status
- Low birth weight
Results showed that mothers and infants with at least four of the top five risk factors had maltreatment rates seven times higher than the population average. Moreover, mothers with at least three of these five risk factors accounted for more than one-half of all infant maltreatment cases.
Findings from this study have implications for both policy and practice. Because all data were gathered from State data sources, this study can serve as an example of how other States might use their own data to develop an epidemiologic risk-assessment tool to identify families to participate in child abuse prevention programs. In terms of practice, programs working with pregnant women can place a greater emphasis on addressing stress and other underlying conditions that contribute to tobacco use.
This article, "Risk factors for Infant Maltreatment: A Population-Based Study," is available in the December 2004 issue of Child Abuse and Neglect. Copies can be purchased from the publisher at http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0145213404002558.
- Policy Recommendations for At-Risk Infants and Toddlers
The impact of child abuse and neglect is greatest among very young children, who are extremely vulnerable to the effects of maltreatment. If not properly addressed, the emotional, developmental, and physical health complications that result from abuse and neglect of infants and toddlers can have lifelong implications. This concern is compounded by the fact that infants are the fastest growing category of children entering foster care in the United States.
The Zero to Three Policy Center recently released a factsheet containing nine policy recommendations regarding infants and toddlers in the child welfare system. Each recommendation discusses the relevant current research and offers a promising strategy to address the issue. The policy recommendations for infants and toddlers in foster care are:
- Prevent multiple placements.
- Ensure developmentally appropriate visitation practices.
- Use evidence-based models to prevent child abuse and neglect.
- Ensure comprehensive, developmentally appropriate health care.
- Ensure access to Part C of the Federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.
- Ensure early childhood mental health assessment and treatment services, including consultation to child welfare agencies.
- Ensure access to quality early care and learning experiences.
- Ensure ongoing postpermanency services and supports for adoptive families and families seeking reunification.
- Use oversight of the courts to ensure safety and permanency.
The factsheet notes that the early years present an excellent opportunity to effectively intervene with at-risk children. These early intervention strategies can lead to significant cost savings over time through reductions in child abuse and neglect, welfare dependence, and substance abuse.
- Strategies To Implement a Continuum of Care
Policymakers and researchers have begun to emphasize the importance of developing a continuum of services to reach all the children and families in need of support in the child welfare system. This continuum of care would focus not only on the immediate needs of the families, but long-term services as well.
The benefits and components involved in providing a continuum of care are the subject of a recent Issue Note from the Finance Project, Developing and Supporting a Continuum of Child Welfare Services. The author notes that the benefits of such services include more than just cost savings. By providing a continuum of care to at-risk children and families, States can help prevent child abuse and neglect, shorten foster care placements, and meet Federal child welfare standards.
Comprehensive services in a continuum of care should include:
- Preventive services
- Early intervention services
- Specialized services
- Postpermanency services
Funding is a large challenge in developing a continuum of care. This Issue Note discusses several approaches that States can take to enable families to obtain the supports they need. These approaches involve not only Federal funding designed for certain child welfare needs, but also other Federal funding sources not explicitly dedicated to child welfare (e.g., substance abuse prevention funds).
Interagency coordination also presents opportunities for child welfare agencies to fill their service gaps and provide a continuum of care. Some strategies States may want to use in coordinating with other agencies include sharing information and tracking systems, developing common intake and assessment forms, and coordinating funding.
This article, which provides examples of States and localities implementing a continuum of care, is available from the Finance Project's Welfare Information Network website at www.financeprojectinfo.org/publications/developingandsupportingIN.pdf (PDF 163 KB).
- A.L. Mailman Family Foundation
The A.L. Mailman Family Foundation supports national or regional projects in the early childhood field. The average grant is $25,000 for a 1-year period. The Foundation funds a wide variety of early childhood projects in such areas as:
- Workforce development
- Training and curriculum
- Family engagement
Applicants should send a two- to three-page letter of inquiry describing the project and including information on the project's goals, target audience, fit with the Foundation's objectives, estimated budget, timeframe, and evaluation plans. Diversity and creativity should be emphasized. Letters of inquiry must be submitted by May 15, 2005. Foundation staff respond to each letter of inquiry and, if appropriate, invite a full proposal. For additional information about the Foundation's areas of interest, as well as the application process, visit the website at www.mailman.org/guidelines (Editor's note: Link no longer active).
- Outcome-Based Child Welfare Practice
A new website provides child welfare professionals with training and information on incorporating outcomes from the Child and Family Services Reviews (CFSRs) into best practices. The Outcome-Based Child Welfare Practice website is a product of the Children and Family Research Center, an independent research organization created at the School of Social Work by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services. Training modules included on the website cover a number of CFSR topics. Links to other outcome-based resources are also provided.
Editor's note: The link is no longer available.
- The Handbook of International Adoption Medicine
Since 1989, American families have adopted more than 167,000 children from other countries, but the unique needs of these children sometimes go unrecognized by medical practitioners. For instance, these children generally reside in institutional care prior to adoption, and they often come from countries with many endemic infectious diseases. Some practitioners are unaware of recommendations to address these special needs.
A new book, The Handbook of International Adoption Medicine: A Guide for Physicians, Parents, and Providers, has been published to provide information for those who care for internationally adopted children. Written by a physician with 15 years of experience in international adoption medicine, this book provides an overview of the specialized medical and developmental issues that affect internationally adopted children, and it offers guidelines to the physicians caring for these children and their families before, during, and after adoption.
The book's seven parts address topics of importance to international adoption medicine:
- Before the adoption, including the effects of institutionalization
- Prenatal exposure to alcohol, drugs, smoking, and stress
- Travel and transition to the adoptive family
- Growth and development, including malnutrition and developmental delays
- Infectious diseases
- Other medical conditions, such as inherited disorders and toxins
- Neurocognitive and behavioral issues, including attachment, disabilities, language competence, school issues, and culture and identity
Most chapters end with "Key Points for Internationally Adopted Children." Replete with photographs and charts, many chapters also have case vignettes as sidebars. A final chapter on resources lists a number of websites, books, and articles for further information on international adoption medicine.
The book, by L. C. Miller, is available from Oxford University Press (www.oup.com).
- Scholarships for Foster Children in Postsecondary Programs
The Casey Family Scholars Program provides up to $10,000 for foster children to attend college or other types of postsecondary training programs. Administered by the Orphan Foundation of America (OFA), the program targets young adults ages 18 to 25 who were in foster care (or were wards of the court) for at least 12 months at the time of their 18th birthday and were not subsequently adopted. Scholarships are renewable each year based on satisfactory progress and financial need. Those receiving scholarships also receive ongoing support through the OFA's vMentor (virtual mentoring) program. Part I of the application can be completed online and must be submitted by March 31, 2005.
Editor's note: This link is no longer available.
- Impact of the Foster Care Independence Act on Foster Youth
The Foster Care Independence Act (FCIA) of 1999 resulted in more funds and services being available to youth aging out of foster care. This was one conclusion of a recently released U.S. Government Accounting Office (GAO) report that set out to examine the impact of the FCIA on States' funding allocations, services to foster youth, coordination of service delivery, and accountability.
The FCIA doubled the Federal funds available to States for independent living programs for youth leaving foster care. The GAO report concluded that this increase in funding allowed States to expand independent living services, and many States were also able to expand services to older and younger youth. Almost all States were able to increase their levels of service coordination, and States submitted multiyear plans and annual reports to comply with FCIA accountability requirements.
The GAO report also noted some problems that States encountered with the FCIA funding and subsequent independent living services. For instance, some States still reported gaps in critical services for youth (e.g., housing, mental health services), difficulties in engaging youth and foster parents, and barriers in linking their independent living services to other youth-serving programs. In addition, the GAO reports that States' accountability information lacked standardization, making it difficult to assess the effectiveness of the independent living services. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is developing a new information system that is expected to improve program accountability.
The full GAO report, HHS Actions Could Improve Coordination of Services and Monitoring of States' Independent Living Programs, can be found online at www.gao.gov/new.items/d0525.pdf (PDF 1.71 MB).
- Education Advocacy To Help Children in Foster Care
Children and youth in foster care often have many unmet education needs due to multiple placements, undiagnosed or untreated special needs, confusion about who has decision-making authority regarding education, and other factors. A new book, Learning Curves: Education Advocacy for Children in Foster Care, is designed to help child welfare advocates (including social workers, judges, attorneys, foster and birth parents, and educators) learn about strategies and approaches to meet the educational needs of these children. Presented in an easy-to-follow format with many good examples, the book focuses on:
- General education advocacy strategies
- Education rights and key Federal laws
- Special education eligibility, planning, and programming
- Young children's education needs for programs and services
- Impact of school discipline policies
- Creative approaches to addressing education barriers
In addition, the book provides a glossary of common terms and acronyms, an inside look at the role of foster parents, key regulations of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), education advocacy resources, and a quick reference to common psychological tests.
The book, by K. M. McNaught, is published by the American Bar Association and partially funded through a grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Children's Bureau to the National Child Welfare Resource Center on Legal and Judicial Issues.
- A New Legal Resource From the Clearinghouses
The National Clearinghouse on Child Abuse and Neglect Information and the National Adoption Information Clearinghouse have released a new resource as part of their collection of legal information. Online Resources for State Child Welfare Law and Policy can assist child welfare professionals in accessing State laws and regulations related to child protection, foster care, and adoption. It provides links for websites where State statutes can be accessed, and it lists the parts of the code for each State and territory that contain the laws addressing child protection, adoption, and child welfare. Also included are web addresses where State regulation and policy can be found.
This publication is now available at www.childwelfare.gov/systemwide/laws_policies/statutes/resources.cfm.
- Legal Issues and Child Welfare Practice
In an unconventional critique of the child welfare system, titled Child Welfare in the Legal Setting, author T. M. O'Brien offers a critical and interpretive study of the legal system surrounding child welfare workers. The book explores issues of importance to child welfare advocates, including:
- The legal system as host setting
- The industrialization of child welfare
- Mandatory reporting requirements
- Priorities in a system in which unsubstantiated cases account for the majority of total referrals
- The increasing trend toward specialization
It is suggested that the social work role in child welfare is limited by its placement in the host setting of the legal system. This setting results in tensions and inherent conflicts that make enormous demands on child welfare workers and families. This depiction provides a creative framework for the discussion of the similarities and differences between the clinical and legal models of intervention.
The book is designed to serve as a supplementary text in college or university classes or as a general work for the education of social workers in training centers. Child Welfare in the Legal Setting: A Critical and Interpretive Perspective is published by the Haworth Press, Inc.
A new book by legal trainer J. L. Renne, Legal Ethics in Child Welfare Cases, explores everyday ethical dilemmas in child welfare. Guidance is provided on what to do in these difficult situations, using the applicable rules of the newly amended American Bar Association (ABA) Model Rules of Professional Conduct. The book was published by the ABA Center on Children and the Law, National Child Welfare Resource Center on Legal and Judicial Issues, a program of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Children's Bureau.
- Understanding Adoption Subsidies Using AFCARS Data
The relationship between adoption subsidies and adoption outcomes was the focus of a study recently released by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE). Using data from the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS) for Fiscal Years 1999 to 2001, the authors examined how States used adoption subsidies to achieve goals of permanency and well-being for children. The study focused on patterns of subsidy receipt, Federal support for subsidies, and the relationship between subsidies and the number and timeliness of adoptions from foster care.
Analysis of data from all 50 States, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia showed both national patterns and variations among States. The authors highlight the following findings:
- Nearly all children (88 percent) adopted from foster care received a subsidy.
- The median monthly adoption subsidy was $444.
- Among those newly adopted who received subsidies, 84 percent received their assistance through Title IV-E.
- Age and special needs status influenced subsidy receipt and amount.
- Preadoptive relationships and other characteristics of adoptive families influenced subsidies.
- There was some support for associations between subsidies and adoption outcomes.
The complete report, Understanding Adoption Subsidies: An Analysis of AFCARS Data, which was prepared by RTI International under contract to ASPE, can be accessed from the ASPE website at
- Email Services on Funding and Fundraising
Free email services on funding and fundraising topics abound on the web. These services provide up-to-the-minute information on everything from the latest RFP to new trends in fundraising. Below is just a sample listing of the types of newsletters and listservs available on the web.
- Grants.gov provides information from several Federal departments on available funding (www.grants.gov).
- Charity Channel hosts forums on various aspects of fundraising, as well as funding from State and Federal agencies (http://charitychannel.com).
- Philanthropy News Digest publishes RFPs and notices of awards as a free service for grant-making organizations and nonprofits (http://www.philanthropynewsdigest.org/rfps).
- Norris Consulting produces a monthly newsletter on grants and other funding resources (www.norrisconsultinggroup.com).
- On Philanthropy provides e-newsletters on general fundraising, corporate funding, technology, and more (www.onphilanthropy.com/about-us).
- Non-Profit Times sends out a monthly e-newsletter on all aspects of fundraising (www.nptimes.com).
- Grassroots Fundraising Journal provides a monthly e-newsletter on fundraising (www.grassrootsfundraising.org/howto/enews.html).
- Fundraising Cyberzine also provides a monthly e-newsletter on fundraising (www.fundsraiser.com).
- Court Topics on Child Welfare
The National Center on State Courts (NCSC) now has a helpful feature on its website, CourTopics, which covers the Center's comprehensive collection of resources. For each topic in the alphabetical listing, there is an overview of core issues, a resource guide, FAQs, and a listing of any available NCSC publications. Some of the topics addressed include adoption, child abuse and dependency, family courts, family violence, and termination of parental rights.
The index of topics can be found at www.ncsconline.org/wcds/topiclisting.htm (Editor's note: Link no longer active).
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.
- Child and Family Mental Health Webinars Available
Archived presentations ("webinars") on a variety of child and family mental health topics are available for viewing on the Technical Assistance Partnership for Child and Family Mental Health website. These learning opportunities include a number of topics relevant for child welfare, including:
- Building Systems of Care: A Primer
- Four-Part Series on Financing Systems of Care
- Basics of the Federal/Tribal Government Relationship and Cultural Issues
- Child and Family Services Reviews: An Opportunity to Collaborate with Child Welfare
These webinars and more are available at www.tapartnership.org/events/webinars/default.php
Upcoming national conferences on adoption and child welfare through June 2005 include:
- The 24th Annual National CASA Conference "Growing a Better Tomorrow....For Every Child" (April 16 through 19; Atlanta, GA).
- 15th National Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect "Supporting Promising Practices and Positive Outcomes: A Shared Responsibility" (Children's Bureau, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; April 18 through 23; Boston, MA).
- 23rd Annual "Protecting Our Children" Conference (National Indian Child Welfare Association; April 24 through 27; Albuquerque, NM).
- 2005 Conference on Child Welfare Services Performance (The Performance Institute; March 30 through April 1; San Diego, CA).
- Finding Better Ways 2005: "Addressing the Mental Health Needs of Children, Youth and Families" (Child Welfare League of America; May 2 through May 4; New Orleans, LA).
- Pathways to Adulthood: "Independent Living/Transitional Living Conference 2005" (National Child Welfare Resource Center for Youth Development; May 18 through May 20; Atlanta, GA).
- 2005 National Citizen Review Panel Conference (North Carolina Division of Social Services and the South Carolina Department of Social Services; May 25 through May 27; Nags Head, NC).
- NDACAN Summer Research Institute (National Data Archive on Child Abuse and Neglect; June 1 through June 5; Ithaca, NY).
- 2005 Conference on Family Group Decision Making (American Humane; June 8 through June 11; Long Beach, CA)
- APSAC's 13th Annual Colloquium (American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children; June 15 through June 18; New Orleans, LA).
- Investigation and Prosecution of Child Fatalities and Physical Abuse (American Prosecutors Research Institute; June 27 through July 1; Denver, CO).
Further details about national and regional adoption and child welfare conferences can be found through the "Conference Calendar Search" feature on Child Welfare Information Gateway: www.childwelfare.gov
- Curriculum for Caseworker-Child Visits
A 1-day curriculum designed to help caseworkers prepare for visits with children in foster care has been developed by the National Resource Center for Family-Centered Practice and Permanency Planning (NRCFCPPP). Entitled "Promoting Placement Stability and Permanency through Caseworker/Child Visits," the curriculum is based on the concepts of attachment, strengths-based assessment and planning, child and youth development, effective interviewing, and organizing contacts.
Available online, the curriculum includes a 39-page training manual that leads the trainer and trainees through four modules:
- Reviewing current Federal and State child welfare mandates
- Developing an empowering approach to child welfare practice
- Using a developmental approach to assess safety, permanency, and well-being
- Planning for the visit with the child and foster family
Handouts for each training module are supplied, including an extensive checklist of developmental traits for assessing safety, permanency, and well-being of children at all ages.
The curriculum was developed by the NRCFCPPP in response to findings from the Child and Family Services Reviews that showed a significant relationship between caseworker visits and a number of other indicators of child and family safety, permanency, and well-being.
The curriculum and handouts are available on the NRCFCPPP website at www.hunter.cuny.edu/socwork/nrcfcpp/info_services/family-child-visiting.html.