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News From the Children's Bureau

  • New! On the Children's Bureau Site

    New! On the Children's Bureau Site

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

    Recent additions to the site include:

    • CFSR Onsite Review Instrument and Instructions for the second stage of the review process
    • CFSR Stakeholder Interview Guide that identifies core questions that should be covered in the stakeholder interviews at each review site
    • CFSR Summary of Findings Form that provides a format for the review teams to consolidate information into one comprehensive report to the State agency
    • An updated States' SACWIS Status chart that provides the status of each State's SACWIS
    • Children's Bureau Information Memorandum 07-01, Poverty Reduction - Earned Income Tax Credit
    • The Child and Family Services Reviews Procedures Manual, designed to guide reviewers through the two-stage process
    • Children's Bureau Program Instruction 06-07, Availability of FY 2007 Children's Justice Act Grants to States Under the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act

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

  • Federal Legislation for Child Welfare

    Federal Legislation for Child Welfare

    Before adjourning for their winter break, the U.S. Congress passed two notable pieces of child welfare legislation.

    The Child and Family Services Improvement Act of 2006 (P.L. 109-288) reauthorized the Promoting Safe and Stable Families program (PSSF) through fiscal year 2011. The Act continued the current authorized funding levels for PSSF of $305 million in mandatory funding and $200 million in discretionary funding (i.e., subject to annual appropriations).

    Some key provisions include:

    • Increasing the set-asides for Indian Tribes to 3 percent of funds appropriated and allowing groups of Tribes to form consortia to jointly apply for funding
    • Reserving funds for States to develop activities designed to improve caseworker retention, recruitment, training, and ability to access the benefits of technology, as well as to support monthly caseworker visits to children in foster care
    • Supporting services that promote safety, permanency, and well-being for children who are in out-of-home care or at risk of placement as a result of parent or caretaker's use of methamphetamine or other substances

    The Children's Bureau discusses implications of the Act for agencies in a recent Information Memorandum [editor's note: this link no longer exists].

    The Tom Osborne Federal Youth Coordination Act, which is Title VIII of the recently enacted Older Americans Act (P.L. 109-365), establishes the Federal Youth Development Council to provide advice and recommendations on Federal programs designed to serve youth. This interdepartmental council will meet quarterly to assess the needs of youth and to foster communication among the many Federal agencies that offer youth programs. Within 2 years, the Council will issue a report of its findings and recommendations to better integrate and coordinate Federal, State, and local policies affecting youth. A summary of the Act is available from the National Collaboration for Youth:

    The full text and other information on these Acts may be accessed through Thomas, a service of the Library of Congress:

  • AFCARS Research Brief Series

    AFCARS Research Brief Series

    The North American Council on Adoptable Children (NACAC) has released a series of research briefs that draw on data from the Children's Bureau's Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS). The series covers five specialized topics designed to appeal to researchers and citizens interested in adoption from foster care:

    The series was written by Mary Eschelbach Hansen.

  • Workforce Retention in Michigan

    Workforce Retention in Michigan

    A project run by the University of Michigan School of Social Work and the Michigan Family Independence Agency (now the Michigan Department of Human Services) is developing and piloting training curricula and strategies to address problems of child welfare workforce recruitment and retention in that State. The 5-year project, which began in late 2003, is focusing on training, data collection, coordination, and technical assistance. In its final year, research results and training materials will be posted on a new website.

    Michigan faced an unprecedented exodus of child welfare workers in 2002 when the State offered an attractive early retirement package to State employees. The reduction in the workforce, especially among experienced workers and supervisors, left a gap that the State is still struggling to fill. The goal of this project is to help the State's public agencies address these problems through more effective recruitment and retention of workers.

    Michigan's Recruitment and Retention of Child Welfare Professionals project has already begun to develop and test training materials in a number of areas. These will be refined and eventually incorporated into public child welfare training. Project researchers identified four areas in which training could be most effective:

    • Cultural humility training, which supports the worker's role as a learner and empowers the client
    • Legal training that brings together lawyers, court officials, and child welfare workers
    • Supervisor training that focuses on effective human services management skills
    • Training in collaboration between State and Tribal child welfare workers to serve Native American children and families more effectively

    A unique facet of this project is the research component, which includes caseworker exit interviews; voluntary focus groups of public child welfare workers, supervisors, and administrators; and a longitudinal survey of child welfare workers in public and contracted agencies. The survey is administered to workers when they first join an agency, and then every 6 months for 18 months. It collects information in a variety of areas, including job satisfaction, job mastery, and personal values. Project researchers are evaluating these data for the respondents as a whole, as well as for workers of different races to see if there are variances. Researchers are also exploring personal values issues that may influence workers' decisions to leave their jobs.

    The project team has already planned for sustaining the project after funding ends. The School of Social Work will support the website so that the curricula and other training and research materials will continue to be available. Many of these materials will be retooled for a national audience. In addition, researchers plan to publish project findings in child welfare and social work journals to further disseminate their data.

    For more information, contact:

    Kathleen Faller, Ph.D., A.C.S.W.
    Principal Investigator and Marion Elizabeth Blue Professor in Children and Families
    University of Michigan School of Social Work
    1080 S. University
    Ann Arbor, MI 48109

    Michigan's Recruitment and Retention of Child Welfare Professionals project is funded by the Children's Bureau, Grant 90CT0115, under the Children's Bureau Priority Area: Developing Models of Effective Child Welfare Staff Recruitment and Retention Training. 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.

    Related Item

    To read about a new online community that addresses child welfare workforce topics, see "Online Community for Workforce Issues" in this issue.

  • Child Welfare Training Innovations

    Child Welfare Training Innovations

    The fall 2006 issue of Child Welfare Matters, produced by the National Child Welfare Resource Center on Organizational Improvement (NRCOI), focuses on innovations in child welfare training. The lead article covers a recent training symposium co-hosted by the NRCOI at the University of Southern Maine and the Butler Institute for Families at the University of Denver. In an effort to improve the organizational and training capabilities of child welfare agencies, the symposium brought together training managers, executive decision-makers, and university partners. Participants were able to share key experiences and work toward a common goal of training systems improvement.

    Other articles in this issue of Child Welfare Matters explore Pennsylvania's training system, youth as trainers, county human service director training, and ways to enhance supervision.

  • New Youth Development Website

    New Youth Development Website

    The National Child Welfare Resource Center for Youth Development has a new and improved website. The user-friendly site features links to a variety of development programs; State, Federal and independent resources; and a State-by-State interactive map that allows users to find State coordinators, child welfare providers, and other useful information.

  • Online Community for Workforce and Training

    Online Community for Workforce and Training

    Child Welfare Workforce Connection recently debuted as an online forum for discussion, collaboration, and the exchange of ideas and resources related to the child welfare workforce. Launched on the Child Welfare Information Gateway website, Child Welfare Workforce Connection helps participants link easily with others in the child welfare community to identify strategies for strengthening the recruitment, retention, and training of child welfare workers.

    Features include:

    • Discussion Areas – Members can submit questions, suggestions, and ideas; post a reply; and share and access related resources, such as policies, curricula, and research.
    • Email Notification – Participants may sign up to be automatically notified when new discussion items, events, or resources are posted.
    • Directory – Members may provide personal contact information and find information on other members.
    • Event Calendar – This calendar listing includes upcoming child welfare workforce and training conferences, workshops, meetings, webinars, teleconferences, and requests for workshop proposals.

    Child Welfare Workforce Connection is a closed, password-protected community. If you are interested in joining, please complete the online request form:

    Related Item

    To read about a child welfare workforce project in Michigan, see "Workforce Retention in Michigan" in this issue.

Child Welfare Research

  • The Rights and Well-Being of Birth Parents

    The Rights and Well-Being of Birth Parents

    A recent study by the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute suggests that the rights and needs of biological parents who place their children for adoption are often misunderstood or neglected. The study reports on the rights and status of birth parents by exploring the context of infant adoption in today's society, examining how laws and practices affect birth parents' rights, and reviewing research on the impact of relinquishment.

    Domestic infant adoption in the last decade shows a number of changes from previous generations. For instance:

    • The majority of parents placing their infants for adoption are not teenagers but women in their 20s.
    • Most adoption agencies and independent practitioners offer open adoptions.
    • Most birth mothers help to choose the adoptive parents for their child.

    While many of these newer practices accord more rights and responsibilities to birth parents than in the past, different State laws and legal practices are not always so accommodating. For instance:

    • Despite efforts in some States to involve birth fathers, only a minority of adoptions do so.
    • In some States, attorneys paid by and representing adoptive parents also represent birth parents, a practice that may cause ethical concerns.

    The report also cites research on the impact of relinquishment on birth parents' adjustment, suggesting the need for more institutionalized and consistent postadoption counseling and support for parents.

    The report concludes with a series of recommendations to bolster the rights and well-being of birth parents. These include some recommended changes to State laws, such as those governing the timing of relinquishment and revocation, as well as suggested changes in practice, such as more aggressive protection of fathers' rights. The report suggests that it is in the interest of society at large to create a supportive community of practice and an adequate framework to meet the needs and guarantee the rights of all involved.

    Safeguarding the Rights and Well-Being of Birthparents in the Adoption Process, by Susan Smith, is available on the Adoption Institute website:

  • Hague Adoption Convention Updates

    Hague Adoption Convention Updates

    The United States is nearing its goal of ratification and full implementation of the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Cooperation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption. The Convention is designed to ensure that participating nations have agreed-upon rules and procedures for intercountry adoption and that these processes safeguard the well-being of children. More than 70 countries have already joined the Convention, and many other countries are working toward joining.

    Final Rule

    The U.S. Department of State has issued a final rule to implement the certification and declaration provisions of the Hague Convention and the Intercountry Adoption Act of 2000 with respect to adoption and custody proceedings taking place in the United States. This final rule governs the application process for Hague Adoption Certificates and Hague Custody Declarations in cases involving emigration of a child from the United States. It also establishes a process for seeking certification that an adoption completed in the United States following a grant of custody in a Convention country of origin was done in accordance with the Convention.

    Effective December 4, 2006, the final rule is the next step in the process of achieving final ratification of the Hague Convention. The process is expected to be completed in 2007. The final rule is available in the Federal Register:

    Parents' Booklet

    In anticipation of the U.S. ratification of the Convention, the State Department has published a booklet, The Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption: A Guide for Prospective Adoptive Parents, that is designed to help persons considering adopting from another country better understand the impact of the provisions of the Convention. The booklet provides an overview of the principles of the Convention, changes to the intercountry adoption process, new standards for adoption service providers, and a list of ratifying countries. The booklet is available on the State Department website: (2770 KB)

    Related Item

    Children's Bureau Express has long tracked the Hague Convention's progress, most recently in "Final Rule on Intercountry Adoption Accreditation" (April 2006).

  • Evaluating Parenting Programs

    Evaluating Parenting Programs

    Parents who are at risk for child maltreatment may benefit from parent education and training programs targeted for the age of the children, the type of abuse or neglect that has placed the families at risk, or certain parental or family characteristics. A recent report that reviewed 150 studies of parenting programs for at-risk parents found, for instance, that home visiting programs held the most promise for parents of young children. Other programs were more effective with parents of older children, with ethnic minority families in low-income communities, with substance-abusing parents, or with parents at risk of neglecting their children.

    The abundance of parent training programs and the lack of replicable outcomes in many cases may place an agency or practitioner in the difficult position of trying to identify the right program for a particular family. This report, Assessing Parent Education Programs for Families Involved With Child Welfare Services: Evidence and Implications, offers some guidance by discussing specific promising programs and providing program descriptions, outcomes, estimated costs, and contact information for each. Recommendations are also provided for contracting with parenting programs. In addition, the report places its findings in context by describing what is understood to be effective parenting, as well as parenting issues for families at risk for maltreatment.

    The report was written by Michelle A. Johnson et al. and is available on the Center for Social Services Research website: (572 KB)

    Related Items

    Children's Bureau Express has addressed the topic of parenting programs in a number of past issues. To find these articles, type the keyword "parenting" into the search box on the Children's Bureau Express home page:

  • New Restrictions for Adoptions From China

    New Restrictions for Adoptions From China

    The Chinese Government has notified the U.S. Department of State about new restrictions on parents who wish to adopt from China. On December 21, the Chinese Government's China Center for Adoption Affairs (CCAA) contacted the U.S. Embassy in Beijing about the new requirements, which will become effective for all adoption dossiers submitted after May 1, 2007.

    The new rules will require all adoptive parents to be:

    • Married for at least 2 years (5 years if one or both have been divorced)
    • Between the ages of 30 and 50
    • Completely healthy, both physically and mentally

    Prospective parents will be barred from adopting from China if they are single, obese, or on psychiatric or antidepressant medication. Other disqualifying conditions include blindness, severe facial deformities, and limb paralysis or dysfunction. Chinese officials suggested that the restrictions are subject to change.

    Adoption agencies that handle adoptions from China first learned of the new requirements in a December 8 meeting in Beijing. This informal announcement led to many reports in the U.S. media about the tightened restrictions. 

    In recent years, there has been a surge in adoptions from China. The U.S. Department of State statistics on immigrant visas show that approximately 3,300 children were adopted from China in 1996; by 2005, the number had reached almost 8,000. The CCAA has indicated that there are not enough children to meet this increased demand. Their proposed restrictions may offer a way for the CCAA to lessen the number of applications while making efforts to ensure that children go to qualified families.

    The new requirements are currently posted on the State Department website:

  • Family Strengthening Programs for Incarcerated Substance Abusers

    Family Strengthening Programs for Incarcerated Substance Abusers

    A recent study found that family strengthening programs adapted for use with substance abuse offenders and their children showed improvements in family functioning and led to attitude shifts against drug use in both adults and children. In addition, the research supports the use of family strengthening programs as an effective intervention strategy for substance abuse in youth.

    In this study, the Strengthening Families Program was modified for use in a short-term substance abuse treatment facility. Separate and joint activities for the incarcerated parent and the child were designed to improve family relations and parenting skills, improve children's social and emotional skills, and decrease youth substance use and intermediate risk factors. Forty-one clients and their 58 children completed the 10-week program. The study found significant positive effects on all four outcomes selected by program staff:

    • Family resilience
    • Opportunities for pro-social involvement
    • Rewards for pro-social involvement
    • Family bonding

    Parents and children involved in the program reported positive changes in behaviors and attitudes toward drug use, family strengths, and the quality of family bonding. These results further validate the effectiveness of family strengthening programs in improving family dynamics and parenting skills and decreasing substance abuse in parents and youth.

    The full study, “An Evaluation of a Family Strengthening Program for Substance Abuse Offenders,” by Charles Mindel and Richard Hoefer, was published in the Journal of Social Service Research, Vol 32(4), and can be purchased online:

  • Adoption for Military Families

    Adoption for Military Families

    The unique challenges faced by military families pursuing adoption, as well as the strengths of these families, are the focus of a new guide from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Wherever My Family Is: That's Home! Adoption Services for Military Families highlights adoption practices that can help to minimize the obstacles military families face when attempting to become foster or adoptive parents.

    "Military families have many strengths, including flexibility and a strong sense of community, that make them good foster and adoptive parents," said HHS Assistant Secretary for Children and Families Wade F. Horn, Ph.D. "I am confident that this new guide will help State agencies work effectively with military personnel to assure that all families who want to give a child a loving home can do so."

    The easy-to-use guide is designed not only for social work practitioners, but also for military families considering adoption or foster parenting. It includes real stories of military families who have adopted children through the foster care system. The five-part guide covers:

    • Understanding the issues and setting the stage for effective foster and adoption services
    • Steps in the adoption process for military families
    • Interjurisdictional placement
    • Tools and handouts for practitioners to share with families
    • Helpful organizations, websites, and other resources

    The guide was developed by the Collaboration to AdoptUsKids, a service of HHS's Children's Bureau. Copies of the guide may be obtained by calling AdoptUsKids at 888.200.4005 or can be downloaded from the website: (1550 KB)

Strategies and Tools for Practice

  • Addressing Racial Disproportionality at 10 Sites

    Addressing Racial Disproportionality at 10 Sites

    An in-depth review of strategies in 10 jurisdictions around the country revealed some key components for effectively addressing racial disproportionality in the child welfare system. The Casey-Center for the Study of Social Policy (CSSP) Alliance for Racial Equity conducted the study, which identified 10 sites where States or agencies were actively addressing the overrepresentation of minority children in child welfare.

    Findings revealed the following key strategies:

    • Placing a high priority on reducing racial inequities in the agency and in the larger community
    • Using data to understand the problem, formulate solutions, and track progress
    • Conducting evaluations to assess progress
    • Improving service delivery and expanding scarce service resources and interventions
    • Partnering with communities
    • Redesigning policy interventions

    In many cases, the promising practices were changes likely to improve services for all families—regardless of color or ethnic background—in the child welfare system. Some of these universal services include the expanded use of differential response and the introduction of family group conferencing.

    The report also outlines some background issues surrounding racial disproportionality in child welfare, discusses the use of different strategies at different points within the child welfare process, and provides summaries of each jurisdiction's strategies and outcome data.

    Places to Watch: Promising Practices to Address Racial Disproportionality in Child Welfare Services is available on the CSSP website:

    Related Item

    Children's Bureau Express has addressed the topic of racial disproportionality in child welfare in a number of past issues. To find these articles, type the keyword "disproportionality" into the search box on the Children's Bureau Express home page:

  • Recruiting Hispanic Foster Parents

    Recruiting Hispanic Foster Parents

    A recruitment model developed by the Child Advocacy Resource Association (CARAS) to recruit, train, and assess Hispanic families has been successful in recruiting families that better reflect the population of children in the New Jersey child welfare system. Prompted by the need to place Hispanic children in culturally responsive environments and to meet the requirements of the Federal Multi-Ethnic Placement Act, CARAS and Kean University partnered with New Jersey Foster and Adoptive Services to create the Hispanic Foster Care Recruitment and Retention project. The development and implementation of the CARAS model is documented in a recent article in Families in Society: The Journal of Contemporary Social Services.

    Early on, CARAS identified key values and customs among Hispanics that could make foster parenting a more attractive option. Particular emphasis was placed on the need to recruit and retain foster parents who are familiar with cultural traditions such as co-parenting (compadrazgo) and the "gifting" of children (hijos de crianza), common in many parts of the Spanish-speaking world. To this end, CARAS created the strengths-based Foster Care Recruitment and Retention Model. Some critical components of the model include:

    • Hiring and training competent bilingual/bicultural staff to serve at all stages of the recruitment and retention process
    • Conducting all training of prospective parents in Spanish
    • Tapping community resources to engage Hispanics
    • Providing face-to-face support to current and prospective foster parents
    • Developing materials that are accessible to the community at large

    Since the inception of the program, New Jersey child welfare providers have seen a rise in Hispanic foster parent participation, but more efforts are needed to best meet the needs of the growing number of Hispanic children in foster care.

    The article, "Recruiting Hispanic Foster Parents: Issues of Culture, Language, and Social Policy," by Doris Correa Capello, appeared in Families in Society: The Journal of Contemporary Social Services, Volume 87(4), and can be downloaded from the website:

    For more information about CARAS, visit the website:


  • Foster Club's Permanency Pact

    Foster Club's Permanency Pact

    Foster Club recently published its Permanency Pact, a new tool to support permanency for youth in foster care. A Permanency Pact is a pledge by a caring adult to provide specific supports to a young person in foster care who is preparing to transition to adulthood without a permanent family. The goal of the pact is to formally establish a lifelong, kinlike relationship. The pact is created between the youth and adult with the help of a facilitator, who can be a caseworker, independent living provider, or other adult.

    Included with the tool is a description of how to create the pact and a list of supports the adult might provide as the youth prepares to transition out of foster care. Members of the pact work together to choose appropriate supports from the list. Once the final list is agreed upon, copies of the pact are given to the youth and adult and are maintained in the case record as part of the youth's transition plan. A certificate to affirm the Permanency Pact made between the youth and supportive adult can also be used to symbolize the importance of the agreement.

    The tool is available for downloading from the Foster Club's website:

  • Personal Stories From Child Welfare

    Personal Stories From Child Welfare

    "Stepping into the shoes" is the theme of the latest issue of Fostering Perspectives (Vol. 11, 1), which includes poignant personal accounts from children in foster families, foster and birth parents, a social worker, and a guardian ad litem. These real-life chronicles help to personalize child welfare statistics, and they offer a multifaceted view of the foster care system. The issue also includes articles on resources for foster and adoptive parents.

    Fostering Perspectives is produced by the North Carolina Division of Social Services and the Family and Children's Resource Program as a resource for parents, children, and social workers involved with foster care. It can be downloaded from the website:

  • Fostering Court Improvement

    Fostering Court Improvement

    The nonprofit organization Fostering Court Improvement (FCI) is a collaborative effort among Fostering Results, the American Bar Association Center on Children and the Law's National Child Welfare Resource Center on Legal and Judicial Issues, and the Barton Child Law and Policy Clinic. The organization plans to help States use existing data sources, currently available in every State, as a platform for discussions about data related to juvenile courts, their performance, and their contribution to the overall health report of child welfare in each State.

    FCI has chosen initially to focus on AFCARS (Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System) data housed and maintained by the Child and Family Services Agency of each State. Analysis of these data will show the courts' role in such outcomes as removal rates, repeat abuse rates, and time to permanency.

  • Evaluating Progress as a Safety Decision

    Evaluating Progress as a Safety Decision

    ACTION for Child Protection recently released some suggested guidelines that may assist caseworkers in evaluating parents' progress toward providing safe homes for their children. The ACTION article, "Evaluating Progress as a Safety Decision," discusses the Adoption and Safe Families Act requirement to address safety concerns in child protective service case plans. It also provides guidance for setting benchmarks and measuring a parent's progress toward meeting case plan goals. A sample service plan and sample measures are included.

  • Orphan Foundation Scholarships for Foster Youth

    Orphan Foundation Scholarships for Foster Youth

    The Orphan Foundation of America is now accepting applications for scholarships for the 2007-2008 academic year. Former foster youth who are pursuing postsecondary education may submit applications prior to the March 31 deadline. Awards will be announced in mid-June 2007.

    To qualify, applicants must meet the following criteria:

    • Have been in foster care for one consecutive year at the time of their 18th birthday or high school graduation OR have been adopted or taken into legal guardianship out of foster care after their 16th birthday OR have lost both parents to death before age 18 and not been subsequently adopted
    • Be accepted into or enrolled in an accredited postsecondary program (university, college, community college or vocational/technical institute)
    • Be under age 25 on March 31, 2007

  • The Value of Social Networks

    The Value of Social Networks

    The Annie E. Casey Foundation has released the first three of five publications in its series on the importance of social networks. The series explores the lessons learned from the foundation's Making Connections initiative.

    • Tapping the Power of Social Networks: Understanding the Role of Social Networks in Strengthening Families and Transforming Communities lays the foundation for the series by presenting an overview of the benefits of strong social networks for families, as well as relevant definitions and key findings from research literature.
    • Ties That Bind: The Practice of Social Networks presents findings from site visits about the efforts of families, communities, and organizations to promote social networks.
    • Relationships Matter: How Agencies Can Support Family and Social Network Development reports on lessons learned about social networks through visits with families.

    The reports are available on the Annie E. Casey website:

  • Preventing Teen Pregnancy Among Foster Youth

    Preventing Teen Pregnancy Among Foster Youth

    An initiative to prevent teen pregnancy among youth in foster care is the focus of a new section on the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy website. It features the results of a study conducted among foster youth and child welfare service providers in Chicago, including an overview of the project, research reports, factsheets, and tips for foster parents.

  • Investments in Children's Services Clearinghouse

    Investments in Children's Services Clearinghouse

    The Investments in Children's Services Clearinghouse is operated by the Finance Project to assist organizations and jurisdictions supporting children's services in determining the effectiveness of invested resources. The clearinghouse provides links to data, tools, and examples of work focused on the amount and effectiveness of public and private investments in children and families services, including:

    • Guidance on how to track and compile information on investments and results
    • Data sources on Federal and State investments and measures of child and family well-being
    • Examples of State and local documents on these issues

  • Teaching Educators About Adoption

    Teaching Educators About Adoption

    A recent report from the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute addresses the challenges that many adoptive children and families face within the school system, and it offers recommendations for how educators—teachers, counselors, and other school personnel—can best meet the needs of these children and families. In many cases, teachers and other educators have received no training in adoption and foster care, and they may inadvertently convey the message that some families are more "normal" than others. Teacher training in the issues surrounding adoption may help sensitize educators to the best way to help children in their classroom who are adopted or in foster care.

    The report offers several recommendations, including:

    • Modify school assignments (such as the family tree) that are problematic or inappropriate for adopted and foster children.
    • Include education about adoption and foster care in diversity courses and development trainings for teachers and other school personnel.
    • Provide accurate information about children so that educators can identify children's needs correctly and provide effective interventions.
    • Develop school policies that prohibit harassment and negative comments about adoption and foster care.

    Adoption in the Schools: A Lot to Learn: Promoting Equality and Fairness for All Children and Their Families, by Susan Livingston Smith and Debbie Riley, is available on the Adoption Institute website:

Training and Conferences

Find trainings, workshops, webinars, and other opportunities for professionals and families to learn about how to improve the lives of children and youth as well as a listing of upcoming events and conferences.

  • Prevention Curriculum for Childcare Providers

    Prevention Curriculum for Childcare Providers

    ZERO TO THREE has released a new training curriculum, Preventing Child Abuse and Neglect: Parent-Provider Partnerships in Child Care, designed for trainers who support childcare professionals. The focus of the research-based approach is to help childcare providers promote positive parenting and healthy social-emotional development in children by incorporating "protective factors" that help reduce child abuse and neglect and by building on the natural relationship between childcare providers and families.

    The curriculum and training were tested over 3 years in 12 States with 60 teams. Evaluation results to date show a number of positive outcomes, including gains in trainers' and participants' knowledge. Ongoing evaluation results will be made available through the ZERO TO THREE website and elsewhere.

    The training curriculum provides practical information, concepts, and skills for childcare providers through 10 training modules, video vignettes, sample recruitment fliers, pretraining knowledge assessment forms, handouts, and tips for trainers. Ordering information can be found on the ZERO TO THREE website:

    For information about training, contact Linda Gillespie:

  • Meeting the Educational Needs of Foster Children

    Meeting the Educational Needs of Foster Children

    The Edmund S. Muskie School of Public Service at the University of Southern Maine has developed a training curriculum and caseworker manual for the Colorado Department of Human Services on serving the educational needs of children and youth in the child welfare system. Materials are designed to provide caseworkers and their supervisors with an understanding of relevant educational policies, processes, assessments, and plans; methods for monitoring outcomes and services; and tools to help them advocate for children's educational needs. The curriculum covers children from birth through age 21 and is currently being adapted for use by educators and foster parents. The appendix contains a toolkit of checklists, such as tips for participating in an IEP meeting and what foster parents can do to promote educational success at home.

    The manual, Advocating for the Educational Needs of Children in Out-of-Home Care, is available online:  (9.6 MB)

    More information about the curriculum and related materials can be found on the website of the National Child Welfare Resource Center for Organizational Improvement:

  • Conferences


    Upcoming national conferences on adoption and child welfare through May 2007 include:

    March 2007

    April 2007

    May 2007

    • The 2007 National Pathways to Adulthood: Independent Living, Transitional Living Conference
      The University of Oklahoma National Child Welfare Resource Center for Youth Development
      May 9–11, Minneapolis, MN (link no longer available)
    • 37th Annual Education Conference
      National Foster Parent Association
      May 23–27, Washington, DC (link no longer available)
    • One Child, Many Hands: A Multidisciplinary Conference on Child Welfare
      The Field Center for Children's Policy, Practice and Research at the University of Pennsylvania
      May 30–June 1, Philadelphia, PA no longer available)

    Further details about national and regional adoption and child welfare conferences can be found through the "Conference Calendar Search" feature on the Child Welfare Information Gateway website: (link no longer available)