Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock () or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

May 2010Vol. 11, No. 4Spotlight on National Foster Care Month

This month, CBX spotlights National Foster Care Month and its "Partnering With Families and Youth to Achieve Permanency" message. Four articles focus on CB-funded Adoption Opportunities grantees and their work with youth, while other articles link to information on the Family to Family initiative and placement stability.

Issue Spotlight

  • Making the Case for Permanency With Youth, Workers, and Families

    Making the Case for Permanency With Youth, Workers, and Families

    In 2005, the Children's Bureau funded nine demonstration projects through an Adoption Opportunities grant, "Improving Permanency Outcomes by Developing Services and Supports for Youth Who Wish to Retain Contact With Family Members." The following article draws on lessons learned from these Youth Permanency projects about changing attitudes.

    One of greatest barriers to finding families for older youth in foster care is the common belief that teenagers are not adoptable. Prospective families may shy away from older youth, workers may be caught in a mindset that focuses only on preparation for independent living and emancipation, and even the youth themselves may reject the possibility of adoption. The Youth Permanency grantees sought new approaches to address these myths about adopting teenagers and identified successful practices for changing attitudes about permanency for older youth.

    Youth often have mistaken ideas about what adoption means. In many cases, no one has discussed adoption with them, or the youth rejected the idea early on and no one ever introduced the subject again. In addition, they may have experienced rejection and instability in foster care and may be understandably reluctant to trust any promise of permanence.

    Some approaches that the Youth Permanency grantees identified for changing youths' attitudes about adoption included the following:

    • Extensive one-on-one preparation that includes talking and more talking: Youth may need basic information, such as an explanation of why they're in foster care, what "termination of parental rights" means, and what open adoption entails. Opportunities for conversations may occur when least expected—such as during car rides. 
    • Group information sessions: Among their peers, youth may feel more comfortable asking questions about adoption and sharing their concerns.
    • Allowing youth to participate in adoption programs before they've committed to being adopted: Youth may not be comfortable actively pursuing adoption until they've met a potential family. A commitment to adoption shouldn't be a prerequisite for participation in permanency programs. Youth can—and often do—change their minds.
    • Identifying relatives and other family members: Mining case files and following up on youths' leads may result in a permanent connection. This can include paternal relatives, fictive kin, former foster parents, teachers, and others.
    • Exposure to potential families: Opportunities to meet families may include mentoring programs, weekend visits with host parents, and structured group events at which teens and families participate in fun activities.
    • Family team meetings: Meetings that involve everyone in the teens' lives, including birth relatives, provide a chance for teens to hear about the realities of their situation as well as the possibilities for permanency.

    Caseworkers may not be aware of permanency potential for youth. There are still workers who think that youth don't need families, or the workers don't view permanent placements as a priority. Youth Permanency grantees found a number of useful strategies for changing workers' attitudes, including:

    • Supervision that emphasizes youth-centered practice
    • Placement of project permanency staff (grantees) among youth and caseworkers, allowing project staff to interact regularly with caseworkers and youth and build relationships
    • Training in child-specific recruitment, so that workers had the tools for recruitment and began to see the potential for youth permanency
    • Training that emphasizes helping youth rethink the possibility of adoption

    Families may be reluctant to consider adopting older youth. Grantees found the following strategies useful in overcoming this reluctance:

    • Using multiple opportunities to expose families to older youth: Youth panels can be part of parents' training, and youth can be present in offices, at structured activities for teens and adults, and in public media events.
    • Allowing families to get to know youth one-on-one: Mentoring and weekend host visits are good opportunities. A family who knows a particular youth may be more open to considering adoption than a family who just has a general curiosity about adoption.
    • Building a community: Hosting regular events at which families and youth can spend time together on a regular basis (at least once a month) eventually leads to a community interested in helping youth find permanency.

    And there is one strategy that helps change attitudes of youth, workers, and families: Providing them with examples of successful adoptions of youth. Showcasing families and youth who can talk about their successful adoptive experiences is the best way to demonstrate the potential of youth permanency.

    For more information about the Youth Permanency grantees, visit their webpages:

    http://www.nrcadoption.org/resources/ypc/grantee-projects

    Many thanks to Susan Punnett of Kidsave in Washington, DC, and to Pat Dudley of You Gotta Believe! in New York City for providing the information for this article.

  • Using Qualitative Interviews to Evaluate Youth Permanency

    Using Qualitative Interviews to Evaluate Youth Permanency

    In 2005, the Children's Bureau funded nine demonstration projects through an Adoption Opportunities grant, "Improving Permanency Outcomes by Developing Services and Supports for Youth Who Wish to Retain Contact With Family Members." The following article describes the mixed-method evaluation process used with the Family Builders by Adoption Dumisha Jamaa Project.

    The Dumisha Jamaa Project, based in Alameda County, California, uses a combination of quantitative and qualitative data collection strategies to evaluate the success of the project and to create a fuller picture of the experiences of the youth, families, and workers involved in the project. Project partners include Family Builders' permanency workers—who are co-located in the county agency offices—and supervisors, the county caseworkers and administrators, and the evaluator. The partners meet on a monthly basis, and this regular communication contributes to the effectiveness of the project.

    While county staff focus on casework management, the Dumisha permanency workers can devote their time to finding families and establishing permanent connections for youth. They use a variety of techniques to locate family members and other potential connections, including file mining, Internet searches, genograms, and family group conferences. In addition, permanency workers conduct both youth-specific and general recruitment to find families. Some of their methods have included the Heart Gallery photography exhibit, short television spots, Internet photolistings, and matching events.

    Early in the project, the evaluator worked with project staff to develop several quantitative measures. Youth complete the Youth Self-Efficacy Measure, the Social Support Scale, and the Youth Permanency Measure when they enter the program and annually thereafter. Permanency workers and permanent adults identified by youth complete slightly different versions of the Permanency Measure. Responses to all these instruments are analyzed to measure any changes in attitudes and connections over time, as youth participate in the project.

    In order to provide a more complete picture of the project and of the youths' journey to permanency, the evaluation process also includes a qualitative component. The evaluator conducts qualitative interviews with youth, permanent parent(s), permanency workers and other project partner staff. To date, all seven Family Builders' Dumisha permanency workers and four project partner staff have completed face-to-face, semi-structured interviews. The evaluator has also conducted 13 youth interviews and 8 permanent parent interviews. While the interview process is ongoing, a number of interesting themes have emerged from the interviews.

    For instance, permanency workers shared some common thoughts about best practices and lessons learned in achieving permanency for older youth:

    • The successful public/private partnership has been crucial to the process, and the co-location of Dumisha permanency workers at the county agency has contributed to that success.
    • File mining, genograms, and family trees have been immensely helpful in identifying family connections, especially those that had been lost for many years.
    • The process of finding family connections and establishing relationships takes longer than originally anticipated—usually, 9 to 12 months—for older youth who have been in foster care for several years.
    • Wraparound services provide significant postplacement support for families.
    • Peer support groups are important for youth, because they provide a chance to meet other foster youth in similar situations.

    Many youth who have been interviewed expressed their appreciation for the chance to be heard and for the work of their permanency workers. The interviews shed light on their feelings about family and permanency, for instance:

    • The level of commitment an adult brings to the relationship with a youth is what constitutes family—not blood.
    • Permanency is a process of building trust, and finding a family is almost always worth the risk.
    • Permanency work is not just about finding a home but includes restoring family connections that have been lost. Sibling relationships have been significant to older youth in the project.
    • Youth are proud of their self-reliance and their ability to overcome adversity.

    Interviews with adults who have become permanent connections to youth revealed some lessons they had learned in the process:

    • The preparation process before a placement is critical in terms of having realistic expectations and needed resources for older youth.
    • Wraparound postplacement services (referrals for services, financial support) are crucial.
    • Families should expect to deal with challenging behaviors.
    • It's important to help youth maintain connections with their siblings and other family (including fictive kin).

    The evaluator will continue conducting interviews with youth, parents, and project partners in order to provide the most complete picture of the project's achievements and lessons learned. Using a mixed-methods approach to evaluation, with both quantitative and qualitative data, of this project has been important to learning best practices for older youth in search of permanency.

    For more information about the Dumisha Jamaa Project, visit the National Resource Center for Adoption website:

    www.nrcadoption.org/youthpermanencycluster/fbba.html

    Many thanks to Michelle Rosenthal of the Edgewood Institute for the Study of Community-Based Services, Evaluator of the Dumisha Project, for providing the information for this article.
     

  • Evaluating the Family to Family Initiative

    Evaluating the Family to Family Initiative

    Family to Family began in 1992 as a systems change initiative to create more family-centered, neighborhood-based foster care services. Over the years, States and communities involved with Family to Family have achieved many positive outcomes, such as increasing the number of family foster care homes, reducing the number of placements in institutional settings, and reducing the overall number of children in care. In order to build upon those successes, the Annie E. Casey Foundation spent the last 3 years focusing on 15 anchor sites (in 5 California counties and 10 other States or communities) to further improve the Family to Family initiative and to evaluate its impact at both the child and system levels.

    A recent report from the Foundation details the phases of Family to Family since its inception and examines the anchor sites' implementation of four core strategies:

    • Building community partnerships
    • Team decision-making
    • Resource family recruitment, development, and support
    • Self-evaluation

    Because previous evaluations found that communities experience the greatest outcomes when all four strategies are fully implemented and functioning together, the Foundation focused its recent efforts on providing technical assistance to the 15 anchor sites in order to improve their development and integration of the core strategies. The evaluation report examines the sites' implementation efforts as well as child and family outcomes related to safety, permanency, family and community connections, and quality of care.

    The anchor sites also identified several agency factors that impacted the implementation of Family to Family, such as strong and consistent leadership, the substantial realignment of staff resources, and broad participation by managers, staff, and community partners. The report includes several lessons learned and recommendations for the Family to Family initiative.

    The full report, Evaluation of the Anchor-Site Phase of Family to Family, by Lynn Usher, Judith Wildfire, Daniel Webster, and David Crampton, is available on the Annie E. Casey Foundation website:

    www.aecf.org/KnowledgeCenter/Publications.aspx?pubguid={0B379E86-3BD9-4FAF-A3B2-96845501B2B7}

  • May Is National Foster Care Month!

    May Is National Foster Care Month!

    During May, organizations across the country observe National Foster Care Month by raising awareness about the 463,000 children and youth in foster care and the caring adults who make a difference in their lives. Social workers, foster parents, mentors, volunteers, and many others play an important role in helping children and youth build lasting connections and achieve permanency. Many of these adults offer services and supports to families to promote reunification or, when that isn't possible, adoption, guardianship, or other permanent connections for children and youth.

    This year, the theme of the National Foster Care Month website on Child Welfare Information Gateway is "Partnering With Families and Youth to Achieve Permanency." Geared to child welfare and related professionals, the website includes information and resources from the Children's Bureau Training and Technical Assistance Network to help policymakers, administrators, managers, and caseworkers provide better permanency services for children and families involved with the child welfare system. The website also features stories of youth who have successfully achieved permanency, highlighting the importance of youth having lifelong connections to people who are important to them.

    www.childwelfare.gov/fostercaremonth

    The National Foster Care Month website from Casey Family Programs and its partners offers a wealth of information and encourages the public to get involved in the lives of youth in foster care, including:

    • Statistics and data
    • A "Change a Lifetime Menu," of positive things that people can do if they have a few minutes, hours, weeks, or more time to spare
    • The National Foster Care Month Toolkit, with ideas, tips, and easy-to-use templates to help organizations plan a National Foster Care Month campaign
    • A calendar of events
    • A newsroom for the media
    • Success stories from foster care alumni and people who are making a difference in the lives of youth in foster care

    www.fostercaremonth.org

  • Finding the Youth Voice in the Permanency Process

    Finding the Youth Voice in the Permanency Process

    In 2005, the Children's Bureau funded nine demonstration projects through an Adoption Opportunities grant, "Improving Permanency Outcomes by Developing Services and Supports for Youth Who Wish to Retain Contact With Family Members." The following article draws on lessons learned from these Youth Permanency projects about engaging youth and listening to the youth voice.

    Youth who have spent a long time in the foster care system—sometimes, much of their lives—may be understandably dubious when a new worker invites them to participate in their own permanency plan. Until that point, they may never have been given a chance to control their own future.

    Engaging these youth and giving them some control over what happens to them is part of the goal of the nine Children's Bureau-funded Youth Permanency projects. The projects offer new hope to youth who are in danger of aging out of the foster care system with no permanent connection to a caring adult. The projects' permanency workers have found a number of ways to help the youth overcome their past trauma and disappointment so that they are open to new permanency options.

    One way to gauge a teen's readiness for permanency and to open the discussion about permanency options is through the use of a written scale. The It's Up to Me ReConnect Project developed an instrument to assess feelings and attitudes at various points in the permanency process. When youth first enter the program, they complete the Openness to Permanency Scale, which assesses issues of family loyalty and self-esteem in order to measure their willingness to be adopted. The scale is administered again 6 months and 1 year later, as well as when the youth leaves the program, so that changes in attitude can be followed and discussed. The instrument not only provides insight to the permanency worker and caseworker, but it often helps the youth articulate feelings that may have remained unexpressed until that point. The scale can help youth realize that their feelings are normal and are shared by many others in their situation, and it may provide a springboard for the youth to talk about feelings about permanency.

    Discussing with youth how they feel about permanency is the first step toward engaging teens in that process. Giving them some control is another way to increase their involvement and to build their comfort level. For instance, permanency workers found that teens were responsive to these kinds of questions:

    • How would you like to maintain connections with your birth family—with which members and in what ways?
    • What would be the best way to initiate contact with kin or other potential connections—phone calls, letters, emails, or face-to-face visits?
    • How would you like to "market" yourself to potential families, for instance, through events, photolistings, or other activities?
    • Where and when would you like to meet an interested prospective family, and what should be discussed and shared at the meeting?

    Giving teens options and respecting their choices can build their confidence and participation in their own permanency process. Some of the other ways that the Youth Permanency projects are able to give youth a voice include:

    • Holding family team meetings or family group decision-making sessions where the youth's voice can be heard by workers, family members, attorneys, and others
    • Sponsoring weekend retreats, camps, or other gatherings where youth in similar situations can share their experiences and learn from each other
    • Including youth panels as part of training for workers and/or foster parents, so that the trainees can hear the youth stories firsthand
    • Recruiting youth to be speakers at conferences, presentations, and media events

    Ultimately, youth in foster care are like any other youth teetering on the brink of adulthood. They are learning to make their own decisions, but they need loving adults to guide and support them. The Youth Permanency projects are able to engage youth by giving them choices about their permanency options while providing them with guidance and support so that they leave foster care with permanent connections to loving adults.

    For more information about Project ReConnect, including all of the tools developed for the project, and the other Youth Permanency Projects, visit the National Resource Center for Adoption:

    [Editor's note: This link is no longer available.]

    For an overview of the work of the projects, view this PowerPoint from the Children's Bureau's 2009 Agencies and Courts conference:

    [Editor's note: This link is no longer available.]

     

    Many thanks to Dona Abbott, Director, and Mary Banghart Therrien, Evaluator, from the It's Up to Me ReConnect Project, who provided the information for this article.
     

  • Placement Stability in Foster Care

    Placement Stability in Foster Care

    A number of studies have established a connection between frequent moves in foster care and poorer outcomes for children and youth. A new action brief released by PolicyLab at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia analyzed the results of the first year of a longitudinal Children's Stability and Well-Being Study that looked at placement histories of 450 children in the Philadelphia child welfare system. The report, Securing Child Safety, Well-Being, and Permanency Through Placement Stability in Foster Care, lists four major findings related to placement stability:

    • Children in kinship placements demonstrated greater placement stability than those in nonrelative foster care.
    • Placement stability for children in nonrelative foster care was often influenced by the number of children living in the foster home.
    • Behavioral health resources to help kinship and foster parents mitigate child behavioral problems were limited.
    • Timeliness of placement stability was not measured, and placement moves were undercounted.

    The action brief offers several policy recommendations tied to these findings and to the Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008. The Act recognizes the importance of placement stability for children’s safety and well-being, and it requires greater accountability to prevent discontinuity in schooling and the receipt of medical care.

    Securing Child Safety, Well-Being, and Permanency Through Placement Stability in Foster Care, by Kathleen Noonan, David Rubin, Robin Mekonnen, Sarah Zlotnick, and Amanda O’Reilly, is available on the PolicyLab website: 

    http://policylab.us/index.php/publications/evidence-to-action/45-policylab-position-paper.html

  • Logic Model for Youth Permanency

    Logic Model for Youth Permanency

    In 2005, the Children's Bureau funded nine demonstration projects through an Adoption Opportunities grant, "Improving Permanency Outcomes by Developing Services and Supports for Youth Who Wish to Retain Contact With Family Members" (the Permanency cluster). The following article describes the development and purpose of the cluster's logic model.

    The Children's Bureau routinely requires applicants for funding to include a logic model as part of their application. This requirement helps the applicants—and later, the grantees—articulate how their funded activities relate to their desired outcomes. The logic model describes the resources that will be required, the planned program activities, and what the program intends to achieve (commonly called "outcomes").

    The nine grantees in the Children's Bureau's Permanency cluster all developed their own logic models as part of their grant applications and were familiar with the benefits of this process. So, about 2 years into their funding period, when they found that they needed a good visual way to explain what the cluster as a whole was doing, they turned to a new logic model. Using the nine individual logic models, an overall logic model was developed for the whole cluster. It included the factors and processes common to the individual grantees.

    The resulting logic model included six types of components:

    • Inputs (e.g., funding, staff, partners)
    • Core services (e.g., build youth empowerment in permanency process, recruit potential families)
    • Outputs (e.g., percentage of case files mined, number of inquiries from families wanting to adopt)
    • Short-term outcomes (e.g., .youth increase knowledge about permanency options, youth establish positive relationships with adults)
    • Intermediate outcomes (e.g., youth increase feelings of empowerment, youth maintain connections with adults)
    • Long-term outcomes (e.g., increased permanency for youth, including open adoption)

    This logic model continues to provide a good backdrop for the work of the cluster and is an important visual representation of the process that the grantees follow to achieve permanency for youth. The format of the logic model emphasizes both the wide range of activities as well as the common goals of the nine grantees, demonstrating that there are many ways to increase permanency for older youth in foster care.

    To view the Permanency cluster's logic model, visit the National Resource Center for Adoption website:

    www.nrcadoption.org/youthpermanencycluster/logic.html

    Many thanks to Kate Lyon, of James Bell Associates, who provided the information for this article and serves as a technical assistance provider for the cluster.

    Recent Issues

  • June 2024

    Spotlight on Reunification

    Spotlight on Reunification

  • May 2024

    Spotlight on National Foster Care Month

    Spotlight on National Foster Care Month

News From the Children's Bureau

The May issue of CBX brings you news about the Adoption Excellence Award nominations and the newly appointed directors for five HHS Regions, CB-funded grantee syntheses and a grantee site visit, the latest from the Training & Technical Assistance Network, and more.

  • HHS Announces Five More New Regional Directors

    HHS Announces Five More New Regional Directors

    On April 6, 2010, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced the appointment of five new HHS Regional Directors, who will act as Secretary Sebelius's key representatives in working with Federal, State, local, and Tribal officials on health and social service issues. The new directors are:

      • Christie Hager, J.D., M.P.H., Director of Region I (Based in Boston and including CT, ME, MA, NH, RI, and VT)
        Ms. Hager is currently an Adjunct Lecturer on Health Policy at the Harvard School of Public Health, where she focuses on State regulation of health care and public health, health care access, and the legislative process.


      • Jaime R. Torres, D.P.M., M.S., Director of Region II (Based in New York City and including NJ, NY, PR, and VI)
        Dr. Torres is Associate Director of Consultative Services at Coler-Goldwater Specialty Hospital, part of New York City’s Health and Hospital Corporation, and is the founder and President of Latinos for National Health Insurance.


      • Joanne Grossi, M.P.P., Director of Region III (Based in Philadelphia and including DE, DC, MD, PA, VA, and WV)
        Ms. Grossi was Pennsylvania Secretary of Health and later the first-ever Director of the Office of Women’s Services, where she administered statewide programs providing assistance to women.


      • Marguerite Salazar, M.A., Director of Region VIII (Based in Denver and including CO, MT, ND, SD, UT, and WY)
        Since 1989, Ms. Salazar has served as President/CEO of Valley Wide Health Services, Inc., one of the largest rural Community Health Centers in the country, providing primary care to over 40,000 residents in Southern Colorado.


    • Herb K. Schultz, M.P.P., Director of Region IX (Based in San Francisco and including AZ, CA, HI, NV, Guam, PI, and AS)
      Mr. Shultz is Senior Advisor to Governor Schwarzenegger and the Director of the California Recovery Task Force, with responsibility for the oversight and implementation of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

    Read the HHS press release on the website: www.hhs.gov/news/press/2010pres/04/20100406c.html

    For contact information about the HHS Regional Offices, visit: www.hhs.gov/intergovernmental/regional/index.html#v

  • Children's Bureau Service Wins Citizen Service Award

    Children's Bureau Service Wins Citizen Service Award

    The Children's Bureau recently won the prestigious Citizen Service Award, presented annually to government agencies that have achieved excellence in customer service and citizen engagement. The General Services Administration (GSA) award recognized the Children's Bureau for its Child Welfare Information Gateway, citing Information Gateway's social media outreach campaign, including the use of Facebook, YouTube, and LiveChat, to connect child welfare professionals and citizens to information and resources.

    The award was presented on April 13 at a GSA conference. LaChundra Lindsey, who serves as the Federal Project Officer for Information Gateway, was on hand to receive the award, along with Joe Bock, the Children's Bureau Deputy Associate Commissioner, and Jane Morgan, Children's Bureau Director of the Capacity Building Division.

    This is the third year that GSA has presented the awards, and Information Gateway was one of three winners, along with the Federal Student Aid Information Center and the TV Converter Box Coupon Program.

    Read the full press release:

    www.gsa.gov/Portal/gsa/ep/contentView.do?pageTypeId=10430&channelId=-24825&P=&contentId=29552&contentType=GSA_BASIC

    For more information, visit the GSA webpage on the Citizen Service Award:

    www.usaservices.gov/aboutus/citizen_service_award.php

  • Updates From the T&TA Network

    Updates From the T&TA Network

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

      • Child Welfare Information Gateway now offers a daily news digest available as a free subscription service. Child Welfare in the News is a weekday listing of news articles from around the nation of interest to child welfare workers, administrators, and related professionals: www.childwelfare.gov/admin/subscribe/#page=subscriptions


      • The National Quality Improvement Center on Non-Resident Fathers and the Child Welfare System has developed a two-page factsheet of practical guidance for CASA volunteers on working with and involving fathers in child welfare cases: www.fatherhoodqic.org/CASA.doc


      • The National Resource Center for Community-Based Child Abuse Prevention (FRIENDS) has created a website to support evidence-based home visitation programs and cooperative agreements funded by the Children's Bureau in 2008: www.supportingebhv.org/home
        FRIENDS recently posted a new factsheet, Understanding the Common Ground Between Systems of Care and Child Abuse Prevention, which draws from presentations given at the 2008 CBCAP Annual Grantee Meeting: www.friendsnrc.org/download/soc.pdf (154 KB)


      • The National Child Welfare Resource Center for Organizational Improvement (NRCOI) has announced topics for its Spring and Summer 2010 Teleconference/Webinar Program.
        • May 6: Building Ongoing Stakeholder Involvement in Program Improvement and the Life of the Agency
        • June 3: Implementing Effective and Efficient Services Through Court/Child Welfare Data Exchange
        • July 15: Working Across Systems to Improve Outcomes for Young Children
          http://muskie.usm.maine.edu/helpkids/tele.htm
        Also, visit the NRCOI's newly redesigned website: www.nrcoi.org


      • The National Child Welfare Workforce Institute's Leadership Academy for Supervisors recently introduced the third module, Leading in Context, in its online training for supervisors. Visit the website to enroll and take the free training: www.ncwwilas.org/Orientation/



  • Syntheses of CB Grant Clusters Debut on Web

    Syntheses of CB Grant Clusters Debut on Web

    Child Welfare Information Gateway has added a new feature to its website: discretionary grant syntheses. The Children's Bureau awards discretionary grants for research and program development to State, Tribal, and local agencies; faith-based and community-based organizations; and other nonprofit and for-profit groups. Selected clusters of grants funded under a single program announcement have been the subject of site visit reports and brief syntheses to document knowledge gained through the projects. The syntheses describe grantees' common challenges, strategies, outcomes, and lessons learned.

    The first synthesis to be posted to Information Gateway's website discusses the knowledge gained through the Field Initiated Training Projects for Effective Child Welfare Practice With Hispanic Children and Families grant cluster. Between 2004 and 2007, four grantees conducted innovative projects designed to address the needs of Hispanic children and families. This synthesis is based on the grantees' final reports and other materials.

    The new online synthesis is available in a printable PDF, as well as an easy-to-read tab format, which is organized into the following sections:

    • Summary of Projects
    • Overarching Themes
    • Grantee Recommendations
    • Products

    The online syntheses join the online site visit reports already available on the Child Welfare Information Gateway website. Visit the Discretionary Grant Outcomes and Lessons Learned webpage to access both the syntheses and site visit reports:

    www.childwelfare.gov/systemwide/funding/funding_sources/cbreports.cfm

    Find the Hispanic Children and Families online synthesis here:

    www.childwelfare.gov/systemwide/funding/funding_sources/synthesis/#page=summary

  • Site Visit: Leadership Training Promotes Family Group Conferencing

    Site Visit: Leadership Training Promotes Family Group Conferencing

    The goal of the National Child Welfare Leadership Institute (NCWLI) is to build leadership skills in mid-level managers in public and Tribal child welfare agencies to improve outcomes for vulnerable children and families. Participants select a topic for change in their agencies and receive support throughout the training process about how to implement the change effort.

    Nominated by the Vermont Department for Children and Families, Ruth Houtte, a director in 1 of the 12 district offices in the Family Services Division (FSD), participated in the training provided by NCWLI. Ms. Houtte's topic for change was to implement family group conferencing (FGC) in her St. Johnsbury District Office.

    During her NCWLI session, Ms. Houtte developed a vision statement for FGC in her district, which she later presented to her staff. This was important to determine whether staff values were in line with those embedded in this practice, to air any resistance if it existed, and to create buy-in for the change. After hearing staff input and having internal discussions, the district office decided to incorporate FGC into its case practice, initially with cases involving teens.

    There was minimal resistance to the practice change, with most staff in agreement with the FGC approach and values; some saw it as being very much in line with their social work roots. St. Johnsbury staff reported that they believe that FGC has helped establish or reestablish family relationships, increased the options available to families, opened the lines of communication between the families and the agency, and led to positive outcomes that would not have been possible using a traditional child welfare approach.

    The NCWLI training also had an impact on a larger scale. In addition to introducing FGC in her district office, Ms. Houtte helped support a broad system change effort, including incorporating family engagement throughout FSD. This systemwide reform effort was spurred on by the State's 2007 Child and Family Services Review and subsequent Program Improvement Plan and was driven by the agency's Transformation Plan, which was written by Deputy Commissioner Cindy Walcott, along with input from staff. As part of her contribution to promoting broad system change, Ms. Houtte co-chaired the Transformation Steering Committee, which oversaw how various workgroups coordinated the change process. Ms. Houtte also co-chaired workgroups that developed the Vermont Family Time Policy and Guidelines and the FSD Practice Model. The NCWLI training helped her structure committee meetings efficiently and advance the process effectively. 

    Ms. Houtte said that NCWLI was one of the most amazing experiences of her professional career. She was able to use what she learned immediately on her return to the agency, and she received a lot of support and consultation from NCWLI staff in her work.

    For more information, contact Ruth Houtte, District Director, FSD, Vermont DCF at ruth.houtte@ahs.state.vt.us

    The full site visit report is posted on the Child Welfare Information Gateway website:
    http://www.childwelfare.gov/management/funding/funding_sources/sitevisits/vermont.cfm

    For more information on NCWLI, visit the NCWLI website: http://www.ncwli.org

    National Child Welfare Leadership Institute is funded by the Children's Bureau, CFDA #93.648.This article is part of a series highlighting successful Children's Bureau grant-funded projects around the country, emerging from Children's Bureau site visits.

  • Nominations Open for Adoption Excellence Awards

    Nominations Open for Adoption Excellence Awards

    Each year, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Administration for Children and Families (ACF) presents Adoption Excellence Awards to recognize individuals, families, and organizations that have made outstanding contributions to providing safe, permanent, and loving homes for children in foster care. Winners are those who have demonstrated leadership, innovation, and dedication in helping children from foster care rebuild their lives and achieve permanency.

    Nominations are now open for the 2010 Adoption Excellence Awards, and completed nomination packets are due by July 12, 2010. Nominees may be individuals and organizations, including States, public agencies, universities, Tribes, courts, families, faith-based organizations, businesses, and more. Awards will be made in nine categories:

    • Decreased lengths of time that children in foster care wait for adoption
    • Increased adoptions of older children
    • Interjurisdictional adoptions
    • Support for adoptive families
    • Individual and/or family contributions
    • Philanthropy and/or business contributions
    • Judicial or child welfare system improvement
    • Adoption of minority children from foster care
    • Media/public awareness of adoption from foster care

    Nomination packets will be reviewed by a national panel of recognized adoption experts, including members of State and Federal agencies. The review panel will make recommendations for awards to the ACF Commissioner. Winners will be selected on the basis of 10 criteria, including collaboration, innovation, and community involvement.

    Everyone interested in making nominations, including self-nominations, is invited to visit the Children's Bureau website for more information:

    www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb/current_initiatives/aeawards.htm

  • 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:

    Visit the Children's Bureau website often to see what's new!
    www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb

  • NIS-4 Finds Race Differences in Child Maltreatment Rates

    NIS-4 Finds Race Differences in Child Maltreatment Rates

    The most recent implementation of the National Incidence Study of Child Abuse and Neglect, the NIS-4, found race differences in maltreatment rates, with Black children experiencing maltreatment at higher rates than White children in several categories—differences that were not found in any of the previous NIS reports. A new research paper from the Administration for Children and Families' Office of Planning, Research & Evaluation (OPRE), Supplementary Analyses of Race Differences in Child Maltreatment Rates in the NIS-4, reports on efforts to understand this finding. The report considers possible reasons why the NIS-4 results diverged from the findings in earlier cycles and uses multifactor logistic modeling to reanalyze the NIS-4 data in order to isolate whether and how race contributed to maltreatment risk, independent of the other important risk factors that correlated with race.

    In the report, authors Andrea J. Sedlak, Karla McPherson, and Barnali Das examine two possible explanations for why the NIS-4 found statistically reliable race differences in rates of some categories of child maltreatment. They conclude that the finding is at least partly a consequence of the greater precision of the NIS-4 estimates and partly due to the enlarged gap between Black and White children in economic well-being. Socioeconomic status is the strongest predictor of maltreatment rates, and incomes of Black families have not kept pace with incomes of White families since the NIS-3 data of 1993. However, the authors caution that the findings are qualified by the limitations of the predictors that were available for analysis.

    The NIS is a periodic Federal effort that utilizes data from both child protective services (CPS) agencies and community professionals who encounter maltreated children during the course of their work to provide estimates of the number of children who are abused and neglected in the United States. The NIS integrates the cases obtained from the multiple sources, generating national estimates of the numbers of abused and neglected children that include both those who receive the attention of CPS agencies and those who do not. The NIS-4 provides data from 2005-2006. Previous reports covered the years 1980, 1986, and 1993.

    The report is available for download on the OPRE website:
    www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/opre/abuse_neglect/natl_incid/reports/supp_analysis/nis4_supp_analysis_race_diff_mar2010.pdf (1.47 MB)

  • Site Visit: Child-Specific Recruitment for African-American Children

    Site Visit: Child-Specific Recruitment for African-American Children

    In 2005, the Children's Bureau's National Resource Center for Adoption (NRCA) established the Minority Adoption Leadership Development Institute (MALDI) to enhance the leadership skills of minority adoption leaders from around the country. Florida's Department of Children and Families enrolled an adoption leader, Minnie Jenkins, in MALDI, and Ms. Jenkins was able to return to her State and apply her new skills to develop an adoption program for older African-American children.

    The program she created, All Things Are Possible: No Limits Adoption Recruitment for African-American Children, involved child-specific recruitment for 10 African-American youth, aged 9 and older. Ms. Jenkins provided training and technical assistance to the youths' case managers to help them with recruitment and with preparing the youth for adoption. She developed a number of tools, including:

    • A 6-month individualized child-specific recruitment plan
    • Placement log
    • Traumatic events log
    • Log of all prior caregivers and significant adults in the youth's life
    • Form letter to send to prior caregivers and significant adults who could become committed caring adults in that youth's life

    The child-specific recruitment plan included many ideas for identifying potential families, updating the youths' files, and using a variety of media to promote the youth and make his or her story known to as many families as possible. Ms. Jenkins helped the case managers implement the plans, serving as a mentor and resource. By the end of the project, two youth had finalized adoptions, one sibling group of three had been placed with an adoptive family, one sibling group of three had been matched with a preadoptive family, and two children still did not have identified families.

    The success of this program led the State to take the program statewide with a project called The 100 Longest Waiting Teens Project: A Family for Every Teen. In this new project, case managers used the tools and practices from the All Things Are Possible program to recruit families for 104 Florida teens who had been in foster care for most of their lives. One year after this new project had launched, 49 of the 104 teens (13 years of age and over) had achieved permanence. Recruitment activities are continuing for those remaining.

    At a 3-day statewide adoption conference designed to celebrate both of these programs, case managers were able to share their success stories with other professionals and to disseminate information about the programs. A national adoption expert provided training and workshops on realistic adoption. In addition, the State agency used the opportunity to announce a new program that will use the same techniques to identify permanent connections for youth who have been assigned a permanency goal of APPLA (Another Planned Permanent Living Arrangement).

    For more information on MALDI and the NRC for Adoption, visit the website:
    www.nrcadoption.org/maldi/index.html

    To find out more about the All Things Are Possible and the 100 Longest Waiting Teens projects, contact:

    To read the full site visit report, visit the Child Welfare Information Gateway website: http://www.childwelfare.gov/management/funding/funding_sources/

Child Welfare Research

Research from the child welfare field includes the latest look at finding the right balance for group care, accessing postadoption services, and family therapy in kinship care.

  • Survey Shows Postadoption Services Needs

    Survey Shows Postadoption Services Needs

    Postadoption services can help families who have adopted a child from foster care, through private adoption, or internationally. However, not all families can access postadoption services, and a lack of services may have negative effects on the child or family's well-being and may also increase the chances of adoption disruption or dissolution. To address this concern, the New York State Citizens' Coalition for Children (NYSCCC) conducted an assessment of the State's postadoption services to determine what services were currently available to families and to identify service gaps. The Final Report: Parents and Professionals Identify Post Adoption Services Needs in NYS provides a summary of the findings of this assessment and offers recommendations for future services. A copy of the survey instrument is also available.

    The survey was conducted from December 2009 to January 2010 and included foster and adoptive parents and professionals working with these populations from 13 postadoption service programs that served 20 counties. NYCCC developed a 10-question survey, which was posted online and distributed electronically to these target audiences. A total of 451 questionnaires were completed.

    The survey found that the most commonly used services for families were parent groups, mental health services, and education and training. When asked about services they needed that were not available, the most common answers were respite care, teen groups, and kid groups.

    Participants were also asked about the barriers they face in accessing services. The following are the top four barriers faced by parents and professionals:

    • Lack of information about services
    • Lack of adequate child care
    • High costs of services
    • Lack of transportation

    The survey findings clearly indicate that postadoption services are needed in the State, and service delivery needs to be improved. NYCCC makes the following recommendations for adoption agencies:

    • Develop a central or regional office for information that families can access via hotlines or websites for information about services.
    • Provide more training to adoption-specific service providers and/or mental health providers to better meet the needs of families.
    • Create collaborations or alliances with nationally known mental health centers to provide another support service to families and professionals.
    • Strengthen support groups to meet the needs of children, youth, and parents.
    • Explore grant options, such as grants for respite care services.

    The full report is available on the NYSCCC website:

    http://nysccc.org/adoption/post-adoption-services/postadoptsurvey (743 KB)

  • A Family Therapy Model for Grandfamilies

    A Family Therapy Model for Grandfamilies

    Many of the 1.5 million children being raised by their grandparents have suffered some family-related trauma that led to them living with their grandparents. This trauma may have been caused by abandonment, abuse or neglect, parental drug dependence, domestic violence, or mental health conditions that reduced a parent's ability to care for a child. These same traumatic events may cause grandparents to suffer from grief and trauma.

    An article published in Children and Youth Services Review suggests that interventions that target both grandchild and grandparent within a family therapy model may be most effective for promoting healing in grandfamilies. The article, "Trauma, Attachment, and Family Therapy With Grandfamilies: A Model for Treatment," proposes that attachments formed between grandparent and grandchild often facilitate healing for both. The article introduces an attachment-based model of family therapy and discusses how family therapy can be used to facilitate attachment healing, moderate family trauma, and even disrupt generational patterns of dysfunctional relationships. Rather than focusing on increasing the grandparent's parenting skills, the model focuses on increasing the mutual attachment of grandparent and grandchild through healthy interactions and attachment experiences.

    While the authors suggest that practitioners treating grandfamilies must acknowledge the unique characteristics of the family constellation, there are some common issues that should be assessed as part of the therapy:

    • Children should be evaluated for the effects of the trauma.
    • Children should also be evaluated for any delays in physical, emotional, and intellectual development.
    • Grandparents should be assessed for the effects of the trauma.
    • Grandparents should also be evaluated for the emotional and psychological consequences of full-time caregiving.
    • The impact of stress, reduced socialization, increased financial obligations, and legal problems on grandparents should also be considered.

    "Trauma, Attachment, and Family Therapy With Grandfamilies: A Model for Treatment," Children and Youth Services Review, 32(1), was written by Deena D. Strong, Roy A. Bean, and Leslie L. Feinauer, and is available for purchase online:

    http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.childyouth.2009.06.015

  • The Benefits of Reducing Reliance on Congregate Care

    The Benefits of Reducing Reliance on Congregate Care

    Reducing States' reliance on congregate care for children in the child welfare system has potential benefits for both child well-being and child welfare costs. A new report, Rightsizing Congregate Care: A Powerful First Step in Transforming Child Welfare Systems, describes how the Annie E. Casey Foundation worked with Louisiana, Maine, New York, and Virginia to reduce reliance on congregate care. Each State implemented changes in at least two of the following five identified levers of change:

    • Composition of services (e.g., reduce congregate beds and increase community-based services)
    • Frontline practice (e.g., engage young people in talking about placement references and identify potential kinship homes earlier)
    • Finances (e.g., create financial disincentives for congregate care and redirect resulting savings to community-based services)
    • Performance management (e.g., use permanency and well-being outcomes to evaluate congregate care providers and phase out contracts with providers that have poor performance)
    • Policy (e.g., limit use of independent living as a case goal and require prior authorization and utilization reviews for entry into congregate care)

    The report includes an analysis on the outcomes associated with these implementation efforts. It suggests that a reduced reliance on congregate care leads to better outcomes for children and families; children tend to spend more time in family settings and less time in institutional settings. Furthermore, reducing congregate care use supports community-based services that strengthen neighborhoods and provides cost savings that can be re-invested into evidence-based family supports. The report also indicates that reforming congregate care can lead to larger systems transformations, as evidenced by reductions in the number of children in foster care in areas where the levers of change are implemented.

    The full report is available on the Foundation website:

    www.aecf.org/KnowledgeCenter/Publications.aspx?pubguid={746C0E30-2578-49CA-AE60-CB07CB6E02F9}

Strategies and Tools for Practice

CBX provides tools and examples of programs for recruitment of families, risk assessment, drug use and mental health services for parents, and advocacy for youth.

  • Questions About Advocating for Pregnant and Parenting Teens in Foster Care

    Questions About Advocating for Pregnant and Parenting Teens in Foster Care

    Pregnant and parenting teens in foster care face multiple challenges. Findings from a 2009 study by Chapin Hall of more than 4,500 pregnant and parenting Illinois teens in foster care identified several concerns: late or no prenatal care, investigations for child maltreatment and children placed in foster care, lack of education, and mothers having two or more children.

    According to Advocacy for Pregnant and Parenting Teens in Foster Care, a factsheet from the Healthy Teen Network and the American Bar Association Center on Children and the Law, practitioners can help address such challenges when they understand the legal rights of these youth. The factsheet answers common questions posed by practitioners on topics such as:

    • The rights of youth who become parents while they are minors
    • Whether children born to youth in foster care should be placed in foster care because their parent is in foster care
    • Foster parents' eligibility to receive maintenance payments under Federal law if their foster child retains custody or his or her child
    • The expenses covered by maintenance payments made on behalf of the infant
    • How to better serve youth in foster care who are pregnant or parenting

    Advocacy for Pregnant and Parenting Teens in Foster Care is available on the Healthy Teen Network website:

    www.healthyteennetwork.org/vertical/Sites/%7BB4D0CC76-CF78-4784-BA7C-5D0436F6040C%7D/uploads/%7BA1D4E6CF-9E51-4AF9-B2E0-B0BF06DEF04B%7D.PDF (199 KB)

    Related Items

    The Healthy Teen Network is a national organization focused on adolescent health and well-being with an emphasis on teen pregnancy prevention, teen pregnancy, and teen parenting. The Healthy Teen Network’s new Evidence-Based Resource Center supports organizations looking to implement evidence-based or innovative approaches to reduce teen pregnancy by providing training in evidence-based programs for trainers and facilitators; technical assistance on program selection, implementation, evaluation, and more; and resources for all aspects of evidence-based programs and promising programs.

    http://healthyteennetwork.org/index.asp?Type=B_BASIC&SEC=%7B5E80FC23-E52F-4B64-8E81-C752F7FF3DB6%7D

    The Chapin Hall study, Pregnant and Parenting Foster Youth: Their Needs, Their Experiences, by Amy Dworsky and Jan DeCoursey, is available online:

    www.chapinhall.org/sites/default/files/Pregnant_Foster_Youth_final_081109.pdf (1.4 MB)

  • Recruiting Adoptive Families in Rural Communities

    Recruiting Adoptive Families in Rural Communities

    Recruiting adoptive parents in rural areas requires a specific type of marketing approach. The staff of Northeast Ohio Adoption Services (NOAS) have written a step-by-step recruitment guide that demonstrates how the principles of marketing can be applied to family recruitment in rural areas and how building community partnerships provides access to adoptive families.

    Over the course of a 6-year Federal Adoption Opportunities grant, the agency worked with four rural counties, with four goals in mind:

    • Increase the number of adoptive families in rural communities
    • Improve and enhance rural communities’ ability to support, strengthen, and sustain adoptive families
    • Develop a sustainable rural community adoption model
    • Develop a blueprint for targeted adoption recruitment in rural communities that can be replicated at local, State, and national levels

    Targeted marketing, according to the NOAS recruitment guide, was the most fundamental program component. By researching the lifestyles and demographic factors of families in the rural counties of Ohio, including those who had adopted in the past, staff determined how to be successful in recruiting families. Direct mail was found to be the most beneficial target marketing source, followed by a brochure and the NOAS website.

    In marketing social change, NOAS strove to inform Ohioans about the number of children waiting to be adopted and to reach prospective parents on an emotional level. Tools used for the social marketing campaign included direct mail, newspaper ads, bus signs, and a radio PSA.

    Child-specific recruitment proved to be a powerful tool. Faces and stories of actual children waiting to be adopted were used in marketing pieces such as "Faces of Adoption" posters and 60-second recruitment commercials.

    Informational meetings, adoption workshops, and preadoption classes were a few of the remote recruitment services NOAS used to reach the targeted communities. Staff used fliers, ads in community newspapers, and coupon mailers to create awareness of information sessions. Over the course of the grant, the agency received over 1,800 inquiries about adopting and placed 64 children for adoption.

    Recruiting, Preparing, and Supporting Successful Adoptive Families—A Step-by-Step Recruitment Guide to Educate and Empower Agencies for Recruiting Adoptive Families in Rural Communities was written collaboratively by NOAS staff. The guide also serves as the final report for their grant, the Rural Targeted Community Outreach Federal Adoption Opportunities Grant from the Children's Bureau.

    The guide can be downloaded from the NOAS website:

    http://noas.com/admin/reports/NOAS%20RTCO%20Recruitment%20Guide.pdf (7,700 KB)

  • Assessing Child Safety With Domestic Violence

    Assessing Child Safety With Domestic Violence

    Enhancing the safety of children involved in domestic violence situations is the focus of a new factsheet from the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families (DCF). Promising Approaches: Working With Families, Child Welfare and Domestic Violence provides guidelines to mandated reporters about assessing safety and risk in order to determine when to file a report of concern.

    While mandated reporters in Massachusetts do have a responsibility to file reports when a child is endangered by domestic violence, not every circumstance involving domestic violence merits intervention by the child protection system. In fact, a report may create additional risks of harm for a child and the caregiver. Mandated reporters can use the questions provided in this factsheet to help them assess risk factors and determine whether a report is merited or whether it is more appropriate to connect the family to social services, counseling, battered women's programs, or other family or community supports. Approaches to how to file a report in a manner that enhances the family's safety also are provided.

    The factsheet is available on the DCF website:

    www.mass.gov/Eeohhs2/docs/dss/promising_approaches_publication.pdf (568 KB)

     

  • Intensive Services for Addicted Parents

    Intensive Services for Addicted Parents

    Oregon's Intensive Treatment and Recovery Services (ITRS) initiative offers a range of intensive treatment options for parents with drug or alcohol addictions so that children can remain with their parents. A factsheet from the State's Addiction and Mental Health Services division describes the program and its success thus far.

    ITRS was funded by Oregon's 2007 legislature, and its goal is simple: Help keep families together by giving the parents the treatment they need. The legislature has appropriated funds for the following services:

    • Residential treatment for parents and dependent children who go to treatment with an addicted parent
    • Intensive outpatient treatment
    • Regular outpatient treatment
    • Case management
    • Clean and sober housing options for addicted families

    The initiative's impact is already being seen by the families using their services. ITRS helps parents learn parenting and relationship skills as well as helping them learn how to manage their addiction and other challenges.

    The factsheet, Intensive Treatment and Recovery Services Initiative, is available on the Oregon Department of Human Services website:

    www.oregon.gov/DHS/addiction/publications/fact-sheets/itrs.pdf  (746 KB)

Resources

  • Chronic Neglect Virtual Series

    Chronic Neglect Virtual Series

    The American Humane Association, in partnership with the National Association of Public Child Welfare Administrators, is now offering the Chronic Neglect Virtual Series (CNVS) as a new way for child welfare workers and related professionals to collaborate to help advance practices and policies on chronic neglect. CNVS provides registered participants with a virtual community center to discuss successes and challenges in working with families impacted by chronic neglect. The month-long virtual discussion period is followed by a web conference featuring guest speakers that will address current research and field-based experiences.

    CNVS currently offers sessions on two themes:

    • Chronic neglect intervention: Community collaboration and multidisciplinary approaches
    • Chronic neglect-substance abuse connections

    Participants should register as a team of three to six key individuals in their community, such as child welfare administrators, supervisors, frontline workers, training coordinators and/or community partners (e.g., public health nurses, judicial officials). Visit the American Humane website to register or for more information:

    www.americanhumane.org/protecting-children/programs/chronic-neglect
     

  • Intercountry Adoption of U.S. Children

    Intercountry Adoption of U.S. Children

    Since the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption of 1993 entered into force for the United States in April 2008, new regulations govern the adoption of children from the U.S. foster care system by families in other countries ("outgoing" intercountry adoption). A recent Judges' Page Newsletter addresses the complex issues that face judges and other child welfare professionals dealing with this type of intercountry adoption.

    The articles included in this issue highlight the following topics:

    • Judges' requirements in outgoing cases covered by the Convention
    • The significance of the Hague accreditation process in protecting the rights of American children
    • The principal of "subsidiarity" in multilateral treaties
    • Meeting postplacement requirements through international collaborations
    • Promoting adoption by relatives living in other countries
    • Military families and adoption
    • Enhancing international recruitment efforts
    • Adoption of American children by Dutch families
    • Reciprocity in intercountry adoption
    • Web resources in intercountry adoption

    The Judges' Page Newsletter is a publication of the National CASA Association in partnership with the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges. It is available online:

    www.casaforchildren.org/site/c.mtJSJ7MPIsE/b.5720841/k.1EB7/January_2010.htm

  • Schools and Refugee Child Welfare

    Schools and Refugee Child Welfare

    School personnel may need specific guidance when addressing child welfare and family issues with immigrant and refugee families. A new toolkit from Bridging Refugee Youth and Children's Services (BRYCS), Refugee Child Welfare: Guidance for Schools, the third in a series of toolkits for the schools, was created to help school staff address these concerns.

    In all States, teachers and school staff are mandated reporters and must report suspected child maltreatment to child welfare authorities. Although this mandated reporter responsibility should make children safer, it may also make refugee families fearful of teachers. Furthermore, some apparent signs of neglect or abuse may be the result of traditional cultural practices, learned behaviors from the refugee experience, or the need for education about U.S. practices. BRYCS created this resource to help teachers distinguish resettlement challenges and cultural differences from child maltreatment and to consider resources for refugee families facing such challenges.

    Some specific challenges that refugee parents are likely to face include the following:

    • Lack of knowledge about typical U.S. parenting norms and behaviors
    • Limited community supports and limited knowledge of local resources
    • Balancing resettlement challenges with parenting responsibilities
    • Distant or renewed family relationships
    • Intergenerational tension

    The toolkit provides information on steps that teachers and school personnel can take to help strengthen refugee families and connect these families to supportive community services.

    BRYCS is a project of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops/Migration and Refugee Services and is supported by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Office of Refugee Resettlement. The toolkit is available on the BRYCS website:

    www.brycs.org/documents/upload/ChildWelfare-FAQ.pdf (347 KB)

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.

  • Conferences

    Conferences

    Upcoming national conferences on adoption and child welfare through August 2010 include:

    June 2010

    • 2010 Family Group Decision Making and Other Family Engagement Approaches Conference
      Fostering All the Connections
      American Humane
      June 22–25, Burlington, VT
    • Substance Exposed Newborns: Collaborative Approaches to a Complex Issue
      National Abandoned Infants Assistance Resource Center/University of California, Berkeley
      June 23–24, Alexandria, VA
      http://aia.berkeley.edu/training/SEN2010
    • APSAC's 18th Annual National Colloquium
      American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children
      June 23–26, New Orleans, LA
      http://www.apsac.org/mc/community/eventdetails.do?eventId=231148

    July 2010

    • 2010 National Adoption Conference
      The Age to Engage in Adoption
      National Council for Adoption
      July 6–9, National Harbor, MD
    • International Family Violence and Child Victimization Research Conference
      The Family Research Laboratory and the Crimes Against Children Research Center
      July 11–13, Portsmouth, NH
      http://www.unh.edu/frl/conferences/index.html
    • Training Institutes 2010
      New Horizons for Systems of Care: Effective Practice and Performance for Children and Youth With Mental Health Challenges and Their Families
      National Technical Assistance Center for Children's Mental Health
      July 14–18, Washington, DC
    • The 13th National Child Welfare Data and Technology Conference
      The Children's Bureau's National Resource Center for Child Welfare Data and Technology
      July 19–21, Bethesda, MD

    August 2010

    • FFTA 24th Annual Conference on Treatment Foster Care
      Being the Light at the End of the Tunnel
      Foster Family-Based Treatment Association
      August 1–4, Nashville, TN
    • Pathways to Adulthood 2010
      National Independent Living/Transitional Living Conference
      The National Resource Center for Youth Services
      August 24–26, Chicago, IL
      http://www.nrcys.ou.edu/conferences.shtml

    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:
    http://www.childwelfare.gov/calendar/index.cfm

     

  • Supporting Families With Substance Use and Mental Health Issues

    Supporting Families With Substance Use and Mental Health Issues

    The National Center on Substance Abuse and Child Welfare (NCSACW) has developed an online training designed to educate pre-service and in-service child welfare professionals about substance abuse and mental health disorders affecting families involved with the child welfare system. The training package consists of the following six modules:

    • Module 1: Understanding the Multiple Needs of Families Involved With the Child Welfare System
    • Module 2: Understanding Substance Use Disorders, Treatment, and Recovery
    • Module 3: Understanding Mental Disorders, Treatment, and Recovery
    • Module 4: Engagement and Intervention With Parents Affected by Substance Use Disorders, Mental Disorders, and Co-Occurring Disorders
    • Module 5: Developing a Comprehensive Response for Families Affected by Substance Use Disorders, Mental Disorders, and Co-Occurring Disorders
    • Module 6: Understanding the Needs of Children of Parents With Substance Use or Mental Disorders

    Each 2-3 hour module contains an agenda, training plan, training script, PowerPoint presentation, case vignettes, handouts, and reading materials.

    NCSACW is a service of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Visit the NCSACW website to access this free training:

    www.ncsacw.samhsa.gov/training/toolkit

  • Syllabus for Working With LGBTQ Youth

    Syllabus for Working With LGBTQ Youth

    The National Association of Social Workers and the Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund have developed a curriculum to help child welfare practitioners improve out-of-home care for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) youth. Moving the Margins: Training Curriculum for Child Welfare Services With LGBTQ Youth in Out-of-Home Care provides training on building the capacity, awareness, and skills of social workers and other child welfare practitioners.

    The curriculum is divided into modules so that trainers can tailor the classes for students with varied levels of understanding, prior knowledge, and job responsibilities. The first half of the curriculum focuses on cultural competency for those who are new to working with LGBTQ clients, staff, and peers. It is a 2.5-hour training in values clarification that addresses, among other topics, strategies to balance personal views and professional responsibilities if the two are in conflict.

    The second half of the curriculum focuses on building skills. Each module explores situations LGBTQ clients often face in out-of-home care. The modules include scenarios for small-group discussions, role-playing, and learning labs.

    The complete 156-page curriculum is available in a PDF file (2,620 KB): 

    http://data.lambdalegal.org/publications/downloads/mtm_moving-the-margins.pdf