This month, CBX looks at trauma-informed child welfare practice. According to the National Survey of Children's Exposure to Violence, nearly 60 percent of children were exposed to violence during the past year. Short-term reactions can include withdrawal, depression, sleeping problems, and increased aggression. Exposure to multiple or prolonged traumatic events can affect child development. Long-term consequences can include psychiatric and addictive disorders, chronic medical illness, negative educational and employment experiences, and criminal justice involvement.
- SAMHSA's National Center for Trauma-Informed Care
Since 2005, the National Center for Trauma-Informed Care (NCTIC) has worked to foster the implementation of trauma-informed care in publicly funded systems and programs, with the goal of moving people toward healing and wellness. Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), NCTIC offers technical assistance, education, outreach, and resources to a variety of human service systems, including child welfare, domestic violence, and mental health, among others.
NCTIC operates with the understanding that trauma can trigger and often lead to mental health disorders, substance abuse, eating disorders, HIV and AIDS, run-ins with the criminal justice system, and more. When service delivery systems become trauma-informed, there is a greater chance of supporting service recipients and reducing the risk of recurrent trauma.
The NCTIC website provides referral and support services information and examples of trauma-specific interventions. For more information, visit the website:
- The National Child Traumatic Stress Network
The National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN) was established by Congress in 2000 to improve treatment and services for children and adolescents exposed to traumatic events and to increase access to improved trauma treatment and services throughout the country.
The NCTSN is a grant program funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. It focuses on a variety of traumatized populations (e.g., infants, adolescents), types of trauma (e.g., child maltreatment, domestic violence), and service settings (e.g., child welfare agencies, schools, the court system). It is composed of three types of centers:
- The National Center for Child Traumatic Stress (NCCTS), which serves as a coordinating body for the NCTSN, provides technical assistance to NCTSN grantees, and oversees resource development, training, and other education efforts
- The Treatment and Services Adaptation Centers, which provide expertise on trauma-related issues and support the development and adaptation of effective trauma-informed treatment and service approaches
- The Community Treatment and Services Centers, which provide and evaluate services to children, adolescents, and families who have experienced traumatic events
The NCTSN website provides abundant resources about trauma-informed practice, including those pertinent to child welfare practice. Two recent products from the NCTSN Child Welfare Committee include:
- The Child Welfare Trauma Training Toolkit
- Caring for Children Who Have Experienced Trauma: A Workshop for Resource Parents
The NCCTS also manages the Learning Center for Child and Adolescent Trauma, which provides free online trainings, many of which can count toward continuing education credits for certain professionals. The Learning Center provides both self-guided trainings, such as courses on the Child Welfare Trauma Training Toolkit and on Psychological First Aid, and a speaker series, which includes webinars on topics such as therapeutic interventions for children in foster care, attachment issues for children who have experienced trauma, and what parents should know about child sexual abuse.
Additionally, the NCCTS coordinates year-long Learning Collaboratives, which emphasize the use of collective learning and experience to help agencies and organizations adopt and implement evidence-based, trauma-informed approaches. The NCTSN has developed more than a dozen Learning Collaboratives on a variety of topics, including child welfare and trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy. Each Learning Collaborative consists of 8 to 10 teams, with each team being from a particular agency or organization and including different stakeholders (e.g., clinicians, supervisors, administrators, clients, alumni). To help facilitate the sharing of practice methods and other information, each Learning Collaborative meets face-to-face three times during the year and also has additional contact as needed. Participants also receive extensive training and other support from NCTSN. While participants generally are NCTSN grantees, grantees' partner organizations may participate, too.
For more information, visit the NCTSN website:
Many thanks to Malcolm Gordon of NCTSN for providing information for this article.
- Newsletter Highlights Trauma and Refugee Families
A recent issue of the The Dialogue, published by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), focuses on trauma in different populations and ways to identify and address trauma.
In the article "Adapting Trauma Interventions for Refugee Families," the authors argue that refugee children impacted by trauma from their experience of war or immigration often continue to suffer as refugees because of the effect of the trauma on parenting practices. Stressed parents in a new country may exhibit impaired parenting that has long-lasting effects on their children's experiences and behaviors.
The article highlights a modification of the Parenting Through Change program with Somali and Oromo mothers in Minneapolis and St. Paul, MN. The 14-week Parent Management Training-Oregon Model (PMTO) program was culturally adapted to incorporate a trauma-informed focus. Because traumatic stress had disrupted parenting, particularly parent-child communication in times of conflict, one of the most important trauma-adapted aspects of the work was teaching emotion-regulation skills. The pilot program was well received, and the group saw an 85 percent retention rate. The article also presents a list of guidelines for working with refugee populations, particularly those refugees with prior exposure to trauma.
The issue's special feature article, "Vicarious Trauma," by Nora Baladerian, explores the experiences of those who work with trauma victims and disaster survivors. The author defines vicarious trauma as more than just the impact of seeing or hearing the aftermath of trauma; rather, it is a standard risk for anyone working with victims, survivors, or witnesses of trauma. The author asserts that proactively addressing vicarious trauma is essential for preventing mental health disorders or other negative outcomes. Workers often possess strategies to reduce the risk of secondary trauma but rarely take the time to implement those strategies. Behavioral health stigma also is a leading barrier to the prevention of trauma transfer. Simple strategies such as regular breaks during the workday and open discussion during staff meetings can help reduce cumulative stress. The article presents a list of the symptoms of vicarious trauma and tips for intervention.
This issue of The Dialogue includes the article "Formation of Long-term Recovery Groups," contributed by Jean Peercy, information on the tool When Families Grieve, a resource for helping adults and children cope with the death of a loved one, and more.
The entire issue of The Dialogue is available on SAMHSA's website:
The National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN) has published Secondary Traumatic Stress: A Fact Sheet for Child-Serving Professionals. The six-page factsheet explores the different ways individuals experience vicarious trauma, identifies specific signs and symptoms, and provides strategies for prevention and intervention. Additionally, the factsheet delineates the essential elements for a trauma-informed system that caters to the needs of workers who experience secondary trauma.
The factsheet is available on NCTSN's website:
http://www.nctsn.org/sites/default/files/assets/pdfs/secondary_traumatic_tress.pdf (724 KB)
- Integrating Trauma-Informed Practice in CPS Delivery
Child welfare professionals are not always aware of the symptoms and consequences of trauma and may be ill-equipped to provide services. In the summer of 2011, the Children's Bureau issued a funding opportunity announcement for the Integrating Trauma-Informed and Trauma-Focused Practice in Child Protective Service (CPS) Delivery grant cluster. The applicants were asked to create trauma-informed child welfare systems and to replace portions of their current service array with evidence-based or evidence-informed treatments shown to reduce the effects of traumatic stress. In September 2011, the Children's Bureau awarded 5-year cooperative agreements to the following five organizations:
- Massachusetts Department of Children and Families (DCF): The Massachusetts Child Trauma Project (MCPT) will target children aged 0 to 18 years with complex trauma who are in care through MA DCF. MCPT will provide training and ongoing consultation on evidence-based treatments, such as Attachment, Self-Regulation, and Competency (ARC); Child-Parent Psychotherapy (CPP); and Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT). Additionally, MCPT will use a Breakthrough Series Collaborative approach in each Area Office to support and coach local teams as they implement trauma-informed practice changes.
- North Carolina Division of Social Services: Project Broadcast will serve young children (ages 0 to 5) and youth (ages 13 to 18) disproportionately represented in the North Carolina child welfare system. It will provide training, support, and infrastructure to mental health professionals using the following models: the National Child Traumatic Stress Network's Child Welfare Trauma Toolkit (CW TTT) and Resource Parent Curriculum (RPC), Structured Psychotherapy for Adolescents Responding to Chronic Stress (SPARCS), and Attachment and Biobehavioral Catch-up (ABC) across nine counties. Additionally, certain demonstration counties will receive training in TF-CBT and Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT). In addition, Project Broadcast will develop an online roster of trained clinicians, offer access to expert clinical consultation for those clinicians, and provide access to upcoming training opportunities for clinicians interested in learning evidence-based treatments (EBTs).
- Connecticut Department of Children and Families (DCF): The Connecticut Collaborative on Effective Practices for Trauma (CONCEPT) will target trauma-exposed children aged 5 to 18 years in the Connecticut child welfare system. The project will help create a more trauma-informed workforce and institutionalize universal trauma screening, assessment, and referrals for trauma-focused services, as well as increase collaboration with community service providers. CONCEPT will implement TF-CBT and the Child and Family Traumatic Stress Intervention (CFTSI) in DCF facilities and community provider agencies. Additionally, the project will focus on infrastructure development and the modification of policies to support screening, assessment, and referrals.
- The National Native Children's Trauma Center of the University of Montana: The Transforming Tribal Child Protective Services (TTCPS) project will develop culturally responsive, evidence-based detection, treatment, and prevention mechanisms for children and families involved with the Tribal child welfare system. The project also will address secondary traumatic stress in the adult workforce. Initially, three Tribal demonstration sites will participate, with three additional sites joining in the third year of the project. TTCPS will conduct training for private agency clinicians on TF-CBT, Cognitive Behavioral Intervention for Trauma in Schools (CBITS), Trauma-Informed Positive Behavior Supports (PBS), Secondary Traumatic Stress Intervention (STSI), ARC, and CW TTT.
- University of Colorado Denver: The Creating a Trauma-Infused Child Welfare System project will seek to expand the evidence-based mental health treatment available for children ages 0 to 18, ensure child welfare staff can perform trauma-focused assessments, and educate professionals and family members about trauma-informed care. The target population for this project is children aged birth to 18 who are involved with the Denver child welfare system. Key activities for this project include universal assessment of children's exposure to traumatic events and its effects and cross-system training for child welfare staff, administrators, and managers; juvenile court personnel and attorneys; probation staff; law enforcement; and resource parents. Project staff will also conduct training for private agency clinicians on evidence-based trauma treatments, such as CPP and Alternatives for Families – Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (AF-CBT).
The focus of the first year of this initiative will be extensive assessment and planning activities, with the remaining 4 years focusing on implementation. Additionally, each project will conduct an evaluation of its activities and identify ways to sustain efforts.
For more information, contact Joyce Pfennig at Joyce.Pfennig@acf.hhs.gov
- Creating Trauma-Informed Child Welfare Systems
A recent eReview sponsored by the Center for Excellence in Children's Mental Health at the University of Minnesota presents interviews with professionals from three different geographical areas who answer questions about how child welfare systems can implement trauma-informed practices and policies.
This eReview, the third in a series focusing on trauma and child welfare systems, highlights a host of practice models, screening tools, and other resources to foster trauma-focused systems changes across the child welfare spectrum. The review also highlights the National Child Traumatic Stress Network's (NCTSN's) Essential Elements of Trauma-Informed Child Welfare Practice, which lays the foundation for the interviews. Professionals discuss how systems in their geographical areas and within their scope of work are adapting to implement these essential elements. The authors include Charles Wilson, Lisa Conradi, Erika Tullberg, Erin Sullivan-Sutton, and Christeen Borsheim.
Some of the questions addressed include:
- How can trauma-related information be gathered when a child enters the child welfare system?
- How can children be screened for trauma-related symptoms after entering the child welfare system?
- How can child welfare professionals respond to the underlying causes of trauma as well as related behaviors that are adaptive during trauma but maladaptive at other times?
- How is trauma-related information gathered from referral agencies and others when a child is referred?
- In what ways can family members (biological and foster parents) be supported to manage children's trauma-related behaviors?
The article also describes the NCTSN Breakthrough Series Collaborative Model that is being used by nine child welfare teams across the country, partnered with mental health providers. The focus is on screening for trauma in order to improve placement stability, and the teams' recommendations may lead to the development of a new screening tool.
Read the entire article here:
NCTSN's Essential Elements of Trauma-Informed Child Welfare Practice is available here:
http://www.nctsnet.org/nctsn_assets/pdfs/CWT3_SHO_EEs.pdf (49 KB)
The entire eReview series on trauma is available on the Children's Mental Health eReview website:
In June 2011, CBX covered the second issue in the trauma-specific series, "Historical Trauma, Microaggressions, and Identity: A Framework for Culturally Based Practice."
- Trauma Across the Spectrum of Experience
The Journal of Child and Adolescent Trauma published a special two-part issue in 2011 focusing on child and adolescent trauma across the spectrum of experience.
The first volume, Child and Adolescent Trauma Across the Spectrum of Experience: Interpersonal and Ecological Factor, begins with Erna Olafson's "Child Sexual Abuse: Demography, Impact, and Interventions." This article focuses on the interpersonal aspect of trauma as it relates to child sexual abuse (CSA), the diversity of actions and behaviors that constitute CSA and the resulting effects or outcomes, and the correlation between CSA and polyvictimization.
Child and Adolescent Trauma across the Spectrum of Experience: Underserved Populations and Emotional Abuse, the second volume, draws attention to the less obvious and nonphysical traumas and their outcomes, such as psychological or cognitive effects of exposure to war, violence, or racism.
"Racial Trauma in the Lives of Black Children and Adolescents: Challenges and Clinical Implications," by Maryam Jernigan and Jessica Daniel, explores the developmental effects of racism, a topic rarely included in trauma-centric literature or analysis. The authors explore the developmental implications of racial trauma in a scholastic setting.
These articles and more appear in the May 2011 Journal of Child and Adolescent Trauma (Volume 4, Issues 1 and 2) and can be viewed or purchased here:
- Effects of Trauma on Adolescent Brain Development
While significant brain development occurs during early childhood, neuroscience research now shows that there is important development during adolescence as the brain experiences significant chemical changes and adolescents begin to take on more adult tasks. Science has also uncovered details about the effects of trauma and trauma recovery on adolescent brain development.
A new report from the Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative suggests that this research provides a foundation for developing trauma-informed practices to support growth for youth in foster care and those transitioning to independence. The Adolescent Brain: New Research and Its Implications for Young People Transitioning From Foster Care reviews the research on adolescent brain development and the accompanying developmental tasks that adolescents face, and it points to the relationships and supports that youth in foster care need as they transition to adulthood. According to the report, offsetting the effects of trauma requires sufficient supports, strong relationships, positive opportunities, and adequate services. Child welfare systems with a trauma focus can deliver trauma-specific services and put adolescents on a path toward healing.
The report presents recommendations for developing trauma-informed practices to foster positive development for youth in foster care:
- Take a positive youth development approach to all opportunities for young people in foster care.
- Provide "interdependent" living services that connect young people with family and caring adults.
- Engage young people in their own planning and decision-making.
- Be trauma-informed to promote healing and emotional security.
- Extend developmentally appropriate foster care to age 21.
The full report, the executive summary, and other materials are available on the Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative website:
The University of Oklahoma OUTREACH Runaway and Homeless Youth Training and Technical Assistance Centers (RHYTTAC) published a two-page factsheet on trauma that includes tips for integrating trauma-informed programs specifically tailored for runaway and homeless youth, how agencies can evaluate their trauma-informed care, and other resources.
What Is Trauma? is available on the RHYTTAC website:
- Advancing Practices on Trauma Intervention
A white paper by the National Institute for Trauma and Loss in Children (TLC) highlights a developmental perspective and experiential approach to trauma-informed care.
In Advancing Trauma-Informed Practices: Bringing Trauma-Informed, Resilience-focused Care to Children, Adolescents, Families, Schools, and Communities, William Steele and Caelan Kuban assert that trauma is induced by the experience of the situation rather than the situation itself. Because no one person experiences the same trauma identically, understanding how trauma is experienced is necessary for developing effective interventions and avoiding retrauma.
The brief discusses TLC's evidence-based Structured Sensory Interventions for Children, Adolescents and Parents (SITCAP®) programs, like the I Feel Better Now program, which are developmentally appropriate and focused on the common experiences associated with trauma—fear, terror, worry, hurt, anger, revenge, guilt/shame, feeling unsafe or powerless, etc. The treatment program is a set of interventions for 3–18 year olds, parents, and other adults that aims to reduce trauma symptoms and mental reactions through creating new, positive, and structured experiences that allow youth to "rework" the traumatic experience. More than 6,000 TLC Certified Trauma Specialists in schools and agencies across the country use the experienced-based intervention programs.
One year after 100 multiply traumatized youth in second through fifth grades completed the I Feel Better Now program, parents reported that:
- The child talked more and was more open with feelings (93 percent).
- The child's self-esteem had improved (86 percent).
- The child laughed more (71 percent).
- The child stopped having nightmares (50 percent).
SITCAP® programs are now listed on the California Evidence-Based Clearinghouse and the Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Agency (SAMHSA) National Registry of Evidence-Based Programs and Practices (NREPP).
Advancing Trauma-Informed Practices: Bringing Trauma-Informed, Resilience-focused Care to Children, Adolescents, Families, Schools, and Communities, by William Steele and Caelan Kuban, is available at:
http://assets1.mytrainsite.com/500051/tlcwhitepaper.pdf (1 MB)
Spotlight on Creating a More Equitable Child Welfare System
Spotlight on Child and Family Services Review, Round 4
News From the Children's Bureau
The seventh article in our Centennial Series looks at the issue of child labor at the turn of the century. We also feature several new reports now available on the Children's Bureau website, such as Child Maltreatment 2010.
- Executive Order on Native Student Education
In December 2011, the White House issued an Executive Order calling for increased educational opportunities for American Indian and Alaska Native students and establishing the White House Initiative on American Indian and Alaska Native Education. Citing recent reports that show increased dropout rates for this population, President Obama called for increased efforts to close the achievement gap. The Initiative will be cochaired by the Secretaries of Education and of the Interior and will focus on providing Native students with more opportunities to learn their Native American languages, cultures, and histories.
The Initiative also will work to better prepare Native students for college and careers through meeting goals including but not limited to:
- Increasing the number of early education programs to better prepare American Indian and Alaska Native children for kindergarten
- Increasing the number of Native American students who have access to high-quality teachers, particularly in the areas of science, mathematics, and technology, by bolstering teacher recruitment efforts in these subjects
- Reducing the American Indian and Alaska Native dropout rate by improving scholastic environments and implementing dropout prevention programs
- Providing pathways for reentry to students who do drop out
The Executive Order is available on the White House website:
- Child Maltreatment 2010 Released
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has released Child Maltreatment 2010, the 21st in a series of reports designed to provide national statistics on child abuse and neglect. These reports provide State-level data from the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System (NCANDS) and include information on screened-in referrals (reports) of abuse and neglect made to child protective services (CPS) agencies, the children involved, types of maltreatment, CPS responses, child and caregiver risk factors, services, and perpetrators.
Highlights of Child Maltreatment 2010 show:
- The number of nationally estimated unique (counted just one time) victims was 695,000.
- Unique victims in the age group of birth to 1 year had the highest rate of victimization, at 20.6 per 1,000 children of the same age group in the national population.
- The most common type of maltreatment was neglect. More than 75 percent (78.3 percent) of unique child victims suffered neglect.
- The national rate of child fatalities was 2.07 deaths per 100,000 children.
- Forty-seven States reported that more than 3.4 million children received preventive services.
The full report is available on the Children's Bureau website:
http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb/pubs/cm10/cm10.pdf#page=9 (4 MB)
- Findings From Round 2 of the CFSRs
The Children's Bureau recently released the first comprehensive findings from the second round of the Child and Family Services Reviews (CFSRs). Since 2001, the Children's Bureau has conducted two complete rounds of reviews of all the States' child welfare systems; Round 2 was conducted between 2007 and 2010.
The Children's Bureau conducts the CFSRs to monitor States for conformity to Federal child welfare requirements, determine what is actually happening to children and families involved in the child welfare system, and assist States in enhancing their capacity to help children and families achieve positive outcomes. The CFSR process includes a Statewide Assessment and an onsite evaluation of 65 foster care and in-home services cases. In Round 2, States were assessed on 45 items grouped into seven outcomes that measured safety, permanency, and well-being and seven systemic factors.
The new report presents quantitative findings from all the States, as well as aggregate data from all the cases. In addition, the report also offers some qualitative information to shed light on performance, themes, and challenges. A content analysis helped to identify States' common child welfare challenges, and statistical analyses show relationships among outcomes, systemic factors, and items.
None of the States was in substantial conformity with the seven outcomes in the CFSRs; however, 10 States achieved substantial conformity with Well-Being Outcome 2: "Children receive appropriate services to meet their educational needs." In addition, a majority of States achieved the following:
- An overall rating of "Strength" for the individual items pertaining to foster care reentry and proximity of foster care placement
- Substantial conformity for the systemic factors measuring Statewide Information System, Quality Assurance, Staff and Provider Training, Agency Responsiveness to the Community, and Foster and Adoptive Parent Licensing, Recruitment, and Retention
The full report, Federal Child and Family Services Reviews Aggregate Report Round 2, is available on the Children’s Bureau website:
http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb/cwmonitoring/results/fcfsr_report.pdf (1 MB)
- Centennial Series: Child Labor in America
This is the seventh article in our Centennial Series, as we count down to the Children's Bureau's 100th anniversary in April 2012. These articles address some of the social issues, practices, and policies at the turn of the last century that laid the groundwork for the creation of the Children's Bureau.
Child labor has been a reality throughout history. Whether it was working on a family farm or helping out with a family business, children in all but the wealthiest families have long been expected to contribute to the economic well-being of their families in some way.
In the United States, the rapid industrialization of the early 19th century created the need for cheap labor, a demand that was often filled by children. The U.S. Census of 1900 estimated that one child out of six between the ages of 10 and 15 was gainfully employed, for a total number of 1,750,178 children. That number did not include children who were younger than age 10 or children who helped out on family farms or in urban "sweat shops" before or after school (Zelizer, 2000).
A 1907 study found that while almost three-fourths of working children labored in agriculture, more than 500,000 children were employed in nonagricultural jobs, including in coal mines, textile mills, the clothing industry, iron and steel works, furniture and lumber factories, and glass factories, or they worked as domestic servants, messengers, street vendors, and office workers (Lindenmeyer, 1997). Many children worked long hours in hazardous conditions at low wages. Often, their poor families desperately needed the income to supplement the parents' low wages, but for the children, the reality of the work often threatened their health and denied them the opportunity to attend school.
The Progressive Era, from the 1890s to the 1920s, was a time when many social activists sought to improve the conditions of the urban poor, particularly of immigrant children who lived and labored in the slums of large cities. The journalist Jacob Riis, himself an immigrant, brought much public attention to the issue through a series of articles, books, and public lectures that featured startling photographs of the grim conditions of tenement neighborhoods in New York City (Riis, 1890/2011).
In 1842, Massachusetts and Connecticut passed the nation's first laws restricting the number of hours a child could work, and by 1912, every State had some form of protective child labor law. Enforcement of these laws, however, varied widely and in many cases offered very little protection (Lindenmeyer, 1997). In 1904, a coalition of State child labor activists formed the National Child Labor Committee (NCLC) to advocate a national approach to restricting child labor. Although it would be many years before effective Federal labor legislation would be passed, the work of the NCLC paved the way for a larger Federal role in protecting child workers (Marten, 2005).
The Federal legislation that created the Children's Bureau in 1912 charged the new agency to investigate and report on a number of issues, including child labor (Lathrop, 1914). To that end, the Children's Bureau surveyed existing State child labor laws, analyzed existing data, and conducted a series of studies to gain a further understanding of the working conditions and wages of child workers.
According to the Children's Bureau's first annual report, published in 1914, the key to reigning in the child labor problem in America was a legal requirement for work permits:
“One step in protecting children is taken when the law says that a child shall not work under a certain age. The certificate serves in part as a method of enforcement of this minimum-age provision, and in part as a protection for the child between 14 and 16 against unsuitable work, such as may threaten his health or his morals" (Lathrop, 1914).
In 1917, the Bureau was given responsibility for the administration of the first Federal child labor law, and the Bureau’s small staff worked with States to develop procedures for enforcement that laid the groundwork for future Federal child protection efforts (Bradbury, 1956).
Bradbury, D., & Eliot, M. (1956). Four decades of action for children: A short history of the Children's Bureau. Washington, DC: Children's Bureau, Social Security Administration, U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare. Retrieved from http://www.ssa.gov/history/pdf/child1.pdf (2 MB)
Lathrop, J. (1914). First annual report of the Chief, Children's Bureau, to the Secretary of Labor, for the fiscal year ended June 1913. Washington, DC: Government Printing Office. Retrieved from http://www.mchlibrary.info/history/chbu/21867-1st.PDF (1 MB)
Lindenmeyer, K. (1997). A right to childhood: The U.S. Children's Bureau and child welfare, 1912-46. Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press.
Marten, J. (2005). Childhood and child welfare in the Progressive Era. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's.
Riis, J. (2011). How the other half lives. D. Leviaton (ed.). Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's. (Original work published 1890).
Zelizer, V. (2000). The changing social value of children. In P. Fass & M. Mason (Eds.), Childhood in America (pp. 260–261). New York: New York University Press.
- 18th National Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect
The 18th National Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect, sponsored by the Children's Bureau Office on Child Abuse and Neglect (OCAN), will be held April 16–20, 2012, in Washington, DC. The timing of and the theme for the 2012 conference, "Celebrating the Past—Imagining the Future," coincide with the Children's Bureau's centennial. This year's conference also marks the first time live video streaming and interactive webinar options will be offered.
Registration information and the conference program preview are available here:
- Positive Family-Provider Relational Practices
A new report by the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation (OPRE) identifies core elements necessary for high-quality family engagement and family-sensitive caregiving in early care and education programs. The report stems from interest in family engagement across education and early care programs that was generated as a result of States measuring interactions with families in Quality Rating and Improvement Systems (QRIS) and Head Start's focus on family engagement.
Family-Provider Relationships: A Multidisciplinary Review of High Quality Practices and Associations With Family, Child, and Provider Outcomes presents a multidisciplinary literature review that identifies common key practices in family-provider relationships and explores the associations between practice areas and outcomes for participants. The authors reviewed literature published between 2000 and 2010 from the fields of health, mental health, child welfare, early education, early care, and K-12 education. Three key elements for positive family-provider relationships were identified:
- Attitudes—The provider's feelings toward and perceptions of those served
- Knowledge—The awareness of the family's culture, language, and situation
- Behaviors—The actions by the provider that reflect both his or her attitude and knowledge
The literature review also showed a strong correlation between positive family-provider relational practices and improved outcomes for children.
Family-Provider Relationships: A Multidisciplinary Review of High Quality Practices and Associations with Family, Child, and Provider Outcomes is available on OPRE's website:
http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/opre/cc/childcare_technical/reports/family_provider_multi.pdf (829 KB)
OPRE also recently released:
- Family Engagement and Family-Sensitive Caregiving: Identifying Common Core Elements and Issues Related to Measurement
http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/opre/cc/childcare_technical/reports/family_sensitive.pdf (875 KB)
- Quality Rating and Improvement Systems (QRIS) and Family-Sensitive Caregiving in Early Care and Education Arrangements: Promising Directions and Challenges
http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/opre/cc/childcare_technical/reports/qrisfsc.pdf (1 MB)
- TANF Recipients With Barriers to Employment
http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/opre/other_resrch/tanf_ccdf/reports/barries_employ.pdf (181 KB)
- Understanding and Choosing Assessments and Developmental Screeners for Young Children Ages 3 to 5: Profiles of Selected Measures
http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/opre/hs/dev_screeners/reports/screeners_final.pdf (2 MB)
- New! From CB
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:
- Updates to the Child Welfare Policy Manual: Including provisions from the reauthorized CAPTA and new questions and answers
- Adoption Incentive Awards History (284 KB): Cumulative Adoption Incentive Earning History by State - FY1998-FY2010
- 2011 Discretionary Grant Awards: Complete listing of awardees for Children's Bureau discretionary grants for FY 2011
- ACYF-CB-PI-11-09: Changes to the title IV-E plan requirements as a result of H.R. 2883 and a title IV-E plan amendment that incorporates the new statutory requirements
- ACYF-CB-PI-12-01 (114 KB): Data requirements for States related to reporting monthly caseworker visits
- ACYF-CB-IM-12-01: Interim Final Rule for title IV-E of the Social Security Act including provisions and technical amendments necessary to implement a Tribal title IV-E program
Visit the Children's Bureau website often to see what's new!
- Foster Children and Psychotropic Medications
A joint letter to States from the Administration for Children and Families (ACF), the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) outlined plans to strengthen oversight of the use of psychotropic medication with children in foster care. The November 23 letter was sent to each State child welfare director, Medicaid director, and mental health authority and highlighted the overrepresentation of children in foster care using psychotropic medications. While children in foster care represent only 3 percent of children covered by Medicaid, they are prescribed antipsychotic medications at nearly nine times the rate of other children receiving Medicaid.
The letter provided States with background information on the use of psychotropic medication as well as resources for interagency collaboration to strengthen oversight. The three agencies will convene workgroups in 2012 to help States develop action plans to address this issue.
The letter is available on CB's website:
http://www.childwelfare.gov/systemwide/mentalhealth/effectiveness/jointlettermeds.pdf (58 KB)
In December, Bryan Samuels, Commissioner of the Administration on Children, Youth and Families, testified at a U.S. Senate subcommittee hearing examining the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' guidelines on the use of psychotropic medication for children in foster care. Commissioner Samuels' testimony is available on the Senate subcommittee's website:
Read about new resources on adoption statistics, supervision training, and more from CB's T&TA Network.
- Complex Data Gathering Results in State Adoption Totals
A publication from Child Welfare Information Gateway now available online provides estimates of total adoption numbers for the 50 States, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico.
How Many Children Were Adopted in 2007-2008? was developed with assistance from Gene Flango, Ph.D., of the National Center for State Courts and offers key findings on the numbers of public, intercountry, and other adoptions as well as data sources and cautionary notes. This publication, which will be updated periodically, provides a single source of recent statistical information on the numbers and types of adoptions in the United States, as well as the numbers of adoptions by State, by data source, and by other classifications. Highlights of the data include the following:
- In 2007 and 2008, approximately 136,000 children were adopted annually in the United States.
- The number of adoptions has risen since 2000, but the adoption rate per 100,000 adults has decreased.
- About two-fifths of adoptions occur through public child welfare agencies.
- Fourteen percent of adoptions in 2007 and 13 percent in 2008 were adoptions of children from foreign countries.
- Nearly half of all adoptions were from sources other than public agencies and foreign countries, such as private agencies and Tribes.
The years 2007 and 2008 were chosen because of the length of time it takes to process the data and make them available. There is no one government agency responsible for collecting adoption data, which complicates the process of collecting and aggregating adoption numbers. Data were collected from State courts, State bureaus of vital records, the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS), State departments of social services, and the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs. Additionally, each source has its own method for compiling and defining the data. For example, court data are based on the number of adoption petitions filed in the State, whereas bureaus of vital records report adoptions of children born in their States.
Sources also are not consistent in the use of Federal fiscal year or State fiscal years in establishing totals. Even though adoption totals are approximate for the reasons stated above, differences caused by gaps or overlaps are unlikely to affect the conclusions.
Because of the complexity of adoption and child welfare research, it is difficult to attribute changes in national or State data to any specific policy, practice, or other factor. Further research will provide child welfare professionals with more information to help find permanent families for waiting children.
To read the full report, visit the Child Welfare Information Gateway website:
- More 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 added another topic to its Cultural Competency resources: Working With Military Families.
There are also promotional videos for Adoption and Out-of-Home Care resources on the site.
- The National Abandoned Infants Assistance Resource Center (AIA) will present an interactive seminar on February 7 on engaging new partners and maintaining partner relationships. For more information on the AIA's webinar series or to register, visit:
- The National Child Welfare Workforce Institute (NCWWI) has posted an overview of the literature on secondary traumatic stress (STS) in the child welfare workforce, including descriptions of sources and symptoms of STS.
http://www.ncwwi.org/docs/Trauma_Informed_Systems_1pager20.pdf (159 KB)
- The National Data Archive on Child Abuse and Neglect (NDACAN) posts an index of 366 measures for child welfare data collection instruments that appear in datasets archived at NDACAN. Users can search the index by measure name and description.
- The National Quality Improvement Center on Differential Response in Child Protective Services (QIC DR) has posted Formal Public Child Welfare Responses to Screened-Out Reports of Alleged Maltreatment.
http://www.differentialresponseqic.org/assets/docs/issue-3_10-31-11.pdf (314 KB)
QIC DR also has published a second version of Differential Response in Child Protective Services: A Literature Review, which was updated from its June 2009 edition.
http://www.differentialresponseqic.org/resources/qic-dr_lit_review-version-2.pdf (779 KB)
- The National Quality Improvement Center on Non-Resident Fathers and the Child Welfare System (QIC NRF) has published Father Friendly Check-Up for Child Protective Courts, which is a variation of a checkup tool created by the National Fatherhood Initiative. It measures the degree to which a court's operations encourage father involvement in the courtroom and through the court's administrative functions.
http://www.americanbar.org/content/dam/aba/migrated/2011_build/child_law/ffcucourts_final.authcheckdam.pdf (268 KB)
- The National Resource Center on Adoption (NRCA) has published a range of media resources that were presented at the "2011 Policy to Practice Dialogue: Making It Work in Child Welfare." The October meeting focused on practices and strategies for achieving permanency for youth. On the NRCA site are webcasts, PowerPoint presentations, photographs, and the conference booklet.
- The National Resource Center for Permanency and Family Connections (NRCPFC) has posted a number of new resources:
- Materials from the webinar "Trauma-Informed Child Welfare," which discusses how trauma affects those in the child welfare system.
http://www.nrcpfc.org/teleconferences/2011-11-16/trauma%20informed%20child%20welfare%20bibliography.pdf (622 KB)
- A webpage for materials from the conference "Child Welfare, Education and the Courts: A Collaboration to Strengthen Educational Successes of Children and Youth in Foster Care," which was sponsored in part by the Children's Bureau.
- An updated list of State Child Abuse Registries.
http://www.hunter.cuny.edu/socwork/nrcfcpp/downloads/policy-issues/State_Child_Abuse_Registries.pdf (591 KB)
- A video, "Let's Make It Better," which aims to promote awareness of harassment, bullying, and oppression that many young lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning youth face.
- Materials from the webinar "Trauma-Informed Child Welfare," which discusses how trauma affects those in the child welfare system.
- The National Resource Center for Recruitment and Retention of Foster and Adoptive Parents at AdoptUSKids (NRCRRFAP) has posted a 90-minute webinar, "Build Capacity to Make Lasting Change." To access the webinar, register here:
NRCRRFAP also has recruitment and retention resources for child welfare professionals on its new website.
- The National Technical Assistance Center for Children's Mental Health has published a systems of care issue brief: The Intersect of Health Reform and Systems of Care for Children and Youth With Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders and Their Families.
http://gucchdtacenter.georgetown.edu/publications/SOC_Brief_Series1_BL.pdf (722 KB)
The Center also has posted Putting the Pieces Together: A Toolkit on Developing Early Childhood Systems of Care, a collection of strategies, tips, and resources for promoting family engagement.
- The Technical Assistance Partnership for Child and Family Mental Health (TA Partnership) has posted its latest newsletter, which features details on a video contest for youth and articles about innovative and promising activities in system of care communities.
- Child Welfare Information Gateway added another topic to its Cultural Competency resources: Working With Military Families.
- NRCOI Compiles Training for State Supervisors
The National Child Welfare Resource Center for Organizational Improvement (NRCOI) has published the results of its Supervisor Training Project, based on a poll of State child welfare training directors who reported the methods they use to train and support child welfare supervisors. Thirty-four States participated in the 1-hour interviews, and NRCOI compiled the data to make them available on its site (http://muskie.usm.maine.edu/helpkids/supervisionproject.htm), with sections on training by State and topic, additional resources, and the full project report. Using a discussion guide, staff asked the State officials about preservice and ongoing training, professional development opportunities, and supervisory support. The findings indicated that States use the following training activities:
- Preservice training programs in 23 States
- Ongoing training in 28 States
- Opportunities for professional development to supervisors in 27 States
- Tuition reimbursement in 15 States
- Ongoing training needs assessments in 16 States
Summaries of other topics include supervisor requirements, mentoring and coaching, and meetings and conferences. The website provides links, when available, to each State's training materials and curricula and summaries of the project interviews that include contact information for each training director. The project homepage also links to a page that describes the types of training and technical assistance that are available from members of the Training and Technical Assistance (T&TA) Network.
The interviews, reviews and revisions of data, and creation of the website took roughly 5 months. "We've completed a number of special requests using this information," said Laura Dyer, NRCOI research analyst. "For instance, we received inquiries on alternative training approaches, critical thinking training, coaching/mentoring, training supervisors on how to use data, etc. We were able to pull together relevant materials and examples from this project to create summaries based on those inquiries. These materials have also proved helpful to a State as they developed a curriculum for caseworkers that aspire to become supervisors."
NRCOI plans to update the project data annually and add more States. The NRC has received positive feedback from a number of States and T&TA Network members who have found useful management and leadership curricula.
NRCOI is now working on a similar initiative, collecting information on State child welfare Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI) systems. The interviews will cover staff, budget, structure, activities, policies, future plans, and more.
For more information about the project, contact Laura Dyer (email@example.com) or visit:
CBX last wrote about NRCOI in "Basics for Practice Model Implementation Success" (November 2011).
For more training resources, visit the Child Welfare Information Gateway website:
This month's issue features an article on grants awarded to Tribes and migrant organizations implementing prevention programs.
- Grants to Tribes, Tribal Organizations, and Migrant Programs
On September 30, 2011, the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) awarded three grants under the grant program titled "Grants to Tribes, Tribal Organizations and Migrant Programs for Community-Based Child Abuse Prevention Programs." The purpose of this grant program is to provide financial support to selected Tribes, Tribal organizations, and migrant programs for child abuse prevention programs and activities consistent with the goals outlined by title II of the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA). The goal of the programs and activities supported by these funds is to prevent the occurrence or recurrence of abuse or neglect within Tribal and migrant populations. The funds must support more effective and comprehensive child abuse prevention activities and family support services that will enhance the lives and ensure the safety and well-being of migrant and Native American children and their families.
Some examples of programs that the grantees are implementing include, but are not limited to, voluntary home visiting, parenting education, mutual support, family resource centers, domestic violence victim advocacy services, and other family support services. Applicants were strongly encouraged to implement evidence-based and evidence-informed programs and practices that reflect the unique cultural characteristics and needs of their communities. The grantees are also supporting an evaluation of the programs and services funded by the grant. Finally, grantees are to develop stronger linkages with the Community-Based Child Abuse Prevention Program (CBCAP) State Lead Agency funded under title II of CAPTA. The three funded projects are described below.
- Yakima Valley Farm Workers Clinic in Toppenish, WA
Yakima Valley Farm Workers Clinic (YVFWC) will provide Spanish-language parenting education classes targeting low-income, Spanish-speaking migrant families. The goals of the parenting education program are to prevent child abuse and neglect and promote healthy family development, increase family and community protective factors and resilience, and demonstrate the benefits of collaboration between child/family serving programs.
- Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes in Pablo, MT
The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes Parent Partner Project will provide three evidence-informed practices: (1) the Parent Partner model, (2) Positive Indian Parenting, and (3) Mind Body Awareness Mindfulness Training. The target population is American Indian families residing on the Flathead Indian Reservation in northwestern Montana who have substantiated cases of abuse or neglect or who are providing foster care services to children from such families.
- Indian Child Welfare Consortium in Temecula, CA
Indian Child Welfare Consortium will implement the American Indian Prevention Program to develop a coordinated system of care with child welfare, substance abuse treatment, and domestic violence victim advocacy providers. The grantee will implement culturally tailored evidence-based motivational interviewing, parent training, and couples-strengthening interventions. The project will serve American Indian parents who are at risk of or are already involved in the child welfare system.
These grantees have developed unique approaches to address child abuse and neglect prevention efforts in their communities. Each grantee has chosen a different evaluation approach, but they all share similar program outcomes. Some of these outcomes include increased knowledge of parenting skills, access to support services within the community, implementation fidelity, cultural competence, parental empowerment and development, and improvements in children’s behavior in response to positive parenting. Dissemination efforts include a focus at the community, State, and national levels, providing information directly to service agencies and researchers through conference and workshop presentations.
For additional information regarding this grant program, please visit the FRIENDS National Resource Center website at www.friendsnrc.org or contact the Federal Project Officer, Rosie Gomez, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Contributed by Rosie Gomez, Federal Project Officer, Office on Child Abuse and Neglect
- Yakima Valley Farm Workers Clinic in Toppenish, WA
- Discretionary Grant Forecasts
The Children's Bureau is currently forecasting 12 FY 2012 discretionary grant funding opportunities. Please check the forecast site regularly, as these forecasts are subject to change.
The following CB FY 2012 Funding Opportunity Announcements (FOAs) are currently listed on the forecast website:
- AdoptUSKids HHS-2012-ACF-ACYF-CQ-0269
- Tribal Title IV-E Plan Development Grants HHS-2012-ACF-ACYF-CS-0280
- Comprehensive Support Services for Families Affected by Substance Abuse and/or HIV/AIDS HHS-2012-ACF-ACYF-CB-0286
- Family Connection Discretionary Grants: Combination Family-finding/Family Group Decision-making Projects HHS-2012-ACF-ACYF-CF-0271
- Improving Service Delivery to Youth in the Child Welfare System HHS-2012-ACF-ACYF-CW-0313
- Integrating Trauma-Informed and Trauma-Focused Practice in Child Protective Service (CPS) Delivery HHS-2012-ACF-ACYF-CO-0279
- Child Welfare--Early Education Partnerships to Expand Protective Factors for Children With Child Welfare Involvement HHS-2012-ACF-ACYF-CO-0315
- Child Welfare--Education System Collaborations to Increase Educational Stability HHS-2012-ACF-ACYF-CO-0270
- Family Connection Discretionary Grants: Child Welfare/TANF Collaboration in Kinship Navigation Programs HHS-2012-ACF-ACYF-CF-0510
- Family Connection Grants: Comprehensive Residential Family Treatment Projects HHS-2012-ACF-ACYF-CF-0511
- Regional Partnership Grants to Increase the Well Being of, and to Improve the Permanency Outcomes for, Children Affected by Substance Abuse HHS-2012-ACF-ACYF-CU-0321
- Tribal Court Improvement Program HHS-2012-ACF-ACYF-CS-0323
Information about planned FY 2012 FOAs is now available on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Grants Forecast website:
To find the Children's Bureau's forecasts, click the links above or go to the forecast website and enter the title or Funding Opportunity Number (FON) in the search box.
We link to research on diligent recruitment, recidivism, crossover with delinquency, and more.
- New IFPS Survey Available
Intensive Family Preservation Services (IFPS) are used to support families in crises in which children have been removed or are at-risk of removal from their families because of maltreatment. IFPS programs follow a specific protocol and exist around the country. Recently, the National Family Preservation Network (NFPN) released the 2011 IFPS survey report highlighting findings from exemplary programs.
The first IFPS survey was conducted in 1994. In 2007, NFPN published an updated survey highlighting 20 States with strong programs. The 2011 report, while featuring fewer exemplary State programs than the 2007 report, underlines a uniform set of standards for archetypal IFPS programs. The newest report also explains a new way to use the survey's data for safety-related services, examples of less intensive services provided by States, and a directory for resources, training, and technical assistance.
Findings from this survey show that States with exemplary programs are adhering to the recommended components of an intense program, which include:
- Workers meeting with families within 24 hours
- Workers being available 24 hours a day, at night and on weekends
- Workers having limited caseloads (between two and four cases per worker)
- Workers providing brief lengths of service (4–6 weeks)
- Workers spending an average of 47 hours of face-to-face time with families
Less intense programs may include workers who have a minimum of four cases, offer services for up to 40 weeks, and spend less than 5 hours of one-on-one time each week with families. The 2011 survey was completed via email by in-home contacts in 44 States.
The 2011 IFPS Nationwide Survey is available on the NFPN website:
- Family Finding for Different Child Welfare Populations
The family finding model, which child welfare agencies may use to identify and locate extended family members for children and youth in foster care, can be implemented at any point in a child's case. A recent Child Trends research brief compared the use of the family finding model with two child welfare populations at two sites: 196 youth who had spent a long time in foster care and 70 children who recently entered out-of-home care. Data were collected between October 2008 and November 2010.
Differences were found in program approach and context, characteristics of the children served, and the program inputs and outputs at the two sites. According to the research brief, intervention with the family finding model for children new to out-of-home care tended to focus on finding family in order to strengthen reunification efforts and support systems. However, when applied to youth who had lingered in care and who had little or no contact with birth parents, the focus shifted to meeting the youth's needs by expanding the support network and engaging extended family members and other connections.
Results are discussed in terms of family meetings, family engagement, and family discovery. More family members were discovered for children who had been in care over time; however, the family finding model still increased the number of family members or other connections by more than three times for those new to care. While children who had been in care had more requests for family member meetings, children new to out-of-home care had, on average, slightly more family meetings. Results also show that there were more interactions between caseworkers and family members of children new to out-of-home care.
These findings may help child welfare systems understand when the family finding practice model would be the most effective and design programs to either prevent foster care placement or reduce the time children and youth spend in foster care.
Family Finding: Does Implementation Differ When Serving Different Child Welfare Populations? by Karin Malm and Tiffany Allen, is available on Child Trend's website:
http://www.childtrends.org/Files/Child_Trends-2011_10_17_RB_FamilyFinding.pdf (440 KB)
- Delinquent Referrals and Maltreatment Histories
The inaugural issue of the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention's (OJJDP's) Journal of Juvenile Justice features the article "Missouri's Crossover Youth: Examining the Relationship Between Their Maltreatment History and Their Risk of Violence" by Anne Dannerbeck and Jiahui Yan. The study, which used the developmental pathways model, compares delinquent youth with and without a history of maltreatment and examines how risk factors for youth with a maltreatment history differ from other delinquent youth.
In a study of 79,766 youth with delinquency referrals in Missouri's juvenile justice system, roughly 17 percent or 13,609 had a history of maltreatment. The risk factors explored included mental health, social environment, gender, race, and offending history. Delinquent youth with a history of maltreatment had more severe risk factors than youth without that history, and maltreatment increased the odds of future violence.
The authors examined characteristics of this crossover population to understand what leads youth from the child welfare system—where they are treated as victims—to the juvenile justice system—where they are treated as perpetrators. The developmental pathways model assumes that behavior develops in an ordered fashion and understanding the pathway from maltreatment to violent delinquent behavior may help child welfare systems develop better services for at-risk youth.
The study highlights the connection between risk factor accumulation and the likelihood of violent behavior. Children and youth who amass multiple risk factors over time have increased rates of violent delinquent behavior. Trauma either stemming from maltreatment, abuse, neglect, or out-of-home placement often hinders the development of appropriate coping skills and can cause other cognitive impairments such as mental health issues and behavioral problems.
The crossover youth in this study tended to:
- Become delinquent at an early age
- Experience inadequate parenting due to parents' mental illness, incarceration, or other factors
- Lack strong social bonds, support systems, or role models
- Suffer from mental health issues, including learning disabilities, substance abuse, and others issues
A secondary focus of the study was the association between risk factors and a propensity toward violence. The risk factor overwhelmingly connected with violence was mental health. More than race, gender, or history of maltreatment, a history of juvenile mental health issues and behavior problems significantly increased a youth’s propensity toward violence.
The inaugural issue of Journal of Juvenile Justice also features articles on recidivism in juvenile corrections, juvenile drug courts and the role of drug use associated with criminal behaviors, and more.
The full issue is available on the journal's website:
- Evaluation of Wendy's Wonderful Kids Released
Findings from a 5-year evaluation of the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption's Wendy's Wonderful Kids program are available, and results show overwhelmingly that foster children served by the program model are 1.7 times more likely to be adopted.
This is the first-of-its-kind evaluation of a child-focused adoption recruitment practice model. The Wendy's Wonderful Kids (WWK) program model is unique in that it is a corporate-funded program that aims to find permanent homes for foster children and youth, with a particular focus on children considered hard to place, such as older children and children with mental disabilities.
The evaluation, conducted by Child Trends, included 26 grantee agencies in 23 sites. Between August 2006 and January 2010, 1,393 children were randomly assigned to either a treatment or control group. The final study evaluated 21 grantee agencies in 18 States. Comparisons between children served by WWK and children not served by WWK found that:
- Children referred to WWK at age 8 were 1.5 times more likely to be adopted.
- Children referred at age 11 were two times more likely to be adopted.
- Children referred at age 15 were three times as likely to be adopted.
- Children with mental health disorders who were served by WWK were three times more likely to be adopted.
The WWK program is funded by Wendy's restaurant customer donations and other sources. The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption issues grants to adoption organizations in the local communities where funds are raised, and the organizations hire WWK adoption recruiters who spend 100 percent of their time finding permanent families for children in their local foster care systems. WWK recruiters carry small caseloads—between 12 and 15 cases—that allow them to form strong one-on-one relationships with the children they serve and be more aggressive in their recruitment efforts.
The full evaluation report, a factsheet, program model description, and more are available on the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption website:
- Characteristics of Rereport Risk Factors
A recent article in the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, "Recidivism in the Child Protection System," explores possible risk clusters and characteristics associated with substantiated rereports of abuse of children who remain in the home following an initial report of abuse. What makes this study unique is that, unlike other risk association studies that focus on single rereport factors, here the authors focused on multiple factors within single families.
Data were drawn from the National Survey for Child and Adolescent Well-Being (NSCAW). Study participants were 2,578 children from birth to 14 years old, recruited from 92 child protective service (CPS) agencies throughout the nation, and who remained with their primary caregiver following an abuse report. During the 5-year follow-up period, cases were examined at 1, 1.5, 3, and 5 years for new reports of abuse. A number of child, caregiver, and family characteristics were explored.
The study found that:
- Of the children studied, 44 percent were rereported during the 5-year follow-up.
- Rereports were significantly higher for children aged 3–10 years and for children with behavior problems and developmental disabilities.
- Caregivers who were younger or had an abuse history or a history with CPS were more likely to have rereports.
- Families with active domestic violence were less likely to have rereports.
- Families earning less than $20,000 a year were more likely to have repreports.
Identifying clusters of characteristics associated with rereports may help agencies allocate resources to high-risk families.
"Recidivism in the Child Protection System," by Suzanne Dakil, Christina Sakai, Hua Lin, and Glenn Flores, was published in the November (volume 165, issue 11) issue of Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine.
The article abstract can be found online:
- Guide for Forensic Interviewing of Spanish-Speaking Children
The Center for Innovation and Resources, Inc., has published a second edition of a guide for multidisciplinary interview teams (including child welfare, law enforcement, and other professionals) conducting forensic interviews with bilingual or Spanish-speaking children. The Guide for Forensic Interviewing of Spanish-Speaking Children was originally produced through the Child Abuse Training and Technical Assistance (CATTA) project. The latest version reflects the common practice of multidisciplinary interview teams in California child welfare systems and refreshed training techniques such as the "10-Step Interview" developed by Tom Lyon.
This resource provides strategies and best practices for conducting forensic interviews that are culturally sensitive and dialectally accurate, establishing trust with families, and working with interpreters.
Guide for Forensic Interviewing of Spanish-Speaking Children (2nd ed) is available for download on CATTA's Resources webpage:
- Practice Model for Child Welfare and Substance Use
Responding to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' call for interagency collaboration in serving families with substance use disorders involved with child welfare, Children and Family Futures (CFF) developed a practice model centered on multidisciplinary partnerships.
The Collaborative Practice Model for Family Recovery, Safety and Stability outlines links between the child welfare, juvenile court, substance abuse treatment, mental health, and other systems vital for family recovery and resilience. The practice model highlights best practice examples to guide communities and agencies in tailoring cross-system collaborations.
This approach not only resonates with the core values of child welfare but also those within the substance use disorder realm in achieving success when treating substance use disorders. The model focuses on 10 linkages:
- Mission, underlying values, and principles of collaboration
- Screening and assessment
- Engagement and retention in care
- Services to children of parents with substance use disorders
- Working with the community and supporting families
- Efficient communication and sharing information systems
- Budgeting and program sustainability
- Training and staff development
- Working with related agencies
- Joint accountability and shared outcomes
Multiple examples of organizations that have developed each type of linkage are provided. The guide concludes with a list of resources and tools to promote collaboration and a matrix that details characteristics of progress—from fundamental practice to good to best practice—for each of the system linkage elements.
This free publication is available on the CFF website:
http://www.cffutures.org/files/PracticeModel_0.pdf (2 MB)
- Learning While Doing and Organizational Change
As the Casey Foundation shifted its practice from finding long-term foster care families for children and youth to securing more permanent homes—a process dubbed Move to Greater Permanence (MGP)—it achieved several positive outcomes. The Casey Foundation saw this change as an opportunity to become a learning organization. To help guide other child welfare agencies, Casey Family Services (the direct services arm of the Casey Foundation) produced a white paper explaining its learning-while-doing approach to organizational change, including its processes, implementation techniques, and lessons learned.
The brief details 12 strategies based on data collected over 5 years. The key was incremental changes using first- and second-order change philosophy, meaning that small changes in staffing or programs were made first, and then larger, more transformative changes followed. The agency implemented the MGP change in two phases, a strategic planning phase and an assessment of agency assets available for the transformation.
The brief highlights some of the growing pains that accompanied the organizational change. Caseload turnover increased, which affected the stability of reimbursements until the agency learned to manage the higher turnover rate. Preliminary results, however, show that the new framework is effective:
- Youth have shorter stays in foster care, 2.6 years compared to 5.5 years.
- More youth exit care within the first 18 months, 56 percent compared to 23 percent.
- Youth exiting to reunification, adoption, or guardianship within 18 months increased from 10 percent to 45 percent.
Learning While Doing in the Human Services Sector: Becoming a Learning Organization Through Organizational Change is available on the Casey Family Services website:
http://www.caseyfamilyservices.org/userfiles/pdf/ReportonOrganizationalChange_WEB.pdf (816 KB)
- Emergency Preparedness Guide
The Promising Practices Network (PPN) has produced an online emergency preparedness guide for child-serving organizations. The guide provides best practices and seven steps to guide organizations through tailoring an emergency plan suited for a wide range of situations. PPN's preparedness guide also links to a sample plan with an organizational checklist.
The seven steps for developing an emergency preparedness plan are:
- Assess which risks you are most likely to encounter.
- Specify the goals of your emergency plan.
- Identify the outside organizations and people that can help you prepare for and respond to an emergency.
- Determine what actions may need to be taken in preparation for or during an emergency to achieve the goals.
- Put your plan in writing and assemble other needed documents.
- Communicate your plan to staff, parents, and other relevant individuals and organizations.
- Practice your emergency plan on a regular basis and update it as needed.
The guide, sample plan, and recommended links are available on PPN's Tools and Resources webpage:
- Building Trust Tip Sheet
Helping Children in Care Build Trusting Relationships, produced by the Foster Care and Adoption Resource Center of Wisconsin, provides foster and adoptive parents with tips and strategies for helping their children build strong, trusting relationships. The tip sheet outlines the many reasons foster children and youth struggle to develop trust, including trauma or ambiguous or unresolved loss or grief. The tip sheet also includes advice for parents working with their foster or adoptive children on building trust, personal stories from children in foster care, and a list of resources and links.
The tip sheet is available on the Wisconsin Foster Care and Adoption Resource Center website:
http://www.wifostercareandadoption.org/library/1322/trust.pdf (272 KB)
- The Benefits and Challenges of Relative Placement
The November 2011 issue of The Judges' Page newsletter, with the theme "A Critical Dependency Court Resource: Relative Placements" presents an array of articles that address many of the benefits and challenges to placing children in foster care with relatives. Articles focus on relative adoptions and subsidized guardianships, the importance and impact of the Fostering Connections legislation on relative placement, understanding the issue from both the child and the birth parent’s perspectives, and the challenges faced by kinship caregivers. In one article, the Hon. Leonard Edwards (ret.) outlines the many benefits of kinship placement as required by Fostering Connections and the many issues yet to be tackled.
The Judges' Page is a publication of the National CASA Association in partnership with the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges and is available on the National CASA website:
- ICWA Contact Database
A new resource aims to utilize technology to help agencies and organizations meet legislative requirements necessary for Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) compliance. Ayazuta, which means "connect" in the Lakota language, is a comprehensive source for up-to-date and searchable ICWA contact information. The database is updated every 6 months to include:
- Downloadable ICWA Tribal contact data
- Information on qualified ICWA expert witnesses
- Other resources searchable by Tribe name, State, or keyword
To view these tools and more, visit:
Find trainings, workshops, webinars, and other opportunities for professionals and families to learn about how to improve the lives of children and youth as well as a listing of upcoming events and conferences.
Upcoming national conferences on child welfare and adoption through March 2012 include:
- The 25th Annual Children's Mental Health Research and Policy Conference
Child and Family Studies, University of South Florida
March 4–7, Tampa, FL
- NCJFCJ's National Conference on Juvenile and Family Law
National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges
March 21–24, Las Vegas, NV
- Eighth Annual Childhood Grief and Traumatic Loss "Restoring Joy to Children and Families"
Inter-Agency Council on Child Abuse and Neglect
March 22-22, Pasadena, CA
- National Citizens Review Panel Conference
April 15-17, Washington, DC
- The 18th National Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect
Celebrating the Past ~ Imagining the Future
Office on Child Abuse and Neglect, the Children's Bureau
April 16–20, Washington, DC
- 30th Annual "Protecting Our Children" National American Indian Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect
Protecting Our Children, Ensuring Our Legacy
National Indian Child Welfare Association
April 22-25, Scottsdale, AZ
- The 19th Annual National Foster Care Conference
"Footsteps to the Future"
Daniel Kids Foundation, Inc.
May 9-11, Orlando, FL
- 11th Annual National Child Welfare IT Managers' Meeting
Child Welfare Information System Training
May 21-24, Arlington, VA
Further details about national and regional child welfare and adoption conferences can be found through the Conference Calendar Search feature on the Child Welfare Information Gateway website:
- The 25th Annual Children's Mental Health Research and Policy Conference
- Overcoming Parenting Challenges
Foster parents, adoptive parents, and kinship caregivers often encounter challenges when raising children who have gone through the child welfare system and may have experienced trauma or other difficulties. The November 2011 issue of Fostering Perspectives provides tips, strategies, and resources for parents to help them better understand the struggles their children may face and give them the tools to help move beyond those challenges.
Some of the links include information on difficult behavior, dealing with children who have been sexually abused, building trust, advice from youth on what parents can do to respond to difficult behavior, children who have witnessed domestic violence, and more.
Fostering Perspectives is sponsored by the North Carolina Division of Social Services and the Family and Children's Resource Program. Issues are available on the website:
- Mandatory Reporter Trainings
Most States offer free mandatory reporter training to help adults mandated by law in identifying and reporting possible child abuse and neglect. Below is a list of a few State mandatory reporter training websites. For more information on training in your State, visit your State child welfare website or agency.
Child Welfare Information Gateway offers a website with State and local examples of mandatory reporting:
Information Gateway also offers the State Guides and Manuals webpage where you can search for mandatory reporting guides or manuals:
Child Abuse Mandated Reporter Training
DCF Mandated Reporter Training
Recognizing and Reporting Child Abuse: Training for Mandated Reporters \
Mandated Reporter Training for Suspected Child Abuse and Neglect
- New York
Mandated Reporter Resource Center
- University of Tennessee Reporting Child Abuse Training
- Washington, DC
Keeping DC Children and Youth Safe: Mandated Reporter Training
Mandated Reporter Training Materials