In 2012, the U.S. Department of State estimated that 27 million men, women, and children around the world are victims of human trafficking. These victims are often from the most vulnerable populations, including children involved with child welfare. CBX looks at the intersection between child welfare and human trafficking, highlighting Federal Government efforts to combat the issue, a training and technical assistance center offering services to professionals who may encounter victims, and a handbook for enhancing the child welfare response to human trafficking.
- Resources for Youth Vulnerable to Trafficking
Youth who age out of foster care are particularly susceptible to homelessness and becoming victims of human trafficking. The National Center for Homeless Education offers an informational webpage of resources on human trafficking targeted toward unaccompanied homeless youth and youth leaving foster care.
The webpage includes links to an issue brief and a literature review that provides information about the growing epidemic of human and sex trafficking in the United States. In addition, a link to a factsheet on recognizing and addressing human trafficking written specifically for educators is provided. Links to various government entities and nonprofit agencies that focus on the prevention of human trafficking and the education of the general population about human trafficking also are shared on this webpage. Links provided also offer resources for the rehabilitation of victims of human trafficking and sexual exploitation.
The Human Trafficking webpage is available on the National Center for Homeless Education website:
- Technical Assistance for Combatting Human Trafficking
The U.S. Department of Justice's Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) provides training and technical assistance (T&TA) to meet the unique needs of victim service providers, including those working in child welfare. One area of expertise for OVC is fighting human trafficking. Their Office for Victims of Crime Training and Technical Assistance Center (OVC TTAC) provides evidence-based T&TA services to help build the capacity of victim assistance organizations and agencies across the nation.
"OVC funds a number of projects that directly serve victims of crime, including human trafficking victims, through capacity-building T&TA," said Deepika Allana, Human Trafficking Advisor with OVC TTAC. "A lot of communities know they have a trafficking problem, but they don't know how to combat it. That's where we can help."
OVC TTAC's services are specifically tailored to meet the needs of the agency or organization requesting support. This includes anything from answering human trafficking questions over the phone or by email to supporting a customized training for which a requester completes a formal application. "Anyone in the community can request customized training, whether they're a victim service provider, law enforcement, or an allied professional, such as social service providers, emergency room staff, those working within child welfare, or other first responders that may encounter potential human trafficking victims," Allana said. "And they can request training on any aspect of human trafficking. It could be Human Trafficking 101. It could be focused on indicators of trafficking and how to recognize a potential victim, or it could be more nuanced, such as a community that is seeing human trafficking perpetrated through gangs."
In addition to in-house subject matter experts, OVC TTAC maintains a database of consultants who can provide T&TA on a variety of topics and to a range of audiences. Requesters interested in customized trainings can email HumanTrafficking@ovcttac.org or call 866.682.8822 to get help from a T&TA specialist to assess their needs and help them complete the formal application process. "The agency or organization needs to provide the space, the audience, and the audio and visual support. We provide an expert trainer and a customized curriculum to suit the needs of the audience," Allana said.
For community stakeholders interested in developing a task force to stop human trafficking, OVC TTAC offers the Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force Strategy and Operations E-Guide. The e-Guide outlines models for task force structure and organization and provides a wealth of resources and information to address challenges that existing task forces may encounter. OVC TTAC also provides T&TA to new and existing task forces on a variety of topics such as structuring a task force and how to share data, facilitate information sharing, and recruit members. "If an existing task force is struggling to be effective, we provide personalized T&TA, or we might connect them to a task force in another community that has been effective," Allana said.
The OVC TTAC website offers other helpful tools, including the following:
- The Directory of Training and Technical Assistance Resources for Anti-Human Trafficking Task Forces and Service Providers lists anti-human trafficking training opportunities.
- The Victim Law Database includes victims' rights statutes, Tribal laws, constitutional amendments, court rules, administrative code provisions, and case summaries of related court decisions, including human trafficking-related information.
Allana added that OVC TTAC is focusing on outreach to child welfare and other social service professionals who may encounter potential human trafficking victims.
For more information, email email@example.com, or visit the Department of Justice's OVC website:
Specific OVC TTAC anti-human trafficking information is available at https://www.ovcttac.gov/humantrafficking.
Special thanks to Deepika Allana, Human Trafficking Advisor with OVC TTAC, for providing the information for this article.
- Fighting Trafficking Through Collaboration
In April 2012, the National Center for Victims of Crime convened a roundtable of national, State, and local stakeholders to consider the need to incorporate a child welfare response into the fight against child trafficking and the need to provide legal representation to child victims. The organization produced a white paper outlining the roundtable's end result, 26 recommendations to improve cross-system collaboration to address the needs of child victims of human trafficking.
Supported by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the roundtable brought together leaders on human trafficking and child victimization, child welfare, law enforcement, prosecutors, researchers, and legal advocates who had worked on behalf of child victims of human trafficking. The recommendations span a range of topics across the disciplines represented at the meeting. Recommendations for policy, research, legislation, resources, and training are outlined in the white paper and include the following:
- The Administration for Children and Families, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and the Department of Homeland Security should issue policy directives allowing child welfare administrators to certify a child for a U visa, which gives immigrant victims of crime temporary legal status in the United States and work eligibiliy.
- The juvenile justice system should screen juveniles for trafficking during intake and routinely afterward.
- Juvenile justice and child welfare systems should collaborate with mental health and medical providers to better identify and meet the needs of child victims of trafficking.
- The National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System, the National Youth in Transition Database, and the Statewide Automated Child Welfare Information Systems should include trafficking.
- The National Incident-Based Reporting System should capture the number of youth under the age of 18 who are charged as prostitutes or identified as sexually exploited youth who may be victims of sex trafficking.
- Congress should amend the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act to include trafficking in State definitions.
The recommendations have been endorsed by the following organizations:
- ASISTA Immigration Assistance
- Center for the Human Rights of Children, Loyola University Chicago
- Connecticut Department of Children and Families
- National Center for the Prosecution of Child Abuse, National District Attorneys Association
- Polaris Project
Bridging the Systems: Child Welfare, Trafficking, and Law Enforcement Working Together for Trafficked Children is available on the National Center for Victims of Crime website:
- Trafficking Response Handbook for Child Welfare
Despite the passage of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) in 2000, many child welfare and other social services agencies and organizations are not prepared or trained to support victims of human trafficking. To help enhance their capacity to respond, the International Organization for Adolescents (IOFA) and the Center for the Human Rights for Children (CHRC) at Loyola University developed Building Child Welfare Response to Child Trafficking.
The handbook includes a number of tools and resources for child protection and other service provider staff to use in their daily work with potential victims. In addition to background and statistics on human trafficking, the handbook provides information about identifying potential victims, screening, investigation, case management, legal protections and advocacy, and resources. A glossary of child trafficking terms, a summary of relevant legislation, case studies, and best practices also are presented in the book. Staff can use the tools, such as the checklists and screening mechanisms, during investigations. The authors suggest staff become familiar with glossary terms prior to using the handbook's tools.
The guide also may be useful for legal clinics, law enforcement, medical professionals, immigration professionals, and others who work with children who may be at risk for human trafficking.
Building Child Welfare Response to Child Trafficking is available on the CHRC website:
- Annual Trafficking in Persons Report
The U.S. Department of State publishes an annual report providing an up-to-date, global look into the nature and scope of human trafficking and the range of government actions to confront and eliminate such atrocities. The report serves as a diplomatic tool to engage foreign governments on the subject of human trafficking and makes government-specific recommendations for advancing a more robust victim-centered response to the crime. A variety of entities, including the U.S. Government, international organizations, foreign governments, and nongovernmental organizations, use the report to target resources on trafficking prevention, protection, and prosecution.
In the 2012 report, introductory material discusses the problem of human trafficking and outlines the victim-centered approach for addressing the issue. The document then describes the methodology that was used to categorize countries into one of four tiers based on the extent to which governments are making efforts to combat human trafficking; it also provides lists of the countries that fall under each of the various tier levels. The introductory section also provides global data, as well as the biographies and initiatives of key individuals who are working to eliminate human trafficking.
In addition to the human trafficking overview documented in the introductory materials, the report also provides a "country narrative" for each nation. The narratives examine how each nation is addressing trafficking through prosecution, protection, and prevention efforts and gives examples to support tier-rating justifications.
Trafficking in Persons Report 2012 and the previous 11 editions are available on the U.S. Department of State website:
- Federal Government Efforts Against Trafficking
In September 2012, President Obama commemorated the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation by announcing efforts to do more to combat human trafficking in the United States and around the globe. A White House factsheet outlines some of these new and enhanced efforts. Federal Government initiatives in the fight against trafficking include the following:
- Federal Strategic Action Plan for Serving Trafficking Victims
The White House released a framework for serving victims of human trafficking. The 5-year plan is a result of collaboration among several agencies, including the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HSS), Department of Justice, and the Department of Homeland Security. The plan is currently available for public comment. Coordination, Collaboration, Capacity: Federal Strategic Action Plan on Services for Victims of Human Trafficking in the United States is available here:
http://ideascale.com/userimages/accounts/91/912839/Victim-Services-SAP-2013-04-09-Public-Comment-B.pdf (519 KB)
- Stronger Together
In April, George Sheldon, Acting Assistant Secretary for the Administration for Children and Families, wrote a blog post about the Stronger Together campaign. Stronger Together is an online community where members of the public can submit ideas, agree with existing ideas, or add comments. The current featured topic on the Strong Together website is the Federal framework for serving victims of human trafficking. Participate in the discussion here:
- Anti-Trafficking in Persons Program
This program at the Office of Refugee Resettlement leads the HHS Rescue and Restore Victims of Human Trafficking campaign. It aims to educate health care providers, social service organizations, law enforcement, and others who may encounter potential victims about the issue, how to recognize the signs of trafficking, and what questions to ask in order to help victims. More information is available here:
- Technology Solutions
The White House Office on Science and Technology recently announced some innovative technological solutions to fight human trafficking. One such innovation is a new text messaging service of the National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC), which is funded by HHS. Victims can now text BeFree (233733) to get help. More information is available on the website of the Office of Refugee Resettlement within the Administration for Children and Families:
The White House factsheet outlining new and enhanced efforts to fight trafficking is available here:
- Federal Strategic Action Plan for Serving Trafficking Victims
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 Children's Bureau announced a Call for Abstracts for the 19th National Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect, CMS and SAMHSA released a joint informational bulletin about services for children and youth with significant mental health conditions, and a new report outlines the accomplishments of projects funded through the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act.
- 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:
- The 2013 Adoption Excellence Awards Nomination Guidelines:
- State Child and Family Services Plans (CFSP) State Annual Progress and Services Report (ASPR) Toolkit:
- Tribal CFSP and ASPR Toolkit:
- New Child Welfare Policy Manual questions on title IV-E for youth ages 18 and older:
For news from the Administration for Children and Families, read the latest blog entries in The Family Room:
Visit the Children's Bureau website often to see what's new!
- The 2013 Adoption Excellence Awards Nomination Guidelines:
- Runaway and Homeless Youth Programs
Recognizing the need to provide services to homeless and runaway youth, Congress enacted the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act nearly 40 years ago. Each year, the Family and Youth Services Bureau (FYSB), Administration on Children, Youth and Families, produces a report outlining the status of activities and accomplishments of funded projects. The most recent report provides this information for fiscal years 2010 and 2011, in addition to highlighting FYSB's work to develop a framework to more precisely measure the effectiveness of projects.
Currently, the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act—reauthorized by the Reconnecting Homeless Youth Act of 2008—funds three grant programs that provide community-based organizations and shelters in all 50 States, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. territories. To ensure that programs effectively meet the needs of runaway and homeless youth, FYSB's Runaway and Homeless Youth Program Monitoring System assesses each program's services. The three programs include the following:
- Basic Center programs that provide emergency shelter
- Transitional Living programs, which offer longer-term care that helps prepare older youth for self-sufficiency
- Street Outreach programs, which make contact with youth on the streets, with the goal of connecting them to services
FYSB developed a framework to help the Federal Government to more precisely measure the effectiveness of projects. The framework includes four outcomes: safety, permanent connections, well-being, and self-sufficiency. FYSB developed a set of indicators for each outcome, conducted a literature review on measuring the outcomes, and gathered 49 grantees to discuss key themes and data collection.
Report to Congress on the Runaway and Homeless Youth Programs Fiscal Years 2010 and 2011 is available on the ACF website:
http://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/fysb/rhy_congress_2010_11.pdf (1 MB)
- Behavioral Health Services for Children, Youth
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) released a joint informational bulletin about home- and community-based services for children, youth, and young adults with significant mental health conditions. The bulletin is intended to help States devise benefit packages to help this vulnerable population—many of whom have been treated in residential treatment centers, group homes, or psychiatric hospitals—successfully live in their own homes and communities.
The bulletin outlines two Federal initiatives, one through CMS and another through SAMHSA, to address the needs of children and youth with mental health conditions. SAMHSA's Children's Mental Health Initiative (CMHI) promotes a coordinated, community-based approach with children, youth, and their families. The CMS Psychiatric Residential Treatment Facility (PRTF) Demonstration Program was designed to determine the effectiveness of community-based services for youth who are in or at risk of entering a PRTF.
SAMHSA and CMS note that, in addition to providing traditional services such as family therapy and medication management, their initiatives also included intensive community-based services that lead to positive outcomes for children and youth. The bulletin outlines some of those services, including wraparound services, peer services, respite care, mobile crisis response, and more. The bulletin also points to resources available to States to help their work in developing benefit packages and comply with the Americans With Disabilities Act and other Medicaid requirements.
Coverage of Behavioral Health Services for Children, Youth, and Young Adults With Significant Mental Health Conditions is available here:
http://www.medicaid.gov/Federal-Policy-Guidance/Downloads/CIB-05-07-2013.pdf (271 KB)
- 19th National Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect
The 19th National Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect, sponsored by the Children's Bureau Office on Child Abuse and Neglect (OCAN), will be held April 29–May 2, 2014, in New Orleans, LA. The theme for the 2014 conference is "Making Meaningful Connections." Next year's conference also will celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA).
OCAN is now accepting electronic abstract submissions for conference workshops, skills seminars, policy forums, research panels, and poster presentations. The deadline to submit abstracts is August 5, 2013.
For more information about the Call for Abstracts process and to submit your abstracts, visit the conference website:
Read about a new bulletin from Child Welfare Information Gateway that provides information about how to work with youth to develop transition plans, and other updates from the Children's Bureau's T&TA Network.
- 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 posted the following updates:
- Determining the Best Interests of the Child:
- Making and Screening Reports of Child Abuse and Neglect:
- A redesigned Out-of-Home Care web section:
- A new Well-Being web section:
- Determining the Best Interests of the Child:
- The Atlantic Coast Child Welfare Implementation Center (ACCWIC) posted a new coaching curriculum and accompanying PowerPoint presentation:
- "Coaching in Child Welfare: Two-Day Training Curriculum":
http://www.accwic.org/resources/general_files/coaching.pdf (6 MB)
- "Coaching Training":
http://www.accwic.org/resources/general_files/Coaching_Training_PowerPoint_Curriculum_Companion.pdf (1 MB)
- "Coaching in Child Welfare: Two-Day Training Curriculum":
- The Midwest Child Welfare Implementation Center (MCWIC) is sponsoring Partners for Ohio's Families regional forums through July 11 in an effort to collect feedback on the initiative. For those who cannot participate, an online survey is also available. For more information on the forums and the survey, visit:
- The National Abandoned Infants Assistance Resource Center (AIA) posted a new issue brief, Abandoned Infants Assistance Program:
http://aia.berkeley.edu/media/pdf/AIAoverview.pdf (179 KB)
- The National Child Welfare Workforce Institute (NCWWI) posted the recording for its recent webinar, "Building a Culturally Responsive Workforce: The Texas Model for Undoing Disproportionality and Disparities in Child Welfare":
The final session in NCWWI's "What Works for the Workforce: Leadership Competencies in Action" webinar series will take place in September. More information and registration details for the session on "Workforce Retention" to be announced:
- The National Quality Improvement Center on Early Childhood (QIC-EC) posted an updated Differential Response Implementation map:
http://www.ucdenver.edu/academics/colleges/medicalschool/departments/pediatrics/subs/can/QIC-DR/Documents/DR%20Map%20as%20of%20May%201%202013.pdf (920 KB)
- The National Resource Center for Child Protective Services (NRCCPS) posted the materials that were presented at the State Liaison Officers' and Children's Justice Act Grantees' Annual Meeting, held in April 2013:
- The National Resource Center for Child Welfare Data and Technology (NRC-CWDT) posted the recording for its recent webinar, "AFCARS 101-An Introduction to AFCARS":
NRC-CWDT also posted the presentation from a recent conference call, "NYTD Update with Miguel Vieyra":
- The National Resource Center for Community-Based Child Abuse Prevention (FRIENDS) posted the recording and materials from the following recent webinars:
- "CBCAP Peer Learning Call: Connecting With Programs of the Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities":
- "Child Sexual Abuse Prevention: The Positive Impact of Partnerships":
- "CBCAP Peer Learning Call: Connecting With Programs of the Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities":
FRIENDS also posted both the English and Spanish versions of the video, "CBCAP: a Success Story":
- The National Resource Center for Diligent Recruitment (NRCDR) at AdoptUSKids posted a new tip sheet, What is Diligent Recruitment?:
http://adoptuskids.org/_assets/files/NRCRRFAP/resources/what-is-diligent-recruitment.pdf (163 KB)
- The National Resource Center for Permanency and Family Connections (NRCPFC) posted the following resources:
- Facilitating an Adult Adoption as a Pathway to Permanence for Older Youth:
http://www.nrcpfc.org/is/downloads/Adult%20Adoption.pdf (1 MB)
- Contact Information for Foster Care Inquiries (by State):
http://nrcpfc.org/downloads/wu/Become_a_FosterParentNatlContactList.pdf (284 KB)
- Facilitating an Adult Adoption as a Pathway to Permanence for Older Youth:
The recording and materials from NRCPFC's recent webinar, "Supporting Youth in Transition: Importance of Caseworker Visits," are now available:
- The National Resource Center for Youth Development (NRCYD) announced that registration for the 2013 National Pathways to Adulthood: A Convening on Youth in Transition is open for participants and exhibitors until Friday, July 19, 2013; register here:
For more information regarding the convening, visit:
For those unable to attend, follow the convening on Twitter via the trending topic #NRCYDPathways:
- The National Technical Assistance Center for Children's Mental Health (TA Center) will host a webinar on "Addressing Co-Occurring Substance Use and Mental Health Challenges: A State Perspective" on July 18, from 1:00 to 2:30 p.m. (ET). TA Center also posted the recording and materials from its recent webinar on "Improving Services and Supports for Youth Who Are Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning, Intersex, 2-Spirit (LGBTQI2-S)." To register for a webinar or access recordings of past webinars, visit
- The Technical Assistance Partnership for Child and Family Mental Health (TA Partnership) will hold a webinar on "Building Capacity to Provide Appropriate and Acceptable Services for Immigrant Families and Youth in Systems of Care" on August 20, from 3:00 to 4:30 p.m. (ET). Register at http://www.tapartnership.org/events/webinars/default.php
TA Partnership also posted the materials and recordings for several May webinars. Access them all here:
- Child Welfare Information Gateway posted the following updates:
- NCWWI's Latest National E-Update
The National Child Welfare Workforce Institute's (NCWWI) winter/spring issue of its National E-Update newsletter features an announcement of the institute's Workforce Research Summaries. The summaries are one-page overviews of recent research studies on 25 topics related to child welfare and are intended for use by child welfare professionals. Topics include realistic job previews, organizational culture, recruitment and retention, and secondary traumatic stress.
The newsletter also highlights other recent resources. NCWWI publishes topical e-resource lists for its Leadership Academies for Middle Managers and Supervisors and its Traineeship programs, and several new lists are now available. The lists cover topics such as caseload and workload, well-being and new policy directions for child welfare, and more. The issue also points to newly archived webinar recordings available to the public, including the following:
- "Casework Teaming to Reduce Workload, Enhance Effectiveness, and Boost Morale"
- "Learning and Living the NCWWI Leadership Model"
- "The Status of Evidence-Based Practice in Child Welfare Opportunities and Challenges for the Workforce"
Access the full issue of National E-Update here:
- Developing Youth Transition Plans
Youth in foster care face many challenges when the time comes for them to leave care and begin their adult lives. To ensure that youth transition successfully and experience positive outcomes, the Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008 contains specific provisions requiring transition plans for youth leaving care. A new bulletin from Child Welfare Information Gateway provides information for child welfare professionals and others who work with youth on how to develop transition plans that meet youths' individual needs and build on their strengths.
The bulletin defines Independent Living services and transition plans and details the Federal legislative requirements for transition plans as set forth in the Fostering Connections Act. In order to help professionals and youth work together to create the most comprehensive plans possible, the bulletin also points to resources that discuss the specifics of what a transition plan should include, offer templates and companion tools for plan creation, and provide literature reviews and promising practices. While there are general issues that must be addressed in every transition plan, States vary in the methods and services they offer to meet those criteria, and the bulletin provides examples of what specific States are doing. Finally, a list of additional resources points to more information on the Fostering Connections Act, transitioning youth, life after foster care, and more.
Working With Youth to Develop a Transition Plan is available on Child Welfare Information Gateway's website:
In addition to two new funding opportunity announcements from ACF, this month's CBX highlights a project in the Children's Bureau's 17-month Education System Collaborations to Increase Educational Stability grant cluster.
- New CQI Training Project
On May 1, 2013, the Children's Bureau (CB) awarded a cooperative agreement for the Building Child Welfare Capacity for Continuous Quality Improvement Project to JBS International, Inc. (JBS) and its partner the Center for the Support of Families (CSF). This 17-month training project is intended to support child welfare professionals to perform and improve continuous quality improvement (CQI) activities and processes. The project will develop individual and group learning activities that incorporate distance learning technologies.
More information about this project will become available in the coming months.
- Site Visit: Focusing on the Education of Children in Foster Care
In fiscal year 2011, the Children's Bureau released a funding opportunity announcement titled "Education System Collaborations to Increase Educational Stability" and awarded 10 17-month grants. The State of Utah Department of Human Services (DHS) received one of these awards to implement its CASA Volunteers as Education Advocates, System Liaisons, Facilitators, and Role Models project. The primary focus of this statewide project, which ended in February 2013, is to utilize volunteers from the existing State Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) program to gather information about the education status of children in foster care and, if needed, serve as education advocates for them.
The CASAs use a one-page form developed by the project to collect education information about the children in their cases. The following are some of the questions on the form:
- Type of school setting (e.g., Youth In Custody classroom, mainstream, special education)?
- How many missed days of school this year? Why?
- Date of last education evaluation or assessment? Results?
- Is the child on target academically? Explain.
- Does the child have an Individualized Education Plan (IEP), a Standardized Education Plan (SEP), or a Section 504? If so, is the plan meeting the child's needs?
- Any barriers to participation in extracurricular activities?
CASAs collect the information by working with teachers, other school staff, the child's family, therapists, and others. Because of the confidential nature of the information the CASAs are trying to gather, they sometimes meet resistance from school staff or others. They carry identification badges and paperwork that show they are entitled to education information about the children they are supporting.
The CASAs generally complete the form before each review hearing. After the CASAs complete the form, they provide it concurrently to a CASA coordinator in their district and the guardian ad litem. The coordinator distributes the form to the other parties, including the other attorneys, the judge, and the caseworker, who review the form prior to the hearing. During the hearing, the judge may mention the form and even directly ask the CASA questions about the child's education status.
The CASAs are not required to provide education advocacy for the children they support, but they are encouraged to by the project when the need arises.
When the project began, there were 197 CASAs, and as of January 2013, there were 526 CASAs. The project has used various strategies to recruit CASAs, including the customization of a video by the National CASA Association for audiences in Utah. The 3-minute video is available on YouTube:
Aside from benefiting the child by having another supportive adult in their lives who is focused on their education, this project helps the professionals involved in the case. Caseworkers know they will not need to track down education information, which frees them to concentrate on other aspects of the case. The judges are also grateful for the additional information. One judge noted that the education form and other additional information received from the CASA help her with case decision-making. She also explained how having the CASA and others involved in the case focus on education helps all parties see they are on the same team, particularly for the birth family. It helps show that everyone is looking out for the child's best interests and reduces suspicions about others' intentions.
For more information about this project, contact Laurieann Thorpe, State Education Specialist, firstname.lastname@example.org. The full site visit report will soon be posted on the Child Welfare Information Gateway website:
CASA Volunteers as Educational Advocates, System Liaisons, Facilitators, and Role Models is funded by the Children's Bureau (Award 90CO1074). 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.
- Funding Opportunity Announcements
The Administration on Children, Youth and Families announced two new funding opportunity announcements (FOAs) for fiscal year (FY) 2013.
- Planning Grants to Develop A Model Intervention for Youth/Young Adults With Child Welfare Involvement At-Risk of Homelessness HHS-2013-ACF-ACYF-CA-0636
- Promoting Well-Being and Adoption After Trauma HHS-2013-ACF-ACYF-CO-0637
Information about planned FY 2013 FOAs is available on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Grants Forecast website:
To find the Children's Bureau's FOA forecasts, go to the forecast website and enter the title or Funding Opportunity Number (FON) in the search box. Please check the forecast site regularly, as forecasts are subject to change.
CBX points to a community-based approach rooted in the idea that everyone can prevent child abuse and neglect, a booklet outlining standards to ensure uniformity in social work supervision, and a report providing an overview of the Adoption Incentive Awards and the issues associated with its reauthorization.
- Funding the Adoption Incentives Program
Recognizing the importance of permanency options for children who cannot return home because of child abuse or neglect, the Federal Government has funded Adoption Incentive Awards since 1997 to reward States that increase the number of adoptions from foster care. This program is set to expire on September 30, 2013, prompting a new report on the program from the Congressional Research Service (CRS). The report, written by Emilie Stoltzfus, provides an overview of the Adoption Incentive Awards, describes the plan for the reauthorization of this program, and summarizes the issues associated with its reauthorization.
Since its authorization as part of the Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997, over $375 million in Adoption Incentive funds have been awarded to all 50 States, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. In its fiscal year 2014 budget request, the Obama administration calls for the reauthorization of the program and proposes requiring States to spend Adoption Incentive funds on "trauma-informed services to improve social and emotional well-being of children waiting for adoption or those having achieved adoption."
The report's appendices provide a summary of the incentives earned by each State, lists the number of adoptions by each State, and lists the number of children awaiting adoption in each State.
Child Welfare: Structure and Funding of the Adoption Incentives Program Along With Reauthorization Issues is available on the Federation of American Scientists website:
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) produced a publication graphing the Federal expenditures on Foster Care Assistance, Adoption Assistance, and Guardianship Assistance. The Snapshot of Foster Care, Adoption Assistance, and Guardianship Assistance is available on the CBO website:
- NASW Standards for Social Work Supervision
A new booklet developed by the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) and the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) provides an in-depth discussion of supervision in the social work community and provides standards to ensure uniformity in social work supervision. Understanding the components and skills necessary for effective supervision promotes and enhances the quality of work of both the supervisor and those being supervised and the services and outcomes afforded to clients.
The overview provides the definition and vital components of professional supervision and the supervisory relationship; details the functions and responsibilities of supervisors and the various supervision models; and outlines the three primary supervisory domains, (1) administrative, (2) educational, and (3) supportive. The general qualifications and necessary skills are also included.
The majority of the booklet is dedicated to a thorough discussion of the following five standards, which are intended to support and strengthen supervision for professional social workers:
- Standard 1, Context in Supervision
- Standard 2, Conduct of Supervision
- Standard 3, Legal and Regulatory Issues
- Standard 4, Ethical Issues
- Standard 5, Technology
The booklet concludes with information on the supervision process of evaluation and outcomes, which is integral for professional development, and the elements associated with the termination of the supervisory relationship.
Best Practice Standards in Social Work Supervision is founded on information from the NASW Code of Ethics and the ASWB Model Social Work Practice Act. It was published in 2013 and is available on the NASW website:
Children's Bureau Express featured the updated NASW Standards for Social Work Practice in Child Welfare, which discusses the services that should be provided by and the necessary qualities of child welfare social workers, in the February 2013 issue:
- Community-Based Prevention With Communities NOW
Communities NOW is a community-based approach rooted in the idea that everyone can work to prevent child abuse and neglect. The program is focused on educating and empowering community members, not just those who are formally involved with the child welfare system, and providing them with the basic skills and techniques to act. In fact, training in the Communities NOW approach helps participants feel more confident in their ability to intervene with struggling families in their community.
Formerly the Front Porch Project at the American Humane Association, Communities NOW is housed at the Butler Institute for Families at the University of Denver School of Social Work. The goal of Communities NOW is to effect large-scale system change through broad community leadership and provide training and technical assistance to organizations implementing the intervention program. Currently, the program funds several projects around the country, including Florida's Devereux Kids, the Parent Child Center of Tulsa and the Family Support and Prevention Service in Oklahoma, Pennsylvania Family Support Alliance, and the Geminus Corporation in Indiana.
More information on Communities NOW, its project sites, and how your community can get involved is available on the Communities NOW website:
- Comparing Child Maltreatment Interventions
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) recently published a report examining the comparative effectiveness of interventions designed to address the negative outcomes associated with child maltreatment. The research report was rooted in three primary objectives:
- To assess the comparative effectiveness of psychosocial and/or pharmacological interventions addressing child well-being and child welfare outcomes for children between the ages of 0 and 14 who have been exposed to maltreatment
- To assess the comparative effectiveness of interventions with different treatment elements (for child and caregiver subpopulations) and for engaging and retaining participants in treatment
- To assess potential harms associated with interventions for this population
Researchers reviewed 6,282 abstracts and synthesized results from 24 separate trials, concluding that the literature on the subject matter is extremely limited due to the following substantive and methodological gaps:
- The unique programs that were tested often employed extremely similar intervention strategies.
- There was generally a utilization of usual care, wait-list, or derived control groups, rather than head-to-head comparisons using alternative treatment options.
- Most studies only measured short-term outcomes.
- There was inadequate reporting of attrition.
- There was wide heterogeneity in type and psychometric soundness for the measurement of outcomes across studies.
The researchers note that they were able to identify several interventions that show promising child well-being and child welfare benefits; however, they conclude by saying that the literature review primarily displays an urgent need to improve and build upon the evidence base for interventions that promote the well-being of children who have experienced maltreatment.
Child Exposure to Trauma: Comparative Effectiveness of Interventions Addressing Maltreatment is available on the AHRQ website:
http://effectivehealthcare.ahrq.gov/ehc/products/298/1422/trauma-interventions-maltreatment-child-report-130415.pdf (3 MB)
- 50 State CHARTBOOK on Foster Care
Boston University's School of Social Work website features The 50 State CHARTBOOK on Foster Care. The online tool presents a data profile divided into eight sections for each State and the District of Columbia on foster care programs, financing, policies, and other topics. The CHARTBOOK also provides information on best practices and enables users to compare data across States. Built in collaboration with The MENTOR Network Charitable Foundation, the CHARTBOOK was designed for child welfare policymakers, professionals, and others working to improve the lives of children.
The 50 State CHARTBOOK on Foster Care is available on Boston University's School of Social Work website:
- Quality Legal Representation for Parents
Policy for Results.org recently published a guest blog post discussing child welfare court interventions and the role of effective representation for parents in the court system. In this post, author Martha Raimon notes that representation for parents in child welfare cases is often inadequate, leading to removal of children and, sometimes, termination of parental rights. Raimon describes several promising State interventions involving parent representation in New York, Washington, and Michigan that help child welfare agencies achieve safety, permanency, and well-being for children.
Each intervention utilizes a multidisciplinary team consisting of an attorney, social worker, and a parent advocate. This team provides collective support and legal representation to parents of children in or at risk of entering foster care.
Promising preliminary results indicate that parent representation interventions may have a positive impact on achieving permanency for children and families, in addition to savings in government funds. For instance, in New York, more than 50 percent of children participating in the intervention avoided foster care placement. The Washington State program saw an 11-percent increase in the rate of reunification.
The Policy for Results.org blog provides a forum to discuss policy issues. Access the blog on the Policy for Results.org website:
- Becoming an Evidence-Based Practice
A new guide from the Vera Institute can help human services professionals and agencies prepare for and conduct an outcomes evaluation to determine if their services are evidence based. While targeted toward juvenile justice programs, the authors note that this guide is applicable to other social service fields, because the guidelines can be replicated across disciplines. The outcomes evaluation includes the following steps:
- Determine if the program is true to its original plan. A process evaluation of the program should be conducted. The authors define a process evaluation as an assessment to help determine if the program is operating the way it was designed.
- Conduct an outcomes evaluation. The evaluation should be conducted with a study group and a control group. These data are essential to this process and may contain administrative data, supplemental data, and data from other sources. Some organizations may need to partner with a university or professional research organization to help them conduct the evaluation.
- Identify next steps. The next steps will be program-specific and based on data. The data may indicate client needs that were not otherwise specified, or a program might also use their outcome evaluation in an attempt to become a nationally recognized model program.
Measuring Success: A Guide to Becoming an Evidence-Based Practice, by Jennifer Fratello, Tarika Daftary Kapur, and Alice Chasan, Vera Institute, Center on Youth Justice, is available on the Vera Institute website:
- Theologians on Multidisciplinary Child Protection Teams
A recent issue of CenterPiece, the official newsletter of the National Child Protection Training Center (NCPTC), discusses the 12 potential roles for a theologian on a child maltreatment multidisciplinary team (MDT). Those possible roles include:
- An investigative consultant on abuse occurring within religious settings
- A consultant with mental health professionals working with victims
- A support for victims testifying in court
- A resource, through the congregation, in meeting the needs of families and offering assistance that child welfare agencies cannot provide
- A voice for prevention
- A spiritual advisor for vicarious trauma victims
- A consultant on culturally appropriate child placements
- An advocate and supporter for victims disclosing abuse
- An advocate and supporter for offenders disclosing abuse
- A leader in the faith community
- A spokesman to the faith community about the role and actions of MDTs
- A promoter of ethical responses to abuse
The authors note that religious leaders may need additional training on the issues of trauma and vicarious trauma as a result of working in child welfare. The authors also note that, in a national study of more than 400 clinical psychologists, only 5 percent had been trained on addressing the spiritual issues raised by their clients. This is an area where a chaplain or other theologian can fill an important gap on an MDT.
"Chaplains for Children: Twelve Potential Roles for a Theologian on the MDT," CenterPiece, is available on the NCPTC website:
http://www.ncptc.org/vertical/Sites/%7B8634A6E1-FAD2-4381-9C0D-5DC7E93C9410%7D/uploads/CenterPiece.NL.Vol3.Iss6.pdf (3 MB)
- Emergency Respite Services Factsheet
Respite care has been long recognized as an essential strategy for providing temporary relief for caregivers, reducing stress, and sustaining family stability. The ARCH National Respite Network and Resource Center released a new factsheet for respite providers and caregivers that focuses on emergency or crisis situations that may require respite support.
Emergency respite care is a short-term arrangement that may last from a few hours to several weeks and is tailored to the family's needs in the event of a crisis. Other groups of caregivers that may find themselves in need of respite services are grandparents raising grandchildren, teen parents, individuals caring for a family member or partner with a serious medical conditions, or military families affected by deployment.
According to ARCH, in the most extreme crisis situations, emergency respite may be needed to prevent abuse or neglect. Research indicates that children with disabilities and the elderly are more likely to be victims of neglect or physical or emotional abuse. The factsheet describes the types of services and in-home or out-of-home respite options that may be available to families. Barriers to the effective delivery of these services are discussed, and specific recommendations for building and expanding respite options also are presented.
Emergency Respite: Help for Family Caregivers in Critical Times of Need is available on the ARCH National Respite Network and Resource Center website:
- Trauma Guide for Pediatricians
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) offers a Trauma Guide webpage for pediatricians in an effort to help them better understand and support the needs of adoptive and foster families. Developed in partnership with the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption and Jockey Being Family, the webpage features Helping Foster and Adoptive Families Cope With Trauma: A Guide for Pediatricians and Parenting After Trauma: Understanding Your Child's Needs.
Helping Foster and Adoptive Families Cope With Trauma was designed to assist pediatricians in supporting foster and adoptive families. The guide explains why a pediatrician should educate families on toxic stress indicators, how they should assume that children have experienced trauma and how to identify the behavior, and how they can provide caregivers and family members with strategies to address the child's needs.
A guide for families, Parenting After Trauma: Understanding Your Child's Needs, is also included in the Trauma Guide. The impact of trauma on a child is explained in the handout, along with tips on how parents can make their home feel safe.
These resources and more are included on the Trauma Guide webpage, available on the AAP website:
- Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Factsheets
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) Center for Excellence recently published two Technical Assistance (TA) Impact factsheets.
The first factsheet, Preventing and Addressing Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) In Your State, presents information on how to successfully address FASD and identifies challenges States may face during the process. Strategies highlighted range from designating a State FASD Coordinator, to the development of a State action plan, to the efforts needed in drafting legislation and policies.
Addressing Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) In Women's Residential Substance Abuse Treatment, the second factsheet, highlights the benefits of detecting and responding to women with a possible FASD while in treatment. The publication identifies what FASD training providers bring to programs to help make them successful, such as how to be supportive when talking to women about FASD and the mandated reporting requirements.
Both factsheets feature a "So Where to Start?" information box with SAMHSA FASD resources and links to other websites.
Find Preventing and Addressing Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) In Your State and Addressing Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) In Women's Residential Substance Abuse Treatment on SAMHSA's website:
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.
- Free Online Training for Child Welfare
The National Children's Advocacy Center (NCAC) announced a new online training platform. The new platform offers free online training courses, archived Ask the Expert sessions, and archived webinars. Users must register with NCAC to create a user ID and password.
Some of the free online trainings available include:
- Abusive Head Trauma Evidence
- Best Practices in the Treatment of Abused Children and Their Families
- Burns in Pediatric Abuse
- Child Development 101
- Child Sexual Abuse: A Judicial Perspective
- Children With Disabilities: Challenges, Strategies, and Resources
- Children’s Advocacy Centers: A Model for Improving the System's Response to Child Abuse
For more information, or to register for a training, visit the National Children's Advocacy Center website:
Upcoming national conferences on child welfare and adoption through November 2013 include:
- Extended Forensic Interviewing Training
National Children's Advocacy Center
September 17–19, St. Louis, MO
- 25th Annual ATTACh Conference
Association for Treatment and Training in the Attachment for Children (ATTACh)
September 18–21, San Antonio, TX
- Children, Families and Their Communities
Cornerstones of Care, Midwest Foster Care and Adoption Association
October 8–9, Kansas City MO
- 10th Annual Turn on the Light Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect
Children's Healing Institute
October 17, West Palm Beach, FL
- 8th Annual Conference on Differential Response in Child Welfare
Differential Response: A Catalyst for Change
The Kempe Center for the Prevention and Treatment of Child Abuse and Neglect at the University of Colorado Denver
October 23–25, Aurora, CO
- Advanced Forensic Interviewing Training
National Children’s Advocacy Center
November 5–7, Santa Fe, NM
- 15th Annual Shoulder to Shoulder Conference
Department of Human Services, Private Child Welfare Agencies, and Other Nonprofits
November 19, Portland, OR
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:
- Extended Forensic Interviewing Training