News From the Children's Bureau
- Your Monthly Library Update
Keeping up to date with the latest information on child welfare, adoption, prevention, and administration can be difficult. Beginning in October 2005, the National Clearinghouse on Child Abuse and Neglect Information and the National Adoption Information Clearinghouse, services of the Children's Bureau, will offer a new service to practitioners to help them stay current in their field. The free service will allow users to register to receive monthly lists of library materials in specific categories chosen by the user, such as Safety, Permanency, Well-Being, Prevention, Workforce, and more. The monthly lists of library materials will be sent by email and will reflect items that have been added to the Clearinghouse library and are available to users.
Each year, the Clearinghouse adds between 3,000 and 5,000 documents to its library. The library can be searched by going to http://library.childwelfare.gov/cwig/ws/library/docs/gateway/SimpleSearchForm.
Beginning September 15, you can register for this new library service by visiting www.childwelfare.gov/admin/subscribe/##page=subscriptions&page=subscriptions.
- Service Array Tools for Child Welfare
States and other jurisdictions need to be able to draw from a full array of services to meet the individual needs of children and families. To help States assess the adequacy of their service array, the National Resource Center for Organizational Improvement (NRCOI) has developed an assessment process and set of service array assessment tools. The service array assessment process consists of five steps:
- Creating a community stakeholder collaborative or building on an existing one
- Completing the service array instrument
- Reporting the results of using the instrument
- Preparing a resource development plan
- Monitoring the effectiveness of plan implementation
The process emphasizes the involvement of key community stakeholders and is designed to be a collaborative effort between jurisdictions and community groups. By assessing the availability of services in the areas of (1) prevention and early intervention, (2) investigation, (3) home-based interventions, (4) reunification and permanency, and (5) child welfare exits, these collaborative groups can define the service possibilities and identify strengths and gaps in their service array. For jurisdictions in which there has not been great stakeholder involvement, the service assessment process can help to build community collaboration.
The service array assessment process and tools can be found on the NRCOI website at http://muskie.usm.maine.edu/helpkids/agency_col_servicearray.htm.
- Strategic Therapeutic Parenting for High-Risk Families
Families experiencing both child maltreatment and domestic violence have unique needs that often cannot be met by one agency. To provide mental health services to these families, the Children's Hospital and Health Center of San Diego developed the Strategic Therapeutic Parenting (STP) program. Since 2001, they have been testing and refining this unique mental health services program. The goals of this group-based intervention are to:
- Increase positive parenting
- Reduce conflict in the family
- Increase coping skills for children
The STP program combines education and cognitive-behavioral therapy to serve every member of the family. Separate groups for mothers, fathers, and children address similar issues (e.g., safety, anger management, discipline) over the course of 12 sessions, with an overarching emphasis on identifying and building family strengths. Each group is facilitated by a therapist and a home visitor, who work together to support each other and model positive interactions.
An ongoing evaluation of the STP program is comparing families who received the STP intervention with families who received usual services. The families participate in a series of interviews and are compared on a number of measures of behavior and functioning. Families also are able to provide input about their experiences with the program. Initial results show a trend toward better outcomes for STP families.
STP staff are revising and preparing to publish the curriculum (which will be available in both English and Spanish), based on their experiences of "what works" and on feedback from families. Three manuals will eventually be made available: a parenting curriculum, a children's curriculum, and a staff training manual. Staff plan to disseminate their information through a website and are making conference presentations.
For more information about the program, contact:
Shelley Turner, LCSW
Strategic Therapeutic Parenting Program
Children's Hospital and Health Center
3020 Children's Way MC 5093
San Diego, CA 92123-4282
858.576.1700, ext. 6592
Note: The Strategic Therapeutic Parenting program was funded by the Children's Bureau, Grant 90-CA-1691, under the FY 2001 Field-Initiated Demonstration Projects Advancing the State of the Art in the Child Abuse and Neglect Field. This article is part of a series highlighting successful Children's Bureau Grant-funded projects around the country, emerging from official Children's Bureau site visits.
- Training on Legal Issues for Foster Parents
The National Resource Center for Family-Centered Practice and Permanency Planning (NRCFCPPP) offers a curriculum on the legal issues faced by foster parents. The four-module training curriculum was developed by R. Deihl, J.D., C. Fiermonte, J.D., and by D. Kocer and K. Jorgenson of the National Foster Parent Association (NFPA). Each module includes an instructor's guide with handouts and a PowerPoint presentation. The topics covered include:
- Permanency, foster parents, and the law
- Dependency court and removal of children
- Court participation by foster parents
- Allegations of maltreatment
The curriculum is available online from the NRCFCPPP website at www.hunter.cuny.edu/socwork/nrcfcpp/info_services/other-issues-in-child-welfare.html.
The curriculum is based on the Legal Resource Manual for Foster Parents developed for the NFPA by Deihl and Fiermonte. The manual for foster parents is available at http://ittakesanohana.org/2010/01/allegations-of-maltreatment-against-foster-parents/ittakesanohana.org/2010/01/allegations-of-maltreatment-against-foster-parents/.
- HHS Approves Child Welfare Waivers for Indiana and Arizona
Two States recently received approvals for child welfare waiver demonstration projects, allowing them greater flexibility in using Federal title IV-E funds to help children and families. With the award of these waivers, this funding no longer will be restricted to foster care maintenance payments but also will be used for supports and services that can protect children from abuse and neglect, preserve families, and promote permanency. For Indiana, the approval is an extension of its previous 5-year waiver; for Arizona, the approval will allow the State to operate a new child welfare waiver demonstration project to promote family reunification. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) grants the waivers to encourage States to develop and test new approaches to the delivery and financing of child welfare services. In addition, each demonstration waiver project requires a comprehensive evaluation by a third party to determine the impact of the project.
Indiana's ongoing demonstration project has already shown positive results. Ninety of the State's 92 counties used the waiver to build local capacity to provide community-based services and home-based placement alternatives to more restrictive institutional placements. Each participating county received an allocation of "flexible funding slots," based on the size of its foster care population, with a fixed sum of money assigned to each slot. Children in foster care or at risk of out-of-home placement who were assigned to these slots could receive any type of service to prevent out-of-home placement or to promote family reunification. An independent evaluation of the waiver demonstration project found that in the 25 counties most actively engaged in the project, children enrolled in the demonstration were more likely to receive family preservation services, individual counseling, respite care, childcare, and basic household assistance than children in a matched comparison group who did not have access to the flexible funding provided by the waiver. Additionally, the evaluation found that children enrolled in the demonstration project were more likely to avoid foster care placement or, for those already in placement, more likely to be reunited with parents than were children in the comparison group.
With the extension of the waiver, Indiana will maintain its existing funding mechanism of capitated slots and will continue program evaluation. In addition, local child welfare agencies will receive enhanced training in implementing the waiver demonstration project.
Arizona's demonstration project will focus on services for children who have been in foster care for 9 months or less. Intensive services will be provided to expedite family reunification, reduce re-entries into foster care, prevent recurrence of child abuse and neglect, and improve family functioning and well-being. Strengths-based services will focus on helping parents enhance their parenting skills and capacities. Home-based services will be tailored to the needs of individual children and families, and Child and Family Teams will be used to facilitate family reunification.
The Children's Bureau within HHS's Administration for Children and Families continues to accept new proposals for waiver demonstration projects. The Children's Bureau also continues to work with States that have previously submitted proposals for new demonstration projects in order to develop projects that will advance State child welfare reform efforts, while also contributing to the evidence base in child welfare practice through use of rigorous evaluation designs.
For more information on current child welfare waiver demonstration projects, visit the Children's Bureau website, where updated project descriptions and summaries recently were posted at http://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=119&articleID=2949&keywords=%22child%20welfare%20waiver%20demonstration%20projects%22.
- Collaboration Between Child Welfare and Substance Abuse Treatment Systems: TA for States
Collaboration among child welfare, dependency court, and substance abuse treatment professionals can improve services for the many families involved with these systems. In an effort to promote such collaboration, the National Center on Substance Abuse and Child Welfare (NCSACW) developed a program of in-depth technical assistance (IDTA) for States. A report on the first round of this IDTA is now available.
The first round of IDTA was provided to four States for 18 months, beginning in July 2003. Through the IDTA, the NCSACW sought to change knowledge, skills, and behavior among child welfare and substance abuse treatment professionals, so that these changes would impact policy and, ultimately, practice. The first-round report details three components crucial to the IDTA program:
- A framework of collaborative linkages and policy tools
- Interventions that support cross-system change
- Products and resources (publications, information switchboard, and access to many other organizations)
As a result of the IDTA, each State experienced success in incorporating collaborative strategies into the policies and practices of its systems. States accomplished this in a variety of ways, including the development of interagency agreements or program protocols. The IDTA also helped the States to develop a statewide infrastructure to improve coordination among systems and to provide a forum for discussing the shared concerns of child welfare, substance abuse treatment, and the courts.
The report, In-Depth Technical Assistance: Round One Final Report, is available on the NCSACW website at www.ncsacw.samhsa.gov/files/IDTA_RoundOne.pdf (PDF 318 KB). NCSACW is an initiative of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and is jointly funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's Center for Substance Abuse Treatment and by the Office on Child Abuse and Neglect within the Children's Bureau of the Administration on Children, Youth and Families.
- Sampling Bias in Using Medicaid Data to Identify Children in Foster Care
A recent study suggests that Medicaid data alone may not be reliable for determining the true needs and costs of providing health care services to children in foster care. Researchers found a sampling bias when Medicaid data were used to identify children in foster care and to estimate the children's use of health care services. The sampling bias resulted in a significant overrepresentation of those children in foster care who used more services and a modest underrepresentation of the total Medicaid costs of the group. Findings came from a study that explored the reliability of Medicaid data by examining foster care administrative files and Medicaid data for 5,683 children in their first year of foster care.
According to the study's authors, the misrepresentation stems from cases in which children were incorrectly coded as not being in foster care when their information was entered into the Medicaid system. Analysis showed that nearly one-third of children were never coded as being in foster care in their Medicaid eligibility files during the first year after placement; in addition, these incorrectly classified children disproportionately accounted for those who never used any health services after entering foster care. In contrast, children who were correctly coded as being in foster care were more likely to have used health care services and to have reimbursed claims. This correctly classified group tended to be older, non-Hispanic White, with more placements, and more time in foster care, or with residence in a group home or residential facility. In fact, researchers suggest that the increased contact with the child welfare system or with health care providers may have brought these children to the attention of administrators who were able to correctly switch their coverage to the Medicaid foster care program.
Based on these findings, the authors suggest that linking child welfare records to regional Medicaid data may provide a truer picture than Medicaid data alone of the needs and costs of health care services for children in foster care.
The study, "A Sampling Bias in Identifying Children in Foster Care Using Medicaid Data," by D. M. Rubin, S. Pati, X. Luan, and E. A. Alessandrini, was published in Ambulatory Pediatrics, Volume 5. The article can be purchased online at www.ambulatorypediatrics.org/article/S1530-1567(05)60199-2/abstract
- Using NSCAW Research to Improve Policy and Practice
Researchers from universities and private organizations recently presented findings on child maltreatment research, based on data from the National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being (NSCAW). The NSCAW is a research project of the Administration on Children, Youth and Families that collects longitudinal data on at-risk children. Papers were presented at an invitation-only conference, "Child Protection: Using Research to Improve Policy and Practice." Held in July in Washington, DC, the conference was co-sponsored by the Brookings Welfare Reform and Beyond Initiative, the Chapin Hall Center for Children at the University of Chicago, and the Annie E. Casey Foundation.
The presentations featured a variety of topics in child welfare. They include:
- A Basic Epidemiology of Child Maltreatment and Placement: Implications for Policy, Practice, and Research (F. Wulczyn)
- Identification of Young Maltreated Children's Developmental Delays (S. Rosenberg, E. Smith, and A. Levinson)
- Intimate Partner Violence in the Child Welfare System: Findings from the National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being (A. Hazen, C. Connelly, K. Kelleher, J. Landsverk, and R. Barth)
- Initial Construction of an Actuarial Risk Assessment Measure Using the National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being (A. Shlonsky)
- Predictors of Reunification (J. B. Wildfire, R. Barth, and R. Green)
- Placement Stability and Early Behavioral Outcomes Among Children in Out-of-Home Care (D. Rubin, L. Hafner, X. Luan, and A. R. Localio)
- Kinship Care and Foster Care: Informing the New Debate (R. Barth, S. Guo, and R. L. Green)
- Educational Outcome (S. H. Shin)
- Child Maltreatment Recurrence Among Children Remaining In-home: Re-reports, Caregiver and Youth Self-report, and Underreporting (P. Kohl and R. Barth)
- Physical Abuse and Adolescent Outcomes (J. Eckenrode, C. Izzo, and E. Smith)
- Building on Strengths: Current Status and Opportunities for Improvement of Parent Training for Families in Child Welfare (M. Hurlburt, R. Barth, L. Leslie, and J. Landsverk)
- Family Service Needs: Alcohol, Drug, and Mental Health Service Need for Parents and Children Involved with Child Welfare (A. Libby, H. Orton, R. Barth, and B. Burns)
- Medicaid and Mental Health Care for Children in the Child Welfare System (R. Raghavan)
- Impact of Systems of Care on Likelihood of Service Receipt (J. Landsverk)
More information on the NSCAW may be found on Administration for Children and Families website at http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/opre/research/project/national-survey-of-child-and-adolescent-well-being-nscaw-1.
- Improving Effectiveness of Child Abuse Investigations
In a recent article published in Trauma, Violence, & Abuse, researchers examined seven approaches to child abuse investigations that are considered "best practice" in the child welfare field to determine whether outcome research supports their popularity. These seven approaches were developed and implemented primarily in response to identified needs and less in response to research evidence. The seven approaches include:
- Multidisciplinary team investigations
- Trained child forensic interviewers
- Videotaped interviews
- Specialized forensic medical examiners
- Victim advocacy programs
- Improved access to mental health treatments
- Children's advocacy centers
Literature reviews showed preliminary scientific support for many of these practices, including the use of multidisciplinary teams, trained forensic interviewers, and trained and experienced medical examiners. Researchers also found evidence that some mental health treatment approaches can reduce stress and improve emotional well-being for victims. However, the literature reviews also indicated that more outcome-based research is needed for these practices. The study's authors recommend that researchers do more to serve the needs of professionals in the field and that resources for outcome-based research be increased to better protect children and help them recover from victimization.
The full article describing this research, "Criminal Investigations of Child Abuse: The Research Behind 'Best Practices'," was written by L. M. Jones, T. P. Cross, W. Walsh, and M. Simone and published in the July 2005 issue of Trauma, Violence, & Abuse. The article is available for purchase from Sage Journals Online at http://online.sagepub.com.
- State Child Welfare Legislation 2004
The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) highlights significant State child welfare legislation enacted in 2004 in its most recent annual report, State Child Welfare Legislation: 2004. The report focuses on legislative trends of concern to the child welfare field, including laws to address children's exposure to methamphetamine, improve educational services for children in the child welfare system, expedite permanency for foster children, support foster parents and kinship caregivers, assist youth who are aging out of care, and promote collaboration among agencies that serve children and families.
An issue that received significant legislative attention in 2004 addressed the need to ensure that parents' rights are protected when child welfare agencies investigate. Many of these laws were passed to comply with amendments to the Federal Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (most recently passed as the Keeping Children and Families Safe Act, 2003), requiring that subjects of protective investigations be informed of the allegations against them and that child protective services staff be trained in their legal duties to protect the legal rights and safety of children and families.
Descriptions of significant State legislation are listed by issue area in alphabetical order. An appendix contains both citations and summaries of the laws discussed. The report is available on the NCSL website as a PDF file at www.ncsl.org/print/cyf/cwlegislation04.pdf (501 KB).
- New Resources for Dependency Courts
personnel involved with dependency courts. By promoting collaboration, these resources may help child welfare and court personnel eliminate court delays for children in foster care, improve educational services, and give every child and family a voice in the court process. The resources are described below.
A National Curriculum for Caseflow Management in Juvenile Dependency Cases Involving Foster Care is designed to identify and eliminate court delays that often hinder the timely resolution of child welfare cases. The curriculum provides an overview of the fundamental role and purpose of the courts in child welfare and how best to fulfill this role. Under the leadership of a judge, workshops team child welfare personnel with court administrators and attorneys who represent children and parents. Interactive discussions and team activities are designed to foster collaboration among the wide variety of individuals engaged in child welfare. Development of the curriculum was funded by the Pew Charitable Trusts. Copies are available online at http://jeritt.msu.edu/Documents/National_Curriculum_Final_06-21-05.pdf (PDF 260 KB).
Fostering the Future, a DVD from the Pew Commission on Children in Foster Care, comes 1 year after the Pew Commission issued its final report recommending reforms of the juvenile and family courts and of Federal child welfare financing. The DVD features firsthand accounts from children, parents, judges, administrators, and others to depict the high-stakes decisions courts make, as well as the obstacles that can prevent children from exiting foster care. The DVD and companion guide are available at no cost from the Pew Commission website at http://pewfostercare.org/docs/index.php?DocID=55.(Editor's note: This link is no longer active, but the Fostering the Future report is available at http://www.pewhealth.org/reports-analysis/reports/fostering-the-future-safety-permanence-and-well-being-for-children-in-foster-care-85899410023.)
Asking the Right Questions: A Judicial Checklist to Ensure That the Educational Needs of Children in Foster Care Are Being Addressed, focuses on educational needs of children in out-of-home placements. When children and youth are placed in foster care, their education may be disrupted due to a change in schools and delays in enrollment. In the long term, these children face enormous obstacles to completing their education, which can adversely affect their ability to grow into self-sufficient adults. Dependency judges can play a significant role in ensuring more stable educational placements for foster children, as outlined in this publication from the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges. The publication is available, with registration, at www.ncjfcj.org/content/view/340/322. (Editor's note: Link no longer active)
An Information Memorandum (IM) on the topic of Court Involvement in the Child and Family Services Review (CFSR) was recently released by the Children's Bureau in the Administration for Children and Families. The purpose is to clarify requirements regarding the involvement of State court representatives in the CFSR and Program Improvement Plan processes.
A model Memorandum of Understanding designed to improve collaboration between State child welfare agencies and State court systems on the CFSRs was developed by the National Child Welfare Resource Center on Legal and Judicial Issues. This sample memorandum was designed to be consistent with the Children's Bureau's IM on this topic. (Editor's note: This link is no longer available.)
The Judges' Page Newsletter, June 2005, provides a collection of resources focused on improving the educational outcomes of foster youth and helping judges become effective educational advocates. This electronic publication is available on the National CASA Association website at www.nationalcasa.org/JudgesPage/Index.htm.
- New Protections for Children as Research Subjects
The Office of Human Research Protections (OHRP) recently published guidance on the use of children as subjects in all research funded or conducted by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). This pertains to the 45 CFR 46.407 review process as required under subpart D of HHS Protection of Human Subject Regulations at 45 CFR part 46. The OHRP guidance refers to five topics:
- Institutional review board findings necessary to submit a protocol to OHRP for 407 consideration and/or review
- Steps in the submission process
- OHRP's response to submissions
- Schedule and details for panel review
- Potential outcomes of the review process
Full text of the guidance can be found on the HHS website at www.hhs.gov/ohrp/children/guidance_407process.html. (Editor's note: This link is no longer available, but the OHRP web page regarding children as research subjects can be found at http://www.hhs.gov/ohrp/policy/populations/children.html.)
- A Brief Form of the Child Abuse Potential Inventory
Researchers have developed and tested a brief form of J. S. Milner's (1986) Child Abuse Potential Inventory (CAP), a self-report instrument that is the most widely used measure of risk for parental child abuse. The new, brief form was developed to address some features of the CAP that have limited its usability with parents, including its length, occasional complex language, and assumption that parents are current caregivers. The Brief Child Abuse Potential Inventory (BCAP) reduces the number of items from 160 to 33, can be administered in 5 minutes, is written at a fourth-grade or lower reading level, and does not assume active parenthood on the part of the parent completing the form.
The BCAP was developed with a sample of at-risk parents (n=1,470) who were enrolled in prevention or treatment programs, and it was validated with another sample of at-risk parents (n=713). Results show that the brief version overlapped highly with the full CAP score and showed desirable psychometric properties. In addition, scores from both the BCAP and the CAP demonstrated nearly identical patterns of associations with future child protective services reports.
The full article on this new inventory, "A Brief Form of the Child Abuse Potential Inventory: Development and Validation," by S. J. Ondersma, M. J. Chaffin, S. M. Mullins, and J. M. LeBreton, was published in the Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology (Volume 34:2). The issue is available for purchase online at the Lawrence Erlbaum Associates website at http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1207/s15374424jccp3402_9#.U4j0KHZO2-A.
- Intensive Family Preservation in Postadoption
Adoptive families in which the child is at imminent risk of out-of-home placement require an extraordinary response from the child welfare system or from the agency that facilitated the placement. One type of response offered in a number of States has been the provision of Intensive Family Preservation Services (IFPS). Such services are targeted to families in crisis and usually are provided by the same worker who is available 24 hours a day to deliver concrete and therapeutic services in the home over a period of weeks.
A recent study was conducted to determine the use and outcomes of IFPS with postadoptive families in crisis. Sponsored by the National Family Preservation Network and funded by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the 1-year study involved a survey of 15 States in Phase One (10 of which responded), followed by a detailed analysis of IFPS in two States in Phase Two.
Phase One results indicated that some version of IFPS was the most common postadoption support offered, although most agencies did not follow all the tenets of IFPS. In addition, most agencies could not report the number of families they served with IFPS, although they estimated a success rate that averaged in the 90th percentile.
Phase Two results, reported by Missouri and Indiana, provided detailed analyses of the use of IFPS, including high rates of family preservation. Specifically, analyses showed that IFPS was highly successful in:
- Preventing out-of-home placement (more than 80 percent)
- Reducing child and family problems
- Achieving high parental satisfaction rates
The full study, The Use of Intensive Family Preservation Services with Post-Adoptive Families, by M. Berry, P. Martens, and J. Propp, can be found on the Family Preservation website at www.nfpn.org/images/stories/files/ifps-adoptreport.pdf (Editor's note: Link no longer active).
Children's Bureau Express last covered the topic of family preservation services in "Evaluation of Family Preservation and Reunification" (August 2003).
- Preventing Sexual Abuse Resource
Preventing Child Sexual Abuse: A National Resource Directory & Handbook is designed for those interested in establishing, enhancing, assessing, or evaluating a child sexual abuse prevention program. This new resource directory highlights child sexual abuse prevention organizations, programs, initiatives, and resources. Additional chapters address such topics as the costs of child sexual abuse, preventing online exploitation, and booklists for adults and for children.
Preventing Child Sexual Abuse: A National Resource Directory & Handbook was developed by the National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC), supported by a grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It can be obtained by downloading from the NSVRC website at http://www.nsvrc.org/publications/nsvrc-publications/national-resource-directory-handbook-preventing-child-sexual-abuse or by calling 877.739.3895.
- Guide to Sustainability for Youth Mentoring Programs
The National Mentoring Center has published a guide to sustainability for youth mentoring programs. Sustainability Planning and Resource Development for Youth Mentoring Programs is organized around three main topics: the resource planning cycle, primary funding streams, and additional elements of resource planning (involving the board, advocacy, and ethical considerations). The guide was developed with support from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention and the Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory and is available online at http://educationnorthwest.org/sites/default/files/resources/sustainability_planning.pdf (PDF 1,535 KB).
- Connect for Kids' Funding Toolkit
A funding toolkit compiled by Connect for Kids provides many resources on fundraising for children's programs. Read advice from the field, learn how to find funding resources, and view grant information by topics such as childcare/out-of-school programs, children's health and social services, education and literacy, arts and education, financial aid for college, technology for school programs, strengthening communities, juvenile justice and youth in transition, and information for grantmakers. The toolkit is available at www.connectforkids.org/node/245 (Editor's note: Link no longer active).
- CWLA Releases New Standards for Transitioning Youth
The Child Welfare League of America (CWLA) has published a revised version of its CWLA Standards of Excellence for Transition, Independent Living, and Self-Sufficiency Services. The standards apply to services provided to older youth in out-of-home placement by voluntary and public child welfare and youth-serving agencies to prepare the youth for transition, independent living, and self-sufficiency (TILSS). Chapters cover topics such as a community framework for TILSS services, the system for delivering services, organization and administration of TILSS services, the continuum of care and case management for TILSS services, and ensuring safe and supportive transitional and independent living arrangements for youth. The book is a part of CWLA's Standards of Excellence series. The set, or individual standards, can be purchased online at www.cwla.org/programs/standards/default.htm.
- National Implementation Research Network
Researchers, program developers, and others interested in the development, research, implementation, and replication of evidence-based programs and practices have a resource in the National Implementation Research Network (NIRN) website at http://nirn.fpg.unc.edu/. Coordinated and promoted by the Louis de la Parte Florida Mental Health Institute, University of South Florida, the network provides an environment for participants to share knowledge, foster partnerships, and participate in technical assistance efforts.
Recently released by NIRN is Implementation Research: A Synthesis of the Literature, which summarizes findings from an extensive review of more than 700 articles on implementation. The synthesis also addresses implementation in the context of community, a conceptual view of implementation, core implementation components, and organizational context and external influences. The synthesis is available at http://nirn.fpg.unc.edu/resources/implementation-research-synthesis-literature.
- Structure of Federal Foster Care Financing
A recent issue brief from the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services provides an overview of the current title IV-E Federal foster care funding structure and documents several key weaknesses. According to the authors, these weaknesses have resulted in a system that fails to consistently support the program's basic goals of safety, permanency, and well-being.
Six weaknesses in title IV-E Federal foster care funding are discussed:
- Ongoing linkage to the old Aid to Families with Dependent Children program for historical reasons
- Burdensome administrative paperwork for claiming Federal funds
- Highly variable funding across States
- No connection between increased funding for child welfare systems and better outcomes for children
- Emphasis on foster care payments over preventive services
- A financing structure that has not kept pace with a changing child welfare field
The Child Welfare Program Option (CWPO), proposed in the President's FY 2006 budget, is presented as a positive alternative to the current funding structure. The main advantage of the CWPO is the flexibility it would give to States to spend title IV-E money for services other than foster care maintenance payments.
The full text of this issue brief, How and Why the Current Funding Structure Fails to Meet the Needs of the Child Welfare Field, authored by L. Radel and ASPE staff, is available online at http://aspe.hhs.gov/hsp/05/fc-financing-ib.
- Supervised Visitation Network
Supervised Visitation Network (SVN) is a membership organization of agencies and individuals who work to ensure that children have safe and conflict-free access to parents with whom they do not reside. This includes children in foster care, as well as children living with one parent. SVN provides professional networking, develops and disseminates standards for practice, and maintains a directory of supervised child access providers. Learn more about SVN and their products and services at www.svnetwork.net.
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 adoption and child welfare through December 2005 include:
- Substance Exposed Newborns: Weaving Together Effective Policy & Practice (National Abandoned Infants Assistance Resource Center; October 6 through 7; Washington, DC)
- APSAC Forensic Child Interview Clinic (American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children; October 10 through 14; Seattle, WA)
- Bridging Culture in a Changing World (National Black Child Development Institute; October 16 through 18; Orlando, FL)
- 2005 National Public Agency Roundtable (Council on Accreditation; October 17 through 19; Little Rock, AR)
- Forensic Interviewing of Children Training (National Children's Advocacy Center; October 17 through 21; Huntsville, AL)
- Healthy Communities Healthy Youth (Search Institute; November 3 through 5; Dallas, TX)
- ZERO TO THREE 20th National Training Institute (November 4 through 6; Washington, DC)
- 3rd Annual "It's My Life" Conference (Casey Family Programs; November 13 through 15; Baltimore, MD)
- National Forum on Child Welfare Workload (ACTION for Child Protection; December 12 through 14; Santa Fe, NM)
Further details about national and regional adoption and child welfare conferences can be found in the Conference Calendar on Child Welfare Information Gateway: www.childwelfare.gov/calendar
- Conducting Forensic Interviews of Children
For professionals who want to develop their expertise in conducting investigative interviews of children, there are resources for receiving specialized training in methods and techniques.
The American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children (APSAC) has scheduled three upcoming forensic interview clinics: September 19-23, 2005, Portsmouth, VA; October 10-14, 2005, Seattle, WA; and April 24-28, 2006, Seattle, WA. The clinics are designed for professionals from the fields of mental health, child protective services, law enforcement, social services, medicine, and law whose job includes interviewing suspected victims of child maltreatment. The curriculum was developed by experts in the field of child forensic interviewing and provides an overview of interview models, methods, and techniques, as well as cultural and legal considerations. A registration packet with more information is available online at http://apsac.fmhi.usf.edu/services/pdf/Fnsicbf_aw.pdf (Editor's note: Link is no longer active).
The National Children's Advocacy Center in Huntsville, AL, has scheduled two 1-week training sessions in forensic interviewing of children, one for September 19-23, 2005, and the other for October 17-21, 2005. This training is specifically designed for child interviewers who have responsibility for initial investigative/forensic interviews of children. It is appropriate for professionals from the fields of CPS and law enforcement, as well as those affiliated with a Children's Advocacy Center (CAC) with less than 1 year of full-time experience. The topics to be covered include interviewing skills, effective testimony, forensic questioning, developmental issues, interview strategies, memory and suggestibility, fantastic statements, and expert witnesses. Complete information and a registration packet are available online at www.nationalcac.org/professionals/trainings/courses/forensic_interview.html (Editor's note: Link no longer active).
- Visiting Families With Babies and Toddlers
The Visit: Observation, Reflection, Synthesis for Training and Relationship Building is a professional development tool that addresses the need for assessment and intervention with infants and toddlers and their families. It was written for supervisors to use in training direct care practitioners. Together, the supervisor and practitioner work as a team, following carefully structured protocols for children aged 2 to 36 months to develop a coherent picture of the child.
The Visit covers a number of topics, including in-service training for the direct care practitioner, role of the supervisor, and benefits of visits for the service system. The bulk of The Visit, however, is devoted to "Observation, Reflection, Synthesis Guides" to be used with infants and toddlers at different ages. These guides provide specific instruction for the supervisor in working with the practitioner and the parent, and they also provide developmental tasks appropriate for the child. (The guides also are available on the CD-ROM included with the manual.)
Written by A. Axtmann and A. Dettwiler, The Visit is available from Paul H. Brookes Publishing Company at www.brookespublishing.com.
The National Resource Center for Family-Centered Practice and Permanency Planning (NRCFCPPP) has developed two curricula to train workers to structure their visits with children and with parents. Promoting Placement Stability and Permanency Through Caseworker/Child Visits and Promoting Permanency Through Worker/Parent Visits can be downloaded at the NRCFCPPP website at www.hunter.cuny.edu/socwork/nrcfcpp/info_services/family-child-visiting.html.