ACYF recently issued an Information Memorandum highlighting its focus on promoting the social and emotional well-being of children and youth who experience trauma and receive child welfare services. This month's CBX features articles on strategies for and research on enhancing well-being.
- Program Integration to Improve Well-Being
Strategies for increasing collaboration among the many Federal, State, and federally funded agencies tasked with promoting and protecting child well-being is the focus of a new report funded by First Focus, the Nemours Foundation, the California Endowment, and Voices for America's Children. The authors explore a number of administrative approaches and strategies that can increase the level of partnership across agencies by improving the design, implementation, and evaluation of children's programs.
The paper, Improving Children's Health and Well-being by Integrating Children's Programs, references the cooperative requirement among Federal and State agencies for new child- and family-serving programs created by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). An appendix of these ACA-mandated children's programs is included at the end of the report.
The paper also is based on information gathered from the Children's Outcomes Project (COP), a learning community comprised of State- and community-based teams and national program and policy experts that work to improve child health and well-being. COP is heavily invested in bringing about innovative policy changes resulting from multisector initiatives.
The authors make recommendations for agencies in the area of program design and applications:
- Agencies should develop comprehensive approaches that recognize families' frequent involvement in multiple sectors, including health, education, social services, and more.
- Agencies should, when possible, utilize a community-based population approach.
- Agencies should collaborate on the development of funding opportunities to ensure cross-sector input.
- Agencies should allocate a portion of new program funding to infrastructure and systems development.
The authors also recommend more coordinated Federal approaches.
Improving Children's Health and Well-being by Integrating Children's Programs was authored and presented by the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago and is available on the First Focus website:
http://www.firstfocus.net/sites/default/files/Improving%20Children%27s%20Health%20and%20Well-being%20by%20Integrating%20Children%27s%20Programs_Final%20Report.pdf (743 KB)
- Policies That Promote Well-Being
Policymakers at the State level can promote well-being in children and families through legislation and policies that prevent and address social, emotional, and behavioral health disorders. A recent paper from the Center for the Study of Social Policy (CSSP) offers research-informed, results-based policy strategies that can help States evaluate their data on children's well-being and then implement evidence-based strategies to address problems. The paper, Promoting Children's Social, Emotional and Behavioral Health, also offers State examples that illustrate how different jurisdictions have addressed child well-being.
The paper notes three factors associated with children's poor social, emotional, and behavioral health: poverty, trauma, and inadequate treatment. Research also points to two factors associated with good mental health: reaching developmental milestones and having a supportive family. These factors help to drive the strategies that policymakers can use to improve child well-being.
The paper urges States to review their data on children with social, emotional, and behavioral health problems, note trends, compare the data to those of other States and the nation as a whole, and then set targets for improvement. Three evidence-based strategies are described for improving child well-being:
- Promote early childhood social and emotional development, such as through Kansas's expansion of Early Head Start
- Prevent social, emotional, and behavioral health disorders, such as through Delaware's child welfare and early intervention program that established policies for referring children involved in cases of abuse or neglect
- Connect the specialized needs of children with appropriate services, such as Florida's pilot program in Miami-Dade County, which addressed the mental health needs of young children and their families involved with child welfare
The paper also discusses how to implement the strategies so that they are effective and sustainable, and it outlines ways to monitor and evaluate program results. Financing options are outlined, including Federal monies and public-private partnerships.
Access Promoting Children's Social, Emotional and Behavioral Health on the Policy for Results section of the CSSP website:
The Policy for Results web section includes supplementary material on this topic:
- State Measures of Child Well-Being
A recent State-by-State comparison of measures of child well-being showed enormous variation across States and a picture of child well-being that differs from that found in national studies. In this report published by the Foundation for Child Development (FCD), authors William P. O'Hare, Mark Mather, and Genevieve Dupuis combined data from the KIDS COUNT Project of the Annie E. Casey Foundation with the methodology developed for FCD's Child Well-Being Index (CWI). The CWI has been produced every year since 2004 but only for the country as a whole, not for individual States.
The study used a broad quality-of-life measure based on 25 indicators of children's well-being to examine changes in child well-being from 2003 to 2007. The 25 indicators were clustered into seven domains including family economic well-being, health, safe/risky behavior, education attainment, community engagement, social relationships, and emotional/spiritual well-being. The authors set out to answer the following questions:
- Which States have the best child well-being?
- Which States performed best on each of the seven domains?
- Which States improved children's well-being the most from 2003 to 2007?
- What demographic factors, economic conditions, and public policies are associated with the States that exhibit higher levels of child well-being?
The analysis revealed drastic variation across States, indicating that a national landscape reveals very little about actual child well-being in the States. However, the data did denote a geographic pattern in which States in the South and Southwest show low rates of overall child well-being and States in the Northeast and Upper Midwest show higher rates of child well-being. No State ranked in the bottom 10 and no State ranked in the top 10 across all seven domains.
Findings included the following:
- Thirty-three of the 50 States improved child well-being between 2003 and 2007.
- The States with the most improvement were Hawaii, West Virginia, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania. The States with the greatest decline in child well-being were Connecticut, South Dakota, Kansas, and Maine.
- Demographic factors most closely related to child well-being included adult educational attainment, health care coverage, and low levels of disabilities.
- State policies most closely related to child well-being were State and local tax rates, per-pupil education funding, and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families benefits.
The implications of these findings for Federal support of children's programs also are discussed in the report.
Analyzing State Differences in Child Well-Being was funded by the FCD and the Annie E. Casey Foundation. It is available on the FCD website:
http://fcd-us.org/sites/default/files/Analyzing%20State%20Differences%20in%20Child%20Well-Being_0.pdf (2 MB)
- T&TA Network Well-Being Workgroup
The Administration on Children, Youth and Families (ACYF) recently released an Information Memorandum highlighting its focus on promoting the social and emotional well-being of children and youth who experience trauma and receive child welfare services. In light of this focus, the Children's Bureau established the Child, Youth, and Family Well-Being Workgroup within its Training and Technical Assistance (T&TA) Network.
The new workgroup, headed by Lisa D'Aunno, Project Director for the National Resource Center for In-Home Services, and John Levesque, Associate Director at the National Resource Center for Adoption, was established in the fall of 2012. It consists of representatives from across the T&TA Network's National Resource Centers and regional Implementation Centers, as well as from the National Resource Center for Community-Based Child Abuse Prevention (FRIENDS/CBCAP), the National Child Welfare Workforce Institute, the National Center on Substance Abuse and Child Welfare, and the National Technical Assistance Center for Children's Mental Health.
The workgroup was charged with ensuring that the Children's Bureau's T&TA Network and its consultants are current on the science, policy, practice, and systemic support of child welfare practice to enhance child, youth, and family well-being. This includes the integration of trauma-informed and trauma-focused practice. Additionally, the workgroup will make recommendations to the Bureau and collaborate to effectively accomplish the following:
- Promote a common message regarding child, youth, and family well-being and trauma, which is often experienced by families involved in child welfare
- Infuse a focus on child, youth, and family well-being into T&TA practices
- Adopt a systems approach to planning and providing T&TA that will result in integration of an enhanced focus on well-being across the spectrum of child welfare practice from prevention to permanency and after permanency is achieved
The workgroup's vision is to ensure States, Tribes, Territories, and courts served by the Children's Bureau's T&TA Network receive high-quality T&TA that supports child, youth, and family well-being.
The first phase in accomplishing its mission is ensuring the T&TA Network and its consultants are knowledgeable about strategies to enhance well-being. "Making sure we're current and sharing our resources is step one," D'Aunno said. The group is currently conducting an inventory of resources and literature on well-being and using an online portal to share those resources within the Network. The goal is to make them available to the field through Implementation Center websites and the Child Welfare Information Gateway.
D'Aunno and Levesque stressed that integration will play a key role in how the Network provides T&TA to States. "It's important that we focus on integrating these concepts into the work States are already doing around safety and permanency. We need to infuse it into their work to improve interventions for foster care, bring children faster to permanency and ensuring that permanency sticks, and work on relationships to help parents keep kids safe to keep more kids at home."
The workgroup offers the T&TA Network an opportunity to work with States on issues spanning the child welfare continuum and provide shared access to a wide variety of expertise. "Our job will be to reach out proactively to the States and collaborate within the Network so States don't have to talk to 10 different centers. Part of our next decision-making process will be to start developing strategies or proposals to make those tasks easier for States," D'Aunno said.
She added that the workgroup hopes to build the Network's capacity to contribute to the development of new knowledge. "As we work, it will be obvious where the gaps are, and we'll point to those in our recommendations to the Children's Bureau. These might include recommendations about ways States or grantees build new evaluations or child and family well-being measurements into their work."
As for next steps, Levesque said the group continues to evolve. "The participation by members in these early stages has been amazing. We expect to be working into the next fiscal year, and providing recurrent 90-day reports to the Children's Bureau. We're gearing up to be responsive to the Bureau's and ACYF's enhanced focus on well-being, by delivering T&TA to the States, Territories, and Tribes that represents the most up-to-date knowledge in the field of child welfare."
Special thanks to Lisa D'Aunno, Project Director for the National Resource Center for In-Home Services, and John Levesque, Associate Director at the National Resource Center for Adoption, for providing information for this article.
- Enhancing Permanent Connections
A four-part series in the National Clearinghouse on Families & Youth (NCFY) newsletter, The Exchange, focuses on improving outcomes for homeless and runaway youth. The issues feature a variety of programs that help achieve and enhance well-being, permanent connections, safety, and self-sufficiency for this vulnerable population.
The first issue in the series, "Focusing on Outcomes for Youth: Well-Being," provides examples of what some organizations are doing to improve the well-being of the homeless and runaway youth in their communities. The issue features The Crib, a low-threshold shelter in Chicago, IL, that provides access to caring adults, family-style meals that foster discussion and peer interaction, and a structured environment that includes chores.
Low-threshold refers to the few requirements for admittance. The Crib does not require a referral or identification. The 20-bed shelter, which is open only at night, serves youth ages 18–24 and meets an important need. The Crib provided shelter to 59 youth and turned away 141 youth in its first month of operation.
This issue of The Exchange also highlights a one-stop-shop health clinic in Minneapolis, MN, that strives to improve well-being by increasing youth's access to health care, and it includes an article on programs that use art therapy to help youth cope with traumatic experiences.
The second issue, "Focusing on Outcomes for Youth: Permanent Connections," highlights programs that aim to achieve and strengthen permanent connections for youth. The article features Boys & Girls Aid, a 126-year-old youth-serving organization in Portland, OR. The organization offers an emergency shelter and transitional living programs, both focused on increasing permanency and achieving permanent connections. When youth enter either program, staff assess their location on the "spectrum of permanency" by evaluating the number of family and friends with whom they interact and the regularity and quality of those interactions. The needs assessment provides staff with a starting point for devising a plan to help youth develop and/or rekindle a relationship with at least one caring adult with whom they can have a lifelong connection.
The issue also features a program in Tucson, AZ, that allows young homeless couples to live together with their children instead of separating families.
The two issues focused on safety and self-sufficiency are forthcoming. Read "Focusing on Outcomes for Youth: Well-Being" and "Focusing on Outcomes for Youth: Permanent Connections" on the NCFY website:
- Supportive Housing and Child Welfare Outcomes
The provision of concrete services, such as housing, can have a positive impact on child welfare outcomes. A new publication by the Center for Advanced Studies in Child Welfare (CASCW) highlights results from a longitudinal study in Minnesota evaluating the role of supportive housing on homeless children's well-being, specifically, educational and child welfare outcomes.
Emergency and transitional housing programs often provide temporary housing solutions. Supportive housing programs, however, serve families with long histories of homelessness and provide other social services to help families move toward subsidized or unsubsidized permanent housing.
The authors set out to answer the following questions:
- Does receipt of supportive housing services affect children's school attendance rates, school mobility, academic achievement, and rates of Individualized Education Plans (IEP)?
- Does receipt of supportive housing services reduce child protection involvement over time?
- Do outcomes of children receiving supportive housing services change at significantly different rates than their homeless peers?
Four supportive housing cohorts included students in grades 3–6 (one grade per cohort) receiving services from September 2006 to August 2007. They were tracked for 3 years (ending in grades 5, 6, 7, and 8 during the 2008–2009 school year) and evaluated across five indicators: school mobility, school attendance, performance on the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment II (MCA-II) test, existence of an IEP, and involvement with child protective services.
Hearth Connection—a nonprofit organization that provides supportive housing services to families with long histories of homelessness—and the Minnesota Departments of Education and Human Services provided data for the study.
Findings included the following:
- Students receiving supportive housing services attended school at higher rates than students in the comparison groups.
- School mobility decreased over time for students receiving supportive housing services and increased over time for students in the comparison group.
- Performance on the MCA II-Math were mixed for all cohorts but one. There was no significant relationship between receipt of supportive housing services and performance on the MCA II-Reading over time.
- While the number of students with IEPs increased in both the supportive hosing cohorts and the comparison group, data showed that the number of students with an IEP in the supportive housing group increased at higher rates than that in the comparison group.
- Children receiving supportive housing services had declining involvement with child protection, whereas children in the comparison group had increased involvement. Additionally, the number of children with child protection involvement, the number of child protection reports, and the number of substantiated maltreatment reports decreased significantly each year for the supportive housing group.
The Role of Supportive Housing in Homeless Children's Well-Being: An Investigation of Child Welfare and Educational Outcomes, by Saahoon Hong and Kristine N. Piescher, is available on the Center for Advanced Studies in Child Welfare website:
http://www.cehd.umn.edu/ssw/cascw/attributes/PDF/minnlink/Report_No11.pdf (2 MB)
- Trauma Victim Resiliency
A recent study explored the positive influences, both internal and external, that individuals relied on to overcome childhood trauma. The study focused on 22 participants, 16 females and 6 males, varying in age (18 to 60) and ethnicity (73 percent Caucasian, 27 percent Black/African American). All had a history of childhood trauma and defined themselves as having successfully dealt with their trauma. Abuse included any type of abuse, occurring once or multiple times, in addition to having witnessed violence between adults in the home or having been neglected by caregivers.
The qualitative study used unstructured, open-ended interviews that allowed participants to tell their stories "in their own voices," and many of their anecdotal responses are included in the final report. They were asked to discuss two topics: (1) any traumatic experiences that occurred during their childhood and (2) the types of positive influences that helped them overcome these experiences.
Participants described a variety of traumatic experiences, the most frequent of which was sexual abuse, usually by a family member (45 percent of participants). Thirty-six percent of participants recall witnessing violence in the home, and they revealed that this often involved adults who were under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Over one-third of participants reported experiencing physical abuse, such as being spanked with a belt, and/or psychological abuse that resulted in feelings of low self-esteem. Abandonment by one or both parents was also expressed by one-quarter of participants.
As participants discussed their resilience to childhood trauma, five recurring themes emerged:
- Spirituality and faith in God. Fourteen participants indicated that their spirituality was an important factor in overcoming their traumatic experience.
- Supportive others. Twelve stated that having at least one support person (family, friend, and/or other adult in the community) was very important to them and their recovery.
- Therapeutic relationships. Eleven participants sought the help of school counselors and therapists during childhood and adulthood.
- Self-determination. Eight participants strongly believed that they willed themselves to be resilient, healthy adults.
- Expressive writing. Four coped with their traumatic childhoods by writing down their feelings in the form of poetry or journaling.
In Their Own Voices: Trauma Survivors' Experiences in Overcoming Childhood Trauma, by Jennifer Ann Morrow, Sharon Clayman, and Bonnie McDonagh, is available on the Sage Open journals website:
Spotlight on National Adoption Month
Spotlight on Creating a More Equitable Child Welfare System
News From the Children's Bureau
The newest article in our second Centennial Series focuses on the Children's Bureau's role in establishing juvenile court standards. We also highlight new application and eligibility criteria for waiver demonstration projects.
- Children's Bureau Centennial Video
As part of its yearlong centennial celebration, the Children's Bureau released a commemorative video honoring its rich history of protecting children and strengthening families. The new video, The Children's Bureau, 1912–2012: A Passionate Commitment. A Legacy of Leadership, features current Bureau staff speaking passionately about their commitment to the Children's Bureau's mission and how that passion translates into better outcomes for children, families, and communities. The video also highlights some of the important work of the Bureau throughout its 100-year history.
The video is available on the Children's Bureau's centennial website:
In addition to the centennial video, the first in the four-part historical webinar series about the Children's Bureau's programs and activities is available on the centennial website. "The Story of the Children’s Bureau, The Early Years: 1912–1937" featured the first 25 years of CB's work to reduce maternal and child deaths, improve maternal and child health, eradicate child labor, and offer relief from Depression-era conditions.
The webinar, transcript, and presentation slides are available on the centennial website:
- Child Welfare Waiver Demonstration Projects
The Child and Family Services Improvement and Innovation Act (Public Law 112-34), signed into law by the President on September 30, 2011, renewed the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' (HHS's) authority to approve demonstration projects designed to test innovative strategies in child welfare programs. HHS has the authority to approve up to 10 new child welfare waiver demonstration projects in each of the fiscal years 2012-2014.
New application and eligibility criteria, as outlined in the law, are as follows:
- Tribal Eligibility: An Indian Tribe, Tribal organization, or consortium approved to operate a title IV-E program is eligible to apply to conduct demonstration projects.
- Duration of Demonstration Projects: New demonstration projects may be conducted for up to 5 years, and extended with HHS approval. However, all current and new projects must end by September 30, 2019.
- Goals of Demonstration Projects: Applicants must demonstrate that the proposed project is designed to accomplish one or more of the following goals:
- To increase permanency by reducing time in foster care and promote successful transition to adulthood for older youth
- To increase positive outcomes for infants, children, and families in their homes and communities, including Tribal communities, and improve the safety and well-being of infants, children, and youth
- To prevent child abuse and neglect and reentry into care (section 1130(a)(3)(A) of the Act)
To be approved to conduct a demonstration project, the title IV-E agency must implement at least two "child welfare program improvement policies" within 3 years of the application. One of the program improvement policies may have been implemented prior to the submission of the application, but at least one policy must be new. The policies are listed in statute and include, but are not limited to, extending title IV-E assistance up to age 21, electing to operate a title IV-E guardianship assistance program, establishing a child welfare bill of rights for children in foster care, and implementing plans for meeting the comprehensive health and mental health care needs of children in foster care through such means as ensuring that the child has a medical home and regular wellness medical visits, and when appropriate, addressing the issue of trauma.
Guidance for title IV-E agencies interested in submitting a proposal for a demonstration waiver was released via an Information Memorandum (ACYF-CB-IM-12-05 2) on May 14, 2012, which is available on the Children's Bureau's website:
Areas of priority for Waiver Demonstrations include:
- Producing positive well-being outcomes for children, youth, and their families, with particular attention to addressing the trauma experienced by children who have been abused and/or neglected
- Enhancing the social and emotional well-being of children and youth who are available for adoption, as well as those who have been adopted, with a particular emphasis on those children who have been waiting the longest or are hardest to place in order to achieve and sustain successful adoptions
- Yielding more than modest improvements in the lives of children and families and contribute to the evidence base
- Leveraging the involvement of other resources and partners to make improvements concurrently through child welfare and related program areas, including proposals to establish financial incentives based on the achievement of positive child outcomes
Other recently released Information Memoranda that may inform the priorities include:
- IM-12-04 (PDF - 150 KB): Issued: April 17, 2012. Promoting Social and Emotional Well-Being for Children and Youth Receiving Child Welfare Services.
- IM-12-03 (PDF - 474 KB): Issued: April 11, 2012. Promoting the Safe, Appropriate, and Effective Use of Psychotropic Medication for Children in Foster Care.
- Centennial Series: The Children's Bureau and Juvenile Court Standards (1922-1932)
This is the second article in our second Centennial Series, CB Decade-by-Decade. These articles will examine highlights from each decade of the Children's Bureau's first 100 years. The first Centennial Series addressed some of the social issues, practices, and policies that laid the groundwork for the creation of the Children's Bureau.
The juvenile justice system we know today operates on a foundation that grew from the early efforts of the Children's Bureau. After its creation in 1912, the Children's Bureau's immediate work focused on maternal and infant mortality; however, investigating and reporting on juvenile courts was also part of its legislative mandate. The first Children's Bureau Chief Julia Lathrop and other early chiefs fought for a system of standards that recognized America's children were developmentally different from adults and deserved a chance at rehabilitation and treatment in lieu of punishment.
The establishment of juvenile courts paralleled the creation and early years of the Children's Bureau, and both of these institutions reflected society's changing views of children. The first juvenile court was established in 1899 in Chicago, IL. Forty-five States had followed suit by 1920. These courts often addressed problems with domestic relations pertaining to children who had become dependent on the State due to parental death, desertion, or negligence. These new courts operated under the British concept of parens patriae (the State as parent), which maintains that childhood is a time deserving of public protection and care (Lindenmeyer, 1997).
Not all children ended up in juvenile court as a result of parents' death or desertion. Some children were brought before a judge with a criminal charge. Even then, a child's foray into crime was often attributed to poor home life. In 1918, the Children's Bureau released the report Juvenile Delinquency in Certain Countries at War: A Brief Review of Available Foreign Sources. The report highlighted anecdotal evidence of increased rates of juvenile delinquency in England, Germany, France, Italy, and other countries during World War I (Lathrop, 1918). It was argued that the increase was the result of fathers sent to the frontlines, mothers working outside the home, and overcrowded schools. Juvenile delinquency was a social issue, not a criminal one.
Despite the growing number of juvenile courts, there were no uniform standards for jurisdiction or practices. Fourteen States passed juvenile court laws that extended to children 16 and younger; 13 States extended jurisdiction through age 17; and 17 States to children 18 years of age (Lindenmeyer, 1997). To gain a better understanding of current practices, the Children's Bureau, with support from the National Probation Association, conducted the first nationwide survey of juvenile courts. The study asserted that the classification of juvenile court was reserved for those that had the following (Rosenthal, 1986):
- Hearings for children that were separate from hearings for adults
- A chancery procedure rather than a criminal procedure
- Regular probation services for investigation and supervision
- Separate detention for juveniles
- A system for recording information on case records
- Provisions for conducting physical and mental examinations
The survey was sent to 2,391 courts, and all but 300 responded; however, the responses were underwhelming. Just 45 percent of courts had adopted provisions for probation, and less than half of these had full-time probation officers. Only 23 judges nationwide reported spending all of their time on juvenile court cases (Rosenthal, 1986). The results drove the Children's Bureau to conduct more studies that would set the stage for the development of uniform standards for juvenile courts. One such study—the results of which were published in 1925 in the report Juvenile Courts at Work A Study of the Organization and Methods of Ten Courts—examined 10 juvenile courts in different areas of the country that served populations between 100,000 and 1 million.
Julia Lathrop—who established the precedent of consulting with experts in the field—promoted articles written by juvenile justice experts. Charles Chute from the National Probation Association authored Probation in Children's Courts: A Monograph Prepared for the Children's Bureau, in which he wrote, "Society is at last beginning to see that there should be substituted for its system of prosecution, trial, and punishment—ineffectual to either prevent crime or cure the criminal—a system of investigation, diagnosis, and treatment, such has now been adopted, in theory and at least partially in practice, in the children's courts" (Chute, 1921).
The Children's Bureau and the National Probation Association held a national conference on juvenile court standards in June 1921 where Lathrop appointed a committee charged with generating standards for the courts. After 2 years and input from judges, probation officers, child welfare workers, and others, the committee submitted its final report in May 1923, and the standards were adopted. They mirrored the six requirements set forth in the early survey, in addition to outlining provisions regarding custody decisions, adoption cases, violations of school attendance, determination of paternity and child support, and other issues (Davis & Abbott, 1923). Based on these standards, the National Probation Association formed a committee that drafted a standard juvenile court law, which was approved at the 18th annual conference in 1924.
In 1926, the Children's Bureau began collecting nationwide juvenile court statistics and publishing annual reports on its findings. From 1913 to 1930, the Children's Bureau published 49 studies on juvenile delinquency and dependent children. The Children's Bureau's rigorous evaluation methods and insistence upon child protection in lieu of child punishment created a foundation on which the juvenile justice system stands today (Lindenmeyer, 1997; Rosenthal, 1986).
Chute, C. (1921). Probation in children's courts: Monograph prepared for the Children's Bureau. Washington DC: Government Printing Office. Retrieved from http://www.mchlibrary.info/history/chbu/21390.pdf (1.7 MB)
Davis, J., & Abbott, G. (1923). Juvenile-court standards: Report of the committee appointed by the Children's Bureau, August, 1921, to formulate juvenile-court standards. Adopted by a conference held under the auspices of the Children's Bureau and the National Probation Association. Washington DC: Government Printing Office. Retrieved from http://www.mchlibrary.info/history/chbu/20531-1923.PDF (804 KB)
Lathrop, J. (1918). Juvenile delinquency in certain countries at war: A brief review of available foreign sources. Washington, DC: Government Printing Office. Retrieved from http://books.google.com/books?id=xx7httNcTU0C&printsec=titlepage#v=onepage&q&f=false
Lindenmeyer, K. (1997). A right to childhood: The U.S. Children's Bureau and child welfare, 1912-46. Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press.
Rosenthal, M. (1986). The Children's Bureau and the Juvenile Court: Delinquency Policy, 1912–1940. Social Service Review, 60(2) pp. 303–318. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/30012344
- 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:
- Status of Program Improvement Plans
http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb/cwmonitoring/general_info/pipstatus.pdf (161 KB)
- PI-12-04 – The purpose of this Program Instruction (PI) is to set forth the requirements for recipients of Community-Based Grants for the fiscal year 2012 Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect awards, and provide guidance on the application submission.
http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb/laws_policies/policy/pi/2012/pi1204.pdf (660 KB)
- PI-12-07 – The purpose of this PI is to provide additional guidance on the implementation of the annual credit report requirements and submission or resubmission of section 2.D.6 of the title IV-E plan amendment.
http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb/laws_policies/policy/pi/2012/pi1207.pdf (936 KB)
- IM-12-05 – The purpose of this Information Memorandum is to announce that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is inviting title IV-E agencies to submit proposals for new child welfare waiver demonstration projects for consideration in fiscal years 2012-2014.
http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb/laws_policies/policy/im/2012/im1205.pdf (425 KB)
- Child Welfare Policy Manual Update – A question regarding the title IV-E foster care participation rate for claiming title IV-E Foster Care program administrative costs was added.
Visit the Children's Bureau website often to see what's new!
- Status of Program Improvement Plans
- Tribe to Operate Child Welfare Services
The Port Gamble S'Klallam Tribe in Washington recently became the first Tribe in the nation allowed under new Federal rules to operate its own foster care, adoption, and other child welfare services. This shift in control over child welfare services is a result of the Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008.
Prior to the passage of Fostering Connections, States made decisions regarding guardianship. Fostering Connections gave Tribes the right to apply for child welfare funding directly from the Federal Government through title IV-E of the Social Security Act and manage their own child welfare services.
Now, the Port Gamble S'Klallam Tribe can evaluate child abuse and neglect reports and operate its own foster care, adoption assistance, child support, and Temporary Assistance to Needy Families programs. The Tribe also plans to develop, in partnership with the State of Washington, a Medicaid and food benefits eligibility pilot program for Tribal members in Kitsap County.
For more information, read the Tribe's press release:
- More information on the Tribe, its history, government, culture, and people is available on the Tribe website:
- For information on the Fostering Connections title IV-E provisions, visit the Administration for Children, Youth and Families website: http://www.acf.hhs.gov/ebrochure2011/ACYF_CBPage4.htm
- Children's Bureau Express last wrote about the Port Gamble S'Klallam Tribe in "Tribal-State Agreement Benefits Children" (March 2009).
- More information on the Tribe, its history, government, culture, and people is available on the Tribe website:
- ACYF Issues Guidance on Well-Being
The Administration on Children, Youth and Families (ACYF) is promoting the social and emotional well-being of children and youth who have experienced maltreatment and trauma and are receiving child welfare services. To focus on social and emotional well-being is to attend to children's behavioral, emotional, and social functioning—those skills, capacities, and characteristics that enable young people to understand and navigate their world in healthy, positive ways. This approach can significantly improve outcomes for children while they receive child welfare services and after their cases have closed.
ACYF recently released the Information Memorandum (ACYF-CB-IM-12-04) Promoting Social and Emotional Well-Being for Children and Youth Receiving Child Welfare Services. The IM provides guidance to child welfare agencies looking to expand their capacity to make meaningful and measurable changes in social and emotional well-being for children who have experienced maltreatment, trauma, and/or exposure to violence. The document:
- Articulates the impact of maltreatment on the health and well-being of children
- Demonstrates opportunities in the current policy framework and current available resources for attending to well-being
- Suggests strategies for transitioning child welfare systems toward a greater focus on social and emotional well-being
- Emphasizes the use of screening, functional assessment, and effective interventions
- Provides a list of Federal resources to aid States, Tribes, and territories in this work
The Information Memorandum is available on the Children's Bureau website:
http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb/laws_policies/policy/im/2012/im1204.pdf (149 KB)
Read about a one-stop-shop resource center for child welfare professionals and agencies working with transitioning youth 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 several updates to the following publications:
- The Risk and Prevention of Maltreatment of Children With Disabilities
- Child Maltreatment 2010: Summary of Key Findings
- Child Abuse and Neglect Fatalities 2010: Statistics and Interventions
- Foster Care Statistics 2010
- How the Child Welfare System Works
Information Gateway also posted a new publication, State vs. County Administration of Child Welfare Services:
- The Risk and Prevention of Maltreatment of Children With Disabilities
- The National Abandoned Infants Assistance Resource Center (AIA) posted two new factsheets:
- Women and Children With HIV/AIDS
http://aia.berkeley.edu/media/factsheets/AIAFactSheet_WomenWithHIV_2012.pdf (844 KB)
- Prenatal Substance Exposure
http://aia.berkeley.edu/media/factsheets/AIAFactSheet_PrenatalSubExposure_2012.pdf (707 KB)
- Women and Children With HIV/AIDS
- The National Child Welfare Resource Center for Organizational Improvement (NCROI) will host a webinar on June 19 focused on the critical role that coaches, supervisors, and managers play in supporting practice change. Register here:
- The National Child Welfare Workforce Institute (NCWWI) launched two new training modules for child welfare supervisors. The six-part competency-based leadership program is part of the Leadership Academy for Supervisors. The Take the Lead program is a series of shorter skill-based modules. More information and enrollment forms are available on the NCROI website:
- The National Data Archive on Child Abuse and Neglect recently released the dataset for the Fourth National Incidence Study of Child Abuse and Neglect (NIS-4):
- The National Quality Improvement Center on Differential Response (QIC-DR) posted a Request for Applications (RFA) for up to two $25,000 scholarships to support doctoral research on differential response. The applications are due by June 29, 2012, and will be awarded in September 2012. The RFA is available on the QIC-DR's website:
http://www.differentialresponseqic.org/assets/docs/final-dd-rfa-march-2012-with.pdf (424 KB)
A list of questions and responses regarding the RFA is also available:
- The National Resource Center for Child Protective Services (NRCCPS) posted materials from the annual State Liaison Officers/Children's Justice Act meeting in April:
- The National Resource Center for Child Welfare Data and Technology (NRC-CWDT) published a new edition of Tips, Tools, and Trends "Picking Solutions that Work":
- The National Resource Center for In-Home Services (NRC In-Home) released a new publication, In-Home Services for Families of LGBTQ Youth:
http://nrcinhome.socialwork.uiowa.edu/resources/documents/LGBTissuebriefwithpractice.pdf (837 KB)
- The National Resource Center for Permanency and Family Connections (NRCPFC) posted its previously recorded webinar, in addition to other materials, "Engaging Child Welfare, Education, and Judicial Stakeholders at the State and Local Levels":
The webinar was the first in a series being offered to State team members and participants in the Child Welfare, Education and the Courts: A Collaboration to Strengthen Educational Successes of Children and Youth in Foster Care meeting. Read more about the collaborative group:
The NRCPFC also posted the spring issue of its newsletter, Permanency Planning Today. The issue is the first in a two-part series on evidence-based practice:
- The National Resource Center for Recruitment and Retention of Foster and Adoptive Parents at AdoptUSKids (NRCRRFAP) published a new tip sheet about dealing with depression in adopted teens. Depression in Teens Who Were Adopted: What Families Need to Know is available on the AdoptUSKids website:
http://wiadopt.org/Portals/WIAdopt/Tipsheets/PhysicalMental/TeenDepression.pdf (215 KB)
The NRCRRFAP also posted Agency Readiness Assessment for Interjurisdictional Placements:
- The National Resource Center on Legal and Judicial Issues (NRCLJI) has a new URL:
- The Technical Assistance Partnership for Child and Family Mental Health (TA Partnership) posted the April/May issue of the TA Partnership newsletter:
- Child Welfare Information Gateway posted several updates to the following publications:
- Court Measures of Well-Being
The National Child Welfare Resource Center on Legal and Judicial Issues (NRCLJI) has been working with the National Center for State Courts (NCSC) to propose measures that courts can use to assess well-being outcomes for children and youth in foster care. Some of the collaboration's early work focused on measures of education well-being outcomes and, more recently, the group released proposed measures of physical and emotional well-being outcomes.
In May, the NRCLJI and the NCSC held an interactive webcast to discuss the proposed measures. Gene Flango and Nora Sydow of the NCSC provided the introduction to the discussion. Panel members included Eva Klain, Director, Child and Adolescent Health at American Bar Association Center on Children and the Law; the Hon. Robert Hoffmann, Associate Judge, Child Protection Court of the Hill Country, Mason County, TX; and Sandra Moore, Administrator, Office of Children and Families in the Court, Pennsylvania. David Kelly of the Children's Bureau, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, was the moderator.
An audience of judges, court improvement staff, court administrators, child welfare administrators, and medical and mental health practitioners participated in the discussion of the 18 proposed outcome measures for physical and emotional well-being. These measures included health screenings, mental health evaluations, preventive health care and immunizations, sibling placement and visitation, parent visitation, and transition planning for youth aging out of care.
A complete list of the proposed outcome measures is available on the State Justice Institute website:
A paper on the topic, Court Performance Measures for Children, produced by the NRCLJI and the NCSC is also available:
- Solutions to Help Transitioning Youth
The National Resource Center for Youth Development (NRCYD) hosts a one-stop-shop resource center for child welfare professionals and agencies working with transitioning youth. The Solutions Desk website provides practice models, reports, statistics and the latest research about transitioning youth, and a bevy of resources to enhance collaboration. Funded by the Children's Bureau, Solutions Desk is a service of the Interagency Working Group on Youth Programs (IWGYP), a 12-agency consortium.
The Solutions Desk's Collaborative Models Library features materials used to develop a multipartner collaborative, including sample mission statements, collaboration plans, and implementation benchmarks; tools for youth and community assessment; resources for collaborative youth service-delivery systems; State and Federal grant applications; and more.
The Community of Practice section provides materials to enhance collaboration and information sharing. To bolster these efforts, the Solutions Desk hosts monthly Community of Practice calls where participants discuss and share strategies and other information to enhance service delivery.
Child welfare professionals looking for the latest information on issues involving transitioning youth can consult the Transitioning Youth section. Research is also available on court-involved youth, youth at risk of court involvement, Native American youth, youth with disabilities, and the lesbian, gay, transgendered, and questioning youth population.
Strategies for building and sustaining partnerships, a list of relevant blogs and discussion forums on youth workforce connections, and a link to the National Association of Counsel for Children are available in the Resources section of the Solutions Desk.
The Solutions Desk is facilitated and coordinated by the National Resource Center for Youth Development, a service of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Children's Bureau, and is available on the NRCYD website:
CBX featured the Solutions Desk after it launched in 2008. Read "The Shared Youth Vision: Collaboration at All Levels."
Site visit reports in this month's CBX highlight a comprehensive family assessment project in Alabama and diligent recruitment efforts in Missouri. We also provide information on new funding announcements.
- Site Visit: Shifting Alabama's Assessment Focus to Safety
Through a 5-year Children's Bureau discretionary grant funded in 2007, Alabama's Department of Human Resources (ADHR) is implementing a family-centered comprehensive assessment process (CAP) aimed at shifting case planning from incident-driven to safety-focused. The structured intervention process in three pilot counties includes four objectives:
- Evidence-based documentation of results
- Evidence-based implementation of assessment methods
- Rigorous evaluation of the relationship between CAP and improved outcomes
- Implementation of a statewide CAP plan based on evaluation and outcomes
The three pilot counties—Baldwin, Escambia, and Mobile—represent varied populations and different socioeconomic and cultural issues and challenges. Baldwin County, considered one of the fastest growing counties in the State, has high rates of substance abuse, particularly crystal meth. Mobile County, Alabama's second largest county, experiences common urban issues such as violence, crime, and homelessness. Rural Escambia County is home to the State's only federally recognized Tribe and contends with a lack of resources and services.
The CAP process is composed of four evaluation stages:
- The Intake Assessment (IA) evaluates reported threats to child safety, identifies parental or caregiver protective skills, and assesses the prevalence of danger. The Intake process focuses on two service objectives—establishing a point of contact within the community to express concerns and identifying unsafe children and families.
- The Family Functioning-Safety Assessment (FFA) evaluates alleged maltreatment and drives the CAP process. During FFA, workers assess practice indicators to evaluate whether children are unsafe and need protection and whether parents or caregivers need continued services.
- The Protective Capacity Family Assessment (PCFA)-Individual Service Plan, which is concurrent with the FFA, serves as the State's Individual Service Plan and directly involves caregivers in case planning. Alabama's DHR believes raising awareness and engaging in conversation with caregivers about needed change increases protective abilities.
- The Protective Capacity Progress Assessment (PCPA) follows case planning and measures progress toward increased protective capacities. The ongoing PCPA monitors case plan goal achievement, reconfirming safety plan sufficiency, caregiver motivational readiness, and stages of change, all of which are mutually agreed upon between workers and caregivers.
The State's new Statewide Automated Child Welfare Information System (SACWIS) and CAP were rolled out simultaneously—each using different terminology, definitions, and decision-making criteria—which proved to be a significant barrier in the pilot program. Additionally, worker turnover and budget constraints that prevented new hires were also challenges.
Keys to success included:
- Increased investment and collaboration with community leaders and judicial partners
- Training aimed at making supervisors experts on CAP prior to model rollout to ensure better guidance for workers
- An approach to teaching CAP that fosters greater understanding of how the intake process supports and is connected to case closures
A comprehensive evaluation of the CAP project is planned that will include comparisons to outcomes in three matched counties where standard comprehensive family assessment and individualized service plan practices were implemented. Other evaluation components will include focus groups, surveys, and interviews.
For more information about this project, contact Sue Ash, Child Protection Services Program Manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The full site visit report will be posted on the Child Welfare Information Gateway website:
The Alabama Comprehensive Assessment Process is funded by the Children's Bureau (Award 90CA1751). 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 new funding opportunity announcements (FOA) for FY 2012.
- Tribal Court Improvement Program HHS-2012-ACF-ACYF-CS-0323
- Family Connection Grants: Combination Family-finding/Family Group Decision-making Projects HHS-2012-ACF-ACYF-CF-0271
- Family Connection Grants: Comprehensive Residential Family Treatment Projects HHS-2012-ACF-ACYF-CF-0511
- Family Connection Grants: Child Welfare/TANF Collaboration in Kinship Navigation Programs HHS-2012-ACF-ACYF-CF-0510
- Regional Partnership Grants to Increase the Well-Being of, and to Improve the Permanency Outcomes for, Children Affected by Substance Abuse HHS-2012-ACF-ACYF-CU-0321
- Initiative to Improve Access to Needs-Driven, Evidence-Based/Evidence-informed Mental and Behavioral Health Services in Child Welfare HHS-2012-ACF-ACYF-CO-0279
- Partnerships to Demonstrate the Effectiveness of Supportive Housing for Families in the Child Welfare System HHS-2012-ACF-ACYF-CA-0538
Information about planned FY 2012 FOAs is now available on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Grants Forecast website:
Please check the forecast site regularly, as forecasts are subject to change.
- Site Visit: Missouri Extreme Recruitment
In March 2008, the Missouri Children's Division (MCD) noted that the teen adoption program in St. Louis seemed to take an extremely long time to achieve permanency for youth in care. MCD realized that the typical efforts to find family members led to instability in the family. Due to these concerns, a coalition of partners developed an initiative to increase adoption, permanency, and reconnections. The Children's Bureau awarded a grant to the Foster and Adoptive Care Coalition (FACC), Children's Home Services, and the Adoption Exchange to deliver direct service through the Extreme Recruitment grant with the assistance of several other partnering organizations. The resulting Extreme Recruitment project is a collaborative effort among agencies to increase adoption, permanency, and reconnection.
Extreme Recruitment (ER) is a 12- to 20-week individualized recruitment effort that includes preparing youth for permanency; conducting a diligent search to reconnect youth with kin; and achieving permanency through concurrent general, targeted, and child-specific recruitment. It consists of public and private partnerships, including MCD staff, contracted case management agencies, and contracted providers of foster/adopt training and postpermanency support services. The grant includes components such as providing services to unite the family, supporting the family as a whole unit, working with parents to understand and address behaviors and cope with stress, establishing a sense of unity among family members, and allowing families to feel a sense of community and comfort.
The program adheres to the following 10 principles in its diligent recruitment efforts:
- No linear thinking. We try ALL recruitment tools at once. General recruitment is reactive; Extreme Recruitment is proactive.
- Get out from behind the desk! Diligent search is done in the field, talking to relatives. It is not done in front of a computer.
- Don't take "no" for an answer. Teenagers may say that they don't want to be adopted. Although they may not want to be adopted by a stranger, they DO want to be reconnected with their biological family. Youth never stop longing to get back to their birth families.
- The number of strangers we can recruit is finite; the number of relatives we can recruit is infinite. The average American has 300 living relatives.
- Biological family members are more likely to adopt kids with the toughest challenges. Family may have an advantage by already knowing the youth’s history and needs.
- Weekly meetings are necessary. Too much happens with Extreme Recruitment from week to week. If not, then the team is not trying hard enough.
- Consensus drives Extreme Recruitment, not 100 percent agreement. Hear everyone's viewpoint. If unanimous agreement is not reachable, go with the majority.
- Pay attention to educational issues. The youth and the preadoptive family have enough on their plates. Get the youth's educational concerns taken care of BEFORE the child is placed.
- Build trust with the family. The youth's biological family has suffered incredible loss and grief. Honor it. Apologize to the family for the hurt that the child welfare system has caused.
- It's not just about permanency; it's about identity. Long-term foster care strips youth of their identity. Extreme Recruitment gives it back.
For more information about this project, contact Sally Howard, Program Manager, Missouri Alliance of Children’s Agencies, at email@example.com, or visit the grantee's page on the AdoptUSKids website:
The full site visit report will be posted on the Child Welfare Information Gateway website:
The Missouri Extreme Recruitment Foster and Adoptive Care Coalition is funded by the Children's Bureau (Award #: 90-CO-10391). 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.
Child welfare news points to research on evidence-based treatments for traumatized youth and an intervention model for cases of chronic child neglect.
- Family Asset Builder
In 2009, Casey Family Programs (Casey) and the American Humane Association (AHA) partnered to develop a new intervention model for cases of chronic child neglect. The model, called the Family Asset Builder (FAB), was implemented in two Minnesota counties in February of 2011. It is a strengths-based, solution-focused approach that calls for chronic neglect workers with small caseloads to maintain frequent and consistent contact with affected families over an 18-month period. Casey recently published a report that summarizes the results from the second phase of the initiative's evaluation.
The report describes the successes and challenges from the first 9 months of the intervention from the perspective of the staff that were involved with the implementation. The second phase of the evaluation specifically used indepth interviews with the FAB workers and notes from monthly consultation calls. In contrast, the first phase focused on staff training, and the final phase will involve obtaining feedback from the parents who received the intervention.
The workers reported some perceived challenges to the implementation of the program, including concerns over slow referral rates, narrow eligibility criteria, program components overlapping with existing practice, and the need for more concrete tools, specific strategies, and training opportunities to enhance the model. The workers also noted many perceived successes. For instance, the model:
- Enabled workers to establish better working relationships with families and focus more productively on manageable goals
- Increased the likelihood that other agency workers would adapt some of the FAB model practices
- Fostered enthusiasm and consideration of changes across the agency
- Caused workers to feel pride and be energized by participation in the pilot program
- Gave workers a sense of accomplishment regarding the program's positive impact on families
Practitioners are using the findings from the evaluation to further inform the development and improvement of the model. The eventual goal is to share the updated model with the field.
The full report, An Evaluation of the Family Assessment Builder: A Child Protective Services Intervention for Addressing Chronic Neglect: Phase II Evaluation, is available on the Casey Family Program's website:
http://www.casey.org/Resources/Publications/pdf/FamilyAssetBuilder2_FR.pdf (1 MB)
- Medicaid Managed Care Toolkit
A new toolkit published by the Center for Health Care Strategies (CHCS)—Improving Outcomes for Children in Child Welfare: A Medicaid Managed Care Toolkit—offers States and communities strategies for improving collaboration between child welfare agencies and Medicaid managed care organizations (MCOs). Because children involved with child welfare experience more physical, emotional, and behavioral health conditions than the general population and have higher health care utilization rates, the toolkit addresses ways to improve child health outcomes through better access to and appropriate use of Medicaid services. Many professionals will find the information in the toolkit timely and relevant—not only do a majority of States offer Medicaid to children in child welfare, but more are likely to do so as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 extends health care coverage to former foster youth up to age 26.
The toolkit is based on the experiences of nine MCOs that participated in a CHCS Quality Improvement Collaborative funded by the Annie E. Casey Foundation from 2007 to 2009. Through the collaborative, the MCOs assessed child health care systems, then developed and implemented plans to improve coordination and services primarily for children in foster care and those with subsidized adoptions, serving 71,000 children overall. The toolkit contains lessons learned in the following areas:
- Increasing data quality on children in child welfare in order to identify and target those most in need of health services
- Creating greater continuity of health care for the highly mobile child welfare population by improving ease of access to screenings, assessments, and primary care services
- Coordinating numerous professionals serving children to ensure the development and execution of an effective health care plan
- Determining appropriate use of services and levels of care for children in child welfare, especially regarding psychotropic medication
- Breaking down systems-level barriers to collaboration among MCOs, child welfare agencies, and other organizations serving children, such as workforce training and information-sharing policies
- Engaging children's birth, kinship, and foster family members to ensure understanding and coordination of health care services
The toolkit identified several key "takeaways" for implementing a plan to improve Medicaid services for children in child welfare, such as fostering professional partnerships at all organizational levels, setting clear roles and responsibilities of partners, and reliably gathering and analyzing data in order to support continuous improvement. Because all the MCOs involved with the collaborative saw improvements in the health of children in child welfare, even in relatively short timeframes, the toolkit concludes by encouraging all States and communities to consider developing and implementing plans to improve outcomes for the children they serve.
The toolkit was written by K. D. Allen, S. A. Pires, and R. Mahadevan, and was edited by S. Chazin and A. Baruchin; it is available to download on the CHCS website:
http://www.chcs.org/usr_doc/Child_Welfare_Quality_Improvement_Collaborative_Toolkit.pdf (2 MB)
- June Is National Reunification Month
June 2012 marks the third annual National Reunification Month, a time to raise awareness about the importance of reuniting children and families after experiencing foster care. It is also a time to celebrate the professionals that help make reunification possible. National Reunification Month is sponsored by the American Bar Association's (ABA's) Center on Children and the Law.
Celebrations will take place throughout the month of June across the country, with most events occurring on Father's Day, June 17, 2012.
As part of the celebration and in acknowledgement of the work done by children, families, and the professionals that serve them, ABA is asking for nominations of Reunification Heroes. Nominations can include parents, professionals, or youth who made heroic reunification efforts. Nominees' stories will be published on the Center on Children and the Law website. Submit a nomination here:
The National Reunification Month website provides several resources to help communities plan and promote their celebrations, including a sample event planning timeline, sample media outreach materials, sample proclamations, highlights from the 2011 National Reunification Month, and more.
National Reunification Month is being promoted by a number of national organizations, including the National Association of Counsel for Children, the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, Casey Family Programs, Rise Magazine, the National Center for State Courts, and the American Humane Association.
For more information and to register a community National Reunification Month celebration, visit ABA's Center for Children and the Law:
- Treatment Network for Traumatized Youth
North Dakota's efforts to create a statewide network of treatment providers for traumatized youth are described in a recent article published in Behaviour Research and Therapy. A coalition of universities, research institutes, and State and community-level mental health agencies formed the Treatment Collaborative for Traumatized Youth (TCTY) in 2006 after they determined that North Dakota's abused and neglected children were not receiving adequate evidence-based treatments to reduce the impact of the psychological trauma they experienced. The TCTY also aimed to remedy the fact that the State did not have a central organization to coordinate mental health services for traumatized children and youth.
Contributors to the TCTY set out to identify appropriate child-focused, evidence-based trauma therapy, develop a system to efficiently disseminate treatment options to clinicians, and monitor outcomes for children and youth receiving treatment. The TCTY's structure was based on the National Child Traumatic Stress Network's "learning collaborative" model, in which one coordinating center oversees collaboration between academic centers that design and disseminate evidence-based treatments and State and community organizations that provide mental health services to children and their families.
TCTY researchers implemented two evidence-based treatment models: Structured Psychotherapy for Adolescents Responding to Chronic Stress (SPARCS) and Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT). The TCTY organized its efforts to implement these treatment models statewide in several phases, including:
- Invite clinicians to receive training, assign readings, and hold a pretraining conference call
- Offer a 2-day training workshop for clinicians and provide 6 months of posttraining support
- Identify and prepare a subset of clinicians to serve as trainers in their own communities and establish local training teams
- Solidify the data collection system to gather assessment results and outcomes for children and youth receiving treatment
The authors of the article identified certain areas in which the TCTY experienced difficulties, particularly data collection problems due to insufficient time and resources of clinical staff to input data as well as children dropping out of the program or being inaccessible due to frequent moves. Despite these setbacks, the TCTY has shown promising results, having trained 100 clinicians and treated nearly 600 children. To support continuous improvement, the TCTY now holds an annual training conference for clinicians and others involved in children's treatment and has developed a web-based system for treatment providers to more easily input data. North Dakota's Department of Human Services has entered into a more formal partnership with the TCTY to expand its dissemination of evidence-based treatments, including offering training to child protection workers and foster parents to better understand traumatized children's treatment needs.
"Evidence-Based Mental Health Interventions for Traumatized Youth: A Statewide Dissemination Project" was written by S. A. Wonderlich et al. and was published in Behaviour Research and Therapy, 49, 2011. It is available on the ScienceDirect website:
- Talking With Caring Adults
The California Department of Social Services has created two conversation guides to accompany a series of four videos about aging out of the foster care system: Talking With Caring Adults: A Conversation Guide for Foster Youth and Talking With Emerging Adults: A Conversation Guide for Caregivers, Social Workers, Probation Officers, Attorneys and CASAs. The videos and guides are a part of the After 18 campaign, aimed at explaining new Fostering Connections legislation to youth in foster care who are about to turn 18 and may age out of the foster care system.
In 2010, the California Fostering Connections to Success Act was signed in to law, allowing foster youth to remain in the system until the age of 20. This new law will allow foster youth to continue to receive support by giving them extra time to work on their education or employment goals and build relationships with trusting adults.
In order to help youth and their caregivers make informed decisions about options, the After 18 campaign created four videos to explain the new legislation and the choices that come with it. The four videos are titled Overview, Probation, Placement, and Eligibility and are available on YouTube:
After watching the videos, foster youth and their caregivers are encouraged to follow the talking points in the corresponding guides to help direct conversation toward important questions and topics prior to making any decisions.
Talking With Caring Adults: A Conversation Guide for Foster Youth is available on the FosteringConnections.org website:
http://www.fosteringconnections.org/tools/assets/files/Youth-GuideFINAL3-12.pdf (160 KB)
Talking With Emerging Adults: A Conversation Guide for Caregivers, Social Workers, Probation Officers, Attorneys and CASAs is also available on the FosteringConnections.org website:
http://www.fosteringconnections.org/tools/assets/files/CaregiverGuideFINAL3-12.pdf -(153 KB)
- Notifications Field Guide
A new field guide from the State of Alaska Health and Social Services, Office of Children's Services (OCS), outlines the processes and activities required for notifications of an intent to change placement or a change of placement of children in foster care. The processes are intended to ensure that child welfare staff deliver timely and accurate notifications to legal parties involved in child welfare cases.
The 17-page guide includes a visual process map—with detailed steps—and activity sheets. Key definitions and frequently asked questions are also presented.
Field Guide: A Visual Process Guide for Noticing: Intent to Change Placement and Change of Placement, by Christy Lawton, is available on the OCS website:
http://www.hss.state.ak.us/ocs/Publications/pdf/fieldguide.pdf (717 KB)
- New Issue of Judges' Page
The most recent statistics indicate that approximately half of the children entering foster care are younger than age 5. As a result, State court judges increasingly are called upon to make decisions for the safety, permanency, and well-being of these particularly vulnerable children. The latest issue of the newsletter The Judges' Page presents an array of articles and resources to support judges who work with the families of babies, toddlers, and young children involved in dependency court proceedings.
For this issue, Lucy Hudson, director of the Safe Babies Court Teams Project at ZERO TO THREE, collected 18 articles written by judges, professors, psychologists, parents, and others. Some of the articles feature the work of State and local courts, including:
- The Court Teams for Maltreated Infants and Toddlers Initiative teams a judge with a community coordinator to convene representatives from the local child welfare system, legal system, and service providers to form a team to address the developmental needs of young children in the child welfare system. The initiative has had a significant effect on how quickly children exit the foster care system.
- Preremoval conferences in Iowa bring together parents and their support system in meetings to discuss a plan for removal, thereby reducing trauma to children and accelerating the permanency process.
- The Family Wellness Court for Infants and Toddlers is a collaborative approach to service delivery and dependency case monitoring that is designed to provide effective services to parents who are addicted to drugs and at risk of losing custody of their young children.
- "Helping Babies from the Bench" is a 1-day training seminar focused on the development of abused and neglected infants and toddlers and on court improvement practices that would ensure the best possible outcomes are achieved for these children.
- The Polk County (Iowa) Model Court's Fatherhood Initiative has implemented changes in the way child welfare cases proceed to identify and engage fathers more effectively.
- In the Parent Partner program parents who have successfully completed drug and/or alcohol treatment are recruited by the professionals who have worked with them. These Parent Partners then work to support parents currently facing the challenge of treatment.
Other articles address issues that can be factors in dependency cases, including the value of understanding the developmental needs of infant and toddlers, the impact of fetal alcohol spectrum disorder or childhood sexual abuse on child and family functioning, and the need to understand the cultural context of court-involved families, particularly African-American and Native American families.
The Judges' Page newsletter is published by the National CASA Association and the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges. This issue is available on the National CASA Association's website:
- Well-Being Evaluation Tool
The New Mexico Court Improvement Project website provides a Well-Being Checklist as a part of its Child Protection Best Practices Bulletin series. The goal of the checklist is to stimulate conversation among those involved in a specific child welfare case and provide information that will benefit the well-being and overall health of the child.
The "Well-Being Checklist" is a set of questions intended for child welfare professionals and related professionals working with children and families, ranging from judges and other court staff to caseworkers or CASA volunteers. The bulletin explains how professionals in different roles can use the checklist to best benefit the child. Well-being is defined across seven parameters, and questions are provided for evaluating well-being within each category:
- Preserving connections
- Enhancing family capacity to provide for the children
- Providing services to meet physical health needs
- Providing services to meet mental health needs
- Providing services to meet educational and developmental needs
- Helping older youth transition
- Evaluating parental substance abuse and treatment
Download the Well-Being Checklist:
The full list of Child Protection Best Practices Bulletins is available on the New Mexico Court Improvement Project website:
- Mental Health Rights Tip Sheet
Transitions RTC, a project of the Center for Mental Health Services Research at the University of Massachusetts, has produced several informative tip sheets for youth. My Mental Health Rights on Campus aims to ease youth's fears about attending college with a mental health condition. My "Must Have" Papers provides youth with tips for obtaining and protecting important personal information.
College students with a mental health condition may be anxious about having to face potential stigmatization and discrimination on campus. My Mental Health Rights on Campus highlights some common areas of concern for college students struggling with a psychological or psychiatric disorder. Using a question-and-answer format to meet the specific information needs of this population, the guide explores the following topics:
- Disciplinary measures and avenues for appeal
- Medications' management and forced medication
- Academic accommodations
- Mandatory leave of absences
- Confidentiality and disclosure
The tip sheet also outlines available supports and services, including referrals to 24-hour telephone hotlines for crisis support counseling, as well as resources ranging from to mental health care to student run organizations.
My Mental Health Rights on Campus tip sheet is available on the University of Massachusetts Medical School website:
http://labs.umassmed.edu/transitionsRTC/Resources/publications/RightsonCampusTipSheet5.pdf (466 KB)
My "Must Have" Papers uses a checklist format to help youth gather and file important personal records, including birth certificates, Social Security cards, education documents, medical information, and more. The tip sheet also provides youth with information about where to obtain these documents and which information should never be disclosed or shared.
My "Must Have" Papers is also available on the University of Massachusetts Medical School website:
http://labs.umassmed.edu/transitionsRTC/Resources/publications/PersonalInformationTipSheet.pdf (378 KB)
- Updated Community Services Locator
The Maternal and Child Health Library at Georgetown University released a new edition of its Community Services Locator, an online directory of community service organizations geared toward helping children and families. The locator is composed of topical sections that include financial support, family support, and child care, and the locator includes national, State, and local resources. Professionals are encouraged to use the locator in conjunction with Where to Seek Help: A Bright Futures Referral Tool for Providers to create a custom resource directory.
Where to Seek Help: A Bright Futures Referral Tool for Providers can be found on Georgetown University's Bright Futures website:
A Spanish version is also available:
The Community Services Locator is available on the Maternal and Child Health Library’s website:
- Behavioral Issues and Child Welfare
A knowledge brief published by the Models for Change Initiative with support from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation explores how children with behavioral problems are served by the child welfare system. Researchers compared Washington State child welfare placement data with juvenile and adult arrest data. Analysis shows that youth who entered foster care because of behavioral problems—as opposed to youth who entered the system because of maltreatment—experienced more instability in care, were more often placed in group homes rather than with foster families, and were at an increased risk of arrest.
The authors discuss the implications for policy and practice and recommend increased collaboration between child welfare and juvenile justice systems.
How Well Is the Child Welfare System Serving Youths with Behavioral Problems? is available on the Models for Change Initiative website:
- NRC for Healthy Marriage, Families
A new resource center is promoting the value of integrating healthy marriage and relationship education skills with safety-net services to strengthen families.
The National Resource Center (NRC) for Healthy Marriage and Families is a service of the Office of Family Assistance, Administration for Children and Families, Department of Health and Human Services.
Safety-net services are those services provided by States, Tribes, localities, and social service agencies and include Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, child support, Head Start, child welfare services, and more. Families utilizing these services are often struggling to maintain or regain stability economically, emotionally, or socially. Integrating healthy relationship skills education with these social services benefits and strengthens children, youth, families, and communities.
The NRC's website offers professionals working with families an array of resources to facilitate program integration. The Virtual Resource Center and its library includes factsheets, handouts for families, research and statistics, practice briefs, curricula, and more. The NRC also offers customized training and technical assistance that includes best practices, research, resource information, and experienced-based strategies for integrating services.
For more information, visit the National Resource Center for Healthy Marriage and Families 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.
- Trauma-Informed Care Training
Oregon's Multnomah County posted materials from of its 2011 Trauma Informed Practice Training on the Oregon Judicial Department website.
The following presentations are available:
- Trauma Informed Care: Using Trauma Knowledge to Improve Practice in Criminal Justice and Dependency Systems
- Historical and Generational Trauma of African Americans
- Soul Wounding: The Continuing Effects of Historical Trauma and Unresolved Grief
- Ten Things Every Juvenile Court Judge Should Know About Trauma and Delinquency
These presentations and the agenda from the December 2011 conference are available here:
Upcoming national conferences on child welfare and adoption through August 2012 include:
- International Family Violence and Child Victimization Research Conference
Family Research Laboratory & Crimes Against Children Research Center
July 8–10, Portsmouth, NH
- National Association of Social Workers 2012 Conference
Restoring Hope: The Power of Social Work
National Association of Social Workers
July 22-25, Washington, DC
- 26th Annual Conference on Treatment Foster Care
Foster Family-Based Treatment Association
July 22–25, Atlanta, GA
- 2012 Training Institutes
The National Technical Assistance Center for Children's Mental Health
at Georgetown University Center for Child and Human Development
July 25–29, Orlando, FL
- 38th Annual NACAC Conference
Celebrating Families: Valuable Lessons From Children, Parents, and Professionals
North American Council on Adoptable Children
July 26–28, Crystal City, VA
- 35th National Child Welfare, Juvenile, and Family Law Conference
National Association of Counsel for Children
August 8–16, Chicago, IL
- West Coast Child Welfare Trainers Conference
University of Washington, School of Social Work
August 22–24, Seattle, WA
- 13th National Conference on Child Sexual Abuse and Exploitation Prevention
National Children's Advocacy Center
August 28–30, New Orleans, LA
- The 25th Annual National Independent Living Conference
Growing Pains 2012
Daniel Kids Foundation
September 4–7, Atlanta, GA
- Family Drug Court: A National Symposium to Improve Family Recovery, Safety and Stability
Children and Family Futures
September 5–9, Anaheim , CA
- Strengthening Connections Between Parents and Children Affected by Substance Abuse, HIV and Trauma
National Abandoned Infants Assistance Resource Center
September 10–12, Austin, TX
- Twelfth International Conference on Shaken Baby Syndrome / Abusive Head Trauma
National Center on Shaken Baby Syndrome
September 29–October 1, Boston, MA
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:
- International Family Violence and Child Victimization Research Conference
- Honor Our Voices
The University of Minnesota's School of Social Work added a new online training module to its list of professional development resources.
Honor Our Voices is presented by the Avon Foundation for Women, the Minnesota Center Against Violence and Abuse, and the Center for Advanced Studies in Child Welfare. It allows viewers to see and experience domestic violence through the eyes and voices of three children. The unique module aims to raise understanding of the effects of domestic violence on children. A downloadable guide for practice and a digital library of audio recordings of children's voices highlighting promising practices are also available.
Viewers who opt to take the quiz at the end of the module—and score an 80 percent or higher—are eligible for one continuing education credit at the cost of $15.
Honor Our Voices is available on the University of Minnesota School of Social Work website: