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December 2013Vol. 14, No. 9Spotlight on Youth

Of the nearly 400,000 children in foster care in the United States, many are between the ages of 12 and 17. This subsection of the foster care population has unique needs and faces distinct challenges. This month, CBX looks at the programs that monitor youth outcomes and encourage their social and emotional development, a report on one State's work to extend foster care to age 21, and a series of tip sheets for youth on addressing various life transitions.

Issue Spotlight

  • Medicaid to 26 for Youth in Care

    Medicaid to 26 for Youth in Care

    Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), youth aging out of foster care are eligible for retaining healthcare coverage under Medicaid through the age 26. A new issue brief by the State Policy Advocacy and Reform Center (SPARC) offers key steps for child welfare stakeholders on ensuring this extended coverage for youth.

    The brief notes that advocates should make themselves familiar with the content of the law and its regulations. Next, data can be used to inform legislators, State administrators, and community stakeholders on the importance of youth outreach, in addition to tracking enrollment. The brief also advises advocates to work with both Medicaid and child welfare staff in order to coordinate planning for procedures related to youth outreach and benefit provision.

    Once groundwork has been laid through knowledge acquisition, data gathering, and cross-organization collaboration, stakeholders can begin developing strategies for providing continuous Medicaid coverage to youth who leave care and for those who have already aged out of foster care but have not yet reached 26. Stakeholders should also work with legislators to ensure that youth who were in care in a different State are covered by the Medicaid plan of the State in which they currently reside.

    Once the ACA is fully implemented, it is important to track execution of the extended coverage provision. SPARC encourages those who have documented successes to share their effective strategies so that these approaches can be used to help others improve relevant outcomes for youth.

    As a supplement to the issue brief, SPARC also created a Medicaid Outreach Toolkit to facilitate outreach to youth. The toolkit offers examples of the types of materials that are likely to engage youth who have aged out of foster care.

    The issue brief, Medicaid to 26 for Youth in Foster Care: Key Steps for Advocates, is available here: (273 KB)

    The toolkit, Medicaid Outreach Toolkit, is available here: (209 KB)

  • Exploring, Reducing LGBT Youth Homelessness

    Exploring, Reducing LGBT Youth Homelessness

    Although the exact number of homeless youth in the United States is difficult to measure, it is estimated that between 2.4 million and 3.7 million children and youth are without homes. The subpopulation that is consistently overrepresented among homeless youth are those who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, and/or transgender (LGBT). In Seeking Shelter: The Experiences and Unmet Needs of LGBT Homeless Youth, the Center for American Progress provides information, data, and stories about homeless LGBT youth; characteristics of this population; causes of their homelessness; and  the services that are available to help them. The report also highlights what the Federal Government can do to help eliminate homelessness among LGBT youth.

    According to the report, multiple studies confirm that family rejection based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity is a significant driver of LGBT youth homelessness. The report also points to evidence suggesting that many of these youth come into contact with the child welfare and juvenile justice systems. Additionally, both the child welfare and juvenile justice systems often are ill equipped to appropriately meet the needs of this youth population.

    The report makes the following recommendations:

    • Reauthorize the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act with LGBT-specific provisions
    • Establish schools as a refuge for youth by eliminating bullying and harassment
    • Provide adequate funding to programs serving homeless youth to ensure continued provision of services
    • Strengthen home-based interventions to build strong and supportive families
    • Develop juvenile justice reform to protect LGBT youth from discriminatory treatment in the juvenile justice system

    Seeking Shelter: The Experiences and Unmet Needs of LGBT Homeless Youth, by Andrew Cray, Katie Miller, and Laura Durso, is available on the website for the Center for American Progress: (1 MB)

  • Tip Sheets for Transitioning Youth

    Tip Sheets for Transitioning Youth

    The National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability (NCWD) for Youth recently published a series of tip sheets that provide youth with action steps for dealing with various life transitions and challenges. Each tip sheet begins with a series of questions geared toward helping youth determine the degree to which each topic is relevant to their lives. The tip sheets then provide background information on the subject matter, including definitions of key terms and reasons that the youth should consider making progress within that domain. Specific action steps are provided, and the tip sheets conclude with helpful supplementary information, such as additional resources.

    The tip sheets cover the following six topics:

    The "Youth in Action!" tip sheet series is just one component of several youth development-focused publications offered by NCWD for Youth, all of which are available on the organization's website:

  • Young Adult Training &Technical Assistance Network

    Young Adult Training &Technical Assistance Network

    By Guadalupe Tovar, Program Development Specialist, and Clay Finck, Program Director, National Resource Center for Youth Development

    Although the youth voice and perspective have become more valued in child welfare, jurisdictions often lack a formalized mechanism for regular input from youth. The National Resource Center for Youth Development's (NRCYD's) Young Adult Training and Technical Assistance (YATTA) Network supports a partnership with young people to improve State and Tribal child welfare services. The YATTA Network is composed of over 90 young people, ages 18–24, who have had varying experiences as consumers of child welfare services and are engaged at different levels within the system to discuss programming and policy impacting youth in care.

    One of NRCYD's four core principles is youth development. We believe in a process that prepares young people to meet the challenges of adolescence and adulthood through a coordinated, progressive series of activities and experiences that help them become socially, morally, emotionally, physically, and cognitively competent. YATTA is one component of our work to meet this goal.

    The network is composed of former NRCYD interns, Outstanding Young Leaders, former FosterClub All-Stars, and current and former youth in care with extensive leadership experience. The network uses social media to facilitate communication among youth members, NRCYD staff, and other members of the Children's Bureau's T&TA Network. During regular member-specific webinars, members learn about and discuss issues facing State and Tribal child welfare systems, become oriented to the work of NRCYD, develop consultant skills, and learn about NRCYD's projects in which they may elect to participate. Network members are compensated for their work.

    NRCYD's primary stakeholders are the Independent Living Coordinators of each State and jurisdiction and, through them, the young people and families served in each State. In addition to our primary stakeholders, the YATTA Network has collaborated with the following organizations on a variety of opportunities:

    For the Children's Bureau, the YATTA Network provides a new way to hear and respond to the needs of the approximately 400,000 children and youth in foster care. For members, the network offers a cathartic opportunity to use their foster care experience to educate and impact systems.

    The YATTA Network has participated in a variety of projects, including contributing to the following publications:

    Our members also have contributed to the following national campaigns:

    We have co-facilitated meetings, advised on technical workgroups, and conducted site visits on federally funded projects, including the following:

    For more information on YATTA, its services, and how youth can become members, contact Guadalupe Tovar, NRCYD Program Development Specialist, at, or Clay Finck, NRCYD Program Director, at

  • Youth Advice on Staying Connected

    Youth Advice on Staying Connected

    A new video series for youth features at-risk teens sharing their stories and offering advice about successfully transitioning to independent living and staying connected to the people and programs that helped them. The series, "Keep in Touch: Young People Offer Advice on Staying Connected and Living Independently," was produced by the National Clearinghouse on Families and Youth, a free information service of the Family and Youth Services Bureau.

    In the first story, "Megan" details her experiences in a transitional living program for pregnant and parenting teens. In another video, "Juan" explains his journey from Colombia to being adopted by an American family to being homeless. Juan eventually found a transitional living program, and he received help from its staff in order to be self-sufficient. In each video, the teens offer tips to their peers. 

    These videos are available on the website for the National Clearinghouse on Families and Youth (about halfway down the page):

  • NYTD Implementation Continues

    NYTD Implementation Continues

    By Miguel Vieyra, Project Lead, and Elizabeth Mertinko, Senior Project Manager, National Youth in Transition Database

    As part of the John H. Chafee Foster Care Independence Program (CFCIP), the Children's Bureau was required to establish a system to track the services States provide to youth transitioning out of foster care and to collect information about outcomes experienced by youth at ages 17, 19, and 21. To meet this requirement, the National Youth in Transition Database (NYTD) was implemented in October 2011. Since then, NYTD data collection has helped advance a national goal of better understanding which Independent Living services are more likely to lead to positive outcomes for these young people. NYTD is also an exciting new opportunity to link other reporting systems, such as the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System, that provide information on the experiences of young people involved with child welfare.

    State Participation
    At this time, all States are collecting and reporting information semiannually to the NYTD system. In addition to collecting information on the services provided to transitioning youth, States have completed two waves of outcome surveys for youth in NYTD Cohort 1 (youth who turned 17 in foster care during Federal fiscal year 2011). States began surveying a second cohort of 17-year-old youth in foster care on October 1, 2013. As NYTD datasets are reviewed, updated, and finalized, they are available through the National Data Archive on Child Abuse and Neglect (NDACAN). The Children's Bureau also has released two data briefs based on NYTD data submissions:

    Youth Engagement
    Because a large portion of the dataset comes directly from youth through a survey, NYTD also is an exciting new opportunity to engage youth as partners in survey research, including dialogue, analysis, and dissemination of outcomes data. Consequently, meaningful youth engagement continues to be a hallmark of NYTD at the Federal level. Young people who were formerly in care participate in NYTD efforts in many ways. Along with State staff, young people serve on the NYTD Technical Working Group (TWG), a national team that provides input to the Children's Bureau on its efforts to promote the effective use of NYTD data for program and policy planning, effective youth engagement, and meaningful data dissemination to youth audiences. Trained youth reviewers have participated in all NYTD site visits, a new protocol to assess State implementation of NYTD data collection. Finally, young people have been involved in promoting the national collection and use of NYTD data. This spring, a group of young people assisted the Children's Bureau in producing a new video series about NYTD that will be used to inform various audiences about the purpose of NYTD data collection, including short videos targeted to youth, State child welfare agency staff, and the general public. These videos will be made available online later this fall.

    More information about NYTD is available on the Children's Bureau website:

    For questions regarding NYTD, please contact the Children's Bureau at

    Related Item

    Children's Bureau Express previously featured NYTD in the article "National Youth in Transition Database" in the March 2012 issue:

  • Extending Foster Care to 21 in California

    Extending Foster Care to 21 in California

    The Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008 allows States to extend title IV-E foster care eligibility for youth to age 21. In 2010, California became one of the first States to take advantage of this provision when its State Fostering Connections law was enacted (AB 12). A new report from Chapin Hall explores the State's planning process and implementation of the law.

    Examining the implementation of foster care extension in California is important for two reasons: (1) California has the largest foster care population in the United States, and (2) it has been aggressive in its implementation of the law. In addition to describing AB 12 and the study methods, the report also includes feedback from young people directly affected by the new law. Lessons learned that might inform other States as they look to implement similar extensions also are provided.

    Researchers conducted two phases of interviews with various stakeholders. Phase I included interviews with policymakers and leaders of State agencies and organizations, such as the California Department of Social Services, the County Welfare Directors Association, and the Chief Probation Officers of California, among others. Phase II included interviews with 63 stakeholders about their experiences after the law took effect. A majority of the stakeholders interviewed during Phase II also were interviewed during Phase I, including county child welfare directors, county probation directors, and county Independent Living directors, among others. These participants were questioned about the effect of the law's implementation on their daily work—including its effect on their workloads—and its strengths and limitations. Five focus groups were conducted with youth to gain their feedback on the law.

    A number of lessons learned are outlined in the report, including the following:

    • A change in cultures—not just policies—at organizations providing services should be considered as States look to serve the needs of young adults and not just minors.
    • States should be as inclusive as possible, inviting a wide array of stakeholders to the planning table, as California's experience indicates that a diverse planning group leads to sounder policies for serving youth. Additionally, extensive planning resources, not just implementation resources, are required for extending foster care.
    • Young people should be engaged early in the process and often.

    Providing Foster Care for Young Adults: Early Implementation of California's Fostering Connections Act, by Mark Courtney, Amy Dworsky, and Laura Napolitano, is available on Chapin Hall's website: (563 KB)

    Recent Issues

  • July/August 2024

    Spotlight on Youth, Authentic Youth Engagement, and Lived Experience

    Spotlight on Youth, Authentic Youth Engagement, and Lived Experience

  • June 2024

    Spotlight on Reunification

    Spotlight on Reunification

News From the Children's Bureau

A new literature review from the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation explores the family dynamics for children in nonparental care. We also point to a new website that outlines Federal Government plans for addressing the needs of children in adversity across the globe and the National Data Archive on Child Abuse and Neglect application process and deadline for its 21st annual Summer Research Institute.

  • Children Living in Nonparental Care

    Children Living in Nonparental Care

    Nearly 3 million, or almost 4 percent of American children, live in a home where no parent is present. Most of these children live with relatives, over half with a grandparent, and roughly 300,000 are in foster care. Little is known about the family dynamics for children in nonparental care, the reasons for their entry into nonparental care, and how these reasons may affect their well-being. A literature review from the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, was conducted as a step in the process toward developing a National Survey of Children in Non-Parental Care (NSCNC). The NSCNC is a follow-up survey to the 2011 National Survey of Children's Health.

    Data from the NSCNC, a telephone survey, will be available in 2014. It is estimated that, when complete, the survey will have a sample size of approximately 2,000 children. Respondents will be asked to provide information about the following:

    • The health and well-being of children and their caregivers
    • Living arrangements and custody issues
    • Continuing parental roles
    • Relationships with siblings and kin
    • Service accessibility

    The project is being conducted by ASPE and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics.

    The literature review, Children in Nonparental Care: A Review of the Literature and Analysis of Data Gaps, by Sharon Vandivere, Ana Yrausquin, Tiffany Allen, Karin Malm, and Amy McKlindon, is available on the ASPE website: (846 KB)

  • New! From CB

    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:

    For information about the Children's Bureau's 100-year history, download the new e-book, The Children's Bureau Legacy: Ensuring the Right to Childhood

    Visit the Children's Bureau website often to see what's new!

  • Adoption Excellence Awards 2013

    Adoption Excellence Awards 2013

    Wrapping up its celebration of National Adoption Month, the Children's Bureau announced nine winners of Adoption Excellence Awards. This year's winners represent a variety of backgrounds and accomplishments; however, each has made a significant contribution to helping promote adoptions from foster care. The diversity of their efforts is a testament to the many ways that individuals and organizations can help the more than 100,000 children in foster care awaiting permanent families.

    The Children's Bureau established the Adoption Excellence Awards in 1997 to honor States, local agencies, private organizations, courts, businesses, individuals, and families for their work in increasing adoptions from foster care. Awards may be made in five categories of excellence, and winners are chosen by a committee representing nonprofit adoption agencies, child welfare and adoption advocates, adoptive parents, foundations, businesses, and State and Federal offices.

    And the 2013 winners are . . .

    In the category of Family Contributions:

    • Gary & Cate Ingalls, Farmington, NY
    • Craig & Audrey Rosenstein, Las Vegas, NV
    • Steve & Kristen Marler, Casper, WY

    In the category of Individuals/Professionals:

    • Pat O'Brien, Brooklyn, NY
    • Ruth G. McRoy, Ph.D., Chestnut Hill, MA
    • Nia Vardalos, West Hollywood, CA

    In the category of Business Contributions/Initiatives:

    • State of Missouri and the Adoption Resource Centers, Jefferson City, MO

    In the category of Media/Social Media/Public Awareness:

    • Voice for Adoption, Adoptive Family Portrait Project, Washington, DC

    In the category of Child Welfare/Judicial Systemic Change:

    • Portland State University Postgraduate Training Certificate in Therapy with Adoptive & Foster Families Program, Portland, OR

    To read more about the Adoption Excellence Awards and award winners, visit the Children's Bureau website:    

  • NDACAN Annual Summer Research Institute

    NDACAN Annual Summer Research Institute

    The National Data Archive on Child Abuse and Neglect (NDACAN) will sponsor its 21st annual Summer Research Institute (SRI) for child maltreatment researchers on the Cornell University campus in Ithaca, NY, June 9–13, 2014. In addition to providing child abuse and neglect researchers an opportunity to connect and collaborate with peers, the SRI aims to increase the use of NDACAN's holdings and facilitate a secondary analysis project from which child abuse and neglect researchers can publish. Participants are selected on a competitive basis from a variety of disciplines including psychology, social work, and medicine.

    To apply, download and fill out—electronically—the SRI 2014 Application and email the completed form to Applicants should title all attachments with their last name. Applications must be received by January 31, 2014.

    For more information, visit:

    For questions, please contact Andres Arroyo at, or 607.255.7799.

  • International Assistance for Children in Adversity

    International Assistance for Children in Adversity

    The Assistance for Orphans and Other Vulnerable Children in Developing Countries Act of 2005 required the Federal Government to devise a strategy for addressing the needs of children in adversity across the globe. This marked the first time the Federal Government set out to develop a comprehensive approach to assisting vulnerable children. Previous assistance efforts have been based on single cohorts or categories such as children affected by HIV/AIDS, child labor, or child trafficking. In August, the Government released the sixth annual report to Congress on these more comprehensive efforts, as well as a new website with agency-specific plans.

    The website, U.S. Government International Assistance for Children in Adversity, offers data on such indicators as poverty, health, and safety; a list of Federal Government departments and agencies committed to the action plan; and the Action Plan on Children in Adversity. The action plan is rooted in three principal objectives and three supporting objectives.

    Three principal objectives:

    • Build strong beginnings by supporting programs that promote sound development
    • Put family care first by supporting and enabling families to care for their children and prevent unnecessary family-child separation
    • Protect children by facilitating efforts of national governments and partners to prevent, respond to, and protect children from violence, exploitation, abuse, and neglect

    Three supporting objectives:

    • Strengthen child welfare and protection systems
    • Promote evidence-based policies and programs
    • Integrate this plan with Federal Government departments and agencies

    More information is available on the U.S. Government International Assistance for Children in Adversity website:

    The sixth annual report to Congress, From Strong Beginnings to Youth Resilience: Pathways Out of Adversity, describing the action plan objectives, actions, and outcomes is available here:

Training and Technical Assistance Update

A new toolkit from the National Child Welfare Workforce Institute aims to help child welfare professionals enrich their leadership skills and competencies. We also highlight a Spanish-language website from the National Resource Center for Diligent Recruitment at AdoptUSKids to help recruit Spanish-speaking adoptive and foster families.

  • More Updates From the 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:

  • Spanish-Language State Directory

    Spanish-Language State Directory

    In its work to provide information about the need for foster and adoptive families in the United States and to connect potential foster and adoptive families with children in need of permanent homes, the National Resource Center for Diligent Recruitment (NRCDR) at AdoptUSKids hosts a Spanish-language website to help recruit Spanish-speaking adoptive and foster families. The website features resources that provide introductory information on who can adopt, how to adopt, and how to become a foster parent. It is also a rich source for resources to help children and families after an adoptive or foster care placement.

    The NRCDR at AdoptUSKids recently added a new and useful tool to the website: a Spanish-language directory of State resources for foster care and adoption information. The directory includes a map where customers can click on a State and find contact information to learn how to become licensed foster or adoptive parents, requisites for adopting a child in their own jurisdiction or in another jurisdiction, and more. This tool is available in both English and Spanish, as are all of the resources on the Spanish-language website.

    To explore the map and accompanying resources, visit the Información por estado sobre crianza temporal y adopción webpage on the NRCDR at AdoptUSKids website:

  • NCWWI Leadership Toolkit

    NCWWI Leadership Toolkit

    The National Child Welfare Workforce Institute (NCWWI) developed a toolkit for child welfare professionals to help them enrich their leadership skills and competencies and learn ways to better apply them in their work. The toolkit can be used as an aid by and for professionals at many levels, and it provides an overview of how different audiences could benefit from its use. Based on NCWWI's Leadership Competency Model, the kit offers a visual representation of the model and explains the five domains that make up its competency framework:

    • Leading change
    • Leading people
    • Leading for results
    • Leading in context
    • Fundamental competencies

    The activities and worksheets included in the toolkit are organized according to these five domains. Each domain features definitions of competencies that the activities are meant to promote, and each activity indicates the level of professional for which it is most relevant. However, the toolkit offers much flexibility. Users can generate individualized leadership development plans by choosing activities that focus on the domains and competencies they find most relevant to their needs, and the toolkit provides guidance for how it should be used to the best advantage of each audience. This includes a template and example for creating a leadership development plan and a postactivity reflection journal with questions to help the user focus on what was learned in each activity and whether the activity increased his or her skills and competencies.

    Access Learning and Living Leadership: A Tool Kit on NCWWI's website: (2 MB)

Child Welfare Research

CBX points to the fall issue of CW360° that is focused on the intersection of child welfare and parents with disabilities, an update to the National Research Council's 1993 report Understanding Child Abuse and Neglect, and other research.

  • Action Steps to Limit Use of Residential Care

    Action Steps to Limit Use of Residential Care

    In August 2012, the Annie E. Casey Foundation and the Youth Law Center hosted a conference of international child development experts about residential care. After participants presented and discussed the evidence on a range of topics, including children's developmental needs and residential facilities' ability to meet them, they presented action steps in three categories:

    • Expanding child welfare practice knowledge of child development and permanence
    • Decreasing the use of residential care as a living arrangement
    • Building a more accessible toolbox of interventions that address the relational needs of families

    A two-page brief outlining these recommendations notes that one in five children involved with child welfare will spend time in a residential facility; however, these facilities do not prepare children to develop family relationships that guide social and emotional development. 

    To view the full set of research-based recommendations, refer to Reconnecting Child Development and Child Welfare: A Summary (156 KB).

  • The Science of Child Abuse and Neglect Research

    The Science of Child Abuse and Neglect Research

    In 1993, the National Research Council released Understanding Child Abuse and Neglect, a report that made recommendations on child welfare research. In 2012, the Administration on Children, Youth and Families within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services asked the National Academies to update the 1993 publication and provide new recommendations. The National Academies appointed a committee composed of experts from relevant fields, including pediatrics, psychology, social work, legal studies, and more, to conduct this study and draft its final report, New Directions in Child Abuse and Neglect Research, which was released in 2013. This report reviews child abuse and neglect research from the past 20 years and provides recommendations in four areas:

    • Developing a national research plan that is focused on priority topics and includes implementation and accountability steps across Federal agencies
    • Creating a national system to link data across multiple systems and sources
    • Developing the structures necessary to train researchers to conduct child maltreatment research
    • Creating mechanisms for conducting policy-relevant research

    To view the full 2013 report, visit

  • The Intersection Between Child Welfare and Disability

    The Intersection Between Child Welfare and Disability

    The fall 2013 issue of CW360°, an online publication of the Center for Advanced Studies in Child Welfare (CASCW) at the University of Minnesota, focuses on the intersection of child welfare and parents with disabilities (to include mental illness; intellectual and developmental disabilities; and physical, sensory, and communication disabilities). Twenty-six articles written by a variety of child welfare professionals and other related stakeholders highlight current research and policy in this area; evidence-informed, promising practices and innovative examples from the field; and recommendations and strategies for system and practice improvement.

    The article "Parenting With Disability—What Do We Know?," by Elizabeth Lightfoot, Ph.D., and Traci LaLiberte, Ph.D., describes the disproportionate representation of parents with disabilities and mental illness in child welfare caseloads and why close examination of child welfare and social service systems and practice is needed to better provide services and meet the needs of this population of caregivers.

    In "An Overview of Parental Supports for Child Welfare Practice," Lightfoot and LaLiberte highlight the importance of parental support technologies and personal parental supports for parents with disabilities, including, for example, a roll-under crib for a parent who uses a wheelchair, a talking thermometer for a parent who is blind, daycare or respite care, in-home parenting training, and homework assistance for children. The article briefly notes what States are and should be doing in the future to fund and make available supports for parents with disabilities.

    CW360°: The Intersection of Child Welfare and Disability: Focus on Parents is available on the CASCW website: (1 MB)

    Related Items

    Children's Bureau Express featured previous issues of CW360° in the following articles:

Strategies and Tools for Practice

  • Resource Parent Recruitment Toolbox

    Resource Parent Recruitment Toolbox

    The Foster and Adoptive Care Coalition released a toolbox specifically designed to assist permanency workers in finding families and establishing lasting connections for youth in foster care. The Extreme Recruitment Toolbox compiles an array of resource documents that aim to facilitate the process of matching children to a network of suitable adults or adoptive parents within a 12–20 week time period.

    The toolbox, which contains a timeline, checklists, an action plan, and related documents for quick use and referral, is divided into the following eight sections:

    • Weekly action plan template
    • Supporting documents for permanency
    • Contact log
    • Concurrent recruitment list
    • Extreme recruitment staffing
    • Family search checklist
    • Roadmap to permanency
    • Extreme recruitment closing summary

    To access the Extreme Recruitment Toolbox, visit the Foster and Adoptive Care Coalition website:

  • Improving LGBT Youth Outcomes

    Improving LGBT Youth Outcomes

    The American Institute for Research created a tool to help organizations identify action steps to improve services and supports for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) children/youth and their families. The tool suggests agencies first reflect on their strengths and supports, in addition to the challenges and needs that LGBT youth and their families experience in the organization and/or community. The tool also includes a table organized around 10 best practice standards of care that provide a framework for improving outcomes and the well-being of LGBT children and youth. The table was adapted from the book Improving Emotional and Behavioral Outcomes for LGBT Youth: A Guide for Professionals, by Sylvia Fisher, Jeffrey Poirier, and Gary Blau.

    Improving Emotional and Behavioral Outcomes for LGBT Children/Youth: A Strategic Planning Tool is available through the American Institutes for Research:  (377 KB)

  • Developing Home Visiting Programs

    Developing Home Visiting Programs

    Home visiting programs have been shown to be effective in helping parents of young children learn more appropriate parenting skills and provide nurturing home environments. In a new publication, Getting to Outcomes for Home Visiting: How to Plan, Implement, and Evaluate a Program in Your Community to Support Parents and Their Young Children, authors Teryn Mattox, Sarah B. Hunter, M. Rebecca Kilburn, and Shelley H. Wiseman have developed a set of tools designed to help agencies choose the home visiting program that can be best adapted to a community's specific needs.

    Published by the RAND Corporation, the manual aims to support home visiting program implementation through a 10-step process that helps communities to plan, implement, and evaluate programs, with the goal of achieving the best possible outcomes. The steps include identifying needs, resources, goals, and desired outcomes; finding and reviewing program choices; determining the capacities needed for implementation; evaluating the implementation process; evaluating program outcomes; and planning for program sustainability.

    The development of the manual was funded, in part, by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration, as part of the Affordable Care Act – Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program. The primary award was to the State of New Mexico, and the manual was produced by RAND as part of a subcontract from the State.

    Getting to Outcomes for Home Visiting: How to Plan, Implement, and Evaluate a Program in Your Community to Support Parents and Their Young Children is available here:


  • Film Highlights Group Homes for At-Risk Youth

    Film Highlights Group Homes for At-Risk Youth

    A recent Sundance Film Festival winner focuses on the world of group homes for at-risk teens. The feature film grew out of a 20-minute short film based on the writer/director's experiences as a staff member at a residential facility for youth. "Short Term 12" features Grace, the lead supervisor, and her staff in their daily work with youth.

    "Short Term 12," written and directed by Destin Daniel Cretton, is currently playing at select theaters and will expand to more theaters throughout the country in the coming weeks.

    For more information about the film, to view the trailer, or hear the soundtrack, visit the film's website:

    To see if the film is playing in your city, check out the show time information:

  • Educational Planning Tools for Youth in Care

    Educational Planning Tools for Youth in Care

    Youth Fostering Change, a youth engagement program from the Juvenile Law Center, provides the opportunity for youth in care to engage with their peers, evaluate the child welfare system, and work toward reform. The 2013–2014 members of Youth Fostering Change produced a toolkit to help youth in foster care effectively plan for their future.

    The first section of the toolkit, "Getting to Know You," offers an interactive guide that encourages youth to:

    • Identify their needs, strengths, skills, and interests
    • Establish short- and long-term goals using an Individualized Education Plan
    • Work with a supportive adult to review and complete this toolkit

    The second section, "Planning it Out," helps youth create a college plan by providing advice on the following:

    • College search
    • Required materials for college applications
    • How to apply for financial aid
    • Why to plan sooner than later

    Since the guide was written by youth, for youth, it includes helpful advice and guidance from the peer mentors in the Youth Fostering Change program. The guide emphasizes that, through smart planning and understanding the resources available within the child welfare system, youth can take charge of the future and achieve educational and career success. While the guide was written for youth in care in Philadelphia, it could be useful to any youth in care.

    For the LOVE of Success: An Educational Toolkit for Philadelphia Foster Youth is available here: (1 MB)


  • Self Care for Families

    Self Care for Families

    The Wisconsin Foster Care and Adoption Resource Center, in partnership with the Adoption Resources of Wisconsin and the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families, produced a tip sheet discussing the challenges faced by foster and adoptive families. The tip sheet provides caregivers and families with information about how to prevent caregiver fatigue, including taking breaks and utilizing respite care; participating in trainings and conferences; asking for help and learning about services providing support; and sharing experiences with other foster and adoptive families. A list of additional resources also is included.

    Self Care for Families
    is available on the Foster Care and Adoption Resource Center website: (217KB)

  • Parenting Class Evaluation

    Parenting Class Evaluation

    A new factsheet, Parent Education Changes Lives, presents the results of a recent evaluation of a parent education program aimed at improving parenting attitudes that are related to child abuse and neglect. The evaluation suggests that the program does improve participants' attitudes regarding parental expectations, empathy, harsh punishment, and appropriate parent-child roles.

    The Nurturing Parenting Program is an 8-week series of classes, utilizing the ABCs of Parenting curriculum, that helps families learn about child development, effective discipline, handling stress, and building family cohesion. The classes are offered in both English and Spanish by Stop Child Abuse Now (SCAN) of Northern Virginia in an effort to reduce the incidence of child abuse and neglect in the community.

    The program evaluation of the classes that was conducted by Hyra Consulting showed a significant reduction of high-risk parenting attitudes. The results suggest that parents who have completed the program will retain lower-risk attitudes, have more appropriate expectations based on the child's developmental stage, and be less likely to have a substantiated case of child maltreatment.

    The factsheet is available from the SCAN website: (145 KB)

Training and Conferences

Find trainings, workshops, webinars, and other opportunities for professionals and families to learn about how to improve the lives of children and youth as well as a listing of upcoming events and conferences.

  • Financial Empowerment Training

    Financial Empowerment Training

    Social service agencies often serve as trusted resources for clients on the matters of financial information and education. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau recently set out to learn what tools local social service providers need to help their clients increase their financial capabilities. To do this, the Bureau scanned the field, contacting 14 organizations that provide financial empowerment training to case managers and frontline staff. A report released in September, Financial Empowerment Training for Social Service Programs: A Scan of Community-Based Initiatives, shares the findings from the Bureau's efforts.

    In addition to the field scan, the Bureau conducted interviews with five organizations representing a diverse range of approaches to financial empowerment training, including Seattle-King County Asset Building Collaborative, United Way of Greater Cincinnati, Louisville Metro/Living Cities, the Financial Clinic, and the State of Minnesota. Some of the findings outlined in the report include the following:

    • Case managers and financial educators have a common understanding of the challenges their clients face, despite differences in service delivery and geography.
    • The degree of case managers' motivation to learn more about financial empowerment varies widely.
    • Case managers struggle with when and how to incorporate this type of education into their work with clients. One obstacle to case managers' integrating financial information into their work with clients may be their confidence regarding financial issues, even after receiving training.

    The findings were used by the Bureau to develop a financial empowerment toolkit, Your Money, Your Goals, for training case management and frontline staff to build their competencies in providing financial empowerment services to their clients. The Bureau is currently testing the toolkit and will distribute it widely in 2014.

    Financial Empowerment Training for Social Service Programs: A Scan of Community-Based Initiatives is available here: (281 KB)

  • Conferences


    Upcoming national conferences on child welfare and adoption through March 2014 include:

    January 2014

    February 2014

    March 2014

    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: