- Overcoming Educational Barriers for Children in Foster Care
States and localities are beginning to focus on the traditionally poor academic performance of children in foster care and what can be done to mitigate these outcomes. This focus is due, at least in part, to the Federal Child and Family Services Reviews (CFSRs), which mandate that States ensure children in care receive appropriate services to meet their educational needs. A recent report from the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) describes this emerging trend, reviews barriers to academic success faced by children in foster care, and identifies promising programs and State initiatives to address the issue.
The NCSL report, Educating Children in Foster Care, notes that some of the causes for poor academic outcomes can be traced to inadequacies in the systems of care responsible for foster children's welfare. Some of these shortcomings include:
- Lack of coordination or sharing of information between child welfare and school agencies
- Lack of clarity regarding responsibility for children's academic outcomes
- Lack of a consistent advocate for each child's educational needs
Results from the CFSR reports provide some promising strategies for overcoming these deficiencies. States showing substantial conformity with the CFSR educational services mandate also have shown some common themes in their programs, including:
- Case plans that consistently address educational needs
- A collaborative relationship between the child welfare agency and the school community
- Advocates who ensure that children receive needed educational services
- A concerted effort to provide educational stability, even for children whose placements continue to change
- Minimal disruption in schooling due to transfers and enrollment requirements
The full report can be accessed on the NCSL website at www.ncsl.org/programs/cyf/CPIeducate.htm.(Editor's Note: This link is no longer active, but visit http://www.ncsl.org/research/human-services/educating-children-in-foster-care-state-legis.aspx to view the most recent NCSL report State legislation on education.)
Children's Bureau Express explored educational outcomes for children in foster care in "Washington State Study Focuses on Educational Attainment of Foster Children" (May 2002).
- Foster Youth Receive Some, Not All, Independent Living Services They Need
A study of young adults aging out of foster care found many youth are not receiving independent living services needed to ease their transition.
The study involved 732 youth in three midwestern States who reached the age of 17 while in out-of-home care and spent at least 1 year in out-of-home care prior to turning 17. These individuals were followed through the age of 21. A recent report, Midwest Evaluation of the Adult Functioning of Former Foster Youth: Conditions of Youth Preparing to Leave State Care, describes findings from the first of three waves of data collection. Similar to other reports on children in foster care (see previous Children's Bureau Express articles: "Well-being of Children in Foster Care," March 2004; and "Youth Aging Out of Foster Care Face Uphill Climb to Adulthood," May 2003), these data showed foster youth face a variety of challenges, including:
- Multiple placements
- Educational difficulties
- Legal problems
- Mental health and behavioral problems
Despite such difficulties, the majority of these young adults reported being satisfied with their experience in out-of-home care and feeling very close to their current foster family.
Along with these indicators of well-being, the report examined whether young adults are receiving support services developed to aid in the transition to independent living. The first round of interviews found that between one-half and two-thirds of the young adults interviewed had received at least one independent living service in the following categories:
- Educational support--60 percent
- Employment/vocational support--68 percent
- Budget and financial management services--56 percent
- Housing services--52 percent
- Health education services--69 percent
- Youth development services--46 percent
Within each of the above categories, however, the numbers were much lower. For example, within educational support services, the numbers ranged from a high of 29 percent receiving college application assistance to a low of 9 percent receiving GED preparation services. Similarly, employment support services ranged from a high of 46 percent receiving help with completing job applications to a low of 10 percent receiving an internship. Additionally, very few of these young adults reported ever receiving an independent living subsidy (12 percent), while even fewer reported that they were currently receiving a subsidy (6 percent).
These findings indicate that young adults who age out of foster care face a variety of challenges, and although many receive services to address mental health and education problems, relatively few receive specific independent living services. Future reports will focus on functioning after these youth leave out-of-home care. Together, these reports can inform States as they work to meet the purpose of the John Chafee Foster Care Independence Act of 1999.
The complete report can be obtained from Chapin Hall Center for Children at www.chapinhall.org/research/report/midwest-evaluation-adult-functioning-former-foster-youth
The following articles in previous issues of Children's Bureau Express also focus on the transition from foster care to independence:
- "Supporting Successful Transitions for Youth" (November 2003)
- "Journal Spotlights Transitioning Foster Youth" (May 2002)
Spotlight on Child and Family Services Review, Round 4
Spotlight on Child Welfare Workforce Development
News From the Children's Bureau
- Transitioning Y.O.U.T.H.
If you want to know what needs to change to improve the foster care system, who better to ask than the youth who have lived in and grown up in that system? That is the guiding philosophy behind a curriculum developed through a collaborative effort of the San Francisco State University (SFSU) School of Social Work, the San Francisco Department of Human Resources, and the California Youth Connection (CYC).
The Transitioning Y.O.U.T.H. (Youth Offering Unique Tangible Help) training project is designed to increase the skills of frontline child welfare staff in preparing foster youth for independence. It strengthens trainees' age-appropriate intervention, assessment, and communication skills with young teens as well as older youth ages 16 to 21 by directing the child welfare workers' attention to aiding these youth in making a successful transition to adulthood and helping them to avoid long-term social welfare dependency.
This project is remarkable in the extent of involvement by former and current foster youth. For example:
- Youth had input into all aspects of proposal writing, significantly informing whole sections of the proposal.
- CYC youth conducted an extensive statewide needs assessment, including surveys, interviews, and focus groups throughout California with foster youth and child welfare social workers.
- A team of five current or recently emancipated foster youth was hired to develop the 2-day curriculum and a "Training for Trainers" manual.
- Each training session is presented entirely by youth trainers. The Project Coordinator also is a foster care alumnus.
The curriculum itself focuses on treating transitioning youth with dignity and respect, and recognizing the importance of youth as the major planners of their own lives. Topics vary from identifying the characteristics of a "super social worker" and then comparing those to the characteristics identified by a sampling of transitioning youth, to examining the needs of parenting youth and of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered youth in the system. Training techniques include small- and large-group discussion, youth-made videos of their life stories, interactive games, case studies, and firsthand knowledge and input from the youth trainers themselves.
By September 30, 2003, the project had trained 445 child welfare workers in a total of 19 sessions throughout California, as well as presentations at conferences in Chicago and Washington, D.C. Participants show a significant increase in knowledge after taking the training. Although the original Federal grant has expired, the project has been awarded a small grant from the Stuart Foundation to allow the project to continue for at least 1 more year. Staff plan to disseminate the curriculum regionally and nationally to agencies and individuals working with or interested in foster care youth who are transitioning out of care.
For more information, contact:
Jamie Lee Evans, Y.O.U.T.H. Training Project Coordinator
Bay Area Academy/San Francisco State University
2201 Broadway, 1st Floor
Oakland, CA 94612
Note: The development of this training curriculum was funded by the Children's Bureau, Grant #90 CT 0066. This article is part of a series highlighting successful Children's Bureau Discretionary Grant-funded projects around the country, emerging from official Children's Bureau site visits.
- Toolkit for Monitoring PIPs
In the latest issue of Tips, Tools, Trends, the National Resource Center for Information Technology in Child Welfare highlights the Texas Child and Family Services Review (CFSR) team's toolkit for monitoring progress toward its Program Improvement Plan (PIP).
The Texas toolkit includes four major components:
- Periodic reviews at the regional level
- A performance data profile that focuses on key indicators
- Automated CFSR case reading
- Data-enhanced online management support
The toolkit allows the CFSR team to more easily measure relevant indicators. The CFSR team also reports that the toolkit is helping managers better manage workers and appreciate the reporting capabilities of the CFSR.
A description of the Texas toolkit can be found on the website of the National Resource Center for Information Technology in Child Welfare at
- Mental Health of Frontline Workers
In the Winter 2004 issue of Best Practice/Next Practice, the National Child Welfare Resource Center for Family-Centered Practice focuses on mental health issues affecting frontline workers and supervisors in the child welfare system. Three articles address different aspects of this issue:
- "Mental Health Issues in the Child Welfare System" provides an overview of the demands placed on frontline workers, as well as the need to provide adequate training, supervision, and support to these staff.
- "The Experience from Within: Helping the Child Protective Service Caseworker" highlights the need for reflective case supervision to combat the susceptibility of caseworkers to vicarious trauma and caregiver fatigue.
- "Child Abuse History, Secondary Traumatic Stress, and Child Welfare Workers" contrasts secondary traumatic stress with burnout in caseworkers, examining both causes and interventions.
Additional articles in this issue of Best Practice/Next Practice explore mental health issues affecting children in the child welfare system, including mental health services results from the Child and Family Services Reviews and parents relinquishing custody of their children with severe mental or physical disabilities in order to render the children eligible for Medicaid and other services.
For more information on relinquishment of children with severe disabilities, see "Alternatives for Accessing Mental Health Services for Children" in the May 2003 issue of Children's Bureau Express.
- 2004 Children's Bureau Discretionary Grants Available
The Children's Bureau is releasing several separate funding announcements this year rather than one consolidated announcement. A number of these have been released to date, including (Editor's Note: The following links are no longer active):
- National Resource Center for Community-Based Grants for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect. http://a257.g.akamaitech.net/7/257/2422/14mar20010800/ edocket.access.gpo.gov/2004/04-8465.htm
- Recreational Services for Children Affected by HIV/AIDS. http://a257.g.akamaitech.net/7/257/2422/14mar20010800/ edocket.access.gpo.gov/2004/04-8782.htm
- Training of Child Welfare Agency Supervisors in the Effective Delivery and Management of Federal Independent Living Services. http://a257.g.akamaitech.net/7/257/2422/14mar20010800/ edocket.access.gpo.gov/2004/04-8784.htm
- Professional Education for Current and Prospective Public Child Welfare Practitioners Leading to the MSW Degree. http://a257.g.akamaitech.net/7/257/2422/14mar20010800/ edocket.access.gpo.gov/2004/04-8785.htm
- Professional Education for Current and Prospective Public Child Welfare Practitioners Leading to the Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) Degree. http://a257.g.akamaitech.net/7/257/2422/14mar20010800/ edocket.access.gpo.gov/2004/04-8781.htm
- New Start Local Comprehensive Support Services Projects. http://a257.g.akamaitech.net/7/257/2422/14mar20010800/ edocket.access.gpo.gov/2004/04-8788.htm
- Field Initiated Training Projects for Effective Child Welfare Practice with Hispanic Children and Families. http://a257.g.akamaitech.net/7/257/2422/14mar20010800/ edocket.access.gpo.gov/2004/04-9781.htm
All available grants will be published on www.grants.gov. The Funding Activity Category is Income Security and Social Services, and the Agency is the Department of Health and Human Services. Announcements will only be sent in print to those who request them by calling the ACYF Operations Center at (866) 796-1591.
Organizations wishing to apply for Children's Bureau grants must have a Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number to submit an application. Organizations may apply for a DUNS number by calling Dun & Bradstreet at (866) 705-5711.
For more information about Children's Bureau Discretionary Grants, go to the Children's Bureau website at www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb/funding/index.htm, or call the ACYF Operations Center at (866) 796-1591.
- Relationship Between TANF Time Limits and Child Welfare Involvement
Results from a study published in the Social Policy Journal indicate a relationship between TANF time limits and involvement in the child welfare system. Findings point to a need for family-centered services for families approaching their TANF time limits, as well as a need for greater coordination between the TANF and child welfare systems.
The research examined case records of more than 1,800 TANF families in Nevada who had at least one child removed from the home. Nevada imposes a 24-month time limit on receipt of TANF benefits before a family is required to "sit out" from receiving benefits for a 12-month period. Families are allowed two sit-out periods and can receive welfare benefits for a total of 60 months. Some families are exempted, either temporarily or permanently, from the sit-out periods. These families are designated as hardship cases due to a parent's physical or emotional disability, substance abuse, or other issues.
Among the study's major findings:
- Families with more months counted toward their 24-month TANF time limit were more likely to have at least one child removed from the home and placed in foster care than families with fewer months toward their time limit.
- Families for whom TANF time limits were waived due to hardship were no more likely than non-hardship families to have a child removed from the home.
- Families with multiple welfare episodes were more likely to have a child removed than those with a single welfare episode.
Findings were generally similar for families in urban and rural areas.
Although more research is needed to fully explain these findings, the authors recommend that families who are approaching their TANF time limit receive family-centered casework services designed to prevent parent-child separation. Moreover, the results from this study point to a need to strengthen the relationship between the TANF and child welfare systems in order to better coordinate services for these families.
A copy of this article, "Facing Time Limits: Its Consequences for Foster Care Placements," is available in the Social Policy Journal, Volume 3(1), or may be obtained online for a fee from the Haworth Press at www.haworthpressinc.com/web/SPJ/. (Editor's Note: Link no longer active)
- Factors Influencing Outcomes of Contact With Birth Relatives
A recent article published in Adoption Quarterly reported on a study of 90 adopted adults who initiated a search for and met their birth mothers. The authors explored a number of hypotheses regarding factors that may influence adopted persons' contact experiences and subsequent relationships with birth mothers and siblings. The findings may have implications for counseling adults who are searching for birth relatives.
Similar to findings of previous studies, the majority of participants (67 percent) reported establishing a satisfactory relationship with their birth mothers. Reasons cited for satisfaction with the relationship included good relationships with their birth mothers and similarities between themselves and their birth mothers. Those dissatisfied with the experience cited a lack of interest on the part of the birth mother, discrepancies in lifestyle and values, and secrecy (about the adoption itself or the birth father) as reasons.
The closeness established between the participant and the birth mother was found to predict the general evaluation of the contact experience. Researchers determined that participants who established a mother-child relationship (about 17 percent of participants) felt closer to their birth mothers than participants who established a friendship (about 40 percent of participants). The type of relationship participants developed with their birth mothers was highly correlated with:
- The frequency of contact
- The adopted person's evaluation of the importance of the relationship
- The adopted person's satisfaction with the relationship
- The adopted person's satisfaction with the contact experience
Contrary to the researchers' hypothesis, the closeness of the relationship with (or attachment to) the adoptive mother while growing up was not found to significantly influence the relationship established with the birth mother. Other factors that did not correlate with closeness of the relationship with the birth mother included:
- Feelings about adoption while a teenager
- Resentment toward the birth mother
- The adoptive mother's supportiveness of the search
The closeness of the relationship established with the birth mother was found to be positively related to feeling uncomfortable talking about adoption with the adoptive mother while a teenager.
Participants (55) who also contacted birth siblings were generally more satisfied with their relationship with siblings than with their birth mothers. Relationships with siblings became closer over time than relationships with birth mothers. The authors suggest it may be easier for adults who were adopted to integrate another sibling into the family than to integrate another parent.
The authors note that the study results should be interpreted cautiously, because the sample was composed of volunteers from an adoption search organization who may be biased toward contact. However, the data suggest that continuation of contact between participants and birth mothers may depend on the ability and willingness to revise expectations and negotiate a mutually satisfactory relationship.
The article, “Adults Who Were Adopted Contacting Their Birthmothers: What Are the Outcomes, and What Factors Influence These Outcomes?," is in Adoption Quarterly, Vol. 7(1). Ordering information can be found online at http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1300/J145v07n01_02#.U2fcmvutKyc.
- Shared Family Care
Shared Family Care (SFC) is a child welfare service that places an entire family in the home of a community mentor for approximately 6 months. The mentor provides day-to-day modeling of appropriate parenting and home management skills, and, in essence, "reparents" the parent(s). Through a combination of both in-home and out-of-home care, SFC helps families develop positive networks of community resources and supports without separating children from their parents. A recent article in the Journal of Family Social Work describes SFC programs, summarizes an evaluation of two demonstration projects, and describes challenges and helpful tips for those interested in developing an SFC program in their community.
SFC programs exist across the country and are administered by both private and public child welfare agencies. Although the programs vary somewhat, they share a number of key elements:
- Mentors. Mentors are carefully screened and receive initial and ongoing training.
- Matching mentors to clients. Prospective mentors and families meet several times in order to allow both parties to learn more about each other and determine if the match is appropriate.
- A rights and responsibilities agreement. All members of both families develop and sign a written contract delineating rights and responsibilities of both families, as well as general house rules.
- Family support team and wraparound services. Families involved in SFC often have multiple needs. A Family Support Team helps the client identify goals, develop service plans, and review progress. Case managers visit families weekly.
- Aftercare. Due to the relatively short duration of the program, aftercare is critical to provide the family ongoing support and services.
An evaluation of SFC demonstration projects in Colorado and California showed promising results in reducing re-entry into foster care, increasing average monthly income, and increasing independent housing for program graduates. Additionally, although an SFC program can be expensive to develop and maintain, SFC can be more cost-effective than some other types of out-of-home care.
The authors also offer some general tips for developing an SFC program, including assessing community needs, assessing agency capacity, and exploring funding sources.
A copy of this article, "Shared Family Care: Fostering the Whole Family to Promote Safety and Stability" (Journal of Family Social Work, Volume 7(2)) can be obtained online for a fee at http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1300/J039v07n02_04#.U2ffxvutKyc.
The National Abandoned Infants Resource Center offers program, policy, and evaluation resources on SFC on its website (http://aia.berkeley.edu/information_resources/shared_family_care.php).
- Federal Law No Barrier to Integrating Social Services
Caseworkers often assist children and families who face multiple problems. Integrating mutliple service streams has become a focus of many programs, since integration may allow agencies to provide more family-centered services that address both immediate and long-term needs.
The Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP) recently examined whether there are legal barriers at the Federal level that preclude such integration of social services. Their conclusion that Federal laws do not prevent States and localities from implementing integrated service delivery was based on the following findings:
- Federal restrictions on the specific use of funds do not create significant barriers to service integration; however, there may be a lack of practical flexibility at the State or local level.
- Federal restrictions create some eligibility constraints, but broad flexibility remains with regard to eligibility requirements.
- Federal restrictions regarding confidentiality and sharing of information among service delivery programs exist but may be addressed with consent forms that allow the families to decide which programs may share information.
- Federal waiver authority provides broad flexibility to States in promoting service integration, although that authority is not unlimited.
While Federal barriers may not prevent social service integration, the CLASP study notes other challenges. Many of these involve establishing congruence among different information systems, performance indicators, and administrative systems in order to provide a seamless, family-centered system of appropriate services.
The CLASP report also includes the following appendices to help programs evaluate their potential for service integration:
- Descriptions of 15 Federal funding programs for social services
- A table showing how different Federal funds may be used
- A table showing eligibility requirements for receiving Federal funds
- A model consent form for families to authorize sharing of confidential information
Providing Comprehensive, Integrated Social Services to Vulnerable Children and Families: Are There Legal Barriers at the Federal Level to Moving Forward? was produced jointly with the National Governors Association for Best Practices and the Hudson Institute and was funded by the Annie E. Casey Foundation. The paper can be downloaded from the CLASP website at www.clasp.org/DMS/Documents/1076428367.74/view_html (HTML) or www.clasp.org/publications/CW_Integration.pdf (PDF). (Editor's note: Links no longer active)
- Treating Fathers Who Maltreat
A recent article in Clinical Psychology argues that the intervention needs of maltreating fathers are not met by traditional parenting programs, which may actually support some of the problematic attitudes and behaviors of the abusive fathers. "Effecting Change in Maltreating Fathers: Critical Principles for Intervention Planning" describes more appropriate intervention treatments that begin by targeting the motivations, accountability, and entitlement attitudes of abusive men, while leaving skills development and parenting support for later in the process.
The article draws on literature on parenting, child abuse, promoting change, and treating batterers in order to construct principles to guide intervention with maltreating fathers. These include:
- Given that maltreating fathers tend to be characterized by a sense of entitlement, self-centeredness, and need for control, initial intervention should focus on changing those attitudes, rather than on providing child management skills that may actually enhance the father's sense of control.
- Abusive fathers often have little motivation to change; thus, treatment needs to focus on acceptance of this need.
- Men's violent or hostile treatment of their children's mothers should be a significant component in treatment.
- The damaged emotional security of abused children must be taken into account as (formerly) abusive fathers attempt to rebuild relationships.
The overarching theme of this approach is to focus on changing attitudes before attempting to enhance skills, and on transforming a self-centered perspective into a child-centered perspective. Implications for providing these types of intervention services are discussed. To date, two treatment programs for maltreating fathers, including the Emerge program in Boston (see www.emergedv.com), have been developed around these principles.
To view the abstract of this article or purchase the full text, visit the Clinical Psychology website at http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1093/clipsy.bph058/abstract.
The same issue of Clinical Psychology carries two additional articles on maltreating fathers:
- "Finding Ways to Reduce the Prevalence of Child Maltreatment Among Fathers: A Comment on the Alternative Approaches" (http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1093/clipsy.bph059/abstract) suggests that long-term benefits would be greater if at-risk males were targeted for prevention programs.
- "Advancing Change with Maltreating Fathers" (http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1093/clipsy.bph060/abstract) examines barriers to intervention with fathers and suggests that a paradigm shift is necessary in the treatment community in order to overcome these barriers and provide appropriate services.
- A Family's Guide to the Child Welfare System
Families entering the child welfare system have a new resource to help them navigate its often bewildering complexities. A Family's Guide to the Child Welfare System uses a question and answer format and personal stories to describe the experiences, processes, laws, and people who are part of the child welfare system.
- Basics of the child welfare system
- Child Protective Services
- The service planning process
- Available services in the home and community
- Out-of-home placement, including foster care and the court hearing process
- Placements made to obtain treatment that is not otherwise affordable
- Choices for permanent placement
- The Indian Child Welfare Act
- Rights and responsibilities of parents
- Approaches used by agencies and communities to improve the system
In addition, the Guide offers information on terminology, relevant laws and policies, and resources for more information.
A Family's Guide to the Child Welfare System is the result of a collaborative effort among child welfare professionals, organizations, and families, including the National Technical Assistance Center for Children's Mental Health at Georgetown University Center for Child and Human Development, Technical Assistance Partnership for Child and Family Mental Health at American Institutes for Research, Federation of Families for Children's Mental Health, Child Welfare League of America, and the National Indian Child Welfare Association. The 140-page Guide is available at http://gucchd.georgetown.edu/72140.html or by contacting:
Georgetown University Center for Child and Human Development
3307 M Street, Suite 401
Washington, DC 20007
Attention: Mary Moreland
- Freddie Mac Foundation
Nonprofits focusing on strengthening families, foster care and adoption, or youth development in the metropolitan Washington, D.C., area should note that the Freddie Mac Foundation's next deadline for grant applications is September 1, 2004.
Grants are made to public charities for general operating expenses, program support, capacity building, planning, and capital projects. Amounts range from $5,000 to $50,000. The Foundation funds organizations in the following geographic areas:
- District of Columbia
- Virginia (Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun, and Prince William counties, and the cities of Alexandria, Falls Church, Manassas Park, and Leesburg)
- Maryland (Charles, Frederick, Howard, Montgomery, and Prince George's counties)
Funding also is available for statewide initiatives in Maryland and Virginia and programs that are national in scope. Funding in the Foundation's regional cities of Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, and New York is by invitation only.
More information about the Foundation's priorities and application guidelines, including online application instructions, is available from the Freddie Mac Foundation website at www.freddiemacfoundation.org/.
- Supporting Incarcerated Parents
Noting that a majority of the 2 million prisoners in the United States have children under 18 years of age, the Fall 2003 issue of Family Support Magazine devotes its special focus section to articles on supporting families with incarcerated parents. The 16 selections range from research studies to first-person accounts of the effects of parent incarceration on the family. Included are descriptions of programs that address a variety of needs, including:
- A program that helps incarcerated parents build positive relationships with their children and the children's other parent.
- A hotline counseling program for prisoners' families and former offenders.
- A Georgia program that supports imprisoned mothers by providing help to the mothers, grandmothers, and children.
- A California program that provides group therapy, parenting classes, and help after prison to incarcerated mothers.
A resource file is also included that lists organizations, publications, videos, and internet resources that support families and children of incarcerated parents. The complete issue of Family Support Magazine 22(3) is available through the Family Support America website at http://secure.mycart.net/catalogs/catalog.asp?prodid=285975&showprevnext=1. (Editor's note: Link no longer active)
Data Trends recently published a research summary on this topic, documenting the harm for families caused by incarceration. "The Implications of Incarceration for Children and Families" (Data Trends #91) can be downloaded at http://www.americanbar.org/content/dam/aba/administrative/child_law/ParentRep/ImplicationsofIncarceration.authcheckdam.pdf (PDF - 130 KB).
The San Francisco Partnership for Incarcerated Parents has created a Bill of Rights to encourage justice and human services groups to support children of incarcerated parents. This can be downloaded at http://www.fcnetwork.org/Bill%20of%20Rights/billofrights.pdf (PDF - 668 KB).
Find more about child welfare issues related to parent incarceration in previous issues of Children's Bureau Express:
- "Children of Incarcerated Parents: Research and Resources" (February 2004)
- "Bureau of Justice Statistics Report Reveals Increase in Incarcerated Parents" (March/April 2001)
- Positive Youth Development
The January 2004 issue of the Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science (AAPSS) focuses on positive youth development (PYD), contrasting this model with more traditional models of adolescence. The PYD model views adolescents as resources rather than as problems and focuses on their potential rather than their deficiencies.
Some of the themes addressed in this special issue, Positive Development: Realizing the Potential of Youth, include:
- PYD and character strengths
- PYD in school programs and after-school settings
- Research on PYD in the United States
- Effects of PYD on child well-being
- Developing resilience in youth
To read more about this issue, visit the AAPSS website at http://ann.sagepub.com/content/591/1.toc.
The National Collaboration for Youth recently published a list of 10 core competencies for staff who work with youth. These Youth Development Worker Competencies include knowledge, skills, and personal attributes needed by workers for effective practice. The list can be used to determine recruitment, selection, and development strategies. It is available in a PDF format at http://sparkaction.org/sites/sparkaction.org/files/nydic/documents/competencies.pdf.
Two curricula that use PYD in working with older youth in foster care and independent living situations are featured in recent issues of Children's Bureau Express:
- "Transitioning Y.O.U.T.H." (May 2004)
- "Foster Youth Help Develop Curriculum and Provide Training for Child Welfare Workers" (February 2004)
- Foundation Center Provides Information &Training on Corporate Giving
The Foundation Center offers information and resources for nonprofits interested in tapping corporations for support. Along with describing some common mechanisms for corporate giving (e.g., corporate giving programs, company-sponsored foundation), the Foundation Center provides a list of electronic and print resources on its website ( http://fdncenter.org/learn/faqs/html/corporate_giving.html).
In addition, an Introduction to Corporate Giving training course is offered at each of the Foundation Center's five libraries throughout the year. The courses are free, but space is limited. Locations and dates of upcoming corporate giving trainings are listed below:
- Cleveland (http://fdncenter.org/cleveland/corpgvcl.html), May 18 and June 24
- New York (http://fdncenter.org/newyork/corpgvny.html), May 17 and June 18
- San Francisco (http://fdncenter.org/sanfrancisco/corpgvsf.html), June 28
- Washington, DC (http://fdncenter.org/washington/corpgvdc.html), May 6 and June 9
(Editor's note: Links no longer active)
Find trainings, workshops, webinars, and other opportunities for professionals and families to learn about how to improve the lives of children and youth as well as a listing of upcoming events and conferences.
- Free Online Training for Foster Parents
Distance learning, or remote learning, makes sense as an option for busy foster families who need to get CEUs (Continuing Education Units) to fulfill license requirements. FosterClub offers these credits in a new free, online service at http://www.fosterclub.com/_booster/article/foster-parent-online-training.
FosterClub courses are composed of published articles, book excerpts, research papers, and reports produced by leading authorities in child welfare and available through the FosterClub Training Library. The site offers a quiz with each course to verify the learner's understanding.
Registered users of the site are able to keep track of CEUs earned and receive a certificate for each course completed. They also may print a transcript of all courses taken. Registration on the system is free, but users may view the materials without registering if they wish.
For more information about the FosterClub Training Library, contact Celeste Bodner, Executive Director, at (503) 717-1552 or firstname.lastname@example.org.