News From the Children's Bureau
- Children's Bureau CFSR Factsheets for Professionals
In order to increase key stakeholders' awareness of the Child and Family Services Reviews (CFSRs), the Children's Bureau has released a series of factsheets about the CFSRs written for related professionals. As States begin their second round of CFSRs, child welfare agencies can share the factsheets with each group to help promote further collaboration and involvement in the process. Factsheets are currently available for:
- Mental health professionals
These professionals can use the factsheets to learn more about the history and purpose of the CFSRs and gain greater understanding of their own roles and responsibilities in the CFSR process. Each factsheet gives examples of how the CFSRs can be a valuable source of information for that group and describes specific ways to become involved with and support the process. Links and references for more information are also provided.
To read or download a printable version of the factsheets, visit the Children's Bureau website:
- FRIENDS Performance Report Summaries Now Available
The Community-Based Child Abuse Prevention (CBCAP) grant award program performance report summaries for fiscal year 2006 are now available online. Submitted by the States in December, the CBCAP reports provide information on what States are doing to prevent child maltreatment through community-based programs. The reports include information on the programs funded, new areas of service, families served, the peer review process, funding mechanisms, parental involvement and leadership, and training and technical assistance offered to families and professionals.
- Improving Child Protection Services Through Citizen Review Panels
State officials and child welfare professionals seeking to improve child protection services in their State can visit the new Citizen Review Panels web section provided by the National Resource Center for Child Protective Services. The section provides information on meeting the State CAPTA requirements and on the ways a Citizen Review Panel can be used as a tool for improving child protection services. The section also features resources and materials to help train and develop panel participants.
Children's Bureau Express last wrote about Citizen Review Panels in the following issues:
- "Wyoming Conducts Mini-CFSRs" (September 2007)
- "What Makes Citizen Review Panels Effective?" (March 2005)
- Promoting Cultural Competence and Collaboration: The Frontline Connections QICSecond in a series of articles on the Children's Bureau's Quality Improvement Centers
To improve the outcomes for children of color referred to child protective services (CPS) for neglect, the Frontline Connections Quality Improvement Center (FCQIC) at the University of Washington focused on how families, kin, and communities could be engaged in the process. In 2001, the FCQIC selected three grant recipients from among agencies in the northwestern States that submitted proposals on using culturally specific practices and collaboration to engage families involved with CPS. These included a Native village in Alaska, a Native American Tribe in northwest Washington, and a community-based agency in Seattle. The FCQIC provided extensive technical assistance for the life of the project in addition to project funding through the Children's Bureau.
In implementing the project services and interacting with parents, the grantees built on natural helping systems and cultural strengths in Alaska Native, Native American, and African-American families and communities. The following recommendations for culturally competent child welfare practice resulted:
- Understand the importance of relationships; build relationships with families by listening to parents and interacting with extended family members prior to implementing plans.
- Maintain a nonjudgmental stance; understand that parenting happens in a cultural context.
- Help families reconnect with their cultural identity.
- Be understanding of the problems that can result when families are disconnected from their traditions and communities.
- Accept the shared history that some groups may feel.
- Use a strengths-based approach to assess parents' goals.
"Through the FCQIC, the three grantees informed others about their practices and the families that received services; this reminded professionals in child welfare of the importance of assessing and incorporating families' values in developing service plans," according to Maggie McKenna, FCQIC Evaluator.
Grantee staff also developed successful strategies to identify, locate, and engage immediate and extended family members of children in need of out-of-home placement with CPS. Using a strengths-based approach, staff involved kin in case planning and helped them navigate the child welfare system.
When funding ended in 2005, the FCQIC continued the evaluation and synthesis of results across the three projects. Some of the findings included the following:
- Efforts to improve interaction cross-culturally led to improved communication between families and CPS social workers, as well as greater engagement of families.
- When kin and community members could be identified to care for children referred to CPS, the children were able to maintain their connections with their cultural heritage.
- The focus on engaging families needed to be balanced with risk and safety assessments to protect the safety and well-being of children referred to CPS.
The FCQIC was one of the original four QICs funded by the Children's Bureau. Its unique focus on engaging families and communities to improve outcomes for children of color and to address the issue of their overrepresentation in the child welfare system has led to a greater understanding of the importance of culturally relevant services and collaboration in child welfare. While the Children's Bureau funding has ended, the FCQIC legacy will be sustained through the successful practices and collaborations that were developed and refined by its grantees.
For more information, including the FCQIC project highlights and summaries, visit the FCQIC website, or contact the Project Manager or Project Evaluator:
Bekki Ow-Arhus, M.S.W.
FCQIC Project Manager
Maggie McKenna, Ph.D.
- New! On the Children's Bureau Site
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:
- Vermont Child and Family Services Review for Round 2
Visit the Children's Bureau website often to see what's new!
- Diane Rath Nominated as Assistant Secretary for Children and Families
President Bush has nominated Diane Rath to lead the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). As the Assistant Secretary, Ms. Rath will oversee a $47 billion budget that funds programs promoting the social and economic well-being of America's children, youth, and families.
A native Texan, Ms. Rath most recently served as Chair of the Texas Workforce Commission, a position she assumed in 1998. The Commission is responsible for all Federal Department of Labor activities in Texas, State and Federal training programs, and State child care initiatives. Under Ms. Rath's leadership, a new regional workforce delivery system was developed for Texas, and welfare rolls decreased more than 71 percent.
In a press release, HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt applauded the President's nomination: "I am confident Diane's State experience will be a tremendous asset at the national level as we strive to meet the needs of America's children and families. I look forward to welcoming her to the HHS leadership team and urge the Senate to act quickly on her nomination."
For more information on ACF, visit the website:
- Computing the Costs of Abuse and Neglect
While the value of safety, permanency, and well-being for the nation's children is priceless, there is a sobering monetary cost to society when children become victims of abuse and neglect. A recent study by the Center for Business and Economic Research of the University of Alabama evaluates the total yearly costs of child abuse and neglect in Alabama. Based on publicly available secondary data, the study looked at the direct and indirect costs of child abuse and neglect:
- Direct costs totaled more than $392 million per year, including costs associated with patient hospitalization, low-birthweight infants, chronic health problems, mental health, the child welfare system, law enforcement, and judicial system costs.
- Indirect costs totaled more than $129 million per year, including those associated with special education, juvenile delinquency, lost productivity to society or unemployment, and adult criminality, including incarceration.
The authors contrast the total annual costs of child abuse and neglect in Alabama ($521 million) with the $3.8 million spent on prevention services by the main provider of those services in Alabama, the Children's Trust Fund. They suggest that greater expenditures on prevention, including prenatal classes and parent education, could result in better outcomes for children, families, and society, as well as greater savings for taxpayers.
To read The Costs of Child Abuse vs. Child Abuse Prevention: Alabama’s Experience, by Annette Jones Watters et al., visit:
- Where the Child Welfare and Criminal Justice Systems Meet
A recent study using data from the National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being (NSCAW) reveals that child maltreatment victims whose parents are involved with the criminal justice systems are not a homogeneous group. Instead, these children represent a complex and diverse group within the child welfare system. They include not only the children of incarcerated parents, but also children of parents on probation, those with recent or more dated arrest records, and those at every point of the criminal justice process.
NSCAW, a landmark national study that provides information on child maltreatment victims, also provides some of the only available data on the criminal justice system's involvement with these children and families. This includes information on the extent of the criminal justice system involvement, the specific needs of these children and families, and what happens to children as their parents progress through the system. For instance, NSCAW data indicate:
- As many as one in every eight children reported as victims of maltreatment has a parent who was arrested within the previous 6 months. In 90 percent of these cases, it is the mother who was arrested.
- The criminal justice system has intervened in at least one in three families involved with child welfare agencies.
- Children with recently arrested caregivers are significantly more likely than other children to be subjects of reports of abandonment and neglect and significantly less likely to be subjects of reports of physical abuse.
Overall, the NSCAW data indicate that children who have parents who were or are involved with the criminal justice system are exposed to a greater total number of risk factors (parental substance abuse, mental illness, domestic violence) than other children. This greater number of risk factors may have an exponential effect on the likelihood of these children experiencing more serious problems.
The authors discuss the policy and practice implications of these findings, including the need to tailor services to meet the specific needs of the many different subgroups of children and families with exposure to both the child welfare and criminal justice systems. Collaboration between the two systems may also offer ways to provide early preventive services to these families.
The full study, "What We Know Now That We Didn't Know Then About the Criminal Justice System's Involvement in Families With Whom Child Welfare Agencies Have Contact," by Susan D. Phillips and James P. Gleeson, is part of the Children, Families, and the Criminal Justice System series produced by the Center for Social Policy and Research at the Jane Addams College of Social Work, University of Illinois at Chicago. It is available online:
To read about how several California jurisdictions developed protocols for helping children when their parents were arrested, see "Keeping Children Safe When Parents Are Arrested" in this issue.
- New Measures of Child Well-Being
Two recently released national studies of child well-being show gains as well as challenges for the nation's children.
The Annie E. Casey Foundation's 18th annual KIDS COUNT 2007 Data Book is a national and State-by-State effort to track the status of children in the United States. This year's Data Book notes trends for improvement in a number of areas, including child death rates, high school dropout rates, and infant mortality rates. Several areas reflect declines in well-being, including increasing numbers of children in single-parent families and low-birthweight babies.
The Data Book also looks at the status of children in foster care in an essay, "Lifelong Family Connections: Supporting Permanence for Children in Foster Care."
In addition to the 10 key indicators included in the Data Book, an online database provides data on an additional 65 indicators of child well-being. Users can access State-by-State profiles or compare specific data across multiple States or localities within a State.
America's Children in Brief: Key National Indicators of Well-Being, 2007 is the latest release from the Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics. Each year since 1997, the Forum has published this report presenting key indicators used by Federal agencies to measure important aspects of children's lives. This year's report mirrors a number of the findings noted in the KIDS COUNT 2007 Data Book. Other trends discussed include an increase in the number of children living with a working parent and ongoing high rates of overweight children and asthmatic children.
This 10th anniversary edition of America's Children in Brief includes data from the Children's Bureau's Child Maltreatment 2005 on child abuse and neglect, and child maltreatment is included as one of nine new indicators. The report also features a new section on children's physical environment and safety and another new section on health care. The report is available online.
www.childstats.gov/pdf/ac2007/ac_07.pdf (PDF - 2,145 KB)
- Keeping Children Safe When Parents Are Arrested
A coordinated response involving child welfare services and law enforcement may be an effective way to ensure that children remain safe when their parents are arrested. A new report, Keeping Children Safe When Their Parents Are Arrested: Local Approaches That Work, examines the efforts of four California communities to develop protocols for such a coordinated response.
While the approaches developed by San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Jose, and Santa Clara County vary in the details, they all have resulted in a higher degree of collaboration between law enforcement and child welfare services. The benefits of these approaches, as identified by participating law enforcement and child welfare agencies, include:
- Reduction in traumatic effects of parental arrest on children
- Reduction in law enforcement officer time at the arrest scene
- Increase in goodwill between law enforcement agencies, parents, and the community
- Reduction in the number of children taken into formal child welfare services custody and reduction in costs associated with formal placement
- Enhanced relationships between law enforcement and child welfare services
The report was written by Ginny Puddefoot and Lisa K. Foster and published by the California State Library, California Research Bureau.
www.library.ca.gov/crb/07/07-006.pdf (2,548 - KB)
To read about research on children and families involved with both the child welfare and criminal justice systems, see "Where the Child Welfare and Criminal Justice Systems Meet" in this issue.
- Court Practices Can Support Better Outcomes for Foster Children
Courts can play an important role in helping to improve educational outcomes for children and youth in foster care. A new study, Court-Based Education Efforts for Children in Foster Care: The Experience of the Pima County Juvenile Court (Arizona), provides an indepth review of court reforms and strategies that supported improved outcomes in one jurisdiction.
As a participant in the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (NCJFCJ) Model Courts Project, the Pima County Juvenile Court embarked on a 4-year project that took the county from simply having an interest in improving educational outcomes to making real improvements in courtroom policy and practice. The results of this study show that specific court practices can do much to keep foster children enrolled in school and receiving the supports and services that they need.
The study includes a "road map" for education reform that identifies necessary elements and strategies, such as:
- Judicial leadership
- Stakeholder involvement
- School district buy-in
- Data collection and project evaluation
- Youth voice in court
The report is published by the Permanency Planning Department of the NCJFCJ, with the support of Casey Family Programs. The full report, researched and written by Kim Taitano, is available online:
A new report, Visitation with Infants and Toddlers in Foster Care: What Judges and Attorneys Need to Know, provides an overview of the importance of a young child to his or her parents, discusses how appropriate visitation can preserve those important attachments and support successful reunification efforts, and describes some promising practices. The report was published by the ABA Center on Children and the Law and the ZERO TO THREE Policy Center and funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Maternal and Child Health Bureau.
This and other resources on the needs of infants and toddlers in foster care can be found on a new web section developed by the ABA Center on Children and the Law, Improving the Understanding of Maternal and Child Health:
- Ready by 21
The Forum for Youth Investment believes that young people need support in order to be "Ready by 21"—for college, work, and life. As a nonprofit organization that supports policymakers, funders, and others in the youth development field, the Forum is constantly looking for new ways to help promote change and better opportunities for youth.
The Forum's new website—Ready by 21—brings together the key ideas, research, and partnerships that can help youth advocates create, promote, and implement a comprehensive youth development agenda. The website includes project descriptions, featured Ready by 21 sites, a learning lab, youth services, and more.
- Newsletter Focuses on Rural Child Welfare Practice
Rural areas may face challenges that urban areas do not, including greater poverty, fewer employment opportunities, and a scarcity of service providers. Yet a recent newsletter from the North Carolina Division of Social Services demonstrates that successful child welfare practice is possible in rural areas through the common-sense application of basic social work concepts, such as focusing on strengths, listening and showing respect for families, and building a sense of community. Articles address the following issues faced by rural social workers:
- Ethics and dual roles
- Advantages and disadvantages of practicing social work in a rural area
- Successful elements of and barriers to collaboration
In addition, the newsletter highlights results of a recent study by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's Rural Success Project. The study compared the Child and Family Services Review (CFSR) results for every county department of social services in North Carolina. The findings show that, on average, rural child welfare agencies are doing as well as or better than urban agencies in terms of outcome and process measures.
Download the complete newsletter, Children's Services Practice Notes,12(3), 2007:
The Rural Success Project, funded by a grant from the Children's Bureau, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, includes research dealing with rural issues and success stories in rural child welfare work. Resources include a media guide for rural child welfare agencies and a literature review on rural child welfare work. For more information, visit their website:
- Online Newsletter Focuses on Prevention
Prevent Child Abuse America now offers an online newsletter, Nurturing Families E-Newsletter. Each issue features news and stories on prevention research and community prevention efforts. Other features include outreach resources, a spotlight on new products, a guide to grant opportunities, and frequently asked questions.
Nurturing Families E-Newsletter is produced in partnership with the Channing Bete Company.
- Funding for Sustainability
Private funding sources, including foundations and corporations, increasingly emphasize program sustainability when making funding decisions. To help foundation leaders and donors assess the potential sustainability of their grantees, the Finance Project developed an assessment tool that funders can rely on when funding innovative, long-term projects. The assessment tool includes different criteria for evaluating the vision, performance, community support, outreach strategy, resource use, internal system, and adaptability of the organizations seeking funds.
Investing in the Sustainability of Youth Programs: An Investment Tool for Funders, by Barbara Hanson Langford, is available on the Finance Project website:
www.financeproject.org/Publications/FundersTool.pdf (PDF - 1,969 KB)
- Parent Materials for Preventing Shaken Baby Syndrome
The National Center on Shaken Baby Syndrome has developed new educational materials for parents based on extensive clinical trials with more than 4,000 parents in maternity departments, pediatric offices, prenatal classes, and nurse home visiting programs. In addition to randomized clinical trials, focus groups of parents were used to help develop the latest Period of PURPLE Crying booklet and DVD. PURPLE is the acronym for the characteristics of infant crying:
- P: Peak of crying
- U: Unexpected
- R: Resistant to soothing
- P: Painlike face
- L: Long bouts
- E: Evening crying common
Designed to create a cultural change in the way parents view crying, the materials can help parents understand the frustrating features of the crying that can lead to shaking or other types of abuse.
- Issue Briefs on Cognitive Behavioral Therapies
Child Welfare Information Gateway recently published two issue briefs on specific types of cognitive behavioral therapy designed to help traumatized and abused children and their families. Both issue briefs cover the key components and goals of the treatment, the population best served, demonstrated effectiveness, and what to look for in a therapist.
Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT): Addressing the Mental Health of Sexually Abused Children is now available to help child welfare caseworkers and other professionals working with at-risk families who may be considering referral to TF-CBT. This evidence-based treatment is designed to reduce negative emotional and behavioral responses following child sexual abuse and other traumatic events by addressing distorted beliefs and attributions related to the abuse and by providing a supportive environment for children.
Abuse-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (AF-CBT) for Child Physical Abuse is designed to help child welfare caseworkers and other professionals who work with at-risk families make more informed decisions about when to refer children and their parents and caregivers to AF-CBT programs. AF-CBT can improve functioning in school-aged children, their parents (caregivers), and their families. By targeting individual child and parent characteristics related to the abusive experience, this approach emphasizes training in interpersonal skills designed to enhance self-control and reduce violent behavior.
- Call for Proposals: Developing Systems of Care
Proposals are due this month for the biennial Georgetown University Training Institutes, which offer an opportunity to obtain indepth, practical information on how to develop and operate community-based systems of care and how to provide high-quality, clinical interventions and supports within them. The 2008 Training Institutes will focus on the strategies and skills needed to strengthen partnerships in three specific areas in order to provide more effective services and improve outcomes for children and youth with mental health needs and their families:
- Track 1: Implementing a public health approach
- Track 2: Partnering with schools
- Track 3: Partnering with child welfare
The 2008 Georgetown University Training Institutes will be held July 16 to 20, 2008, in Nashville, TN. They are organized by the National Technical Assistance Center for Children's Mental Health at the Georgetown University Center for Child and Human Development in partnership with the Child, Adolescent and Family Branch of the Federal Center for Mental Health Services. Additional support is being provided by the Annie E. Casey Foundation.
Proposals are due October 25. For more information, visit:
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.
- Web-Based Training for Future Mandated Reporters
While laws vary from State to State, most States have laws that require individuals in certain professions, especially those that come into contact with children, to report child abuse. However, training these individuals to recognize the signs and symptoms of child abuse is often lacking.
In an effort to assess the efficacy of web-based training for child abuse reporting, researchers developed an online training program on child maltreatment and reporting laws and administered it to 105 education and counseling college students in Florida. The students were tested on their knowledge before and after the self-paced tutorial.
Results show that students' knowledge increased significantly after the tutorial, and they gave high ratings to the online format. As possible future mandated reporters, the students' experiences suggest that online tutorials may be one effective way to train mandated child abuse and neglect reporters.
"Web-Based Training in Child Maltreatment for Future Mandated Reporters," by Maureen C. Kenny, was published in Child Abuse & Neglect, 31(6), and is available through Elsevier:
Child Welfare Information Gateway's Mandatory Reporters of Child Abuse and Neglect provides information on State statutes related to reporting laws:
Upcoming national conferences on adoption and child welfare through January 2008 include:
- 2007 Conference on Differential Response
American Humane Association
November 14–16, Long Beach, CA
- National Training Institute
ZERO TO THREE
November 30–December 2, Orlando, FL
- Federation of Families for Children's Mental Health 19th Annual Conference
December 7–9, Washington, DC
- 2007 Child Abuse Conference
December 10–11, San Antonio, TX
- 2007 National Adoption and Foster Care Training Conference
Shared Beliefs, Shared Values: Achieving Excellence in Adoption and Foster Care
Child Welfare League of America
December 10–12, New Orleans, LA
- 22nd Annual San Diego International Conference on Child and Family Maltreatment
Chadwick Center for Children & Families
January 28–February 1, San Diego, CA
Further details about national and regional adoption and child welfare conferences can be found through the "Conference Calendar Search" feature on the Child Welfare Information Gateway website:
- 2007 Conference on Differential Response
- State Partnerships for Prevention: Reducing the Risk for Very Young Children
Applications are due this month for States that want to participate in a new training program for the prevention of child abuse of very young children. Offered by ZERO TO THREE, the State Partnerships for Prevention (SPP) Project trains State-based trainers in the use of the Preventing Child Abuse and Neglect: Parent-Provider Partnership curriculum, which is designed to help child care providers support families and help them reduce the risk of child maltreatment. The project is seeking applications from States with existing or planned child maltreatment prevention initiatives.
Complete details on the curriculum, costs, and application requirements are available online:
NOTE: Applications are due on October 23, 2007.
For additional information, contact:
Linda Gillespie, Assistant Director, SPP
202.638.1144, ext 657