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June 2009Vol. 10, No. 5Spotlight on Community Engagement and Collaboration

This month, CBX looks at how community efforts can effect change in families' lives. Examples from across the country show the benefits of collaborations across community agencies and populations.

Issue Spotlight

  • Community Interventions for Child and Domestic Abuse

    Community Interventions for Child and Domestic Abuse

    Child abuse and domestic violence often occur in the same family and have serious consequences for both children and adult victims. To address this co-occurrence, the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges released Bringing the Greenbook to Life: A Resource Guide for Communities to provide practical ideas for communities seeking to improve their response.

    Based on the efforts of six federally funded pilot sites, this publication identifies new ways for child welfare agencies, domestic violence advocates, and dependency courts to collaborate. Innovative examples illustrate how specific communities have successfully implemented the Greenbook's vision. These recommendations are intended as general steps to help communities develop their own policies, practices, and collaborative partnerships. The steps include:

    • Strengthening collaborations through activities such as shadowing and cross-training
    • Developing relationships among systems by establishing trust, assessing commitment, and managing conflicts
    • Assessing system readiness for change by conducting safety and accountability audits
    • Recognizing and respecting class, gender, and cultural differences
    • Implementing changes in practice (e.g., using group conferencing, engaging multidisciplinary teams, developing new protocols, and ensuring batterer accountability)

    A final section addresses some of the frequently raised questions that involve role conflict and issues surrounding policy and sustainable change. Appendices illustrate specific counties' programs, initiatives, and guidelines in co-occurring cases of domestic violence and child maltreatment.

    The guidebook was written by Leigh Goodmark and Ann Rosewater and is available on the Greenbook Initiative website:

    http://www.thegreenbook.info/documents/BJA.pdf (13.78 MB)

  • Children's Futures Initiative Helps a City

    Children's Futures Initiative Helps a City

    The Children's Futures (CF) communitywide initiative was implemented in Trenton, NJ, to ensure good health for children up to age 3 by assembling dozens of agencies to achieve this goal. Two recent reports detail the initiative and the community involvement that it generated. Collaboration and Community Change in the Children’s Futures Initiative focuses on program implementation, participant recruitment, and collaborations among Trenton’s agencies. The second report, Children's Futures' First Five Years, reviews strategies implemented and examines program improvements and early outcomes for children and families.

    The CF initiative was started in 2002 with CF, Inc., providing resources and leadership to fund direct services to families, help the city's organizations improve existing services to families, and promote policy improvements. Funding was provided by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Major components of the initiative included:

    • Home visiting programs
    • Parent-child development activities
    • Training and technical assistance for child care providers and centers
    • Fatherhood classes and support
    • Preventive health care and screening in behavioral health for pregnant women and new mothers

    In supporting these programs, CF staff created a network among community agencies and provided regular opportunities for communication, meetings, integration, and training. These successful collaborations led to a number of positive results, including regular meetings of multiple stakeholders, formal partnerships among agencies, and significant presence in the community.

    Initial evaluations show varying degrees of success for the CF initiative, including the following:

    • In 2006, about half of all Trenton’s pregnant women were screened for medical and social risks that predict adverse birth outcomes, child abuse, or neglect.
    • By 2005, the six home-visiting programs were serving 370 families, and a greater percentage of visited children had a regular health-care provider.
    • About 75 percent of scheduled home visits were completed, and women remained in the programs for about 15 months.
    • Public policy efforts resulted in a new law providing health-care coverage to all low-income State residents.
    • The fatherhood component showed the least success, although the goal of recruiting 100 fathers per year was met.

    Among the factors contributing to the initiative's success were the creation of a network of local resources, the agencies' reliance on evidence-based practice, and the fit between program strategies and desired outcomes.

    The reports are available on the Public/Private Ventures website:

  • CASA Program Results From Community Efforts

    CASA Program Results From Community Efforts

    A recent Judges' Page online newsletter highlights the collaborative efforts of community members and judicial leaders to establish a successful court-appointed special advocate (CASA) program in five Kentucky counties. When citizens of several counties outside Louisville, KY, realized that Louisville had a successful CASA program in which volunteers advocated for children involved with the child welfare system, they asked for help in setting up their own programs. The Louisville CASA program board of directors worked with national and State CASA staff to establish an advisory board and launch the program.

    One of the biggest lessons learned though this partnership was the importance of creating a collaborative venture through grassroots interest and involvement. Through the development of a strong advisory group, the desire of the community, and the cooperation of judges, 26 volunteers served 75 children from three counties in the first year of service. The success of this expanded program continues to spread to other nearby counties as well. Now more children have access to a CASA volunteer, and the new programs continue to look for ways to serve more children.

    For additional information about this collaborative effort, visit the Judge’s Page, sponsored by National CASA and the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges:

    www.nationalcasa.org/JudgesPage/Article/0903_JP3.htm

  • Learning From Collaborative Reform Efforts

    Learning From Collaborative Reform Efforts

    A new report from the Center for the Study of Social Policy examines three large-scale child welfare reform efforts that relied heavily on community collaboration to achieve and sustain change. The report, Scale of Change, highlights similarities in these efforts to demonstrate how reform can be brought to scale across large areas by engaging a wide variety of community partners. The report summarizes reform efforts in three locations:

    • California's Family to Family Initiative
    • Iowa's Community Partnerships for Protecting Children Project
    • Washington, D.C.'s Healthy Families/Thriving Communities Collaboratives

    Each initiative aimed to substantially reshape child welfare services by infusing collaborative values and practices throughout systems serving children and families. Agencies used strengths-based, collaborative methods when working with parents in need of help, including those reported for child abuse or neglect. These three localities achieved widespread change through the development of specific, detailed structures for reform that were adopted by a variety of community partners, including elected officials, government and community leaders, nonprofit foundations, frontline staff, families, and other stakeholders.

    The report identifies common aspects of infrastructure and strategic planning, including:

    • Embedding the project within government funding streams for child and family services
    • Using centralized committees to steer efforts
    • Offering a specific package of strategies and tools
    • Devising standards of quality case practice
    • Emphasizing the use of family team conferencing
    • Leveraging the self-interest of high-level administrators and elected officials
    • Developing stakeholders on the frontlines of child and family services
    • Building a strong training and technical assistance infrastructure

    The projects cite their broad base of community support and involvement as a strong indication of their sustainability. In addition, each project has established mechanisms for collecting data and reporting outcomes, which will allow the communities they serve, as well as other communities interested in implementing similar reform efforts, to learn from their successes.

    The full report, Scale of Change: Creating and Sustaining Collaborative Child Welfare Reform Across Cities and States, by Andrew White, is available on the Center for the Study of Social Policy website:

    www.cssp.org/uploadFiles/ScaleOfChange.web.pdf (761 KB)

  • Strong Communities for Children

    Strong Communities for Children

    In the northwest corner of South Carolina, a project focused on strengthening communities in order to prevent child abuse and neglect is having a noticeable impact on community involvement. Strong Communities for Children, funded by the Duke Foundation and implemented through the Clemson University Research Foundation, is a little more than halfway through its 10-year term, but it is already showing many positive outcomes for communities. In 2008, Family & Community Health devoted an entire issue to describing different facets of this long-term project, spotlighting the comprehensive community engagement that has led to improved services and supports for families and children.

    Articles in Family & Community Health trace the history of Strong Communities for Children, outline the importance of community-level strategies, describe what community organizations and individuals do, and give examples of transformative change and the importance of volunteerism. By focusing on different facets of the project, the articles also highlight the variety of evaluation techniques used to gather information from a broad, diverse population.

    Strong Communities for Children, centered around Greenville, SC, and its surrounding communities, is unusual because it focuses on Greenville's community institutions to build systems of support for families. These institutions include schools, churches, health centers, civic groups, parent organizations, and more. Community outreach workers recruit citizens and institutions, mobilize volunteers, and arrange activities and programs. Young families "enroll" in Strong Communities, most often through a health-care service. Once they join, they receive information and invitations for services (e.g., health-care, financial and career counseling, mental health), family events and activities, and support groups. Embedding the services in the community makes them more accessible to families.

    As the articles in Family & Community Health show, it is possible to engage citizens from a wide variety of organizations in strengthening communities. During the first 5 years of Strong Communities, more than 4,500 volunteers have given their time to the project. The greatest engagement has been in the religious and public safety sectors, and the involvement of community gatekeepers is important. Volunteers tend to have a strong sense of neighborliness and community commitment.

    Strong Communities for Children is working on an evaluation plan that looks at both process and outcomes. Survey data from volunteers have already documented the size and breadth of community involvement. Researchers hope that outcome studies will also show the increased safety of children whose families are enrolled in Strong Communities. In the meantime, early evidence cited by Project Director Dr. Gary Melton indicates that families enrolled in Strong Communities are more nurturing, more safety-conscious, and less neglectful than similar families in other communities.

    To learn more about Strong Communities for Children:

  • KIDS COUNT Data Center Offers Community Data

    KIDS COUNT Data Center Offers Community Data

    Detailed, county-by-county information on the health and well-being of children and families is now available from the KIDS COUNT Data Center. By incorporating information that was formerly in the Community-Level Information on Kids (CLIKS) site, the Data Center offers data for States, cities, counties, and school districts. Users can find most of the CLIKS data in the “Data By State” section of the site. For instance, by clicking on a particular State, users can then access Community Profiles within that State, often choosing among other geographic breakdowns, including counties, cities, municipalities, and more.

    KIDS COUNT is a national and State-by-State project of the Annie E. Casey Foundation to track the status of children in the United States. The project uses the best available data to measure the educational, social, economic, and physical well-being of children to provide policymakers and citizens with benchmarks of child well-being as a means of supporting local, State, and national discussions of ways to secure better futures for all children. The Foundation also funds a national network of State-level KIDS COUNT projects that provide a more detailed, county-by-county picture of the condition of children.

    The KIDS COUNT Data Center can be accessed on the Internet:

    http://datacenter.kidscount.org

    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

The month of June brings a new PSA campaign to encourage adoption from foster care. Helping youth is a focus, with a site visit report and a Federal interagency effort for all disadvantaged youth. And, as always, find great new resources from the T&TA Network.

  • Site Visit: Training on Transitioning Youth

    Site Visit: Training on Transitioning Youth

    A new curriculum for Kentucky's child welfare supervisors and workers is designed to enhance their knowledge and skills in their work with youth aging out of the child welfare system. The curriculum, "Time Is Ticking: Tools for Transitioning Youth," was developed by the Kent School of Social Work at the University of Louisville to address the needs of the 300 to 400 Kentucky youth who age out of foster care each year. These youth have special needs related to crisis management, relationship formation, education, employment, housing, and other basic functions of daily living.

    The curriculum is based on a literature review of evidence-based practices as well as input received from an advisory board and from focus groups with youth, foster parents, workers, supervisors, private providers, and community partners. The modules of the curriculum focus on four core elements:

    • Youth development
    • Cultural competency
    • Permanent connections
    • Collaboration

    Training with the curriculum is delivered over 2 days to supervisors and their workers, with an additional half day of training for supervisors. To date, the program has provided training sessions statewide to supervisors and workers in the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS); community partners from the mental health, substance abuse, and education fields; and private providers and foster parents. The partners' involvement in the training encouraged cross-system collaboration and helped participants make connections in their communities and across the State.

    In addition to trainings offered in seven of the nine regions in the State, the program held a statewide Youth Summit titled "Climbing Mount O.L.Y.M.P.U.S." (Offering Louisville Youth Meaningful Participation through Unified Services). Workshops at the summit presented the curriculum's four modules, with additional workshops for those who had already attended the training. Several activities held during the summit focused on creating a shared youth vision in Kentucky by identifying ways to strengthen coordination, communication, and collaboration among youth-serving agencies.

    More than 550 people have completed the training, including 200 participants in the statewide summit and 60 participants in "train the trainer" sessions to prepare them to deliver the training in their communities. Preliminary results from satisfaction surveys and pre- and posttest surveys indicate improvements in the knowledge and skills of participants. The CHFS plans to continue delivering the curriculum to supervisors, workers, and foster parents. Program staff also plan to enhance the curriculum with a syllabus, readings, and exercises so it may be eligible for M.S.S.W. education credits.

    Four free courses developed by the project are now available to the public. Topics include "Dating Violence," "Motivational Interviewing," "Mentoring," and "Reconnecting With Birth Parents." Visit the program's website to view the courses:

    [Editor's note: This link is no longer available.] 

    For more information, contact the principal investigator:
    Anita Barbee, Ph.D.
    Kent School of Social Work
    University of Louisville
    Louisville, KY 40292
    502.852.0422
    anita.barbee@louisville.edu

    The full site report can be found the Child Welfare Information Gateway website: http://www.childwelfare.gov/management/funding/funding_sources/sitevisits/louisville.cfm#page=summary

    Evidence-Based Supervisor-Team Independent Living Training is funded by the Children's Bureau, Grant 90CW1134, under the Children's Bureau Priority Area: Training of Child Welfare Agency Supervisors in the Effective Delivery and Management of Federal Independent Living Service for Youth in Foster Care. This article is part of a series highlighting successful Children's Bureau grant-funded projects around the country, emerging from Children's Bureau site visits.

  • New! On the Children's Bureau Site

    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:

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

    http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb

  • National Adoption Recruitment Campaign PSAs Launch

    National Adoption Recruitment Campaign PSAs Launch

    The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Administration for Children and Families, AdoptUsKids, and The Advertising Council have collaborated with Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation to create new public service announcements (PSAs) that encourage adoption from foster care. The campaign includes TV, radio, print, and online creative materials. This summer, the PSAs will be distributed nationally to media outlets in accordance with the Ad Council's donated media model.

    The new PSAs extend the current "You don't have to be perfect to be a perfect parent" PSA campaign by featuring lovable characters from Fox's "Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs," slated to be released in July 2009. The characters add animated humor and fun and encourage prospective parents to consider adoption from foster care. In the movie, Sid, an adoptive parent of three, demonstrates the challenges of parenthood as well as the rewards that accompany being a parent.

    The national "You don't have to be perfect to be a perfect parent" recruitment campaign aims to increase the number of potential adoptive families for children in foster care. These PSAs use humor to highlight everyday experiences that parents and teens share and enforce the notion that prospective parents have the capacity to give waiting teens the commitment and stability they need.

    All of the PSAs ask potential families to inquire about adoption from foster care by visiting www.adoptuskids.org or by calling 1.888.200.4005. For information in Spanish, visit www.adopte1.org or call 1.877.ADOPTE1 (1.877.236.7381).

  • Updates From the T&TA Network

    Updates From the T&TA Network

    The members of the Children's Bureau Training and Technical Assistance (T&TA) Network offer a variety of new resources to help States and Tribes achieve better outcomes for children and families in their child welfare systems.

    • Child Welfare Information Gateway has launched a new online resource, How Federal Legislation Impacts Child Welfare Service Delivery, which provides brief explanations of each step of the process, as well as links to resources for additional information. A dynamic flowchart helps users navigate the content.
      www.childwelfare.gov/pubs/impacts
    • The FRIENDS National Resource Center for Community-Based Child Abuse Prevention's Online Learning Center offers two new courses: "Protective Factors: Strengthening Families and Preventing Child Abuse and Neglect" and "Continuous Quality Improvement." These new courses are in addition to three online trainings already offered by FRIENDS, as well as a library of other online courses that may help professionals meet standards for mandatory training.
      www.cequick.com/myeln/FRIENDS/default.asp
    • The National Abandoned Infants Assistance Resource Center's latest issue of its magazine, The Source, focuses on fathers in families that are affected by substance abuse and/or HIV/AIDS.
      http://aia.berkeley.edu/media/pdf/TheSourceSpring09.pdf (3.18 MB)
    • The National Child Welfare Resource Center for Adoption is offering a video presentation that explains the requirements of the Multiethnic Placement Act of 1994, as amended in 1996 by the Interethnic Adoption provisions, and how those requirements are linked to title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
      www.nrcadoption.org/mepa/index.htm
    • The National Quality Improvement Center on Differential Response in Child Protective Services (QIC-DR), a relatively new member of the T&TA Network, recently launched its website. The site describes the QIC's goals for the next 5 years and includes contact information and links to resources.
      www.differentialresponseqic.org
    • The National Resource Center for Family-Centered Practice and Permanency Planning now features digital storytelling on its homepage with a link to "Digital Stories From the Field." The voices and experiences of young people, child welfare workers, and supervisors illustrate critical practice issues and enhance supervisory learning circles.
      www.hunter.cuny.edu/socwork/nrcfcpp/pass/digital-stories/index.htm
  • Shared Youth Vision Partnerships Report Progress

    Shared Youth Vision Partnerships Report Progress

    A new report documents recent progress toward developing a more integrated and collaborative system of providing services to disadvantaged young adults (18-24 years old) in order to better equip them to take on adult roles and responsibilities. Common Sense, Uncommon Commitment: A Progress Report on the Shared Youth Vision Partnership describes the work of an interagency Federal collaborative to support Federal, State, and local efforts to better serve young people struggling to succeed in the workforce.

    The Shared Youth Vision began as a Federal response to the 2003 White House Task Force Report on Disadvantaged Youth. At that time, the U.S. Department of Labor formed a partnership with the U.S. Departments of Education, Health and Human Services, and Justice to help disconnected and disadvantaged youth achieve workforce success and economic self-sufficiency.

    Through investments in technical assistance, capacity building, and peer-to-peer support, the partnership has supported the successful development of 28 State teams. Some other key milestones include:

    • Expanding the Federal partnership from four to nine agencies
    • Sponsoring a series of communication and technical assistance forums
    • Awarding planning grants to 16 States to provide more intensive and targeted support for program implementation
    • Implementing a diverse array of State pilot programs and prospective systems reforms
    • Creating a technical assistance and communication network, including a "Solutions Desk" that directly links State-level partnerships with their Federal counterparts
    • Expanding the Shared Youth Vision concepts through a formalized peer-to-peer information exchange network that now includes 28 States

    The report looks at Federal and State strategies for success and notes future opportunities and challenges.

    Common Sense, Uncommon Commitment: A Progress Report on the Shared Youth Vision Partnership is available for download on the Internet:

    www.syvsd.ou.edu/docs/Shared%20Youth%20Vision%20Report_FINAL.pdf (6,240 KB)

Child Welfare Research

CBX highlights evidence-based practices in parent training, housing-based efforts for transitioning youth, guiding principles for rural research, and the impact of parents' probationary status on their children.

  • Probationer Parents and the Child Welfare System

    Probationer Parents and the Child Welfare System

    A newly published study examines the outcomes, characteristics, and experiences of probationers' children with whom child protective services (CPS) had contact. In the study, "Children of Probationers in the Child Welfare System and Their Families," data on a nationally representative sample of reported victims of maltreatment were used to examine parent-probationers' contact with the criminal justice system and concurrent changes in the children's lives, including their safety, health, and well-being, over 36 months.

    The authors used data from the National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being to help them identify a cohort of children who remained in their homes after a completed CPS investigation of maltreatment and who had primary caregivers sentenced to probation in the previous year. They focused on three outcomes:

    • Child safety was assessed with reports of maltreatment and exposure to primary caregivers with problems associated with maltreatment.
    • Permanency was measured as changes in primary caregivers and household composition.
    • Child well-being was determined as the presence or absence of child emotional and behavioral problems.

    Results show that 36 months after coming into contact with CPS, about 40 percent of these children were no longer living with their probationer-parents. During that same period, children's exposure to risk factors such as parental substance abuse, mental illness, or domestic violence dropped markedly, often due to a change in caregivers. There also was a trend toward increased emotional and behavioral problems.

    In discussing the results, the authors note that 1 in 20 children who remain in their homes after CPS investigations are being cared for by parents (typically mothers) who were sentenced to probation in the past year. The importance of further research on this population is stressed.

    The article, by Susan D. Phillips, Sonya J. Leathers, and Alaattin Erkanli, was published in the April 2009 issue of The Journal of Child and Family Studies and is available through the SpringerLink website:

    www.springerlink.com/content/f65t123056462275

  • Providing the "Evidence" for Evidence-Based Practice in Parent Training

    Providing the "Evidence" for Evidence-Based Practice in Parent Training

    A new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) examines the impact of 14 parent training program components on parenting and child behavior outcomes. By learning more about the effectiveness of individual components, parent training programs may focus on components with the most evidence for improving parent and child outcomes.

    Researchers conducted a meta-analysis of 77 articles published from 1990 to 2002 that evaluated training programs for parents of children ages 0 to 7 years old. Programs were deconstructed into their components to determine which worked well consistently across programs. The 14 components addressed either the content of the program or the method of content delivery. The two outcomes studied were (1) the acquisition of parenting skills and behaviors (e.g., use of effective discipline, nurturing behavior) and (2) reduction in children's externalizing behavior (e.g., aggressive, noncompliant, or hyperactive behavior).

    According to the results, teaching the following parenting skills had the greatest impact on outcomes:

    • Emotional communication
    • Positive parent-child interaction
    • Consistent responses to child behavior
    • Correct use of timeout

    Additionally, requiring parents to practice newly acquired skills with their children during program sessions was the most effective content delivery method, because it allowed teachers to provide immediate reinforcement and corrective feedback to ensure parents' mastery of skills. In contrast, teaching parents how to problem solve about child behaviors and how to promote children's academic, cognitive, and social skills had a smaller impact on outcomes. The report also concluded that offering a wide array of services as part of the parenting program did not lead to improved outcomes, suggesting that offering too many services may divert attention from the program's main objective of skills acquisition.

    The full report, Parent Training Programs: Insight for Practitioners, can be downloaded, or copies may be ordered while available, on the CDC website:

    www.cdc.gov/ViolencePrevention/pub/parenting_meta-analysis.html

  • Accommodating Rural and Tribal Issues in Research

    Accommodating Rural and Tribal Issues in Research

    A recent paper from the Center for Human Services at the University of California (UC), Davis, suggests that child welfare researchers need to take into account certain principles in conducting, designing, and evaluating research in rural and Tribal communities. The principles include legal, political, and cultural factors contributing to differences in practice and outcomes with diverse populations. The paper was written in response to the California Child Welfare Research Agenda, which focuses on evidence-based practices involving differential response.

    The authors of this position paper discuss three principles for research in rural areas:

    • Small samples in rural counties make comparisons difficult.
    • Rural and nonrural populations are qualitatively different.
    • The roles and responsibilities for rural and nonrural child welfare staff are not the same.

    Similarly, the authors present four key principles that they believe should be considered in research relating to Tribal communities:

    • Adherence to the Indian Child Welfare Act may vary across regions.
    • Competence of practitioners and researchers on Tribal culture, political, and legal issues can impact research.
    • Tribal involvement in the research process is important.
    • Culturally sensitive research goals and tools need to be used in Indian child welfare research.

    In addition, due to the high proportion of Tribal communities that exist in rural locations, many of the rural principles apply to Tribal populations as well.

    The authors discuss these seven principles in terms of differential response research in California and offer suggestions for specific improvements that can better reflect the diversity of the population.

    To access the full paper, “Rural and Tribal Issues in Child Welfare Research,” visit the UC Davis website:

    http://humanservices.ucdavis.edu/Academy/pdf/FINAL2Tribal%20issues%20in%20Child%20welfare.pdf (186 KB)

  • Lighthouse Independent Living Program Bridges Gap for Adolescents

    Lighthouse Independent Living Program Bridges Gap for Adolescents

    Aging out of the foster care system provides a multitude of real-life challenges for youth, including completing a GED program or high school, finding a job, and securing housing. A recent study describes the Lighthouse Independent Living program as offering the necessary "bridge" between foster care and the real world for former foster youth in southeastern Ohio. Researchers examined the effectiveness of the Lighthouse program, the characteristics of the youth served, and the types of services they received.

    According to the study, the Lighthouse program follows three guiding principles:

    • Foster youth need time to adjust to the real world and have opportunities to make mistakes while receiving the support of caring adults.
    • The 10-month transition period currently allotted to emancipating youth is inadequate.
    • Housing-based independent living programs should allow for the full range of mistakes their clients may make.

    Following these principles, the Lighthouse program offers housing and other supports to youth so that they can make a gradual adjustment to real-world independence. Between 2001 and 2006, 455 youth entered the program. The following outcome data indicate that the program made a substantive difference in the lives of many of these teens:

    • At discharge, 60 percent had completed high school or a GED program.
    • Thirty-one percent were employed.
    • Thirty-three percent were independently housed.

    Researchers also found that certain youth characteristics were correlated with specific outcomes. For instance, clients who entered the program between the ages of 19 and 20 were more successful after discharge than clients who entered at younger ages. Also, clients who entered with one or two risk factors showed better outcomes in employment and housing than clients who entered with no risk factors or more than two.

    To access the full study, “Lighthouse Independent Living Program: Characteristics of Youth Served and Their Outcomes at Discharge,” by Mark J. Kroner and Alvin S. Mares, published in The Children and Youth Services Review, Volume 31(5), visit the Elsevier website:

    http://dx.doi.org/doi:10.1016/j.childyouth.2008.10.011

Strategies and Tools for Practice

CBX offers tools for practitioners, including guidelines for community investigations of child injury, resources for implementing Fostering Connections, and an international manual to measure indicators of well-being.

  • Manual for Indicators Works Globally and Locally

    Manual for Indicators Works Globally and Locally

    The Better Care Network and UNESCO have collaborated to produce the Manual for the Measurement of Indicators for Children in Formal Care to introduce a set of common indicators for children in institutional or foster care in any country. Noting the lack of statistics on the numbers and circumstances of children in care around the world, the manual's authors argue for the need for better data in order for countries and jurisdictions to improve children's outcomes.

    Fifteen indicators are proposed, including 12 quantitative indicators that require the collection of statistical information (e.g., number of children in care, number of children adopted) and 3 policy indicators that require the collection of information about child welfare laws, policies, and practices. Chapters also provide suggestions on how to map a child welfare system, as well as tools for collecting data.

    The data and information generated by these indicators can be used to:

    • Monitor policy and practice improvements
    • Help governments, child welfare agencies, and child advocates identify children's needs
    • Give policymakers and managers information to guide program development and budgeting
    • Support advocacy to improve systems and services
    • Increase the visibility and status of those engaged in providing formal care

    Access the manual on the Better Care Network website:

    www.crin.org/bcn/details.asp?id=19618&themeID=1001&topicID=1011

  • Resources for the Fostering Connections Act

    Resources for the Fostering Connections Act

    Since the passage of the Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act in October 2008, a number of organizations have developed resources to help States and agencies plan for implementing the act. Two new resources are described below.

    Implementing the Educational Provisions

    One of the Fostering Connections Act's major provisions is to promote the educational well-being of children and youth in foster care. The American Bar Association's (ABA's) Legal Center for Foster Care and Education has developed two checklists for State agencies and courts in preparing and implementing these provisions.

    Checklist One lays out fundamental questions regarding the responsibilities of child welfare, education agencies, juvenile courts, and legislators in identifying and making needed changes in policies, practices, and laws to bring them in line with the act.

    Checklist Two outlines the act's education requirements and special considerations for carrying out each obligation, including:

    • Appropriateness of an educational placement and proximity to school
    • Coordination between education and child welfare agencies
    • Determining whether a child should remain in the same school or immediately enroll in a new school
    • Transfer of education records
    • Use of title IV-E dollars for transportation
    • Assurances of enrollment and attendance
    • Provisions for older youth

    The report, Fostering Connections Act Implementation Reports: Implementation Checklists for Education Provisions, is available on the ABA website:

    [Editor's note: This link is no longer available.]

    How States Are Implementing Fostering Connections

    The National Association of Public Child Welfare Administrators (NAPCWA) provides a snapshot of how different States are implementing the Fostering Connections Act. Common elements of the State reports include:

    • Descriptions of the State's at-risk children
    • Budget landscape
    • State options regarding the act, including the Guardianship Assistance Program
    • Tribes
    • Mandatory provisions of the act
    • Family Connections grants
    • Opportunities and challenges

    New State reports are often added. Find The Fostering Connections Act Implementation Reports on the NAPCWA website:

    http://www.grandfamilies.org/index.cfm


  • Guidelines for Multi-Agency Investigations of Severe Child Injury

    Guidelines for Multi-Agency Investigations of Severe Child Injury

    A newly revised manual provides best-practice standards to help community agencies and hospitals with investigations into children's severe injuries. Multi-Agency Identification and Investigation of Severe Nonfatal and Fatal Child Injury: Guidelines for Networking, Communication, and Collaboration advocates for the systematic review of severe child injuries (i.e., those requiring hospitalization) by community agencies and hospitals. This type of review requires collaboration among different agencies for the formation of multidisciplinary teams and gives medical practitioners a central role.

    The guidelines use lessons from child fatality teams and other multidisciplinary investigation teams to outline best practices and models for conducting reviews. Chapters include:

    • "Best Practices for the Medical Identification of Severe Nonfatal Injury," which is targeted toward medical and social service professionals providing pediatric services
    • "Model for Hospital and Community-Based Severe Nonfatal Injury Review," which offers a framework for developing review systems
    • "Fundamentals of Investigation of Severe Nonfatal and Fatal Child Injury," which provides 10 steps for best practices
    • Resources

    Professionals can use the guidelines to improve cross-agency networking and information sharing, promote data collection and case review, and encourage greater use of multidisciplinary teams in investigating child injuries and developing policies to prevent such injuries.

    The guidelines were written by the Inter-Agency Council on Child Abuse and Neglect (ICAN), ICAN Associates, and California Emergency Management Services. The manual is available for download on the ICAN website:

    http://ican-ncfr.org/documents/2009%20CalEMA%20Guidelines.pdf (1.63 MB)

Resources

  • Laws on Family Engagement

    Laws on Family Engagement

    American Humane's National Center on Family Group Decision Making has assembled some U.S. and Canadian laws into one document: A Compilation of State and Provincial Laws, Policies, Rules and Regulations on Family Group Decision Making and Other Family Engagement Approaches in Child Welfare Decision Making. The paper presents the results of an Internet search using a series of key words to identify relevant laws and policies for 16 States, the District of Columbia, and 3 Canadian Provinces. The entry for each State or Province presents the key words used, citations, and a brief description of the laws and/or policies. Links are provided to documentation where available.

    The publication is available on American Humane's website:

    www.americanhumane.org/assets/docs/protecting-children/PC-fgdm-leg-chart.pdf (197 KB)

     

     

  • Exploring Youth Options From Many Perspectives

    Exploring Youth Options From Many Perspectives

    This year's issue of Child Welfare 360° (CW360°) applies its comprehensive approach to the topic of adolescents in the child welfare system. Twenty-eight short articles written by researchers, caseworkers, policymakers, kin, and youth provide a variety of perspectives on the topic of achieving permanency for youth aging out of the child welfare system. The articles fall into three sections:

    • The Overview focuses primarily on research and policies.
    • The Practice section looks at specific issues (e.g., education) and populations (e.g., youth with disabilities).
    • Collaborations & Perspectives includes personal stories and program descriptions.

    A fourth section presents a bibliography and resources on this topic.

    CW360° is published by the Center for Advanced Studies in Child Welfare at the University of Minnesota's School of Social Work and can be accessed on its website:

    http://cehd.umn.edu/SSW/cascw/research/cw360.asp

  • New Jobsite for Adoption and Child Welfare

    New Jobsite for Adoption and Child Welfare

    The National Center for Adoption Law and Policy at Capital University Law School has launched a new Adoption and Child Welfare Jobsite. This website is designed specifically to connect legal and social work students and professionals with adoption and child welfare employers across the country. Job searches can be done by keyword, category, and ZIP code. The website can also accommodate searches and opportunities for internships and volunteer work in child welfare and adoption.

    To learn more about employment opportunities in the adoption and child welfare field, visit:

    www.adoptionchildwelfarejobsite.org

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.

  • Conferences

    Conferences

    Upcoming national conferences on adoption and child welfare through September 2009 include:

    July 2009

    • Generations United 15th International Conference
      Because We're Stronger Together

      July 27–31, Washington, DC
      www.gu.org/GU_Co7281494.asp

    August 2009

    September 2009

    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:

    www.childwelfare.gov/calendar/index.cfm

  • Evidence-Based Practice and Cultural Competence

    Evidence-Based Practice and Cultural Competence

    In response to a series of talks, panels, and group discussions held in June 2007 at the University of Minnesota (UM) School of Social Work, the university developed an online workshop to address issues related to cultural competence, child welfare, and evidence-based practice.

    The workshop was created to assist child welfare caseworkers, supervisors, administrators, and students who are interested in improving and achieving culturally competent evidence-based practice. It consists of six self-guided modules, each of which includes reading material, resources, and interactive learning. Audio recordings from the June 2007 meeting provide additional information from child welfare experts and practitioners.

    This workshop is available on the UM School of Social Work website:

    http://cehd.umn.edu/ssw/G-S/EBP-CC_Modules/index.html