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October 2012Vol. 13, No. 9Spotlight on Developmentally Appropriate Services for Young Children

This month's CBX focuses on what States and child-serving organizations are doing to address the developmental needs of young children in care. We feature the collaboration between child welfare and early childhood education in Wisconsin, ZERO TO THREE's Safe Babies Court Teams Project, and information about title IV-B funding for child welfare services.

Issue Spotlight

  • CW360°: Using a Developmental Approach in Child Welfare

    CW360°: Using a Developmental Approach in Child Welfare

    The Center for Advanced Studies in Child Welfare and the Center for Education and Early Development at the University of Minnesota partnered for the first-ever fall edition of CW360°. The annual publication provides communities and child welfare and human services professionals with information related to key areas affecting child well-being. This special issue of CW360°, "Using a Developmental Approach in Child Welfare Practice," focuses on from children birth to age 5. Twenty-one articles written by a variety of child welfare and early childhood stakeholders span topics including the following:

    • Research related to early childhood development and maltreatment
    • Federal policy pertaining to young children in the child welfare system
    • Evidence-based and promising practices that address early childhood trauma
    • Examples of innovative cross-system collaborations
    • Strategies for systemic and practice improvements

    The article "Opportunities and Challenges in Addressing the Early Years of Children in the Child Welfare System," by Esther Wattenberg, outlines the impact of early childhood trauma on lifelong development and its implications for child welfare policy and practice. "Home Visiting With Families at Risk for Maltreatment: Using Assessment Tools to Help Educate Caregivers" by Mariah Hofmeister, describes her work with a home visiting program, including the program's design, the screening tools that were administered, and the outcomes for the children and families that were served over a 3-year period.

    The issue of CW360° is available for download on the Center for Advanced Studies in Child Welfare website:

    http://www.cehd.umn.edu/ssw/cascw/attributes/PDF/publications/CW360-CEED_Winter2012.pdf (12 MB)

    Related Items

    Children's Bureau Express featured previous issues of CW360° in the articles "CW360: Secondary Trauma in Child Welfare" (July 2012) and "Using Technology to Enhance Child Welfare Practice" (June 2011).
     

  • Title IV-B and the New Focus on Young Children

    Title IV-B and the New Focus on Young Children

    The Congressional Research Service (CRS) published a report in June 2011 that details State funding levels and requirements for child and family services under title IV-B of the Social Security Act. The report was written to aid Congress in its efforts to reauthorize title IV-B funding before it expired at the end of fiscal year (FY) 2011. With some small changes, funding was reauthorized near its current levels by the Child and Family Services Improvement and Innovation Act enacted in September 2011.

    The Children's Bureau released an Information Memorandum (IM) in October 2011 to introduce some of the enacted provisions. The IM notes that the reauthorization added two additional title IV-B, subpart 1 requirements. State and Tribal title IV-B agencies must describe activities undertaken to:

    • Reduce the length of time that children under 5 years of age are without a permanent family
    • Address the developmental needs of children under 5 served under titles IV-B and IV-E (section 422(b)(18) of the Act

    In April 2012, the Bureau provided a Program Instruction that laid out how these new activities should be reported in States' Annual Progress and Services Report (APSR). APSRs must include the following:

    • The number of children under the age of 5 in foster care projected to be without a permanent family
    • The method of tracking these children and the demographics and characteristics of the identified children
    • The targeted services provided to these children to find a permanent family and how they address the developmental needs of infants, toddlers, and children
    • The approach that has been developed for working with this group of infants, toddlers, and children (e.g., priorities for safety assessments, service delivery for reunification, and standards regarding the foster parent-to-child ratio)
    • How the State addresses the training and supervision of caseworkers, foster parents, and other providers with respect to this population

    The Stephanie Tubbs Jones Child Welfare Services (CWS) program (title IV-B, part 1) offers States more flexible funding for a broad array of services related to child protection and foster care. The reauthorization provided for funding title IV-B, subpart 1 at the current level of $325 million through FY 2016.

    The CRS report, "Child Welfare: Funding for Child and Family Services Authorized Under Title IV-B of the Social Security Act," is available on the National Association of Public Child Welfare Administrators website:

    http://www.napcwa.org/Home/docs/CRS_IV-Breport-6-13-2011-R41860.pdf (720 KB)

    The Children's Bureau IM-11-06 is available on the CB website: http://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/cb/im1106.pdf (240 KB)

    The Children's Bureau PI-12-05 is available on the CB website: http://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/cb/pi1205.pdf (908 KB)
     

  • Barriers to Early Intervention Service Delivery

    Barriers to Early Intervention Service Delivery

    While research shows that 10–13 percent of children under age 3 are affected by developmental delays, just 2–3 percent of those children receive Early Intervention (EI) services. Moreover, there is a gap between the identification of a developmental delay (or the concern of a delay) and the receipt of services. A new policy brief by PolicyLab aims to identify barriers to children receiving EI services, highlight promising approaches to collaboration, and offer policy actions for improving service delivery.

    The policy brief proposes the adoption of the SERIES paradigm—Screening, Early Identification, Referral, Intake, Evaluation, and Services—a coordinated approach to meeting child developmental needs. SERIES challenges all child-serving entities to share responsibility in ensuring children complete the path from identification to service delivery.

    In 2006, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommended developmental screening for all children from birth through age 3 as part of well-child care. From December 2008 through June 2010, the Translating Evidence-based Developmental Screening (TEDS) study followed 2,100 children under age 30 months through their well-child visits. During the 1,424 well-child visits that fell within the AAP screening schedule, an Ages and Stages Questionnaire was administered at 72.6 percent of the visits. Roughly 19 percent of the screens were failed and providers only referred the child for services 50 percent of the time. Just 66 percent of children referred completed the first step in the EI intake process.

    The authors explore multiple barriers to SERIES completion and present recommendations for mitigating said barriers. Recommendations include the following:

    • To increase the rates of developmental screening by primary care providers, reimbursement practices must better incentivize screening and care coordination.
    • To minimize drop-off after children cross systems, States and individual provider sites should implement cross-system information exchanges and data sharing.
    • Better coordinated eligibility and intake processes across several child-serving systems may expand access to services.

    SERIES: An Integrated Approach to Supporting Child Development, by Jane Kavanagh, Marsha Gerdes, Katherine Sell, Manuel Jimenez, and James Guevara, is available on the PolicyLab website:

    http://policylab.us/images/pdf/policylab_e2a_summer2012_series.pdf (548 KB)

  • Safe Babies Court Teams Project

    Safe Babies Court Teams Project

    By Patricia A. Cole, Director of Government Relations, ZERO TO THREE, and Lucy Hudson, Director, Safe Babies Court Teams Project, ZERO TO THREE

    Children under age 3 compose almost one-third of children entering foster care and more than one-quarter of all substantiated cases of abuse or neglect. These events occur at the most vulnerable developmental stage of life. Research shows the critical role a baby's relationships with his closest caregivers play in the complex social, emotional, and intellectual development unfolding in the earliest years. Those relationships shape every aspect of early human development, from the brain's evolving circuitry to the child's capacity for empathy. Warm, responsive parenting nurtures healthy development. Harsh or unpredictable caregiving has negative life-long implications if not properly addressed. Fortunately, research confirms that these early years present an unparalleled window of opportunity to effectively intervene with very young victims of maltreatment. Our task is to translate what we know from the science into what we do for children.

    Inspired by judges committed to changing the odds for young children in their courts, ZERO TO THREE began the Safe Babies Court Teams Project to put developmental science into action. Court Teams in eight communities promote the healthy development of infants and toddlers. A key focus is improving how the courts, child welfare agencies, and related child-serving organizations work together, share information, and expedite services for young children and their families. Safe Babies Court Teams are led by judges who collaborate with child development specialists to create teams of community stakeholders. Together, they wrap a rich web of services around maltreated infants, toddlers, and families.

    Two evaluations point to the effectiveness of the Court Teams developmental approach. Key findings include:

    • Roughly 99 percent of 186 children were protected from further maltreatment while under court supervision.
    • Approximately 97 percent of children received needed services (Hafford & DeSantis, 2009).
    • Nearly 300 children monitored by Safe Babies Court Teams reached permanency 2.67 times faster than the 511 children included in the national comparison group (p=.000) (McCombs-Thornton, & Foster, 2012).

    The Court Team experience highlights the potential for better State and Federal child welfare policies that recognize the unique developmental needs of infants and toddlers. To explore what such a shift would encompass, ZERO TO THREE convened an ad hoc working group, including the American Humane Association, Center for the Study of Social Policy, Child Welfare League of America, and Children's Defense Fund. In May 2011, we jointly published A Call to Action on Behalf of Maltreated Infants and Toddlers urging State and Federal policymakers to infuse developmental science into the child welfare system. Five elements lead to an action checklist: ensuring developmentally informed decisions; promoting stable, caring relationships; providing early, comprehensive services; creating community linkages; and using data and research to drive policy and practice.

    ZERO TO THREE also developed an assessment and planning tool based on the Call to Action, again collaborating with our working group that grew to include Child Trends, National Black Child Development Institute, National Council of La Raza, and Voices for America's Children.

    The result was A Developmental Approach to Child Welfare Services for Infants, Toddlers, and Their Families: A Self-Assessment Tool for States and Counties Administering Child Welfare Services. This tool guides State and county child welfare administrators in examining how they embed a developmental approach in serving infants, toddlers, and their families. The process should be collaborative and data-driven. After an introductory webinar, the tool was widely disseminated to State child welfare officials and stakeholders. Copies are available here: policycenter@zerotothree.org. A survey of all States on their child welfare policies and practices around infants and toddlers is underway with results expected next spring.

    Infusing the science of early development into care for maltreated infants and toddlers is an ongoing process involving local communities and State and Federal government. The Safe Babies Court Teams and the infant-toddler child welfare working group look forward to the national conversation we hope the new focus on young children will spark.

    References
    Hafford, C., & DeSantis, D. (2009). Evaluation of the court teams for maltreated infants and toddlers project: final report. Office of Justice Grant No. 2006-MU-MU-0065. Arlington (VA): James Bell Associates.

    McCombs-Thornton, K. L., & Foster, E. M. (2012). The effect of the ZERO TO THREE Court Teams Initiative on types of exits from the foster care system—A competing risks analysis. Children and Youth Services Review, 34(1), 169-178. doi: 10.1016/j.childyouth.2011.09.013

  • WI's Early Childhood, Child Welfare Collaboration

    WI's Early Childhood, Child Welfare Collaboration

    Wisconsin's Department of Children and Families (DCF) has long understood the strong connections between child welfare and early childhood education. DCF has initiated several programs to enhance cross-system collaboration and provide developmentally appropriate services to bolster outcomes for young children in care.

    In 2005, Wisconsin was one of seven States to implement the Strengthening Families model, a framework that advocates the promotion of protective factors (parental resilience, social connections, parenting knowledge, concrete support, and children's social and emotional development) to prevent child maltreatment. In 2007, Wisconsin was one of three States charged with increasing collaboration between child welfare and early childhood education (Illinois and New Jersey were the other two). Kim Eithun, Program and Policy Analyst in DCF's Division of Safety and Permanence (DSP), said the State worked to integrate Strengthening Families in ways that would give early childhood education more of a voice. "We liked the strengths-based approach of Strengthening Families and the research behind it. Our partners in early childhood education have a wealth of information on children and families involved in our child welfare system, and that's an important voice to integrate into our practice."

    Laura Saterfield, Director, Bureau of Quality Improvement at DCF's Division of Early Childhood Education (DECE) added, "Child care providers have an important role in ensuring that children are safe in child care settings, and providers are important resources for families in detecting early signs of stress."

    DSP conducted trainings with early childhood educators and cross walked the protective factors with family protective capacities. Families are often assessed for having (or lacking) protective capacities that can reduce the risk to child safety. The protective factors were also integrated into professional development materials for both child welfare professionals and foster parents, and the training materials were later translated into Spanish.

    In addition to the implementation of Strengthening Families and collaborative training, DECE implemented the Pyramid Model for Social and Emotional Foundations for Early Learning Program. The Pyramid Model is an evidence-based training model that aims to prevent challenging behaviors and promote healthy social and emotional development. In 2009, DECE was awarded a technical assistance grant from the Center on the Social and Emotional Foundations for Early Learning (CSEFEL) to support Pyramid Model implementation. "Our approach to the model is to have a comprehensive cross-disciplinary professional development program that ensures the social and emotional well-being of infants, toddlers, and their families," said Saterfield. She said the program has been helpful in reducing expulsions. According to CSEFEL research, preschool expulsion rates are three times higher than K–12 expulsion rates, mostly due to child and family behaviors. Saterfield said the Pyramid Model infant, toddler, and parent training modules provide teachers with the proper tools to work with children to prevent expulsion.

    Pilot sites were chosen throughout Wisconsin to collaborate with school districts and/or Head Start programs to implement the Wisconsin Pyramid Model. Additionally, DECE has contracted for Supporting Families Together Association/Child Care Resource and Referral agencies to provide training and technical assistance support for 16 trainings to child care providers and other early care and education providers. Completion of training modules was also incorporated into DECE's 40-point child care Quality Rating Improvement System (QRIS), YoungStar. If a child care center demonstrates that 50 percent of its lead teachers and its director have completed 24 hours of the Wisconsin Pyramid Model training, that center will earn one point on the QRIS. Additionally, child care centers that have lead teachers and directors complete protective factors and Strengthening Families trainings also can receive one point.

    Wisconsin also has implemented an infant mental health consultation program through a Project LAUNCH grant administered by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). As part of this program, mental health consultation services have been provided to 80 families in LAUNCH-supported programs; mental health consultation with home visitors has been expanded; extensive professional development training for home visitation staff was expanded; Wisconsin Alliance for Infant Mental Health (WI-AIM) has offered Pyramid Model training and coaching to 40 child care teachers, their supervisors, and administrators at the Next Door Foundation; and more.

    To increase educational stability for children and families involved with child welfare, a pilot project in Milwaukee aims to increase the recruitment and enrollment of eligible children in Head Start and Early Head Start programs. The Bureau of Milwaukee Child Welfare and area Head Start providers signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) establishing an organized referral process, outreach strategies to foster parents, collaboration between child welfare and Head Start programs during family team meetings and permanency planning, among other policies and procedures. The template MOU is available for other counties interested in instituting similar partnership agreements. 

    More information about DCF, DSP, DECE, and other divisions is available on the Department of Children and Families website:

    http://dcf.wi.gov/default.htm

    For more information on Wisconsin's implementation of the WI Pyramid Model, visit: 

    http://www.collaboratingpartners.com/social-emotional-competence-competency-endorsement-system.php

    For more information on Strengthening Families, visit:

    http://www.strengtheningfamiliesprogram.org/about.html#ages

    Special thanks to Kim Eithun, Program and Policy Analyst at the Division of Safety and Permanence (DSP), and Laura Saterfield, Director, Bureau of Quality Improvement at the Division of Early Childhood Education (DECE), for providing information for this article.

  • Integrating Early Learning and Development Systems

    Integrating Early Learning and Development Systems

    A paper released in August 2011, 1 year after the Federal Early Childhood (EC) 2010: Innovations for the Next Generation meeting, details the meeting and the strides made since in improving the quality of Federal early learning and development programs. The paper highlights the meeting's events and ongoing collaboration between the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) to enhance services and improve the health, social, emotional, and cognitive outcomes for young children. 

    The report begins with a definition of "integrated State early learning and development system" and provides readers with an overview of the EC 2010 and the resulting six interrelated themes that emerged from postmeeting discussions between State stakeholders. A chapter is dedicated to each theme:

    • Coordinated State Leadership
    • Effective Use of Data
    • Systemic Quality Improvement
    • Partnerships With Families and Communities
    • Physical and Behavioral Health Integration
    • Children With Multiple Risks

    Examples of the varying strategies and activities underway in many States are included.

    Federal partners, including HHS and DOE, are optimistic that this document will serve as a guide and encourage additional State and local system-building efforts devoted to improving early learning and developmental outcomes for youth.

    State Issues and Innovations in Creating Integrated Early Learning and Development Systems was prepared by HHS and DOE for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The full report is available here:

    http://store.samhsa.gov/shin/content/SMA11-4661/SMA11-4661.pdf  (2 MB)
     

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News From the Children's Bureau

The sixth article in our second Centennial Series highlights the Children's Bureau's efforts to address family planning in the 1960s. We also highlight the new Child Welfare Outcomes 2007–2010 report, which is now available on the Children's Bureau's website.

  • Children's Bureau Centennial Update

    Children's Bureau Centennial Update

    As the centennial year celebration continues, so do the many events and activities honoring the Children's Bureau's 100th birthday. Recent additions to the Children's Bureau's centennial website include the following:

    • The transcript and video from the July 17 topical webinar "Evidence Based Practice and Practice Based Evidence, Is It One or the Other?"
    • The transcript and video from the August 16 historical webinar "The Story of the Children’s Bureau, America in Wartime: 1938–1960"
    • The video from the September 26 topical webinar "Unannounced Home Visits—Critical Assessment Tool or Barrier to Family Engagement?"

    These updates are available on the centennial website webinar page:

    https://cb100.acf.hhs.gov/webinars

    Visit the Children's Bureau's centennial website often for updates, historical photographs, video and audio recordings, and more!

    https://cb100.acf.hhs.gov/

  • America's Children in Brief and Centennial Series: The Children's Bureau and Family Planning

    America's Children in Brief and Centennial Series: The Children's Bureau and Family Planning

    The Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics (the Forum) released its annual report, America's Children in Brief: Key National Indicators of Well-Being. The Forum is a work group consisting of 22 Federal agencies focused on integrating Federal efforts to collect, analyze, and disseminate data on child and family well-being. The report provides data on child well-being spanning seven indicators: family and social environment, economic circumstances, health care, physical environment and safety, behavior, education, and health.

    Key findings from this year's report include the following:

    • Infant mortality, preterm birth rates, and births to adolescents declined.
    • Average mathematics scores for 4th- and 8th-grade students increased.
    • Violent crime victimization rates among youth decreased.
    • The percentage of children with at least one parent employed full time decreased.
    • The percentage of children living in poverty increased.

    America's Children in Brief: Key National Indicators of Well-Being is available on the Forum's website:

    http://childstats.gov/

    Related Item

    See "2012 KIDS COUNT Data Book" in this issue.

  • Centennial Series: The Children's Bureau and Family Planning

    Centennial Series: The Children's Bureau and Family Planning

    This is the sixth article in our second Centennial Series, CB Decade-by-Decade. These articles will examine highlights from each decade of the Children's Bureau's first 100 years. The first Centennial Series addressed some of the social issues, practices, and policies that laid the groundwork for the creation of the Children's Bureau.

    "In my first message to Congress on domestic affairs, I called for a national commitment to provide a healthful and stimulating environment for all children during their first five years of life. One of the ways in which we can promote that goal is to provide assistance for more parents in effectively planning their families…We know that involuntary childbearing often results in poor physical and emotional health for all members of the family. Unwanted or untimely childbearing is one of several forces which are driving many families into poverty or keeping them in that condition…[I]t needlessly adds to the burdens placed on all our resources by increasing population."
    —President Richard Nixon, Special Message to Congress on Problems of Population Growth, 1969

    During the 1960s, the Children’s Bureau began efforts to address family planning, reflecting rising concerns over population growth and the burden of large families on the poor. Several trends and events changed the landscape and set the stage for increased government involvement in family planning. One significant event was the baby boom that followed World War II, which contributed to growing concerns about a global population explosion. Family planning and population control were viewed as essential for preserving economic well-being in the face of limited world resources (Aries, 1987).

    Support for family planning also was framed in social, health, and welfare issues. Research linked unintended pregnancies to health difficulties for mothers and children, an increased risk of poverty, and the need for public assistance (Alan Guttmacher Institute, 2000). According to the 1969 publication, The Children’s Bureau's Job Today (p.6), family planning efforts were largely driven by the growing recognition that:

    • Large families can place a high economic burden on families.
    • Closely spaced child births increase the chance that an infant will be born with a low birth weight and be at greater risk for health problems.
    • Parents have the right to "plan for the number of children they can raise in social and economic security."

    During the 1960s, national groups representing medical professionals and social workers called for more widespread support of family planning efforts (Oettinger, 1965). Katherine B. Oettinger, then Chief of the Children's Bureau, took a strong interest in the Federal Government's role in meeting what she called "this most profound challenge to the future of the world" (Oettinger, 1965, p.212).

    The 1967 Social Security Amendments, for the first time, established family planning services as a maternal and child health function and earmarked 6 percent of maternal and child health funding for family planning. The Amendments also specified that family planning services be made available to families receiving public assistance, if they desired such services. 

    The Children's Bureau, through its maternal and child health programs, took on a key role in early Federal family planning initiatives. The Bureau administered Federal matching funds for State health services connected with family planning under the Social Security Act public assistance titles. In 1968, it was estimated that State programs assisted more than 420,000 women (Children's Bureau, 1969). Over the course of the decade, the Bureau directed research and demonstration grants on various aspects of family planning. Research explored individual motivation for accepting or rejecting family planning, attitudes related to fertility, and the impact of birth rates on the needs for maternal and health services. In addition, the Bureau supported training of physicians, nurses, and other health care professionals in family planning strategies. Family planning services related both to spacing of children and helping families address infertility (Oettinger, 1965).

    In 1970, Federal funding for family planning services expanded through passage of the Family Planning Services and Population Research Act (P.L. 91-572), which created Title X of the Public Health Services Act. This act authorized $382 million for family planning programs, State formula grants, population research, training grants, and informational and educational efforts for 3 years (Children's Bureau, 1971). The Act responded to President Nixon's appeal to establish as a national goal "the provision of adequate family planning services to all who want them but cannot afford them" (see http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=2132). The Act also established the Office of Population Affairs within the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare to administer and coordinate family planning and population research activities.

    References

    Alan Guttmacher Institute. (2000). Fulfilling the promise. Public policy and U.S. family planning clinics. New York:  Author. Retrieved from http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/fulfill.pdf

    Aries, N. (1987). Fragmentation and reproductive freedom: Federally subsidized family planning services, 1960–80. American Journal of Public Health, 77(11), pp. 1465–1471. doi:10.2105/AJPH.77.11.1465

    Children’s Bureau. (1971). Here and there. Children, 18(2), p.75.

    Children’s Bureau, Social & Rehabilitation Service, U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare. (1969). The Children's Bureau's job today. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office. Retrieved from the Maternal and Child Health Library: http://www.mchlibrary.info/history/chbu/20318.pdf

    Oettinger, K.B. (1965). This most profound challenge. Children, 12(6), p. 211–14, Retrieved from: http://hearth.library.cornell.edu/cgi/t/text/text-idx?c=hearth;idno=4761305_138_006

  • New Child Welfare Outcomes Report

    New Child Welfare Outcomes Report

    The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has released Child Welfare Outcomes 2007–2010: Report to Congress, the eleventh in a series of reports designed to inform Congress, the States, and the public about State performance on delivering child welfare services. The report provides information about State performance on seven national child welfare outcomes related to the safety, permanency, and well-being of children involved in the child welfare system.

    Data come from the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System (NCANDS) and the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS), and the report includes some data analyses across States.

    Highlights of the recent report show:

    • In 2010, 754,000 children were confirmed to be victims of maltreatment. The national child victim rate continued its long-term downward trend, decreasing from 10.4 child victims per 1,000 children in fiscal year (FY) 2007 to 10.0 in FY 2010.
    • Nationally, there were approximately 415,000 children in foster care on the last day of FY 2010. Between FY 2002 and 2010, the number of children in care on the last day of the FY decreased by 22 percent.
    • Seventy-five percent of States showed improved performance between 2007 and 2010 in the percentage of children in foster care for 17 months or longer on the first day of the year who were adopted by the end of the year.

    The full report, including State-by-State data tables, is available on the Children's Bureau website:

    http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb/pubs/cwo07-10/cwo07-10.pdf#page=7

  • New! From CB

    New! From CB

    The Children's Bureau website carries information on child welfare programs, funding, monitoring, training and technical assistance, laws, statistics, research, Federal reporting, and much more. The "New on Site" section includes grant announcements, policy announcements, agency information, and recently released publications.

    Recent additions to the site include:

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

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

Training and Technical Assistance Update

Read a new research brief about the benefits of increasing the recruitment of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered (LGBT) adults to be foster and adoptive parents; learn about the NRCOI's Continuous Quality Improvement project; and get other updates from CB's T&TA Network.

Child Welfare Research

CBX points to research on a Catawba County, NC, project to improve the well-being of children and youth who leave foster care through reunification, guardianship, or adoption. We also look at survey results from the National Survey of Services Providers Working With Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Youth Who Are Homeless or At Risk of Becoming Homeless.

  • Unaccompanied Children and the Immigration System

    Unaccompanied Children and the Immigration System

    The Vera Institute of Justice recently published a report describing the experiences of unaccompanied children—children who are younger than 18, have no lawful immigration status, and have no parent or legal guardian in the United States. The report provides background on the Federal Government's custodial authority over these children, reviews recent legislation affecting this population, and describes their involvement in immigration proceedings.

    In 2005, the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) partnered with Vera to develop the Unaccompanied Children Program. Since its inception, the program has provided legal services access to unaccompanied children. Vera's involvement in this project has given the Institute access to a national network of legal services providers who represent this population, as well as quantitative and qualitative data on unaccompanied youth and their experiences navigating the immigration system. Vera analyzed this information and combined it with material collected from a literature review on the subject.

    Major findings presented in the research report include the following:

     

    • Up to 15 percent of unaccompanied children enter the system when they are apprehended within the United States, as opposed to at a port of entry.
    • The majority of children referred to ORR (80 percent) are placed in shelter settings.
    • The average length of time that children remain in ORR custody is 61 days.
    • At least 65 percent of children admitted to ORR custody are ultimately placed with a sponsor who is living in the United States.
    • About 40 percent of children admitted to ORR custody are eligible for a type of legal relief from removal (e.g., asylum or visas for victims of crime or trafficking).
    • Less than 1 percent of children are granted relief from removal during the duration of their stay in ORR custody.

    The full report, The Flow of Unaccompanied Children Through the Immigration System: A Resource for Practitioners, Policy Makers, and Researchers, is available on the Vera Institute of Justice website:

    http://www.vera.org/pubs/flow-unaccompanied-children-through-immigration-system-resource-practitioners-policy-makers-and

     

     

  • Postpermanency Services to Improve Child Well-Being

    Postpermanency Services to Improve Child Well-Being

    A new series of research briefs details a Catawba County, NC, project to improve the well-being of children and youth who leave foster care through reunification, guardianship, or adoption. The Catawba County Department of Social Services began its Child Wellbeing Project in 2006—in partnership with the Duke Endowment—and will finish its 2-year pilot implementation phase at the end of 2012. The first brief in the series provides a project overview, while the second and third briefs examine the project's use of implementation science to ensure high-quality implementation of services countywide.

    The Child Wellbeing Project focused on evidence-based/evidence-informed practices from the outset, implementing the following array of services based on an assessment of families' postpermanency needs:

    • The foundational Success Coach service providing ongoing in-home case management
    • Material supports for the child and family's concrete needs
    • Educational services and advocacy
    • Strengthening Families parenting classes
    • Parent-child interaction therapy
    • Support groups for adopted children

    The project is assessing outcomes using well-being measures from the North Carolina Family Assessment Scale, including family safety and interactions, parenting ability, and child outcomes related to education, health, housing, employment, permanent connections, and good decision-making. Although a formal project evaluation has not been completed, the briefs describe several implementation science strategies staff believe have contributed to the project's success to date:

    • A "ground-up" process for program development and implementation that seeks stakeholder feedback and involves staff at the leadership, management, and practice levels
    • Teams of four to eight staff members who select appropriate interventions and monitor them through the exploration, installation, and initial and full implementation stages
    • Ways to address implementation drivers in key related areas:
      • Competency (staff selection, training, coaching, and performance assessment)
      • Organization (use of data in decision-making, program review and improvement)
      • Leadership (involvement in program review and actions to address barriers)
    • Continuous quality improvement that involves periodic reviews and data-focused decision-making


    Each brief in the series, Building a Post-Care Service System in Child Welfare: Lessons Learned from the Frontlines of Implementation Science in Catawba County, is available on the Child Trends website:

    http://www.childtrends.org/Files//Child_Trends-2012_07_01_RB_Catawba1.pdf (488 KB)

    http://www.childtrends.org/Files//Child_Trends-2012_07_01_RB_Catawba2.pdf (519 KB)

    http://www.childtrends.org/Files//Child_Trends-2012_07_01_RB_Catawba3.pdf (405 KB)

     

  • National Survey on LGBT Homeless Youth

    National Survey on LGBT Homeless Youth

    The Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law partnered with The Palette Fund and the True Colors Fund to present Serving Our Youth: Findings from a National Survey of Services Providers Working with Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Youth Who Are Homeless or At Risk of Becoming Homeless. This report presents data from a web-based Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Homeless Youth Provider Survey, which was conducted from October 2011 through March 2012. The goal of the survey was to evaluate how homeless youth organizations are serving the LGBT population as well as the population's prevalence. More than 350 agencies in the United States are represented in the survey data.

    Nearly 95 percent of respondents said they worked with LGBT homeless and runaway youth in the past year. Approximately 40 percent of the clientele requesting services from the agencies are LGBT youth. Roughly 46 percent of homeless LGBT youth cited family rejection because of his/her sexual orientation as the primary reason they ran away and are now homeless. Approximately 68 percent of LGBT homeless youth seeking services have experienced family rejection and 54 percent have experienced abuse.

    The 15-page report includes a description of the survey, background information on the group surveyed, as well as final observations.

    Serving Our Youth: Findings from a National Survey of Services Providers Working with Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Youth Who Are Homeless or At Risk of Becoming Homeless is available for download on the Williams Institute website:

    http://williamsinstitute.law.ucla.edu/wp-content/uploads/Durso-Gates-LGBT-Homeless-Youth-Survey-July-2012.pdf (2 MB)

  • 2012 KIDS COUNT Data Book

    2012 KIDS COUNT Data Book

    Annie E. Casey's 2012 KIDS COUNT Data Book is now available and features data demonstrating the continued impact of the nation's economic recession on children and families. KIDS COUNT is an annual report that presents statistics on key indicators of child well-being and State rankings on overall well-being. This year's report—the 23rd—includes a new, domain-specific index centered on four child-level indicators: (1) economic well-being, (2) education, (3) health, and (4) family and community.

    Each of the four new domains is composed of four indicators, for a total of 16 indicators. The domain categories are equally weighted, and the new index places greater emphasis on education and family and community. The new health domain also is focused more on health status and less on mortality.

    Trends in this year's Data Book begin with 2005 and continue through the most recent year for which data are available for each indicator. Well-being across the health and education domains show long-term improvement. However, data shows that the recent U.S. recession caused a spike in child poverty levels. The number of children living in poverty increased by nearly 30 percent from 12.2 million in 2000 to 15.7 million in 2010.

    The full report, State rankings, and media resources are available on the KIDS COUNT Data Center website:

    http://datacenter.kidscount.org/databook/2012/  

    Related Item

    See "America's Children in Brief" in this issue.

Strategies and Tools for Practice

  • Infant Mental Health Newsletter

    Infant Mental Health Newsletter

    The Michigan Association for Infant Public Health has published its winter edition of The Infant Crier. This season's edition focuses on adoption and foster care, with articles centered on the themes of loss and adoption, trauma in young children, and diversity in child protective services.

    Two articles focus on the theme of loss and adoption. The first discusses "adoption ghosts," events from the past that may influence experiences of grief, loss, guilt, and the pressure of perfection. The second article on adoption and loss discusses fear and the length of time and amount of trust required to help a newly adopted child feel protected. A clinical article highlights the importance of relationship-based work and the promotion of healthy social emotional development in young children and their families.

    The Infant Crier is available on the Michigan Association for Infant Public Health website:

    http://www.mi-aimh.org/documents/infant_crier_winter_2012.pdf (2 MB)

  • Casey Connects

    Casey Connects

    The spring 2012 issue of Casey Connects from the Annie E. Casey Foundation focuses on reducing the use of congregate care. The article "Reducing Congregate Care" looks at Casey's Child Welfare Strategy Group, which has helped Louisiana, Maryland, Maine, New York City, and Virginia transition youth from congregate care to family settings and includes the story of a youth who is preparing to be adopted after having spent several years in group care. The article also highlights the negative impact of long-term congregate care on youth and State child welfare systems.

    Another article highlights the Casey Lifelong Families model. The story is centered on the Brochero family and how the tools and trainings they received as part of the Lifelong Families model helped them connect with two girls with special needs, whom they are preparing to adopt. Other articles highlight recent research on teenage brain development and an interview with researcher and University of Chicago Associate Professor Gina Miranda Samuels. Samuels explains her views and opinions on permanence and what it really means to a child or youth.

    To view the spring issue of Casey Connects, visit the Annie E. Casey Foundation website:

    http://www.aecf.org/KnowledgeCenter/Publications.aspx?pubguid={D7DF0B98-C7CA-4DBE-88AB-B218E3524EA3}

  • Postadoption Contact Agreement Factsheet

    Postadoption Contact Agreement Factsheet

    Legally enforceable agreements for contact between birth and adoptive families after an adoption is finalized have been permitted in Washington, DC, since the passage of an adoption reform law in 2010. A factsheet from DC's Children's Law Center, Post-Adoption Contact Agreements, highlights the different types of contact between families and other issues that should be considered when drafting such agreements.
    The factsheet includes the text of the new law, five practice points for child welfare professionals, and a sample postadoption contact agreement. The five practice points include:

    1. Postadoption contact agreements are voluntary, and adoptive and biological parents, or other birth relatives, must agree on all provisions.
    2. The statute does not define "contact." Individual agreements must define the type and regularity of contact between families.
    3. Any adopted youth older than 14 must consent, in writing, to the provisions within the agreement.
    4. The agreement is enforceable by law and only a judge can change the terms of the agreement after it is signed. 
    5. Because the law is new, many social workers, lawyers, and judges may not yet be aware of how postadoption contact agreements will work in practice.

    The factsheet is available on the Children's Law Center website:

    http://www.childrenslawcenter.org/sites/default/files/clc/Fact%20Sheet%20Post%20Adoption%20Contact%20Agreement%20%28May%202011%29.pdf  (485 KB)

  • Teen Pregnancy Prevention Tip Sheet

    Teen Pregnancy Prevention Tip Sheet

    The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy released a tip sheet for engaging the foster care and juvenile justice communities in teenage pregnancy prevention efforts. The tip sheet, funded by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, provides statistics on teenage pregnancy among youth involved with foster care and juvenile justice and tips for working with members of the foster care and juvenile justice communities.

    "Preventing Teen Pregnancy Through Outreach and Engagement: Tips for Working With Foster Care and Juvenile Justice" is available on the National Campaign's website:

    http://www.thenationalcampaign.org/resources/pdf/CDC-foster-care.pdf (230 KB)

    Related Items

    New York City's (NYC) Administration for Children's Services published a guide for professionals working with pregnant or young parents in care. The guide is centered on a strengths-based approach to safety for young parents and their children.
    "Guide to Working With Young Parents in Out of Home Care" is available on the NYC Administration for Children's Services website:

    http://www.nyc.gov/html/acs/downloads/pdf/a_Guide%20to%20Working%20with%20Young%20Parents_LR.pdf (6 MB)

    A desk guide for professionals, "ABCs of Working With Young Parents in Out of Home Care: Expectations, Responsibilities and Resources" is also available on the NYC's Administration for Children's Services website:

    http://www.nyc.gov/html/acs/downloads/pdf/a_ABCs%20of%20Young%20Parents%20Out%20of%20Home.pdf (1 MB)

Resources

  • Higher Education Support Guide

    Higher Education Support Guide

    Western Michigan University and Fostering Success Michigan produced a resource guide featuring a variety of postsecondary education supports for Michigan's foster care alumni. The four-page guide lists Michigan colleges that offer both programming and scholarship supports dedicated to increasing access to and success in postsecondary education for youth. Contact information is also provided for each college program.

    Additionally, the guide highlights Michigan State University's (MSU's) precollege program, the FAME Summer Camp. FAME Camp is a 3-day program for youth in care who are considering attending college. The program aims to inform students about financial aid eligibility, student life at MSU, and other important college preparation topics.

    Resource Guide to Higher Education Campus Support for Alumni of Foster Care is available here:

    http://www.detroitcollegepromise.com/fostercare.pdf (477 KB)

  • PA County-by-County Resource Guide

    PA County-by-County Resource Guide

    A new database provides resources for older youth and young adults transitioning out of foster care in Pennsylvania. The Pennsylvania Juvenile Law Center's database provides information on a wide array of services, searchable by county. Resource topics include housing, employment, education, health and behavioral health, legal advocacy, child care and parenting, financial assistance, recreation, transportation, and mentoring programs.

    Each program listing provides a brief description and contact information. Recognizing the database may not represent a complete list of resources available in each county, the Juvenile Law Center accepts suggestions and corrections via email at resources@jlc.org.

    The database is available on the Juvenile Law Center website:

    http://www.jlc.org/resources/county-resource-guide

  • Multilingual Resources for Refugee Families

    Multilingual Resources for Refugee Families

    Bridging Refugee Youth and Children's Services (BRYCS), a refugee child welfare technical assistance provider, created a web portal for refugee families. The web portal provides a variety of resources in languages most commonly spoken by refugee families in the United States, including Spanish, Arabic, Burmese, Karen, Nepali, and Somali. Resources span such topics as family life and parenting, early childhood, the United States school system, and health and mental health.

    BRYCS is funded by the Office of Refugee Resettlement, Administration for Children and Families, Department of Health and Human Services. The portal is available on the BRYCS website:

    http://www.brycs.org/refugee-portal/index.cfm

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 child welfare and adoption through January 2013 include:

    November/December 2012


    January 2013

    • Kent Regional 4C 39th Annual Early Childhood Conference
      Building Blocks for a Bright Future
      Kent Regional 4C
      January 13, Grand Rapids, MI
      http://www.4Cchildcare.org 
    • 27th Annual San Diego International Conference On Child and Family Maltreatment
      Chadwick Center for Children and Families, Rady Children's Hospital-San Diego
      January 26–31, San Diego, CA
      http://www.sandiegoconference.org

    Further details about national and regional child welfare and adoption conferences can be found through the Conference Calendar Search feature on the Child Welfare Information Gateway website:

    http://www.childwelfare.gov/calendar/index.cfm

     

  • Early Education and Development Courses

    Early Education and Development Courses

    The University of Minnesota's School of Social Work is offering a suite of early education professional development courses this fall. The Center for Early Education and Development (CEED) provides eight online courses for 24, 36, or 48 credit hours that are issued by the College of Education and Human Development at the University of Minnesota.

    Courses that began in September include:

    • Supporting Stressed Young Children Through Relationship-based Training
    • Working With Parents: Considerations for Special Populations
    • Parent-Infant Pathways: An Educator's Guide to Providing Information and Support to New Parents
    • Critical Learning Through Movement: Infants and Toddlers Exploring Their World
    • Prenatal Development and Its Influence on Child Development

    Courses beginning in October include:

    • Bridging Education and Mental Health
    • Premature Babies and Their Parents: Information and Insights for Early Intervention Personnel
    • Introduction to Infant Mental Health

    For more information on each course and to register, visit the University of Minnesota's website:

    http://www.cehd.umn.edu/CEED/onlinecourses/default.html