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News From the Children's Bureau

  • National Resource Center for Family-Centered Practice Launches New Periodical

    National Resource Center for Family-Centered Practice Launches New Periodical

    Best Practice/Next Practice is the title of a new biannual publication from the National Child Welfare Resource Center for Family-Centered Practice.

    The first issue, published in Summer 2000, focuses on the theme of family-centered child welfare: what it is, what it is not, and challenges faced in its delivery. The issue spotlights the Adoption and Safe Families Act (ASFA) and shows how new rules implementing the legislation call for both safety and family-centered practice in service requirements. The periodical also points out that administrative timetables, which expedite permanency planning, may conflict with family-centered best practice. Another article explains the Children's Bureau's new Child and Family Services Review (CSFR), a results-oriented approach to measuring child welfare outcomes.

    The Fall 2000 issue focuses on family-centered service innovation in community collaboratives or community partnerships in child welfare. The characteristics and complexities of these partnerships are described, as well as the potential for using them to implement ASFA. According to the authors, community partnerships create child welfare practice that is "proactive, integrated, partnership-oriented, and empowering" with services that are accessible for families. Community partnership examples from Florida, Massachusetts, and Illinois are profiled.

    Each issue lists and reviews resources related to family-centered practice. The upcoming Spring issue will focus on the ways in which public systems are creating the capacity to tailor their responses to each families' needs.

    For questions or to contribute an article, contact:
    Best Practice/Next Practice
    1150 Connecticut Ave. NW
    Suite 1100
    Washington, DC 20036
    Phone: 202-638-7922
    Fax: 202-628-3812

  • Explore Issues of Permanency Planning for HIV-Affected Families

    Explore Issues of Permanency Planning for HIV-Affected Families

    The Fall 2000 issue of The Source, a newsletter by the National Abandoned Infants Assistance Resource Center, explores the issues that parents with HIV/AIDS face when planning for the future care and custody of a child.

    A legal permanency plan protects the child from being placed in foster care. Some of the voluntary legal planning options discussed in the newsletter include conventional mechanisms, such as testamentary guardianship and inter vivo guardianship, and newer methods, such as standby guardianship and standby adoption. The article outlines the following as advantages of standby options over conventional guardianship:

    • Transfer of guardianship or adoption is not immediate, but occurs only when the standby guardian or adoptive parent's duties are activated
    • Parents have the opportunity to provide testimony regarding the child's best interests
    • Parents gain peace of mind by knowing that the chosen legal plan will take effect when needed.

    HIV-affected parents have fewer options if their children are in the child welfare system. Under the Adoption and Safe Families Act (ASFA), timeline requirements aimed at termination of parental rights and traditional adoption may preclude a parent from participating in permanency planning efforts.

    The newsletter also profiles The Family Center, a New York City agency that assists terminally ill parents with permanency planning for their children through legal, entitlement, and psycho-social services. A case study of a 37-year-old mother with AIDS is presented as an example of the agency's family-centered approach.

    Other articles in this issue explain standby guardian laws effective in 20 States, the partnering of law and social work in the planning process, peer support, and disclosure. A list of resources and conferences is also included.

    Order a copy of The Source newsletter from the National Abandoned Infants Assistance Resource Center (NAIARC) at 510-643-8390. NAIARC staff provide information, referral, training, and technical assistance on standby guardianship. Free assistance in developing legislation on standby guardianship is also available.

    Visit the Resource Center's website ( or contact:

    John Krall, MSW
    Policy Analyst

    Related Items

    For a related article on an AIDS Orphans Adoption Program in New York City, see "Adoption Program for Children Orphaned by AIDS Grows in New York" in the November 2000 Children's Bureau Express.

    Search for more CB Express articles on permanency planning using the Search feature on this website.

  • HHS Announces Winners of Adoption 2002 Excellence Awards

    HHS Announces Winners of Adoption 2002 Excellence Awards

    States, organizations, businesses, individuals, and families were recognized by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services as "Adoption 2002" Excellence Award recipients on November 20, 2000.

    Given annually since 1997, the awards honor those who help abandoned, neglected, or abused children find permanent, loving families. The awards are part of President Clinton's "Adoption 2002" initiative, which seeks to double by 2002 the number of children in foster care who are adopted or otherwise permanently placed.

    "It is gratifying to once again confer this honor on a group of people who really are making a difference for children," said Olivia A. Golden, HHS assistant secretary for children and families. "They stand as examples of the many thousands of others across the country who are also involved in helping foster children move to permanent, stable, and loving homes."

    A committee representing non-profit agencies, child welfare and adoption advocates, adoptive parents, foundations, the business community, and State and Federal offices chose the award winners. The 12 winners and the categories that they were selected from were:

    • Increased Adoptions--Maine Department of Human Services, Bureau of Child and Family Services, Augusta, Maine.
    • Increased Permanency for Children with Special Needs--Florida Department of Children and Families, Division of Family Safety, District 11 Adoptions Team, Miami
    • Support for Adoptive Families--AFTER (Adoptive Family Therapeutic and Educational Resources), Monterey, CA; Georgia Department of Human Resources, Office of Adoptions, Atlanta; New York State Citizens' Coalition for Children, Inc., Ithaca, NY.
    • Public Awareness--Larry Whiteside, Franklin County Children's Services, Columbus, Ohio.
    • Individual Contributions--Kaaren Hebert, Department of Social Services, Lafayette, LA; Carolyn E. Smith, Massachusetts Adoptions Resource Exchange, Inc., Boston.
    • Family--Carmelo and Nydia Sanchez, foster parents, Chicago.
    • Applied Scholarship and/or Research--Jeanne A. Howard and Susan Livingston Smith, Illinois State University, Normal, IL.
    • Philanthropy--Illinois Hospital and Health Systems Association, Naperville, IL.
    • Decrease in the time children in foster care wait for permanency--Texas Department of Protective and Regulatory Services, Conservatorship/Adoption Programs of Cameron and Hidalgo Counties, Edinburg, Texas.

    For full descriptions of each winner's accomplishments, download a copy of the HHS press release at:

    Related Item

    See "HHS Awards Adoption Bonuses and Grants" in the November 2000 issue of the CB Express for information about other adoption bonuses and grants awarded by the Department of Health and Human Services.

Child Welfare Research

  • Abused Children Susceptible to Psychiatric and Substance Abuse Problems as Adults

    Abused Children Susceptible to Psychiatric and Substance Abuse Problems as Adults

    In two recent studies, researchers found that child abuse leads to psychiatric and substance problems later in life.

    Researchers from Virginia Commonwealth University studied women who were sexually abused during childhood. In the 1,411 female adult twins participating in the study, psychiatric, eating, and substance dependence disorders were associated with more than 30 percent of the study population who reported childhood sexual abuse. Family background factors did not significantly alter the results. The severity of the disorders increased with the severity of the abuse.

    This study, Childhood Sexual Abuse and Adult Psychiatric and Substance Use Disorders in Women, is available online in the Oct. 2000 issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry at:

    In a related study in Sweden, researchers investigated the association between violence and abuse suffered by women during childhood or adult life and later psychiatric distress. Nearly 400 randomly selected women ages 40 to 50 were interviewed. Of the 32 percent of childhood abuse and 15 percent of adult abuse cases, all were significantly associated with common physical and mental symptoms. Other potential triggers such as unemployment, job strain, social support, and a sense of coherence did not factor into the relationship. A combination of adult violence/abuse and low psychosocial coping resources, increased the odds of developing symptoms.

    This study, The Association Between Violence Victimization and Common Symptoms in Swedish Women, is available online in the November 2000 issue of the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health at:

    Related Item

    For a related article about a study investigating the link between childhood abuse and adult anxiety, see "Researchers Find Link between Childhood Abuse and Adult Anxiety" in the September 2000 issue of the Children's Bureau Express.

  • Pediatricians Advised About Enhancing Brain Development in Young Foster Children

    Pediatricians Advised About Enhancing Brain Development in Young Foster Children

    New recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) urge pediatricians to be "proactive advisors" to help caregivers, social workers, and the legal community meet the needs of young children in foster care.

    The recommendations, published in the November 2000 issue of Pediatrics, address the needs of children from birth to age 5, described by AAP as the developmental period when brain growth is most active and when personality traits, learning processes, and stress and emotional coping mechanisms are permanently established.

    The conditions that lead to a child's removal from his home—abuse, neglect, family violence—can harm a child's brain development, the AAP statement notes, and an increasing number of children enter foster care with serious physical, mental, and developmental health problems.

    AAP stresses to pediatricians the importance and challenges of:

    • Establishing a child's attachment to foster caregivers
    • Considering the child's changing sense of time
    • Understanding the child's response to stress.

    The statement also addresses placement issues and the comprehensive assessment and treatment of a child's development and mental health needs.

    The following guiding concepts are offered to pediatricians who provide care for foster children:

    • Biologic parenthood does not necessarily confer the desire or ability to care for a child adequately.
    • Supportive nurturing by primary caregivers is crucial to early brain growth and to the physical, emotional, and developmental needs of children.
    • Children need continuity, consistency, and predictability from their caregiver. Multiple placements are injurious.
    • Attachment, understanding of time, and developmental level of the child are key factors in their adjustment to environmental and internal stresses.
    • Pediatricians can play a constructive role in the referral, assessment, and treatment of children who are at risk for being abused, neglected, or abandoned or who are involved in the protective services system.
    • Pediatricians need to encourage caregivers to nurture their foster children by
      --Giving plenty of love and attention
      --Disciplining appropriately and consistently
      --Playing with, holding, and talking to the child
      --Providing stimulation with developmentally appropriate music, books, and toys
      --Matching the environment to the child's disposition
    • Parents should be given reasonable assistance and opportunity to maintain their family, while the present and future best interests of the child should determine what is appropriate.
    • A child's attachment history and understanding of time should guide the pace of decision-making.
    • Foster care placements should always maximize the healing aspects of foster care and be based on the needs of the child.
    • Foster care placement with relatives should be based on a careful assessment of the needs of the child and of the ability of the kinship care to meet those needs. As with all foster care placements, kinship care must be supported and supervised adequately.

    Access a copy of Developmental Issues for Young Children in Foster Care online at:

    Related Items

    For more information related to early brain development, see these articles in the current issue of the Children's Bureau Express:

    • "Study Calls for Reexamining How We Treat Young Children"
    • "Survey Shows Parents Confused About Child Development"

    Search for more CB Express articles on early childhood development using the Search feature on this website.

    Visit the National Governors' Association Center for Best Practices new website, "The First Three Years: A Governor's Guide to Early Childhood," for tools to convey the importance of investing in a child's first three years to legislators, parents, businesses, and other community members at:

  • 2000 Green Book Offers Wealth of Information on Federal Social Programs

    2000 Green Book Offers Wealth of Information on Federal Social Programs

    The 2000 Green Book, the recently published publication of the House Committee on Ways and Means, provides a detailed look at major entitlement programs and other activities within the Committee's jurisdiction.

    For almost two decades the Green Book has been a standard reference tool for legislative branch staff, media representatives, scholars, policy analysts, and interested citizens. In its 17th edition, the book follows the format of describing programs governed by the House Committee on Ways and Means with a summary of the major social programs that are not under its jurisdiction. The appendices include information directly related to the programs under Committee jurisdiction.

    Changes to this year's edition of the Green Book from the 1998 edition include:

    • updated data and legislative changes
    • reorganized and revised sections on Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Program, Social Security, and child protection
    • three new sections on Medicare+Choice Program, literature review on the effects of welfare reform, and an overview of historical trends in nonmarital births and Federal strategies to reduce nonmarital pregnancies.

    The 2000 Green Book is available online at On that page, click on "Site Search" from the menu on the left-hand side. Type in "Green Book" in the search box. Once you access the 2000 Green Book, type in "adoption assistance" in the search box to pull up Section 11, which has child abuse, foster care, and adoption information.

  • Survey Shows Parents Confused About Child Development

    Survey Shows Parents Confused About Child Development

    How much do American adults know about child development? Not enough, indicates a national benchmark survey.

    Civitas, Zero to Three, and BRIO Corporation jointly sponsored the survey of 3,000 American adults last July. Respondents were asked questions to measure their knowledge about development in children ages 0 to 6 and to gauge their opinion on selected policies that affect children and families. DYG, Inc. conducted the survey.

    What Grown-Ups Understand About Child Development found that parents and other adults are most misinformed about discipline and spoiling, expectations of children at different ages, the most beneficial forms of play, and a child's ability to sense what is going on in his environment.

    "This lack of accurate child development information among adults has very real implications for American society," said Kyle Pruett, MD, president of Zero to Three. "We're potentially raising overly aggressive children who react to situations with intimidation and bullying, instead of cooperation and understanding; children who won't be able to tolerate frustration, wait their turn or respect the needs of others."

    Large percentages of adults did not know that developmental research has shown that:

    • Children begin to react to the world around them at birth.
    • Young babies are affected by the mood of others.
    • Babies as young as 4 months experience depression.
    • A child as young as 6 months can suffer long-term effects from witnessing violence.
    • Flashcards, educational TV, and solitary play on the computer are not particularly beneficial to intellectual development.
    • Play is as beneficial to social development as to intellectual and language development for children of all ages.
    • A 6-year-old who shoots and kills a classmate cannot truly comprehend what he did.
    • A 15-month-old is not developmentally ready to share.
    • A 3-year-old is not developmentally ready to sit quietly for an hour.
    • A young child's behavior is not based on revenge.
    • A 6-month-old cannot be spoiled.
    • Picking up a 3-month-old every time he cries, letting a 2-year-old get down from the dinner table to play before the rest of the family has finished, and letting a 6-year-old choose what to wear are non-spoiling activities.
    • Spanking as a form of punishment can lead children to act more aggressively and will not lead to better self-control.
    • Working parents can develop a bond with their children as strong as that of stay-at-home parents.

    Although adults lack significant information about some aspects of child development, most accurately identified the following key issues:

    • Children's capabilities are not predetermined at birth.
    • Brain development can be affected very early on and experiences in the first years of life have a significant impact on abilities that appear much later in children's lives.
    • Emotional closeness is related to a child's intellectual development.
    • Reading and talking to a child, providing a sense of safety and security, feeding a healthy diet, and providing quality child care are critical in promoting intellectual development in young children.
    • Play is important in child development.
    • Constant change of caregivers has a negative impact on children.
    • Dads who are active in their children's lives have a powerful impact on their children.

    Survey respondents also were asked about their feelings regarding preparation for parenthood and public policies related to children and families. Parents were evenly split on the issue of preparation, with one-third feeling very prepared, one-third feeling somewhat prepared, and one-third feeling very unprepared. They most frequently sought parenting and child development information from their spouse, their own mothers, and their pediatricians. The Internet was also cited as a source of information for 4 in 10 adults. The study found that the majority of all adults support paid parental leave and government assistance to help families pay for quality childcare.

    The survey revealed significant differences in levels of knowledge among particular groups of respondents. For example, parents who have 4-year college degrees know more about child development than less educated groups, and dads know less than moms. Parents with household incomes above the median know more about child development than less wealthy parents. Grandparents know less than parents, especially about which activities are non-spoiling. Childless adults who were planning to have children soon showed the highest level of confusion and misinformation among all subgroups.

    A copy of the executive summary, full report, questionnaire, and press release are available online at:

    Related Items

    For more information related to early brain development, see these articles in the current issue of the Children's Bureau Express:

    • "Pediatricians Advised About Enhancing Brain Development in Young Foster Children"
    • "Study Calls for Reexamining How We Treat Young Children"

    Search for more CB Express articles on early childhood development using the Search feature on this website.

    Visit the National Governors' Association Center for Best Practices new website, "The First Three Years: A Governor's Guide to Early Childhood," for tools to convey the importance of investing in a child's first three years to legislators, parents, businesses, and other community members at:

  • Study Calls for Reexamining How We Treat Young Children

    Study Calls for Reexamining How We Treat Young Children

    A reexamination of our treatment of young children is called for, in light of recent gains in scientific understanding, and changing social and economic conditions, according to a new study by the National Research Council and the Institute of Medicine.

    From Neurons to Neighborhoods: The Science of Early Childhood Development, summarizes 2 years of research into recent literature on early childhood research. The report, prepared by a committee of 17 academics and others, describes current problems and makes recommendations. The primary finding was a disconnection between how our society tries to meet the developmental needs of young children and the current state of scientific research in this field. "Over the course of our deliberations, the committee was frequently struck by the limited extent to which our nation's policies and practices capitalize on what science has to offer," said Jack P. Shonkoff, chair of the committee that wrote the report.

    Focusing on the period from ages 0 to 5, the committee found that society tends to de-emphasize the importance of children's emotional and social development. In addition, policies and practices do not reflect the scientific knowledge about the importance of strong, early interpersonal relationships. Among the myths that the committee debunked were:

    • The neurological "window of opportunity" does not slam shut at age 3 or 5 but continues throughout life.
    • Commercial products that claim to boost babies' intelligence have no scientific basis and cannot take the place of adults routinely talking, reading, and playing with their children.

    The committee makes the following 11 recommendations for how public policies and programs can be improved:

    • Dedication of resources towards translating early childhood development research into practice.
    • School readiness initiatives aimed at improved performance, as well as reduced disparities among young children of differing backgrounds.
    • Significant new governmental investment toward meeting young children's mental health needs.
    • Expanded coverage of the Family and Medical Leave Act and other policies that provide parents with choices for childcare during infancy.
    • Expanded environmental protection, reproductive health services, and early intervention efforts to reduce risks from prenatal/postnatal neurotoxic exposures and disrupted early relationships.
    • Investments in increasing the skills, pay, and benefits of childcare professionals.
    • Establishment of a governmental task force on childcare and early education to ensure that public policies and programs are in accord with current scientific knowledge.
    • A re-evaluation of the nation's tax, wage, and income-support policies by Congress and the Council of Economic Advisors to reduce the number of children living in poverty.
    • Evaluation research in early childhood should be used to advocate for effective interventions.
    • Design and implementation of coordinated, effective infrastructures by State and local policy makers to reduce the fragmentation of early childhood policies and programs.
    • A working group or commission to conduct a comprehensive analysis of the professional development challenges facing the early childhood field.

    The authors of this report advocate that issues affecting the development of children must be a "shared agenda" between parents and the nation as a whole. They write, "... based on the evidence gleaned from a rich and rapidly growing knowledge base, we feel an urgent need to call for a new national dialogue focused on rethinking the meaning of both shared responsibility for children and strategic investment in their future."

    From Neurons to Neighborhoods: The Science of Early Childhood Development is available online at:

    To order a print copy of the 425-page report, contact the National Academy Press at 1-800-624-6242 or order online at:

    Related Items

    For more information related to early brain development, see these articles in the current issue of the Children's Bureau Express:

    • "Pediatricians Advised About Enhancing Brain Development in Young Foster Children"
    • "Survey Shows Parents Confused About Child Development"

    Search for more CB Express articles on early childhood development using the search feature on this website.

    Visit the National Governors' Association Center for Best Practices new website, "The First Three Years: A Governor's Guide to Early Childhood," for tools to convey the importance of investing in a child's first three years to legislators, parents, businesses, and other community members at:

  • Interagency Government Body Addresses Needs of Children with Disabilities

    Interagency Government Body Addresses Needs of Children with Disabilities

    Improving and coordinating the delivery of services to children with disabilities is an ongoing task. It is the duty of the Federal Interagency Coordinating Council (FICC) to advise the Federal government on how best to carry this out.

    The FICC is made up of participants from the six Federal agencies that are responsible for payment and delivery of services to children with disabilities and their families. According to its vision statement, the FICC "will assure that all children ages zero to eight with or at risk for developing disabilities and their families benefit from an integrated, seamless system of services and supports that is family centered, community based, and culturally competent." The participating agencies are the Departments of Education, Health and Human Services, Agriculture, Interior, Defense, and the Social Security Administration.

    FICC was established as part the reauthorization of P.L. 99-457, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act Amendments (IDEA), of 1991. Its six committees--executive, communications, family empowerment, finance, integrated services, and legislative--meet regularly in between quarterly meetings of the entire FICC.

    The FICC's website deals with a wide range of topics, including an introduction, vision and mission statements, guiding principles, names of participating personnel, organizational structure, legislative history, strategic plans, policy statements, and quarterly meeting schedules and minutes.

    FICC lists its strengths as follows:

    • the only interagency government body established in statute to address the needs of young children with disabilities and their families;
    • has national perspective and ten years of institutional memory for services to young children with disabilities and their families, and should serve as a model for Federal leadership for systems for all young children;
    • has investigated difficult issues in the delivery of integrated services; dispute resolution using mediation strategies; balanced funding sources and managed health care
    • involves parents/consumers as members in all decision-making

    Visit the FICC website at:

Strategies and Tools for Practice

  • Issue Brief Profiles States' Best Practices to Increase Adoptions, Improve Foster Care Placements

    Issue Brief Profiles States' Best Practices to Increase Adoptions, Improve Foster Care Placements

    A new issue brief by the National Governor's Association Center for Best Practices highlights State best practices in managing and delivering adoption and foster care services, streamlining adoption procedures, recruiting adoptive and foster parents, and implementing family-centered, neighborhood-based placement strategies.

    Adoptions have increased nationally by 64 percent between 1996 and 1999, qualifying every State for Federal adoption bonuses in 1998 and/or 1999. States successfully increased adoptions through a variety of methods. The issue brief cites State initiatives in the following areas:

    • Privatization and performance-based contracting for adoption
    • Streamlined adoption procedures
    • State incentives for adoptive parents
    • Adoption outreach efforts
    • State adoption Resource websites

    An increase in children coming into foster care, combined with a decrease in the pool of available foster families and limited resources, have hindered States' ability to find stable placement settings for foster children. Under the Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997 (ASFA), up to 10 States a year are allowed waivers of Title IV-E Federal funds--usually reserved for direct costs of out-of-home placements--to design and test new approaches to improve service delivery. The issue brief profiles State demonstration projects that provide:

    • Increased support services to foster families
    • Family-centered, neighborhood-based placement strategies
    • Assisted guardianship placements

    In addition to highlighting these best practices, the issue brief summarizes recent federal changes to child welfare policy, describes Federal assessment tools of State child welfare systems, and lists State contacts and related resources.

    A copy of the issue brief, A Place to Call Home: State Efforts to Increase Adoption and Improve Foster Care Placements, is available online at:

    Related Items

    See "HHS Awards Adoption Bonuses and Grants" in the November issue of the Children's Bureau Express.

    See "HHS Announces Winners of Adoption 2002 Excellence Awards" in this issue of Children's Bureau Express.

  • Families as Decision Makers in Child Abuse and Neglect Cases

    Families as Decision Makers in Child Abuse and Neglect Cases

    First introduced in New Zealand in the 1980s, Family Group Conferencing is a non-adversarial process used in child abuse cases that provides families with the opportunity to make decisions regarding protecting children.

    With Federal funding from the Nebraska Court Improvement Project, family group conferencing was introduced as a pilot program in three rural county courts in April 1999. Mediation centers are used to administer the conferences and train coordinators, social work professionals, and attorneys.

    According to Dr. Victoria Weisz, director of the Nebraska Court Improvement Project, "the Family Group Conferencing Model consists of a facilitated meeting involving the extended family, the agency charged with protecting the children, service providers that have pertinent experience and information regarding the children and the family involved, and the children themselves if appropriate." The child protection worker referring the case has the final authority to approve the family's plan and present it to the court.

    Weisz said the pilot program has focused on cases that are in the relatively early stages in the court system. Although a formal evaluation is just beginning, Weisz noted that anecdotal feedback from social workers, judges, and attorneys has been very positive and they feel much better plans are being made for children. Relatives are also very enthusiastic and quite pleased to be involved.

    "Children have typically gone to live with relatives, not stranger foster care," observed Weisz. The current Family Group Conferencing project will continue until next summer. To date, 16 cases have been completed with an average of 15 people attending each conference. A comprehensive evaluation will involve collecting data from participants on the effectiveness of the process. A longer outcome evaluation will follow children after Family Group Conferencing for a year and compare them with a control group.

    Although the initial results have been promising, a few obstacles have been encountered. Weisz recalled that some people were concerned that the family was not a safe place for conferencing to occur based on the premise that the "apple doesn't fall far from the tree." However, she cited a study in Washington State, which followed the issue of child safety for two years and found that repeat child abuse rates were low. Another barrier has been that child protection workers have been somewhat slow in making referrals. "It's kind of a new deal, new process [for workers] and the problem is more about not knowing what to expect, " said Weisz.

    The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services is exploring the possibility of expanding the program statewide in January 2001. The Nebraska Court Improvement Project has also just received a Federal grant from the Children's Bureau to implement Family Group conferencing in three urban counties: Douglas, Lancaster, and Sarpy. Unlike the pilot project, the new initiative will target family group conferencing to cases later in the court system. It will be offered to families at the time of the permanency hearing for children who have been in the system for a year, who are with foster families who have no plans to adopt or become guardians, and who will not be returned to their families.

    "These are kids that are languishing in the foster care system," commented Weisz. "We are hoping that relatives who may not have been involved, will come forward to adopt or be guardians."

    Contact information:
    Dr. Victoria Weisz
    Director, Nebraska Court Improvement Project
    Center on Children, Families and the Law
    University of Nebraska-Lincoln
    121 South 13th St., Suite 302
    Lincoln, NE 68588-0227
    Phone: 402-472-3479
    Fax: 402-472-8412

    Related Items

    Visit the website of the National Center on Family Group Decision Making (, sponsored by the American Humane Association, for access to research/evaluation suggestions, policies and protocols, practice tips, and a discussion area to dialogue with professionals worldwide.

    Search the documents database of the National Clearinghouse on Child Abuse and Neglect Information ( for additional resources on family group conferencing.

    For information on other child welfare court improvement projects and links to child protective court improvement Web pages, visit the website of the American Bar Association Center on Children and the Law (

  • Baltimore Center Consolidates Services for Child Sexual Abuse Victims

    Baltimore Center Consolidates Services for Child Sexual Abuse Victims

    Officials in Baltimore purposely chose a kid friendly place--downtown Baltimore, near the Inner Harbor and the Children's Museum--to locate the Baltimore Child Abuse Center. The site is in keeping with the Center's overarching goal to do everything possible to put sexually abused children at ease.

    The Center's work was highlighted in November when it hosted the premier of a 15-minute film entitled "The Power to Make a Difference." The film is aimed at heightening public awareness of child sexual abuse and educating adults on how to protect children from such abuse. Lieutenant Governor Kathleen Kennedy Townsend made opening remarks and a tour of the Center followed the film.

    The film offered statistics on how child abuse affects both children and adults and discussed the Center and its goals. A 12-year-old child victim and her grandmother were interviewed in the film. The child said her decision to participate in the film was prompted by her desire to prevent others from experiencing sexual abuse and was agreed upon by the child and her therapist as an important part of her therapy.

    Law enforcement officers, physicians, and hospital staff all refer any child who has been sexually abused in Baltimore City to the Center. The goal is to have the child participate in only one interview and one medical exam, thereby avoiding "re-victimization." Until the Center opened, each child who had been sexually abused was interviewed an average of 7 times and examined 2 to 3 times.

    At the Center, child care workers trained via the Welfare to Work program help to care for siblings while a non-offending parent and the victim are being interviewed. The child's interview is performed by a licensed clinical social worker with police, State's attorneys and child protective service workers watching and recording notes via closed circuit television. At the completion of the child's interview, these professionals meet with the parent to discuss further treatment and services.

    A physician completes a comprehensive medical exam and records the results. Rape victims under the age of 13 are referred to University of Maryland pediatric emergency room. If over age 13, the child is referred to Mercy Hospital, which is the designated hospital in Baltimore for rape cases. However, the physician from the Center coordinates with the physicians from these hospitals and the Center works with the families on referrals for treatment.

    Often the Center will identify other areas, such as housing or lack of benefits, that are not being addressed and assistance is given or referrals made. For many of the children the medical exam is their first, and the physician often identifies other medical issues. Time is given during the exam to address these issues if needed. For example, the doctor is often the first to become aware that an older child has been sexually active and will work to educate them on issues such as venereal disease and birth control. Other conditions such as scabies and heart murmurs have been discovered.

    Two physicians--one full-time, one part-time--and one full-time licensed clinical social worker are on staff. Pediatric residents at all of the area hospitals also participate in the ongoing work of the clinic. On average, seven children are seen each day. There are three interview/observation rooms and one medical examining room. Although interviews are scheduled, walk-ins are accepted if referred by professionals, such as police or physicians. An additional goal is to document the abuse so that the perpetrator can be prosecuted. One doctor who spoke at the reception said that although she is subpoenaed in many cases, she appears in court only rarely (4 times in 3 years) because the documented evidence will often lead to a confession by the perpetrator. Because of the Center and a commitment on the part of the Maryland State's Attorney's office, most cases are plea-bargained and the children avoid having to testify in court.

    Contact information:
    Patricia C. Jessamy
    Baltimore Child Abuse Center, Inc.
    34 Market Pl.
    Suite 310
    Baltimore, MD 21202
    Phone: 410-396-5165
    Fax: 410-727-3526

  • Growing Latino Population Spurs Efforts to Recruit Latino Foster and Adoptive Families

    Growing Latino Population Spurs Efforts to Recruit Latino Foster and Adoptive Families

    Federal law prohibits States and agencies that receive Federal funds from delaying or denying a child's placement based on the race, color, or national origin of the child or prospective foster or adoptive parents. By stepping up efforts to recruit families from diverse backgrounds, agencies can develop a pool of foster and adoptive families that reflect the racial and ethnic backgrounds of their waiting children.

    Because Latinos, or Hispanics, are the fastest growing minority population in the United States, several Federal demonstration projects and State initiatives have focused special attention on recruiting Latino foster and adoptive families. Several of these are profiled here:

    In Texas, Hispanic children of Mexican descent comprise a large percentage of children waiting to be adopted. Five years ago, Nuestros Niños, an agency in Houston, received a Federal grant to increase adoptions of Hispanic children citywide. Recruitment efforts involved outreach to the Hispanic community through schools and churches and newspaper, television, and radio ads. Experienced adoptive parents were trained to help support recruited families through the preparation and assessment process. Although Nuestros Niños fell short of its goal to recruit 80 families and place 20 children, the effort did succeed in placing 11 children with adoptive families and was embraced by the Hispanic community. Statewide, Texas has been actively recruiting Spanish-speaking foster and adoptive for more than a year.

    In New York, the Council on Adoptable Children (COAC) received a 2-year Federal grant, beginning in 1994, to recruit African American, Hispanic, and single-parent adoptive families in New York City. COAC hired 3 program staff members, produced flyers and brochures, and placed public service announcements on African American and Hispanic-oriented radio stations. A unique feature of this program was to train 3 parent volunteer groups that targeted their recruitment efforts at African Americans, Hispanics, and singles parents respectively. Each group sponsored monthly recruitment activities, such as barbecues, teas, church boards, mixers, and culturally centered celebrations. During the project period, 190 children were placed or matched with families.

    Another 2-year Federal grant, which ran concurrent to COAC's project, concentrated on recruitment efforts for Latino children with special needs in San Diego county. Project "Buscar, Enseñar, Apoyar, Adoptar y Continuar" (seek, teach, support, adopt, and continue) was administered by the YMCA Family Stress Counseling Services in California. The project placed 54 children with adoptive families. The effort included a successful public relations component, contracted to a private agency, that led to many inquiries. Adoption classes, which focused on the adoption of Latino children with special needs, attracted 212 participants. A monthly Spanish speaking support group for parents who adopted through Project Buscar shared parenting tips and information. Another support group met specifically to address the needs of children diagnosed with attachment disorders.

    Massachusetts ranked 10th among States with the highest percentage of Hispanics in 1997. A federally funded project enabled the Massachusetts Adoption Resource Exchange (MARE) to reach out to this population. The primary goal of the grant, which ran from October 1995 to June 1998, was to raise statewide awareness among Hispanic families about Latino children waiting for adoption. MARE hired a full-time, Spanish-speaking Hispanic Community Outreach Worker who made appearances on TV shows and other Hispanic news outlets, and who worked with Hispanic churches in the Boston area to provide support services to families considering adoption. Culturally sensitive training materials were developed for adoptive and foster parents, and all print materials were translated into Spanish. As a result, inquiries from Hispanic families increased, and six children were placed.

    Contact information:
    Massachusetts Adoption Resource Exchange
    45 Franklin St., 5th Floor
    Boston, MA 02110-1301
    Phone: 617-542-3678
    Fax: 617-542-1006

    New York Council on Adoptable Children
    666 Broadway, Suite 820
    New York, NY 10012
    Phone: 212-475-0222
    Fax: 212-475-1972

    Related Items

    "Strategies Suggested for Recruiting Mexican American Adoptive Parents" (this issue of Children's Bureau Express)

    See "Recruiting Families for Special Needs Children" in the May issue of the Children's Bureau Express.

    For a list of community-based Latino Adoption Agencies, contact the National Adoption Information Clearinghouse at 888-251-0075 or visit: (Note: this link is no longer available.)

    For a list of organizations that have information and resources on child maltreatment and child welfare issues affecting Latinos, contact the National Clearinghouse on Child Abuse and Neglect Information at 800-394-3366 or visit: (Note: this link is no longer available.)

    For a fact sheet about the federal Multi-Ethnic Placement Act of 1994 (PL 103-382), visit (Editor's note: this link is no longer active.)

    Search Thomas (, a service of the Library of Congress, for the text of the Multi-Ethnic Placement Act of 1994 (PL 103-382) and the Interethnic Placement Amendments of 1996 (PL 104-188).


  • Adoption Nation: How the Adoption Revolution is Transforming America

    Adoption Nation: How the Adoption Revolution is Transforming America

    Pertman, A. Basic Books, New York, NY. 2000. 271 pp. $25.00. Hardbound.

    Pertman presents his analysis of the adoption process as it exists in the United States today based on research, interviews, and his own experiences as an adoptive father. He discusses the growing openness about adoption, multicultural aspects, the role of the Internet, legal issues, and rising costs.

    To purchase a copy, contact:
    Basic Books
    Perseus Books Group Customer Service
    5500 Central Ave.
    Boulder, CO 80301
    Phone: 800-386-5656
    Fax: 303-449-3356

  • Body Language of the Abused Child

    Body Language of the Abused Child

    Rankin, J. A. Rankin File, Springfield, VA. 2000. 276 pp. $30.00. Paperback.

    Child victims of abuse are not always capable of relating what has happened to them. Social workers, CPS investigators, and other professionals who provide services to children may try many methods of eliciting a verbal response, but without success. Another way to understand children is by paying attention to what they communicate nonverbally by assessing and interpreting their body language. Children who have experienced physical abuse, sexual abuse, and neglect will exhibit behaviors and mannerisms that indicate this trauma to the trained observer. Children may:

    • Appear passive, submissive, and vulnerable or be very aggressive and defiant, or display an alternating combination of the two
    • Present a blank emotionless face with vacant eyes or be constantly on the lookout for possible danger
    • Protect their genitals or rub them for comfort
    • Show signs of self-comforting: rubbing hands or upper arms, stroking the face
    • Flinch when touched or back off from others when approached; need a lot of personal space or none (indiscriminately friendly)

    The author provides guidance in all aspects of body language interpretation, from identifying when a child is lying, to understanding the postures and gestures demonstrated by children who have been abused.

    To purchase a copy, contact:
    Jacqueline A. Rankin
    Rankin File
    7006 Elkton Dr.
    Springfield, VA 22152
    Phone: 703-866-0084

  • Online Newsletters Aid Foster Parents and Child Welfare Social Workers

    Online Newsletters Aid Foster Parents and Child Welfare Social Workers

    Log on to the North Carolina Family and Children's Resource Program website, to access the free, online versions of three child welfare and training newsletters, developed in collaboration with the NC Division of Social Services.

    Although geared towards foster care and child welfare issues in North Carolina, workers and foster parents in other States will find useful information. The titles are:

    • Fostering Perspectives, published twice a year, provides insightful articles, poetry, and information for and by foster families. A special "Kids' Pages" section displays written material and artwork by North Carolina's foster children. The current issue focuses on working with birth parents; past issues have dealt with respite care, kinship foster families, cultural differences, and managing the holidays.
    • Children's Services Practice Notes, published four times a year, provides information on current research and practice models for child welfare workers. The current issue addresses parent-child visits; past issues have covered court preparations, turnover and mental health issues in child welfare, safety in social work, separation and attachment, helping children with special needs, and teen pregnancy.
    • Training Matters, published four times a year, gives child welfare workers in North Carolina information on training opportunities, including updates on new curricula and special offerings. The current issue highlights the preservice; past issues have featured articles on how to get the most out of training and how training fits with practice.

    You can find these newsletters online at:

  • Domestic Violence Definitions Are Newest in State Statutes Series

    Domestic Violence Definitions Are Newest in State Statutes Series

    Over half of all 50 States have enacted domestic violence legislation that specifically recognizes children as a class of persons to be protected.

    These statutory definitions are summarized in a new publication of the National Clearinghouse on Child Abuse and Neglect Information's State Statutes Series, produced in cooperation with the National Center for Prosecution of Child Abuse. This series contains excerpts from specific sections of each State's code on key civil and criminal child maltreatment laws. These include laws on reporting, central registries, investigations, child witnesses, crimes, and permanency planning. Domestic violence is the 40th element in the series.

    The domestic violence statutory provisions identify which particular children are protected from abusive behavior. While the majority of States require that a special relationship exist between the child victim and the perpetrator, such as a relative, a few States protect any children victimized in the household.

    These definitions also specify the type of conduct that is prohibited towards children. Such behavior usually includes physical, sexual, and emotional attacks against a child. It may also involve stalking, threatening, harassing, and placing a child in fear of physical harm.

    A small number of States provide exemptions in their definitions of domestic violence for corporal punishment deemed "disciplinary" and for self-defense.

    To download the Definitions of Domestic Violence online, visit: (Note: this is no longer available, but relevant information can be found in Children and Domestic Violence at

    For more information on civil statutes or additional publications related to child abuse and neglect, contact:
    National Clearinghouse on Child Abuse and Neglect Information
    330 C St., SW
    Washington, DC 20447
    Phone: 800-FYI-3366
    Fax: 703-385-3206

    For training or technical assistance, research services, publications, or other information about criminal child abuse and neglect statutes, contact:
    National Center for Prosecution of Child Abuse
    99 Canal Center Plaza, Suite 510
    Alexandria, VA 22314
    Phone: 703-739-0321
    Fax: 703-549-6259

  • Research on Romanian Children Shows Age Factors into Attachment Disorder

    Research on Romanian Children Shows Age Factors into Attachment Disorder

    Childhood development research has consistently shown the importance of bonding to an adult during the first years of life. In a 6-year study of post-institutionalized children adopted from Romania by British couples, researchers found that children who were 6 months or younger when they were adopted had higher IQs and experienced fewer attachment disorder behaviors than children who had spent more time in orphanages.

    Drs. Thomas O'Connor and Michael Rutter led a team of researchers at the Institute of Psychiatry in London that assessed 165 children adopted from Romania and 52 adoptees from the U.K. Information was gathered through periodic interviews with the parents and standard assessments of children's cognitive and social development. Many of the Romanian children had come from orphanages where they were malnourished and deprived of affection and care.

    In a September 2000 news conference in London, Rutter acknowledged that "the thing that drove the outcome more than anything else was the age of adoption." Despite their harsh beginnings, the children showed remarkable resilience, with those adopted before age 2 faring the best. Children adopted during their first 6 months of life were indistinguishable from other children when assessed at 4 and 6 years of age.

    Even though one-third of children adopted after age 2 had continuing developmental problems, the range of IQs for this group ranged from below 50 to above 130, which is highly superior. "Clearly, even prolonged gross deprivation doesn't make children all the same," observed Rutter. With increasing numbers of couples adopting children from abroad, Rutter said the findings are significant because they show brain development and experience are interrelated.

    Attachment Disorder Behavior Following Early Severe Deprivation: Extension and Longitudinal Follow-up was published in the June 2000 issue of Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. The article is available online at:

    Related Item

    Search the NAIC documents database for other titles related to attachment disorder at:

  • Stopping Child Maltreatment Before it Starts: Emerging Horizons in Early Home Visitation Services

    Stopping Child Maltreatment Before it Starts: Emerging Horizons in Early Home Visitation Services

    Sage Sourcebooks for the Human Services Series. Guterman, N. B. Sage Publications, Inc., Thousand Oaks, CA. 2001. 262 pp. $27.50. Paperback.

    Preventing abuse and neglect of children is the goal of early home visitation services. By delivering services to families during the perinatal period, social work professionals hope to promote positive parenting from the beginning, averting potential child maltreatment later. The author introduces the practice strategies of early home visitation services, evaluates them based on current scientific research, and makes recommendations for the future growth of the early prevention movement. The book covers:

    • Developmental sequelae for maltreated children
    • Origins of home visitation
    • Core elements of service
    • Linking families with community supports
    • Screening problems
    • Substance abuse and maltreatment risk
    • Empowering parents through peer learning and role modeling

    To purchase a copy, contact:
    Sage Publications, Inc.
    2455 Teller Rd.
    Thousand Oaks, CA 91320-2218
    Phone: 805-499-9774
    Fax: 805-499-0871

  • Does Family Preservation Serve a Child's Best Interests? Controversies in Public Policy Series

    Does Family Preservation Serve a Child's Best Interests? Controversies in Public Policy Series

    Altstein, H.; McRoy, R. Georgetown Univ. Press, Washington, DC. 2000. 168 pp. $17.95. Paperback.

    McRoy advocates keeping families together whenever possible. Alstein doubts that family preservation works, and believes children should be given a new life with a second family. Each author promotes their views, providing supporting evidence from research and practice.

    To purchase a copy, contact:
    Georgetown Univ. Press
    PO Box 4866
    Hampden Station
    Baltimore, MD 21211-0866
    Phone: 800-246-9606 or 410-516-6995
    Fax: 410-516-6998

  • Report Highlights Improvements in Dependency Courts

    Report Highlights Improvements in Dependency Courts

    State courts, legislators, and program coordinators can read about different approaches to court improvement in the Court Improvement Progress Report 2000 Update.

    State summaries and a State contact list provides readers with details about what activities are taking place in each court system and who administers them. The report also lists State-developed materials that are available for review.

    A comprehensive index and national summary outlines the status of court reform in the following major areas:

    • implementation projects
    • hearing quality and depth
    • legal representation of parties
    • timeliness of decisions
    • notice to and participation of parties
    • treatment of parties
    • quality and professionalism of the judiciary
    • court staffing
    • technology
    • training and education
    • legislation and court rules
    • evaluations
    • overall strategies and barriers
    • use of Federal grant funds

    The State Court Improvement Project began in 1993 with a provision in the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (OBRA) to fund improvements to judicial handling of child abuse and neglect cases. In 1997, the Adoption and Safe Families Act, which added an additional three years of implementation funding for the court improvement effort, amended OBRA.

    To purchase a copy of the Court Improvement Progress Report 2000, contact the ABA Center on Children and the Law Customer Service Center at 800-285-2221 (order #5490290, $9.95).

    Related Items

    These past issues of the Children's Bureau Express have focused on court improvement:

    • "National Videoconference Examines Model Court Practices in Abuse and Neglect Cases" (March 2000)
    • "Model Courts are Models for Change" (May 2000)
    • "California Courts Produce Activity Book for Kids" (July 2000)
    • "California Guides Parents Through Dependency Courts" (July 2000)
    • "National Resource Center Helps Child Welfare Courts Improve" (November 2000)
    • "Benefits of Using Non-Judicial Staff to Aid Dependency Courts" (November 2000)
    • "New Federal Law Aims to Strengthen Child Abuse and Neglect Courts" (November 2000)
  • Helping Parents Recognize Child Abuse

    Helping Parents Recognize Child Abuse

    The Nemours Foundation's website,, helps families answer a wide range of health and wellness questions. In its area for parents, a new article describes how to recognize signs of child abuse.

    In defining the four types of abuse--physical, physical neglect, sexual abuse, and emotional abuse--the article details specific actions taken by the perpetrator to harm the child. Shaken baby/shaken impact syndrome, which is the leading cause of death in child abuse cases in the United States, is also listed as a specific form of child abuse. Besides physical signs of abuse, such as bruises, black eyes, and broken bones, parents are cautioned to look for less obvious behavioral signs of abuse.

    The article instructs parents about what steps to take if abuse is suspected and how to get help for themselves if they are the abuser. It discusses the importance of raising awareness in children, so they know how to recognize and report abuse. Tips are also provided to help a child heal from an abusive experience, including seeking medical and psychological help.

    Accompanying the article are a list of related stories on helping your child cope with night terrors, bullying, stress, anxiety, fears, and phobias. Links to other organizations for additional information on child abuse prevention are also provided.

    Recognizing Signs of Child Abuse is available online at:

  • Our Own: Adopting and Parenting the Older Child

    Our Own: Adopting and Parenting the Older Child

    Maskew, T. Snowcap Press, Longmont, CO. 1999. 284 pp. $23.95. Hardbound.

    When older children are adopted, they bring their past with them, including their experiences, personalities, and emotional baggage. The author combines research, personal interviews, and her own experiences to provide information for each of the participants in the process. Topics discussed include:

    • Adoptee's advice to their adoptive parents
    • Preparing siblings for a new family member
    • Helping intercountry adoptees learn English
    • Recognizing and addressing grief in adoptees
    • Recognizing medical conditions
    • Coping with behavioral problems

    Agencies and adoption professionals may find this book useful for alerting prospective parents to the realities of adopting an older child.

    To purchase a copy, contact:
    Snowcap Press
    PO Box 123
    Longmont, CO 80502-0123
    Phone: 877-561-5922
    Fax: 303-265-9606

  • The Relational Trauma of Incest: A Family-Based Approach to Treatment

    The Relational Trauma of Incest: A Family-Based Approach to Treatment

    Sheinberg, M.; Fraenkel, P. Guilford Publications, Inc., New York, NY. 2001. 240 pp. $23.00. Hardbound.

    Seeking to provide new understanding of incest and its effects on children, the authors present their treatment strategies for family therapy. They define relational trauma as a disruption in the child's sense of safety, security, loyalty, and trust, and contend that this inhibits the child's ability to connect and communicate with nonoffending family members, limiting the therapeutic process. The relational treatment model works by reinforcing the child's protective family relationships, and empowering family members to help the child resolve emotional and behavioral symptoms.

    To purchase a copy, contact:
    Guilford Publications, Inc.
    72 Spring St.
    New York, NY 10012-9902
    Phone: 800-365-7006 or 212-431-9800
    Fax: 212-966-6708

  • New Listserve Connects Child Welfare Training Professionals

    New Listserve Connects Child Welfare Training Professionals

    Get connected to professionals engaged in child welfare training through a new listserve designed to facilitate communication and networking.

    Managed by the Child Welfare Training Resources (CWTR) Project, this moderated listserve limits its membership to:

    • trainers in State agencies and national organizations
    • university training partners
    • staff of National Resource Centers and Federal staff in the Central and Regional Offices
    • professionals currently providing child welfare training.

    Listserve discussions focus on questions, issues, and resources that are of interest across the nation. Through information sharing, listserve members can support and enhance training efforts aimed at building the capacity of the child welfare workforce.

    To subscribe to the Child Welfare Training Listserve, visit

  • How Does Privatizing Human Services Affect Children?

    How Does Privatizing Human Services Affect Children?

    How do children fare when human services are privatized? A series of three fact sheets from the National Association of Child Advocates examines this question.

    In the first fact sheet, the authors discuss whether or not privatization of human services benefits from a competitive market. Typically, these advantages include greater efficiency at lower cost. However, without characteristics of a competitive market (many buyers and sellers, low market entry and exit barriers, sufficient information, homogeneous product), privatized human services are not cost efficient. The price vendors charge can actually be more than public administration. Furthermore, with long-term contracts, vendors can force out long term competition and in effect, retain a monopoly.

    The second fact sheet analyzed the possibility of designing a contract for private services that would provide a financial incentive to provide good services. The authors observe that it would be difficult to pay a vendor for achieving the best outcome in placing children without careful oversight, since each case depends on a specific set of circumstances. A case study of child support services, where the desired outcome is the same for all families, showed little variation between public and private child support collection services.

    In privatizating children's services, private vendors exhibited the following characteristics:

    • Even with economic incentives, they do not necessarily perform better than public agencies.
    • They pick and choose among cases based upon their estimate of likelihood of success.
    • They charge different States different prices for the same services.

    A third fact sheet provides a checklist of questions to assist policy makers and advocates in assessing privatization proposals for children's programs. These include considerations about cost; impact on services; impact on employees; and contracting, monitoring, and accountability.

    Copies of the fact sheets are available online at:

    Does privatization of human services provide the benefits of market competition? ( Publications1/Voices_for_Americas_Children/Advocacy/ 20003/privmktcomp.pdf)

    How will the contract shape performance? ( Publications1/Voices_for_Americas_Children/Advocacy/20003 /privperform.pdf)

    What should child advocates consider when they analyze a privatization proposal? ( Publications1/Voices_for_Americas_Children/Advocacy/ 20003/privanalyze.pdf)

    To order print copies, contact:
    Lyn Elbi, Publications
    National Association of Child Advocates
    Suite 600
    1522 K Street, NW
    Washington, DC 20005-1202
    Phone: 202-289-0777 x201

  • Evaluating Child Sexual Abuse: Education Manual for Medical Professionals

    Evaluating Child Sexual Abuse: Education Manual for Medical Professionals

    Botash, A. S. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, MD. 2000. 256 pp. with a videocassette. $27.50. Spiral Bound.

    Designed as a home-based, self-study training program, this workbook is intended to teach medical professionals how to recognize and diagnose child sexual abuse in their clients. In addition to physical examinations, the author stresses the importance of communicating with the children, working well with their families, and coordinating other services for the child. Each of four sections provides learner objectives, study questions, and discussion. The sections cover:

    • Decision points in the evaluation of child sexual abuse
    • The medical history for child sexual abuse
    • The medical examination for child sexual abuse
    • Medical-legal issues in child sexual abuse

    While directed toward staff who do sexual abuse evaluation, even the nurse-practitioner and primary care physician, as mandatory reporters, will want to study this guide and keep it handy as a quick reference. A videocassette of case studies is included.

    To purchase a copy, contact:
    Johns Hopkins University Press
    2715 N. Charles St.
    Baltimore, MD 21218-4363
    Phone: 800-537-5487
    Fax: 410-516-6998

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.

  • Vermont Foster Families Trained to Prevent Substance Abuse

    Vermont Foster Families Trained to Prevent Substance Abuse

    Alcohol and other drug problems account for more than two-thirds of cases handled by Vermont's Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services. To prevent a cycle of addiction and other problems in these families, a program was created to place children and youth in foster homes that could serve as models for healthy, substance-free lifestyles.

    The federally funded, 3-year program, called CHAMP (Creating Healthy Adolescents, a Model Prevention Project), was a completely voluntary program targeted to foster parents. Project activities included:

    • Foster parent training and support
    • Developing CHAMP homes
    • Statewide education and awareness building.

    When the project ended in September 2000, it had established 35 CHAMP homes in three districts, which were equipped to provide healthy-living foster care for children from substance abusing homes, or teens demonstrating early substance problems. Besides completing advanced training, CHAMP foster home providers were required to:

    • Communicate clear rules and expectations regarding the use of substances
    • Understand how they model behavior and ideas for their foster children
    • Be willing to actively pursue training about the impact of substance abuse in families
    • Reduce environmental risks at home (locking up medications, using non-aerosol products, prohibiting smoking in the home, etc.)
    • Improve personal health habits (begin or increase exercise, learn new stress management skills, stop smoking).

    CHAMP sponsored several specialized trainings for foster families. The "CARES" program, or CHAMP Addiction and Resiliency Education Series, covered topics such as drug identification, the impact of children witnessing violence, and communication skills. Concurrent sessions for children and youth included age-appropriate, prevention learning activities. The CHAMP Project also developed a practical 10-hour core curriculum to train foster parents about the impact of substance abuse and child abuse on children, as well as setting personal improvement goals.

    Former Project Director Jean McCandless explained that some of the pieces of CHAMP are continuing through the State's Healthy Living Foster Care program. For example, an informative newsletter for licensed foster parents, called The Champion, has been discontinued but will be replaced by monthly health education mailings. The newsletter featured American Heart Association recipes, hiking locations, safe gun handling, ways to reduce stress, managing sibling rivalry, and other "healthy living" topics. Content from CHAMP's website also will be incorporated into the Healthy Living Foster Care program's site.

    CHAMP's "Help the Kids, Stop Smoking" initiative, which has been running for 6 months, also will continue another year. The initiative aims to help foster parents quit the habit by sending them to smoking cessation groups, offering free nicotine patches, providing peer counseling, and sending out "do-it-yourself" information. "Most of the participants are from the districts that participated in other [CHAMP] trainings," noted McCandless.

    Response to the CHAMP project was very positive and McCandless hopes that new funding can be secured to resurrect the project. "You've never seen such a happy evaluator. Participants continued to be pleased throughout the life of the project," said McCandless. CHAMP families helped themselves by leading healthier lifestyles and helped their foster children by creating a healthier home for them.

    Contact information:
    Jean McCandless
    Community Services Chief
    Vermont Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services
    103 S. Main St.
    Waterbury, VT 05671-2401
    Phone: 802-241-2143

  • Effective Supervisory Practice: A Confidence Building Curriculum for Supervisors and Managers

    Effective Supervisory Practice: A Confidence Building Curriculum for Supervisors and Managers

    Alwon, F.J. Child Welfare League of America, Inc., Washington, DC. 2000. 665 pp. $500.00. Spiral bound.

    Child welfare organizations that provide training for their middle managers and supervisors can benefit by improving their agency's effectiveness and reducing their risk for litigation. Each participant in these exercises is asked to provide the goals and objectives that they will apply in their own jobs. This is a participant action plan approach because what they learn is directly related to the realities of their work. The group members team up in pairs to help each other solve problems utilizing a peer consultant model. The 36-hour modular format covers these topics and more:

    • The role of the middle manager
    • Supervisory relationships
    • Team building
    • Conducting effective meetings
    • Stress and time management
    • Constructive confrontation
    • Conflict management
    • Interviewing and hiring
    • Personnel evaluation
    • Change and crisis management

    The curriculum includes an instructor's manual and participant workbook for parts one and two, which may be purchased separately, and text for transparencies. Additional workbooks are $3.95 each.

    To purchase a copy, contact:
    Child Welfare League of America, Inc.
    PO Box 2019
    Annapolis Junction, MD 20701-2019
    Phone: 800-407-6273 or 301-617-7825
    Fax: 301-206-9789

  • Abuse and Neglect of Children With Disabilities: A Collaborative Response. A Curriculum for Parent

    Abuse and Neglect of Children With Disabilities: A Collaborative Response. A Curriculum for Parent

    O'Neill, P. Virginia Institute for Developmental Disabilities, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA. 2000. 540 pp. $90.00. Binder.

    When teachers, parents, social workers, and police work together, with open communication and a common goal, the results are more positive for the child needing protection. Protecting children with disabilities can pose additional difficulties because these children are at higher risk of abuse and neglect, may not be able to communicate their needs, and may have disabilities that mimic recognized signs of abuse. Organized by modules, this two-day workshop can also be presented in individual breakout sessions for targeted audiences. The following information is included and is based on current research:

    • Prevalence, risk factors, and indicators
    • Recognizing when challenged children have been abused
    • Using developmentally appropriate communication with the child
    • What to do and what not to do when abuse is suspected

    Skills development specifically for investigators:

    • Using developmentally appropriate interviewing skills
    • Using interpreters and assisted communication
    • Identifying community resources to assist with the investigation
    • Networking with parents and disability professionals

    For parents and educators:

    • Helping children build resiliency skills
    • Using positive behavioral supports to address challenging behaviors
    • Positive strategies for crisis management
    • Being especially supportive for the child during an abuse investigation

    This curriculum was developed under a grant from the Office of Child Abuse and Neglect of the Children's Bureau. It includes a trainer's guide, participant handouts, and overhead transparencies.

    To purchase a copy, contact:
    Abuse and Disabilities Curriculum
    PO Box 843020
    Richmond, VA 23284-3020
    Phone: 804-827-0194
    Fax: 804-828-0042