News From the Children's Bureau
- Study Looks at Increase, Changes in Boarder Baby Population
More unclaimed babies in more parts of the country—that's what the Children's Bureau found when it examined changes that have occurred in this population since 1991. The Bureau's findings are reported in 1998 National Estimates of the Number of Boarder Babies, Abandoned Infants, and Discarded Infants.
The study sorted unclaimed infants into the following groups:
- Boarder babies—infants younger than 12 months who remain in the hospital beyond medical discharge because no parent claims custody of them
- Abandoned infants—infants younger than 12 months who have not been medically discharged yet but whose parents are unlikely to claim custody of them
- "Discarded" infants—living infants younger than 12 months left alone and unclaimed in public or other inappropriate places.
For the first two groups, researchers compared data from similar studies conducted in 1991 and 1998. Both studies asked State child welfare agencies to identify jurisdictions that might have boarder babies. This resulted in contacting 865 hospitals in 101 jurisdictions in 1991 and 926 hospitals in 113 jurisdictions in 1998. Hospitals in those jurisdictions also were queried about abandoned infants.
Estimates of the discarded infant population were derived from a search of a newspaper database for the years 1992 and 1997. The search identified 65 infants discarded in 1992 and 105 discarded in 1997. Researchers could not determine whether the data represented an increase in number of discarded infants or an increase in reporting on discarded infants.
The analysis found:
- There were an estimated 13,400 boarder babies nationwide (38% increase from 1991)
- There were an estimated 17,400 abandoned infants in the jurisdictions surveyed (46% increase from 1991).
The study reports that "the boarder baby problem and the abandoned infant problem have not only grown in numbers but have spread to more communities." In 1991, 47 percent of boarder babies resided in three urban centers. By 1998, those urban centers saw their boarder baby populations drop by 21 percent—probably because child welfare services and hospitals in those jurisdictions found ways to address the problem. Meanwhile, the rest of nation saw the boarder baby population jump 90 percent. The study cannot explain the shift, but notes "the boarder baby problem simply may be following the pattern of other social problems [which] begin in major urban centers but eventually spread to the suburbs and other areas."
On a more positive note, the analysis also found the following:
- The mean length of stay for boarder babies beyond the point of medical discharge decreased from 22 days in 1991 to 9 days in 1998
- During the same period, the percentage of boarder babies residing in hospitals for more than 21 days declined from 24 percent to 12 percent
- The percentage of boarder babies born prematurely declined from 47 percent to 35 percent
- The percentage of boarder babies with a low birthweight declined from 57 percent to 33 percent.
To receive a copy of the report (reference number 20-10205), contact the National Clearinghouse on Child Abuse and Neglect Information at (800) 394-3366 or email@example.com.
See the following related article in the April 2000 issue of the Children's Bureau Express:
- "States Consider Ways to Curb Infant Abandonment"
- National Resource Center on Child Maltreatment Convenes Symposium on Child Neglect
Child neglect, the most prevalent form of child maltreatment, was the topic of a national symposium that took place July 31 to August 2 in Baltimore. The symposium was co-sponsored by the National Resource Center on Child Maltreatment (NRCCM) and the Maryland Department of Human Resources.
NRCCM is part of the Children's Bureau Training and Technical Assistance Network and is operated by the Child Welfare Institute and ACTION for Child Protection. The symposium, Child Neglect: Promising Approaches to Achieve Safety, Permanency, and Well Being, convened professionals who are concerned about policy, program, practice, and research issues affecting child neglect.
The opening presentation, "What Do We Know and What Don't We Know?" summarized the current state of knowledge concerning child neglect etiology, prevention, consequences, and intervention strategies. Knowledge gaps and their impact on policy, program design, and practice were highlighted and examined by Howard Dubowitz, M.D., M.S., Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and Director of the Child Protection Program for the University of Maryland Medical System.
Workshops addressed such issues as defining neglect, child neglect fatalities, issues shaping the use of social support networks, and the assessment and use of protective factors as a vital component of practice design and implementation.
A plenary panel on "The State of Child Neglect Research: Past, Present and Future" included a presentation by Diane DePanfilis, Ph.D., M.S.W., Associate Professor, University of Maryland School of Social Work, and Co-Director of the School's Center for Families. Dr. DePanfilis offered a review of past and present research strategies, trends, and areas of emphasis. She introduced selected Federal Child Neglect Research Consortium grantees' research projects that may enhance child neglect understanding and the ability to respond more effectively. Presenters from these grant projects offered highlights from their work in progress.
Bruce D. Perry, M.D., Ph.D., Medical Director of Provincial Programs in Children's Mental Health for the Alberta Mental Health Board, and head of the Child Trauma Academy, presented a plenary session, "Early Brain Development and Child Neglect." He examined the issue of whether the negative effect of child neglect on early brain development should be considered primarily as a public health issue or as a child maltreatment issue.
At the closing plenary, Tom Morton, Co-Director of the NRCCM and President and CEO of the Child Welfare Institute, discussed key issues that obstruct our understanding of and response to child neglect. He cited lack of a clear definition of neglect, data driven attempts to use one protocol to address several different phenomena, and focus on immediate versus accrued harm as examples of the need for a paradigm realignment within the child welfare community. He challenged the audience by asking, "Are we people changing or people processing?"
Conference participants received a copy of the new NRCCM monograph, The CPS Response to Child Neglect: An Administrator's Guide to Theory, Policy, Program Design and Case Practice, edited by Thomas D. Morton and Barry Salovitz, August 2001. The monograph is available from NRCCM at a cost of $12.95 by calling (770) 935-8484, or faxing an order to (770) 935-0344.
View the symposium brochure online at: http://www.gocwi.org/nrccm/conferences.html. (Editor's note: this link is no longer available.)
Visit the National Clearinghouse on Child Abuse and Neglect Information for the following related item (http://nccanch.acf.hhs.gov):
- Acts of Omission: An Overview of Child Neglect
- CD-ROM Reference on Child Maltreatment, Child Welfare, and Adoption Released
The National Clearinghouse on Child Abuse and Neglect Information and the National Adoption Information Clearinghouse, in association with the National Information Services Corporation, have released the 2001 edition of the Child Abuse, Child Welfare, & Adoption CD-ROM. The CD includes:
- Document Database (current through January 2001)
- Multimedia Database (current through January 2001)
- Annotated Bibliographies
- Compilations of Child Abuse and Neglect State Statutes
- Abstracts and Findings from Federally funded Child Abuse and Neglect Research: FY 1998.
Free copies of the CD-ROM and a companion Quick Guide are available while supplies last. Contact the Clearinghouse at 800-FYI-3366 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Lit Review Looks at Changes in CPS
Professionals can find out what changes are taking place in child protective services (CPS) systems around the country in a literature review released May 2001 by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, in cooperation with the Children's Bureau, Administration on Children, Youth and Families.
The review summarizes literature from the past 5 years that discusses CPS change objectives and initiatives. The review is organized into two sections: Proposals for Change and Demonstrations of New Approaches.
This literature review is part of a larger, ongoing study of State and county CPS systems and reform efforts aimed at informing the Federal government about the current status of CPS systems and improvements. Interviews with State administrators, surveys of county CPS agency staff, and site visits to innovative localities will be incorporated into a final report due in Fall 2002.
Single copies of National Study of Child Protective Services Systems and Reform Efforts: Literature Review are available free while supplies last. Contact:
National Clearinghouse on Child Abuse and Neglect Information
330 C St. SW
Washington, DC 20447
- News from the Child Welfare Training Resources Online Network
The Domestic Violence Training Program, a grant project funded by the Children's Bureau, has developed a curriculum for a one-day training session for child welfare workers working with domestic violence cases. According to the Working to Stop Family Violence website (http://www.famvi.com) (Editor's note: this link is no longer available.), children are 15 times more likely to be abused in families where domestic violence is present.
The 140-page curriculum, published through the University of California Los Angeles, is titled Assessment and Intervention Approach to Domestic Violence Cases Involving Children: An Innovative Training Program for Child Welfare Workers. The curriculum is highlighted on the Child Welfare Training Resources Online Network (http://nccanch.acf.hhs.gov/profess/workforce/index.cfm), sponsored by the Children's Bureau.
The training session addresses assessment and intervention issues in families affected by multiple problems, including child maltreatment, domestic violence, substance abuse, and mental illness. The program's primary goals are to prepare child welfare workers to identify domestic violence during family assessments and to increase their awareness of cultural and personal beliefs that may affect decision making. In addition, the curriculum proposes new intervention and assessment techniques to better prepare child welfare workers for working with mothers, children, and perpetrators of domestic violence.
The curriculum addresses such issues as:
- Dynamics of domestic violence
- Multicultural issues
- Link between child abuse and domestic violence
- Relationship between substance abuse, mental health, and domestic violence
- Restraining orders
- Myths and the cycle of violence
- Assessment strategies.
Included in the trainer's manual are pre- and post-tests, session outlines, case studies, presentation tips, overhead masters, and handouts.
A video entitled, "The Heart of Intimate Abuse: A Companion Video," is available for use with the printed materials in the curriculum. This video offers additional information on the curriculum's focus on emotional and cultural issues, a new method for assessing domestic violence cases in child welfare, and the challenges of interviewing child and youth clients.
To obtain the curriculum, contact:
University of California
3250 Public Policy Building
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1656
- U.S. Studies Adoptions in Romania
A recent report examines the current status of adoptions in Romania. Entitled Report on Intercountry Adoption In Romania, the report was prepared for the U.S. Agency for International Development by authors Michael W. Ambrose, an HHS administrator, and Anna Mary Coburn, an attorney in private practice.
Based on a review of documents and interviews with U.S. and Romanian government officials, the authors found the following:
- Adoption fees above the costs of providing adoption services are not identified or explainable.
- Determining the eligibility of children for adoption is negatively affected by a point system, which rewards adoption agencies and adoptive parents that donate to child welfare programs.
- The point system is too complex and funds generated for child protection programs are not accounted for properly.
- Domestic adoptions are inhibited.
- The use of cash should be restricted.
- Standards of practice for adoption agencies are being developed and should be supported.
- A comprehensive child welfare information system may be developed and should be supported.
- Regulation of the Romanian private foundations and the foreign private bodies is inadequate.
The report provides a detailed overview of Romanian adoption laws and procedures and compares them to intercountry adoption processes in China, Korea, and Colombia.
The authors also make five recommendations:
- Improve the enforcement of the current laws and regulations applicable to private Romanian foundations and adoption agencies
- Eliminate the current method of assigning points to agencies
- Eliminate or identify cash contributions or financial contributions for an agency to provide child protection programs that are above the actual cost of adoption services
- Encourage and improve domestic adoption
- Encourage and improve self-regulation of adoption agencies.
A copy of the report is available online at: http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb/publications/index.htm
A special 10-page section of Infectious Diseases in Children (http://www.idinchildren.com), January 2001 (14:1), focuses on medical issues in international adoption, including possible infections, immunization status, and medical history. To order a copy of the section, contact SLACK Incorporated, 6900 Grove Rd., Thorofare, NJ 08086-9447, (800) 257-8290 or (856) 848-1000, ext. 281 or 237.
Visit the National Adoption Information Clearinghouse for a resource list on U.S. agencies working in Romania at: http://www.calib.com/naic/pubs/ir_dsp.cfm?cntryID=5. (Note: this resource is no longer available; however, you may search for information at http://naic.acf.hhs.gov/pubs/country_resource_lists.cfm.)
- HHS Assistant Secretary Testifies Before Congress on CAPTA
Preventing child maltreatment and helping troubled families requires a comprehensive, coordinated approach by the Federal government, States, and communities—that was the key message delivered by Wade F. Horn, Ph.D., U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Assistant Secretary for Children and Families, to a House subcommittee on August 2.
Dr. Horn was the lead witness at the House Committee on Education and the Workforce's Subcommittee on Select Education. The hearing was held to discuss the reauthorization of the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA). Dr. Horn also discussed two other key pieces of Federal legislation concerned with the safety and permanency of children and families: the Adoption Opportunities Act, and the Abandoned Infants Assistance Act.
President Bush's proposed 2002 budget provides for a 5-year reauthorization of CAPTA. "Major changes to the legislation are not necessary," Horn said, noting "That is not to say that we have solved issues of abuse, neglect, and abandonment." He advocated for a comprehensive approach to addressing child maltreatment and discussed several other initiatives proposed in President Bush's budget aimed at preventing child abuse and strengthening families:
- Increase funds for the Safe and Stable Families program by $200 million
- Fund new programs for mentoring children of prisoners
- Fund initiatives strengthening fatherhood and marriage
- Fund parenting education and maternity group homes for young mothers.
Horn summarized the changes made by the 1996 reauthorization of CAPTA, including streamlining of the Basic State Grant program, creation of Citizen Review Panels to examine Child Protective Services policies and procedures, and consolidation of several programs into a new Community-Based Family Resource and Support grants program. He also explained other components of CAPTA, such as the Children's Justice Act, the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System, research and demonstration grants, and the National Clearinghouse on Child Abuse and Neglect Information. The Clearinghouse is one of the sponsoring organizations of the Children's Bureau Express.
In testifying about the Adoption Opportunities program, Horn emphasized the deep commitment by the Administration to promote the timely adoption of children in foster care who are unable to return home. He noted that the most recent grants awarded under this program, which stressed the importance of evaluation, revealed that recruiting relatives and supporting kinship adoption can produce favorable outcomes for children. Horn also spoke in support of the extension of the Abandoned Infants Assistance Act, a program that funds agencies in 18 States and the District of Columbia for services to children and families affected by HIV/AIDS and drugs.
"President Bush, Secretary Thompson and I are committed to helping families in crisis and to protecting children from abuse and neglect," affirmed Horn. "I look forward to working with the Congress to pass legislation reauthorizing these statutes and funding the President's new initiatives, so that we may further efforts to prevent child abuse and neglect and respond to it effectively when it occurs; prevent the abandonment of children affected by HIV or substance abuse; and promote the adoption of children in foster care who need loving permanent families."
Horn's testimony was followed by a panel of witnesses that included:
- Dr. Richard J. Gelles, University of Pennsylvania
- Mr. Patrick Fagan, Heritage Foundation
- Mr. Charles Wilson, Children's Hospital and Health Center, San Diego
- Ms. Deborah Strong, Prevent Child Abuse Michigan
Rep. Peter Hoekstra (R-MI), chair of the Subcommittee on Select Education, announced that additional hearings on CAPTA may be expected in the House. Congress is in summer recess until September 4.
The complete written statements of Horn and the other witnesses at the CAPTA hearing are available online at: http://edworkforce.house.gov/hearings/107th/sed/capta8201/wl80201.htm
- U.S. Census Reports on Living Arrangements of Children
A new report from the U.S. Census Bureau looks at the living arrangements of the nation's 71.5 million children.
The report uses data from 1996 to analyze trends in the make-up of households that include children.
The Bureau found an increase in the percentage of children living in a traditional nuclear family (56 percent in 1996 compared with 51 percent in 1991). The analysis also found that living arrangements reflected many other family configurations, such as single parent families, multigenerational families, families formed through adoption, blended families (e.g., steprelatives or halfsiblings), and families that comprise other relatives besides the traditional parents and children configuration.
The report notes that children in racial minority groups were more than twice as likely as white children to live in extended families. Among Hispanic children, immigration was often cited as the reason for moving in with sponsoring relatives. More than half of all black children lived with a single parent, and higher proportions of black children lived exclusively with their grandparents than other racial groups. Black and Hispanic children also comprised half of the foster care population. White, non-Hispanic children represented the majority of adopted children.
Order a copy of Living Arrangements of Children: Fall 1996 from the U.S. Census Bureau Population Division at 301-457-2422.
The report is also available online at: http://www.census.gov/population/www/socdemo/child/la-child.html.
The KIDS COUNT website at the Annie E. Casey Foundation (http://www.kidscount.org) contains data on children from the 2000 U.S. Census, including profiles for particular geographic areas and congressional districts.
Visit the website of Child Trends, Inc. for a new report summarizing key data from the 2000 U.S. Census on Hispanic children, youth, and families (http://www.childtrends.org/files/hispanicfactsheet2.pdf).
- Washington and Colorado Help Parents Navigate Courts
Navigating the courts can be a confusing maze for parents who are involved in dependency cases. In Washington and Colorado new initiatives aim to educate and prepare parents for the process.
"Dependency 101" is a six-hour course that parents in Washington State attend to learn about the dependency process and to prepare themselves to take active steps to meet the requirements for their children's return home.
In Colorado's 20th Judicial District, a manual has been produced to educate incarcerated parents about dependency and neglect cases, divorce cases, child support, and parenting from prison.
In the Washington State course, parents learn about the roles of different attorneys, social workers, guardians ad litem (volunteers appointed by the court to advocate for a child's best interests), and support personnel who may be brought in to help the parents. The agenda topics include:
- Opening introductions and overview of the workshop
- Overview of dependency process
- Building better communication skills
- Key areas of parental responsibility
- Overview of reunification support services
- Action planning.
Stephen Brundage, director of Family Renewal Resources, the agency that developed and administers the course for the State, said that approximately 500 parents have attended the course in the last two years. The program started in Snohomish County in February 1999 and expanded to Spokane County in March 2001. Within the next year, King County also will launch this program.
The feedback from workshop participants has been overwhelmingly positive and appreciative. "We provide parents a sort of 'map' to de-mystify the process and help parents take a more active role. We also provide a 'listening ear,' an opportunity for parents to be heard about their experience of the process and the emotions it generates," explained Brundage. "Finally, we challenge parents to engage the work they need to do, not only for their children to be returned, but also to become the best parents they can."
In Colorado, "it took over a year to put [the manual] in a format that incarcerated parents could understand," said Carolyn McLean, family court facilitator. A final draft form is being reviewed by focus groups in prison and halfway houses. It will eventually be distributed to jails and States prisons in Colorado.
A video is also in the final stages of production, which shows incarcerated parents in Colorado what to expect in a dependency and neglect case. Originally oriented for one judicial district, it is being edited to apply to all of Colorado. When completed, it will be distributed to the State Department of Corrections and local jails. A coalition of social service, judicial, prison, and community advocate staff produced both the video and manual with grant funding.
Family Renewal Resources
654 West Olympic Place
Seattle, WA 98119
Family Court Facilitator
20th Judicial District
Boulder, CO 80306
See the following related articles in past issues of the Children's Bureau Express:
- "Bureau of Justice Statistics Report Reveals Increase in Incarcerated Parents" (March/April 2001)
- "California Guides Parents Through Dependency Courts" (July 2000)
- "California Courts Produce Activity Book for Kids" (July 2000)
- Pediatricians Advised About Treating Adolescent Mothers and Their Children
Nearly half a million babies were born to 15- to 19-year-old females in the United States in 1997. To better address the medical, psychological, developmental, and social problems of adolescent mothers and their children, the American Academy of Pediatricians issued a revised and expanded policy statement for pediatricians in February 2001.
The publication describes problems and challenges particular to adolescent parents and makes 13 recommendations for pediatricians, including the following:
- Ensure that community resources and quality programs are available and used by adolescent parents. These can include competent home visits, sensitive and effective preterm and infant care classes, and quality child care programs.
- Promote breastfeeding by all adolescent mothers.
- Assess the risk of domestic violence before and after pregnancy.
- Stress the importance of the adolescent parent caring for the child even if other adults are involved in the caregiving. These other caregivers need support and education to provide optimal infant development while helping the adolescent to achieve her own developmental milestones.
- Provide contraceptive counseling and services.
The policy statement also presents various models of intervention and support for adolescent parents, which can be facilitated by the pediatrician. These include school-based programs, multidisciplinary and non-school-based programs, peer group and role model programs, and special education initiatives.
Access the revised policy statement online at: http://www.aap.org/policy/re0020.html.
For other related policy statements by the American Academy of Pediatrics, see these past issues of the Children's Bureau Express:
- "Pediatricians Urge Closer Scrutiny of SIDS Cases" (May/June 2001)
- "Pediatricians Advised About Enhancing Brain Development in Young Foster Children" (January/February 2001)
- "Pediatricians Urged: Stay Alert to Link Between Domestic Violence and Child Abuse" (June 2000)
- "Pediatricians Sharpen Focus on Violence Prevention" (April 2000)
- Five Reports on Indian Child Welfare Released
Five new research reports provide a fresh look at Indian child welfare issues. Sponsored in 2000 by the National Indian Children's Alliance, a joint effort between Casey Family Programs and the National Indian Child Welfare Association (NICWA), the reports examine different facets of Indian child welfare and suggest ways to improve outcomes for Indian children and families.
Charlotte Goodluck and Angela Willeto discuss the gap in literature on Native American well-being indicators and proposed the development of a Native American child data book. The authors provide a contextual overview of issues pertaining to the measurement of child well-being, including the definitions of "American Indian." They present the demographics of the American Indian/Alaskan Native population and the Native child population and evaluate the information provided in various data sources. (Native American Kids 2000: Indian Child Well-Being Indicators)
Foster Care and Adoption Services
Tribes must enter into agreements with States in order to access Federal Title IV-E funds for foster care and adoption services. A study by researchers from Washington University in St. Louis and Philliber Research Associates provides a comprehensive overview of these agreements. The researchers discovered that agreements vary widely and tend to focus on foster care maintenance payments and services. The authors also report that although tribes are limited in their options to access IV-E dollars, they have established good working relationships with their respective States. (Tribal/State Title IV-E Intergovernmental Agreements: Facilitating Tribal Access to Federal Resources)
Researchers from the University of Minnesota, Metropolitan State University, and the American Indian Policy Center surveyed Indian elders and tribal staff on family preservation to gain insight into family preservation as perceived by American Indian professionals and traditional communities. Their findings point to a need to deemphasize mainstream casework practice and emphasize Indian values and traditional practices. The report also contains a literature review on the effects of Federal policies and laws on Indian culture. (Family Preservation: Concepts in American Indian Communities)
Child Abuse and Neglect
In sampling 10 percent of American Indian tribes, researcher Kathleen Earle found an underreporting of data regarding abuse and neglect of tribal children. Earle's report finds that only 61 percent of the data on child abuse and/or neglect of American Indian and Alaska Native children are reported and that tribes generally are not involved directly in data collection. Suggestions for improving collection of Indian child abuse and neglect data include developing computerized tribal data tracking systems and establishing clear guidelines regarding roles of the Federal government, States, Tribes, and State and Indian child welfare workers. (Child Abuse and Neglect: An Examination of American Indian Data)
Indian Child Welfare Act
In a pilot study of compliance with the Indian Child Welfare Act, a research team from the University of North Dakota Law School and the Native American Children and Family Services Training Institute at Sitting Bull College examined cases records, interviewed county caseworkers, and conducted focus groups in nine North Dakota counties with the highest number of children in foster care. The researchers found:
- A high level of county compliance to determine if a child is a member of a Tribe or eligible for membership.
- Mixed compliance in notifying Tribes, parents, and Indian custodians regarding placement of Indian children.
- Many county workers support tribal requests for transfers of jurisdiction, but few tribes actually made such requests.
- Substantive efforts were made to prevent out-of-home placements in more than half of cases.
- ICWA preferences were not followed in more than half of placement decisions.
A key finding was that positive tribal-State relations facilitated compliance with the Act and may foster improvement in effective implementation of the Act in North Dakota. (Indian Child Welfare Act: A Pilot Study of Compliance in North Dakota)
Access the reports online at either of these two websites:
- http://www.casey.org/projects.htm#nica (This link is no longer available.)
NICWA Research Coordinator
5100 SW Macadam Ave., Ste. 300
Portland, OR 97201
- CWLA Spotlights Workforce Crisis
Low salaries emerged as the top concern at a symposium focused on widespread problems in attracting and retaining child welfare workers.
The Child Welfare League of America (CWLA) held "Confronting the Workforce Crisis" in December 1999 to discuss critical issues with experts and initiate a broad approach to the field's challenges.
Discussion about salaries noted the following:
- Recruitment falters because potential candidates opt for higher paying jobs in private industry
- Pay scales vary widely between public and private agencies
- Current salary structures encourage workers to leave frontline positions for supervisory or administrative roles.
Some possible responses to salary issues discussed at the symposium included:
- Lobbying and fundraising for higher compensation
- Tapping outside resources to enhance the image of the child welfare field
- Experimenting with creative benefits such as flexible hours and telecommuting
- Restructuring positions.
Other areas of concern discussed at the symposium included the following:
- Education. Participants cited a dearth of workers with social workers degrees and concerns that current university programs do not adequately prepare new workers.
- Recruitment. Many potential candidates steer clear of the field because of low pay, poor working conditions, and lack of opportunities to advance.
- Work environment. Problematic issues discussed included work overload, lack of adequate support and supervision, safety, and lack of resources.
Participants also talked about ways to address these concerns, including the following ideas:
- Communicate to social work schools the skills and training required for the field
- Target marketing efforts to encourage high school and college students to consider careers in child welfare
- Coordinate recruitment efforts with other agencies
- Talk to college classes and exhibit at employment/career fairs
- Set clear goals regarding caseload, plans, and timelines
- Reduce overtime, double shifts, and on-call responsibilities.
To obtain a copy of the issue brief The Workforce Crisis in Child Welfare, (ISBN: 0-87868-802-1) contact:
Child Welfare League of America, Inc.
440 First St. NW, Third Floor
Washington, DC 20001-2085
Phone: 202- 638-2952
- New Findings on the Status of Children Cared For by Relatives
A new study looks at the phenomenon of children who live with relatives other than their parents. Prepared by the Urban Institute and based on data from the 1997 National Survey of American Families, the study attempts to gauge how these children are doing.
According to the study, there are 1.8 million children nationwide living in three types of "kinship care":
- Private kinship care (1.3 million children)—Children being cared for by relatives without involvement of a public child welfare agency
- Kinship foster care (200,000 children)—Children taken into custody by the State and placed by child welfare in the care of a relative
- Voluntary kinship care (300,000 children)—Children reported to child protective services who were not taken into State custody but whose parents agreed to place them in the care of relatives.
The study also found that 20 percent of children in kinship care live in precarious socioeconomic conditions and that despite their eligibility, relatively few children in kinship care receive benefits and services to which they are entitled.
Although research shows that abused and neglected children who are placed with relatives suffer less trauma, they still face risks, according to this study. "Child welfare administrators should make sure kinship caregivers get what they need to care for these vulnerable kids—such as adequate training, access to benefits for which they are eligible, and better support services," said study co-author Rob Green.
Access the study online at: http://newfederalism.urban.org/html/series_b/b28/b28.html.
A PDF version is available online at: http://newfederalism.urban.org/pdf/anf_b28.pdf
Search the documents database on the National Clearinghouse on Child Abuse and Neglect Information website (http://basis.caliber.com/cwig/ws/library/docs/gateway/SearchForm) for information related to kinship care.
- E-Info on State Court Improvement Efforts
An article in Best Interests, The E-Magazine for Children's Advocates, provides links to States that post information online about their efforts to improve the way courts handle child abuse and neglect cases.
State court improvement efforts are funded through the Federal Family Preservation and Support Act. All but three States (Idaho, South Carolina, and Wyoming) are participating.
Best Interests also provides links to related pages at the American Bar Association Center on Children and the Law website.
Access the court improvement article online at: http://www.childadvocacy.com/legal.php
See these related articles in past issues of the Children's Bureau Express:
- "Report Highlights Improvements in Dependency Courts" (January/February 2001)
- "National Resource Center Helps Child Welfare Courts Improve" (November 2000)
- "Model Courts are Models for Change" (May 2000)
- "National Videoconference Examines Model Court Practices in Abuse and Neglect Cases" (March 2000)
- Calculating the Costs of Child Maltreatment
Prevent Child Abuse America has estimated the costs of child abuse and neglect based on data from a variety of sources, including the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, U.S. Department of Justice, and U.S. Census.
The analysis considers two categories of costs:
- Direct costs, or those associated with the immediate needs of abused or neglected children
- Indirect costs, or those associated with the long-term and/or secondary effects of child abuse and neglect.
The total of direct costs is estimated at $24,384,347,302 annually. This figure was arrived at by adding the costs of the following: hospitalization, chronic health problems, mental health care system, child welfare system, law enforcement, and judicial system.
The total of indirect costs is estimated at $69,692,535,227 annually. This figure includes costs of special education, mental health and health care, juvenile delinquency, lost productivity to society, and adult criminality.
Combining these figures, the report concludes that the estimated annual cost of child abuse is $94,076,882,529.
According to Prevent Child Abuse America, this brief analysis "represents the first attempt to document the nationwide costs resulting from abuse and neglect" and relies on conservative estimates.
Prevent Child Abuse America emphasizes, "Regardless of the economic costs associated with child abuse and neglect, it is impossible to overstate the tragic consequences endured by the children themselves . . . . The costs of such human suffering are incalculable."
Access the document online at: http://www.preventchildabuse.org/learn_more/research_docs/cost_analysis.pdf
Prevent Child Abuse America
200 S. Michigan Ave., 17th Floor
Chicago, IL 60604-2404
Phone: 312-663-3520 OR 1-800-CHILDREN
Visit the website of the National Clearinghouse on Child Abuse and Neglect Information (http://nccanch.acf.hhs.gov) for the following related report:
- Prevention Pays: The Costs of Not Preventing Child Abuse and Neglect (Note: this is no longer available)
- State of the Child Welfare Workforce Examined
High turnover rates and complex recruitment problems were just a few of the findings from a recent child welfare workforce report.
The collaborative study by the American Public Human Services Association (APHSA), Alliance for Children and Families (Alliance) and the Child Welfare League of America (CWLA) was conducted in the Fall of 2000. APHSA mailed surveys to all State public child welfare agencies and a sample of county agencies; CWLA and the Alliance mailed surveys to a sample of their private agency members.
Highlights of the APHSA portion of the responses include:
- State vacancy rates were relatively low for identified staff groups (child protective service workers, other direct service workers, supervisors, and total agency staff); county vacancy rates were lower than States' rates for all staff groups.
- Annual staff turnover rates were high for all State and county staff groups except supervisors.
- State annual preventable turnover rates (i.e., turnover other than retirement, death, marriage/parenting, returning to school, or spousal job move) were also high for all staff groups except supervisors; however, county annual preventable turnover rates were very low for all worker groups, and were rated as "less problematic" compared to the States.
- Both States and counties viewed recruitment problems as varied, complex, and widespread (e.g., lack of qualified candidates, other attractive labor market alternatives for job seekers, perceived imbalance of demands of job and financial compensation, and non-competitive starting salaries).
- Factors in staff recruitment issues were varied and complex; many strategies have been implemented, but no "quick fixes" exist.
- The affects on child welfare agencies of vacancies caused by turnovers was compounded by commonly required pre-service training and phased-in caseload policies.
- Strategies implemented by States regarding preventable turnover generally resulted in modest effectiveness; however, county-implemented strategies presented higher effectiveness compared to the States.
- The extent of change experienced by counties was somewhat more positive than the States' change.
APHSA, CWLA, and the Alliance have a partnership to gather data on effective practices in recruiting and retaining a quality workforce, and the scope and nature of child welfare workforce challenges.
The Report from the Child Welfare Workforce Survey: State and County Data and Findings can be accessed on the APHSA website at http://www.aphsa.org, or by contacting APHSA directly at:
American Public Human Services Association
810 First St., NE, Suite 500
Washington, DC 20002-4267
Visit the website of the National Center for Prosecution of Child Abuse for the related article, When Days Are Gray: Avoiding Burnout as Child Abuse Professionals (http://www.ndaa-apri.org/publications/newsletters/update_volume_14_number_4_2001.html).
- Animal Cruelty, Human Violence Linked in Humane Society Study
Abuse toward animals and people go hand in hand, according to a yearlong, national study conducted by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). Although other studies have examined the extent of animal cruelty in cases of family violence, the HSUS study is the first to examine the prevalence of human violence in animal abuse cases. Among the findings are that a high percentage of male teenagers commit intentional cruel acts against animals, and a large number of animal cruelty cases also involve some form of family violence.
HSUS compiled information from 1,624 animal cruelty cases around the country that occurred during 2000. Almost a quarter of all cases of intentional animal cruelty involved the following forms of family violence:
- Domestic violence (13 percent)
- Child abuse (7 percent)
- Elder abuse (1 percent).
"You don't have to be an animal lover to see that animal cruelty is a warning sign that an individual could be involved in other violent crimes and could pose a risk to family members as well as the larger community," said Claire Ponder, HSUS's First Strike educational campaign Manager. "Our best hope for preventing violence against both animals and people is early identification and intervention with violent perpetrators."
In cases of child abuse, perpetrators often abuse animals to exert their power and control over children and other vulnerable family members. In some cases, abusers will force children to sexually abuse, hurt, or kill a pet. Threats of animal abuse will often intimidate children to keep silent about being abused themselves.
As awareness about the connection between animal abuse and family violence has increased, animal cruelty laws are being strengthened. For example, thirty-one States and the District of Columbia have adopted felony-level animal anti-cruelty laws. Several States have also passed laws mandating psychological evaluation and counseling for convicted animal abusers. Five States—Florida, Virginia, Arizona, South Carolina, and Massachusetts—have introduced bills this year that mandate cross-reporting between animal control officers and child protective services.
Another trend is foster care programs for companion animals threatened by violence among their owners. For example, Animal Protection of New Mexico's CARE (Companion Animal Rescue Effort) program provides temporary or permanent refuge and protection for animals at risk of abuse or neglect due to violence in their home. The CARE program works in collaboration with domestic violence shelters, animal protection agencies, and other social service programs. A battered woman is more likely to remove herself and her children from an unsafe situation, if she is assured of the safety of her pet as well. Since battered women's shelters usually don't allow pets due to health department laws and liability insurance, foster care programs for companion animals are the solution.
For an executive summary of the HSUS 2000 study of animal cruelty cases in relation to family violence, visit http://www.hsus.org/firststrike/2001week/fs_2000_report.html.
To receive a copy of the full report, contact Karen Allanach at 301-548-7778 or Rachel Querry at 301-258-8255.
The HSUS First Strike Campaign is an educational initiative launched in 1997 to increase public and professional awareness of the connection between animal cruelty and human violence. For more information, visit: http://www.hsus.org/firststrike.
- Legislative Updates
Following are short summaries of current congressional bills of interest to professionals working in child abuse and neglect, child welfare, and adoption. To learn more about any of these bills, visit Thomas, a service of the Library of Congress, at http://thomas.loc.gov.
H.R. 2146 Two Strikes and You're Out Child Protection Act. To amend Title 18 of the United States Code to provide life imprisonment for repeat offenders who commit sex offenses against children. (Introduced 6-13-01)
H.R. 1877 Child Sex Crimes Wiretapping Act of 2001. To amend title 18 United States Code to provide that certain sexual crimes against children are predicate crimes for the interception of communications, and for other purposes. (Introduced 5-16-01)
S. 518 Domestic Violence Identification and Referral Act of 2001. Amends the Public Health Service Act to give preference, in making grants or contracts under provisions relating to health professions education and provisions relating to nurse education, to certain health professions entities that train students in the identification, examination, treatment, and referral of victims of domestic violence. (Introduced 3-13-01)
S.70 National Center for Social Work Research Act. To establish the National Center as an agency of the NIH. (Introduced 1-22-01)
S.653 Responsible Fatherhood Act of 2001. To provide grants to States to encourage media campaigns to promote responsible fatherhood skills, and for other purposes. (Introduced 3-29-01)
H.R. 431. To amend the violent crime control and law enforcement act of 1994 to allow certain grant funds to be used to provide parent education. (Introduced 2-6-01)
H.R. 1391 To amend the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) to increase the authorization of appropriations for community-based family resource and support grants under the Act. (Introduced 4-4-01)
H.R. 622 Hope for Children Act. To expand the adoption tax credit. (Introduced 2-14-01)
H.R. 1371 Child Protective Services Improvement Act. To provide grants to State child welfare systems to improve quality of standards and outcomes and to authorize forgiveness of loans made to certain students who become child welfare workers. (Introduced 4-3-01)
S. 550 Indian and Alaska Native Foster and Adoption Services Amendments of 2001. To provide equitable access for foster care and adoption services for Indian children in tribal areas. (Introduced 3-15-01)
S. 484 Child Protection/Alcohol and Drug Partnership Act of 2001. To create a grant program to promote joint activities among Federal, State, and local public child welfare and alcohol and drug abuse prevention and treatment agencies. (Introduced 3-7-01)
- Casey Foundation Tracks Trends in Child Well-Being
In general, things are looking up for the nation's children, but many still face significant hardships, according to the 12th annual Kids Count Data Book.
The report, published by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, compiles national and State-by-State data to track trends on 10 key indicators of child well-being, including birth weight, birth rates among teenagers, poverty, family status, high school drop out rates, and parents' employment status. This year's report analyzes statistics reported from 1990 to 1998.
Since 1990, both the child poverty rate and the number of children living in single-parent households have dropped.
"While we justifiably celebrate this good news, the grim fact remains that a sizable share of our families continues to be trapped in a cycle of hardship, still struggling to meet the day-to-day needs of their children," wrote Casey Foundation President Douglas Nelson in the report's foreword.
This year's report showed improvement in seven indicators: including drops in death rates among infants, children, and teenagers; birth rates among teenage girls; and drop out rates among high school students.
More than 72 million children live in the United States, a 14 percent increase since the 1990s, and the biggest jump since the 1950s. The larger population of children has implications for the nation's education, child care, and social service systems, the report notes.
The complete 2001 Kids Count Data Book, along with other Kids Count data and publications, is available at http://www.kidscount.org
To order a print copy of the 2001 Kids count Data Book, contact:
The Annie E. Casey Foundation
701 St. Paul St.
Baltimore, MD 21202
- Dads Make a Difference
Fathers are an important ingredient in the mix that makes a happy life for children, reports a new Research Brief from Child Trends.
The brief focuses on fathers who live with their children and examines how they get involved in four key areas: general activities, school activities, limit-setting, and religious activities. The report shows that a father's involvement in each of those areas can contribute significantly to a child's happiness and healthy development.
Authors Brett Brown, Erik Michelsen, Tamara Halle, and Kristin Moore analyzed data from the 1997 Panel Study of Income Dynamics, the 1999 National Household Education Survey, and the 1996 National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health.
"Helping children with homework; taking them to a service at a church, synagogue, or mosque; monitoring their television viewing; or simply tossing around a ball or helping with a crafts project might seem as if they are 'nothing special.' But such actions can help children feel special," the report states.
The authors note that "even though fathers, on average, are less likely than mothers to be engaged in activities with their children, many fathers are involved, and their involvement should be acknowledged and encouraged." The authors also urge that ways be found to encourage absent or seldom-seen fathers to become involved in their children's lives.
A more extensive statistical profile of fathers will be available from Child Trends in late 2001.
Access a copy of Fathers' Activities with Their Kids online at: http://www.childtrends.org/files/June_2001.pdf
4301 Connecticut Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20008
Read President Bush's proclamation on Father's Day, 2001 at: http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2001/06/20010615.html.
See these related articles in past issues of the Children's Bureau Express:
- "Institute Focuses on Latino Fathers" (July 2000)
- "HHS Electronic Management Tool Kit for Fatherhood Projects Now Available" (June 2000)
- "HHS Promotes Responsible Fatherhood" (May 2000)
- Florida First to Use Telemedicine to Evaluate Alleged Child Abuse
Through the use of electronic or "telemedicine" technology, potential victims of child abuse referred to emergency rooms in rural Florida communities may be examined by a pediatrician or advanced nurse practitioner located miles away.
Presenters from Florida explained the technology at the 13th National Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect held in April in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Florida has a unique system of 25 medically directed, multidisciplinary Child Protection Teams (CPTs) that evaluate alleged child abuse. In existence since 1978, the role of the teams expanded greatly in 1999 when the Florida legislature passed legislation that mandated that child protective investigators refer certain cases to the CPTs for medical evaluations and other assessment services. Teams are now responsible for reviewing all cases of child abuse and neglect reported to the Department of Children and Families hotline to determine which reports meet mandatory referral criteria.
To keep up with the increasing number of abuse reports, and as an alternative to establishing additional CPTs, Florida's Children's Medical Services developed a pilot real-time telemedicine network for the evaluation of children suspected to be abused or neglected in 1998. In this model, experts in child abuse located at two remote "hub" sites—the Children's Crisis Center in Jacksonville and the University of Florida in Gainesville—connect to local staff in eight remote sites. This was the first time in the nation that real-time telemedicine had been used in the child protection field.
Telemedicine computer and camera equipment allows medical staff to transmit live child abuse assessments between a hub and remote sites. The equipment has camera features that allow professional staff viewing the assessments at a different location to see external and internal physical examinations.
Available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, the telemedicine network was created to:
- Reduce the number of children needing transportation for evaluation.
- Expedite child safety decisions.
- Increase the number of successful court actions by improving local expert court testimony.
- Create a new role for nursing staff in evaluating these cases.
- Increase training opportunities for local health care providers.
The Florida experience is undergoing quantitative and qualitative evaluations. For more information about the Florida Telemedicine Network, contact:
Betsy M. Wood, BSN, MPH
Unit Director for Special Technologies
Children's Medical Services
4052 Bald Cypress Way—Bin A06
Tallahassee, FL 32399
Phone: 850-245-4444 ext. 2261
To order an audiotape of the Florida Telemedicine presentation at the 13th National Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect (session 94), contact:
Conference Recording Service, Inc.
1308 Gilman St.
Berkeley, CA 94706
Download a comprehensive guidebook to establishing a child protection team telemedicine network at: http://www.doh.state.fl.us/cms/pdivision/guide.pdf.
Read about the CARE (Child at Risk Evaluation) program in Hawaii, which coordinates medical services for abused and neglected children through a partnership of organizations at http://starbulletin.com:80/2001/05/28/news. A pilot program at a child protection center uses a digital camera and computer equipment to connect to a nearby hospital's forensic pediatrician for consultation.
- Distance Learning Offers New Options for Adoption Preparation
Learning from home is a new option for prospective adoptive parents, thanks to the first totally online parent preparation course, which is offered at the National Adoption Center's AdoptNet website (http://www.adoptnet.org). If a prospective parent's agency agrees, the course can serve as a substitute for the parent class requirement that is part of many home study courses.
The 6-week online "Adoption Road Map" course is an adaptation of a course that was originally developed to train families in the Tri-State Philadelphia area. It has been designed for the computer novice, with instructors that guide students in the use of email, message boards, and live chat rooms. The course is designed to prepare adults for the adoption process and for parenting adopted children, especially children with special needs. Worksheets containing "thinking" questions are used in lieu of tests. Parts of these worksheets are discussed online in chat "classes." For further information on any topic in the course, various websites and books are listed at the end of each course section.
Some of the major concepts of the course are:
- Adoption is a lifelong experience.
- Adoption is a distinct form of family-building.
- Use adoption support before, during, and after placement.
- Advocate for your child.
- Learn skills, develop tools, access resources.
- Needing support is normal.
- Other parents offer best sources of information and support
AdoptNet offers other features for adoptive and prospective adoptive parents, such as a chat room, transcripts of adoption chats with leading experts, hundreds of free magazine articles, a message board, and links to other sites.
Launched in 2000, the online course is now offered approximately every 6-8 weeks. Since December, 37 professionals and 29 prospective parents have taken the course. According to Ann McCabe, project manager for the federally funded AdoptNet Learning Center, feedback has been extremely positive. One prospective father in New York commented, "This type of learning fits well into my active lifestyle. I feel richer for having been a part of this class." A social worker in Pennsylvania remarked, "Having this course as an option for families I serve offers me a great deal of support as an adoption worker."
Although participants have responded favorably, McCabe finds resistance among States. "Some of the barriers that we are finding are that many States, approximately 40, have State mandates for a specific training curriculum," said McCabe. "These States seem less open to considering an online training as a viable option for their families."
Future enhancements to the online course include a new section on sexual abuse. "We hope to give parents information that will help them better parent those children who may come to them with sexual abuse in their background," said McCabe. She also anticipates using new forms of technology to enhance the course, such as Web streaming audio and video options.
For more information about the Adoption Road Map course, visit http://www.adoptnet.org/tour.
Ann McCabe, Project Manager
AdoptNet Learning Center
National Adoption Center
1500 Walnut St., Suite 701
Philadelphia, PA 19102
Phone: 1-800-TO-ADOPT or 215-735-9988
- Utah Prevents Shaken Babies Through Unique Public-Private Partnership
Nothing can unnerve a new parent faster than a crying baby. Unfortunately, frazzled nerves can lead some parents to shake their babies. In an attempt to prevent this often fatal reaction, the Utah Shaken Baby Project has launched a campaign to educate new parents at the time of delivery. Staff involved in the Project presented at the 9th Annual Colloquium of the American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children (APSAC), held June 20-23, 2001, in Washington, D.C.
Shaken Baby Syndrome (SBS), which primarily affects infants and toddlers from birth to age 3, is a form of child abuse that results in a combination of brain injuries due to violent shaking with or without impact. The prognosis for a shaken baby is poor—more than two-thirds die or suffer a permanent disability.
According to Bruce Herman, M.D., Pediatric Emergency Medical Physician and Principal Investigator for the Utah Shaken Baby Prevention Project, "Shaken baby syndrome is a major public health problem and the most common cause of death in abused children." Herman was the attending physician for a 16-month-old victim who was shaken to death by his biological father. The case was turned into a documentary called "Elijah's Story," by the National Center on Shaken Baby Syndrome. The video includes testimonies by Elijah's mom, Elijah's incarcerated dad, grandparents, detective, judge, and Dr. Herman. It serves as the focal point for educating new parents about SBS in Utah hospitals participating in the project. Since most perpetrators are males, and most victims are less than one year old, prevention efforts are targeted to both parents immediately after birth in the hospital. Parents can also be advocates to disseminate information to other caregivers of their baby.
David Corwin, M.D., Medical Director of the Center for Safe & Healthy Families at Salt Lake City's Primary Children's Medical Center, spearheaded the funding strategy that focused on the cost-effectiveness of the program for prevention. Corwin's team calculated receipts from Primary Children's Medical Center from 1997-1999, and found that the average cost for each SBS case to insurance companies was $18,000. A pie chart presented to CEOs of insurance companies also showed that for the first 5 years of life, costs could rise as much as $1 million for SBS victims who survived. In addition to soliciting private sector support, Corwin pitched Medicaid, which agreed to a lump sum payment for each baby born in participating hospitals. With costs ranging about $15 per new baby for SBS prevention, Corwin was able to convince funders that participation was beneficial. "This prevention program is the equivalent of a vaccination program for Shaken Baby Syndrome," explained Corwin. "It's a very inexpensive vaccine that is very effective."
In addition to private and public funding partners, staff at the Primary Children's Medical Center partnered with the National Center on Shaken Baby Syndrome and the University of Utah's Intermountain Injury Control Research Center to administer the project. The National Center's staff started trainings in Fall 2000. Nurse educators will administer the program at every hospital in Utah that provides maternal and child health services. Nurses are currently up to full capacity educating parents of newborns in hospitals in Northern Utah, which comprises 70 percent of Utah's population. By the Fall 2001, the project plans to expand statewide. An evaluation component of the project will look at the birth hospital of the referring SBS patient to see if prevention education was received.
The program includes the following components:
- Informational brochures for parents of newborns
- Video about SBS
- Commitment statement signed by parents that they have received information about SBS and will educate other caregivers of their baby
- Refrigerator magnet with the National Center on Shaken Baby Syndrome's contact information and space to insert baby's picture.
Debra Williams, of the National Center on Shaken Baby Syndrome, explained that nurses receive a 5-minute script and an outline to use in educating parents. "The objective is to give parents some tools on how to deal with their own stress and frustration," said Williams. "The message is that it is okay to let babies cry. Too often parents think it's bad to let a baby cry." Some obstacles that Williams encountered in hospital-based education were:
- Nurses felt time restriction; too much information was already required to be taught in a mother's short stay.
- Nurses felt the topic was too sensitive; video was too emotional.
- Program was not mandatory; no accountability.
- Internal Review Boards required commitment statement to be changed many times.
Utah's initiative is based on a successful pilot program in western New York State which drastically reduced the cases of SBS. Only two cases of SBS have been reported in the 31 participating hospitals since the program's inception in late 1998. Developed by Dr. Mark Dias, Buffalo Children's Hospital Chief Neurosurgeon, the program provides information on the dangers of violently shaking infants to every parent of every newborn infant born in the Buffalo area using the video "Portrait of a Promise," available in English and Spanish. It features three parents talking about their shaken babies—two who were severely disabled, one who died—interspersed with advice from health care professionals. Similar to Utah, after viewing the video, new parents are asked to sign an "affadavit." Dr. Dias's experience as a new father unable to console his crying baby gave him the impetus to start the prevention effort.
Using Utah's example, Corwin explained that a first step for other sites who want to replicate the prevention effort is to build a public-private partnership. "The partnership is important not only to create the program but also to build a political constituency to keep it going," said Corwin. The participants contend that if they can effectively replicate and significantly reduce the incidence of SBS in Utah, its success will provide a compelling case for the rapid dissemination of this program throughout the rest of the United States.
For complete presentation materials to parents and information about the research project, contact:
National Center on Shaken Baby Syndrome
2955 Harrison Blvd., Ste. 102
Ogden, UT 84403
Phone: 801-627-3399 or 888-273-0071
To purchase a copy of the audiotaped presentation from the 9th Annual APSAC Colloquium, "Building Public-Private Partnerships for Preventing Shaken Babies" (program #210620, session #810), contact:
Audio Archives International, Inc.
3043 Foothill Blvd., Suite 2
La Crescenta, CA 91214
To obtain a conference program for the First National Australian Conference on Shaken Baby Syndrome, sponsored by the National Center on Shaken Baby Syndrome (USA), The Children's Hospital at Westmead, and the Sydney Children's Hospital, to be held September 2-4, 2001, in Sydney, Australia, contact the National Center at 888-273-0071 or visit http://www.dontshake.com.
Visit the Military Family Resource Center's Child Abuse Prevention website for a new factsheet on Shaken Baby Syndrome (http://www.mfrc-dodqol.org/pdffiles/Shaken_Baby_Syndrome_fs.pdf).
A new American Academy of Pediatrics technical report, published in the July 2001 issue of Pediatrics, discusses Shaken Baby Syndrome as a clearly definable form of child abuse and recommends prevention strategies (http://www.pediatrics.org/cgi/content/full/108/1/206).
- Tools for Independent Living
The Child Welfare League of America (CWLA) has several new publications available directed at helping foster care youth in their transition to adulthood and independence.
Toolbox No. 1: Expanding the Role of Foster Parents in Achieving Permanency for Children focuses on practical ways in which best child welfare practice can be incorporated into the recruitment, training, and support of foster parents. It also looks at ways that agencies can enhance the role of foster parents in a changing child welfare system, viewing them as an essential part of a professional team in determining the best long-term plan for children in their care.
Toolbox No. 2: Using Visitation to Support Permanency presents the best professional child welfare practice in planning and implementing visitation between children in out-of-home care and their parents, within the context of current Federal legislation emphasizing permanency planning. This toolbox contains aids that practitioners can use quickly, easily, and meaningfully.
Improving Transitions to Adulthood summarizes overall findings from a 1998 CWLA survey of organizations that provide services and supports to former foster children. It also summarizes proceedings from a meeting with representatives from the Casey Family Services, former foster youths, and representatives from community-based organizations working with former foster youths. The report includes recommendations for strengthening the overall service system to facilitate successful long-term outcomes for foster youth.
The WAY Program: An Independent Living/Aftercare Program for Youth Leaving the Foster Care System and Other High Risk Youth shares the results of a 15-year study showing what happens to at-risk youth leaving residential treatment who have been provided long-term follow up services focused on school, work, and personal development. The study found low attrition rates, strong school performance, strong employment experience, and overall evidence that young people in the Work Appreciation Program (WAY) are on a path to self-sufficiency. (See the Special Section on National Foster Care Month in the May 2001 issue of the CB Express for an article on the WAY Program.)
Preparing Youth for Long-Term Success: Proceedings from the Casey Family Program National Independent Living Forum captures the proceedings of the Independent Living Forum sponsored by Casey Family Programs in June 1999 to address the concerns of youth aging out of foster care. Recent research has pointed to chronic problems such as higher rates of unemployment and homelessness and lower levels of education. This book presents the knowledge and challenges that emerged from this forum, which was designed to address these concerns and increase communication and collaboration among researchers, practitioners and policymakers.
Contact CWLA at 800-407-6273 or visit the CWLA website at http://www.cwla.org/pubs for information on how to obtain these publications.
- OJJDP Fact Sheet Highlights National Center on Child Fatality Review
In the United States, approximately 2,000 children die each year of child abuse and neglect. In an effort to bring offenders to justice and to prevent severe and fatal child abuse, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) established the National Center on Child Fatality Review (NCFR) in 1996. An April 2001 OJJDP fact sheet provides a current overview of NCFR's work.
Located in El Monte, California, the NCFR:
- Assists the field in the collection of full and accurate information about child fatalities.
- Operates a national clearinghouse, which collects and disseminates information to interested parties across the country.
- Operates an NCFR website that includes a directory of child fatality review contacts and extensive list of links to related sites.
- Maintains listserves (email groups).
- Maintains a national data system of information on homicide that is matched against infant data on fatal child abuse or neglect.
In addition, the NCFR has developed three training videos. Two are about death review teams as they discuss fictitious cases. The other video is a brief overview of the key elements of a systematic review of a child death.
NCFR also makes available a variety of written materials, including a manual on developing and managing child death review teams; a library of reports and other publications created by State and local teams from around the world; and a semiannual newsletter on various related topics.
Download the new OJJDP factsheet about the National Center on Child Fatality Review at: http://www.ncjrs.org/pdffiles1/ojjdp/fs200112.pdf
To request technical assistance/training or informational materials, contact:
National Center on Child Fatality Review
Deanne Tilton Durfee, Project Director
Inter-Agency Council on Child Abuse and Neglect
4024 North Durfee Ave.
El Monte, CA 91732
- Family-Centered Policies and Practices: International ImplicationsBriar-Lawson, K.; Lawson, H. A.; Hennon, C. B.; Jones, A. R. (Editors). Columbia University Press, New York, NY. 2001. 396 pp. $24.50. Paperback.
Analyzing the critical juncture of family-centered policy and practice, this book places the universal institution of the family in a global context. By including a conceptual framework, as well as practice components, the authors offer an original multimodal approach toward understanding family-centered policy practice from an international perspective. They provide grassroots strategies for activists and practical guides for both students and practitioners, and include cutting-edge interpretations of the impact of globalization on families, social workers, and other helping professionals and advocates.
In their examination of the world's families, the authors make four basic assumptions:
- Many families in the world are in danger or experiencing crises.
- Crises and endangerment erode individual and family well-being.
- It is possible and desirable to prevent these crises, dangers, and declining well-being.
- Crises, dangers, and declining well-being are opportunities to act strategically, especially to invent innovative, more effective, family-centered policies and practices.
To purchase a copy, contact:
Columbia University Press
136 S. Broadway
Irvington, NY 10533
Phone: 800-944-8648 or 914-591-9111
Fax: 800-944-1844 or 914-591-9201
- Balancing Family-Centered Services and Child Well-Being: Exploring Issues in Policy, Practice, Theor
Balancing Family-Centered Services and Child Well-Being: Exploring Issues in Policy, Practice, TheorWalton, E.; Sandau-Beckler, P.; Mannes, M. (Editors). Columbia University Press, New York, NY. 2001. 396 pp. $29.50. Paperback.
With contributions ranging from academic and professional theorists and policy developers to independent social workers, this collection explores the development of family-centered services, the processes by which these services are implemented, the problems now faced by the field, and prospects for the future. Multi-faceted examinations of the field show how family-centered services and child well-being can be linked on a daily basis to better the lives of both parents and children.
To purchase a copy, contact:
Columbia University Press
136 S. Broadway
Irvington, NY 10533
Phone: 800-944-8648 or 914-591-9111
Fax: 800-944-1844 or 914-591-9201
- New Video Explores Dependency Mediation
Add a new video to your "Permanency Toolkit." In January, as part of its series of videos on alternative dispute resolution, Courter Films released "Permanency Toolkit: Dependency Mediation."
This video explores ways in which mediation can be an effective alternative to litigation, showing how resolving child protection and dependency cases through mediation can lead to outcomes that are in the children's and their families' best interests. It illustrates various models of mediation and visits several locations in California, Kentucky, and Florida. A number of experts contribute their views. Various topics are addressed, such as:
- Participants in the mediation
- Handling of confidentiality issues
- Potential savings in court time and costs
- How cases are resolved and endorsed by the bench
- Ongoing compliance issues
Other titles in this video series, include "Family Group Decision Making," "Concurrent Case Planning," and "A Plan for Joseph: An Actual Family Group Conference."
For ordering information, contact Gay Courter at email@example.com or visit http://www.courterfilms.com/specialseries.html.
See these related articles in past issues of the Children's Bureau Express:
- "Families as Decision Makers in Child Abuse and Neglect Cases" (January/February 2001)
- "First of Series of Adoption Videos Released" (April 2000)
- Promoting Resilience: A Resource Guide on Working With Children in the Care System
Gilligan, R. British Agencies for Adoption and Fostering, London, United Kingdom. 2001. 73 pp. $16.63 (11.95 GBP). Paperback.
Resilience is defined as a set of qualities that helps a person withstand many of the negative effects of adversity. Resilient children overcome adverse childhood events and do better in life than they might be expected to do. The three dimensions of resilience are overcoming the odds; sustaining competence under pressure; and recovering from trauma. For children in foster care, resilience-led practice values placement stability; continuity in meaningful relationships; and the child's understanding of what is happening in his life. Hobbies, friendships, and opportunities for the child to take responsibility and make decisions also are valued highly. A partnership between child and caretaker, based on these values, provides the child with a secure base, a sense of identity, increased self-esteem, and the ability to persevere.
To purchase a copy, contact:
British Agencies for Adoption and Fostering
200 Union St.
London, SE1 0LX United Kingdom
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.baaf.org.uk
- The Role of Race, Culture, and National Origin in Adoption-Adoption and Ethics
Freundlich, M. Child Welfare League of America, Inc., Washington, DC. 2000. 164 pp. $18.95. Paperback.
There are many unresolved questions related to the role of race, culture, and national origin in adoption policy and practice. At the forefront of the adoption policy debate is the extent to which racial and cultural similarities and differences between adoptive children and parents should be taken into account. Current Federal law prohibits racial and cultural considerations in the adoption of children from the foster care system, yet arguments continue to be made, especially in relation to the Indian Child Welfare Act and the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption. The author address these issues, from the lack of consensus on definitions of 'race,' 'culture,' and 'national origin,' to differences of opinion on the 'best interests of the child.'
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
- Valuing the Field: Child Welfare in an International ContextCallahan, M.; Hessle, S.; Strega, S. (Editors). Ashgate Publishing Co., Burlington, VT. 2000. 270 pp. $69.95. Hardcover.
From 1996 to 2000, the Canadian Government and the European Commission jointly funded a project to exchange students seeking degrees in child welfare practice between three countries in Europe and three Canadian provinces. The purpose of the Child Abuse, Protection and Welfare project was to expand understanding about children, families, and child welfare practice by immersing students in unfamiliar countries and cultures. By struggling to learn about other ways of working, communicating, and thinking about child welfare, they reflected on their own way of working at home. This monograph consists of papers presented at two conferences sponsored by the project: Valuing the Field, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, held in May 1998; and Building a Community Around Children and Families, Stockholm, Sweden, October 1998.
To purchase a copy, contact:
Ashgate Publishing Co.
131 Main St.
Burlington, VT 05401
- Scholarships and Mentoring Available for Foster Youth
Casey Family Programs and the Orphan Foundation of America have joined together to help decrease financial barriers to higher education faced by foster youth and increase their chances of success through mentoring.
Beginning with the 2001-02 school year, Casey Family Programs will provide $1,000,000 for Casey Family Scholars. The program will be administered by Orphan Foundation of America (OFA).
Any former foster youth under age 25 and meeting the following criteria may apply for a scholarship of up to $10,000:
- Has been accepted into an accredited postsecondary school or program (including technical or vocational schools)
- Was in public or private foster care for a minimum of 12 months at the time of his or her18th birthday
- Was not subsequently adopted
- Shows evidence of financial need.
All Casey Family Scholars will be offered e-mentoring over the course of their postsecondary study along with other supports. The scholarships are renewable every year. About 200 scholarships will be awarded for the 2001-2002 school year, with an average award of $5,000 per year.
For information about future awards, contact:
Casey Family Scholars Coordinator Orphan Foundation of America (OFA)
Tall Oaks Village Center
12020-D North Shore Dr.
Reston, VA 20190
See the following related article in the June 2000 issue of the Children's Bureau Express (http://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov):
- "Tuition Waiver Availability for Foster Care Youth"
- Siblings in Late Permanent PlacementsRushton, A., Dance, C., Quinton, D., Mayes, D. British Agencies for Adoption and Fostering, London, United Kingdom. 2001. 186 pp. $16.63 (11.95 GBP). Paperback.
Challenges facing the child welfare system with regard to finding permanent placements for sibling groups are complex and well-known. At times the goals of permanent placement and sibling togetherness compete due to the individual needs of each child. Conducted in the United Kingdom, this systematic research study follows a sample of 133 older children who were placed with 72 new families. The authors compare outcomes for sibling groups placed together and individually, and explore the patterns of separation and reunion. Results indicate that the children's interaction style with each other, as well as with the new parents, most strongly related to placement stability. Continued contact between separated siblings is recommended.
To purchase a copy, contact:
British Agencies for Adoption and Fostering
200 Union St.
London, SE1 0LX United Kingdom
- Developing Competent Youth and Strong Communities Through After-School ProgrammingDanish, S. J.; Gullotta, T. P. (Editors). Child Welfare League of America Press, Washington, DC. 2000. 314 pp. $24.95. Paperback.
A variety of perspectives on the promotion of youth competency through after-school activities are presented in this essay collection. The authors endeavor to strengthen the programs and knowledge in the field and in communities by exploring ways in which young people's lives can be enriched and their personal competencies developed. Chapters address healthy contexts for youth programs, stressing that the process of youth activities is much more important than the activity itself. New ideas for sports, the arts, and programs targeted to adolescent girls are discussed.
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
- Law Enforcement Data Can be Useful to Child Abuse Researchers
In a bulletin released in May, the Department of Justice's Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention urges child abuse researchers to consult the National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS).
The bulletin makes the point that child abuse is commonly treated as a child welfare problem rather than as a law enforcement problem, with the result that there is a lack of law enforcement data available to researchers. NIBRS is offered as a source of such law enforcement data.
The bulletin contains a description of NIBRS, a comparison of NIBRS data to child welfare data, and some statistical information concerning child abuse which comes from a study of NIBRS data.
For example, in comparing NIBRS data from 12 States for 1997 with child welfare data, the bulletin reveals:
- Child abuse incidents committed by parents and other caretakers constitute 19 percent of violent crimes against juveniles (ages 0-17) reported to the police.
- 73 percent of these parent and other caretaker crimes are physical assaults, and 23 percent are cases of sexual abuse.
- Child abuse constitutes more than one-half of the crimes against children age 2 or younger reported to the police.
- Male offenders are responsible for three-quarters of child abuse incidents reported to the police, including 92 percent of sexual assaults and 68 percent of physical assaults.
- 13 percent of episodes of parental assault against a child reported to the police are associated with an assault against a spouse or former spouse.
- In spite of protocols in some States that require police notification about child maltreatment, there is evidence that police data tally only a fraction of physical and sexual abuse investigated and substantiated by child welfare authorities.
The bulletin concludes with an alert to policy makers to better understand the role law enforcement currently plays and potentially could play in responding to the problem of child abuse.
Access a copy of the OJJDP Bulletin, Child Abuse Reported to the Police online at: http://www.ncjrs.org/html/ojjdp/jjbul2001_5_1/contents.html
Visit the National Clearinghouse on Child Abuse and Neglect Information (http://nccanch.acf.hhs.gov) for the following related manual:
- The Role of Law Enforcement in the Response to Child Abuse and Neglect(1992, html version)
- The Role of Law Enforcement in the Response to Child Abuse and Neglect (1992, PDF version)