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News From the Children's Bureau

  • HHS Launches New Center for Faith-Based and Community Initiatives

    HHS Launches New Center for Faith-Based and Community Initiatives

    A new center at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) aims to ensure "a level playing field" for faith-based and community organizations seeking Federal funding for delivery of social services.

    The HHS Center for Faith-Based and Community Initiatives is charged with coordinating HHS efforts to identify and remove barriers that hamper faith- and community-based organizations' efforts to secure Federal grants. President Bush has made improving funding opportunities for faith-based and community organizations a priority for his Administration.

    The center was created through an Executive Order from the President. The Order directs that similar centers be established in the Departments of Justice, Education, Labor, and Housing and Urban Development.

    The HHS center, directed by Elizabeth Seale-Scott, is charged with:

    • Identifying existing department barriers to the participation of faith-based and community organizations in the delivery of social services and proposing initiatives to remove these barriers
    • Incorporating faith-based and other community organizations in department programs and initiatives to the greatest extent possible
    • Proposing programs to increase the participation of faith-based and other community organizations in Federal, State and local initiatives
    • Coordinating efforts to disseminate information more effectively to faith-based and other community organizations on department initiatives and opportunities
    • Reviewing the extent to which relevant programs comply with charitable choice provisions and promoting and ensuring compliance with "charitable choice."

    The HHS Center's website ( provides information related to all of these charges. The site's "special features" section links faith-based and community organizations to helpful online resources including:

    • Sources of government and other funding
    • Tips on writing grant proposals
    • Management of nonprofit and volunteer organizations.

    Contact information

    HHS Center for Faith-Based and Community Initiatives
    200 Independence Avenue, SW, Room 118 F
    Washington, DC 20201
    Phone: 202-358-3595

    Related Item

    See the article "Unlevel Playing Field: Service Barriers for Faith-Based and Community-Based Organizations" from the November/December 2001 issue of the Children's Bureau Express.

  • News From the Child Welfare Training Resources (CWTR) Online Network: Training Resource Guide Under

    News From the Child Welfare Training Resources (CWTR) Online Network: Training Resource Guide Under

    The Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT) and the Administration for Children, Youth and Families (ACYF) have, in recent years, worked together to assist States and localities in their efforts to serve families in the child welfare system involved with alcohol and other drugs.

    Recently, CSAT and ACYF brought together a group of national experts to help inform future collaborative efforts between the two agencies. Among other initiatives, this group recommended the development of a resource guide describing existing training curricula (and related materials) addressing the linkages between substance abuse and child welfare.

    CSAT and ACYF, with the assistance of Caliber Associates, are therefore seeking input and copies of relevant curricula or related training materials. Any material provided to CSAT-ACYF will be reviewed internally and will not be distributed. A brief summary of the material (including information on how to obtain copies) will be included in the resource guide. Once it is completed, a copy of the guide will be provided to all organizations that submitted materials.

    If you have developed relevant materials or would like to provide input, please contact Leanne Charlesworth of Caliber Associates (, 703-385-3200, ext. 616), or send materials (and invoices, if applicable) to:

    Leanne Charlesworth
    Caliber Associates
    Suite 400
    10530 Rosehaven Street
    Fairfax, VA 22030

    With your help, the resource guide resulting from this collaborative effort will serve as a needed tool that will facilitate awareness and use of existing, high quality training materials in this important cross-systems area.

  • Free Training and Technical Assistance on Strategic Planning for Courts

    Free Training and Technical Assistance on Strategic Planning for Courts

    The National Child Welfare Resource Center on Legal and Judicial Issues and the National Child Welfare Resource Center for Organizational Improvement are offering free training and technical assistance to States and federally recognized tribes on strategic planning for court systems.

    According to Mimi Laver, Assistant Director of Child Welfare for the National Child Welfare Resource Center on Legal and Judicial Issues, the collaborative effort will be beneficial because it combines the respective resource centers' expertise in law and aspect planning.

    The training aims to help child welfare programs assess how their courts serve abused and neglected children and their families, focus court improvement efforts, and define specific outcomes so that success can be measured. The training is tailored to suit the needs of individual agencies.

    Court improvement directors will work with child welfare programs to develop a vision for the future by establishing or re-evaluating long-term goals and desired outcomes. To attain goals, a determination of who will perform what roles will be made, as well as clarification of budgeting issues and formulation of realistic strategies and timeframes needed to attain goals.

    Areas to address include improving judicial competence and skills, developing information systems to track cases and measure performance, encouraging communication and cross-system training, limiting workloads to allow timely and well-informed judicial decisions, and giving fairer treatment and more consideration to all parties before the court.

    Contact information:

    Mimi Laver, Assistant Director
    National Child Welfare Resource Center on Legal and Judicial Issues
    Phone: 202-662-1736
    Fax: 202-662-1755

    Anita St. Onge, Research Associate
    National Child Welfare Resource Center for Organizational Improvement
    Phone: 207-780-5851
    Fax: 207-780-5817

  • Call for Materials on Racial and Ethnic Disproportionalities in the Child Welfare System

    Call for Materials on Racial and Ethnic Disproportionalities in the Child Welfare System

    A project funded by the Children's Bureau is seeking input from writers and researchers whose work focuses on racial and ethnic disproportionalities in the child welfare system.

    The Chapin Hall Center for Children at the University of Chicago is implementing the project in collaboration with the American Institutes for Research (AIR). The aim is to identify people who are doing work in the area of racial and ethnic disproportionality in the child welfare system, commission papers from those doing promising work, and convene a meeting in fall 2002 to review findings.

    The project is the third in a series whose overall purpose is to clarify and expand the current knowledge base in the field. The first project in the series was a review of published literature on racial disproportionalities to explore the scope of the issue. In reviewing the literature, there was an examination of possible differences due to geographic, income, and community factors, as well as differences at various decision-making points in the system (i.e., reporting, investigation, placement, etc.).

    The second project was an examination of programs that were looking at racial and ethnic disproportionalities, and a qualitative examination at how communities approached and dealt with the issue.

    With AIR, Chapin Hall is developing a database of research pertaining to racial disproportionality in the child welfare system. The Children's Bureau wants to collect evidence related to racial disproportionality for each racial and ethnic group at each decision point in the child welfare system as well as determine whether there are broader lessons that can be applied to the field.


    Darcy Hughes, Research Assistant
    Chapin Hall Center for Children
    1313 East 60th Street
    Chicago, IL 60637
    Phone: 773-256-5215

    Related Item

    Visit the Chapin Hall Center for Children (

  • Reauthorized Safe and Stable Families Program Adds Emphasis on Marriage, Education for Foster Youth

    Reauthorized Safe and Stable Families Program Adds Emphasis on Marriage, Education for Foster Youth

    President Bush signed the Promoting Safe and Stable Families Amendments of 2001 (H.R. 2873) into law on January 17, reauthorizing the program through 2006.

    The legislation authorizes $305 million in mandatory spending and $200 million in discretionary spending. (For FY 2002, $70 million in discretionary funding has been appropriated. President Bush has asked Congress to fully fund the program in FY 2003.)

    At the bill signing, President Bush described the bipartisan bill as "a really good piece of legislation." He said, "the legislation reaffirms our country's commitment to helping children grow up in secure and loving families by encouraging adoption; by helping young adults make their way after they leave foster care; and by expanding mentoring for children who have a mom and dad in prison."

    The Promoting Safe and Stable Families program provides funding to State and Tribal child welfare agencies for family support, family preservation, time-limited family reunification, and adoption promotion and support services. The amended law clarifies that the following two activities can be funded under the program: promoting healthy marriages to further the well-being of children and Infant Safe Haven programs, which give parents who otherwise would abandon their infants an option for relinquishment.

    The Court Improvement Program (CIP) also was reauthorized as part of the bill. CIP provides grants to help State courts improve their handling of foster care and adoption proceedings. The bill reauthorized CIP's mandatory funding at $10 million annually and authorizes an additional 3.3 percent of any discretionary funding for the court improvement program.

    The law permanently authorizes $60 million in funds to provide education vouchers for youth aging out of foster care. (This initiative did not receive funding for FY 2002, but is included in President Bush's 2003 budget.) The law also authorizes $67 million for FY 2002 and 2003 for a grants to support mentoring for children of prisoners. (No funds were appropriated for this program for FY 2002.)

    Related Items

    To read President Bush's remarks at the bill signing, visit the White House website (

    To read a statement by HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson on the legislation, visit the HHS website (

  • New Grants From HHS Support Older Caregivers of Young Relatives

    New Grants From HHS Support Older Caregivers of Young Relatives

    Older relatives who care for young kin are among the family caregivers targeted for help by new grants awarded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

    HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson in October announced the award of approximately $6 million for 34 projects to develop innovative approaches to helping older relatives caring for children as well as families and others caring for older persons.

    The grants are a component of the National Family Caregiver Support Program (NFCSP), which is administered by HHS's Administration on Aging (AoA). NFCSP was launched in early 2001 to establish a range of caregiver services including information, respite care, counseling, training, and supplemental services. With the new grants, AoA will be able to assess the effectiveness of these services. The grants will focus on:

    • Systems development
    • Service components
    • Linkages to special populations and communities
    • Field-initiated demonstrations to develop and test new approaches to support caregivers
    • National projects to enhance the development of caregiver programs.

    The grants were awarded to State and area agencies on aging, nonprofit community service providers, institutions of higher learning, and national organizations with expertise in aging and caregiving issues. Among the funded projects that focus on kinship care of children are the following:

    • United Cerebral Palsy of Southern Arizona will increase services to grandparents and older caregivers who are raising children with mental retardation or developmental disabilities
    • Generations United in Washington, DC, will establish the National Center on Grandparents and other Relatives Raising Children to provide technical assistance and training to enhance caregiver intergenerational programs
    • Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Rochester, NY, will collaborate with 15 national and local organizations to create an integrated care management approach to support relative caregivers of grandchildren and adult children with developmental disabilities.

    The complete list of awards is available on the AoA website at (Editor's note: this link is no longer available. More information can be found at Information on NFCSP can be obtained by calling the AoA Office of Program Development at 202-619-0011.

    Related Items

    See the following related articles in past issues of the Children's Bureau Express:

    • "Online Support for Grandparents Raising Grandchildren" (Nov./Dec. 2001)
    • "New Law Supports Grandparents Raising Grandchildren" (March/April 2001)
    • "The GrandFamilies House: A Home for Parenting Grandparents and Their Grandchildren" (March/April 2001)

    Visit the website of the National Adoption Information Clearinghouse for a list of resources related to grandparents raising grandchildren (

  • President Bush Focuses on Fathers, Foster Youth, in FY03 Budget

    President Bush Focuses on Fathers, Foster Youth, in FY03 Budget

    President Bush's proposed FY 2003 budget for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) keeps funding about level for most child welfare and adoption-related programs, but seeks additional funding for the Promoting Safe and Stable Families program and for new initiatives aimed at supporting fathers, foster care youth, and children of prisoners.

    President Bush has requested an additional $200 million for Safe and Stable Families, which would fully fund the program at its authorized level of $505 million. (In the 2002 budget, the program is funded at $370 million.)

    The budget requests an appropriation of $60 million to fund education vouchers for teenagers and young adults aging out of foster care. The budget requests $25 million for grants to support mentoring services for children of prisoners. Both of these programs were authorized as part of the Promoting Safe and Stable Families Amendments of 2001 but did not receive any funding for FY 2002 as the President had requested.

    For FY 2003, President Bush proposes $20 million to fund a new Responsible Fatherhood and Healthy Marriages Program. This program would award grants to faith-based and community organizations to help noncustodial fathers become and stay involved with their children.

    The budget also requests $10 million to fund grants for maternity group homes. This initiative was proposed by the President in FY 2002 but did not receive an appropriation.

    President Bush also proposes an additional $200,000 to fund the 4th National Incidence Study (NIS) of Child Abuse and Neglect. (The 3rd NIS took place in 1996 and was based on data from 1993.) Funding for the NIS is proposed as part of research and demonstration grants funded under the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act. The budget also would eliminate earmarked funds under the research and demonstration grants and make all the funds available for competitive grants.

    The voucher program for older foster children builds on the Independent Living Program overseen by the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) within HHS. The proposed budget would fully fund the initiative, which was authorized at $60 million under the recently enacted Safe and Stable Families Amendments of 2001.

    If fully funded, at least 12,000 foster children and young adults ages 16 to 21 would receive education vouchers of up to $5,000 each year. President Bush had proposed the vouchers in his FY 2002 budget, but Congress did not appropriate funds for the initiative.

    Related Items

    Visit the HHS Office of Budget website ( for detailed information and downloadable documents about the proposed FY 2003 HHS budget.

    To read HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson's comments on the foster care education initiative, visit the ACF website News Room (

  • What Is Charitable Choice?

    What Is Charitable Choice?

    Charitable Choice is a legislative provision designed to improve access to certain Federal funds by faith based organizations. Within HHS, Charitable Choice applies to funding administered by the Administration for Children and Families and distributed through the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families and Community Services Block Grants programs and to certain programs administered through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. For more information, visit the HHS Center for Faith-Based and Community Initiatives (

  • Highlights of FY 2002 Appropriations

    Highlights of FY 2002 Appropriations

    Highlights of FY02 Appropriations
    (in thousands)
    Selected HHS ActivitiesFY01 AppropriationPresident's FY02 RequestHouse/H.R. 3061 (Approved by House
    H.R. 3061 as amended (approved by Senate
    Child Abuse State Grants$21,026$21,026$23,000$21,026
    Child Abuse Discretionary Activities$33,204$17,978$19,978$33,717
    Abandoned Infants Assistance$12,182$12,205$12,205$12,205
    Child Welfare Services$291,986$291,986$291,986$291,986
    Child Welfare Training $6,998$6,998$6,998$7,998
    Adoption Opportunities$27,379$27,405$27,405$27,405
    Adoption Incentives $42,994$43,000$43,000$43,000
    Adoption Awareness$9,900$9,906$9,906$12,906
    Compassion Capital Fund0$89,000$30,000$89,000
    Maternity Group Homes0$33,000*$33,000
    Promoting Responsible Fatherhood0$64,000**
    Community-Based Resource Centers$32,834$32,834$34,000$32,834
    Promoting Safe and Stable Families$305,000$505,000$375,000$375,000
    Mentoring Children of Prisoners0$67,000**
    Payments to States for Foster Care and Adoption, total$6,401,100$6,681,500$6,621,500$6,617,100
    Foster Care$5,063,500$5,055,500$5,055,500not available
    Adoption Assistance$1,197,600$1,426,000$1,426,000not available
    Independent Living$140,000$140,000$140,000not available
    Independent Living proposal**0$60,000**

    *deferred pending reauthorizing legislation
    **The proposal would fund vouchers for children who age out of foster care to pursue vocational training or college

  • FY 2002 Funds Appropriated for Health and Human Services

    FY 2002 Funds Appropriated for Health and Human Services

    Federal appropriations for programs related to child abuse and neglect, child welfare, and adoption for FY 2002 were signed into law January 10.

    The FY02 appropriations law, P.L. 107-116, appropriates $370 million for the Promoting Safe and Stable Families program, a $65 million increase from FY 2001. The law also appropriates $30 million for the Compassion Capital Fund, a new program requested by President Bush to further his Administration's Faith-Based Initiative aimed at expanding the pool of faith- and community-based organizations that deliver federally funded social services.

    The bill increases funding for adoption awareness activities from $9.9 million to $12.9 million. The additional funds will be used to implement adoption awareness activities for children with special needs. Infant adoption awareness activities also will continue to be funded. Both activities were authorized under the Children's Health Act of 2000, but the special needs awareness program has not been funded until now.

    Several initiatives proposed by President Bush were not funded, including maternity group homes, a plan to mentor children of prisoners, a new fatherhood initiative, and a proposal to provide education vouchers to youth aging out of foster care. President Bush has resubmitted his proposal for education vouchers as part of his 2003 budget.

    The final appropriations bill was reported out of the House and Senate conference committee in December and was signed by President Bush on January 10.

    Related Items

    "President Bush Focuses on Fathers, Foster Youth, in FY03 Budget" (this issue)

Child Welfare Research

  • FAMILIES COUNT Honorees Named by Annie E. Casey Foundation

    FAMILIES COUNT Honorees Named by Annie E. Casey Foundation

    Faith-based, Hispanic, and neighborhood organizations were among eight recipients of "Families Count" awards from the Annie E. Casey Foundation in November. The organizations each received $500,000 from the foundation for providing exemplary services to families in poor communities.

    The annual "FAMILIES COUNT: THE NATIONAL HONORS PROGRAM" recognizes organizations that aim to strengthen families in economically disadvantaged communities by connecting them to economic, educational, and other opportunities; services; and relationships. This is the third year that the awards have been bestowed.

    The honorees "are essential links in the networks that help all families thrive--neighbor and kin, faith-based and secular, formal and informal, public and private," said foundation President Douglas Nelson in a press release.

    Among the honorees were the following:

    • Bethel New Life (Chicago, IL). A faith-based community development corporation in the West Garfield Park neighborhood, Bethel New Life has evolved from an organization focusing primarily on housing to one that also links jobs, education, and family services to support the well-being and success of the neighborhood's families.
    • Latin American Youth Center (Washington, DC). Established in 1974 to assist Latino youth, LAYC now draws from the surrounding Vietnamese, African, African-American, and Caribbean communities. Its programs range from job training and parent education to a public charter school.
    • Maternal Infant Health Outreach Worker Project (Nashville, TN). The program, begun in 1982 by Vanderbilt University, targets families in the rural and urban South by helping 23 agencies train community members to visit pregnant women and new mothers. The home visitors provide a social connection and information on prenatal care and child development.

    Other recipients were:

    • Alianza Dominica (New York, NY)
    • Boston Chinatown Neighborhood Center (Boston, MA)
    • Children of the Rainbow (San Diego, CA)
    • Fatima Family Center (Cleveland, OH)
    • Mar Vista Family Center (Culver City, CA)

    For more information about the honorees, the FAMILIES COUNT PROGRAM, or the Annie E. Casey Foundation, visit the Annie E. Casey Foundation website at

  • Report Offers First Insights into "Fragile Families"

    Report Offers First Insights into "Fragile Families"

    Policy makers and program directors can gain a deeper understanding of “fragile families”—unwed parents raising their child together—from a new national report.

    Fragile families are at a higher risk of poverty and instability than traditional families, but little is known about the resources of, and relationships within, fragile families, and how government policies can affect their lives. The Fragile Families and Child Well-Being national report presents preliminary baseline statistics and findings for 2,670 such families from 16 cities between April 1998 and November 2000. Over the long-term, the study will follow the families from their child's birth through age 4.

    The baseline study reports the following:

    • Unwed parents are committed to each other and their child at the time of the birth; the majority of mothers want the father involved in raising the child
    • Most unwed parents are poorly equipped to support their families
    • Most unmarried mothers are healthy and have healthy children.

    The report also notes the following:

    • Unmarried parents do not attain high levels of education; only 4 percent of mothers and fathers, respectively, complete college or higher; 37 percent of mothers and 34 percent of fathers lack a high school diploma
    • The majority of parents are in fairly good health
    • There is a high cohabitation rate among unmarried parents—half of unmarried mothers are living with their child's father at the time of the child's birth
    • Spending time together was ranked as the major source of conflict between parents
    • The majority of unmarried parents believe marriage is beneficial for children
    • Both mothers and father consider steady employment and emotional maturity important prerequisites for marriage
    • Unmarried parents tend not to have deep roots in their neighborhoods; 53 percent of new mothers and 46 percent of new fathers have lived in their neighborhoods for 2 years or less
    • A majority of the new parents' incomes are either below, or just barely above, the poverty line
    • Many unmarried parents are uninformed about new welfare rules and regulations.

    The baseline report also describes other purposes of the study such as tracking the development of children born to unmarried parents, providing research on unmarried fathers, and relating changes in parental behavior and family environment to changes in the health and development of children.

    The study is supported by grants from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and the Office of Population Research, Princeton University. The Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation and the Administration for Children and Families within the Department of Health and Human Services provide additional funding, as do many foundations.

    The national report, and baseline reports of individual cities involved in the study, can be found at under the "publications" link.

    For more information about the Fragile Families and Child and Well-being Study, visit the website at, or contact the following organizations:

    The Center for Research on Child Wellbeing
    Wallace Hall
    Princeton University
    Princeton, NJ 08544
    Phone: 609-258-5894

    The Social Indicators Survey Center
    Columbia University School of Social Work
    622 West 113 Street
    New York, NY 10025
    Phone: 212-854-9046

  • Surveys Give Snapshot of How Child Welfare Services Are Organized, Delivered

    Surveys Give Snapshot of How Child Welfare Services Are Organized, Delivered

    State and local child welfare administrators in the United States are increasingly focused on collaboration, permanency planning, and innovations in service delivery—these are among the initial findings reported by the most comprehensive national study ever conducted of the child welfare system.

    The National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being (NSCAW) is primarily focused on gathering child- and family-level information, but researchers also collected data about how child welfare services are organized and delivered. The first two reports released from NSCAW present findings, respectively, of the State Child Welfare Agency Survey (based on discussions with 46 State administrators) and Local Child Welfare Agency Survey (based on information from 92 local agencies).

    Both State and local administrators reported that implementation of the Federal Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997 had brought changes to their systems. Two-thirds of State administrators said that in response to ASFA their State had made changes or enhancements in at least one of the following areas: child safety, permanency, collaboration with courts, or data collection. Sixty percent of local agencies said that ASFA has led to a greater emphasis on safety and almost all respondent agencies reported shortened time frames for decision making.

    Responses from State administrators and local agencies also underscore the importance of interagency collaboration. State administrators report an increased emphasis on formal collaborations between child welfare agencies and other entities that provide services to children and families. Almost all respondent local agencies reported having linkages to Temporary Assistance to Needy Families services and 40 percent reported linkages with substance abuse treatment, mental health, and juvenile justice services.

    Along with increased collaboration, State administrators cited the following as the most promising developments in child welfare: more emphasis on prevention and early intervention, greater involvement of families in decision making, and increased emphasis on evaluation and outcomes.

    Responses from local agencies also spotlighted innovations in service delivery: About 40 percent of local agencies reported developing new initiatives in the 12 months preceding the survey, including specialized units of service, multidisciplinary teams, additional community-based branch offices, and concurrent planning mechanisms.

    NSCAW is the first national study to examine detailed child and family outcomes as they relate to experiences with the child welfare system and to family characteristics, community environment, and other factors. NSCAW researchers are gathering information associated with 6,100 children from public child welfare agencies in a randomly selected sample of 92 communities nationwide.

    NSCAW was mandated by Congress as part of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996. The study is being overseen by the Children's Bureau within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; the 6-year project will conclude in September 2003.

    The NSCAW research team comprises Research Triangle Institute, Caliber Associates, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the University of California at Berkeley, and the Administration on Children, Youth and Families.

    Web-based and PDF versions of the two reports can be found in the "Factsheet/Publications" section of the Children's Bureau website at

  • Overlaying with Bruises/Abrasions Indicates Possible Abuse

    Overlaying with Bruises/Abrasions Indicates Possible Abuse

    A recent study of infants who suffocated after "overlaying" offers insights for investigators of child fatalities.

    "Overlaying" refers to instances when a larger, sleeping individual rolls on top of an infant, causing the baby to smother. The study found that infants smothered by overlaying rarely have cuts or bruises; conversely, the presence of cuts or bruises on the body of a smothered infant could indicate that the baby was a victim of abuse.

    Dr. Kim Collins, associate professor of forensic and autopsy pathology at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, reviewed the 32 pediatric forensic cases referred to the Medical University of South Carolina Forensic Pathology Section/Charleston County Medical Examiners' Office from 1985 to 1999 specifically to determine if these traumatic characteristics were present in overlaying, wedging (child wedged between two objects such as a mattress and a wall), and other accidental asphyxiation.

    Dr. Collins reports that pressure marks from bedding or the other person's clothing may be seen on the infants, and can occur after death; this differs from contusions. Contusions, abrasions, and other traumatic injuries like facial or ocular petechiae (small red or purple blood-filled spots on face or eye caused by a minute hemorrhage) require greater pressure than overlaying or wedging produce.

    It is estimated that in half of American families, a family bed is shared with an infant. Dr. Collins states that in order to prevent overlaying and wedging, unsafe sleeping arrangements need to be further explored.

    Dr. Collins' study can be found in the American Journal of Forensic Medicine and Pathology (22(2): 55-159, 2001).

    Related Items

    See the following related articles in these past issues of the Children's Bureau Express:

    • "OJJDP Fact Sheet Highlights National Center on Child Fatality Review" (July/August 2001)
    • "Pediatricians Urge Closer Scrutiny of SIDS Cases" (May/June 2001)

Strategies and Tools for Practice

  • Independent Living Programs in Oregon and California Give Aging-Out Foster Youth Support

    Independent Living Programs in Oregon and California Give Aging-Out Foster Youth Support

    Youth aging out of foster care in Portland, Oregon, and Alameda County, California, may find the transition to independent living a little easier thanks to a couple of programs designed to give foster youth guidance, support, and assistance.

    The Powerhouse program in Portland is a collaborative partnership of public, private, and faith-based organizations that provide funding, administrative services, and vital links to other potential partners in the local community. Powerhouse provides foster youth with housing solutions, community support networks, education and health services, and other components essential to successfully transitioning to independent living.

    The housing program developed by Powerhouse includes a variety of options to address the individual needs of the young adults in the program. Housing options include:

    • Host homes where young adults rent a room in a family home
    • Community homes housing no more than five young adults and a resident assistant
    • Shared housing in which two or more young adults share an apartment or house (next level of independence)
    • Apartments.

    A Youth Advisory Committee provides guidance with program and policy development. There is an Independent Living Program that offers foster youth classes on basic independent living skills, social skills, obtaining financial aid for college, and guidance for employment and career development. In addition, each young adult is assigned a service coordinator with whom they develop an individualized transition plan.

    Generally, young adults ranging in age from 18 to 22 are served, but several were 17 when they became involved in the program, and services may be given to young adults over 22 if it's deemed necessary. To date, 36 young adults have received transition support or services through Powerhouse.

    In California, the Alameda County Independent Living Skills Program (ILSP) offers aid to foster youth transitioning to adulthood. Started in 1987, the program helps foster youth age 16 to 21 with education, employment, and housing. The program has seen extensive growth and it now serves more than half the eligible youth in Alameda County.

    In order to extend services to youth older than 21, the ILSP Auxiliary program was started. The ILSP Auxiliary is a non-profit organization funded by grants from the city of Oakland and other private foundations. The ILSP Auxiliary program offers foster youth assistance with grants of up to $1,000 to help them with their first month's rent and security deposit.

    For more information about these programs, contact:

    Street Address: 1912 SW 6th Ave., Suite 120, Portland, OR 97201
    Mail Address: PO Box 751, Portland, OR 97207-0751
    Phone: 503-725-4040
    Fax: 503-725-4180
    email address for information:

    Alameda ILSP: Alameda County Social Services Agency
    Department of Children and Family Services, Administrative Offices
    1106 Madison Street
    Oakland, CA 94607
    Phone: 510-271-9180
    Fax: 510-271-9189

    Related Items

    Search previous issues of Children's Bureau Express for articles related to independent living by typing "independent living" into the Search box (

    Visit the National Clearinghouse on Child Abuse and Neglect Information for a copy of Title IV-E Independent Living Programs: A Decade in Review. (Note: this is no longer available.)

  • Kit for New Parents Available to All Parents of California Newborns

    Kit for New Parents Available to All Parents of California Newborns

    A new comprehensive parenting resource is now available to all parents of newborns in the State of California. Available in English and Spanish, the Kit for New Parents contains valuable resources for parents of the approximately 500,000 children born every year in California.

    Launched November 1, 2001 by the California Children and Families Commission (CCFC), the initiative targets parents of all incomes and ethnic groups. CCFC was created by Proposition 10, a 50-cent tax per pack of tobacco that generates about $700 million annually for California programs for young children and their families.

    The Kit for New Parents includes:

    • Videos on topics such as health and nutrition, child safety, child care, early literacy, and other early childhood development information
    • Parents Guide, parent-focused guides developed by the University of California, Berkeley School of Public Health, many experts, and parents
    • Brochures on parenting issues such as reading, tobacco, immunizations, Shaken Baby Syndrome, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, safety issues, and more
    • Animals to Count, a book for children.

    Director and actor Rob Reiner, chair of CCFC, wrote Proposition 10; he, other celebrities, and child development experts narrate the videos. The narrators include Dr. T. Berry Brazelton, Dr. Antonia Novello, Le Var Burton, Jamie Lee Curtis, Gloria Estefan, Andy Garcia, Edward James Olmos, Phylicia Rashad, and Maria Shriver.

    To develop the kits, the Center for Community Wellness at the University of California at Berkeley conducted an extensive pilot study. Researchers found that:

    • About half of the mothers who received the kits reported changing their behavior or the way they thought about parenting
    • Many parents involved in the pilot study stated they wanted to share the information with others who could benefit from the information
    • Social service providers voiced the need to distribute kits to the approximately 100,000 fathers in California who have full or partial custody of young children.

    Research also helped shape a broad advertising campaign reminding parents that their choices shape their children's chances. The campaign included:

    • Television advertisements and billboards in Cantonese, English, Korean, Mandarin, Spanish, and Vietnamese
    • Radio advertisements in Hmong and Lao
    • Newspaper advertisements in Cambodian, Tagalog, and Thai.

    Many young children in California spend at least 15 hours a week in the care of someone else besides their parents, most frequently with grandparents. There will be advertisements directly targeting grandparents, as other research has shown they are less knowledgeable than parents about current information on child brain development compared to parents.

    For more information about the kits, contact:

    California Children & Families Commission
    501 J Street, Suite 530
    Sacramento, CA 95814
    Kits for New Parents information lines: 800-KIDS-025 (English) or 800-5-0-NIÑOS (Spanish)

    Related Items

    See these related stories in past issues of Children's Bureau Express:

    • "Survey Shows Parents Confused About Child Development" (January/February 2001)
    • "Utah Prevents Shaken Babies Through Unique Public-Private Partnership" (July/August 2001)


  • First Annual Citizen Review Panel Conference

    First Annual Citizen Review Panel Conference

    Since the 1970s in some States, and since 1999 in all States, volunteers in communities nationwide provide oversight and insights to public child welfare agencies by serving on Citizen Review Panels (CRPs). The first conference designed specifically for CRPs will take place May 22-23 in Lexington, Kentucky.

    The 1996 reauthorization of the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) required States to establish at least three CRPs by 1999 as a condition for receiving Federal child abuse and neglect funds. Panels review their State's CAPTA plan, and each panel evaluates different aspects of the child protection system in its own community. Panels also play a role in Child and Family Services Reviews, the process by which the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) evaluates States to improve outcomes of Federal child welfare programs.

    The first annual Citizens Review Panel conference is being co-sponsored by the University of Kentucky's College of Social Work and Kentucky's Citizens Review Panels. The theme of this year's conference is "Pipe Dream or Possibility: Citizen Involvement in Child Protective Services."

    The aim of the conference is to focus national attention on getting citizens involved in public child welfare. CRP members and program coordinators will discuss strategies to encourage best practices within the panels.

    In addition, workshops will focus on the following:

    • Recruiting a diverse Citizens Review Panel
    • Using legislation and advocacy to advance your panel
    • Understanding the latest research on citizen involvement in public child welfare
    • Working effectively with State child protective services.

    The cost of the conference is $50. For more information, contact Blake Jones by phone at 859-257-7210 or via email at

    Related Item

    Visit the University of Kentucky's College of Social Work Training Resource Center (

  • Psychological Assessment of Sexually Abused Children and Their Families. Interpersonal Violence: The

    Psychological Assessment of Sexually Abused Children and Their Families. Interpersonal Violence: The

    Friedrich, William N. Sage Publications Inc., Thousand Oaks, CA. 384 pp. $34.95. Paperback.

    Friedrich outlines a theoretical framework for psychological assessments and includes in depth case studies and reviews current literature covering attachment theories, dysregulation, and self-perception hypotheses. He addresses variability in sexually abused children and in their accounts of abuse, and outlines the overall purposes and goals of a psychological evaluation, showing in detail how to examine an evaluation of sexual behavior problems. The appendices contain copies of the various reports, checklists, and questionnaires that are discussed, including:

    • Family Evaluation Checklist
    • Risk Factor Checklist
    • Attachment Story Stems
    • Adolescent Sexual Behavior Inventory -- self, and parent reports
    • Self-Injurious Behavior Checklist and Interview.

    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 it Take a Village: Community Effects on Children, Adolescents, and Families

    Does it Take a Village: Community Effects on Children, Adolescents, and Families

    Booth, Alan. (Editor); Crouter, Ann C. (Editor). Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc., Mahwah, NJ. 272 pp. $34.50. Paperback.

    Based on the presentations and discussion from the sixth national symposium on community effects on children, adolescents, and families held at Pennsylvania State University, Does it Take a Village focuses on the mechanisms that link community characteristics to the functioning of the families and individuals within them. Community norms, economic opportunities, reference groups for assessing relative deprivation, and social support networks are discussed. Contributors underscore the features of communities that represent risk factors for children, adolescents, and their families, as well as those characteristics that underlie resilience and thus undergird family functioning. Researchers hope to answer the questions of how it takes a village to raise a child, and what can be done to help communities achieve this essential task more effectively.

    To purchase a copy, contact:

    Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc
    10 Industrial Avenue
    Mahwah, NJ 07430-2262
    Phone: 800-926-6579
    Fax: 201-236-0072

  • Journal Article Offers Overview of Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy

    Journal Article Offers Overview of Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy

    Munchausen syndrome by proxy (MSBP) is a form of child abuse which a parent induces real or apparent symptoms of a disease in a child. MSBP is hard to diagnose; not easily recognizable to health care professionals, judges, or jurors; and often requires covert video surveillance for proof.

    In his article for Clinician Reviews, David Paulk, assistant professor and medical sciences coordinator at the Department of Physician Assistant Studies at Arcadia University, provides information about this serious, even lethal, form of child abuse and how clinicians are generally first-line advocates for at-risk children. Paulk also references many articles and other sources of information.

    MSBP offenders are typically young, married mothers; according to research, MSBP parents are also medically knowledgeable. By forcing the child to be sick, the parent/caretaker derives satisfaction by being the surrogate patient (by proxy). The abused children are generally young--many younger than 1 year--and experiencer numerous hospitalizations, outpatient visits, and trips to the emergency room.

    MSBP is a form of child abuse that requires preparation, unlike many other impulsive forms of physical abuse. As referenced by Paulk, a few commonly reported abuses in MSBP include:

    • Altering urine specimens and temperature charts (heating thermometer in warm liquid)
    • Drawing large amounts of blood
    • Forcing ingestion of foreign objects
    • Causing a rash with caustic substances to the skin
    • Tampering with catheters, lab specimens, hospital and/or legal documents
    • Adding salt to breast milk.

    Health care providers are generally the first to interface with MSBP children and parents and should be aware of a possible MSBP diagnosis; this is difficult with the deception of the parent/caregiver. Providers who haven't dealt much with MSBP may consider consulting with a MSBP expert as needed for case management and/or testimony, as all suspicions of abuse and neglect must be reported. Paulk references some common MSBP characteristics:

    • Caretaker with previous medical experience/education
    • Caretaker with recent history of symptoms similar to the child's
    • Lab results that differ from the child's health
    • Siblings with similar episodes or causes of death
    • Poorly tolerated treatments (vomiting after taking oral medications, IV lines falling out, etc.).

    There is a high mortality rate associated with MSBP, approximately 9 percent to 10 percent. Due to the difficulty in knowing for sure if a parent or caretaker is hurting the child, covert video surveillance is often used to obtain evidence. The practice is controversial and it is recommended that hospital facilities have covert video surveillance protocols in place. Legal concerns regarding this type of surveillance may be met with posting signs that hidden video monitoring is used.

    Paulk's article can be found on the Web at Clinician Reviews is a monthly publication by:

    Clinicians Group, LLC
    2 Brighton Road, Suite 300
    Clifton, NJ 07012

  • Speaking for America's Children

    Speaking for America's Children

    Children's basic needs are universal, but the strategies to meet those needs will vary from State to State and even locality to locality. That was the overall conclusion reached by the National Association of Child Advocates from a survey of 62 State and community-based child advocacy organizations.

    NACA published its survey findings in Speaking for America's Children: Child Advocates Identify Children's Issues and 2002 State Priorities.

    NACA spoke to the leaders of 62 State and community-based child advocacy organizations. Respondents from more than a dozen states said that efforts related to child maltreatment and child welfare are among their priorities for 2002.

    Three topics emerged as overarching issues affecting children: economic security, readiness to learn, and child care.

    To read or download the complete report in PDF format visit Publications1/Voices_for_Americas_Children/Advocacy/20013/pv.pdf.

    To learn more about NACA, contact:

    National Association of Child Advocates
    1522 K Street, NW
    Suite 600
    Washington, DC 20005
    Phone: 202-289-0777
    Fax: 202-289-0776

  • The Winners: 100 Prize Winning Essays by Teens in Foster Care

    The Winners: 100 Prize Winning Essays by Teens in Foster Care

    Foster Care Youth United. Youth Communication, New York, NY. 64 pp. $14.95. Paperback.

    Foster Care Youth United has put together a collection of essays and essay excerpts that were written by youth currently in the child welfare system. Each was a prizewinner in the Child Welfare Fund 'Awards for Youth in Foster Care' contest. The essays focus on four main topics:

    • What the public should know about young people in foster care
    • Ideas for improving the system
    • How they have helped others while in the system
    • Advice they would have given themselves.

    To purchase a copy, contact:

    Youth Communication
    224 W. 29th St.
    New York, NY 10001
    Phone: 212-279-0708
    Fax: 212-279-8856

  • Shattered Bonds: The Color of Child Welfare

    Shattered Bonds: The Color of Child Welfare

    Roberts, Dorothy. Basic Books, New York, NY. 351 pp. $19.25. Hardcover.

    Roberts examines the role that race plays in the child welfare and protection system, focusing on the reasons black children are disproportionately represented. Each year, welfare agencies nationwide take tens of thousands of children from their homes and place them in state custody. Yet, even though black children represent only 17 percent of the nation's children, they make up 42 percent of the children in foster care. Roberts uses conversations with mothers fighting for child custody in Chicago, as well as national data, to examine three main points:

    • Why so many black children are removed from homes and placed under state supervision
    • How the current politics of child welfare affects the system's racial imbalance
    • Why we should be concerned about the racial disparity in the child welfare system.

    She concludes by proposing steps to help correct these imbalances while still protecting the children that need protection, and cautions against studies that use only the worst cases of child abuse and neglect as data representative of the system as a whole.

    To purchase a copy, contact:

    Basic Books
    10 E. 53rd Street
    New York, NY 10022
    Phone: 212-207-7600

  • National Indian Child Welfare Association to Publish New Journal

    National Indian Child Welfare Association to Publish New Journal

    World View: The Journal of American Indian Child and Family Services will be published by the National Indian Child Welfare Association (NICWA) this fall. The journal aims to improve practice by enhancing communication among American Indian professionals working in child welfare and related services such as children's mental health and family support. World View is a subscription-based publication, with issues published in the spring and fall for the first 2 years; after the second year it will be published quarterly.

    Each issue will feature:

    • Two original scholarly articles on child and family services practice, policy, or research
    • Two classic articles by Indian authors with commentary by a guest editor
    • Two faculty-nominated student papers
    • Guest editorials, commentary, and letters to the editor
    • Abstracts of Indian-related articles published in mainstream journals between issues.

    An editorial group will seek articles to broaden the understanding of issues facing Indian children and families, with special emphasis on practices with cultural traditions or teachings as the foundation. Article topics may include:

    • Social issues
    • Systems and policy-related issues
    • Community development and promising practices.

    All articles will be peer reviewed. An aspect of the journal is to provide a venue for articles that may seem too focused on Indian issues and otherwise rejected by mainstream journals; aspiring authors are encouraged to submit articles.

    Article submissions should be sent to:

    Nadja Printup, Director of Information & Training
    5100 SW Macadam Avenue, Suite 300
    Portland, Oregon 97201

  • Toward a Child-Centered, Neighborhood-Based Child Protection System: A Report of the Consortium on C

    Toward a Child-Centered, Neighborhood-Based Child Protection System: A Report of the Consortium on C

    Melton, Gary B. (Editor); Thompson, Ross A. (Editor); Small, Mark A. (Editor). Greenwood Publishing Group, Westport, CT. Praeger Publishers. 317 pp. $65.00. Hardcover.

    Scholars affiliated with universities and professional associations nationwide contribute to this collection of research. Their reports and studies examine the current child protection system and compare it to a neighborhood-based approach to child protection. Discussions address the challenges of moving toward such a system within the current legal, political, and cross-cultural contexts of child protection. They also cite examples of promising applications of a community-based approach and enumerate the legal and practical structural steps needed in creating caring communities that effectively address child abuse and neglect.

    To purchase a copy, contact:

    Greenwood Publishing Group
    Praeger Publishers
    88 Post Rd. W.
    Westport, CT 06881
    Phone: 203-226-3571
    Fax: 203-222-1502

  • Parenting and the Child's World: Influences on Academic, Intellectual, and Social-Emotional Developm

    Parenting and the Child's World: Influences on Academic, Intellectual, and Social-Emotional Developm

    Borkowski, J. G. (Editor). Bristol-Power, Marie (Editor). Ramey, Sharon Landesman (Editor). Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc., Mahwah, NJ. 403 pp. $89.95. Hardcover.

    The 39 contributors to this volume describe when, where, and how parenting matters, as well as the major antecedents and moderators of effective parenting. Chapters focus on the major conceptual issues and empirical approaches that underlie the understanding of the importance of parenting for child development in academics, their socio-emotional well being, and avoidance of risk-taking behaviors. There are multiple sources of influence on children's development, including parenting behavior, family resources, genetic and other biological factors, as well as social influences from peers, teachers, and the community at large. The authors illustrate how culture and parenting are interwoven, chart future research directions, and seek to help parents and professionals understand the implications of major research findings.

    To purchase a copy, contact:

    Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc
    10 Industrial Avenue
    Mahwah, NJ 07430-2262
    Phone: 800-926-6579
    Fax: 201-236-0072

  • Online Database Contains Domestic Violence Statutes

    Online Database Contains Domestic Violence Statutes

    Navigate to the website of the Family Violence Department of the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges for a comprehensive database of domestic violence statutes for all 50 States, the District of Columbia, and most U.S. territories. Based on research conducted over the past 8 years, the database captures all significant domestic violence legislation and is updated every legislative session.

    The database is meant as a reference tool and does not include the official text of the statutes. The Family Violence Department recommends consulting a lawyer trained on issues related to domestic violence for users seeking legal assistance. Additionally, a disclaimer notes that the information contained in the database is not exhaustive and should be verified with each State's legislative resources before relying on it.

    The user friendly site allows a visitor to search statutes of a particular State by clicking on the appropriate location of a map of the United States. The database can also be searched for a word or phrase. For example, entering the search term "child abuse" produces references to nearly 600 domestic violence statutes that address the impact on child victims. Similar to Internet search engines, the results are ranked with check marks to indicate the best matches to the search term.

    The domestic violence statutes database is made possible by a grant from the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation. Originally launched in 1987, the Family Violence Department was created by the National Council to develop, test, and promote improved court, law enforcement, agency, and community responses to family violence.

    Access the online domestic violence statutes database at:

    Contact information:

    National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges
    Family Violence Department
    PO Box 8970
    Reno, NV 89507
    Phone: 1-800-52-PEACE (1-800-527-3223)

    Related Items

    Search Children's Bureau Express for articles related to domestic violence (

    Visit the National Clearinghouse on Child Abuse and Neglect Information (no longer available) for the following related items:

    • In Harm's Way: Domestic Violence and Child Maltreatment (Note: this is no longer available)
    • State Statutes Elements: Domestic Violence (Note: this is no longer available.)

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.

  • Series Teaches About Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

    Series Teaches About Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

    A creative series of books, videotapes, workbooks, and CDs are available in the State of Washington to educate parents, schools, and other social service agencies about Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. The award-winning series, "Journey Through the Healing Circle," uses raccoons, a fox, a bear, and a puffin to convey important information about Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and related conditions by using Native American story-telling techniques. Each character portrays various challenges of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and its related conditions at different stages of life.

    Through a partnership of Washington State agencies, health care experts, and traditional Northwest tribal storytellers, the series provides stories, health tips, and knowledge to parents and foster parents about Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, and how it affects their children. The series helps families find productive ways of working with the special needs of their children.

    Produced by the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS), the series was written by Dr. Robin LaDue and Carolyn Hartness, both Native American professionals in the fetal alcohol services field; illustrated by Raoul Imbert; and narrated by Floyd Red Crow Westerman, who starred in the film "Dances With Wolves."

    Fetal Alcohol Syndrome is the only birth defect that can be completely prevented. Children with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome can exhibit behavior challenges such as inconsistency in understanding instructions, inability to judge the danger of a situation, and are easily frustrated when trying to learn new things—their world can be complex and confusing. Little interest in eating and difficulty in falling asleep can also occur.

    Sharon Newcomer, project manager for the series, stated in a press release that DSHS wanted to help parents and foster parents see their Fetal Alcohol Syndrome child through understanding, patient eyes. Newcomer also stated DSHS wants to reassure those who are raising children with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome or related conditions that they are good parents and have much to be proud of in how they care for their children with special needs.

    Copies of the videotapes, books, and CDs are available across the State of Washington from local libraries and the Foster Parent Training Institute (800-662-9111 or 206-725-9696). Books and videos can be downloaded from the DSHS website at

    Related Item

    For more resources about birth defects and developmental disabilities, see "New CDC Center Brings National Attention to Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities" in the November/December 2001 issue of the Children's Bureau Express.