Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock () or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

News From the Children's Bureau

  • Nominate a Child Abuse Prevention Program

    Nominate a Child Abuse Prevention Program

    The Children's Bureau's Office on Child Abuse and Neglect (OCAN) announces the kick-off of the nomination period for an exciting new initiative entitled "Emerging Practices in Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention." With the assistance of Caliber Associates and in partnership with the prevention community, OCAN is conducting a comprehensive review of child abuse and neglect prevention initiatives around the nation. The objective of this review is to elevate our understanding of the kinds of programs and initiatives that are operating across the country and share the best available information on emerging and promising practices with the child abuse and neglect prevention field.

    The best information about child abuse and neglect prevention is available to practitioners and researchers working in the field every day. Therefore, OCAN has implemented a nomination process whereby professionals, involved at the program level, can nominate programs and initiatives that, based on strong performance, are instructive to the entire field and warrant national attention. The 2-month nomination period ends August 15, 2002.

    The nature of the child abuse and neglect prevention field calls for a nomination process focused on two main categories of programs:

    • Effective Programs and initiatives that have shown positive prevention outcomes, which can be organized into two tiers:

      --Demonstrated Effective programs, where experimental research designs have been employed that generated positive conclusive outcome

      --Reported Effective programs, where quasi- or non-experimental methods have been employed that generated positive outcomes

    • Innovative Programs and initiatives that have overcome a particular challenge or obstacle to success through innovative methods or are showcasing an exciting new research-based initiative in prevention.

    Nominators are asked to determine the appropriate track in which to nominate a program based on the instructions provided in the Nomination Procedures and Application and adhere to all guidelines pertaining to that track.

    The Office on Child Abuse and Neglect anticipates that this initiative will offer new insights regarding current child abuse and neglect prevention programming. The initiative is expected to culminate in a publication suitable for widespread dissemination. The publication will summarize the nominated programs and initiatives, educate the field about innovative strategies for success, and provide an objective, professional context for information on program effectiveness.

    For more information and nomination forms, visit the Prevention Month website at (Editor's note: this link is no longer available.)

  • HHS Inspector General Assesses States' Efforts to Recruit and Retain Foster Parents

    HHS Inspector General Assesses States' Efforts to Recruit and Retain Foster Parents

    How are States meeting the challenges of recruiting and retaining foster parents? Two new reports released by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Inspector General (OIG) assess States' efforts in those areas.

    Based on mail surveys from all 50 States, and focus groups in five States, the OIG reports describe findings and make recommendations for improvements.

    The report entitled Recruiting Foster Parents summarizes four main findings:

    • Recruitment efforts do not focus on families willing and able to care for the most challenging children
    • States are underutilizing their most effective recruitment tool -- current foster parents
    • Poor public perceptions of foster care and cumbersome requirements have a negative impact on recruitment
    • States are unable to measure the success of their recruitment efforts.

    The OIG recommends tailoring recruitment to families who are willing and able to care for children who are the most difficult to place in foster care and using current foster parents as allies in recruitment efforts. It also suggests promoting positive media coverage of foster care through Federal collaborations with national organizations focused on child welfare. Finally, the report recommends that the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) enhance its technical assistance to State foster care program managers in recruitment efforts.

    The report entitled Retaining Foster Parents has five main findings:

    • Foster families desire greater opportunity to voice their concerns
    • Foster families experience limited caseworker support
    • Foster parents need more help obtaining services for themselves and their foster children
    • Possibility of false allegations of abuse and investigations trouble foster parents
    • Program managers lack data needed to improve retention.

    The OIG suggests several specific ways to improve services available to foster families, such as a creating a statewide informational "Foster Parent Tool Kit," encouraging information sharing among foster parents, establishing "clothes closets" to reduce out-of-pocket expenses for foster parents, making child care and respite care services more accessible, and designating foster parent advocates. It also recommends that ACF assist States in developing a retention tracking system to identify barriers to continued fostering.

    The May 2002 OIG reports are available online at the following links:

    Recruiting Foster Parents (OEI-07-00-00600)

    Retaining Foster Parents (OEI-07-00-00601)

    Related Items

    Search the archives of the Children's Bureau Express for other articles on recruitment and retention at

    Under an Adoption Opportunities grant, the North American Council on Adoptable Children has developed materials for use in recruiting and retaining foster and adoptive families, especially for waiting children. Materials are available online at:

  • States Tell How to Share Findings from Child and Family Services Reviews

    States Tell How to Share Findings from Child and Family Services Reviews

    The National Child Welfare Resource Center for Organizational Improvement has sponsored a series of teleconferences focused on child and family services reviews (CFSRs). In a recent teleconference, representatives from Arkansas and Oregon--both States that have completed their Federal CFSRs--offered their views on sharing results with the media. "Telling Your Story: Using Your Review Results with the Media," was sponsored by the National Child Welfare Resource Center for Organizational Improvement and featured Ramona Foley and Patricia Feeny from the Oregon Department of Human Services (DHS) and Joe Quinn from the Arkansas DHS.

    Foley, the Assistant Director of the Oregon DHS, Children, Adults and Families, recommended taking the initiative by "articulating to the media that you're glad to have an opportunity to present the results." She suggested talking about how the CFSR process itself has improved, but being careful not to oversell the review--reinforcing that the review itself does not take care of problems, but it helps provide information useful to legislative planning. Foley said media coverage of the CFSRs can be used as a means to advance issues in child welfare to the State and national level.

    Foley offered the following strategies for bringing the media in:

    • Understand the existing relationship between the agency and the media
    • Know what the media's perspective on the child welfare system has been
    • Be prepared to answer questions about the full range of agency activities
    • Recognize your critics, their views, and how to respond to them.

    Feeny, Media Communications Officer with the Oregon DHS, said their strategy was simple: They framed their media releases to give the DHS' viewpoint. She emphasized carefully selecting someone as spokesperson who will not oversimplify the message. Like Foley, she said it was important to be proactive.

    Quinn, the Director of Communications, Arkansas DHS, suggested involving communications [people] early on and the closer to the top the better. As States begin working on their performance improvement plans, he expects the media's focus to shift to the balance of budget and services, with the big question being "how will we pay for this stuff?" Quinn also said States do a poor job of telling taxpayers how money is spent. Because people don't know how the money is being used, it makes it harder to ask for more money. He emphasized the need to effectively communicate with taxpayers.

    The consensus of the speakers was that getting to know the media was key. Get to know the press long before going through review--work with them sooner and build relationships. Make sure the media knows that the exit conference is not the final report or "the last word." The group also had advice on media spin--be aware that the media may "spin" your presentation, conveying a message different from what you intended.

    Visit the National Child Welfare Resource Center for Organizational Improvement at for a listing of upcoming teleconferences.

  • Adoption Excellence Awards Nomination Packages

    Adoption Excellence Awards Nomination Packages

    The nomination packages for the Adoption Excellence Awards have been mailed. More information about the awards can soon be found on the Children's Bureau website at

    The deadline for applications is July 31, 2002.

Child Welfare Research

  • National Fatherhood Group Examines Statistical Trends in U.S. Families

    National Fatherhood Group Examines Statistical Trends in U.S. Families

    Drawing on data from a variety of sources, the fourth edition of Father Facts examines a long list of family-related topics including father absence, single-parent families, out-of-wedlock childbearing, divorce, child custody, child support, stepfamilies, and cohabitation.

    The 182-page document, released April 9 by the National Fatherhood Initiative, reports that a decades-long trend toward single-parent families has leveled off. From 1960 to 1995 the proportion of children living in single-parent homes tripled from 9 percent to 27 percent; from 1995 to 2000, that proportion declined slightly, although the figure remains historically high.

    Wade F. Horn, Ph.D., former National Fatherhood Initiative president and current Assistant Secretary for Children and Families at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and researcher Tom Sylvester write in the introduction that out-of-wedlock childbearing has overtaken divorce as the primary cause of father absence. "The root of the fatherhood crisis in America is the physical disappearance of fathers from families," write Horn and Sylvester. "As such, the future of fatherhood is inextricably tied to the future of marriage."

    According to the study, 24 million U.S. children (34 percent) live absent their biological father. The document reports that about 40 percent of children in father-absent homes have not seen their father at all during the past year; 26 percent of absent fathers live in a different State than their children; and 50 percent of children living absent their father have never visited their father's home. Father Facts reports that children who live without the presence of their fathers in their lives are more likely to be poor, use drugs, be victims of abuse, and to experience other difficulties in life than children who live with their married biological or adoptive parents, the report states. Other statistics noted in the report include the following:

    • The rate of child abuse in single-parent families is nearly twice the rate of child abuse in two-parent households.
    • Fathers who live with their children are more likely to have close enduring relationships with their children.
    • Children with involved, loving fathers are significantly more likely to do well in school, have higher self-esteem, and do well in other ways.

    To order a copy of Father Facts, contact:

    The National Fatherhood Initiative
    101 Lake Forest Blvd., Suite 360
    Gaithersburg, MD 20877
    Phone: 301-948-0599
    Fax: 301-948-4325

    Related Items

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

    • "Supporting Responsible Fathers in Baltimore, Maryland"(May 2002)
    • "Dads Make a Difference" (July/August 2001)
    • "Institute Focuses on Latino Fathers" (July 2000)

    Read President Bush's proclamation on Father's Day, 2002 at:

  • New Bilingual Phrase Book for Child Abuse Referrals

    New Bilingual Phrase Book for Child Abuse Referrals

    A new English-Spanish phrase book aims to remove communication barriers that many social workers encounter when responding to child abuse referrals. Revised from a 1993 edition, the newly published English/Spanish Child Abuse Phrase Book: Family-Social Worker Interview Manual/Manual Bilingue para Familias has been used for more than seven years in many child welfare training programs throughout California.

    Designed as a resource for social workers, the book contains phrases useful when responding to a referral presented side by side in English and Spanish. Although conversational knowledge of each language is assumed, the book is a useful tool for both fluent and non-fluent speakers.

    This book, written by Edward Stresino, was based on his work as a bilingual Emergency Response worker. In the Preface, Stresino states that "each situation is visualized equally in both languages," rather than providing literal translations. The book is divided into sections that correspond to the steps in the referral process from the social worker's initial contact with the family through the interviewing and evaluation phases. It contains sample language about placement, court, and releasing the child to relatives. The book also defines child abuse regulations and key vocabulary.

    Contact information:

    University of New Mexico Press
    Order Department
    3721 Spirit Dr. SE
    Albuquerque, NM 87106-5631
    Phone: 1-800-249-7737

    Related Items

    Visit the website of the National Clearinghouse on Child Abuse and Neglect Information ( for the following Spanish factsheets regarding child abuse and neglect:

    • ¿Qué es el maltrato de menores? (What is Child Maltreatment?)
    • Usted tiene el poder de prevenir el abuso y la negligencia de menores (You Have the Power to Prevent Child Abuse and Neglect)

    Read "Bilingual Resource for Child Molestation and Sexual Abuse Interviewers" in the May 2000 issue of the Children's Bureau Express.

  • CDC Analyzes Statistics on Infant Homicides

    CDC Analyzes Statistics on Infant Homicides

    The first and eighth weeks of an infant's life are the most deadly according to an analysis of infant deaths by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). A CDC study published in the March 8 Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report finds that infants are at the greatest risk of homicide during those weeks.

    The CDC study focused on homicides of children during their first 12 months, the period when children are at highest risk of homicide. For the study, the CDC examined death certificates issued from 1989 - 1998. The CDC found 3,312 homicide victims among children younger than 1 year who died during that time period. Among homicides that occurred during the first week of life, the largest percentage of homicides occurred on the day of birth (82.6 percent).

    Other findings were:

    • Among homicides on the first day of life, 95 percent of victims are not born in a hospital.
    • During the first week of life, 89 percent of perpetrators are female, usually the mother.
    • Mothers who kill their infants are more likely to be adolescents and have a history of mental illness.
    • The secondary peak in risk in week 8 might reflect the peak in the daily duration of crying among normal infants between weeks 6 and 8.

    The study concludes by suggesting that homicides of infants might be reduced by preventing out-of-hospital births among high-risk women and by providing home visitation and parenting programs. The findings of the study could inform the timing and types of services offered to at-risk families.

    Access the study online at:

  • Two Reports Aim Attention at Children in Poverty

    Two Reports Aim Attention at Children in Poverty

    The National Center for Children in Poverty has recently released reports that deal with the potentially positive role of community development corporations (CDCs) in the lives of poor children, and how poverty can adversely affect children's emotional and intellectual development.

    The first report, entitled The Role of Community Development Corporations in Promoting the Well-Being of Young Children, describes the results of a study that looked into what community-based organizations in low-income areas are doing to promote the healthy development of low-income young children and families.

    This study focused on three questions:

    • In what ways are CDCs promoting the well-being of low-income families with young children?
    • What are the issues, challenges, and opportunities facing CDCs seeking to play a more active role in promoting the well-being of young children and their families?
    • What more might be done to strengthen CDCs' role in promoting the well-being of the next generation?

    After studying five different cities, the authors conclude that CDCs could play a stronger role in promoting better outcomes for children and their families if they had access to better resources and technical assistance.

    The second report, Early Childhood Poverty--A Statistical Profile, emphasizes the importance of the first years of life in a child's emotional and intellectual development, and underscores the adverse effects of poverty on this process.

    Statistics presented in the report highlight the following trends:

    • The poverty rate for U.S. children under age three remains high despite recent decline.
    • Young children who live with single mothers are far more likely to be poor than those who live with married parents.
    • Poverty rates for young children vary dramatically by ethnicity and family structure.
    • For the majority of poor children under age three, having parents who are employed does not prevent them from living in poverty.
    • Economic and human costs of young child poverty are staggering and unsustainable.

    The National Center for Children in Poverty reports are available online at the following links:

    The Role of Community Development Corporations in Promoting the Well-Being of Young Children ( dept/nccp/roleCDC.html)

    Early Childhood Poverty: A Statistical Profile

    Print copies can be obtained by contacting:

    National Center for Children in Poverty
    Mailman School for Public Health, Columbia University
    154 Haven Ave.
    New York, NY 10032-1180
    Phone: 212-304-7100
    Fax: 212-544-4200

  • Adoption Community Connects Online Through E-Magazines, Listserve

    Adoption Community Connects Online Through E-Magazines, Listserve

    Adoption professionals and members of the "adoption triad"--adoptees, adoptive families, and birthparents--can keep up-to-date with developments in the field through two free e-magazines. A new listserve also helps foster and adoption recruiters network.

    The National Adoption Center launched a new e-newsletter, titled NACzine, in November 2001. The bimonthly NACzine was developed to provide information about featured children, breaking news on adoption, and other significant updates. Its "News Flash" section features articles on adoption that appear in the press in the United States and other countries. Each issue also highlights a waiting child from the National Adoption Center's FACES of Adoption website. Book reviews, personal adoption stories, and Center events are also included. To receive NACzine, sign up for the FACES of Adoption email list on Yahoo! Groups by visiting

    Another online resource is the Dave Thomas Center for Adoption Law Weekly News Summary. Viewers are provided brief summaries of the articles, and full-text versions are available. Visit the website at

    Foster and adoption recruiters can participate in virtual brainstorming sessions through a new listserve. Members are encouraged to share successful recruitment ideas so that others may replicate or adapt them. Recruiters also discuss activities that were ineffective and obstacles in recruiting homes for children in foster care. The listserve is an open, unmoderated group. To join the listserve, email or contact Chany Reon Ockert, recruitment and development specialist for A Family for ME at

    Related Items

    There is a growing list of online and electronic networking venues. See the following related articles in these past issues of the Children's Bureau Express ( for some resources:

    • "Distance Learning Offers New Options for Adoption Preparation" (July/August 2001)
    • "New Listserve Connects Child Welfare Training Professionals" (January/February 2001)
    • "Connect Online to Special Needs Adoption Professionals" (May 2000)
  • New Study Looks at the Well-Being of Children in the Child Welfare System

    New Study Looks at the Well-Being of Children in the Child Welfare System

    A study from the Urban Institute finds that children involved in the child welfare system are not faring well emotionally, behaviorally, educationally, or physically.

    The report, entitled The Well-Being of Children Involved with the Child Welfare System: A National Overview, was published in January. This study is the latest in a series of publications from the Assessing New Federalism project.

    Because most children in custody have experienced abuse and neglect, they have a higher incidence of emotional and behavioral problems than their unabused counterparts in the general population, according to the report.

    This study is the first national overview of the well-being of children involved with the child welfare system and is based on data from the 1997 and 1999 National Survey of America's Families. Among the statistics for children in the child welfare system:

    • 27 percent have high levels of behavioral and emotional problems (ages 6-17)
    • 39 percent display low engagement in school (ages 6-17)
    • 28 percent have a limiting physical, learning, or mental health condition.

    In the area of caregiver well-being, the report documents that a quarter of children in foster or relative care were living with caregivers assessed as highly aggravated. Additionally, a quarter of children under 6 involved with the child welfare system are living with caregivers who provide minimal cognitive stimulation, including reading to them and taking them on outings.

    Following detailed statistical information on the difficulties that these children face, the report concludes that the well-being of these children is "compromised," and that the child welfare system may need to devote more resources to the problem.

    Access a copy of the report online in HTML format at TaggedContent/ViewByPubID.cfm&PubID=310413, or in PDF format at

    For more information about the Assessing New Federalism project, visit its website at AboutANF/AboutANF.htm.

  • Report Defines Psychological Mistreatment of Children, Describes its Consequences

    Report Defines Psychological Mistreatment of Children, Describes its Consequences

    A new report from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) aims to heighten pediatricians' awareness of the psychological maltreatment of children.

    The report was published in the April 2002 issue of Pediatrics, the journal of the AAP. According to authors Steven W. Kairys, Charles F. Johnson, and the AAP Committee on Child Abuse and Neglect, enough research has been amassed and sufficient consensus has been reached to justify defining child psychological maltreatment as an entity distinct from physical and sexual abuse.

    The report defines psychological maltreatment as "a repeated pattern of damaging interactions between parent(s) and child that becomes typical of the relationship. In some situations, the pattern is chronic and pervasive; in others, the pattern occurs only when triggered by alcohol or other potentiating factors. Occasionally, a very painful singular incident, such as an unusually contentious divorce, can initiate psychological maltreatment."

    The report identifies risk factors for, and consequences of, child psychological maltreatment; describes behaviors that may constitute psychological maltreatment; and offers pediatricians guidance on recognizing, preventing, and reporting this type of maltreatment.

    Access a copy of the report online at:

    Related Items

    See the following reviews of New and Noteworthy Publications in the January 2002 issue of the Children's Bureau Express:

    • "Emotional Abuse and Emotional Neglect: Antecedents, Operational Definitions and Consequences"
    • "Psychological Maltreatment of Children: The APSAC Study Guides 4"

    Search the documents database on the National Clearinghouse on Child Abuse and Neglect Information website ( for additional information related to psychological maltreatment of children.

  • New Child Welfare Practice Series Available Online

    New Child Welfare Practice Series Available Online

    Learn about new ideas in child welfare on the Internet. The Child Welfare Institute has launched a new online resource for child welfare professionals entitled "Making a Difference That Matters." It is a series of brief practice articles written by CWI staff and others.

    Launched in February 2002, topics have included:

    • Kinship care
    • Fatherhood
    • Child welfare training
    • Case planning and review
    • Adolescents in foster care
    • Foster parent-birth parent collaboration
    • Disproportionality of African American children in child welfare system.

    New titles will be added each month, with older titles archived but still accessible through the website. Readers can sign up for a free subscription online.

    Access the series online at:

Strategies and Tools for Practice

  • Respite Care: Help for Families Who Adopt Children with Special Needs

    Respite Care: Help for Families Who Adopt Children with Special Needs

    Reduced stress and improved family relationships--those are a few of the benefits adoptive families can expect when they get a break from caring for their special needs children. The National Adoption Information Clearinghouse has recently released a report, which synthesizes outcomes and lessons learned from eight Adoption Opportunities discretionary grant projects funded under a respite care priority area. Other Adoption Opportunities post-legal adoption services grant projects have included respite care as part of grant activities.

    In its funding announcement, the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) defined respite care as temporary care for the children that can provide a break for the families from the daily demands of caring for their children or respite during times of emergency. The eight projects reviewed in this synthesis took place in various regions of the country and represent a portion of the 19 respite care projects funded between 1990 and 1995.

    The report summarizes the projects' components including methods for recruiting and training respite care providers, methods for recruiting families to participate, and types of respite services provided. One of the challenges noted for many projects was families' reluctance to use the services. This reluctance was based on families' lack of knowledge about the services, concerns about strangers caring for their children, and concerns that use of respite care may be perceived by others as an indication of inadequate parenting abilities.

    Accomplishments noted by various programs include:

    • Recruiting and training more than 130 respite care providers
    • Filling a gap in needs for service by including foster-adopt families who were otherwise ineligible for services
    • Developing a training manual for respite care providers and families
    • Contributing to passage of State legislation providing an infrastructure for statewide respite services.

    Recommendations from the project staff include educating families about the nature of respite care services and targeting services to identified needs of families.

    Access a copy of the report online at:

    Print copies available from:

    National Adoption Information Clearinghouse
    330 C Street, SW
    Washington, DC 20447
    Phone: (703) 352-3488 or (888) 251-0075
    Fax: (703) 385-3206

    Related Items

    The May 2002 issue of Children's Voice, the bimonthly magazine of the Child Welfare League of America, features an article that provides a national perspective on respite care for people caring for children with special needs, as well as promising approaches in Oklahoma, Arizona, Michigan, and Florida. Access the article online at:

    For more information about respite care, visit the ARCH National Respite Network and Resource Center website at (Editor's note: this link is no longer available.)

  • Temperament Assessments Seen as Effective Parenting and Child Abuse Prevention Tool

    Temperament Assessments Seen as Effective Parenting and Child Abuse Prevention Tool

    A nonprofit organization called The Preventive Ounce has developed an assessment system in which a child's temperament can be determined, providing a valuable tool to parents (and other caregivers) in understanding and guiding their children, as well as preventing child abuse. By understanding their child's temperament, parents are better able to interpret their child's behavior and moderate their own. Developed over 10 years and now accessible on the Internet, this system has been shown to be effective in reducing anxiety and frustration felt by parents who can't understand their children's behavior.

    Temperament is different from personality and ability. The major areas of temperament are defined as follows:

    • Energy level -- how much the child moves around, how intensely he/she reacts to events
    • Adjustability -- length of time needed to recover or adapt to intrusions, transitions, changes, or novelties
    • Frustration tolerance -- how easily the child can withstand the disorganizing effects of limits, obstacles, and delays
    • Sensitivity -- the amount of stimulation or change in stimulation levels needed to evoke a discernible response
    • Regularity in sleep and eating schedules -- to what extent the child becomes tired or hungry at the same time each day
    • Distractibility (or in infancy, soothability) -- how easily external events or stimulation interfere with or divert the child from an ongoing activity.

    The process begins with a questionnaire by which Preventive Ounce determines what kind of temperament a child has. Information is then provided to the parent concerning the kinds of behavioral issues that are normal for that temperament type, with suggestions of strategies for dealing with them. Also provided is information on the experiences of other parents of children of similar temperaments, with examples of what works well and what does not.

    Now available in both English and Spanish, the program is designed to be used by parents of children age 4 months through 12 years. It has been recognized by a number of managed health care systems, adoption agencies, and private pediatric clinics as beneficial to families and cost-effective. Most of this program was developed and tested at Kaiser Permanente, the oldest and largest HMO in the United States. As stated in the April 2001 edition of Children Now's Right Time Right Place News newsletter, in 1994 the program was evaluated by Kaiser Permanente and found to be an effective way to improve care for children and families, while decreasing costs for the health plan. "In one Kaiser facility, four-month-old infants whose parents received temperament-based anticipatory guidance through the mail had 1.5 fewer discretionary visits to Kaiser clinics in the next year, compared to infants in a matching control group," said James Cameron, Ph.D., Executive Director of The Preventive Ounce.

    The Preventive Ounce's Web page provides detailed information on their organization's history and on temperament. Cameron and David Rice, Ph.D., the two founding psychologists of Preventive Ounce in 1986, began their careers in the 1960s as child psychologists in children's mental health programs at the county and State levels. "We both recognized that many of the behavioral problems of the children in these programs had started in the infant or toddler period... but parents had received no help at that time," said Cameron. "We believe that child abuse has many roots. One of them occurs when parents don't understand their child's temperament and therefore can't 'fit' their parenting to respond effectively to the issues normal for their child's temperament."

    Online, parents and caregivers can complete a short, two-part questionnaire that generates a profile of their child's temperament. The questionnaires currently available online are for English-speaking parents of infants, toddlers, and preschoolers. According to Cameron, Spanish versions of the toddler and preschool questionnaires should be available on the Preventive Ounce website by the end of the year. Cameron also notes that a questionnaire for the older child is in the planning stages; however, the preschool-age questionnaire can be used to forecast issues up through age 7. Training in the use of the Preventive Ounce website and temperament counseling is available through two Internet-based training programs sponsored by Arizona State University's College of Nursing and their Distance Learning Program.

    To learn more about The Preventive Ounce and to obtain hard copies of the English and Spanish versions of the temperament questionnaires, contact Dr. Cameron at 510-658-8359 or Visit the Preventive Ounce website at

    To learn more about Internet-based temperament training programs, contact

    For information about the Right Time Right Places News newsletter, go to the Children Now website at

  • Promising Approaches to Meeting the Health Care Needs of Children in Foster Care

    Promising Approaches to Meeting the Health Care Needs of Children in Foster Care

    States and communities that aim to improve health services for children in the foster care system can turn to the website of the Georgetown University Child Development Center for the latest promising approaches.

    The site posts findings from a three-year study funded by the Federal Maternal and Child Health Bureau. Researchers collected and analyzed data on approximately one hundred approaches now being taken across the United States to meet the health care needs of children in the foster care system. For the purposes of the study, "health care" included physical, mental, emotional, developmental and dental health.

    Site visits were conducted at nine locations in Arkansas, Illinois, New York, California, and Montana to obtain in-depth interviews with key stakeholders. Data from these sites helped to identify the critical components that comprise a comprehensive system for meeting the health care needs of these children. The critical components include:

    • Initial screening and comprehensive health assessment
    • Access to health care services and treatment
    • Management of health care data and information
    • Coordination of care
    • Collaboration among systems
    • Family involvement
    • Attention to cultural issues
    • Monitoring and evaluation
    • Training and education
    • Funding strategies
    • Designing managed care to fit the needs of children in the child welfare system.

    Individual site visit reports and definitions of critical components are among the products produced as result of this study. Other products from the study, titled Meeting the Health Care Needs of Children in the Foster Care System, include:

    • Fact sheets describing individual approaches
    • Summary of State and Community Efforts
    • Strategies for Implementation
    • Compendium of Approaches
    • Topical Issue Briefs
    • Literature Review.

    Access the products from the study online at:

    Contact information:

    Jan McCarthy, Project Director
    Georgetown University Center for Child and Human Development
    3307 M St., NW
    Washington, DC 20007
    Phone: 202-687-8635
    Fax: 202-687-8899

    Related Items

    Another related policy paper has just been released from the National Center for Children in Poverty. The second in a series on promoting the emotional well-being of children and familes, Improving the Odds for the Healthy Development of Young Children in Foster Care can be found under the "publications" link on the Center's website at

    See the following related articles in the May 2002 issue of the Children's Bureau Express:

    • "Ideas on Improving Health Services for Young Children in Foster Care"
    • "Alabama Doctor Centralizes Medical Records for Children in Foster Care"


  • They're All My Children: Foster Mothering in America

    They're All My Children: Foster Mothering in America

    Wozniak, Danielle F. New York University Press, NY. 2002. 255 pp. $18.00. Paperback.

    The Connecticut State Legislative Program Review and Investigations (SLPRI) Committee hired Wozniak to conduct ethnographic interviews with foster mothers for the Department of Children and Families (DCF). The SLPRI Committee wanted to know who the foster mothers were and why they chose to foster, so they could make legislative recommendations for institutional changes in DCF, and improvements in foster care administration. The author, simultaneously collecting data for her own research, wanted to know how women are introduced to fostering, and how it shapes and changes the way they think of themselves and their families and children. The study sample consisted of an even number of African American and Euro-American foster mothers, mostly married, ranging in age from 28-78 years old, and licensed by the state of Connecticut. They had each fostered between zero and 250 children in their lives, and, at the time of the study, cared for zero to five children, only a small portion of whom were relatives. Most of the foster families were poor or working class.

    Interviews with the mothers found that their reasons for fostering fell into five overlapping and inclusive categories:

    • Altruism, and social and moral responsibility
    • Family tradition
    • Social action
    • The desire for more children
    • The need or desire for income or employment.

    The women consistently revealed several themes about self and community: physical space as a metaphor for emotional availability; being chosen, rather than choosing to foster; and informal fostering as a pathway to formal fostering. An appendix provides further details about the methods used to conduct the study.

    To purchase a copy, contact:

    New York University Press
    Washington Sq.
    New York, NY 10003
    Phone: 212-998-2575
    Fax: 212-995-3833

  • Parenting the Hurt Child: Helping Adoptive Families Heal and Grow

    Parenting the Hurt Child: Helping Adoptive Families Heal and Grow

    Keck, Gregory C.; Kupecky, Regina M. Pinon Press, Colorado Springs, CO. 2002. 295 pp. $22.00. Hardcover.

    Adopted children often bear emotional scars from the past that can complicate the formation of relationships with their new families. Parenting such children can prove difficult. In order to assist children who have assimilation difficulties while maintaining family stability, adoptive parents must understand the attachment cycle. They also must learn effective parenting techniques; how to nurture a troubled child; and where to go when professional assistance is necessary, for either parent, child, or family therapy. Time, patience, informed parenting, and appropriate treatment can support children in healing and growing. The authors provide tips, answers to frequently asked questions, and commentary from parents who have been through similar experiences with their own adopted children. Contents include:

    • Parenting techniques that often fail
    • Parenting techniques that usually work
    • Knowing when to lead and when to follow
    • Connecting with the right therapist
    • Coping when nothing seems to work.

    This is a companion publication to Adopting the Hurt Child: Hope for Families With Special-Needs Kids. A Guide for Parents and Professionals.

    To purchase a copy, contact:

    Pinon Press
    PO Box 35007
    Colorado Springs, CO 80935
    Phone: 719-548-9222

  • We Are Not Alone: A Guidebook for Helping Professionals and Parents Supporting Adolescent Victims of

    We Are Not Alone: A Guidebook for Helping Professionals and Parents Supporting Adolescent Victims of

    Angelica, Jade Christine. Haworth Press, Inc., Binghamton, NY. 2001. 240 pp. $24.95. Paperback.

    Angelica explains the process of reporting, investigating, and prosecuting cases of adolescent sexual abuse, and the victims' needs for guidance through the social services and criminal justice systems. Victims and their families are encouraged to participate with professionals in this process as a step towards healing. To effectively assist both boys and girls who have experienced sexual abuse, it is important that those working with them have appropriate knowledge to avoid causing retraumatization. In addition to gender differences, children's emotional reactions at various stages differ. Parents and professionals can be of more assistance if they understand this. Resources consist of:

    • Separate accounts of sexual abuse by a girl and a boy to help victims understand what is happening to them
    • A workbook to guide victims through the adjudication process
    • Guiding questions for interviewers
    • A glossary of terms to facilitate adolescents' comprehension and reporting
    • A list of agencies and organizations that can provide further resources, information, and educational materials.

    To purchase a copy, contact:

    Haworth Press, Inc.
    10 Alice St.
    Binghamton, NY 13904-1580
    Phone: 800-429-6784
    Fax: 800-895-0582

  • Children Who See Too Much: Lessons from the Child Witness to Violence Project

    Children Who See Too Much: Lessons from the Child Witness to Violence Project

    Groves, Betsy McAlister. Beacon Press. Boston, MA. 2002. 179 pp. $24.00. Hardcover.

    Children may be exposed to any number of violent events in their lives, but traumatic events involving family members carry the most severe psychological risks. Until fairly recently, research on the psychological impact of domestic violence on adults had neglected the consequences of their children's exposure to violence. The Child Witness to Violence Project (CWVP) at Boston Medical Center's Department of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics has served children traumatized by violence since 1992. Challenging the myth that children do not remember early life events and suffer no lasting effects, Groves demonstrates that family violence can damage the developing brains of very young children, leading to adverse emotional, cognitive, and physiological changes that will affect them throughout their lives. According to CWVP's website, the Program's goals include:

    • Identifying young children who witness acts of significant violence
    • Helping young children heal from the trauma of witnessing violence by providing developmentally appropriate counseling for them, and for their families
    • Providing consultation and training to the network of caregivers in the lives of young children so they may more effectively help those exposed to violence.

    Intervention strategies may comprise family and individual therapy, as well as community-wide treatment approaches. An appendix and a list of resource contacts are included.

    To purchase a copy, contact:

    Beacon Press
    25 Beacon St.
    Boston, MA 02108-2892
    Phone: 617-742-2110
    Fax: 617-723-3097

  • Silenced Angels: The Medical, Legal, and Social Aspects of Shaken Baby Syndrome

    Silenced Angels: The Medical, Legal, and Social Aspects of Shaken Baby Syndrome

    Peinkofer, J. R. Greenwood Publishing Group, Inc., Westport, CT. 2002. 309 pp. $44.95. Hardcover.

    Shaken Baby Syndrome (SBS), which occurs when a caretaker shakes a baby violently, is a condition that only recently has been described in the medical literature. Medical manifestations of SBS include bone fractures, intracranial injury, ocular damage, and cutaneous symptoms. Due to a lack of knowledge concerning these symptoms, physicians often overlook the condition. Advances in diagnostic technology will aid in the detection of SBS, and decrease the number of undiagnosed cases. Legal aspects regarding SBS encompass investigation of the case by police and child welfare workers; distinguishing Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) from SBS, and any prosecutory action taken against a perpetrator. Socially, children and families affected by SBS must cope with the social stigma, as well as their own emotional issues. Prevention options include parenting classes, professional home visiting, and other educational opportunities.

    To purchase a copy, contact:

    Greenwood Publishing Group, Inc.
    88 Post Rd. W.
    Westport, CT 06881
    Phone: 800-225-5800
    Fax: 203-750-9790

  • For Better and For Worse: Welfare Reform and the Well-Being of Children and Families

    For Better and For Worse: Welfare Reform and the Well-Being of Children and Families

    Duncan, Greg J.; Chase-Lansdale, P. Lindsay, Editors. Russell Sage Foundation, New York, NY. 2001. 337 pp. $42.50. Hardback.

    Although the 1996 welfare reform bill reduced welfare rolls, falling caseloads do not necessarily mean a better standard of living for families. More than 30 child welfare, social work, and family experts examine the evidence from welfare reform's first five years and evaluate whether it has met one of its chief goals: improving the well-being of our nation's poor children. Organized in four sections, chapters describe:

    • How individual States redesigned, implemented, and are managing their new welfare systems
    • What happens when sanctions and time limits force families out of the welfare system
    • How States have focused primarily on maternal employment, rather than increased income or marriage
    • Reforms that provide financial support for working parents, enhancing children's development
    • How children and families are actually faring under the new system
    • Policy options for future enhancements
    • Lessons learned.

    Focusing on improving the life chances of poor children, this volume presents the most recent data on the effects of welfare reform, as well as predictions for the future.

    To purchase a copy, contact:

    Russell Sage Foundation
    Publications Office
    112 E. 64th St.
    New York, NY 10021
    Phone: 800-524-6401 or 212-750-6000
    Fax: 800-688-2877 or 212-371-4761

  • Systems of Care for Children with Emotional Disturbances

    Systems of Care for Children with Emotional Disturbances

    The National Technical Assistance Center for Children's Mental Health and the Child, Adolescent, and Family Branch of the Center for Mental Health Services are sponsoring training institutes on developing local systems of care for children and adolescents with emotional disturbances and their families.

    Held July 10-14 in Washington, DC, the institutes will focus on family involvement and cultural competence and provide comprehensive, practical information on developing and operating community-based systems of care that incorporate effective intervention strategies. The institutes are designed for State and local policymakers, planners, administrators, program managers, service providers, clinicians, case managers, families, youth, advocates, researchers, educators, and others concerned with improving services for children and adolescents and their families.

    To obtain additional information about the institutes or to download a registration form, visit the training institutes' website at

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.

  • News From the Child Welfare Training Resources (CWTR) Online Network: Guide for Clinical Social Work

    News From the Child Welfare Training Resources (CWTR) Online Network: Guide for Clinical Social Work

    Drawing from years of experience testifying in court as a social worker in private practice, Janet Vogelsang, MSW, BCD, has written The Witness Stand: A Guide for Clinical Social Workers in the Courtroom. (Haworth Social Work Practice Press, 134 pp., $19.95 paperback.)

    Intended to fill a void in the preparation of clinical social workers, this guide presents information that will be helpful in family, criminal, juvenile or other types of courts. Describing skills needed for all types of legal proceedings, it is organized into chapters that each address a specific issue in preparing for and going to court. Written by a social worker for social workers, the guide presents legal definitions, examples of courtroom situations and tips for testifying in an easy-to-read format. Each chapter ends with a brief summary and list of suggestions that serve as a review of what to remember before testifying.

    Development of this guide was rooted in Vogelsang's belief that, "Clinical social workers belong in the courtroom and the courts need clinical social workers, because we have specialized training in conducting biopsychosocial assessments that provide the courts with comprehensive information they are unlikely to hear otherwise."

    Professors in colleges of social work will also find the guide helpful in preparing students for their professional role in the courtroom.

    To purchase a copy, contact:

    Haworth Social Work Practice Press
    10 Alice St.
    Binghamton, NY 13904-1580
    Phone: 800-429-6784
    Fax 800-895-0582