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April 2011Vol. 12, No. 3Spotlight on National Child Abuse Prevention Month

This month, CBX spotlights National Child Abuse Prevention Month through items linking to different facets of prevention, evaluation, and parent education.

Issue Spotlight

  • E-Newsletter Helps Parents Learn What to Expect

    E-Newsletter Helps Parents Learn What to Expect

    Just In Time Parenting is a free e-newsletter designed for parents with newborns through children 5 years of age. Parents receive regular 8-page e-newsletters with information specific to their child's age and needs. The information is designed to promote positive parenting so that children experience healthy growth and development.

    The target audience is parents who are new parents or at risk due to poverty, low education levels, or teenage parenthood. The content is written at a low literacy level and is designed to catch parents at a "teachable moment" by offering information that is instantly applicable to their child. A team of university educators and researchers writes the newsletter based on the latest research.

    Evaluations of Just in Time Parenting have shown that readers experience a number of benefits, including:

    • More confidence in their parenting skills
    • Realistic, age-appropriate expectations for their children
    • Fewer abusive beliefs and actions (e.g., spanking)

    To find out more about Just in Time Parenting, visit the Cooperative Extension website:

    To read about how child welfare professionals can share Just in Time Parenting with parents, view the Just in Time Parenting PowerPoint (in PDF): (1,243 KB)

    Related Item

    Another resource for both parents and professionals is the Community Café website. The English and Spanish website serves as an electronic bulletin board for groups across the country that meet in neighborhood or community "cafés" to discuss problems and develop solutions. Much of the focus is on strengthening families by promoting protective factors within the community. The website offers tools, resources, contacts, a blog link to café stories, and an opportunity to network with others who are grappling with similar issues.

  • Evaluating Prevention Programs

    Evaluating Prevention Programs

    A recent article in the Journal of Extension documents the challenges of simultaneously evaluating multiple child maltreatment prevention programs. The authors describe their work under a contract from the Alabama Department of Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention/The Children's Trust Fund (CTF) to conduct an evaluation study of the State’s child abuse and neglect prevention programs funded by the department. The scope of the approximately 200 individual community-based programs was quite diverse, encompassing such areas as parent education/support, home visiting, respite care, fatherhood, community awareness, school-based and non-school-based/after-school programs, and mentoring.

    A goal of the project was to empower grantees with an understanding of the value of systematic evaluation methods while simultaneously focusing on CTF's need for valid measurements of success and meaningful documentation of indicators of program impact. Built into the design were methods for standardizing data collection across programs within each program type to allow for the aggregation of data. Such efforts are important for providing tools to intermediary groups or agencies, determining the efficacy of providing funding support for programs, and assessing the impact of individual programs in order to make informed re-funding decisions.

    Researchers used a three-tiered evaluation design that allowed them to collect both quantitative and qualitative data. Analyses of both types of data provided evidence of the positive outcomes from CTF-funded prevention programs for parents and youth in Alabama. In addition, the researchers made important discoveries about best practices in conducting this type of broad evaluation.

    "Evaluating Multiple Prevention Programs: Methods, Results, and Lessons Learned," by Francesca Adler-Baeder, Jennifer Kerpelman, Melody M. Griffin, and David G. Schramm, was published in the December 2010 issue of the Journal of Extension. The article is available online:

  • Introducing the National Parent Helpline®

    Introducing the National Parent Helpline®

    (Submitted by Parents Anonymous® Inc.)

    Where can parents turn to get emotional support and assistance to develop solutions to raising their children? Parents Anonymous® Inc. is excited to introduce the new National Parent Helpline®. This toll-free service at 1.855.4A PARENT (1.855.427.2736) and website are designed to build on the strengths of families in order to ensure all five protective factors. Helpline Advocates are available Monday through Friday, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. (PST), to provide emotional support and referrals (in English and Spanish), resulting in the empowerment of parents and caregivers nationwide. The website has comprehensive parenting resources and a bulletin board for parents and caregivers to share their leadership experiences to create caring communities and help others. There are also links to Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

    We hope you will partner with us to promote and enhance the National Parent Helpline by:

    • Posting the National Parent Helpline logo on your website (and we'll post yours)
    • Referring parents and caregivers who are looking for emotional support, referrals, and other connections 
    • Sharing your resources so we can include them on the National Parent Helpline website

    Tanya Long, a national Parents Anonymous Parent Leader and member of the Parents Anonymous Inc. Board of Directors, says, "We are very proud to make this vital National Parent Helpline available to parents and caregivers to create lasting benefits to families and communities. In Parents Anonymous, Asking for Help is a Sign of Strength®, and this is the message that we are promoting to the 149 million parents nationwide. We hope everyone will help us spread the word about this invaluable resource."

    Bryan Samuels, Commissioner, Administration on Children, Youth and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, was a featured speaker at the Washington, DC, launch of the landmark National Parent Helpline. Commissioner Samuels applauded the National Parent Helpline, stating, "Now parents can call the National Parent Helpline to get the support they need, so they can continue to do the very important work they do in raising healthy, happy families."

    Since 1969, Parents Anonymous Inc. has implemented effective, strength-based services for millions of families worldwide through shared leadership. Please let us know if you plan to post the National Parent Helpline on your website or need more information. Contact Jodi Doane at 909.621.6184, ext. 210, or via email at

    Visit the National Parent Helpline:

  • April Is National Child Abuse Prevention Month

    April Is National Child Abuse Prevention Month

    Observed every April since 1984, National Child Abuse Prevention Month provides an opportunity to promote child abuse awareness activities and events aimed at protecting children and supporting families. National Child Abuse Prevention Month's theme, "Strengthening Families and Communities," emphasizes the importance of building on families' resources to create a safer and more nurturing environment for children. 

    The Prevention Month resource guide has been updated to reflect the latest research and information. Designed to inform and support professional practice in family services, Strengthening Families and Communities: 2011 Resource Guide provides tools and strategies to enhance families' capacity to care for their children and secure long-term success. The guide underscores the value of five protective factors, which have been shown to protect children from the risk of abuse:

    • Nurturing and attachment
    • Knowledge of parenting and of child and youth development
    • Parental resilience
    • Social connections
    • Concrete supports for parents

    The guide highlights tools and strategies for integrating the protective factors into policies and procedures that govern everyday practice in child and family services. This year's guide offers the following resources for service providers:

    • The Center for Disease Control’s four priority strategies for child maltreatment prevention
    • A revision of the "levers of change" in an effort to create more programs that take on a protective factors' approach
    • Tools to help build community awareness and develop partnerships with specific groups
    • A new sample press release and examples of public service announcements
    • Three new tip sheets in English and Spanish that can be shared with parents and caregivers
    • A new activity calendar of 30 Ways to Strengthen Families, in English and Spanish

    Strengthening Families and Communities is the result of a major collaborative effort among the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Children's Bureau, the Office on Child Abuse and Neglect, Child Welfare Information Gateway, the FRIENDS National Resource Center for Community-Based Child Abuse Prevention, the Center for the Study of Social Policy, and numerous national organizations. 

    To view or order a copy of the resource guide, please visit the Child Welfare Information Gateway website:

    In preparation for Child Abuse Prevention Month, Child Welfare Information Gateway updated its Preventing Child Abuse and Neglect web section. This redesigned section offers new and enhanced information on a variety of topics, including a new page on preventing the recurrence of abuse or neglect, a revision of the public awareness and home visiting sections, and a new page on planning and implementation. In addition, the National Child Abuse Prevention Month page features two new widgets promoting National Child Abuse Prevention Month in April and throughout the year.

    Visit the Child Welfare Information Gateway webpage to access these tools and materials: 

  • Evidence-Based Home Visiting Briefs

    Evidence-Based Home Visiting Briefs

    There is growing evidence that some home visitation programs can help prevent child maltreatment. In an effort to build knowledge about evidence-based home visiting (EBHV), the Children's Bureau funded 17 grantees to implement one of five EBHV models. After an initial planning year that began in 2008, the grantees are now halfway through the implementation phase of the 5-year program and are generating valuable knowledge regarding needs assessment, program costs, staff training and support, and more.

    Mathematica Policy Research and Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago were funded to conduct cross-site evaluations of the grantees' programs and produce a series of syntheses. The latest brief, Supporting Home Visitors in Evidence-Based Programs, is based on telephone interview data collected from nine of the grantee agencies. The brief considers how to cultivate organizational support for implementing an EBHV program and discusses the roles of supervision and community partnerships in supporting home visitors. The companion brief, Recruiting and Training Home Visitors for Evidence-Based Home Visiting, addresses home visitor qualifications, recruitment and hiring, and preservice and inservice training.

    Earlier briefs in the series are:

    • Assessing the Need for Evidence-Based Home Visiting
    • Replicating Evidence-Based Home Visiting Models: A Framework for Assessing Fidelity

    After the funding period ends, one of the final cross-site evaluations will examine the impact of the 17 individual programs on family and child well-being and rates of child maltreatment for the families involved.

    Read about the extensive evaluation plan and download the briefs and other cross-site evaluation materials on the Supporting EBHV website:

  • Prevention as a Priority for State Public Health Agencies

    Prevention as a Priority for State Public Health Agencies

    Based on the belief that child maltreatment is a public health issue, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has developed a 3-year Public Health Leadership Initiative aimed at helping State public health agencies prevent child maltreatment. As part of this initiative, the CDC partnered with the Education Development Center to conduct an environmental scan of State public health agencies' involvement in child maltreatment prevention efforts. The purpose was to identify the work that agencies are conducting to enhance family resiliency, foster healthy child development, and prevent child maltreatment.

    The web-based scan yielded feedback from all 50 states and the District of Columbia as submitted by State-level Maternal and Child Health and Injury and Violence Prevention program directors. Results are reported in terms of:

    • Level of agency commitment to child maltreatment prevention
    • The roles of agencies in child maltreatment prevention
    • Types of child maltreatment programs and services provided by agencies
    • The partnerships and collaborations in which agencies are engaged
    • Data collection and surveillance activities used by agencies to monitor child maltreatment prevention work
    • Evaluations of child maltreatment prevention programs and services

    The results of the scan will be used to inform the development of new recommendations, tools, and resources to assist State public health agencies in the primary prevention of child maltreatment.

    The full report, Findings From the 2009 Child Maltreatment Prevention Environmental Scan of State Public Health Agencies, can be accessed on the CDC website: (1.16 MB)

  • Children's Relief Nursery Aids Prevention

    Children's Relief Nursery Aids Prevention

    The Oregon Children's Relief Nursery is a private nonprofit family support program that continues to develop innovative strategies for keeping children safe from abuse and neglect. In operation for over 30 years, the Relief Nursery serves low-income families with children up to 6 years old who are at high risk for abuse or neglect. It provides a variety of services such as emergency child care, therapeutic classes for young children, parenting education, home visiting, mental health and substance abuse recovery counseling, and community resource referrals. A unique satellite office at the courthouse in downtown Eugene offers immediate respite services to domestic violence survivors seeking restraining orders.

    The Children's Bureau's Office on Child Abuse and Neglect highlighted the Oregon Children's Relief Nursery for its noteworthy aspects in the 2003 report, Emerging Practices in the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect. A program evaluation conducted in 2008-2009 identified the following positive outcomes for families served by the Relief Nursery:

    • Children were less likely to be abused following enrollment.
    • Children spent fewer days in out-of-home placements and were more likely to be reunified with their parents.
    • Parents increased positive parent-child interactions and frequency of reading to their children.
    • Families that spent 1 year with the Relief Nursery reduced their level of risk by 21 percent.

    The Relief Nursery was recently funded to open a second location in East Portland to further expand its service area to support more children and families at risk. Visit the Oregon Children's Relief Nursery website to learn more:

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News From the Children's Bureau

CBX carries announcements about upcoming events of interest to child welfare professionals, as well as new items on the Children's Bureau website.

  • Awareness Day 2011: A Big Strategy for Small Voices

    Awareness Day 2011: A Big Strategy for Small Voices

    As resilient as children may be, they can—even at an early age—experience trauma that can have long-term effects on their behavioral health. Research shows that, when exposed to traumatic events, toddlers as young as 18 months can have serious psychological problems later in childhood and as adults. As they grow, these children take with them the effects of traumatic events and are more likely to experience problems with substance abuse, depression, and managing stress.

    The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's (SAMHSA's) National Children's Mental Health Awareness Day began in 2005 as a grassroots initiative designed to demonstrate that children with mental health needs can thrive in their communities. Over the past 6 years, Awareness Day's grassroots activities have continued to flourish; in 2010, nearly 11,000 children participated in Awareness Day events nationwide, and the number of organizations joining in this public awareness effort has risen from 5 in 2005 to 88 in 2011.

    A national event complements the widespread work going on locally and is now part of SAMHSA's overall strategy to raise awareness that positive mental health is essential to a child's healthy development from birth. In 2011, the national theme is "Building Resilience for Young Children Dealing With Trauma," which will be featured as part of an event in Washington, DC, on Awareness Day—Tuesday, May 3. It will include an art exhibit created by the American Art Therapy Association and a program paying tribute to youth who experienced trauma at a young age.

    Communities around the country will also be holding Awareness Day events that either focus on the national theme or incorporate one appropriate to the populations they serve. SAMHSA will also release its annual short report demonstrating the effectiveness of systems of care and National Child Traumatic Stress Network grantees in treating children with trauma.

    To learn more, visit:

    Related Item

    SAMHSA's National Center for Trauma-Informed Care is a technical assistance center dedicated to building awareness of trauma-informed care and promoting the implementation of trauma-informed practices in programs and services. Visit the website to learn about the trauma-informed care model and more:

  • Policy to Practice Webcasts

    Policy to Practice Webcasts

    The National Resource Center for Adoption recently posted webcasts from the Children's Bureau's Policy to Practice meeting, held in October 2010 in Arlington, VA. The webcasts of plenary sessions include a speech by Bryan Samuels, Commissioner of the Administration on Children, Youth and Families, as well as presentations by experts in the field on a number of child welfare topics. The meeting theme was "Making Connections in Child Welfare," and it was attended by State Adoption, Foster Care, and In-Home Managers, as well as members of the Children's Bureau Training & Technical Assistance network and Federal staff.

    Access the webcasts on the NRC's website:

  • Children's Bureau Centennial Series

    Children's Bureau Centennial Series

    On April 9, 1912, President William Howard Taft signed the legislation that created the Children's Bureau, the first Federal agency to focus on the well-being of children. The conditions, personalities, and politics that led to that early legislation reflected an evolving view of children and how the government could and should help children and their families.

    As we prepare to celebrate the Children's Bureau's 100 years of service, Children's Bureau Express (CBX) will look back at the political climate and social movements prevalent in the early 20th century that laid the groundwork for the creation of the Children's Bureau. The next eight issues of CBX will feature a series of short articles on the following:

    Each article will briefly examine some of the factors that helped mold public and political opinions about children and government responsibility in the early 1900s. We'll also include a list of further readings.

    Join us for this look at our "roots" as we prepare to mark the Children's Bureau's Centennial in 2012!

  • Reminder: Evaluation Summit Call for Abstracts

    Reminder: Evaluation Summit Call for Abstracts

    Last month we published the "Call for Abstracts" for the Children's Bureau's 2nd National Child Welfare Evaluation Summit, to be held August 29–31 in Washington, DC. The deadline to submit abstracts is April 15, 2011.

    The Children's Bureau invites experts in the child welfare and evaluation communities to present at the Summit. The Bureau is seeking a balance of presentations that demonstrate direct involvement with public and/or Tribal child welfare agencies; partnerships with national advocacy organizations, think tanks, or technical assistance providers; collaboration with community agencies; and independent research. Applicants are encouraged to submit proposals that will contribute to the evidence base of child welfare practice and policy and benefit the diverse array of children and families served by the child welfare system.

    Abstracts will be accepted for panel presentations, workshops, round tables, and posters that support the Summit's themes of Building Evidence, Strengthening Practice, and Informing Policy.

    For more information about the Evaluation Summit and the Call for Abstracts, please visit the conference website:

    For more information, contact

  • New! On the Children's Bureau Site

    New! On the Children's Bureau Site

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

    Recent additions to the site include:

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

Training and Technical Assistance Update

The T&TA Network section shares news about new resources from the T&TA members, including those for older youth, LGBT families, and social media users.

  • Youth Port Is By, For, and About Youth in Foster Care

    Youth Port Is By, For, and About Youth in Foster Care

    Youth Port is a new web section on the National Resource Center for Youth Development's (NRCYD's) website that serves as a gateway to resources, information, and tools specifically for youth who are in, about to transition out of, or were in foster care and are now independent. Among the features on the site are a "How To" section with advice on filing taxes, opportunities for internships, message boards, resources for understanding the foster care system, and links to other sites that focus on diversity and youth. In the March issue, the Spotlight topic is the iFoster program, which offers discounts at national and local retailers; membership is free to youth aged 16 to 21 who are in or transitioning out of foster care.

    One goal the NRCYD hopes to achieve through Youth Port is to share stories of young people who make positive changes in their communities. Youth Port also provides links to organizations that can help them make those changes, and make connections as well, which can lead to a sense of permanency within their communities.

    Young people with foster care experience who worked at NRCYD as interns, staff, and consultants made suggestions and recommendations for the name, the look-and-feel, and the content of the site. The portal is updated monthly; the center's networks and alumni of the foster care system contribute timely information and resources. Organizations in Youth Port's networks include FosterClub, Foster Care Alumni of America, the online magazine Represent, the Chafee Foster Care Independence Program, and others.

    The Youth Port is just the beginning of a larger program for youth who were in, are in, and are transitioning out of foster care. The NRCYD is accepting applications for 25 positions for a training to create a network of young adult leaders, which it hopes to extend throughout the nation. NRCYD welcomes submissions and suggestions for Youth Port.

    Many thanks to Clay Finck and Guadalupe Ortiz-Tovar of NRCYD in Tulsa, OK, for providing the information for this article. The NRCYD Federal Project Officer is Catherine Heath.

  • More Updates From the T&TA Network

    More Updates From the T&TA Network

    The Children's Bureau's Training and Technical Assistance (T&TA) Network continues to produce resources that can help States and Tribes in their work with children and families. Some recent resources are listed below:

    • The Atlantic Coast Child Welfare Implementation Center (ACCWIC) has posted a video on its website that describes its Fit and Feasibility Assessment Tool: "Identifying and Implementing Evidence-Based Practices: Developing Community Support"
    • Child Welfare Information Gateway has launched several updated publications, as well as new and enhanced website sections. The publications are:
    • The National Child Welfare Resource Center for Organizational Improvement (NCROI) with the National Resource Center for Permanency and Family Connections (NRCPFC) will present on April 12, 2011, part 2 of a webinar, "Strategies to Support School Stability and Continuity." For handouts and to register, visit
      NCROI also offers an RSS feed and has a Facebook page:
    • The National Child Welfare Workforce Institute (NCWWI) has an extensive list of products on its website, which includes its curriculum, training materials, guides, manuals, presentations, and more. The first issue of its National E-Update is also available; it offers letters to the field about each of its seven project teams.
    • The National Quality Improvement Center on the Representation of Children in the Child Welfare System (QIC-ChildRep) has added to its website a Q and A Forum. Users can post questions and receive responses from the QIC-Child Rep team and read questions and responses from others.
    • The National Resource Center for Child Protective Services (NRCCPS) has distributed the latest issues of the Children's Justice Act and State Liaison Officer e-newsletters.
    • The National Resource Center for Child Welfare Data and Technology (NRC-CWDT) will host "GIS in Child Welfare," a webinar about the use of geographical information systems (GIS) in child welfare, on April 14 at 2:30 p.m. EST. A demonstration will show how the use of GIS helps in placing children in foster care within home school districts.
    • The National Resource Center for Community-Based Child Abuse Prevention (FRIENDS) is distributing, on behalf of Circle of Parents, From Rights to Reality, a publication developed with support from the Center for the Study of Social Policy and Casey Family Programs. (918 KB)
    • The National Resource Center on Legal and Judicial Issues (NRCLJI) has posted a PowerPoint presentation as part of its webinar series on the Fostering Connections Act. "What Court Systems Need to Know: Overview and Kinship Provisions" is accessible on its homepage under "In the News."
    • The National Resource Center for Youth Development (NRCYD) has launched its newly designed website:
      NRCYD also has a Facebook fan page:
  • Who's Using Social Media?

    Who's Using Social Media?

    There has been an exponential leap in the use of social media among many members of the T&TA Network. It's now easy to find many members on Facebook, and some even dabble in Twitter. A recent article in AdoptUSKids' Monday Morning Memo (February 2011) reports on a survey of child welfare professionals and their use of Facebook and Twitter.

    In the article, author Ruth McRoy presents findings from 746 child welfare professionals who responded to the email survey. She found that Facebook was the most popular form of social media and was used by more than 70 percent of the respondents, followed by YouTube and LinkedIn. Approximately one-third of the respondents used social media for both professional and personal usage. More than 58 percent said they would use social media for foster and adoptive parent recruitment at work if it were available.

    To read the full article, "Do You Facebook or Twitter? Survey Report Findings," access AdoptUSKids' February 2011 Monday Morning Memo here:

    [Editor's note: This link is no longer available.]

    A comprehensive webpage on the Child Welfare Information Gateway website reviews the different types of social media often used for adoption recruitment and points out the many ways that the Children's Bureau and AdoptUSKids have put social media to work to reach workers and families. Visit the webpage to learn more:

  • New Resources for Workers and LGBT Families

    New Resources for Workers and LGBT Families

    A number of T&TA Network members have developed or added resources to help child welfare workers support lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) families, including prospective foster and adoptive families. The following are some examples of those resources.

    The National Resource Center for Recruitment and Retention of Foster and Adoptive Parents (AdoptUSKids) has posted new resources for LGBT foster and adoptive families and the child welfare practitioners who work with them:

    • Improving Recruitment Outcomes: 11 Things a Practitioner Can Do discusses what you need to know and how to respond for successful recruitment of LGBT parents.
    • Recruiting and Retaining LGBT Foster, Adoptive, and Kinship Families: Sending a Welcoming Message offers specific suggestions of welcoming, inclusive language to use as you work with LGBT prospective parents.
    • A three-part series of tip sheets, Talking with Experts on Engaging LGBT Families, explores such topics as creating a welcoming environment and building agency competency.
    • Barriers and Success Factors in Adoption from Foster Care: Perspectives of Lesbian and Gay Families reports the experiences and recommendations from interviews with 10 lesbian and gay families.

    The publications can be downloaded for free in PDF or ordered in hard copies on the AdoptUSKids website:

    The National Resource Center for Permanency and Family Connections offers a full webpage of resources for LGBT parents and prospective parents and for the child welfare professionals who work with them. Resources include items from the States and legislation:

    Child Welfare Information Gateway
    recently published two new items related to LGBT families. Both can be downloaded for free on the Information Gateway website:

Child Welfare Research

Child Welfare News reports on new publications dealing with adoption trends, differential response, and comparisons of kinship and foster care.

  • Trends in Adoption From Foster Care

    Trends in Adoption From Foster Care

    The impact of Federal legislation on the number of children in foster care awaiting adoption is the focus of a new issue brief from Fostering Connections, Number of Children Adopted From Foster Care Increases in 2009. In this brief, authors Kerry DeVooght, Karin Malm, Sharon Vandivere, and Marci McCoy-Roth use data from the Children's Bureau's Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS) to examine trends in adoptions from foster care following the passage of two significant pieces of child welfare legislation, the Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997 (ASFA) and the Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008.

    ASFA was enacted in response to growing concerns about the length of time children were waiting in foster care for permanent families. Reforms included new judicial time limits to manage decision-making on foster care cases and move children to permanency in a more timely manner. ASFA also created the Adoption Incentive Program to reward States for increasing the number of children adopted from foster care. In particular, since the passage of ASFA:

    • The number of children adopted through the public foster care system each year has risen sharply, reaching a high of 57,000 in 2009.
    • The number of children waiting to be adopted peaked at 135,000 in 2006 and declined to nearly 115,000 in 2009.
    • The average time adopted children spent in foster care has decreased from nearly 48 months for children adopted in 1998 to approximately 35 months for children adopted in 2009.
    • The percentages both of waiting and adopted children who are Black have declined, but the likelihood of adoption among Black children awaiting adoption has remained consistently lower than the likelihood for White and Hispanic children.
    • The proportion of children adopted each year who are under age 4 has increased, while the share of adoptions of 4- to 12-year-olds has declined over time.
    • The number of older youth aging out of foster care without having been placed with a safe, permanent family through adoption, reunification, or guardianship has continued to rise.
    • The majority of foster care adoptions have been by the children’s foster parents or relatives, with around 20 percent or fewer adoptions each year by persons with whom the child had no prior relationship.

    The Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008 (FCA) included several provisions to promote adoption for children in foster care, particularly for older children, those who have been waiting the longest, and children with special needs. Specifically, the FCA made three significant policy changes:

    1. De-linking a child’s eligibility for Federal title IV-E Adoption Assistance from 1996 Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) eligibility criteria to provide more children with Federal assistance
    2. Extending and expanding the Adoption Incentive Program, which rewards States financially for increasing the number of adoptions over a baseline
    3. Requiring States to inform prospective adoptive parents of the Federal adoption tax credit available to them for adopting children with special needs

    This issue brief is the fourth in the series Trends in Adoptions From Foster Care in the Wake of Child Welfare Reforms. The brief is available on the Fostering Connections website: (387 KB)

  • New York State Pilot of Differential Response

    New York State Pilot of Differential Response

    In 2007, the New York State Legislature authorized the temporary use of differential response programs in local departments of social services outside of New York City. To date, 19 New York counties have participated in the pilot program, implementing the State's version of differential response, which is known as the Family Assessment Response (FAR), with approximately 9,000 cases.

    Recently, the Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) submitted a report to the Governor and the legislature on findings and recommendations from the implementation of FAR. Differential Response in Child Protective Services in New York State: Implementation, Initial Outcomes and Impacts of Pilot Project also includes a history of differential response, examines the effects on improving family engagement, and highlights key findings, including:

    • Strong evidence that families were more positive about the FAR approach compared to standard child protective services (CPS) investigations
    • Evidence that the FAR approach increased a family's access to services to meet basic needs, such as food and housing
    • A decrease in needs for family court involvement and traditional public child welfare services

    The report also recommends that FAR be made a permanent alternative to investigations of child abuse and neglect reports, and it offers specific suggestions for enhancing the quality and effectiveness of FAR.

    The full report, by Joanne Ruppel, Yufan Huang, and Gail Haulenbeek, is available on the New York State OCFS website: (2.53 MB)

  • Health Outcomes and Family Services in Kinship vs. Foster Care

    Health Outcomes and Family Services in Kinship vs. Foster Care

    Conflicting evidence has been reported in the literature regarding outcomes for youth in kinship versus nonrelative foster care placements. To explore these findings, a recent study in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine examined behavioral and mental health outcomes and health care access and use of health services for children placed in both kinship care and foster care.

    Using data from the National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being, researchers Christina Sakai, Hua Lin, and Glenn Flores looked at baseline characteristics and 3-year outcomes for 1,308 children who entered out-of-home care (572 in kinship care and 736 in foster care) due to reported maltreatment. Initial baseline results revealed the following:

    • Kinship caregivers were:
      • Generally older and more likely to be single than nonrelative caregivers
      • More likely to have not graduated from high school, to have an annual household incomes of less than $20,000, and to be unemployed than nonrelative caregivers
    • Kinship caregivers were less likely to:
      • Receive financial support to care for the child
      • Receive parent training or have peer support groups or respite care

    At the 3-year follow-up, the following results were found:

    • Children in kinship care were more likely to be with a permanent caregiver.
    • Children in kinship care had a lower risk of behavioral problems and social skills problems than children in foster care.
    • Adolescents in kinship care had an increased risk of pregnancy and substance use compared to adolescents in foster care.
    • Children in kinship care had half the risk of needing outpatient mental health therapy and psychotropic medication use.

    Implications of these findings, especially the need for support services for kinship caregivers, are discussed.

    "Health Outcomes and Family Services in Kinship Care: Analysis of a National Sample of Children in the Child Welfare System," was published in the February 2011 issue of Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, Vol. 165 (No. 2). The abstract is available online:  

Strategies and Tools for Practice

  • Supporting Staff After a Child Welfare Crisis

    Supporting Staff After a Child Welfare Crisis

    In order to help child welfare workers deal emotionally with a child fatality or other work-related crisis, the New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NYSPCC) developed a crisis debriefing program to respond to the needs of CPS workers in New York City. An article in the Fall 2010 APSAC Advisor (from the American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children), by Mary L. Pulido and Janine M. Lacina, describes the Restoring Resiliency Response (RRR) debriefing protocol and how it can be implemented in counseling sessions with workers after a crisis.

    The RRR focuses on workers' stress reactions after a traumatic event rather than on discussing the details of the case. Sessions are led by a clinical team, which is trained to offer grief and loss counseling and to focus on activities that validate workers' reactions to the crisis, identify supports, and demonstrate coping and relaxation strategies. Handouts on coping and self-care may be shared, and group exercises may be used.

    The article describes the use of RRR with nine workers distraught over the murder of a child and the child's mother by the child's father. The RRR session allowed the workers to focus on coping and on the positive impact of their work. Evaluation data of the RRR protocol, based on responses from 578 workers, indicates that a majority of workers found it very helpful after a crisis and would recommend it to fellow workers.

    To read the full article, "Supporting Child Protective Services (CPS) Staff Following a Child Fatality and Other Critical Incidents," visit the NYSPCC website: (185 LB)

  • Using Performance Management and Evaluation With Social Programs

    Using Performance Management and Evaluation With Social Programs

    Child welfare programs are under increasing pressure to measure and analyze program data, but there can be uncertainty about the types of assessment necessary for reporting to funders or doing program improvement. A new Research-to-Results Brief issued from Child Trends tackles the differences between performance management and evaluation. The brief describes performance management for social programs, how it’s different from evaluation, and why both are critical for having a strong program.

    According to the brief's authors, the goal of performance management is to develop an understanding of how the program runs and find solutions for improvement if the program is not running as intended. This is accomplished by having staff collect ongoing information about the quality of services offered and the satisfaction levels of those who use the services. Benchmarks are used to track progress, and program staff are responsible for ensuring that the program is running at its best. Performance management results are generally shared internally.

    In contrast, an evaluation is often required to make a strong case to funders regarding how effective the program is. Evaluations are conducted periodically, usually by an external evaluator. There are several different types of evaluations, each one serving a specific purpose.

    The brief emphasizes that both performance management and evaluation provide important information about a specific social program, but they are not interchangeable. The goals of each are different, as are the strategies to meet those goals.

    The full brief, Performance Management and Evaluation: What’s the Difference? by Karen E. Walker and Kristin Anderson Moore, is available for download on the Child Trends website: (298 KB)

  • Effective Legal Representation and Advocacy for Parents

    Effective Legal Representation and Advocacy for Parents

    The effectiveness of a program in Washington State to provide quality legal representation for parents whose children have been removed from their custody is the focus of a new study conducted by Partners for Our Children. The Parents Representation Program was developed by the Washington State Office of Public Defense (OPD) and the Washington State Legislature to enhance the quality of defense representation for parents in dependency and termination hearings. The program aims to reduce the number of continuances requested by attorneys, limit caseloads, and support the work of parents’ attorneys by ensuring they have reasonable time to prepare cases and work with clients. The program provides social workers, expert resources, periodic trainings, and oversight through OPD.

    In the study, researchers Mark E. Courtney and Jennifer L. Hook found that the availability of adequate parental legal representation speeds children's reunification with parents. For those children who are not reunited with parents, it hastens permanency through adoption and guardianship.

    Partners for Our Children is a collaboration between the University of Washington and the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services. Results of the study are reported in a discussion paper, executive summary, and an issue brief, all of which are available on the Partners for Our Children website:

    Related Item

    The positive child and family outcomes that can be achieved through effective parental advocacy is the focus of a recent issue of Rise Magazine. “From Rights to Reality: A Plan for Parent Advocacy and Family-Centered Child Welfare Reform” identifies 15 rights for parents affected by the child welfare system. Stories from real families illustrate the damage that can occur when these rights are denied and the positive outcomes that are possible when parents have the opportunity to work with parent advocates. (918 KB)


  • FosterClub Coloring Book

    FosterClub Coloring Book

    FosterClub, a national online community supporting young people in foster care, has developed a coloring book designed specifically for youth entering the foster care system. Titled Foster Cub Has Questions About Foster Care and featuring bear cubs as the main characters, the coloring book includes activities such as puzzles and mazes. Each page poses a question from Foster Cub that encourages foster youth to share their feelings and a tip for adult helpers when they are discussing difficult issues with children.

    A team of judges and juvenile court staff, attorneys, CASAs, foster parents, law enforcement personnel, child welfare professionals, and young people created this book and other FosterClub publications for kids and teens. For more information or to download or order the coloring book, visit:

  • Update on the California Evidence-Based Clearinghouse for Child Welfare

    Update on the California Evidence-Based Clearinghouse for Child Welfare

    The California Evidence-Based Clearinghouse for Child Welfare (CEBC) provides a database of up-to-date information on evidence-based and commonly used child welfare programs and practices. The website now includes the topic area "Behavioral Management for Adolescents in Child Welfare," and new programs also have been added to the existing topic areas of "Depression Treatment" (Child & Adolescent) and "Substance Abuse Treatment" (Adult).

    Each topic area is thoroughly reviewed by a topical expert and a national scientific panel prior to inclusion on the CEBC website. To date, the following topic areas are available:

    • Anxiety Treatment (Child & Adolescent)
    • Behavioral Management for Adolescents in Child Welfare
    • Bipolar Disorder Treatment (Child & Adolescent)
    • Casework Practice
    • Child Welfare Initiatives
    • Depression Treatment (Adult)
    • Depression Treatment (Child & Adolescent)
    • Disruptive Behavior Treatment (Child & Adolescent)
    • Domestic/Intimate Partner Violence: Batterer Intervention Programs
    • Domestic/Intimate Partner Violence: Services for Women and Their Children
    • Higher Level of Placement
    • Home Visiting
    • Infant and Toddler Mental Health (0-3)
    • Interventions for Neglect
    • Motivation and Engagement
    • Parent Partner Programs for Families Involved in the Child Welfare System
    • Parent Training
    • Placement Stabilization
    • Post-Permanency Services
    • Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect (Secondary)
    • Resource Parent Recruitment and Training
    • Reunification
    • Substance Abuse Treatment (Adolescent)
    • Substance Abuse Treatment (Adult)
    • Supervised Visitation
    • Trauma Treatment for Children
    • Youth Transitioning into Adulthood

    A one-page information guide for the CEBC has been created and also is available on the CEBC website.

    The CEBC is run by the Chadwick Center for Children and Families, in cooperation with the Child and Adolescent Services Research Center. For more information or to download the new information guide, visit:

  • California Courts to Begin Recognizing Tribal Customary Adoption

    California Courts to Begin Recognizing Tribal Customary Adoption

    Tribal customary adoption is the transfer of custody of a child to adoptive parents without terminating the rights of the birth parents. A new law in California, the first of its kind in the United States, will allow traditional forms of adoption practiced by Tribes to be recognized by California courts. The law allows, at the Tribe’s option, for Tribal customary adoption to be included as an alternative permanent plan to family reunification throughout the dependency case. The law also provides that when the juvenile court finds that full faith and credit will be extended to the Tribe’s Tribal customary adoption order, the juvenile court will issue a State court order of adoption. It also permits an Indian child who is the subject of a Tribal customary adoption to be eligible for adoption assistance program benefits.

    The organization Tribal STAR has assembled an array of resources about Tribal customary adoption, including factsheets, agency memoranda, a PowerPoint presentation, and sample forms for Tribal customary adoption orders.

    Tribal STAR is a program of the Academy for Professional Excellence, San Diego State University School of Social Work. The resources can be found on the website:

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.