This month, CBX draws attention to the co-occurrence of child maltreatment and domestic violence (DV), points to research on case outcomes for child welfare-involved families affected by domestic violence, and highlights a factsheet series for parents about how children may respond to family violence.
- Preventing DV Among Immigrant, Refugee Families
A report from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) highlights the results of an evaluation of eight interpersonal violence (IPV) prevention programs targeted toward immigrant and refugee families living in the United States. The initiative was part of the Strengthening What Works program, a national program from RWJF in collaboration with LGT Associates to identify promising IPV prevention practices. As the segment of immigrant households across the nation increases, this report may be of interest to child welfare and related professionals working with families within this vulnerable population.
The report notes that conventional IPV interventions do not address the unique needs of immigrant and refugee families, and there is little research on the effects of domestic violence within these populations. From 2009 to 2013, eight grants were awarded in the program for grantees to carry out two core components: (1) grantees implemented and evaluated an IPV prevention program, and (2) Strengthening What Works helped grantees build their capacity to design and implement evaluations. The program evaluated IPV prevention initiatives serving diverse immigrant and refugee communities, including Asian, Asian/Pacific Islander, Arab, and Hispanic populations.
Key findings included the following:
- Culturally tailored programs that promote healthy relationships can be effective in preventing IPV within this population.
- Promoting healthy relationships should occur within the cultural norms of the immigrant or refugee community.
- Programs designed for one ethnic population may be applicable to other communities.
Strengthening What Works: Preventing Intimate Partner Violence in Immigrant and Refugee Communities: Evaluation Summary is available on the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation website:
Children's Bureau Express featured a Spotlight on Child Welfare and Immigration in the June 2013 issue:
- Child Welfare Case Outcomes Affected by Domestic Violence
Research has shown that child maltreatment and domestic violence co-occur in an estimated 30 to 60 percent of cases. A 2013 article in Child and Youth Services Review, "Case Outcomes of Child Welfare-Involved Families Affected by Domestic Violence: A Review of the Literature," provided a comprehensive review of the literature to determine the effect of domestic violence on out-of-home placements and on case outcomes.
Based on 16 articles published between 1997 and 2011 that met their inclusion criteria, the authors found that children in families affected by domestic violence may be more at risk of being placed in out-of-home care than children in families not affected by domestic violence. They also found that children in out-of-home care who were affected by domestic violence were less likely to be reunited with their families than children in out-of-home care who were not affected by domestic violence.
"Case Outcomes of Child Welfare-Involved Families Affected by Domestic Violence: A Review of the Literature," by Ijeoma Nwabuzor Ogbonnaya and Cara Pohle, Children and Youth Services Review, 35, is available for purchase here:
- Chadwick Trauma-Informed Systems Project
To help identify effective treatments and develop specialized service delivery models to serve children who are victims of maltreatment and were exposed to domestic violence, the Chadwick Center for Children and Families and the Child and Adolescent Services Research Center (CASRC) at Rady Children's Hospital-San Diego established the Chadwick Trauma-Informed Systems Project (CTISP). This project, which began in 2010, is funded through a grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and is a member of the National Child Traumatic Stress Network.
CTISP seeks to develop public child welfare agencies as trauma-informed organizations by helping them better understand the various facets and effects of trauma, such as how traumatic stress affects children, how systems can mitigate or amplify the effects of trauma, and vicarious trauma in the child welfare workforce.
CTISP developed the Trauma-Informed Child Welfare Practice Toolkit to assist individuals and organizations develop a more trauma-informed child welfare system. The toolkit includes five documents:
- Creating Trauma-Informed Child Welfare Systems: A Guide for Administrators - 2nd Edition
- Desk Guide on Trauma-Informed Mental Health for Child Welfare
- Desk Guide on Trauma-Informed Child Welfare for Child Mental Health Practitioners
- Guidelines for Applying a Trauma Lens to a Child Welfare Practice Model
- Trauma System Readiness Tool
To view the toolkit, visit http://www.chadwickcenter.org/CTISP/images/TICWPracticeToolkit.pdf, select "Click here to download all or part of the Toolkit," and enter the requested information.
To learn more about CTISP, visit http://www.chadwickcenter.org/CTISP/ctisp.htm.
- Factsheet for Parents on Effects of Domestic Violence
The National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN) developed a series of 10 factsheets to help parents better understand how children may be affected by domestic violence and how they can help their children heal. While the series is not specifically geared toward child welfare professionals, it could be a valued resource for those working with families affected by domestic violence.
The factsheets were developed through the NCTSN Domestic Violence Work Group that drew from the experiences of domestic violence survivors, research findings, and reports from victim advocates and mental health professionals.
The series addresses myriad issues related to family violence, one factsheet on each topic, including the following:
- How Does Domestic Violence Affect Children?
- Celebrating Your Child's Strengths
- Before You Talk to Your Children: How Your Feelings Matter
- Listening and Talking to Your Child About Domestic Violence
- The Importance of Playing With Your Children
- Keeping Your Children Safe and Responding to Their Fears
- Managing Challenging Behavior of Children Living With Domestic Violence
- Where to Turn if You Are Worried About Your Child
- Helping Your Child Navigate a Relationship With the Abusive Parent
- A Parent's Self-Care and Self-Reflection
The Children and Domestic Violence Fact Sheet Series, and other materials related to domestic violence, is available on the NCTSN website:
- The Co-Occurrence of Domestic Violence and Child Maltreatment
By Lonna Davis, Director of Children & Youth Program, Futures Without Violence; Shawndell Dawson, Senior Program Specialist, Family Violence Prevention & Services Program, Family and Youth Services Bureau, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services; and Z. Ruby White Starr, Program Director, Family Violence, National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges
It is well documented that domestic violence and child maltreatment often co-occur in families and that children who are exposed to domestic violence face an increased risk of negative social, developmental, and psychological problems, including juvenile delinquency, decreased social competence, depression, and posttraumatic stress. Historically, domestic violence interventions focused on the adult victim, while child protective services focused on the children; however, more recently, both fields have learned that one of the best ways to keep a child safe is to keep that child's parent safe. Accordingly, services have begun to focus on keeping all family members safe and, whenever possible, keeping children with their nonabusing parent.
The first significant attempt to encourage child welfare agencies, domestic violence advocates, and the courts to address the intersection between child welfare and domestic violence (co-occurrence) was the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (NCJFCJ) publication Effective Interventions in Domestic Violence and Child Maltreatment Cases: Guidelines for Policy and Practice (Greenbook). The Greenbook provided a guiding framework for communities to revise policy and practice, promote coordination, and improve outcomes for families. The Federal Government funded six demonstration sites across the country to implement the principles of the Greenbook, document their progress, and develop tools and resources. More information and resources on the Greenbook Initiative—including a downloadable version of the Greenbook; tools, and resources from the demonstration sites; publications, tools, and materials produced throughout the Initiative; and resources and links pertaining to co-occurrence—can be found at http://www.thegreenbook.info/.
Although the Greenbook Initiative helped to build greater recognition of co-occurrence and promote more widespread use of promising practices, more work was needed at the Federal, State, and local levels. The domestic violence provisions included in the 2010 Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) reauthorization attempted to build upon the progress of the Greenbook Initiative. A summary of these provisions can be found at http://www.futureswithoutviolence.org/userfiles/file/PublicPolicy/CAPTA-FVPSA%20policy%20brief%201'11.pdf.
CAPTA required the dissemination of information on effective programs, practices, and training resources and the collection of information on the incidence and characteristics of co-occurrence. It also authorized the provision of training and technical assistance and supported research on effective collaboration between child protective services and domestic violence. Dr. Marylouise Kelley, Director of the Family Violence Prevention and Services Program (FVPSA), a program of the Family and Youth Services Bureau (FYSB) in the Administration for Children and Families (ACF), said:
"For more than 30 years, child protection workers and domestic violence advocates have increased partnerships to improve parent and child safety. In more and more communities across the country, child protection workers and domestic violence advocates are sitting down together to work with parents and children to improve safety in their home. Collocation of domestic violence and child protection staff is having promising results in New York, New Jersey, and many other States. We look forward to the emerging research on the benefits of these partnerships for families."
Though there is still little data on co-occurrence at the Federal and State levels, some State-level evaluations have been completed on domestic violence programming with results of positive outcomes. As of 2012, 37 percent of local districts in New York State had adopted a collocation model placing domestic violence advocates within child protective services offices to increase collaboration. Information about their collaborative approach is available at http://www.albany.edu/chsr/csp-dv.shtml.
Additionally the Domestic Violence Liaison Pilot Project, a partnership with the New Jersey Coalition for Battered Women, collocated Domestic Violence Liaisons at Department of Youth and Family Services (DYFS) Offices to provide onsite case consultation to DYFS and support and advocacy for domestic violence victims and their children. They expect to publish their results in late 2014. A report on the lessons learned from this project is available at http://law.capital.edu/uploadedFiles/Law_School/NCALP/Celebrating%20Successes.pdf.
FVPSA, the primary Federal funding stream dedicated to the support of emergency shelter and related services, also provides funding for the Domestic Violence Resource Network (DVRN). The DVRN is a collective of nine national resource centers, the National LGBTQ DV Capacity Building Learning Center, and the National Domestic Violence Hotline. For more information on their programs and services, please visit www.acf.hhs.gov/fvpsa.
One DVRN provider is the Resource Center on Domestic Violence: Child Protection and Custody (CPC Resource Center) operated by NCJFCJ. The CPC Resource Center provides tailored technical assistance on co-occurrence that can include help to identify and develop model policies, protocols, and programs that are sensitive to the legal, cultural, and psychological dynamics of child protection and custody cases involving family violence. The CPC Resource Center has developed a number of publications and tools, including the Reasonable Efforts Checklist for Dependency Cases Involving Domestic Violence, the Checklist to Promote Perpetrator Accountability in Cases Involving Domestic Violence, and specialized information packets, all of which can be found at http://www.ncjfcj.org/resource-library/publications/domestic-violence. Specific information about addressing co-occurrence in State Program Improvement Plans can be found in Child and Family Service Review Outcomes: Strategies to Improve Domestic Violence Responses in CFSR Program Improvement Plans, available at http://www.ncjfcj.org/sites/default/files/cfsr%20dv_web.pdf. Additionally, the NCJFCJ research team has approached co-occurrence from a social science perspective through standardized case file reviews of three judicial districts. These findings are available at http://www.ncjfcj.org/sites/default/files/RE%20in%20DV%20Snapshot%20.pdf.
Futures Without Violence hosts a website called Promising Futures: Best Practices for Serving Children, Youth, and Parents Experiencing Domestic Violence, to help advocates and organizations support children and parents facing domestic violence. Produced by a FVPSA grantee and FYSB national technical assistance provider, Futures Without Violence, Promising Futures is an online resource center that provides domestic violence and child welfare practitioners with access to trauma-informed best practices for serving children and families experiencing domestic violence. A particular resource that the child welfare field will find helpful is a compendium of 16 Trauma-Informed, Evidence-Based Recommendations for Advocates Working with Children Exposed to Intimate Partner Violence. This compendium summarizes key findings from a review of evidence-based, therapeutic intervention programs for children exposed to domestic violence and offers practical recommendations for program staff and advocates.
To request technical assistance or to learn more about NCJFCJ's projects or any of the resources highlighted, call 1-800-52-PEACE or email firstname.lastname@example.org. More information about NCJFCJ and the RCDV: CPC can be found at www.ncjfcj.org. More information on Futures Without Violence is available at http://www.futureswithoutviolence.org.
Spotlight on Child and Family Services Review, Round 4
Spotlight on Child Welfare Workforce Development
News From the Children's Bureau
Nominations for the annual Adoption Excellence Awards are now being accepted. We also highlight a new online publication that tells the 40-year story of the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) of 1974.
- Nominations Open for Adoption Excellence Awards
Each year, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Administration for Children and Families (ACF) presents Adoption Excellence Awards to recognize individuals, families, and organizations that have made outstanding contributions to providing safe, permanent, and loving homes for children in foster care. Winners are those who have demonstrated leadership, innovative approaches, and dedication that contribute significantly to the successful adoption of children from foster care.
Nominations are now open for the 2014 Adoption Excellence Awards, and all nominations must be received by COB Thursday, July 31, 2014. Nominees may be individuals and organizations, including States, public agencies, universities, Tribes, courts, families, faith-based organizations, businesses, and more. Awards will be made in the following categories:
- Family Contributions
- Business Contributions/Initiatives
- Media/Social Media/Public Awareness
- Child Welfare/Judicial Systemic Change
- Judicial or Child Welfare System Improvement
Nominations will be reviewed and award winners recommended by a panel of recognized experts in the adoption field, including members from Federal and State agencies. A description of the award categories, eligibility and selection criteria, nomination forms, and a complete list of winners going back to 2001 are available on the Children's Bureau website:
If you have questions about the award, please contact LaChundra Lindsey at email@example.com or 202.205.8252.
- My Brother's Keeper Initiative
In February, President Obama joined with both private-sector and philanthropic organizations to launch My Brother's Keeper, a new interagency initiative aimed at promoting successful outcomes for boys and young men of color. As part of the initiative, a task force was assembled from across the Federal Government to make recommendations for actions; the task force published their 90-day report on May 30. The report is based on research and interviews with thousands of boys and young men of color (including Black, Hispanic, American Indian, Alaska Native, and other young men). It provides background statistics as well as recommendations.
Noting that the aim of My Brother's Keeper is to close the "opportunity gap" experienced by many American boys and young men of color, the task force report identifies six milestones that predict future success:
- Entering school ready to learn
- Reading at grade level by third grade
- Graduating from high school ready for college and career
- Completing postsecondary education or training
- Successfully entering the workforce
- Reducing violence and providing a second chance
The report recommends that focusing interventions on these milestones will have the greatest impact on the success of boys and young men. For instance, ensuring that children enter school ready to learn requires that they have access to high-quality preschool, that parents and other caregivers provide a rich home environment for learning, that screenings are performed for developmental delays, and that schools cannot expel or suspend young learners. The report provides similar recommendations for the remainder of the milestones, as well as a number of cross-cutting strategies, such as providing incentives to learn.
This first report from the task force is just the beginning of the initiative that seeks to identify programs and practices that are working to close the opportunity gap for boys and young men of color. Other goals include determining how the Federal Government can support positive efforts and how proven practices can be applied across the country. The task force will deliver another report on its progress in February 2015.
The website for My Brother's Keeper offers a way for individuals to help boys and young men of color by signing up to be a mentor. Visit the website to learn more about this opportunity and about the broader initiative:
- CAPTA's 40th Anniversary
On January 31, 1974, President Nixon signed the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA), bringing the Federal Government into a leadership role in the prevention and treatment of child abuse and neglect. CAPTA not only defined child maltreatment, it also mandated research into the topic and provided funds to States for training and developing programs to combat child abuse and neglect.
The story of CAPTA—what led to the legislation and how it changed over the years—has now been told in a new online publication. The Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act: 40 Years of Safeguarding America's Children traces the history of this seminal Act, from the early struggles to persuade Congress that child abuse was indeed an issue worthy of Federal legislation, to the later amendments that broadened CAPTA's purview. The publication is also the story of the Office on Child Abuse and Neglect (OCAN) and its roots in the earlier National Center on Child Abuse and Neglect (NCCAN), mandated in the original 1974 legislation.
The publication draws from both historical documents as well as interviews with child welfare advocates, telling the story against the backdrop of the enormous societal and political changes of the last 40 years. Photos of the important players along the way, including such luminaries as Senator Walter Mondale, Douglas Besharov (first NCCAN Director), and former Health and Human Services Secretary Louis Sullivan, are peppered throughout the text. Logos from the many National Conferences on Child Abuse and Neglect also enliven the narrative. All of these features serve to document the history of legislation that has changed the face of child welfare in America.
The Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act: 40 Years of Safeguarding America's Children was developed through the Children's Bureau's National Child Abuse and Neglect Training and Publications Project. Find it on the website of the 19th National Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect:
- CB Website Updates
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.
Recent additions to the site include:
- PI-14-05 – This Program Instruction (PI) provides guidance on a new review instrument for State and Tribal automated child welfare information systems:
Visit the Children's Bureau website often to see what's new!
- PI-14-05 – This Program Instruction (PI) provides guidance on a new review instrument for State and Tribal automated child welfare information systems:
- Associate Commissioner's Page
The following is the monthly message from JooYeun Chang, the Associate Commissioner of the Children's Bureau. Each message focuses on the current CBX Spotlight theme and highlights the Bureau's work on the topic.
Many children and youth who come into contact with the child welfare system do so because their families have experienced violence. It is estimated that child maltreatment and domestic violence co-occur in 30 to 60 percent of cases. The effects of witnessing family violence can have a ripple effect in a child's social, emotional, and/or behavioral development. It is important that agencies identify and appropriately serve children and families who have experienced family violence. The Children's Bureau's information service, Child Welfare Information Gateway, offers a web section on domestic violence that links to resources focused on prevention, assessment, treatment services, casework practice, cross-system collaboration, and more and is available at https://www.childwelfare.gov/systemwide/domviolence/.
More attention is being paid to increased collaboration among child welfare workers, domestic violence victim advocates, and other child-serving professionals. Increased partnership also is happening across Federal agencies. Last December, the Administration for Children and Families, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office on Women's Health, the National Institutes of Health, and other leading health organizations convened the Intimate Partner Violence Screening and Counseling: Research Symposium. The Symposium highlighted the cross-Federal priority to end domestic violence and aimed to assist in the development of effective strategies to support health practitioners providing screening and counseling for interpersonal violence. Thanks to a provision in the Affordable Care Act, women covered by private health insurance no longer have to pay a cost-share for interpersonal violence screening.
In ACF's Family Room blog, the Family Violence Prevention and Services Program (FVPSA), a program of the Family and Youth Services Bureau (FYSB), announced a new campaign inviting men to participate in the efforts to end violence against women. The campaign also promotes a toolkit developed by the National Latin@ Network for Healthy Families and Communities—a project of a FVPSA resource center—that aims to engage Latino men in preventing domestic violence.
To read more about FVPSA's work to address children's exposure to domestic violence through its grantees, including the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges and Futures Without Violence, see the article "The Co-Occurrence of Domestic Violence and Child Maltreatment" in this issue of CBX.
Ending family violence and protecting children isn't the work of just one agency or department. This is a serious and preventable social problem, and collaboration among child welfare and related professionals, victim advocates, health care practitioners, and the courts, is necessary to enhance the safety and well-being of battered women and men and their children.
Among other updates from the T&TA Network, read about the National Resource Center for Adoption's (NRCA's) readiness assessment tool to help States, Tribes, and territories evaluate assets and readiness to provide postpermanence supports and services for children, youth, and families.
- NRCCPS' Training and Technical Assistance
The National Resource Center for Child Protective Services (NRCCPS) provides training and technical assistance (T&TA), research, and evaluation services to help States, Tribes, and territories improve their public child welfare agencies' child protection services and practices. NRCCPS aims to improve outcomes for children, youth, and families by helping the agencies enhance management and operations, improve organizational capacity, and work toward more effective and consistent practice.
NRCCPS publishes technical assistance (TA) site reports that detail its T&TA work with specific localities. One recent example is a report on NRCCPS' T&TA services for Idaho's Department of Health and Welfare. Idaho made a request for T&TA in several areas, including practice guidance for staff, a review of the current safety standards and related practice, and guidance for staff related to announced or unannounced home visits. Through a combination of onsite and offsite assistance, NRCCPS helped agency staff create a standard for consistent practice for assessing and ensuring child safety in a specific type of home visiting situation. NRCCPS also conducted workgroups that developed guidance for staff regarding when to consider making unannounced visits to families and helped create and begin to implement a plan to review and update their safety assessment tool and process.
Access the Idaho Technical Assistance Report, along with NRCCPS TA reports, logic models, and work plans from other States, Tribes, and territories, here:
- NRCA's Readiness Assessment Tool
The National Resource Center for Adoption (NRCA) created a tool to help States, Tribes, and territories evaluate their locality's assets and readiness to provide postpermanence supports and services for children, youth, and families. The tool offers a consistent framework to assist public child welfare systems looking to build and improve coordinated postpermanence services in their communities. States, Tribes, and territories can use the tool to evaluate their community-based systems of care to determine service areas or components that can be added or enhanced.
The readiness assessment tool consists of two elements. The first is an assessment that helps localities evaluate which areas they can improve in their system of care through increased community engagement and coordination. The assessment is based on six specific components that are necessary for a strong permanence preservation program:
- Vision and Governance
- Theory of Change and Ecosystem
- Importance of a Backbone Organization
- Leveraging Community Assets
- Parents as Civic Entrepreneurs
The second element of the tool is an overview that explains the importance of a systems approach in postpermanence services and offers detailed information on the six components that are the focus of the assessment. States, Tribes, and territories can look to this document to assist them in the implementation of a particular component.
To access the full Readiness Assessment Tool for a Community-Based System of Care, visit the NRCA website:
- 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:
- Child Welfare Information Gateway posted the following new and updated publications:
- The Rights of Unmarried Fathers:
- A new factsheet: What Is Child Welfare? A Guide for Behavioral Health/Mental Health Professionals
- The Rights of Unmarried Fathers:
- The National Abandoned Infants Assistance Resource Center (AIA) posted three new publications in its Resource Roundup series:
- Trauma-Informed Resources for Children: Recognizing and Addressing Trauma in Infants, Young Children, and Their Families: http://aia.berkeley.edu/media/roundup/Trauma-Informed%20Resources%20for%20Children.pdf (474 KB)
- Parental Incarceration: Rights to Custody, Guardianship, and Parenting:
http://aia.berkeley.edu/media/roundup/Parental%20Incarceration.pdf (460 KB)
- Parental Substance Use Disorders: Enhancing Child Welfare Workers' Sensitivity:
http://aia.berkeley.edu/media/roundup/Child%20Welfare%20Workers%20Sensitivity.pdf (464 KB)
- The National Child Welfare Workforce Institute (NCWWI) posted the recording of the third in its four-part national webinar miniseries, Making a Difference: NCWWI Impact and Lessons Learned (2008–2013). Access the session "Child Welfare Means Change Management: Stories and Lessons Learned From LAMM Alumni" here: http://vimeo.com/96771907
NCWWI also posted the following new resources:
- A presentation on "Building a Professional Workforce—To Do What?":
http://ncwwi.org/files/Building_a_Professional_Workforce_-_NHSTES_5-20-14.pptx.pdf (533 KB)
- Child Welfare Workforce Development Framework:
http://ncwwi.org/files/NCWWI_Workforce_Development_Framework_Overview.pdf (652 KB)
- A presentation on "Building a Professional Workforce—To Do What?":
- The National Resource Center for Child Welfare Data and Technology (NRCCWDT) published a new article in its Tips, Tools, and Trends series, "Business Process Mapping":
NRCCWDT also posted Research Roundup #10: Ways the Internet Interacts With the World of Child Welfare:
- The National Resource Center for Community-Based Child Abuse Prevention (FRIENDS) posted the recording and materials from its recent webinar on "Teen Parents in the Foster Care System: Developing Leadership Skills and Listening to Their Voice": http://friendsnrc.org/teleconference-and-webinar-archive/2014-teleconference-and-webinar-archive/465-may-2014-teen-parents-in-the-foster-care-system-developing-leadership-skills-and-listening-to-their-voice
- The National Resource Center for Permanency and Family Connections (NRCPFC) posted the recordings and materials from the three-part 2014 National Foster Care Month Webinar Series: Building Blocks Toward Permanent Families. The sessions addressed "Integrated Systems Approach to Permanency-Focused Programs," "Real Talk: Myths and Challenges in Permanency Work," and "Federal Supports to Improving Permanency Outcomes in Child Welfare":
NRCPFC also posted presentation slides developed jointly by NRCPFC and Dr. Gerald P. Mallon, Executive Director of the National Center for Child Welfare Excellence (NCCWE), on "Clinical Issues in Working With Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender and Questioning Youth":
http://www.nrcpfc.org/is/downloads/Tulane.grandrounds.clinicalissues.pdf (2 MB)
- The National Technical Assistance Center for Children's Mental Health (TA Center) posted the recordings and materials for four webinars held in May. Access them all here:
- Child Welfare Information Gateway posted the following new and updated publications:
This month, CBX points to a new issue of CW360Â° that is focused on well-being in child welfare, new products to help spread the messages from a 2013 report on child abuse research, and an article on a project initiated by the National Center for Youth Law to examine the problem of unwanted pregnancy among youth in foster care.
- Teen Pregnancy Among Youth in Foster Care
Teen pregnancy and parenting are associated with a host of negative consequences for young parents, and the incidence of teen pregnancy tends to be higher for youth in foster care. In "Cause for Concern: Unwanted Pregnancy and Childbirth Among Adolescents in Foster Care," an article published in Youth Law News, author Jennifer Friedman reports on a project initiated by the National Center for Youth Law (NCYL) to examine the problem of unwanted pregnancy among youth in foster care.
The article presents an overview of recent research that documents the poor outcomes experienced by teen mothers, including lower levels of educational attainment, higher rates of single parenthood, and less stable employment than youth with similar backgrounds who postpone childbirth. The children of teen mothers also experience poorer outcomes. They are more likely to drop out of high school, be incarcerated at some time during adolescence, give birth as teenagers, face unemployment as young adults, and end up in foster care. Research also shows that adolescents in foster care engage in sexual activity at an earlier age and have higher rates of pregnancy and births, both intended and unintended, than youth of the same age not in out-of-home care.
The author also notes some of the factors that may be responsible for the higher numbers of unwanted pregnancies and births among young women in foster care, including:
- Youth in foster care often face reproductive coercion related to abusive relationships.
- Youth in foster care experience frequent changes in placement, and this instability leads to inconsistent medical care and disrupted education.
- There are many adults involved in the lives of children in care, including foster parents, judges, social workers, county staff, parents, or other family members, but none of these individuals is specifically charged with the child's sexual education.
- Clear policies guiding access to reproductive health care for children in foster care and training for service providers regarding sexual education and the provision of reproductive health-care services are lacking.
- Confusion about who may provide legal consent for reproductive health-care services can undermine the ability of adolescents in foster care to access such services.
- Pregnant youth in foster care do not consistently receive information about how to prevent additional pregnancies.
Youth Law News will be publish more articles in the coming months that will present more information and recommend actions readers can take to address the issue of pregnant and parenting foster youth.
Youth Law News is published by the National Center for Youth Law. The article is available here:
- New Dissemination Tools for CAN Research Report
New resources that build on findings of the 2013 Institute of Medicine and National Research Council report New Directions in Child Abuse and Neglect Research have been made available. The 2013 report highlighted the significant progress achieved in child abuse and neglect research and stressed the need for additional research. These new materials are intended to help disseminate the important messages that came out of the study.
In 1993, the National Research Council released Understanding Child Abuse and Neglect, which included recommendations on child welfare research. In 2012, the Administration on Children, Youth and Families within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services asked the National Academies to update the 1993 publication and provide new recommendations. The National Academies appointed a committee of experts from relevant fields, including pediatrics, psychology, social work, legal studies, and more, to conduct this study and draft its final report, New Directions in Child Abuse and Neglect Research, which was released in 2013. This report reviews child abuse and neglect research from the past 20 years and provides recommendations in four areas:
- Developing a national research plan that is focused on priority topics and includes implementation and accountability steps across Federal agencies
- Creating a national system to link data across multiple systems and sources
- Developing the structures necessary to train researchers to conduct child maltreatment research
- Creating mechanisms for conducting policy-relevant research
To view the full 2013 report, visit http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=18331.
New products highlighting messages from the 2013 report include the following:
- New Directions: Questions To Guide Future Child Abuse And Neglect Research:
- Infographic: Understanding Child Abuse & Neglect:
- New Directions: What We've Learned About Strategies And Interventions For Child Abuse And Neglect:
- Examining Economic and Social Data Across Ethnic Groups
A new policy report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation (AECF), Race for Results: Building a Path to Opportunity for All Children, explores the intersection of children, race, and opportunity. The report features the new Race for Results index, which compares how children are progressing on key milestones across racial and ethnic groups at the national and State level.
The new Race for Results index expands on previous KIDS COUNT reports that asserted that where a child's family is from and where they live profoundly affect life outcomes of that child. This index is based on 12 indicators that measure a child's success in each stage of life, from birth to adulthood, in the areas of early childhood, education and early work, family supports, and neighborhood context. The index also compares data for those indicators across the African-American, Latino, American Indian, and Asian/Pacific Islander communities. The data are further broken down to compare results among specific Tribes of American Indians and subgroups of Asian-American children.
The results show that many children of color face profound barriers to success. Based on these results, the report makes four policy recommendations to help improve outcomes for these children and their families:
- Gather and analyze racial and ethnic data to inform all phases of programs, policies, and decision-making
- Use data and impact assessment tools to target investments to yield the greatest impact for children of color
- Develop and implement promising and evidence-based programs and practices focused on improving outcomes for children and youth of color
- Integrate economic inclusion strategies within economic and workforce development efforts
The full report, a related report detailing the index methodology, and a link to the data in the KIDS COUNT Data Center for the 12 indicators by State and racial group are available on the AECF website:
Children's Bureau Express has featured a number of articles on the AECF KIDS COUNT reports:
- New CW360º Focuses on Well-Being
The spring 2014 issue of CW360º, an online publication of the Center for Advanced Studies in Child Welfare (CASCW) at the University of Minnesota, focuses on the theme "Attending to Well-Being in Child Welfare." More than 30 articles written by a variety of child welfare professionals—including an article from JooYeun Chang, Associate Commissioner of the Children's Bureau—and other related stakeholders highlight current research and policy on well-being and unresolved trauma.
Chang's article, "Cross-System Challenges With a Well-Being Focus in Child Welfare: On the Way to Fixing What's Broken," highlights the historical lack of equal emphasis on well-being as a goal within child welfare policy and practice, compared to those goals of safety and permanence. She also discusses the increased focus on cross-agency collaboration within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to address trauma, toxic stress, and adverse life experiences. Particular attention is paid to current trauma-focused discretionary grants and work supporting the successful transition of older youth in foster care. Joyce Pfennig, Children's Bureau Child Welfare Program Specialist, authored a separate article on the trauma grants titled "ACF 2012 Trauma Grants: An Overview."
Other articles in this issue include the following:
- "Well-Being: Federal Attention and Implications"
- "Defining and Measuring Well-Being"
- "The Child Indicators Movement"
- "Practical Ways to Promote Well-Being Among Traumatized Children in Child Welfare"
- "One Size Does NOT Fit All"
CW360º: Attending to Well-Being in Child Welfare is available on the CASCW website:
CASCW recently redesigned its website, and previous issues of CW360º and other publications can now be found here:
Children's Bureau Express featured previous issues of CW360º in the following articles:
- "The Intersection of Child Welfare and Disability" (December 2013)
- "Trauma-Informed Child Welfare Practice" (April 2013)
- "CW360°: Using a Developmental Approach in Child Welfare" (October 2012)
- "CW360°: Secondary Trauma in Child Welfare" (July 2012)
- Transitional Living Program Evaluation
MDRC—a nonprofit education and social policy research organization founded in 1974 as the Manpower Demonstration Research Corporation and now simply MDRC—recently published a report documenting initial findings from its implementation evaluation of the Youth Villages Transitional Living program. Youth Villages offers a wide range of services geared toward emotionally and behaviorally troubled youth. Transitional Living is just one of several programs offered by the organization, though it only currently operates in Tennessee. The program aims to help youth who were formerly in foster care or juvenile justice custody make the transition to independent living.
Youth involved in the Transitional Living program receive intensive and individualized support that is both clinically and community-based and delivered by counseling staff with small caseloads. Participants are assessed on a continual basis in order to identify evolving needs and develop appropriate goals. Over the course of their participation in the program, youth receive support for education, housing, mental and physical health, employment, and life skills.
MDRC's implementation evaluation of the Transitional Living program revealed the following key findings:
- There was a variation in local context across the State of Tennessee that impacted the experiences of youth participating in the evaluation. Rural areas in particular had challenges navigating and accumulating resources such as access to transportation, employers, and social service providers.
- Analysis of staff interviews and the management information system showed that the program was implemented in accordance with its model, with the frequency and duration of services near expected levels.
- Youth participation levels in the program were high, and they were engaged in services soon after being assigned to them.
- Staff discussed a wide range of topics with youth and made contact with other adults involved in the young people's lives.
The MDRC plans to release a report on the impacts of the program after 1 year of operation. It is expected that this impact report will be published in 2015.
Moving Into Adulthood: Implementation Findings From the Youth Villages Transitional Living Evaluation is available here:
This section of CBX offers publications, articles, reports, toolkits, and other instruments that provide either evidence-based strategies or other concrete help to child welfare and related professionals.
- Trauma-Focused Courts
Recognizing that traditional court proceedings typically fail to address the underlying problems for parents who have suffered trauma, a family court in upstate New York has worked to institute trauma-informed practice in its court procedures. "Do No Harm: Trauma-Focused Courts," an article recently published by Rise magazine, describes the work of Judge Judith Claire of the Chautauqua County Family Court and Aimee Neri, a licensed social worker who is the New York State Child Welfare Court Improvement Project Liaison to the 8th Judicial District, in bringing awareness of trauma into the court.
The work has been supported by a grant to work with the University of Buffalo, the New York State Child Welfare Court Improvement Project, and Chautauqua County Tapestry to develop a trauma-informed court. Steps in the process have included:
- A kickoff meeting that included all stakeholders to explain the goals of the project and to introduce the concept of trauma-informed practice
- Training about trauma and trauma-informed care
- Building collaboration with stakeholders, including social workers, psychologists, Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) volunteers, attorneys for children, public defenders, and Department of Social Services attorneys, and caseworkers
Judge Claire and Neri have found that applying trauma-informed practices to court proceedings must be based on five principles—safety, trustworthiness, choice, collaboration, and empowerment. They have noted that people coming to court are responding in positive ways, including participating more fully and coming away with more positive attitudes. Other positive outcomes can be seen in youth attendance at court hearings, parents' attendance at engagement conferences, and using permanency mediation rather than termination proceedings. Permanency is being achieved sooner and the court is seeing more resolutions and settlements,
This article, by Sonia Diaz, is available on the Rise website:
- Services and Supports That Reduce Toxic Stress
Research shows that when young children experience severe and ongoing stress, their bodies' stress response systems stay on high alert and can trigger toxic stress. Without appropriate interventions, including consistent support from caring adults, the ongoing toxic stress can weaken the architecture of children’s developing brains and organ systems and causing a host of health, learning, and behavioral problems into adulthood.
In "Pushing Toward Breakthroughs: Using Innovative Practice to Address Toxic Stress," an article published by the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University, author Carol Gerwin looks at three programs addressing toxic stress. These programs have applied a basic understanding about the long-term, damaging effects of toxic stress in developing innovative approaches that target its root causes of family dysfunction to deliver more effective interventions for both children and their caregivers.
For example, a national early childhood education company is developing and testing best practices to change the culture of Head Start programs to help stabilize families and prevent the common crises that come from poverty. Instead of just responding to client families' emergencies, such as running out of food, losing employment, or being evicted, the agency has shifted its emphasis to creating stable, predictable family practices by strengthening those that show links to school readiness, such as providing a language-rich environment, using positive discipline strategies, and establishing family routines. Helping families plan activities like reading together every night, eating meals together every day, and setting routines like regular bedtimes can help children develop the ability to regulate their emotions and be ready to learn.
A second example is a network of agencies in the Los Angeles area providing free in-home mental health care and related services to help ensure secure attachments between children and their parents. The author’s final example involves a regional faith-based organization in Salem, OR, that is building both parents' capabilities and neighborhood resources to support families.
"Pushing Toward Breakthroughs: Using Innovative Practice to Address Toxic Stress" is one in a multipart series on toxic stress being offered by the Center on the Developing Child. The article and links to other resources are available on the Center's website:
- Keeping Immigrant Families Together
When undocumented immigrant parents are detained and facing deportation proceedings, their children often enter foster care. Once a child is in State custody, a detained or deported parent faces many challenges to being reunited with his or her child.
In "Keeping Immigrant Families in the Child Protection System Together," an article recently published in in the American Bar Association's (ABA's) Child Law Practice, author Ann Park discusses many of the problems these families face, including the difficulty in locating parents who have been removed to detention centers, accessing services needed to comply with case plans, meeting reunification timelines, lack of access to court proceedings, lack of State policies on reunification of children with deported parents, and a systemic bias in child welfare against undocumented parents and their relatives.
The author describes Federal laws and policies that can impact immigrant families and highlights recent State legislation in California that aims to address the challenges to reunification that undocumented families face. The article discusses in detail a directive issued by the U.S. Immigration and Enforcement (ICE) in 2013 to establish policy and procedures to address the placement and removal of undocumented parents. Some of the specific policies include:
- Placing the detained parent as close as practicable to the location of the child
- Arranging for the parent's in-person appearance at court hearings involving the child
- Facilitating visitation between the detained parent and his or her child
- Helping parents appear at court hearings regarding their children after removal from the country
The article concludes with practice tips or specific steps that can be taken on the State level, by child welfare agencies, dependency courts, parent attorneys, and children's attorneys, that can help address the needs of these families and lead to better outcomes.
Child Law Practice is published monthly by the ABA Center on Children and the Law. This article is available to subscribers here:
- Youth Credit Preservation in Wisconsin
The Child and Family Services Improvement and Innovation Act requires that children in foster care receive copies of their consumer credit reports and assistance interpreting and resolving inaccuracies in the report. The Wisconsin Department of Children and Families (DCF) recently issued a memo to its State child welfare workforce providing direction on these requirements. The memo outlines the agency's process for obtaining information on youths’ credit records and identifies State-developed resources that workers can use in helping youth to resolve credit report inaccuracies.
The memo notes that DCF is working to establish data-sharing agreements with each of the major credit reporting agencies (CRAs) in order to diminish the difficulties associated with obtaining credit reports for minor children under the care of the State. These agreements will allow credit reports for all children in out-of-home care to be shared electronically between DCF and the CRAs on an annual basis, eliminating the need for agencies to obtain consents or court orders to obtain information.
Under proposed data-sharing agreements, all existing credit reports will be forwarded to a youth's Independent Living Coordinator, who will work collaboratively with the child to verify and remediate any existing anomalies. The correspondence provides staff with internally developed resources on steps that need to be taken by the agency to assist youth with correcting any errors. The State will also host a webinar to provide additional technical assistance for staff in implementing the new Federal requirement.
The memo is available on the website for the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families:
This CBX section provides a quick list of interesting resources, such as websites, videos, journals, funding or scholarship opportunities, or other materials that can be used in the field or with families.
- New Report, Webpage on Reducing Child Poverty
Policymakers at the State level can reduce child poverty and achieve concrete results by using research-informed, results-based policy strategies to improve outcomes and support child and family well-being. A recent paper from the Center for the Study of Social Policy (CSSP), Results-Based Public Policy Strategies for Reducing Child Poverty, offers policy recommendations highlighting the importance of reducing child poverty to increase children and family well-being. In addition to the report, CSSP has created a web section on the topic, which includes supplementary materials.
The paper encourages State policymakers to review their data on children living in poverty, note trends, compare data from other States, and then set targets for improvement. Tailored and research-informed public policy strategies are highlighted with State examples indicating sustainability in implementation and effectiveness. Four evidence-based strategies are described for reducing child poverty:
- Improve supports for families and their children by strengthening the safety net
- Promote family financial success through supportive work/family policies
- Provide supports for families with multiple barriers
- Invest in young children
The paper also discusses funding principles and Federal and State financial resources to implement and sustain recommended policies that support children and families living in poverty.
Access Results-Based Public Policy Strategies for Reducing Child Poverty the CSSP website:
http://www.cssp.org/policy/2014/Results-Based-Public-Policy-Strategies-for-Reducing-Child-Poverty.pdf (306 KB)
The Policy for Results web section with supplementary resources is available here:
- Medicaid Service Delivery for Children and Youth
The National Academy for State Health Policy (NASHP) produced a resource page for State policymakers, Medicaid officials, and other interested parties who aim to improve service delivery to children enrolled in Medicaid. NASHP researched historical data from the Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnostic, and Treatment benefit (EPSDT), which includes a range of preventive and screening services, as well as vision, dental, and hearing services for children. In fiscal year 2012, more than 37 million children were eligible to receive this benefit in the United States.
The NASHP resource page offers State-specific information about strategies for delivering EPSDT to eligible children and youth, including information about coordinated care for physical and behavioral health.
To access the full resource page, visit the NASHP website:
- Helping Children Cope With Death and Trauma
The National Child Traumatic Stress Network recently released three tip sheets to help caretakers and educators identify children's reactions to a traumatic loss and facilitate the healing process. Specifically, the tip sheets highlight some of the symptoms of traumatic grief in young, school-age, or military children. Key signs may include:
- Avoidance and guilt
- Anger and regressive behavior
- Recurring and intrusive thoughts
- Physical aches and pains
- Having trouble sleeping and concentrating
The tip sheets also suggest the role parents and educators can play in providing children with different types of support, depending on the child's age and developmental level. Examples of activities and coping strategies to encourage healing are also outlined. All three tips sheets are available on the National Child Traumatic Stress Network website:
- Helping Military Children with Traumatic Grief: Tips for Educators:
http://www.nctsn.org/sites/default/files/assets/pdfs/ctg_military_factsheet_for_educators.pdf (153 KB)
- Helping Young Children with Traumatic Grief: Tips for Caregivers:
http://www.nctsn.org/sites/default/files/assets/pdfs/helping_children_with_traumatic_grief.pdf (101 KB)
- Helping School-Age Children with Traumatic Grief: Tips for Caregivers:
http://www.nctsn.org/sites/default/files/assets/pdfs/10things_schoolage_ctg.pdf (131 KB)
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.
Upcoming national conferences on child welfare and adoption through October 2014 include:
- National Pathways to Adulthood 2014
National Resource Center for Youth Development
August 6–8, Philadelphia, PA
- 26th Annual Crimes Against Children Conference
Children's Advocacy Center
August 11–14, Dallas, TX
- The 27th Annual National Independent Living Conference
Growing Pains 2014 for Adults and Youth
August 26–29, Denver, CO
- 19th International Conference & Summit on Violence, Abuse & Trauma
Institute on Violence, Abuse and Trauma (IVAT)
September 7–10, San Diego, CA
- CWLA National Kinship Care Conference
Building Communities of Caring for Children and Families
Child Welfare League of America (CWLA)
September 17–19, New Orleans, LA
- Turn on the Light Child Abuse and Neglect Conference
The Children's Healing Institute
October 16, West Palm Beach, FL
- SAFE 2014: Sex Trafficking Awareness, Freedom and Empowerment Conference
SAFE Coalition for Human Rights (SAFECHR) IVAT (Institute for Violence, Abuse, and Trauma) (Co-Sponsor)
October 29–31, Chicago, IL
- Together We Can Conference
LA Supreme Court, LA Dept. of Children and Family Services, LA Children's Trust Fund, Louisiana CASA Association, CACLA, LA Foundation Against Sexual Assault, NASW-LA Chapter
October 28–30, Lafayette, LA
Further details about national and regional child welfare and adoption conferences can be found through the Conference Calendar Search feature on the Child Welfare Information Gateway website:
- National Pathways to Adulthood 2014
- Training Youth Advocates on Health-Care Law
In 2012, the youth-led organization Foster Youth in Action held a national convening of youth in out-of-home care to develop a peer-to-peer learning and support network and a unified strategy for effecting policy change pertaining to foster care in the United States. Due to the success of last year's meeting, the national convening will occur annually, and a December 2013 article in the Chronicle of Social Change highlights the 2013 meeting that was centered on training youth advocates on the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The article features a Q&A between the Chronicle and Foster Youth in Action Executive Director Janet Knipe.
In the Q&A, Knipe said her organization is being proactive about the ACA's provisions affecting youth in care and aims to give youth the tools to help educate their peers about the new law.
"Training Youth Advocates on Affordable Care Act," by John Kelly, Chronicle of Social Change, 2013, is available here:
For more information on Foster Youth in Action, visit its website: