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October 2008Vol. 9, No. 8Spotlight on Substance Abuse and Child Welfare

In this month's theme section, CBX focuses on the intersection of substance abuse and child welfare, with articles on two Children's Bureau grant clusters and recent resources and information, particularly in the area of cross-system collaboration among child welfare, substance abuse treatment, and the courts.

Issue Spotlight

  • Understanding Barriers to Effective Interagency Collaboration to Address Substance Abuse

    Understanding Barriers to Effective Interagency Collaboration to Address Substance Abuse

    Research during the past decade has documented the importance of developing interagency collaboration among child welfare professionals, substance abuse treatment providers, and the court system for effective intervention with substance-abusing families. Three recent studies examined whether agencies have been successful in demonstrating positive outcomes through collaboration.

    In the first study, "Inter-Agency Collaboration: Policy and Practice in Child Welfare and Substance Abuse Treatment," researchers Brenda Smith and Cristina Mogro-Wilson conducted a survey of agency administrators and frontline staff in child welfare and substance abuse treatment agencies regarding organizational policies and specific collaborative practices. The results suggest that staff perceptions of policy regarding collaboration are a stronger indicator of collaborative practice than are administrators' reports of policy.

    "Inter-Agency Collaboration" was published in Administration in Social Work, Vol. 32(2), 2008, and is available through the website at

    In "The Role of Interagency Collaboration for Substance-Abusing Families Involved With Child Welfare," researchers Beth Green, Anna Rockhill, and Scott Burrus present the results of qualitative interviews with representatives of the child welfare, treatment, and court systems. Results indicate that collaboration can benefit families through a shared value system, improved communication, and the provision of support teams. Challenges to successful collaboration are discussed in detail.

    "The Role of Interagency Collaboration for Substance-Abusing Families" was published in Child Welfare, Vol. 87(1), 2008, and is available through the website:

    The California Social Work Education Center (CSWEC) examined the factors that help and hinder the process of collaboration and used the study results as the basis for a new curriculum. The curriculum, Pathways to Collaboration: Factors That Help and Hinder Collaboration Between Substance Abuse and Child Welfare Fields, provides highlights of the research and experiential activities in the areas of cross-systems collaboration, promising models and elements of collaborative practice, and facilitating communication and dealing with confidentiality issues across systems. The curriculum provides both theoretical and practical knowledge, including specific training in developing communication protocols that can facilitate agency collaboration to help children and families.

    The CSWEC curriculum was developed by Laurie Drabble, Kathy Osterling, Marty Tweed, and Carol Pearce and is available online at,100 - KB)

  • Webinars on Substance Use in Tribal Communities

    Webinars on Substance Use in Tribal Communities

    In June 2008, the Administration for Children and Families (Region 10), the National Center on Substance Abuse and Child Welfare, and the National Indian Child Welfare Association hosted two webinars on "Substance Abuse and Child Welfare in Tribal Communities." The webinars included presentations on model programs that stressed family preservation and system collaboration. The two webinars included:

    • Family-Centered Services for Indian Children Impacted by Family Substance Use Disorders. This webinar focused on the delivery of family-centered services in the context of the recovery model and community response. Other topics included identifying traditional positive supports and building understanding for the historical issues that surround Tribal child welfare.
    • Substance Abuse Treatment, Child Welfare, and Court Collaboration. Speakers discussed the Relational Worldview Model, which incorporates the Tribal thought of balance and harmony in relationships. In addition, representatives from four Tribes receiving Children's Bureau funding (to "Increase the Well-Being of, and to Improve the Permanency Outcomes for, Children Affected by Methamphetamine or Other Substance Abuse") described efforts to create systemwide linkages between their Tribal community and State or county departments of child welfare services and substance abuse treatment services.

    The webinars are available on the Children and Family Futures website, along with other materials from the sessions:

  • Implementing CAPTA Requirements to Help Substance-Exposed Newborns

    Implementing CAPTA Requirements to Help Substance-Exposed Newborns

    The impact of substance abuse on the well-being and safety of children is receiving increasing attention. Working to ensure the well-being and safety of children, professionals from child welfare, substance abuse, medicine, early intervention, and other disciplines are combining efforts and strengthening collaborations to meet the needs of families impacted by substance abuse. Nearly a decade ago, with the release of Blending Perspectives and Building Common Ground: A Report to Congress on Substance Abuse and Child Protection, the Federal Government discussed this issue and the importance of bringing systems together. This document noted the inherent complexity of substance abuse impact and stressed that no one discipline could address the issue alone.

    The reauthorization of the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) in 2003 highlighted the impact on the youngest children touched by substance abuse—infants. This legislation specified that States must have:

    • Policies and procedures to address the needs of infants who are substance-exposed, including notifications of child protective services
    • A plan of safe care for infants
    • Procedures for immediate screening, risk, and safety assessment and prompt investigation of reports relating to substance-exposed newborns

    In response to these requirements, the Children's Bureau released an announcement to support demonstration projects that would develop model policies and procedures to implement these provisions of CAPTA. In 2005, the Children's Bureau awarded four 5-year grants focused on systems change and multidisciplinary collaboration. Grantees spent the first year as a planning year. Years 2 and 3 focused on implementation and evaluation, while the final years require the projects to focus on dissemination. Funded projects are:

    • Denver Department of Human Services: Colorado Systems Integration Model for Infants (C-SIMI) Project
    • Massachusetts Department of Public Health: A Helping Hand: Mother to Mother
    • St. Vincent Mercy Medical Center: Healthy Connections Substance-Exposed Newborns Program
    • University of Oregon: Family Early Advocacy and Treatment

    Although the four projects are located in different types of agencies and have developed unique approaches to comply with CAPTA requirements, they have arrived at some similar recommendations and lessons learned. Common essential components of these projects include:

    • Clarity and consistency in policies and procedures
    • Collaboration across disciplines (including health care, child welfare, substance abuse treatment, early intervention systems and others)
    • A champion within each system to lead the effort
    • Regular meetings among the stakeholders, development of common language, and buy-in at all levels
    • Review of legal issues, including consent procedures for sharing client information

    The projects are now working on disseminating details of their experiences through workshops and publications. The knowledge gained from these projects has great potential for informing various disciplines working with newborns, children, and parents impacted by substance use. The lessons learned also are a potential resource for States that are still working on these provisions of CAPTA or seeking to improve their policies and procedures on this issue.

    For additional information on this cluster of grants, please contact the Federal Project Officer, Catherine Luby, at

    Contributed by Catherine Luby, the Children's Bureau, Office on Child Abuse and Neglect

  • The SAMHSA Website for Child Welfare Professionals

    The SAMHSA Website for Child Welfare Professionals

    Child welfare professionals who deal with families' substance use and the problems inherent in such use will find numerous resources on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) website. In fact, users spending time on this large website will uncover a wide range of topics. Child welfare professionals may want to view the following webpages:

    National Center on Substance Abuse and Child Welfare (NCSACW)
    Funded by SAMHSA and the Administration on Children, Youth and Families, NCSACW provides expertise, online training and tutorials, and links to other resources on substance abuse issues in the child welfare population. For instance:

    Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT)
    CSAT promotes community-based treatment by providing a searchable database of treatment facilities, a national helpline (English and Spanish), and links to publications and resources.

    Treatment Improvement Exchange
    These webpages serve as a place for CSAT staff and State and local substance abuse agencies to exchange information. Recent papers of interest include:

    The National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information (NCADI) The NCADI offers publications and resources for a wide audience. A recent toolkit from NCADI focuses on program sustainability:

    The National Registry of Evidence-Based Programs and Practices
    Agencies, individuals, and organizations can search this database for interventions to prevent and treat mental health and substance use disorders. The database lists more than 100 interventions that have been thoroughly reviewed and evaluated by trained experts.

    The Homelessness Resource Center
    This interactive community of providers, consumers, policymakers, researchers, and public agencies provides state-of-the art knowledge and promising practices to prevent and end homelessness through training and technical assistance, information, online education, and networking and collaboration.

    Co-occurring Center for Excellence
    These webpages provide links to training and technical assistance and other resources for the field of co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders.

    National Center for Trauma-Informed Care
    This technical assistance center is dedicated to building awareness of trauma-informed care and promoting the implementation of trauma-informed practices in programs and services.

  • New Substance Abuse Resources

    New Substance Abuse Resources

    Child Welfare Information Gateway recently updated its website's Substance Abuse section to provide child welfare, substance abuse, and related professionals with information on effective casework practice with children, youth, and families affected by substance abuse. Links to publications and resources are provided in the following topical areas:

    • Overview (statistics, legislation, funding, training)
    • Prevention strategies
    • Assessment
    • Casework practice
    • Treatment services
    • Cross-system collaboration
    • Drug-specific information
    • Resources for families

    Visit the Information Gateway website to learn more:

  • Evidence-Based Treatments for Parental Substance Abuse

    Evidence-Based Treatments for Parental Substance Abuse

    In an effort to determine the types of treatment approaches most effective with substance abusing parents in the child welfare system, a new study examined both individual-level interventions and system-level collaborative efforts between the child welfare and the alcohol and other drug (AOD) systems. The literature review identified a number of evidence-based program components and collaborative models associated with positive outcomes. For individual-level interventions, these components included:

    • Women-centered treatment that involves children
    • Specialized health and mental health services
    • Home visitation services
    • Concrete support and assistance (e.g., transportation, child care)
    • Short-term targeted interventions
    • Comprehensive and holistic interventions

    For system-level cooperation between the child welfare and AOD systems, core components included:

    • Well-qualified AOD personnel in child welfare offices
    • Joint case planning
    • Official committees for guiding collaborative efforts
    • Training and cross-training
    • Protocols for sharing confidential information
    • Dependency drug courts

    "Substance Abuse Intervention for Parents Involved in the Child Welfare System: Evidence and Implications," by Kathy Lemon Osterling and Michael J. Austin, appears in the Journal of Evidence-Based Social Work, Vol. 5(1/2), and is available through the website:

  • Regional Partnership Grants Strive to Improve the Lives of Children and Families Affected by Methamp

    Regional Partnership Grants Strive to Improve the Lives of Children and Families Affected by Methamp

    States and communities across the nation are struggling to address the safety, permanency, and well-being of children in families in which a parent's substance use has placed children at risk of abuse and neglect. The rise of methamphetamine use, in particular among women of child-bearing age, has increased the visibility of these issues and focused attention on the need to provide comprehensive, integrated family-centered treatment services to substance-affected families. On September 27, 2006, President Bush signed landmark legislation, the Child and Family Services Improvement Act of 2006 (Public Law (P.L.) 109-288). This legislation reauthorized the Promoting Safe and Stable Families program and provided 5-year funding to implement a targeted grant program to fund regional partnerships for the purpose of improving permanency outcomes for children affected by methamphetamine or other substance abuse.

    On September 28, 2007, the Children's Bureau awarded multiyear funding to 53 grantees representing 28 States and 6 Tribes. The Regional Partnership Grant (RPG) program supports a variety of strategies designed to improve outcomes for children and families. These include:

    • Expansion of family treatment drug courts
    • Improvement of systemwide collaboration
    • Expanded access to comprehensive family-centered treatment
    • Children's services
    • Use of evidence-based practice approaches
    • Recovery management approaches

    The outcomes of the grants will be monitored in a performance measurement system focused on documenting child safety, permanency, and well-being and family stability; systems improvement; and treatment-related outcomes, such as timeliness of treatment access and parent's recovery.

    Across the country, RPGs have been engaged in the implementation of interagency collaborative efforts and integration of programs and services to address the needs of these families. The impressive range of organizations that serve as the lead agency of these partnerships reflects the collaborative nature of this program, and form the key to providing comprehensive services to families. Forty-five percent of all partnerships have a child welfare agency as the designated lead agency. Substance abuse agencies comprise 23 percent of lead agencies, and 13 percent are other child and family services providers.

    Access the Children's Bureau website for a complete list of the 53 grants awarded:

    For additional information on this cluster of grants, please contact the Federal Project Officer, Elaine Stedt, at

    Contributed by Elaine Stedt, the Children's Bureau, Office on Child Abuse and Neglect

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News From the Children's Bureau

The new CBX debuts, with lots of great features and resources, including a message from the Associate Commissioner, news from the T&TA Network, and articles on Children's Bureau grantees.

  • Welcome to the New <em>Children's Bureau Express!</em>

    Welcome to the New <em>Children's Bureau Express!</em>

    Children's Bureau Express has been a trusted source of news from the Children's Bureau for more than 8 years. While we've periodically updated our "look" during that time, this latest version qualifies as more than just a facelift.

    The new Children's Bureau Express (or CBX, for short) features more content reflecting Children's Bureau priorities, including a message from the Children's Bureau Associate Commissioner with each issue. You'll also find more prominent placement of news from the Children's Bureau Training and Technical Assistance Network, Quality Improvement Centers, and grantees, as well as other Federal Government child welfare news.

    Still, we've kept many of the features that our readers have come to rely on, such as news on practical tools and strategies, the latest research, and many other resources to help child welfare professionals in their work. Other useful features on the CBX website include:

    • Easy access to articles from past issues through our keyword "Search"
    • An attractive printable version, for taking CBX on the road
    • The ability to easily share CBX with colleagues, through the "Email this issue" function
    • Opportunities to provide feedback or story ideas by clicking on "Make a suggestion"

    So, welcome to the new CBX! We hope you'll find it more readable, more attractive, and easier to navigate than ever, and we invite you to let us know what you think. (Email us at or click on the "Make a suggestion" link in the left navigation bar.) We welcome your comments and ideas and look forward to providing you with child welfare news from the Children's Bureau and around the country in the months and years to come.

  • News From Region 2

    News From Region 2

    This is the first in a series of occasional articles highlighting the work and achievements of one of the Regions.

    Region 2 reports news this month from New York, New Jersey, and Puerto Rico.

    New York: Bridges to Health

    New York State Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) submitted three Home and Community Based Medicaid Waivers to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services in April 2007 and received approval for Bridges to Health (B2H), with a 3-year phase-in that started in January 2008. The three waivers have been implemented as a single program to serve children in foster care with serious emotional disturbances, developmental disabilities, and medical fragility. Each waiver addresses a subset of children and youth in foster care, with B2H services following the children upon discharge from foster care.

    OCFS and the New York State Department of Health are responsible for the operation and oversight of the B2H waivers. The B2H program was designed with considerable input from providers; local social services districts; clinicians; biological, foster, and adoptive parents; and children themselves. For more information, visit the B2H website:

    New Jersey: Differential Response

    The New Jersey Department of Children and Families (DCF) implemented its Differential Response pilot in four South Jersey counties (Camden, Cumberland, Gloucester, and Salem) and is being expanded to Middlesex and Union counties. The program is designed to allow access to support services to strengthen families and help prevent child abuse and neglect when children may be at risk. These efforts help to establish a more coordinated continuum of services for children and families.

    The Division of Prevention and Community Partnership (DPCP) within DCF has assumed oversight of the Differential Response pilot. This placement of Differential Response under the DPCP umbrella provides DPCP an important component for the planned integration of primary and tertiary prevention services that will effectively strengthen families and keep them from entering the child protective services system. The sites are fully operational and are now responsive on a 24 hour/7 day basis, receiving referrals from the State Central Registry. A total of 442 families have been referred to the Differential Response programs.

    For more information, please contact:

    Puerto Rico: School for Healthy Living and Parenting Program

    The School for Healthy Living and Parenting provides primary prevention educational services for Puerto Rico's adults, adolescents, and children to promote a culture of peace, nonviolent family and community relations, positive parenting skills, management of sexuality in youth, prevention of child abuse, and leadership development in the community. The program uses seven modules:

    1. Working for Family Peace workshops promote a culture of peace within the context of the community.
    2. "SIEMBRA" workshops for adults cover self-development, family communication, management of emotions, nonviolent discipline, and sexual education.
    3. The Strengthening Community Leaders module is designed to develop residents' commitment, group organization, and other leadership skills.
    4. Neighbors Working With Neighbors is a self-development course for adults that uses train-the-trainers, peer education, and intervention approaches.
    5. Prevention workshops for youth focus on identifying and controlling aggression and violence in the home, among young couples, and in the community.
    6. Sexuality Among Youth workshops cover factual information, attitudes, consequences, and decision-making for youth.
    7. Prevention of Child Abuse and Sexual Abuse is a module for children on self-identification of abuse, positive and negative touching, and what to do in situations of potential abuse or neglect.

    For more information, contact:

  • Enhancing Cultural Competency With Hispanic Families

    Enhancing Cultural Competency With Hispanic Families

    To respond to the unique needs of the growing Hispanic population, partners in two States used Children's Bureau funding to develop a multifaceted cultural competency training for child welfare professionals. The centerpiece of the series is a simulation titled "El Jardin: Latino Families' Experiences With Community-Based Services" and a companion workshop, "Foundations of Effective Child Welfare Practice with Latino Families." The Child Welfare Resource Network at the University of Kansas School of Social Welfare and the Butler Institute for Families at the University of Denver Graduate School of Social Work used input from a national advisory board as well as local advisory boards in their States to develop cultural competency training geared toward working with the Hispanic population. The training consists of six elements:

    • Pretraining assessment of individual, agency, and community culturally competent practices
    • "El Jardin" community simulation, in which project staff recreate a Hispanic community and ask participants to use props and costumes to experience life from another's perspective
    • A 2-day training, "Core Elements of Culturally Responsive Practice With Latino Families"
    • A half day of collaborative sessions between child welfare supervisors and community partner agencies titled "Building Culturally Responsive Teams"
    • Three advanced topic video productions used for in-service, classroom, or "brown bag" presentations
    • Adaptable curriculum modules that can be incorporated into courses at schools of social work

    Trainings were held in seven communities in Kansas and Colorado, involving more than 300 participants. Participants reported that the El Jardin simulation made them more aware of the strengths and needs of the Hispanic population and taught them valuable lessons about how to provide services more effectively. Project staff conducted posttraining surveys and focus groups and used the results to adapt and improve subsequent trainings. Each element of the training involved action planning based on the insights and understandings gained during the event.

    Several aspects of the training promote long-term sustainability for the project. Through pretraining assessments of the individual, organization, and community, participants were able to identify systemic policy and practice areas needing improvement as well as tools for self-reflection and dialog upon which to build sustainable partnerships throughout the community. Administrators and staff at all levels are included in the training, and community partners are encouraged to attend as a way to facilitate relationships that can lead to improved service coordination. The curriculum modules allow agencies to incorporate lessons learned into their long-term staff development efforts.

    Several resources were developed and disseminated, including a training brochure of effective practices, a resource guide, and a self-reflection assessment for cultural competencies. In addition, elements of the training were adapted for use in selected Kansas university social work classes. A handbook has been created so that individual States wanting to create their own simulation may do so with guidance and support. Project staff hope that these steps will help ensure that the training's positive effects endure long after the project ends.

    For more information, contact the principal investigator:
    Bethany Roberts, J.D., M.S.W.
    The University of Kansas, School of Social Welfare
    1545 Lilac Lane
    Lawrence, KS 66044

    Effective Child Welfare Practice With Hispanic Children and Families is funded by the Children's Bureau, Grant 90CT0130, under the Children's Bureau Priority Area: Field Initiated Training Projects for Effective Child Welfare Practice With Hispanic Children and Families. This article is part of a series highlighting successful Children's Bureau grant-funded projects around the country, emerging from Children's Bureau site visits.

  • The Latest From the T&TA Network

    The Latest From the T&TA Network

    The Children's Bureau Training and Technical Assistance Network (T&TA) helps build the capacity of State, local, Tribal, and other public child welfare agencies and family and juvenile courts through training, technical assistance, research, and consultation. Find out more on the T&TA Network webpage:

    • Practice Model Framework Series—The National Child Welfare Resource Center for Organizational Improvement and National Resource Center for Family-Centered Practice and Permanency Planning have partnered to develop a Practice Model Framework series to help agencies create or modify child welfare practice models.
    • Tribal Services Website—The National Child Welfare Resource Center for Youth Development (NCWRCYD) launched a new website to help Tribes and child welfare professionals enhance services for Tribal youth. The website provides information on how NCWRCYD staff can support Tribes, facilitate collaboration between States and Tribes, promote youth development activities in Tribal communities, engage youth in their communities, and enhance the capacity of Tribes to provide transition services that demonstrate cultural competence.
    • Permanency Planning Today—The National Resource Center for Family-Centered Practice and Permanency Planning recently published the summer 2008 issue of its online newsletter, which focuses on caseworker-child visiting strategies, findings from the Child and Family Services Reviews on visits, and an interview with Dr. Peg Hess, a leading expert on visiting. (1,302 - KB)
  • Grant Projects Focus on Workforce Recruitment and Retention

    Grant Projects Focus on Workforce Recruitment and Retention

    High turnover in the child welfare workforce can increase the work overload for those left behind and lead to frequent changes in caseworkers for children and families in the child welfare system. In 2003, the Children's Bureau funded eight projects around the country to study, develop, implement, and evaluate recruitment and retention strategies for the child welfare workforce. Using the "Developing Models of Effective Child Welfare Staff Recruitment and Retention Training" grants, the 5-year projects set out to address the difficulties that agencies face in recruiting new child welfare workers, screening and selecting those who will best fit the job requirements, and retaining good workers.

    As these projects draw to a close, preliminary evaluation data and anecdotal evidence from supervisors and workers trained through the projects shed light on some of the broad systemic changes that can improve workforce recruitment and retention and combat high turnover. These fall into five areas:

    • The hiring process
    • Improvements in the workplace culture
    • Training
    • Technology optimization
    • Customized solutions

    A new resource paper on the eight projects funded by Children's Bureau grants for "Developing Models of Effective Child Welfare Staff Recruitment and Retention Training" is now available. Visit the Children's Bureau Discretionary Grant Library online to view the report, Grant Projects Focus on Workforce Recruitment and Retention:

    Visit the Children's Bureau Discretionary Grant Library to find out information about other Children's Bureau grant projects:

    For more information, see the July/August 2008 issue of Children's Bureau Express for "Developing Models for Workforce Recruitment and Retention." Also, visit Information Gateway's site visit reports on this Children's Bureau grant cluster:

  • Adoption Excellence Awards Announced

    Adoption Excellence Awards Announced

    The Children's Bureau has announced the winners of the 2008 Adoption Excellence Awards. The award recipients include individuals and organizations that have made key contributions in 10 categories toward increasing the number of children adopted from foster care. The Adoption Excellence Awards affirm the Children's Bureau's commitment to helping the 510,000 children in foster care across the country, including the 129,000 children awaiting adoption.

    Recipients will receive their awards at a ceremony at the Children's Bureau in Washington, DC, in October. To view the complete list of award winners and read about their accomplishments that merited these awards, visit the Children's Bureau website:

  • From the Associate Commissioner's Office:<br>Children's Bureau Grants

    From the Associate Commissioner's Office:<br>Children's Bureau Grants

    Dear Colleague:

    I thank you for your interest in the work of the Children's Bureau and your commitment to improving the lives of at-risk children and families. The Children's Bureau is pleased to announce that we have awarded grants in nine priority areas for fiscal year (FY) 2008. The areas, the number of projects, and the funding provided for these projects for FY 2008 are:

    • Abandoned Infants Assistance: Comprehensive Support Services for Families Affected by Substance Abuse and/or HIV/AIDS—9 projects totaling $4.3 million
    • Adoption Opportunities: Diligent Recruitment of Families for Children in the Foster Care System—5 projects totaling $3.5 million
    • Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act: National Quality Improvement Center on Preventing the Abuse and Neglect of Infants and Young Children—1 project at $1.7 million
    • Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act: National Quality Improvement Center on Differential Response in Child Protective Services—1 project at $1.7 million
    • Child Welfare Technical Assistance Implementation Centers—5 projects totaling $6.7 million
    • Child Welfare Training: Curriculum Development and Evaluation for Healthy Marriage and Relationship Education—1 project at $250,000
    • Child Welfare Training: National Child Welfare Workforce Initiatives—6 projects totaling $5.8 million
    • Grants to Tribes, Tribal Organizations, and Migrant Programs for Community-Based Child Abuse Prevention Programs—3 projects totaling $413,000
    • Supporting Evidence-Based Home Visitation Programs to Prevent Child Maltreatment—17 projects totaling $8 million

    The FY 2008 funding opportunities are intended to focus resources in those areas identified by States, Tribes, and local communities as critical to ensuring the safety, permanency, and well-being of children. For a list of individual projects awarded, please visit the Children's Bureau website:

    I'd like to thank all of you for the time and resources you may have devoted in pursuit of these funding opportunities. The Children's Bureau is currently forecasting 12 funding opportunities in FY 2009. These funding opportunities will focus primarily on the competition for 10 National Resource and Technical Assistance Centers. We also anticipate announcing the availability of funds for the Evaluation of Existing Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Programs and for Abandoned Infants Assistance Comprehensive Programs. Information about planned FY 2009 funding opportunity announcements is now available on the Department of Health and Human Services Grants Forecast website:

    To find the Children's Bureau's planned announcements, select "Browse by Category," then select "Income Security and Social Services/Family and Child Welfare Services."

    The National Resource and Technical Assistance Centers, a vital part of the Children's Bureau's overall Training and Technical Assistance Network, are designed to improve child welfare systems by helping States and Tribes achieve sustainable, systemic change resulting in better lives for children, youth, and families. The professionals in each Resource Center bring specialized knowledge to multiple aspects of child welfare systems and practice. And when they combine forces with other members of the Training and Technical Assistance Network, positive things happen for our clients.

    I encourage all interested parties to visit the above website and to give serious consideration to applying for any and all funding opportunities of interest. At the Children's Bureau, we believe that competition is the lifeblood of innovation. Without new ideas, we cannot make progress. We welcome applications not only from the fine organizations that have won grants in the past, but also from those that may have competed unsuccessfully before and those that have yet to submit applications.

    The Children's Bureau relies on professionals in the field to help us carry out our mission of safety, permanency, and well-being for every child. We need your experience, your energy, and your proposals to move the system forward.

    I look forward to a large and enthusiastic response to the FY 2009 program announcements.

    Christine M. Calpin
    Associate Commissioner
    Children's Bureau

  • Developing Relationships to Find Resource Families for Indian Children

    Developing Relationships to Find Resource Families for Indian Children

    Since 2003, the Recruiting Rural Parents for Indian Children (RRPIC) project has been building relationships with Tribes, Indian families, counties, and courts in California in an effort to identify foster and permanent families for Indian children in foster care. The project's approach is based on the premise that Tribes and families know best about what they and their children need. By building relationships with Tribes and those who work with them, project staff have been able to learn about the foster care needs of specific Tribes and families and to provide support by recruiting Indian resource families.

    Funded by the Children's Bureau, the 5-year project began with a full year of relationship building, information sharing, and outreach by RRPIC staff. Family recruitment, which began in the second year, was tailored for each Tribal community and included:

    • Attendance at social events
    • Presentations at Tribal councils
    • Direct contact with families referred by Tribes, self-referred, or known to the recruiter

    Two Native American recruiters—one Native American serving the northern counties and one who was part of the Native community for many years in the southern counties served by the project—conducted outreach and recruitment tasks. They also served as important allies for interested parents before, during, and after placement of a child. In the past, Indian families usually had not been asked to serve as resource families for children in foster care, so few families knew about the licensing requirements or process. The RRPIC recruiters were able to explain issues such as fingerprinting for background checks and the type of agency available to work with the family (e.g., Tribal, county, or a private agency). In addition, the project was able to fund some needed items that, in the past, might have prevented a family from receiving a license. For instance, some families needed a State waiver to serve their foster child the wild game and fish that are traditional fare for their family and Tribe.

    The RRPIC project faced a number of larger challenges in finding foster and permanent families for Indian children in California. These included:

    • The unique circumstances and requirements of specific Tribes
    • The rural location of many Tribes, Rancherias, and reservations
    • Inadequate funding and dedicated programming for family recruitment
    • Historical mistrust between Tribes and outside agencies

    The project's deliberate focus on building relationships and persistence in following up with contacts helped to resolve some of these issues. Other helpful project components included:

    • Staff who were dedicated solely to family recruitment, licensing/certification, and placement support
    • The creation of advisory boards composed of Native American members
    • Using recruiters to collect information needed by evaluators
    • Careful tracking of families and alerts to recruiters when a family needed contact

    As the RRPIC project draws to a close, early results support the project's relationship-building approach. As of March 2008, 16 families had been certified/licensed, and 33 children had been placed. More than 60 families consented to move forward with licensing/certification, and more are still in process. Also, a number of steps have been taken to ensure the sustainability of this recruitment approach. In northern California, the RRPIC worked with a foster family agency that will continue this work. In southern California, the Indian Tribe consortium that served as the advisory board is in the process of becoming a foster family agency and, in the meantime, is affiliated with an agency that will continue recruitment.

    Reflecting on the project's progress during the last 5 years, Project Director Susan Quash-Mah commented, "We feel that it's respectful to put forth a large effort with families because we're asking them to make a large commitment when they take in a child. And while our model takes time, we get results!"

    For more information, contact

    Many thanks to Susan Quash-Mah, M.A., Project Director, and Deb Johnson-Shelton, Ph.D., Project Evaluator, for providing the information for this article.

  • 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:

    • Adoption Excellence Awardees for 2008
    • Updated Program Improvement Plan Completion Status Chart
    • Updated Trends in Adoption and Foster Care
    • Cumulative Adoption Incentive Earning History by State

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

  • 2008 National Adoption Month Website Goes Live

    2008 National Adoption Month Website Goes Live

    Child Welfare Information Gateway, in partnership with the Collaboration to AdoptUsKids, recently launched the website for National Adoption Month 2008. The early launch of the website allows adoption professionals, families, and advocates to access materials and post events well in advance of the month-long celebration in November.

    Recognized by Presidential Proclamation, National Adoption Month is a time set aside to raise awareness about the need for adoptive parents for children and youth in foster care. Under the leadership of the Children's Bureau, National Adoption Month focuses the nation's attention on the 496,000 children in foster care across the country, including the 130,000 children awaiting adoption.

    The National Adoption Month website features a number of resources, including:

    • Calendar of activities for November, available in both English and Spanish
    • Presidential Proclamation
    • Enhanced search results for the Spanish version of the National Foster Care and Adoption Directory
    • Targeted resources for professionals, families, and teachers
    • Resources from AdoptUsKids

    Visit the website to access resources and learn more about National Adoption Month:

Child Welfare Research

CBX points to updates from the U.S. Department of State that give the latest information on Hague implications and country-specific cautions, and the Promising Practices Network posts essays in which prevention experts talk about how they would spend $5 million a year.

  • Intercountry Adoption Updates From the Department of State

    Intercountry Adoption Updates From the Department of State

    The Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (the Convention) protects children and their families against the risks of unregulated adoptions abroad and ensures that intercountry adoptions are in the best interests of children. Since it entered into force for the United States in April 2008, the U.S. Department of State has worked diligently to oversee compliance with the Convention. To inform adoption service providers and prospective adoptive families of the most current information on the intercountry adoption process, the Department of State regularly updates its website on topics including:

    • Policies and procedures
    • Accreditation of providers
    • The Convention complaint registry
    • Resources for parents, service providers, and State authorities
    • Country-specific alerts during crises

    The website currently lists more than 200 adoption service providers that are accredited, temporarily accredited, or approved to provide certain key adoption services in connection with Convention adoption cases. The list is updated frequently, as is a list of providers denied accreditation/approval. The Department of State recently released a notice urging providers that have been denied accreditation/approval to transfer their pending Convention cases to an accredited or approved provider. An interim notice was also released offering guidance on how to handle coordination of services and the relationship between providers that have and have not been accredited or approved.

    The Department of State also released updates on adoption processing in the following two countries:

    • The Vietnamese Department of International Adoptions suspended the acceptance of new adoption dossiers on July 1, 2008, and the bilateral adoption agreement between the United States and Vietnam expired on September 1, 2008. Only those cases received by the Vietnamese authorities prior to the July 1 suspension will be processed to their conclusion. Due to serious irregularities in the adoption process in Vietnam, the Department of State is unable to predict when a new agreement may be negotiated and signed.
    • The Government of Liberia, concerned over the increasing number of cases in which adoptive parents have terminated their relationship with Liberian adoptive children, indicated it is carefully reviewing all cases submitted for approval, resulting in an increased processing time. A revised adoption law is pending approval by the Parliament in Liberia; if enacted, it would provide additional safeguards to protect adoptive children, birth parents, and prospective adoptive parents.

    Visit the Department of State website often for updates:

  • How to Spend $5 Million a Year on Child Abuse Prevention

    How to Spend $5 Million a Year on Child Abuse Prevention

    The Promising Practices Network (PPN) recently asked six professionals knowledgeable about child abuse and neglect prevention to answer the following question: If you had $5 million to spend each year for the next 5 years to prevent child abuse and neglect in the United States, how would you spend it?

    The authors of the responses represent a variety of backgrounds and perspectives:

    • Linda Baker, Director, FRIENDS National Resource Center for Community-Based Child Abuse Prevention
    • Mary Carrasco, M.D., Director, International and Community Health, Pittsburgh Mercy Health System
    • Deborah Daro, Ph.D., Research Fellow, Chapin Hall Center for Children, University of Chicago
    • J. Paige Greene, Executive Director, Richland County CASA, South Carolina
    • Pete Hershberger, Arizona State Representative, Arizona House of Representatives
    • Elba Montalvo, Executive Director, The Committee for Hispanic Children and Families, Inc.

    Their responses focus on such efforts as community engagement, increased public will, the creation of community response centers, parent education in hospitals and through home visiting, and culturally appropriate services. The PPN webpage also offers readers the opportunity to comment on the authors' views or to submit their own answer to the question.

    Full responses are available on the PPN site:

Strategies and Tools for Practice

Focusing on programs that have demonstrated effectiveness, CBX cites articles on ways courts can help older youth stay in foster care and how parenting skills can be maintained.

  • Behavioral Parent Training

    Behavioral Parent Training

    Two articles in Research on Social Work Practice examined whether 30 hours of Behavioral Parent Training resulted in changes in caregiver skills for the Florida foster parents and other caregivers who participated. Overall results show partial maintenance of skills 8 to 35 months following the initial training. A 6-hour booster training was effective for skills that had not been maintained. Results also show variability in individual skill scores, suggesting idiosyncratic differences with regard to initial training, maintenance, and booster training.

    To find out more about the Behavioral Parent Training program in Florida, visit the University of South Florida Child & Family Studies website:

    To access the articles, visit the Sage Publications website:

  • How Courts Can Help Keep Foster Youth in Care Beyond Age 18

    How Courts Can Help Keep Foster Youth in Care Beyond Age 18

    The role that courts can play in keeping youth in foster care beyond age 18 is the focus of a new issue brief from the Chapin Hall Center for Children. In the study, authors Clark Peters, Katie S. Claussen Bell, Andrew Zinn, Robert M. Goerge, and Mark E. Courtney examined practices in Illinois, one of the few States that extend care to age 21.

    The study involved analysis of administrative data, a statewide survey of caseworkers, focus groups with substitute caregivers and with youth, and site visits to interview court personnel across the State in an effort to identify the major factors that influence whether young people remain in care beyond age 18. Findings indicate that strong advocacy within the juvenile court on behalf of foster youth plays a primary role in keeping youth in care. Court advocacy also can affect retention rates indirectly by exerting an influence on other factors that play a role in child welfare agency decisions regarding keeping foster youth in care. A higher degree of court advocacy is associated with a greater availability of placements and services for older foster youth, more involvement by caseworkers and other adults, more positive attitudes about remaining in care beyond age 18, and a greater awareness that, by law, youth may remain in care beyond age 18.

    Continuing in Foster Care Beyond Age 18: How Courts Can Help can be downloaded from the Chapin Hall website.


  • Booklets Help Families Navigate the Court System

    Booklets Help Families Navigate the Court System

    To help youth, foster parents, biological parents, judges, attorneys, social workers, clinicians, child advocates, and others who work with children and families better understand both the judicial system and child welfare practice, the New Mexico Court Improvement Project (CIP) produced a series of online and print booklets. Topics include:

    • Advocacy for children and families
    • The role of mediation
    • Maintaining family connections
    • Resources for incarcerated parents
    • Youth transitioning to independent living
    • Preserving Indian families

    The series is just part of the CIP effort to develop innovative approaches that advance court, agency, and stakeholder collaboration in improving the safety, permanency, and well-being of children and families in the child welfare system.

    All booklets are available for download, and most are available in both English and Spanish.

  • Evidence-Based Practice in Treatment Foster Care

    Evidence-Based Practice in Treatment Foster Care

    A new resource guide by the Foster Family-Based Treatment Association (FFTA) provides valuable tools and resources to help treatment foster care (TFC) providers implement evidence-based practices in their service settings. The guide includes:

    • An overview of evidence-based practice in child welfare
    • Tools for assessing and screening mental health to help TFC providers identify children in need of more services
    • Descriptions of evidence-based psychosocial interventions for psychiatric disorders
    • Psychopharmacologic approaches for children requiring medication
    • A guide for comprehensive interventions at multiple levels of a child's life
    • Parent engagement and youth support strategies
    • Guidance on implementing evidence-based practices in an organizational context

    Implementing Evidence-Based Practice in Treatment Foster Care: A Resource Guide is available for download on the FFTA website: (1,049 - KB)

  • Funding for Relative Caregiver Programs

    Funding for Relative Caregiver Programs

    The Brookdale Foundation is accepting applications for its Relatives as Parents Program Local and Regional Seed Grant Initiative for 2009. The initiative aims to support programs that are developing or expanding services for grandparents and other relatives who are raising children. Mini-grants are provided over a 2-year period to local agencies and State public agencies; ongoing technical assistance for grantees is included. Emphasis is placed on community involvement and collaboration among agencies, and the provision of ongoing support to families through educational or social groups is required as part of the program.

    The deadline for submission is December 4, 2008. For guidelines and an application, visit the Brookdale Foundation website:

  • Guidance on ICWA Now Available Online

    Guidance on ICWA Now Available Online

    An online edition of A Practical Guide to the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) is now available from the Native American Rights Fund (NARF). The guide is designed to answer questions from people with all levels of familiarity with the law and to provide comprehensive information on ICWA. Organized into topical areas, including the role of Tribal courts, Tribal-State agreements, foster care placement and removal, and the active efforts requirements, each section of the guide provides an overview of applicable Federal laws, answers to frequently asked questions, and summaries of court opinions.

    The guide is available on the NARF website.

  • Online Directory of Community Services

    Online Directory of Community Services

    A new online directory for locating community services for children and families is available through the Maternal and Child Health Library. The Community Services Locator is designed to help service providers and families find national, State, and local resources that can address child and family needs, including:

    • Education/special needs
    • Health and wellness
    • Mental health and well-being
    • Family support
    • Parenting
    • Child care/early childhood education
    • Financial support

    Also available is "Where to Seek Help: A Bright Futures Referral Tool for Providers," a tool (available in English and Spanish) to assist providers in creating customized community-based referral networks. The Community Services Locator is available online:

  • Assessing Child Safety Through Substantiation of Maltreatment Reports

    Assessing Child Safety Through Substantiation of Maltreatment Reports

    ACTION for Child Protection recently posted "Child Safety and Substantiation of Child Maltreatment" as the August 2008 article in its series on child safety. The article describes typical child protective services practice in which workers are required to conduct investigations to substantiate, or confirm, that an act of abuse or neglect, as reported, did in fact occur. The article questions whether such investigations can reliably determine whether a child is actually safe and suggests that a broader safety assessment may be a more appropriate response to reports of suspected maltreatment.

    View this article and the full archive of child safety articles on the ACTION for Child Protection 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.

  • Conferences


    Upcoming national conferences on adoption and child welfare through January 2009 include:

    November 2008

    • 2008 Conference on Differential Response in Child Welfare
      The American Humane Association
      November 12–14, Columbus, OH

    • Eighth National Structured Decision Making Conference
      Weaving SDM Into Practice

      The Children's Research Center
      November 12–14, Sacramento, CA

    December 2008

    • Time and Effort: Perspectives on Workload Roundtable
      The American Humane Association and Consortium on Workload
      December 3–5, Santa Fe, NM

    • 23rd National Training Institute
      Connecting Science, Policy and Practice: Improving Outcomes for Infants and Toddlers

      ZERO TO THREE: National Center for Infants, Toddlers and Families
      December 5–7, Los Angeles, CA

    January 2009

    • SSWR Thirteenth Annual Conference
      Research That Promotes Sustainability and (Re)Builds Strengths

      Society for Social Work and Research
      January 16–18, New Orleans, LA

    • 23rd Annual San Diego International Conference on Child and Family Maltreatment
      Chadwick Center for Children and Families
      January 26–30, San Diego, CA

    Further details about national and regional adoption and child welfare conferences can be found through the Conference Calendar Search feature on the Child Welfare Information Gateway website:

  • Online Courses for Foster Parents

    Online Courses for Foster Parents

    Foster Parent College offers online training for foster, adoptive, birth, and kinship parents. New courses recently added include:

    • Children With Autism
    • House Safety
    • Relationships: Strengthening Communications

    In addition, Foster Parent College offers a wide variety of other courses for foster parent training, as well as courses for social workers and agencies. The online format allows students to complete the courses at their own pace and convenience. For more information, visit the website: