This month's CBX spotlight features articles on how families struggling with parental substance use can increase their odds of reunification with the help of recovery coaches, a webinar that looks at how to develop and implement parent partner programs that support reunification, and an article that reports on a study about whether foster home licensing has an impact on the odds of reunification.
- A Randomized Control Trial of Recovery Coaches in Foster Care
Substance use disorders can profoundly affect child welfare outcomes, as parental use of drugs and alcohol can increase the risk of child maltreatment as well as hinder efforts at permanency and reunification for children in foster care.
An article in the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment focuses on early access to substance use services and parental connections to a recovery coach. The study pays special attention to the timing of the intervention, particularly with regard to the timing of the comprehensive screening and access to substance use services in relation to the temporary custody hearing. The study hypothesis was that a short lag in the time it takes between the temporary custody hearing and screening and referral for substance use services increases the odds of family reunification, especially if a recovery coach has been assigned to the family.
The study sample included all Cook County (IL) families enrolled in the Illinois title IV-E Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Demonstration Waiver as of December 31, 2012. To qualify for the study, families needed to have been referred to the Juvenile Court Assessment Program (JCAP) at the time of their temporary custody hearing or at any time within 90 days before the hearing and had to meet the following eligibility requirements: the family resided in Cook County, temporary custody of the families' children had been granted to the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, and the parents were assessed by JCAP within 180 days of the temporary custody hearing. After the JCAP assessment, families were randomly assigned to either a control group (1,078 children, 31 percent) to receive services as usual or an experimental group (2,362 children, 69 percent) to receive services as usual with the addition of services from a recovery coach.
Findings showed that there was a significant difference in reunification rates within three years among the families who worked with recovery coaches (21 percent) and those in the control group (16 percent). The researchers found that although both groups received a timely assessment, only the group that worked with recovery coaches in addition to receiving customary substance use services showed a significant impact on reunification. These results highlight the need for specialized services, such as those from a recovery coach, in addition to timely, comprehensive substance use assessments after temporary custody hearings. This can help caseworkers address these families' needs and may impact permanency planning and eventual reunification.
"Timing Matters: A Randomized Control Trial of Recovery Coaches in Foster Care," by Joseph P. Ryan, Brian E. Perron, Andrew Moore, Bryan G. Victor, and Kune Park, Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, 77, 2017, is available through ScienceDirect at http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0740547216304834.
- Recovery Coaches and Reunification Odds for Families Battling Substance Use
According to a recent study, families whose children have been removed from the home due to parental substance use are nearly twice as likely to achieve stable reunification when working with a recovery coach compared with families receiving only traditional child welfare services.
Parental substance use is often a factor in child welfare cases. Parents with substance use disorders are at increased risk of having their children removed from the home, and relapses often derail reunification efforts. The study looked at 1,623 substance-involved families with children in foster care. Half the families were treated as the control group and received traditional child welfare services as usual, and the other half were the experimental group that worked with a recovery coach in addition to receiving services as usual. Both groups were similar in terms of race, marital status, employment status, high school graduation status, number of children in the home, and the parents' substance of choice.
A recovery coach is trained as a specialized case manager to help individuals remain sober and substance-free. In child welfare, recovery coaches have been successful in helping families access treatment, reduce time in care, and decrease the risk of repeat maltreatment. Recovery coaches provide a variety of services in addition to client coaching, including comprehensive clinical assessments, service planning, and case management.
The study focused specifically on the records associated with substitute care placements in order to construct a dependent measure of reunification stability. The three possible values for this dependent measure include children who were not reunified with their birth families within three years of their placement, children who were reunified with their families within three years from the start of their placement but subsequently returned to out-of-home care within 12 months, and children who were reunified and remained so for the 12-month observation period.
The authors acknowledge that a major shortcoming of the study is that it fails to capture the reason for disrupted reunifications. They note that such information is essential in understanding what events might cause a child's reentry into out-of-home care. Another missing piece is the absence of any measure of treatment fidelity, as this information would be key in identifying the specific recovery coach services most responsible for helping to achieve reunification stability.
"Recovery Coaches and the Stability of Reunification for Substance Abusing Families in Child Welfare," by Joseph P. Ryan, Bryan G. Victor, Andrew Moore, Orion Mowbray, and Brian E. Perron, Children and Youth Services Review, 70, 2016, is available through ScienceDirect at http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0190740916303255.
- Foster Home Licensing and the Probability of Family Reunification
Reunification is the priority for all state child welfare systems. In the Child Abuse & Neglect article "Foster Home Placements and the Probability of Family Reunification: Does Licensing Matter?," researchers discussed whether licensing has an impact on the odds of reunification at one- and two-year intervals among licensed nonrelative care (LNC), licensed relative care (LRC), unlicensed relative care (URC), and mixed foster care (MFC) placements.
Foster home licensing is intended to standardize foster care settings. Licensing standards often include the physical and mental health of the foster parents, age of the foster parents, family income, training, physical home environment, capacity to care for another child, and access to transportation. It also includes a formal home study. It is important to note that although all nonrelative foster homes are licensed, states are not required to license all relative foster homes. States have discretion to waive nonsafety licensing standards on a case-by-case basis to ensure timely placements that are in the best interest of the child.
For the study, the authors used data that were made available through a statewide data-sharing agreement between a large Midwestern child welfare agency and the University of Michigan's Child and Adolescent Data Lab. This data-sharing agreement allowed the authors to access the complete administrative records for all youth involved in at least one placement facilitated by child welfare.
The authors measured the youth's socioeconomic variables, such as gender (approximately the same number of males and females), race (56.4 percent White, 30.1 percent African-American, 12.4 percent multiracial, and 1.0 percent other), and age of entry into foster care (ranged from less than 1 year to 16 years old). The youth were categorized into the LNC, LRC, URC, or MFC groups based on where they had spent at least 80 percent of their time in care. For example, if a youth spent 80 percent of his time in foster care in an LNC home, he was assigned the LNC group.
The study's findings show that licensing has an impact on reunification, especially with regard to relative care. Children in the LRC group were the least likely to have attained reunification. Conversely, those in the URC group were the most likely to have achieved reunification. The authors surmised that caseworkers and private agencies may be less comfortable with unlicensed care and intentionally expedite the reunification process or that children in LRC homes stay longer because the licensing and credentialing of relatives increases the monthly board rate and therefore provides a disincentive to the relative caregiver to work toward reunification. These hypotheses have implications on the way child welfare agencies consider placement option in terms of reunification, stability, and safety and may help researchers develop an agenda that focuses on the benefits and costs associated with seeking out licensure.
"Foster Home Placements and the Probability of Family Reunification: Does Licensing Matter?," by Joseph P. Ryan, Brian E. Perron, Andrew Moore, Bryan Victor, and Michael Evangelist, Child Abuse & Neglect, 59, 2016, is available through ScienceDirect at http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0145213416301454.
- Webinar Looks at Implementation of Parent Partner Programs to Support Reunification
Parent partner mentoring programs that help families navigate the child welfare system through peer-to-peer supports are a key component of successful family reunification efforts. A recent webinar hosted by the Children's Bureau's Capacity Building Center for States (the Center) looks at how to develop and implement parent partner programs that support reunification work.
Parent partners are effective mentors and advocates for families working toward reunification because they are typically individuals who were formerly involved with the child welfare system. Parent partners can share stories of the challenges they went through in order to put their lives and families back together—and inspire similar outcomes in those they are mentoring. They are most often individuals who have shown tremendous personal growth and who use their experience to coach and help build self-advocacy skills in parents who are new to the system.
Parent partners help families through early engagement and peer-to-peer mentoring, which can help reduce social isolation and improve access to relevant services. They can function as a bridge between parents, caregivers, child welfare agency staff, and the courts and play an important role during the postreunification period by providing encouragement and support.
The webinar provides child welfare professionals with an overview of parent partner programs and how these programs can benefit parents and children and ultimately support reunification. The presenters include Jennifer Marcelli, program area manager for foster care at the Center; Taffy Compain, national foster care specialist at the Children’s Bureau; Corey B. Best, family engagement manager with Healthy Start Coalition of Flagler and Volusia Counties, Inc.; and Denise Moore, Des Moines service area coordinator for the Iowa Department Of Human Services Parent Partner Program.
The presenters discuss the importance of building capacity to sustain successful peer-to-peer support programs through developing and influencing agency capacity, family capacity, relationship-building, culture, and climate; choosing the appropriate model for implementation—whether through a child welfare agency, nonprofit organization, or legal aid staff; compensation, skill-building, and promotions for parent partners; parent partner roles and responsibilities; how to engage community partners; and use of the Parent Partner Navigator tool to assist states and jurisdictions in setting up programs.
"Implementing Parent Partner Programs and Supporting Reunification" was produced as part of the 2016 National Foster Care Month initiative and can be accessed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bSCvv__l22Y.
To learn more about parent partner programs, listen to the Children's Bureau podcast, "Developing and Sustaining a Parent Partner Program," which is available at https://www.acf.hhs.gov/cb/resource/child-welfare-podcast-parent-partner.
Spotlight on Creating a More Equitable Child Welfare System
Spotlight on Child and Family Services Review, Round 4
News From the Children's Bureau
Read about an upcoming National Reunification Month webinar sponsored by the Children's Bureau's Capacity Building Center for States; how to submit nominations for the 2017 Adoption Excellence Awards; the upcoming second annual Child Welfare Virtual Expo featuring the theme "Strengthening Assessment and Decision-Making for Improved Outcomes"; new funding opportunity announcements; and a new factsheet produced by the Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation that discusses the impact of provider distance on early care and education decision-making.
- Factsheet Explores Distance Between Children's Homes, Early Care Providers
When parents are choosing early care and education (ECE) providers, the distance of these providers from the child's home—along with their cost, schedule, quality, and availability—is a major factor in the decision-making process. The factsheet How Far Are Early Care and Education Arrangements From Children's Homes? uses mapping data from the National Survey of Early Care & Education (NSECE) to describe distances between children's homes and the regular nonparental care families use for children ages five and younger. For the purpose of the study, regular care refers to ECE for five or more hours per week and can either be center based or an unpaid individual provider. These data can be used to improve the understanding of access to ECE and of how well families' needs and preferences are met by providers.
The following are the study's key findings:
- Approximately one in four (23.3 percent) children younger than three years in regular care received care only in their own homes, and 1 in 14 children (6.8 percent) between three and five years old in regular care received care only in their own homes.
- Regardless of age, approximately half of the children receiving regular, unpaid individual care are cared for only in their own homes.
- Center-based regular care for children younger than three years was, on average, 4.6 miles from their homes, and for children between three and five years, the average distance was 3.9 miles.
- Children who are younger and poorer (i.e., approximately below 300 percent of the federal poverty threshold) are more likely to receive regular care in their own homes from nonparent adults living in the same household, such as a grandparent or older sibling.
- Distances from the children's homes to center-based care increased with household income.
The factsheet was produced by the NSECE project team and funded by the Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation within the Administration for Children and Families of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. It is available at https://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/opre/distance_to_ece_factsheet_111716_b508.pdf (392 KB).
- Upcoming Second Annual Child Welfare Virtual Expo
On July 13, 2017, the Capacity Building Center for States, a service of the Children’s Bureau, will host its second annual Child Welfare Virtual Expo featuring the theme "Strengthening Assessment and Decision-Making for Improved Outcomes." This year’s virtual expo provides a cutting-edge online platform with engaging presentations and opportunities to reflect on and share assessment and decision-making strategies aimed at improving safety, permanency, and well-being outcomes for children and families.
Child welfare workers conduct assessments and practice decision-making in the midst of strong family emotions, high expectations for accountability, limited time and resources, and limited access to information or services. This environment, along with the highly visible nature of child welfare decisions, makes consistent and effective decision-making challenging. Standardized assessment tools are frequently used to provide structure to the assessment and decision-making process, but it is unclear whether these fully capture the individualized needs of families or connect families to the most appropriate services.
The virtual expo is designed to support agencies’ capacity to better understand and overcome these challenges with the ultimate goal of promoting safety, permanency, and well-being. In order to achieve this, presentation sessions will highlight strategies and facilitate engagement on the following:
- Developing a more comprehensive assessment process that can lead to a deeper understanding of family conditions
- Collaborating across systems and with families so that assessment findings can be incorporated into more effective decision-making and offer additional insights for families dealing with co-occurring issues (e.g., substances use, mental health disorders, domestic violence)
- Using data to inform assessment and decision-making
- Integrating protective factors and capacities in safety assessment and planning
Participants can take part in a variety of activities, some of which are provided through dual-tracked sessions (one track tailored for administrators and managers and another tailored to frontline staff).
These activities include the following:
- Dynamic presentations and discussions with national experts
- Opportunities for virtual reflection and learning activities that will help connect concept to practice
- Opportunities to meet, share information, and establish connections with peers from across the country
- A virtual exhibit hall showcasing relevant resources and tools, which participants can download into their own virtual briefcases
- Interactive features including games and friendly competitions
Get more information about the Child Welfare Virtual Expo 2017 at https://capacity.childwelfare.gov/virtualexpo/ or to register, go to https://vts.inxpo.com/scripts/Server.nxp?LASCmd=AI:4;F:QS!10100&ShowKey=38433&Referrer=https%3A%2F%2Fcapacity.childwelfare.gov%2Fvirtualexpo%2F.
- National Reunification Month Webinar
The Children's Bureau's Capacity Building Center for States will be hosting the National Reunification Month webinar "Innovative Practices to Promote Reunification," which will be held on Thursday, June 8, 2017, from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. ET.
This webinar will highlight two specific programs from Nevada and Louisiana that support reunification and emphasize caregiver and parent voice. Presenters will explore how parent engagement and involvement can lead to better outcomes, including increased placement stability, reduced use of group care, reduced sibling separation, and increased successes in reunification by improving parent and child relationships.
Presenters include Alice LeDesma, Washoe County, NV, Department of Social Services; Melissa Thompson, The Extra Mile Family Resource Center; family representatives from Nevada and Louisiana; Taffy Compain, national foster care specialist, Children’s Bureau; Jennifer Marcelli, foster care program area manager, Capacity Building Center for States; and Joan Morse, program area advisor and State Foster Care Managers Constituency group lead.
To register for the webinar, go to https://capacitybuilding.adobeconnect.com/reunificationmonth/event/registration.html.
- CB Website Updates
The Children's Bureau website hosts 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 the following:
- PI-17-04: Summary of the Actions Required to Complete and Submit the Annual Progress and Services Report and the CFS-101, Parts I, II, and III: https://www.acf.hhs.gov/cb/resource/pi1704
- PI-17-05: Summary of the Actions Required in Completion and Submission of (1) the Third Annual Progress and Services Report Update to the 2015-2019 Child and Family Services Plans, (2) the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act Update, and (3) the CFS-101, Parts I, II, and III: https://www.acf.hhs.gov/cb/resource/pi1705
- PI-17-06: Availability of Federal Fiscal Year 2017 Funds Under the Community-Based Grants for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect Program Created by Title II of the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act as Amended by Public Law 111-320: https://www.acf.hhs.gov/cb/resource/pi1706
- Arizona Round 3 Child and Family Services Review Program Improvement Plan: https://go.usa.gov/xNk58
- Rhode Island Subsequent Primary Title IV-E Foster Care Eligibility Review: https://www.acf.hhs.gov/cb/resource/rhode-island-initial-title-iv-e-2016
- Protective Factors Part 2: https://www.acf.hhs.gov/cb/resource/child-welfare-podcast-protective-factors-part2
- Child Welfare Information Technology Training Resources (update): https://www.acf.hhs.gov/cb/research-data-technology/state-tribal-info-systems/training
- Comprehensive Child Welfare Information System Data Exchange Requirements Presentation: https://www.acf.hhs.gov/cb/resource/ccwis-data-exchange-requirements
Visit the Children's Bureau website often to see what's new.
- Now Accepting Adoption Excellence Awards Nominations
The Children’s Bureau is pleased to announce that Adoption Excellence Awards nominations are now being accepted. These annual awards recognize states, tribes, agencies, organizations, businesses, and individuals that have demonstrated excellence in making contributions to providing permanency for children in foster care. The Adoption Excellence Awards honor leadership and innovation in the commitment toward rebuilding the lives of children in foster care and those who are waiting for adoption.
Nomination materials, including a description of the five award categories, eligibility and selection criteria, and the nomination packet are available by request at the Children’s Bureau’s website.
All nominations must be received by close of business Friday, June 30, 2017. All nominations should be sent electronically to June Dorn. If you have questions about the award, please contact June Dorn at June.Dorn@acf.hhs.gov or 202-205-9540.
- Funding Opportunity Announcements
The Administration on Children, Youth and Families within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently released the following new funding opportunity announcements (FOAs).
- AdoptUSKids, HHS-2017-ACF-ACYF-CO-1237: https://ami.grantsolutions.gov/files/HHS-2017-ACF-ACYF-CO-1237_0.pdf (2,850 KB)
- National Training and Development Initiative for Foster/Adoptive Parents, HHS-2017-ACF-ACYF-CO-1266: https://ami.grantsolutions.gov/HHS-2017-ACF-ACYF-CO-1266
To view all Children's Bureau FOAs and forecasts, visit https://www.grants.gov/web/grants/search-grants.html. On that page, expand the "All Department of Health and Human Services" option in the "Agency" field on the left. Then select "Administration for Children and Families - ACYF/CB." Please check this site regularly since forecasts are subject to change.
We highlight a brief that was designed to spur the development of a concrete and reliable set of measures for assessing whether young children are thriving and a study that reports on the effectiveness of in-home services in supporting reunification.
- In-Home Support Promotes Birth Parents' Relationships With Their Toddlers Upon Reunification
When birth parents are reunified with their child after foster care placement, they often need in-home support services to help prevent any recurrence of maltreatment leading to the child's reentry into foster care. This study in the journal Children and Youth Services Review reports on the findings from a randomized control trial of the 10-week home visiting program, Promoting First Relationships (PFR). The present study focuses on young children from birth to three years of age, as this population of children comprise one-third of first entries into foster care, which is a higher than any other age group.
This study included a subsample of 43 reunified birth parents and children who were originally part of a larger sample of participants in the Fostering Families Project, which was a study that assessed the effectiveness of the PFR program from April 2007 to March 2010. For the purposes of the current study, the subsample of parents and children were randomly assigned to with the PFR protocol (18 parent-child dyads) or a psychoeducational program developed for this study called early education support (EES) (25 parent-child dyads).
The PFR group participated in 10 weekly 60- to 75-minute in-home visits by trained providers from community mental health agencies. The PFR protocol comprised a manualized but flexible curriculum combined with video feedback, worksheets and handouts, and a strengths-based orientation to promote more sensitive parenting. The parents in the EES group participated in a 90-minute in-home session once a month for three months delivered by an early education specialist. These sessions included guidance on early childhood developmental issues as well as referral to service programs such as child care, housing, and mental health.
The authors hypothesized that the parent-child dyads in the PFR group would show improvements in understanding their toddler's behavior and parental sensitivity and support; reductions in perceiving the child as difficult, having behavioral problems, and reporting a dysfunctional parent-child relationship; and increases in observed child self-regulation and engagement with parents. The results show that although there were no significant differences between parents and children in the PFR group and the EES group immediately after the study posttest, after six months the PFR group showed positive results, indicating that a longer time was required for the intervention to effect change.
When children are placed in out-of-home care, eventual reunification is the goal, when appropriate. However, successfully reunifying parents with their children can be challenging. Parents and their children must transition from spending limited time together, often with supervised visitation, to becoming a full-time family again. Parents have reported this as a time of joy mixed with anxiety as well as feeling disappointment at the perceived lack of support from the child welfare system. The implications of this study are that participating in the PFR program before reunification, during visitation times, and then continuing with PFR as a support postreunification is a model that could be effective in alleviating the stress involved with reunification as well as help to prevent reentry in to the foster care system. The authors suggest that PFR would be a good addition to the services that should be offered by state agencies to strengthen the parent-child relationship.
"Promoting birth parents' relationships with their toddlers upon reunification: Results from Promoting First Relationships home visiting program," by Monica L. Oxford, Maureen Marcenko, Charles B. Fleming, Mary Jane Lohr & Susan J. Spieker, Children and Youth Services Review, 61, 2016, is available through ScienceDirect at http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0190740915301183.
- Measuring Children's Well-Being
Children thrive in supportive environments that prepare them to deal with life's challenges. According to a new research brief from Child Trends and the Child and Adolescent Health Measurement Initiative (CAHMI), programs and services that help children flourish demand a credible means of defining, measuring, and monitoring what that means. The brief was designed to spur the development of a concrete and reliable set of measures for assessing whether young children are thriving.
The authors defined "flourishing" as children's success across all five distinct developmental domains: physical health and functioning, mental and emotional well-being, social behavior, cognitive and academic development, and relationships. Since well-being is holistic in nature, it is not enough for a child to thrive in one of the five domains while struggling in others.
The authors recommend the development of measures for the following to determine whether young children are flourishing:
- Self-regulation: A child's ability to control emotions/impulses and exert self-control
- Attachment: A child's positive relationship with a parent or a caregiver
- Engagement or approaches to learning: Cognitive, emotional, and behavioral engagement and interest and curiosity
- Communication: A child's ability to express needs and wants verbally and non-verbally and listen and respond to others
The authors also recommend the following measures of risk and protective factors:
- Positive parenting skills: Authoritative parenting
- Conflict-resolution skills within families: Nonviolent strategies for resolving differences
- Social support for parents: The ability of parents to form relationships with other adults
- Community cohesion: Environment that helps parents meet basic needs and that encourages social bonds
The research brief offers a conceptual model for defining and achieving well-being that considers the following:
- The multiple contexts that affect how children learn and grow (e.g., neighborhoods, early childcare and education settings)
- Promotive and protective factors (individual, family, and community)
- Risk factors (biological, psychological, family, community, and cultural)
- Supports and services (e.g., Head Start; home visiting; Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children)
The research brief, Flourishing From the Start: What Is It and How Can It Be Measured?, was supported by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and by the Health Resources and Services Administration through contracts with Child Trends and CAHMI at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
The research brief is available at https://www.childtrends.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/2017-16FlourishingFromTheStart-1.pdf (1,050 KB).
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.
- Revised Standards for Cultural Competence in Social Work Practice
The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) revised its Standards and Indicators for Cultural Competence in Social Work Practice to reflect the growing need for cultural competence and the importance of social workers' ethical responsibility to be culturally competent. This revision was developed by the 2015 NASW National Committee on Racial and Ethnic Diversity. It expands upon previous work by introducing new concepts and also broadens the understanding in other areas, such as culture being inclusive of designations, such as disability, rather than only race and ethnicity.
The goals of these revised standards include the following:
- Enhance knowledge, skills, and values in practice and policy development in relation to culturally diverse populations
- Specify standards to guide growth, learning, and assessment in the area of cultural competence
- Establish indicators that help social workers in all areas of practice monitor and evaluate culturally competent practice and policies with regard to these standards
- Educate consumers, government agencies, insurance carriers, and others about the profession’s standards for culturally competent practice
- Maintain or improve the quality of culturally competent services provided by social workers in agencies, programs, and private practice settings
- Inform specific ethical guidelines for culturally competent social work practice in agency and private practice settings
- Document standards for agencies, peer-review committees, state regulatory bodies, insurance carriers, and others
The revised standards also introduce the concepts of intersectionality (i.e., examining experiences of discrimination, oppression, and domination) and cultural humility to help social workers understand the complex experiences of minorities and those who have been marginalized. In addition, the updated document highlights the importance of communication issues among the populations being served, such as limited English proficiency, low literacy, and disabilities.
To read Standards and Indicators for Cultural Competence in the Social Work Practice, visit https://www.socialworkers.org/practice/standards/naswculturalstandards.pdf (244 KB).
- Wraparound Implementation and Practice Quality Standards
Outcomes for families and children involved with child welfare are highly dependent on program and system factors and how well available services function. These factors include adequacy and appropriateness of funding, caseloads, workforce development, and system policies. Wraparound Implementation and Practice Quality Standards is a brief produced through a collaboration between the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the National Technical Assistance Network for Children's Behavioral Health, the National Wraparound Initiative, and the National Wraparound Implementation Center. It provides information on the ever-changing field of wraparound services and systems of care by building on previous work by the National Wraparound Initiative. The brief focuses on a summary of research-, theory-, and practice-based standards regarding five implementation-related areas and two output-related areas.
These seven areas are central to developing and implementing wraparound services and should adhere to the following standards:
- Implementation Related
- Competent staff—Wraparound service organizations should maintain a stable workforce of qualified personnel hired through a rigorous process that begins with high-quality written job descriptions. The process should also include an interview and selection protocols that include behavioral questions or direct observation of tasks and require a writing exercise or sample. These staff should also be effectively trained, fulfill an initial apprenticeship before taking on a full caseload, and participate in ongoing coaching and performance assessments.
- Effective leadership—Supervisors should be inspiring, thoughtful, and innovative. They should provide well-defined performance goals while also insuring staff have the resources they need to meet those goals. Leaders should also provide transparent procedures for decision-making within the wraparound provider organization as well as be able to address and find solutions for wraparound implementation barriers as they arise.
- Facilitative organizational support—Workers should be given manageable caseloads of 8–12 families or fewer, and supervisors should manage only six or fewer workers. Staff should also be adequately compensated commensurate to their experience and have the physical resources they need to perform their jobs. The wraparound provider organization should have a sustainable funding plan for the next three to five years.
- Utility-focused accountability mechanisms—The wraparound provider should routinely evaluate trainings in order to continuously improve upon existing methods, practice effective data management, routinely monitor adherence to the wraparound model, and monitor youth and family outcomes as well as service costs and savings.
- Hospitable system conditions—Wraparound programs should serve the appropriate populations, namely youth at risk of out-of-home placement or those with the most complex needs. These services should also be adequately publicized, available, and accessible to the target population and feature a robust array of services and supports, such as intensive in-home services, mentoring, respite, family and youth peer support, and mobile crisis response and stabilization. In addition, all agencies involved in the wraparound program should coordinate their work with the various partner agencies and providers and implement a single wraparound plan for each youth and family.
- Outcome Related
- Fidelity: High-quality wraparound practice—Youth and families referred to wraparound services should be engaged in the program within 10 days of the referral. All wraparound providers should work together to develop, implement, and monitor the individualized service plans, and all team members should take ownership of their assigned tasks.
- Outcomes: Improved youth and family functioning—Successful outcomes include improved functioning in school, the community, and within the family. They should also include increased caregiver confidence and a stable living environment for youth. These all lead to a positive exit from wraparound services.
These wraparound standards may be used in a variety of ways, including as a guided self-assessment of wraparound program quality, providing structure to the planning process, assisting in choosing data elements to incorporate into a continuous quality improvement program, and informing performance-based contracting.
To read Wraparound Implementation and Practice Quality Standards, visit http://files.constantcontact.com/57c33206301/883cc58f-df88-485d-971a-23feb6c34765.pdf (343 KB).
- Implementation Related
This section of CBX 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.
- Resource Guide for Developing Culturally Responsive Approaches
As the United States becomes more culturally diverse, service providers—namely community-based organizations (CBOs)—and their funders have increasingly recognized the need to deliver more culturally responsive services and incorporate cultural competency in the way they work with the youth and families they serve. Developing Culturally Responsive Approaches to Serving Diverse Populations: A Resource Guide for Community-Based Organizations, produced by the National Research Center on Hispanic Children & Families, is intended to help CBOs and other stakeholders easily find and access available resources based on cultural competency to better serve the diverse populations with which they work. It is also intended to help CBOs develop high-quality and successful applications in response to funding announcements.
The guide addresses several topics related to building a culturally competent social program, including how to choose interventions for diverse populations; how to conduct needs assessments that include input from community members to better understand their needs; measurement considerations related to program fidelity and satisfaction for diverse populations, such as cultural and linguistic appropriateness of interviews, surveys, and standardized assessments; collaboration through a diversity lens among individuals and organizations, particularly those with complementary areas of expertise; the importance of a culturally diverse workforce; and the cost of CBOs responding to the needs of diverse populations. These topics all have financial implications for CBOs responding to funding announcements since some announcements may require applicants to specifically address issues related to cultural competency in the proposed budget.
The guide also provides resources that CBOs and the child welfare agencies partnering with them can consult to develop or improve their cultural competency within their programs and services. This will enable them to better serve and target the needs of the growing number of multicultural, multilingual children and families in the United States. Tables at the end of each section provide useful links to specific resources that correspond to each topic.
The complete guide, Developing Culturally Responsive Approaches to Serving Diverse Populations: A Resource Guide for Community-Based Organizations, is available at http://www.hispanicresearchcenter.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Cultural-Competence-Guide.pdf (5,690 KB).
- Industries, Services Most Commonly Implicated in Human Trafficking
A new report that examines 25 distinct industries and services most commonly implicated in human trafficking cases seeks to expand the understanding and recognition of modern slavery. The report is the product of the Polaris Project, a nonprofit organization based in Washington, DC, that is dedicated to eradicating modern slavery by exposing human-trafficking networks, their perpetrators, and their victims.
The March 2017 report, The Typology of Modern Slavery: Defining Sex and Labor Trafficking in the United States, is the result of data collected by the Polaris Project from 32,000 documented cases of human trafficking between December 2007 and December 2016. Polaris collected the data through its operation of the BeFree Textline and the National Human Trafficking Hotline. The report represents the largest data set on human trafficking ever compiled and analyzed. It accounts for victim gender and nationality as well as whether the victims were adults or minors. Children and youth are vulnerable to human trafficking, making this report a valuable resource for parents, caregivers, and those working in child welfare.
The 25 types of trafficking outlined in the report represent diverse domains, including health care, forestry and logging, landscaping, hotels and hospitality, carnivals, escort services, and commercial cleaning services. The report emphasizes that there are many ways for individuals to be exploited and explains that each type of human trafficking has its own business model, unique recruitment strategies, victim profiles, and methods of control that facilitate the crime.
The report points out that only 16 percent of the reported trafficking cases involved labor trafficking and that the National Human Trafficking Hotline and BeFree Textline received fewer calls about labor trafficking than sex trafficking. The report also emphasizes that, globally, forced labor is thought to be more prevalent than sex trafficking. The authors contend that labor-trafficking cases are underreported in the United States due to a lack of awareness and a fundamental misunderstanding of the significant vulnerability of workers in many U.S. labor sectors.
The Typology of Modern Slavery: Defining Sex and Labor Trafficking in the United States is available at http://polarisproject.org/sites/default/files/Polaris-Typology-of-Modern-Slavery.pdf (4,700 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 from June through August 2017 include the following:
- One Child, Many Hands: A Multidisciplinary Conference on Child Welfare
Field Center for Children's Policy, Practice & Research at the University of Pennsylvania
June 7–9, Philadelphia, PA
- Violence Intervention and Prevention (VIP) Summit
Gundersen National Child Protection Training Center
June 20–22, Rogers, AR
- Child Welfare Virtual Expo 2017: Strengthening Assessment and Decision-Making for Improved Outcomes
Capacity Building Center for States
July 13, 2017, online, 10 a.m.–5 p.m. EDT
- National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges 80th Annual Conference
National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges
July 16–19, Washington, DC
- Family Focused Treatment Association 31st Annual Conference
Family Focused Treatment Association
July 16–19, Chicago, IL
- North American Council on Adoptable Children 43rd Annual Conference
North American Council on Adoptable Children
July 19–22, Atlanta, GA
- 29th Annual Crimes Against Children Conference
Dallas Children's Advocacy Center and the Dallas Police Department
August 7–10, Dallas, TX
- 14th Annual National Drug Endangered Children Conference
National Alliance for Drug Endangered Children
August 29–31, Green Bay, WI
- One Child, Many Hands: A Multidisciplinary Conference on Child Welfare
- Leadership and Organizational Change for Implementation
The California Evidence-Based Clearinghouse for Child Welfare produced the training webinar "Leadership and Organizational Change for Implementation," which focuses on training managers and supervisors to become effective leaders, to create a positive implementation climate within their organizations, and to successfully lead their teams in evidence-based practice implementation.
The webinar features Gregory A. Aarons, Ph.D., from the Child & Adolescent Services Research Center at the University of California, San Diego, Department of Psychiatry. Dr. Aarons discusses the need for training effective implementation leaders due to the shortcomings in successful program implementation. Research has shown a 55 percent failure rate for implemented home-based treatment, and recent reviews of dissemination and implementation research in child and adolescent mental health found that only 10 percent of these review articles were considering the long-term sustainment of evidence-based interventions.
In the webinar, Dr. Aarons illustrates the four domains of implementation leadership:
- Knowledgeable about the evidence-based program and can answer questions from staff about the specific program being implemented
- Supportive of staff in the implementation of the evidence-based program
- Proactive in problem solving during and after the implementation process
- Perseverant throughout the implementation process
The Implementation Leadership Scale, a 12-question self-assessment based on these four domains, identifies specific behaviors that leaders can enact to support and engage their staff in the larger goal of evidence-based practice implementation. It also focuses on leadership behaviors related to climate-embedding mechanisms to promote strategic climates.
To view the complete webinar "Leadership and Organizational Change for Implementation," visit http://www.cebc4cw.org/cebc-webinars/cebc-sponsored-webinars/leadership-and-organizational-change-for-implementation/.