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October 2005Vol. 6, No. 8Current Theme or Topic

Issue Spotlight

    Recent Issues

  • June 2024

    Spotlight on Reunification

    Spotlight on Reunification

  • May 2024

    Spotlight on National Foster Care Month

    Spotlight on National Foster Care Month

News From the Children's Bureau

  • Spanish Resources Featured on National Adoption Month Website

    Spanish Resources Featured on National Adoption Month Website

    Featured on this year's National Adoption Month website are resources for Spanish-speaking families: Contestando a La Llamada: Algunos Niños tienen amigos imaginarios, otros papas imaginarios (Some children have imaginary friends, others have imaginary parents—from the Ad Council's Spanish language ads). This emphasis mirrors efforts by AdoptUsKids to make Spanish-language adoption resources more readily available and to recruit Spanish-speaking adoptive families. Included with these resources is the option for Spanish-speaking families to search the National Adoption Directory in Spanish to find information on adoption agencies, support groups, and services. Also, the "shopping cart" has been translated into Spanish to meet the needs of those customers.

    The overall theme of National Adoption Month again this year is Answering the Call: You don't have to be perfect to be a perfect parent. This theme builds on the AdoptUsKids' recruitment and retention series and the Ad Council's adoption campaign slogans. The National Adoption Month website provides recruitment resources for professionals, parents, and teachers, as well as suggested activities to help in celebrating adoption throughout the month of November. In addition, there is a toolkit to help with media events. By making these resources available well in advance of National Adoption Month, professionals will have the opportunity to plan ahead and schedule National Adoption Month activities.

    Some other features of the new website include:

    • A listing of model programs for adoption from foster care
    • National Adoption Month calendars in Spanish ( and English ( that include photographs from the Spanish and English ad campaigns (PDF 3,560 KB) (Editor's note: These links are no longer active.)
    • Resources to help professionals recruit and retain foster and adoptive parents

    The site went live on August 29 this year and was highlighted at the AdoptUsKids National Adoption Summit—a meeting in Washington, DC, that brought together Adoption and Foster Care Program managers, AdoptUsKids workgroup members, and national organizations to strategize about best practices in permanency planning.

    Access the National Adoption Month website at

  • Resources for States and Their Court Systems

    Resources for States and Their Court Systems

    The National Child Welfare Resource Center on Legal and Judicial Issues (NCWRCLJI) provides numerous resources on its website to help State courts work to improve the lives of children and families in the child welfare system. Website materials include:

    • Publications on a variety of topics, including Federal legislation, legal ethics, improving outcomes for adolescents aging out of foster care, and educational advocacy
    • Items specific to States' Child and Family Services Reviews (CFSRs)
    • Publications for judges and attorneys involved in child maltreatment cases
    • Materials designed to facilitate a good working relationship between child welfare and court personnel
    • Links to other Children's Bureau Resource Centers as well as other child welfare advocacy groups

    The website also lists the many trainings that NCWRCLJI staff and consultants provide ( and offers registered users the opportunity to subscribe to three listservs (Child-court, Child-case, and Child-education) managed by NCWRCLJI staff at

    In addition, the NCWRCLJI website provides a special section devoted to materials developed by State Court Improvement Projects (CIPs), including information on promising practices and model court programs. The National Court Improvement Progress Report and Catalog, accessed at, allows users to search for materials by State or by topic. Some of the 16 topics include:

    • Legal representation of parties
    • Timeliness of decisions
    • Alternative dispute resolution
    • Court staffing
    • Technology
    • Community collaboration
    • Evaluation
    • Funding issues

    For more information on the NCWRCLJI and its resources, visit

  • New Webpage Links to Resources on Methamphetamine Abuse

    New Webpage Links to Resources on Methamphetamine Abuse

    The scourge of methamphetamine production and abuse continues to have a significant impact on child welfare. Many State and local child welfare agencies have been faced with increased caseloads as the children of meth-using parents have suffered from abuse or neglect or even exposure to the drug itself. Jurisdictions and child welfare agencies have developed special procedures for assessing children found in meth labs and for coping with some of the distinctive side effects that exposure to meth can produce. While much of this response is in the same vein as the child welfare response to other situations involving chronic substance abuse by caregivers, the magnitude of the meth problem and its unique aspects (particularly, the danger of meth labs) have prompted the development of new resources and new protocols.

    Links to some of these resources are available on Child Welfare Information Gateway. It lists more than 30 resources that cover three areas of concern regarding the impact of methamphetamines on child welfare:

    • Statistics and the Scope of the Problem includes transcripts from a congressional subcommittee hearing on methamphetamine trafficking and abuse, the results of surveys of U.S. counties on the impact of meth, and other resources exploring the extent of the problem.
    • Responding to and Treating Methamphetamine Use includes protocols from several different States designed to guide professionals working with at-risk children and families, as well as a number of promising practices and strategies for addressing methamphetamine abuse in individuals and in communities.
    • Additional Information on Methamphetamines and Child Welfare includes links to a number of Federal resources (e.g., the National Center on Substance Abuse and Child Welfare and the National Institute on Drug Abuse) and other national and State resources that can provide useful information to communities, States, tribes, agencies, and individuals.

    To access these resources and check for updates, visit

  • State Policies

    State Policies

    The National Resource Center for Family-Centered Practice and Permanency Planning (NRCFCPPP) has posted a new webpage that focuses on State policies on a variety of topics. The webpage is divided into resources developed by the NRCFCPPP and those available through other websites. Some of the State policy topics covered include:

    • Firearms in foster homes
    • Visiting between children and families
    • Evolution of State kinship care policies
    • Kinship foster care licensing and payment
    • Responses to maltreatment allegations in out-of-home care

    The webpage is available at (Editor's note: Link no longer active).

    Related Item

    Another new resource from the NRCFCPPP is the latest issue of its newsletter, Permanency Planning Today. The summer 2005 issue includes a feature article on "Family-Centered Practice With Siblings" that provides information about what Oklahoma is doing to facilitate best practices with sibling placement. Two other feature articles include "Strengthening the Indian Child Welfare Act by Providing Resources for Families, Tribes & States" and "Subsidized Guardianship: What Does It Have to Do With Family-Centered Practice?"

    The newsletter can be found on the NRCFCPPP website at (PDF 4.75 MB).

  • Hurricane Impact and Response for Children and Families

    Hurricane Impact and Response for Children and Families

    As information on the extent of Hurricane Katrina's devastation continues to unfold, the disastrous impact on vulnerable children and families becomes evident. In the worst cases, children lost family members or were separated from them for extended periods. For many more children, the loss of homes, schools, and neighborhoods has been a tragedy difficult for them to comprehend.

    Children and families involved with the child welfare system have dealt with additional losses, such as the loss of records and other information about children's placements and families' case plans. Needed services, such as those for physical and mental health and social services, have been disrupted as agencies attempt to regroup and rebuild. For children and families who were struggling before the hurricane, the aftermath is particularly devastating.

    In response to Hurricane Katrina, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt declared a public health emergency in five States on August 31; since that time, Federal, State, and local governments and agencies have worked to secure the safety and health of children and families. Departments in the Federal Government have provided resources and personnel, as well as more flexible procedures for housing, feeding, educating, and providing health care to children and families. A few of these initiatives undertaken by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) are listed below:

    • A hotline was made available for people in crisis in the aftermath of the hurricane. The hotline directs callers to local crisis centers that can provide counseling.
    • The Office of the Surgeon General and the Office of Public Health Emergency Preparedness mobilized health-care professionals and relief personnel to assist in the areas most affected.
    • Secretary Leavitt issued waivers for many of the requirements for Medicare, Medicaid, and State Children's Health Insurance (SCHIP) to make it easier for hurricane-affected children and adults to receive emergency medical care ( (Editor's note: Link no longer active)
    • Dr. Wade Horn, Assistant Secretary for Children and Families, issued an Information Memorandum (ACYF-CB-IM-05-06) that oulines flexibility in the title IV-E program that may help States serve children and families affected by Hurricane Katrina. This flexibility extends to such policy areas as recruiting foster care providers, making foster care maintenance payments, and reviewing cases.
    • The Administration for Children and Familes (ACF) is sponsoring regular teleconference calls among Federal, Regional, and State child welfare officials to coordinate efforts so that child welfare officials in States affected by the hurricane can help displaced foster families and missing children. This coordinated effort includes obtaining identifying information and locations for all children, assessing needs, and posting a hotline for foster parents to call to have payments forwarded.
    • ACF posted a webpage to provide links to Katrina Relief efforts, including TANF, Head Start services, services for displaced and foster children, childcare services, and information for ACF grantees ( (Editor's note: Link no longer active)
    • HHS's Centers for Disease Control and Prevention continues to coordinate and provide the latest health information and to assemble health-care teams ( (Editor's note: Link no longer active)

    For other developments from HHS, visit its press release archive at

    In addition to Federal efforts, State governments—in States most affected by the hurricane as well as governments in other States—have set up special procedures to provide resources and aid. State government websites have served as central points of information for those seeking to locate family members and to identify potential sources of help, as well as housing, food, and medical care. State websites also have served as useful tools for recruiting professionals and citizens willing to volunteer their time and resources.

    Child Welfare Resources

    For citizens and professionals seeking information about helping children deal with the trauma of the hurricane or information on other kinds of assistance, Child Welfare Information Gateway has many resources about preparing and dealing with natural disasters:

  • Caring Communities for Kin Caregivers

    Caring Communities for Kin Caregivers

    Supporting kinship caregivers in the child welfare system often requires the services of a number of agencies, as well as collaboration among service providers. To ensure this kind of optimal support for kinship caregivers in its system, the Department of Family Services in Clark County, NV, has applied a systems of care (SOC) approach. This SOC approach is the foundation of Clark County's Caring Communities Demonstration Project to improve the safety, permanency, and well-being of children living with kin caregivers.

    The Caring Communities Demonstration Project has six objectives:

    • Increase placements of children with kin when they must be removed from their homes
    • Increase the safety of children living with kin
    • Improve physical and mental health of children living with kin
    • Increase stability of placements with kin
    • Increase timely permanency of children living with kin
    • Increase the capacity of kin caregivers to care for children placed with them

    The implementation of the SOC approach has been made easier by the location of the county's Family Services staff at five community-based Neighborhood Family Service Centers. These centers house workers from child protective services, adoption, foster care, Nevada Parents Encouraging Parents (PEP), Wraparound in Nevada, and other family-serving agencies, as well as specialists. The co-location of these staff from multiple agencies has facilitated the infusion of SOC principles of interagency collaboration, cultural competence, family involvement, strengths-based practice, community-based services, and accountability throughout the system. Trainings in SOC approaches have been provided to staff at these centers, and all centers have adopted SOC principles for practice.

    One component of Caring Communities is the Kinship Connections Program, which is a mentoring program for kin caregivers operated by Nevada PEP. To facilitate the mentoring program, PEP hires current and former kin caregivers to recruit, train, and sustain the volunteer mentors who provide home-based support for new kin caregivers. In addition, PEP has produced a mentoring training manual for kin care volunteers, as well as a kinship family guide that lists family resources and how to access them.

    While the Caring Communities program has faced some challenges, particularly in recruiting relative caregivers to serve as mentors and in having kinship families referred for mentoring, the program continues to move forward. Working with Nevada PEP and providing stipends for volunteers have proven helpful in gaining caregiver participation.

    For more information about Clark County's Caring Communities Demonstration Project, contact:

    Tiffany Hesser, Project Coordinator
    Caring Communities
    Clark County Family Services
    701K N. Pecos Road
    Las Vegas, NV 89101
    Phone: 702.455.0775

    Note: The Caring Communities Demonstration Project was funded by the Children's Bureau, Grant 90-CA-1717, under the Children's Bureau Priority Area: 2003B2: Improving Child Welfare Outcomes Through Systems of Care. This article is part of a series highlighting successful Children's Bureau Grant-funded projects around the country, emerging from official Children's Bureau site visits.

Child Welfare Research

  • LONGSCAN Studies on Dimensions of Maltreatment

    LONGSCAN Studies on Dimensions of Maltreatment

    Articles in a recent special issue of Child Abuse & Neglect: The International Journal focus on longitudinal research efforts to explore the effect of different dimensions of child maltreatment on child outcomes. These different dimensions include type of maltreatment, severity, chronicity, and substantiation status of referrals to CPS. Each dimension was examined in isolation to determine impacts on child outcomes.

    These studies were conducted as part of the federally funded Longitudinal Studies of Child Abuse and Neglect (LONGSCAN) project, which has been operating since 1990 to collect data on child abuse and neglect at multiple sites over multiple years.

    The special issue articles include:

    • Describing Maltreatment: Do Child Protective Service Reports and Research Definitions Agree?
    • Defining Maltreatment According to Substantiation: Distinction Without a Difference?
    • Defining Child Neglect Based on Child Protective Services Data
    • Do Allegations of Emotional Maltreatment Predict Developmental Outcomes Beyond That of Other Forms of Maltreatment?
    • Measuring the Severity of Maltreatment
    • Defining Maltreatment Chronicity: Are There Differences in Child Outcomes?

    A final article draws on findings from the previous articles to explore how dimensions of maltreatment can predict emotional and behavioral functioning in children. Results indicate that different dimensions of maltreatment (including type, severity, when the maltreatment began, and the pattern across the life span), as well as interactions among these different dimensions, predict different outcomes for children.

    This special issue of Child Abuse & Neglect, Vol. 29, issue 5, was edited by D. J. English. It is available at

  • Mental Health Services for Adolescents in Foster Care

    Mental Health Services for Adolescents in Foster Care

    Adolescents in out-of-home care are at greater risk of mental health problems than children in the general population because of past histories of child abuse and neglect, separation from biological parents, and placement instability. A recent study examined the degree to which the need for mental health services influences the actual use of mental health services by older children in foster care. In this study, 113 older youth (aged 16.5-17.5 years) in foster care participated in face-to-face interviews and were assessed with two measures of need for mental health services. A State child welfare administrative database provided records on the youths' placement, duration of care, and demographic information.

    The study confirmed that rates of mental health need were higher among the foster youth than the general population and that a substantial number of adolescents in foster care who needed mental health care did not receive any mental health services. Some of the specific findings showed that:

    • Foster youth were more likely to experience depression, anxiety, loss of behavioral and/or emotional control, and poor psychological well-being than adolescents in the general population.
    • While 50 percent of youth in foster care had received mental health services at some point, the actual use of services was only partially associated with need for services.
    • Youth who had histories of child abuse, anxiety, or poor psychological well-being, or who had spent a longer time in out-of-home care, were significantly more likely to have used mental health services.

    The study, "Need for and Actual Use of Mental Health Service by Adolescents in the Child Welfare System," by S. H. Shin, can be found in the October 2005 issue of Children and Youth Services Review: An International Multidisciplinary Review of the Welfare of Young People. The study is available online at

Strategies and Tools for Practice

  • Evaluating Mediation in Child Protection Cases

    Evaluating Mediation in Child Protection Cases

    As court systems across the country strive to meet the timeframes for permanency required by Federal legislation such as the Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997 (ASFA), alternative dispute resolution techniques such as mediation have emerged as promising tools in child welfare cases. The Washington, DC, Family Court Act requires the court to use alternative dispute resolution to the extent that is feasible and safe. In 2002, the family court implemented a 1-year pilot project in early case child protection mediation in the hope that such a program would result in earlier resolution of cases.

    A new Technical Assistance Brief from the Permanency Planning Department of the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (NCJFCJ), Mediation in Child Protection Cases: An Evaluation of the Washington, D.C. Family Court Child Protection Mediation Program, reports on an evaluation conducted by NCJFCJ on the effectiveness of the program. The evaluation studied outcomes for 200 child abuse and neglect cases that were randomly assigned to mediation and a comparison group of 200 cases that were handled through the traditional hearing process. The study tracked the cases from initial hearing through disposition and beyond. Data sources included case file reviews, mediation program files, exit surveys, and interviews with judges and other stakeholders.

    Results of the evaluation show that 93 percent of mediated cases were able to reach some settlement. Compared to traditional hearings, mediation resulted in more timely resolution of cases (7.0 months to case closure for mediated cases vs. 8.6 months for other cases). In addition, mediation seemed to promote more long-term permanency with lower rates of re-entry into care. The findings also suggest that the process generated detailed, case-specific service plans and provided families with a nonadversarial forum in which to be heard. In light of these results, the Family Court continued funding for child protection mediation after the study.

    This study was funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Justice, with additional funding from the Council for Court Excellence, Washington, DC. The report, written by S. I. Gatowski, S. A. Dobbin, M. Litchfield, and J. Oetjen, is available online at


  • William T. Grant Foundation

    William T. Grant Foundation

    The William T. Grant Foundation has issued a request for proposals to support intervention research to improve youth-serving organizations, such as schools and community-based organizations. The focus is on how social settings operate and how interventions in social settings can positively impact youth. The amount of the grants will vary between $250,000 and $1,500,000, with a maximum total foundation budget of $3 million per year. The deadline for letters of inquiry is October 17, 2005.

    (Editor's note: The link for this grant is no longer available.) More information can be found on the foundation website at
  • Investigating Child Fatalities

    Investigating Child Fatalities

    The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) has released a new title in its series of Portable Guides to Investigating Child Abuse, Investigating Child Fatalities. The guide uses the term "child fatality investigation" to mean the inquiry made by law enforcement into the death of a child when investigators believe that child abuse or neglect may have caused or contributed to the fatal injury.

    The purpose of the guide is to provide practical information to law enforcement officers, child protective services investigators, prosecutors, child fatality review team members, and other professionals involved in these cases. The guide explains how child fatalities differ from other homicide cases and offers specific guidelines for conducting the investigation, documenting the investigation, questioning suspects, and testifying in court. The guide is available for download at (PDF - 482 KB).

  • Center for Effective Collaboration and Practice Website

    Center for Effective Collaboration and Practice Website

    The Center for Effective Collaboration and Practice (CECP), funded by the U.S. Department of Education, supports a reoriented national preparedness to foster the development and adjustment of children with, or at risk of developing, serious emotional disturbance. The CECP promotes this mission by facilitating collaborations at Federal, State, and local levels for the production, exchange, and use of knowledge about effective practices. The CECP website provides information on issues such as child welfare, cultural competence, juvenile justice, mental health, schools and special education, and more. The mini-webs provide further information on topics such as promising practices in children's mental health, functional behavioral assessment, and strength-based assessment. Learn more about CECP at

  • The Role of State Legislators in the Child and Family Services Reviews

    The Role of State Legislators in the Child and Family Services Reviews

    Through their roles in providing agency oversight, policy directives, and operational funding, State legislators can be key participants in efforts to reform child welfare systems. Three new publications from the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) highlight the role of State legislators in the Child and Family Services Reviews (CFSRs) and how the reviews can be used to guide effective and long-term systemic change.

    The first two papers, The Child and Family Services Reviews: The Role of State Legislators and Focusing on Child Welfare Systems: The Role of State Legislators, focus on the specific roles legislators can play in the review process and how they can effectively use CFSR data to guide the legislative agenda. The third paper, Focusing on Child Welfare Systems: Collaborating With State Legislators on Reform, addresses the role of agency staff in involving legislators in the review process.

    The reports were produced for the Children's Bureau by NCSL and Johnson, Bassin & Shaw.

    (Editor's note: The links are no longer available.) The NCSL website is at
  • National Sex Offender Public Registry Available Online

    National Sex Offender Public Registry Available Online

    A new national web-based search tool to obtain information about sex offenders is now available. Coordinated by the U.S. Department of Justice, this cooperative effort between State agencies that host public sexual offender registries and the Federal Government allows users to submit a single national query through search options such as name, ZIP code, one or more States, county, or by city or town. The website will provide access to registries from all States and the District of Columbia by the end of the year.

    Users must agree to the conditions of use, and search criteria are limited to what each State provides. Users should verify results with the States because the information is not hosted by the Federal Government. The National Sex Offender Public Registry is available at (Editor's note: The NSOPR has been renamed the National Sex Offender Public Website.)

  • New Statistics on the Status of Children

    New Statistics on the Status of Children

    Two new data sets have been released that address the status and well-being of children in the United States. A new feature of the KIDS COUNT Data Book, from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, is an online database that provides State-level statistics on 75 measures and can be accessed by individual State or topical area. KIDS COUNT provides statistics on 10 measures of child well-being, including infant mortality rates, child and teen death rates, teen birth rates, education, and other demographic measures. Both the book and the database can be accessed online at

    Another resource for obtaining data about the well-being of children is America's Children: Key National Indicators of Well-Being, the most recent in the annual series published by the Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics. The report presents the latest available data on 25 indicators related to economic security, health, social environment, and education, as well as background measures related to population and family characteristics. The report can be accessed online at

  • Federal Funding for Workforce Development Initiatives

    Federal Funding for Workforce Development Initiatives

    The Finance Project has produced a new resource in its "Finding Funding" series. The new guide focuses on identifying Federal funding for workforce development initiatives. The guide provides a catalog of 87 Federal sources, as well as guidance on accessing Federal funds and building partnerships. Finding Funding: A Guide to Federal Sources for Workforce Development Initiatives, by N. Relave and E. Mendes, can be downloaded at

  • Healthy Steps for Young Children

    Healthy Steps for Young Children

    The Healthy Steps for Young Children program emphasizes a close relationship between health-care professionals and parents to support the physical, emotional, and intellectual development of children from birth to age 3. This national initiative was developed by pediatric department faculty at the Boston University School of Medicine, with support from the Commonwealth Fund. The Healthy Steps website provides materials (including some in Spanish) to promote child development and enhance well-child care at

Training and Conferences

Find trainings, workshops, webinars, and other opportunities for professionals and families to learn about how to improve the lives of children and youth as well as a listing of upcoming events and conferences.

  • Online Training From National Experts

    Online Training From National Experts

    The National Children's Advocacy Center (NCAC) in Child Abuse Response and Prevention offers free online training sessions for individuals and groups on a variety of child abuse topics. In these courses, national experts from such fields as law, child development, and law enforcement and investigation serve as presenters. Each online course ranges from 1 to 3 hours and includes a pretest, PowerPoint presentation, and posttest. The following courses are currently available online:

    • Child Development 101
    • Child Sexual Abuse: A Judicial Perspective
    • Developmental Perspectives on Child Sexual Behavior in Children and Adolescents
    • Interviewing Preschool Children
    • Law Enforcement's Response to Child Sexual Abuse
    • Profiling the Child Molester
    • Providing Expert Testimony in Child Sexual Abuse Cases
    • Standards for Prevention Programs
    • Teaching With Teddy
    • The Emotional Effects of Domestic Violence on Children
    • The Medical & Developmental Effects of Domestic Violence on Children
    • Working with the Non-Offending Caregiver

    NCAC's Online Training Courses are supported by grants from the U.S. Department of Justice and are available at

  • Conferences


    Upcoming national conferences on adoption and child welfare through January 2006 include:

    November 2005

    • Healthy Communities Healthy Youth (Search Institute; November 3 through 5; Dallas, TX)
    • ZERO TO THREE 20th National Training Institute (November 4 through 6; Washington, DC)
    • 3rd Annual "It's My Life" Conference (Casey Family Programs; November 13 through 15; Baltimore, MD)

    December 2005

    • National Forum on Child Welfare Workload (ACTION for Child Protection; December 12 through 14; Santa Fe, NM)

    January 2006

    • 20th Annual San Diego International Conference on Child and Family Maltreatment (The Chadwick Center for Children and Families at Children's Hospital—San Diego; January 23 through 27; San Diego, CA)

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

  • Sibling Relationships

    Sibling Relationships

    The Attachment and Bonding Center of Ohio offers a training curriculum on sibling relationships and their importance in adoption and foster care. Written by R. Kupecky, the curriculum focuses on the importance of sibling relationships and is geared for foster and adoptive parents, social workers, legal personnel, guardians ad litem, CASA volunteers, mental health professionals, and intake workers.

    Materials for the My Brother, My Sister: Sibling Relations in Adoption and Foster Care training curriculum include trainer's notes, activities, PowerPoint slides, and 11 video segments. The curriculum is divided into seven units:

    1. Introduction to sibling issues
    2. Importance of sibling ties
    3. Why siblings are separated
    4. Benefits of keeping siblings together
    5. The dream team: sibling friendly agencies
    6. Ways to build/maintain sibling connections when living separately
    7. Making the decision

    For information about purchasing this curriculum, contact R. Kupecky at 440.230.1960 #5 or