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March 2009Vol. 10, No. 2Spotlight on Working With Tribes

This month, the Spotlight focuses on Working With Tribes, including an example of a successful Tribal-State agreement and information on grants, ICWA in practice, Native Americans living in urban areas, and Tribal resources.

Issue Spotlight

  • Tribal-State Agreement Benefits Children

    Tribal-State Agreement Benefits Children

    When Tribal children are unable to remain with their families, many Tribal child welfare systems are forced to choose between relinquishing the children to State care or retaining oversight but struggling for pay for Tribal foster care. New Federal legislation eventually will allow recognized Tribes to apply for title IV-E funds. In the meantime, a few Tribes have worked out agreements with their State governments that provide financial support to Tribal child welfare systems.

    One such example is the formal agreement between the Port Gamble S'Klallam Tribe and the State of Washington, which provides title IV-E money for Tribal children in foster homes on their reservation. Signed in 2004, the agreement recognizes the Tribe's right to conduct investigations, license foster homes on the reservation, place children, and access Federal monies that support the Tribal foster care system. Children in the system are eligible for all the services that IV-E funds can support, including Independent Living services and Educational and Training vouchers.

    Before the agreement, the Tribe used a patchwork of funds and services to keep children on the reservation when their parents were no longer able to care for them. While the 1,100-member Tribe had taken care of their own children since the passage of the Indian Child Welfare Act, doing so had required drawing on Tribal Temporary Aid to Needy Families (TANF) and other types of funds, or just relying on the willingness of relatives. Without access to the title IV-E funds that the State received, the Tribe struggled to pay for foster care on the reservation. Only three families on the reservation were willing to work with the State to provide foster care, and this number was inadequate to provide placements for the 25 to 40 children in need of care. When it became apparent that Tribal TANF funds could be stretched no further and that Tribal children were going without services available to other Washington State residents, the Tribe pursued IV-E funds through the State.

    Although the State initially was unwilling to recognize the Tribe's standards for foster care licensing, a meeting with Federal Administration for Children and Families staff at the Regional Office changed that view. Once the Regional staff had approved the Tribe's licensing standards, the State quickly moved to reimburse the Tribe. The agreement has been in effect ever since. According to Marilyn Olson, the Children & Family Administration (CFA) Director for the Port Gamble S'Klallam Tribe, "We have a great working relationship with the State. They have really risen to the occasion, and we appreciate their support."

    Access to title IV-E funds has allowed the Tribe to provide an array of necessary services to help children and families. Of the 42 children currently in foster care, all but one have been placed with families on the reservation, allowing the children to grow up connected with their relatives and culture. The Tribe licenses the foster homes and provides training for foster parents, using a tailored version of the Native American Training Institute's Extending Our Families Through Unity curriculum. Jolene Sullivan, the CFA Deputy Director, notes that, "Most of the 18 foster families on the reservation were recruited personally. Often, a child's family member will suggest a particular family as a resource. Sometimes we recruit a family to provide respite care at first, to let them try it out."

    To prevent children from experiencing multiple placements, the CFA hired two therapists. Every child in care spends time with a therapist at least twice a month. This ongoing therapy has helped stabilize the placements and prevented burnout among the relatives providing care to these children. In addition, a staff member was hired to work exclusively with youth ages 12 and older, handling such issues as obtaining a driver's license. Ms. Olson jokingly refers to this service as "saving Grandma." All of the staff members work with other Tribal staff who handle TANF, child support, and other youth issues.

    The 2004 agreement between the Port Gamble S'Klallam Tribe and the State of Washington to provide title IV-E funds for Tribal children has improved outcomes for children by allowing the Tribe to license and reimburse Tribal foster parents and expand their services and staff. Both the State and the Tribe are satisfied with the agreement and the outcomes. "It's just one of the best things we've ever done," concludes Ms. Olson.

    For more information, contact Jolene Sullivan at

    Many thanks to Marilyn Olson and Jolene Sullivan, who provided the information for this article.

  • ACF Grants for Tribes

    ACF Grants for Tribes

    The Administration for Children and Families (ACF) plans several funding opportunities for Tribes.

    ACF's Administration for Native Americans recently announced Planning Grants and Implementation Grants for Family Preservation—Improving the Well-Being of Children Project. These grants will fund planning and implementation of projects to improve child well-being by removing barriers associated with strengthening families (including fatherhood, foster parenting, absentee parent activities, and grandparents raising grandchildren) and forming and preserving healthy families, relationships, and marriages (including Traditional Native American and Pacific Basin marriages). ACF will award $1 million for 10 Planning Grants and $3 million for 10 Implementation Grants to federally recognized Indian Tribes and other related organizations. The application deadline is March 25. For more information, visit the ACF website:

    • For more information on Planning Grants, visit (Editor's note: Link no longer available)
    • For more information on Implementation Grants, visit (Editor's note: Link no longer available)

    The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Grants Forecast website, which is a database of planned grants, has posted the future availability of Tribal IV-E Development Grants. The purpose of these one-time grants will be to assist Tribes, Tribal organizations, or Tribal consortia to develop a plan to implement a title IV-E foster care, adoption assistance, and, at Tribal option, kinship guardianship program.

    The estimated posting date for the official grant announcement is March 16. Details on other funding opportunities can be found on the HHS Grants Forecast website:

  • Urban Indians

    Urban Indians

    While approximately half of Native Americans live in urban areas, including 800,000 Native children, there has not been a strong research focus on the needs of these Indian families or on practice models for serving them. A recent study from the National Urban Indian Family Coalition (NUIFC), funded by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, looks at the historical factors that contributed to the large urban Indian population, current demographics, and implications for urban Indian organizations and for child welfare and other services.

    The study points to the health and risk indicators for urban Indians, noting that this population experiences more risk factors than their counterparts living on reservations, including lower rates of prenatal care and higher rates of infant mortality. Compared to the general urban population, the urban Indian population experiences higher rates of homelessness, unemployment, poverty, and child maltreatment.

    The study includes a synopsis of the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) and the role of urban Indian organizations in advocating for urban Indian children who enter the child welfare system. Recommendations are included for strengthening connections between urban Indians and other Native communities and for conducting research on the needs of urban Indian families.

    Urban Indian America: The Status of American Indian and Alaska Native Children and Families Today is available on the NUIFC website: (2,147 KB)

  • NICWA Online Newsletter

    NICWA Online Newsletter

    The National Indian Child Welfare Association's online quarterly newsletter, NICWA News, is expanding to include more articles about NICWA programs and the people they serve. The most recent issue, Spring 2008, includes an article on the NICWA program for certifying Tribal child welfare workers. According to the article, the certification program is designed to improve the quality of the Indian child welfare workforce and to standardize practice.

    Visit the NICWA website to read NICWA News and access many other resources on Tribal child welfare, including training materials, publications, and Tribal success stories:

    For the spring 2008 NICWA newsletter, go to

    Related Item

    CBX last wrote about NICWA's certification program in "Tribal Child Welfare Certification" (March 2008).

  • Iowa Provides ICWA Guidance

    Iowa Provides ICWA Guidance

    A new practice bulletin released by the Iowa Department of Health and Human Services focuses on the requirements of the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA), relevant State legislation, and the implications for child welfare practice. ICWA seeks to preserve the integrity of Indian culture by preventing unnecessary removal of children from their Tribes and families and by recognizing Indian children as members of sovereign Tribal governments. The bulletin illustrates key ICWA requirements by outlining the standards in clear language and provides recommendations for child welfare workers.

    In 2003, the Iowa legislature adopted the Iowa ICWA to best address the needs of Native American children and their families in that State. The Iowa ICWA builds even stronger protections for Indian families by requiring the Department of Human Services (DHS) to provide active efforts in order to prevent the removal of a child. The practice bulletin lists ways in which child welfare agencies and workers can incorporate these requirements into practice.

    In Iowa, technical assistance and training on ICWA matters are available through Meskwaki Family Services, a Tribal child welfare services program. An agreement between the State and the Tribe allows the Tribe to access title IV-E funds for foster care expenses of children in Tribal court. The agreement also allows Iowa DHS to work cooperatively with Meskwaki Family Services to provide child welfare services to Tribal children and families.

    The practice bulletin, from November 2008, is available on the Iowa DHS website: (267 KB)

  • Resources on Tribal Child Welfare From the T&TA Network

    Resources on Tribal Child Welfare From the T&TA Network

    The Children's Bureau’s Training and Technical Assistance (T&TA) Network members work with States and Tribes on issues that impact Native Alaskan and Indian children and families. In providing T&TA, they have developed a number of resources now available on their websites, including the following:

  • Working With Native American Families

    Working With Native American Families

    A recent article in the Journal of Public Child Welfare provides information to help child welfare workers better understand the cultural elements of effective practice with Native American clients. The article outlines the historical context of Native people in the United States, describes the world view and family dynamics of Native Americans, and provides practice and intervention strategies to help child welfare workers become more culturally responsive to their Native American clients.

    The article's authors offer a number of practical suggestions for non-Native American child welfare workers to improve their cultural competence when working with Native American families:

    • Family models with a strength-based component may be more effective than traditional family deficit models.
    • Caseworkers should provide opportunities for self-determination and a sense of community, offering a holistic view that is relational (collective) instead of linear (individual).
    • Issues of child abuse and neglect should be addressed in terms of wellness and a sense of balance through the context of mind and spirit.
    • It is important to understand each family’s cultural and spiritual/religious beliefs rather than assume that all Native Americans adhere to the same list of values.
    • The client is the best source of information about whether an intervention is working.

    "Social Work With Native People: Orienting Child Welfare Workers to the Beliefs, Values, and Practices of Native American Families and Children," by Gordon E. Limb, David R. Hodge, and Patrick Panos, was published in the Journal of Public Child Welfare, Vol. 2(3), and is available for purchase on the Haworth Press website:

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News From the Children's Bureau

CBX links you to the latest conference and grant information, the 2009 T&TA Network Directory, a site visit report on a program in which youth train supervisors, and more.

  • Children's Bureau Announces Child Welfare Evaluation Summit

    Children's Bureau Announces Child Welfare Evaluation Summit

    The Children's Bureau will host the National Child Welfare Evaluation Summit from May 27 to 29, 2009, at the Renaissance Mayflower Hotel in Washington, DC. The purpose of this 3-day summit is to explore the current state of evaluation practice in the field of child welfare and to promote cohesive, strategic, and sound approaches for evaluating child welfare systems, projects, and programs. The summit will provide a forum to discuss dynamic tensions in the field, such as those between theory and practice, rigor and flexibility, fidelity and adaptability, and evidence-based practice and practice-based evidence.

    Examples of questions that may be addressed include:

    • What unique challenges does the child welfare population present to evaluation? How can these be addressed?
    • Are experimental designs necessary to determine what works in child welfare?
    • How can evaluation methods be adapted to be both rigorous and culturally appropriate?
    • What has been learned from efforts to bring evidence-based practices to scale?
    • How have child welfare programs developed and implemented meaningful evaluations when confronted with limited resources?

    Open registration for the summit will begin March 16. See the National Child Welfare Evaluation Summit website for registration information and additional details:

    Questions can be submitted to

  • Site Visit: Youth Train Child Welfare Supervisors

    Site Visit: Youth Train Child Welfare Supervisors

    A new curriculum from the Bay Area Academy of San Francisco State University increases child welfare supervisors' understanding of the unique needs of youth in foster care. Developed by a team of former foster youth using input from supervisors and youth, the training is delivered by current and former foster youth ages 16 to 24. It focuses on four core principles to improve services for youth: positive youth development, collaboration, cultural competence, and permanent connections.

    Offered as part of the Bay Area Academy's Y.O.U.T.H. Training Project, the training is geared toward child welfare supervisors and key managers and directors in order to encourage commitment to improving youth services at all levels of an organization. Community-based social work organizations are also invited to reach a wider audience of professionals serving youth. The all-day training includes keynote addresses, workshop sessions, a foster youth panel, and a "giving back panel" for supervisors to receive the youth trainers' feedback on a current case. The training exercises are designed to help strengthen supervisors' ability to support their staff in seven areas:

    • Assessing youth readiness for independent living services
    • Increasing cultural competence
    • Involving youth in decision-making and implementing programs and services
    • Identifying areas of stress and the impact of stress on foster youth
    • Helping youth deal with crisis situations
    • Developing and maintaining permanent connections for youth
    • Improving inter- and intra-agency collaboration among youth-serving organizations

    In addition to the workshops and panels, attendees participate in several other activities that enhance their understanding of issues from a foster youth perspective. First, attendees are asked to carry "foster care luggage" all day by putting their belongings in a trash bag. Also, attendees view the Museum of Lost Childhoods and of Foster Youth Empowerment, which includes artifacts from foster youth that represent their sometimes difficult experiences growing up in foster care, as well as their accomplishments. Attendees report that these experiential activities, along with receiving the training directly from current and former foster youth, greatly contribute to the overall effectiveness of the training.

    The project has delivered 13 conference-style training sessions in 3 years, reaching a total of 520 child welfare workers and supervisors in California as well as other States that have requested the training. Youth delivering the training receive special instruction on training skills and are mentored by project staff to ensure their success. In addition to being paid for their involvement in the project, youth also benefit by learning from the curriculum development process and developing strong leadership and facilitation skills.

    As part of the original project plan, staff also have assisted workers and youth from Hawaii who are developing a similar curriculum for use in their State. Staff hope to continue responding to other States' training or assistance needs as requested. The project recently completed an organizational impact study that documented the success of positive youth development training for youth trainers.

    The project's website offers biographies of the staff and youth trainers, training materials, best practices, and digital stories created by youth to share their personal experiences:

    For more information, contact the project director:
    Jamie Lee Evans, M.S.W.
    Bay Area Academy
    San Francisco State University
    2201 Broadway, Suite 100
    Oakland, CA 94612

    Y.O.U.T.H. Training Project: Child Welfare Supervisor Training is funded by the Children's Bureau, Grant 90CW1129, under the Children's Bureau Priority Area: Training of Child Welfare Agency Supervisors in the Effective Delivery and Management of Federal Independent Living Service for Youth in Foster Care. 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.

    To read the full site visit report, go to Child Welfare Information Gateway:

  • Discretionary Grants Available From the Children's Bureau

    Discretionary Grants Available From the Children's Bureau

    The Children's Bureau made its first discretionary grant announcements of this year in late February, announcing funding for five National Resource Centers (NRCs). The NRCs are part of the Children's Bureau's larger Training and Technical Assistance (T&TA) Network. The grants will provide 5-year funding for the following:

    • The NRC for Child Protective Services 
    • The NRC for Organizational Improvement 
    • The NRC for Adoption 
    • The NRC for Youth Development 
    • The NRC for Child Welfare Data and Technology 

    The Children's Bureau is currently forecasting 15 funding opportunities in FY 2009. These funding opportunities will focus primarily on the competition for 10 NRCs. The Children's Bureau also anticipates announcing the availability of funds for the Evaluation of Existing Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Programs, Abandoned Infants Assistance Comprehensive Programs, National Quality Improvement Center on the Representation of Children in the Child Welfare System, Tribal Title IV-E Plan Development Grants, and Family Connection Grants.

    For information on specific grants, visit the following websites:

    • ( Search for Children's Bureau grant opportunities under the Agency Category "Department of Health and Human Services" (HHS) or under the Funding Activity Category "Income Security and Social Services." Users also can apply for Children's Bureau discretionary grants online, only through
    • ACF Grant Opportunities ( Children's Bureau and other Administration on Children and Families (ACF) funding announcements are posted here.

    Print copies of funding announcements will not be routinely mailed out but will be sent only to those who request them. For print announcements or any other information about the grants process, call the ACYF Operations Center at 866.796.1591.

  • New Prevention Resources Available

    New Prevention Resources Available

    In anticipation of National Child Abuse Prevention Month in April, the Children's Bureau has released Strengthening Families and Communities: 2009 Resource Guide. The Resource Guide is designed to support service providers in their work with parents, caregivers, and their children to strengthen families and prevent child abuse and neglect. The Children's Bureau's Office on Child Abuse and Neglect partnered with Child Welfare Information Gateway and the FRIENDS National Resource Center for Community-Based Child Abuse Prevention to develop the Resource Guide, with input from numerous national organizations and Federal partners. It highlights strategies that can strengthen families by promoting key protective factors shown to prevent child abuse and neglect. It also offers strategies and sample materials to promote community awareness of these key protective factors, as well as tip sheets in English and Spanish to share with parents.

    View or order the Resource Guide on the Information Gateway website:

    The Preventing Child Abuse & Neglect section of the Information Gateway website also has been enhanced to offer new and updated resources, including new webpages on:

    • Levers for change (ways to build protective factors)
    • Early childhood programs
    • Home visitation

    Visit the National Child Abuse Prevention Month web section for new graphics and promotional tools to support initiatives that strengthen families and reduce the risk of child abuse and neglect.

  • New T&TA Network Directory

    New T&TA Network Directory

    The Children's Bureau's Training and Technical Assistance (T&TA) Network has expanded considerably this year. A new directory recently posted on the Children's Bureau website offers brief descriptions and contact information for these organizations, which provide T&TA to States and Tribes to support the Children's Bureau's mission of safety, permanency, and well-being for children and families.

    The 28 T&TA Network members include National Resource Centers, National Quality Improvement Centers, Child Welfare Information Gateway, Implementation Centers, and more. Recent additions to the Network represent a variety of resources and include:

    • The National Child Welfare Workforce Institute
    • The National Quality Improvement Center on Differential Response in Child Protective Services
    • The National Quality Improvement Center on Early Childhood
    • Five Regional Child Welfare Implementation Centers (Northeast and Caribbean, Atlantic Coast, Midwest, Mountains and Plains, and Western and Pacific)
    • The Technical Assistance Partnership for Child and Family Mental Health

    Access the full directory in html or download the PDF from the Children's Bureau website:

  • Forecasting Grants and Seeking Grant Reviewers

    Forecasting Grants and Seeking Grant Reviewers

    The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Grants Forecast website offers advance notice of potential upcoming funding opportunities. The database includes planned grant programs proposed by HHS agencies, which are subject to change based on enactment of congressional appropriations. The grant descriptions include information on funding levels, eligibility requirements, actual or estimated funding dates, and the agency contact. Users may search or browse funding opportunities under the following categories:

    • Community development
    • Education
    • Employment, labor, and training
    • Environment quality
    • Health
    • Income security and social services

    The last category includes opportunities related to child welfare. For more information about the HHS Grants Forecast, visit the website:

    Seeking Reviewers
    HHS's Administration on Children, Youth and Families (ACYF) needs qualified reviewers to evaluate grant applications and help ACYF identify the best programs to fund. Review sessions usually last 1 week and take place in Washington, DC, although some reviews may occur electronically via a secure website. Reviewers are compensated for their time, and transportation is provided for reviewers traveling from outside Washington, DC.

    The ACYF website outlines expectations for reviewers and links to application information:

  • Updates From the T&TA Network

    Updates From the T&TA Network

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

    • The Collaboration to AdoptUSKids recently released the newly approved Report to Congress on the Barriers and Success Factors in Adoptions From Foster Care: Perspectives of Families and Staff. The report presents two research studies with adoptive families and adoption professionals that describe (1) barriers to adopting children from foster care and (2) factors for adoption success. (1,083 KB)
    • The National Technical Assistance Center for Children’s Mental Health has developed Financing Behavioral Health Services and Supports for Children, Youth and Families in the Child Welfare System: A Report of National Survey Findings, which describes the survey, as well as individual States' financing strategies. (7.56 KB)
    • Child Welfare Information Gateway has posted a 4-minute video that explains how Information Gateway can connect child welfare professionals with information on emerging trends, the latest research, and evidence-based practice.
    • The National Quality Improvement Center on Non-Resident Fathers and the Child Welfare System offers a “Father Friendly Check-Up” tool for child welfare agencies to help them assess the degree to which their organization’s operations encourage father involvement.
    • The National Abandoned Infants Assistance Resource Center has written a new factsheet, Women and Children With HIV/AIDS, which discusses HIV/AIDS' impact, treatment, related issues, and considerations for case management and service provision. (529 KB)

    Related Item

    For more information about the T&TA Network, read "New T&TA Network Directory" in this issue of CBX.

  • 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:

    • Program Instruction (PI)-09-01 for the Utilization of SACWIS by private providers that deliver child welfare case management services under contract to a title IV-B/IV-E agency (
    • FY 2009 title IV-E Eligibility Reviews schedule (

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

Child Welfare Research

Learn how workload studies help set workload standards, the financial benefits of extending foster care services to young adults, and evidence-based guidelines for treatment foster care.

  • Workload in Child Protective and Child Welfare Services

    Workload in Child Protective and Child Welfare Services

    A number of studies have shown that adequate staffing and a manageable workload for child welfare workers lead to improved child safety and timely permanency. Workload analysis is essential to the complex task of setting adequate practice standards. Failure to estimate appropriate caseloads can influence the quality of services caseworkers provide and diminish the agency's overall functioning.

    A recent special issue of American Humane's Protecting Children, "The Study of Workload in Child Protective and Child Welfare Services," includes five research articles on workload management in the context of various methodological perspectives. Each article describes results from specific workload studies conducted in different geographical areas.

    • "Agency Workforce Estimation: A Step Toward Effective Workload Management" identifies some simple steps to measure and manage an agency's workforce capacity (Dennis Wagner, Kristen Johnson, and Theresa Healy).
    • "Prerequisite for Workload Studies" describes the elements of an effective approach to workload management through commitment, cooperation, communication, and strategic leadership (Robin Arnold-Williams and Donald Graham).
    • "The Canadian Experience in Conceptualizing and Evaluating Child Welfare Workload: A Moving Target" highlights the importance of developing a workload methodology that is able to convert current caseload data into workload data (Deborah Goodman and Howard Hurwitz).
    • "A Critical Appraisal of What Child Welfare Workers Do: Findings From a Task Analysis Study in Florida" involves an analysis of time log data from two groups of frontline workers to assess the complexities of their tasks and activities (Robin Perry and Steven Murphy).
    • "Work, Case, and Time: Setting Standards for Workload Management" illustrates the purpose of various aspects of workload studies, with special attention to the process and issue of setting standards (Myles T. Edwards and Joanna deVaron Reynolds).

    The special issue of Protecting Children, Vol. 23(3), can be downloaded on the American Humane website:

    Related Item

    For information on workload studies around the country, visit Child Welfare Information Gateway's Workload Compendium at

  • Evidence-Based Practice in Treatment Foster Care

    Evidence-Based Practice in Treatment Foster Care

    Evidence-based practice in treatment foster care (TFC) is the subject of two new publications released by the Center for Advanced Studies in Child Welfare (CASCW) at the University of Minnesota School of Social Work. The first, Involving Foster Parents in Permanency Planning for Adolescents in Treatment Foster Care: Evidence-Based Practices, examines such practices as mentoring, visitation, and wraparound services. The report is based on a comprehensive review of empirical literature by authors Kristine Piescher, Katy Armendariz, and Traci LaLiberte and is available online:

    Another recent publication, Evidence-Based Practice in Foster Parent Training and Support: Implications for Treatment Foster Care Providers, examines evidence-based practice in foster parent training and support. The authors present a comprehensive review of empirical literature and use the California Evidence-Based Clearinghouse rating scales to rate models of foster parent training and foster parent support. The report includes the key findings from the literature review and discusses potential practice implications for treatment foster care agencies interested in implementing research-based practices of foster parent training and support. This report, by Kristine Piescher, Melissa Schmidt, and Traci LaLiberte, is also available online:

    Both reports were developed under the auspices of Federal title IV-E funding, the Center for Advanced Studies in Child Welfare, and the Foster Family-Based Treatment Association (FFTA), as part of the Technical Assistance to FFTA Project.

  • Cost Benefits of Providing Foster Care Services to Young Adults

    Cost Benefits of Providing Foster Care Services to Young Adults

    A study of the costs and benefits of extending foster care services to young adults ages 18 to 23 indicates that such programs can provide a measurable financial benefit to society. The study focuses on a cost-benefit analysis of the Transition Guardian Plan (TGP), which incorporates successful practices from a variety of programs to help former foster youth transition into adulthood.

    Under the TGP, youth would be provided with a monthly stipend and support for postsecondary or vocational education and medical, housing, and transportation expenses. As youth made successful transitions to independence and self-sufficiency, cost benefits to the State would be in the areas of increased income from taxes and reduced use of prisons and Temporary Aid to Needy Families.

    The study uses data from the State of California to illustrate potential savings over 40 years. The methodology shows that a full success rate would result in a benefit-cost ratio of 1.5 to 1; a 75 percent success rate would equal 1.2 to 1.

    Society generally recognizes the human costs of emancipating foster youth with few supports or services; demonstrating the financial benefits of providing such services is especially useful in a time of tightened government budgets. This methodology can also be used to assess the costs and benefits of similar programs.

    "A Cost-Benefit Analysis of Transitional Service for Emancipating Foster Youth," by Thomas Packard, Melanie Delgado, Robert Fellmeth, and Karen McCready, was published in Children and Youth Services Review, Vol. 30(11) and is available for purchase on the Elsevier website:

    The journal article is based on Expanding Transitional Services for Emancipating Foster Youth: An Investment in California's Tomorrow on the Children's Advocacy Institute website: (1.35 MB)

    Related Item

    Read more about helping transitioning foster care youth on the Child Welfare Information Gateway website:

Strategies and Tools for Practice

CBX reports on a promising treatment for children's problematic sexual behavior and ways to reduce disproportionality in child welfare.

  • Strategies to Reduce Disproportionality in Child Welfare

    Strategies to Reduce Disproportionality in Child Welfare

    A new study from Casey Family Programs looks at efforts made by 13 public child welfare agencies to develop solutions to the problem of disproportionality and disparities for children and families of color in the child welfare system. In the study, author Kristin J. Ward examined the effectiveness of the Breakthrough Series Collaborative (BSC) method for generating strategies for reducing the disproportionate numbers of children of color in foster care.

    The study found that the BSC program effectively mobilized child welfare agencies. In addition, the BSC helped agencies test and implement strategies to equalize how the system treats children of color and their families. Positive outcomes included:

    • Increased community engagement and development of cross-system leadership at the local level
    • Increased education and awareness of agency staff and community stakeholders
    • High satisfaction with the BSC methodology, resources, and staff
    • Recognition that additional support and resources are needed to sustain the changes made

    The full report, Breakthrough Series Collaborative on Reducing Disproportionality and Disparities for Children and Families of Color in Child Welfare: Outcomes Evaluation, and its executive summary are available online:

    This BSC is the latest in a series sponsored by Casey Family Programs. Other BSC efforts have focused on improving health care for foster children, recruiting and retaining resource families, and kinship care. In a BSC, teams from around the country focus on a specific issue for 1 year, during which time they test multiple ideas, strategies, and tools on a very small scale at their pilot sites. They simultaneously share what they have learned with other teams via the Internet, phone conferences, and three 2-day meetings. The most successful field-tested and measurable strategies and tools are then rapidly introduced throughout the teams' jurisdictions or systems.

    Information about the entire BSC series of studies can be found on the Casey Family Programs website:

  • Treatment for Sexually Abused Children With Problematic Sexual Behavior

    Treatment for Sexually Abused Children With Problematic Sexual Behavior

    A recent study describes a promising treatment for sexually abused children who display problematic sexual behavior (PSB). The Safety, Mentoring, Advocacy, Recovery, and Treatment (SMART) model uses cognitive behavioral therapy techniques to help children develop skills to control emotional and sexual impulses. Treatment also focuses heavily on the family, and the SMART model uses individual, family, and group therapy concurrently.

    The study describes the use of the SMART model to treat 62 children, ages 3 to 11, who had a history of sexual abuse and PSB. Treatment consisted of three sequential phases (safety/stabilization, triggers/integration, and resocialization). Each phase included activities to promote recovery and the acquisition of appropriate, adaptive skills.

    Preliminary findings suggest that the SMART model is effective in reducing PSB exhibited by children with a history of childhood sexual abuse. For children in the study, there were statistically and clinically significant declines on all PSB measures, which continued to be evident at the 6-month and 12-month posttreatment follow-ups.

    The study, "Get SMART: Effective Treatment for Sexually Abused Children With Problematic Sexual Behavior," by Betsy J. Offermann, Elizabeth Johnson, Sonja T. Johnson-Brooks, and Harolyn M. E. Belcher, was published in the Journal of Child & Adolescent Trauma, Vol. 1(3).

    To order a copy of this study, visit the Haworth Publishing website:


  • RFP on Using Research in Policy and Practice

    RFP on Using Research in Policy and Practice

    The William T. Grant Foundation has released a request for proposals (RFP) on Understanding the Acquisition, Interpretation, and Use of Research Evidence in Policy and Practice. The foundation's focus is on policy and practice that affects youth ages 8 to 25, and relevant areas of interest may include child welfare, youth programs, education, justice, health, family support, and employment.

    The foundation anticipates supporting a number of research projects, with awards ranging from $100,000 to $600,000, to include the direct and indirect costs for 2 to 3 years of work. Interested applicants should submit letters of inquiry by May 12, 2009. If invited, full proposals are scheduled to be due by October 6, 2009.

  • Rural Assistance Center

    Rural Assistance Center

    The Rural Assistance Center, created as part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Rural Initiative, was established to provide health and human services information to rural communities and stakeholders and to help these groups access programs, funding, and research to assist rural residents.

    The Center's website provides health and human services information that includes news, events, funding, publications, maps, and other resources; it can be searched by topic or by State and region. Popular guides focus on rural issues involving:

    • Capital funding
    • Domestic violence
    • Faith-based initiatives
    • Grant writing
    • Methamphetamine
    • Rural health clinics
    • Teen pregnancy
    • What is rural?

    For more information, visit the Rural Assistance Center website:

  • Children, Law, and Disasters

    Children, Law, and Disasters

    The hurricanes of 2005 revealed many gaps in emergency planning and services for children and families affected by disasters. In the aftermath, policymakers, service providers, researchers, and others have offered thoughtful and concrete plans to meet the needs of children and families who become victims of future disasters.

    Children, Law, and Disasters: What We Have Learned From Katrina and the Hurricanes of 2005 is a compilation of research, analysis, and lessons learned for child welfare organizations and other professionals. The book is a collaboration between the American Bar Association (ABA) and the University of Houston Law Center, and the chapters grew out of a 2007 Houston conference, "Children and the Law After Katrina." The authors stress the opportunity and need to develop effective policies for children in child welfare, education, justice, housing, and other systems.

    Chapters cover such topics as:

    • Information sharing and emergency coordination for children in foster care
    • How disasters further complicate the lives of foster children
    • Disasters and children's psychological risk
    • Providing an equitable education to children after a disaster
    • Juvenile justice after Hurricane Katrina
    • Rebuilding schools and communities

    The book is available for purchase on the ABA website:

  • Website on NIH-Funded Research

    Website on NIH-Funded Research

    The National Institutes of Health (NIH) recently launched a new website to provide access to reports, data, and analyses of NIH research activities. The Research Portfolio Online Reporting Tool, or RePORT, website includes a variety of tools and filters that allow users to quickly find frequently requested reports or to narrow a search to find specific reports or information. Other features include a glossary, frequently asked questions, and links to further information on biomedical and behavioral research programs.

    To use RePORT and view the tutorial, visit the website:

Training and Conferences

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

  • Conferences


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

    April 2009

    May 2009

    June 2009

    More 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:

  • Evidence-Based Practice Online Trainings

    Evidence-Based Practice Online Trainings

    Several free online trainings are now available from the Evidence-Based Behavioral Practice (EBBP) Project to teach the concepts and skills needed to perform evidence-based interventions. Funded by the Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research at the National Institutes of Health, the trainings teach professionals:

    • How to evaluate and conduct a systematic review of research
    • Strategies for choosing and using EBBP information tools
    • Steps of the EBBP process, including practice with a simulated client and/or community

    The goals of the EBBP Project are to create tools to improve research and practice training for psychosocial interventions, build the evidence base for behavioral treatments, and upgrade evidence-based behavioral practice. The Project also offers definitions and competencies of evidence-based behavioral practice, an online forum, newsletters, and a bibliography.

    The trainings are 30 to 60 minutes in length, presented in an interactive video format. Visit the website to access them and find out about other resources:

  • FosterClub Online Training

    FosterClub Online Training

    FosterClub, a national network for foster youth and the adults who support them, offers free online training for foster parents. The online format allows busy foster families to complete courses at their convenience. Upon course completion, the continuing education units (CEUs) may be eligible for credit toward the annual renewal of a foster parent license.

    FosterClub training offers 14 online courses in the following categories:

    • Biological families
    • The court system
    • Education
    • Mental health
    • Special needs children
    • Youth transition to adulthood

    In addition, parents can access the FosterClub Training Library, which holds a collection of research reports, journal articles, and other relevant child welfare resources.

    For more information, visit