News From the Children's Bureau
- Reporting Laws: Clergy as Mandated Reporters
The National Clearinghouse on Child Abuse and Neglect Information has recently released a new publication in its Child Abuse and Neglect State Statutes Ready Reference series. Reporting Laws: Clergy as Mandated Reporters focuses on the issue of clergy members' obligations in reporting instances of suspected of child abuse and neglect.
Approximately 12 States specifically name members of clergy as mandated reporters of suspected child abuse and neglect. The new publication explores the reporting requirement in these and other States, as well as how the requirement to report may be superceded by privileged communications, such as communications "under the seal of the confessional."
Ready Reference publications are products of the Child Abuse and Neglect State Statutes Series. They present the citations and text of State statutes on topics of special interest.
This publication can soon be found within the Child Abuse and Neglect State Statutes Series on the website of the National Clearinghouse on Child Abuse and Neglect Information at http://nccanch.acf.hhs.gov/general/legal/statutes/clergymandated.cfm
- Trends in the Well-Being of America's Children &Youth 2001
Trends in the Well-Being of America's Children & Youth 2001, an annual report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on trends in the well-being of the nation's children and youth is now available online. The report presents the most recent and reliable estimates of more than 80 indicators of well-being.
The report presents indicators that have been collected more than once over the past few years so that trends may be discerned. Where possible, trends are presented from the 1970s through 2000, and in some cases data from earlier years as well as future projections are provided.
The indicators have been organized into five broad areas:
- Population, family, and neighborhood;
- Economic security;
- Health conditions and health care;
- Social development and behavioral health; and
- Education and achievement.
For each indicator, the report provides graphics that highlight key trends and important population subgroup differences and tables that provide more detailed information for the user. These are accompanied by text that concisely describes the importance of each indicator and highlights the most salient features of the data.
The complete report is available on the Web at http://aspe.hhs.gov/hsp/01trends/index.htm
For more information regarding the well-being of America's youth, see the article "Two New Reports From the Casey Foundation Consider Children's Well-Being" in this month's issue.
- National Resource Center Helps Families Cope with Violence in Their Communities
Many young children and families are faced with ongoing violence in their communities--in schools, on playgrounds and in their homes. With assistance from the National Child Welfare Resource Center for Family Centered Practice, the Safe Havens Training Project--a unique video-based training program--provides caregivers and families support to help children feel safe. The Resource Center's partners in this endeavor are Family Communications, Inc., the New York Head Start Collaboration Project, and the New York University Region II Head Start Quality Improvement Center.
The three videos are mini-documentaries about children and violence and also contain workshops. The workshops are for trainers training adults who interact with children who have witnessed violence in their community; the workshops provide insight about children's responses to violence and strategies to support children and staff. The project videos include the following topics:
- The Violence the Children Can See--identifies the impact that witnessing violence has on children and offers strategies to communities in working together in support of children coping with violence
- The Power of Our Relationship--provides examples of language, limit-setting, and relationship-building between the adult (parent or teacher) and child that enable children to gain trust and self-confidence
- The Need To Be Heard--explores ways to create a more supportive work environment for staff affected by violence.
For more information about the Safe Havens Training Project, visit the website at http://www.fci.org/early_care/violence_main.asp
Read "Children's Exposure to Violence Associated with Academic, Health Problems" in this issue of CBX.
- Recruiting and Retaining Resource Families
Casey Family Programs National Center for Resource Family Support (CNC) and the David and Lucile Packard Foundation are sponsoring a Breakthrough Series Collaborative on Recruiting and Retaining Resource Families. Ten public child welfare agencies and Tribal agencies will be selected through a competitive application process (State agencies in State-administered States, county agencies in county-administered States, or Tribal agencies). The successful applicants must be committed to improving how they recruit and retain foster, adoptive, and kinship families and to making major, rapid changes to produce breakthrough results. The selected agencies will form teams to work together during 1 year to make changes and implement new systems. Field experts will guide and mentor the teams as they study the latest knowledge and evidence available, test ideas, and implement changes.
August 22, 2002, is the deadline for the receipt of completed applications. Interested agencies are asked to submit the "interest in applying" form, found in the application, no later than July 29. A conference call to provide answers to questions regarding selection critera, Collaborative requirements and expectations, and the application is scheduled for July 30, 2002, at 2:00 p.m EDT. The dial-in number is 1-888-385-5669 and the pass code is 01107#.
More information about the Breakthrough Series Collaborative, including the Collaborative charter and application, can be found on the National Center for Resource Family Support website at http://www.casey.org/cnc/recruitment/ breakthrough_series_recruitment.htm. (This link is no longer available, but some information can be found at www.casey.org/Resources/Projects/Breakthrough+Series+Collaborative/.)
- Two New Reports from the Casey Foundation Consider Children's Well-Being
Two new reports from the Annie E. Casey Foundation provide insights into the well-being of U.S. children.
Both reports are part of the Casey Foundation's ongoing KIDS COUNT project, which provides policymakers and citizens with benchmarks of child well-being by tracking the status of children nationally and on a state-by-state basis on ten key indicators of child well-being.
The KIDS COUNT Data Book 2002 draws from a variety of data sources and is available from the Casey Foundation website as an interactive online database and as downloadable delimited text files.
KIDS COUNT worked with the Population Reference Bureau (PRB) to produce the PRB/KIDS COUNT Special Report: Children at Risk--State Trends 1990-2000, which compares data from the 1990 Decennial Census with data from the Census 2000 Supplementary Survey.
Drawing from different data sets, the two documents report similar findings. There was a decrease in the:
- Percentage of children living in poverty
- Percentage of children living in families where no parent has full-time, year-round employment
- Percentage of teens (ages 16 to 19) not attending school and not working.
There was an increase in the percentage of children living in single-parent families.
The percentage of teens (ages 16 to 19) that are high school dropouts was the only statistic that differed in comparison--Kids Count Data Book 2002 showed no change, while the PRB/KIDS Count Special Report showed a slight decrease.
Both reports can be accessed from the "KIDS COUNT" link on the Annie E. Casey Foundation website at http://www.aecf.org/kidscount/index.htm.
Trends in the Well-Being of America's Children & Youth 2001, an annual report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, presents the most recent and reliable estimates on more than 80 indicators of well-being. View the report online at http://aspe.hhs.gov/hsp/01trends/index.htm.
Child Welfare Outcomes 1999: Annual Report, the second in an annual series from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, presents data on how States perform with respect to a set of national child welfare outcomes. The report is available on the publications page of the Children's Bureau website at http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb.
- Findings from Survey on Placement Indicated Wide Disparity of State Reporting
A recent report issued by the Child Welfare League of America (CWLA) describes variances in how State child welfare agencies calculate placement changes and report out-of-home care populations in their submissions to the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS). This national survey was conducted to learn more about placement stability data comparability as reported to AFCARS.
The National Working Group to Improve Child Welfare Data (NWG), composed of State child welfare agencies and hosted by CWLA, conducted the survey. The District of Columbia and all 50 States responded to the Survey On How Placement Changes Are Calculated For AFCARS Submissions, which focused on placement changes calculations and reflected populations between April 1 and September 30, 2000.
The survey asked States to clarify how they reported placement counts and changes of placement especially. Ninety percent or more of States counted initial emergency or shelter placements, other emergency placements, and pre-adoptive placements as single-event placements. Relative placements were counted separately from non-relative placements. While still consistent with Federal guidelines, States reported considerable differences. Some States excluded respite placements (69 percent), trial home visits (82 percent), and exits from placements because a child ran away (73 percent). Sizable variation--between 59 percent and 76 percent--occurred in how States counted detention, medical hospital stays, and psychiatric hospital stays.
Diversity also was reported in population definitions. Out-of-home care populations could include youth 18 or older, youth in the custody of the juvenile justice system, children with mental health issues, children with mental retardation/developmental disabilities, children in tribal custody, children not receiving foster care maintenance payments, and children in voluntary placements and voluntary custody. Some States included "other" populations in their AFCARS data such as medically fragile children, babies or children voluntarily relinquished for adoption, and private adoptions where there was no abuse or neglect issue. A general category of children in need of services when the child welfare agency had custody was also included by some States.
The report recommended that the Federal Government clarify how information should be reported.
The report can be found online in PDF format at http://ndas.cwla.org/include/pdf/placementdoc.pdf
Additional information about AFCARS submissions can be found on the following websites:
- National Resource Center for Information Technology in Child Welfare (technical assistance) at http://www.nrccwdt.org/
- AFCARS at http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb/dis/afcars
- Child welfare policy manual at http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb/laws/cwpm/index.jsp
Updates to AFCARS policy, including definitions, can be found at http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb/laws/cwpm/updates.jsp
- Children's Exposure to Violence Associated with Academic, Health Problems
Two recent studies published in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine find that exposure to violence can have detrimental effects on children's academic abilities and health.
The studies looked at different urban child populations and types of violence--community violence and family violence involving the abuse of their mothers. The first study, published in the March 2002 issue, found that when both exposure to community violence and trauma-related distress were considered simultaneously, exposure to violence had an independent effect on both the IQ and reading ability of children. This suggests that reported violence exposure might be associated with negative academic outcomes, whether or not children are subjectively distressed from the exposure. Subjectively distressed child victims who experience community violence may be at additional risk for deficits in reading ability.
In the second study, published in the June 2002 issue, children in an urban public school whose mothers experienced family violence were more likely than a group of their public school peers to exhibit these behaviors: be suspended from school, be absent from school, and visit a school nurse for social or emotional complaints.
The reports are available on the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine website at http://archpedi.ama-assn.org/.
Also see "National Resource Center Helps Families Cope with Violence in Their Communities" in this issue of CBX.
- Study Examines Intrafamilial Child Sexual Abuse
A University of Maryland study by researchers Denise Pintello and Susan Zuravin examines intrafamilial child sexual abuse and the predictors of postdisclosure maternal belief and protective action. The two purposes of the study were to determine the percentage of nonoffending, biological mothers who were concordant in belief and protection of their sexually abused children, and the characteristics that predicted concordance.
Data were collected on a sample of 435 biological, nonoffending mothers of sexually abused children who were referred to a CPS Sexual Abuse Unit between 1989 and 1995. Descriptive statistics and logistic regression were used to identify the proportion and the predictors of maternal belief and protective action. Four criteria were used in selecting the mothers for the study:
- The mother resided with her sexually abused child at the time of disclosure
- The CPS sexual abuse investigation was substantiated
- Risk assessment by the caseworker indicated that the case was at moderate, significant or high risk of recurrence
- The child sexual abuse was intrafamilial (defined as any sexual molestation or exploitation of a person younger than age 18 perpetrated by a parent, relative, or household of family member).
The results showed that 42 percent of mothers both believed and took protective action toward their sexually abused children. Thirteen percent responded they believed but did not protect their children, 14 percent took protective action but did not believe their children, and 31 percent neither believed nor protected their children.
Four predictors (three maternal and one child) were shown to be significant for maternal belief and protective action. Mothers who gave birth to their first child as an adult were 3.2 times more likely to believe and protect. Mothers who were not in a sexual relationship with the offender were 2.8 times more likely to believe and protect. Mothers who had knowledge of the sexual abuse before the initial CPS report were 5.8 times less likely to believe and take protective action. And mothers whose victimized children did not exhibit sexualized behavior were 2.2 times more likely to believe and protect.
The researchers' write-up of the study, "Intrafamilial Child Sexual Abuse: Predictors of Postdisclosure Maternal Belief and Protective Action," was named the APSAC Dissertation of the Year. It was published in the November 2001 issue of Child Maltreatment.
See the following related articles in the Children's Bureau Express:
- "Mental Health Guidelines Updated for Child Victims of Intrafamilial Abuse" (September/October 2001)
- "New Mental Health Guidelines Drafted for Child Victims of Intrafamilial Abuse" (July 2000)
- Attaching in Adoption: Practical Tools for Today's ParentsGray, Deborah D. Perspectives Press, Inc., Indianapolis, IN. 2002. 392 pp. $24.95. Hardcover.
Attachment problems can be the most challenging part of parenting an adopted child. Based upon years of experience, Gray provides adoptive parents with methods to improve attachment, respect, cooperation, trust, and caring, covering such topics as:
- Practicing attachment-orientated parenting
- Resolving trauma, loss, and grief issues
- Recognizing delayed emotional development and how to build emotional intelligence
- Mediating the impact of cultural change on the child
- Interviewing and working with mental health professionals
- Getting to a diagnosis.
Vignettes and anecdotes demonstrate how the above tools and techniques can work to effect positive change in attachment-challenged children. Edited by Patricia Irwin Johnston.
To purchase a copy, contact:
Perspectives Press, Inc.
PO Box 90318
Indianapolis, IN 46290-0318
- New Jersey Program Provides Adoptive Families With Home Ownership Opportunity
The Home Ownership for Permanency Project (HOPP) in New Jersey gives low- and moderate-income adoptive families the opportunity to become homeowners or to improve their existing homes. The Project enables adoptive families who are facing inadequate or unaffordable housing to secure appropriate housing for their expanded family.
The Project--the first of its kind--offers below market-rate mortgages to families earning between 30 percent and 70 percent of the State's median income. The assistance includes closing costs and a downpayment is not required. The Home Ownership for Permanency Project is designed to reduce the number of children in foster care and assist parents who seek to adopt hard-to-place children such as sibling groups, older children, and those with special needs.
HOPP is a partnership of the NJ Division of Youth and Family Services and the NJ Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency. Since its inception in 1999, 140 children and 45 families have been helped to acquire safe, stable, and permanent homes. The project was chosen as a "Best Practices Winner" by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
- Caregivers and the Courts: Improving Court Decisions Affecting Children in Foster Care
Deihl, Regina M.; Martin, Maria; Nunez, Sandra. Center for Families, Children, and the Courts, San Francisco, CA. 2002. 180 pp. Available online for download at no cost.
The Center for Families, Children, and the Courts (CFCC) and the National Center for Youth Law (NCYL) conducted this research study to better understand how training in the dependency court process affects caregivers' knowledge and attitudes about participating in court hearings, and the likelihood that they will choose to participate. In addition, the study began to explore in a qualitative way which factors determine how information from caregivers is currently used, or could be used, in decision making, and what effects caregiver participation might have on the well-being of children in care.
The report is available online: Website: http://www.courtinfo.ca.gov/programs/cfcc/pdffiles/Caregivers&CourtsFull.pdf
Executive summary: http://www.courtinfo.ca.gov/programs/cfcc/pdffiles/CaregiverES.pdf
An educational booklet, Caregivers and the Courts: A Primer on Juvenile Dependency Proceedings for California Foster Parents and Relative Caregivers, is available in English and Spanish to assist caregivers who wish to participate in juvenile court hearings. The booklet provides information about the dependency court process, laws relating to caregiver participation in court hearings, types of information the court may consider helpful, and how to decide whether a written report or court attendance is more effective. Tips for caregivers called to testify in court, the meaning of de facto parent status, and local court culture are included.
Caregiver's Primer: http://www.courtinfo.ca.gov/programs/cfcc/pdffiles/caregive.pdf
Caregiver's Primer (Spanish): http://www.courtinfo.ca.gov/programs/cfcc/pdffiles/caregiverssp.pdf
For a paperback copy, contact:
Center for Families, Children, and the Courts
Attn: Caregivers and the Courts
455 Golden Gate Ave.
San Francisco, CA 94102-3660
- A Digest of Cases of the United States Supreme Court as to Juvenile and Family Law. Volume 2: 1988-2
A Digest of Cases of the United States Supreme Court as to Juvenile and Family Law. Volume 2: 1988-2Katz, Daniel. National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, Reno, NV. 2001. 283 pp. Paperback.
The author presents 26 Supreme Court cases that affected juvenile justice and family law from 1988 to 2000, including such cases as:
- Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians v. Holyfield. The Supreme Court held that a tribal court had jurisdiction to decide on the finalization of the adoption of two children living 200 miles away from the reservation because both parents resided at that location.
- DeShaney v. Winnebago County Department of Social Services. The Justices ruled that a child's due process rights were not violated by the failure of child protection authorities to prevent abuse by the father when the child was not in State custody.
- M.L.B. v. S.L.J. The high court held that States may not condition appeals from termination of parental rights orders on the ability of parents to pay record preparation fees.
To purchase a copy, contact:
National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges
PO Box 8970 Reno, NV 89507
- CDC to Fund Two Statewide Collaboratives on Sexual Abuse Prevention
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has announced availability of approximately $400,000 to fund two projects to create statewide prevention collaboratives to promote the development and implementation of child sexual abuse prevention programs that focus on adult or community responsibility and response in the prevention of perpetration, rather than focusing solely on the prevention of victimization. Applications are due August 19 and only one application per State will be funded; thus, State-level agencies and organizations are encouraged to collaborate to submit a single State application.
The goal of the two projects to be funded--with each award ranging from $150,000 to $250,000--is to broaden prevention efforts by blending the expertise of child abuse prevention and sexual abuse prevention organizations with that of public health agencies/organizations. This project funding is designed to complement existing victimization prevention programs that teach children personal safety by creating more comprehensive approaches focused on perpetration- and offender-based prevention.
Applications, forms, and more information about these projects can be found on the CDC home page at http://www.cdc.gov. Click on "Funding" and then "Grants and Cooperative Agreements."
Read the following articles about the faith-based initiative from previous issues of the Children's Bureau Express:
- "HHS Launches New Center for Faith-Based and Community Initiatives" (February/March 2002)
- "Unlevel Playing Field: Service Barriers for Faith-Based and Community-Based Organizations" (November/December 2001)
- Thirty Million Dollars Appropriated to Assist Faith-Based and Community Organizations
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Tommy Thompson announced the first appropriated Federal funds specifically targeted to assist grassroots faith- and community-based organizations competing for Federal grants and other funding. The $30 million made available in the Compassion Capital Fund helps level the playing field for these smaller organizations to receive the same Federal assistance that many private organizations have. President Bush announced the faith- and community-based initiative last January.
Under this program, nearly $25 million will be made available to 15 to 25 intermediary organizations that will provide free technical assistance to help interested faith- and community-based groups effectively access funding sources, operate and manage their programs, develop and train staff, expand the reach of programs into the community, and replicate promising programs.
The intermediary organizations receiving funding will also issue sub-awards to faith- and community-based organizations to support start-up costs, operations, or expansion of programs. Sub-awards priorities will be given to programs addressing homelessness, hunger, the needs of at-risk children, transition from welfare to work, and services for those in need of intensive rehabilitation such as addicts or prisoners.
The remaining $5 million will be used to establish a National Resource Center (NRC) and support research into promising practices for intermediary organizations providing assistance to grassroots organizations, and into the role these organizations play in their communities. The NRC will be a national repository and clearinghouse for training and technical assistance information for the faith- and community-based organizations, and will also ensure that the funded intermediary organizations are equipped with the necessary information and training to assist grassroots organizations.
Grant awards will be made in the fall. For more information about President Bush's initiative and the HHS Center for Faith-Based and Community Initiatives can be found on the Center's website at http://www.hhs.gov/faith.
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.
- News From the Child Welfare Training Resources (CWTR) Online Network: Fatherhood Training Curriculum
News From the Child Welfare Training Resources (CWTR) Online Network: Fatherhood Training Curriculum
The National Family Preservation Network (NFPN) has developed a first-of-its-kind Fatherhood Training Curriculum as a key element in supporting needed changes in State child welfare systems that have been primarily geared toward the mother and her children. Aimed at child welfare policy makers and practitioners, the curriculum is designed to provide agency staff with tools to engage and involve fathers in their children's lives.
The curriculum presents findings and recommendations stemming from NFPN's Fatherhood Initiative, which included site visits and focus groups funded by the Annie E. Casey Foundation to assess current child welfare practices geared toward fatherhood. The curriculum also offers a tool for assessing organizational "father-friendliness" and provides guidelines for establishing father-friendly policies and improving communication with fathers. Case examples illustrating principles of practice in working with fathers are included, as well as evaluation tools for practitioners and administrators.
Field testing will be used to refine the curriculum and an evaluation will be undertaken to measure the impact of the training curriculum on casework practice. The copyrighted curriculum is available for purchase from NFPN at a cost of $50. NFPN will provide training in the use of the curriculum for an additional fee on an "as available" basis.
For more information contact:
Priscilla Martens, Executive Director
National Family Preservation Network
3971 N. 1400 E.
Buhl, ID 83316
- Georgia Offers Results and More on Child and Family Services Reviews Website
As States complete their Child and Family Services Reviews (CFSRs), many are posting their final results on the Web. Georgia's Division of Family and Children Services (DFCS) has gone a step further and, in a collaborative effort with ChildWelfare.net, is posting everything that they publish related to their CFSR on the Web, including a draft of their program improvement plan (PIP) and PowerPoint presentations related to their CFSR process and PIP.
ChildWelfare.net is a website run by the Barton Child Law and Policy Clinic at Emory University School of Law. As part of the collaboration with the State of Georgia, they post Georgia's documents on their site. The website has been very helpful to other States, according to Janet Manning, who is with Georgia's DFCS Foster Care Unit. Federal partners and other States have given a lot of positive feedback on the website and the materials. Georgia intends to build on its collaborative efforts in planning related to the Child and Family Service Plan and Annual Progress and Service Report.
Division of Family & Children Services
2 Peachtree St.
Atlanta, GA 30303
Phone: 404-657-4839 ext. 207
View the upcoming conferences related to child abuse and neglect and adoption on the following websites:
- National Clearinghouse on Child Abuse and Neglect Information at http://nccanch.acf.hhs.gov/profess/conferences/index.cfm
- National Adoption Information Clearinghouse at http://naic.acf.hhs.gov/general/conferences/index.cfm
- National Clearinghouse on Child Abuse and Neglect Information at http://nccanch.acf.hhs.gov/profess/conferences/index.cfm