News From the Children's Bureau
- ACYF Commissioner Speaks on CFSR Challenges, Encourages States' Plans for Improvement
The challenges of the Child and Family Service Reviews (CFSRs) and the implications to States' improvement programs were among the main topics Joan E. Ohl, HHS Commissioner of the Administration on Children, Youth and Families, discussed at the 2002 National Summit on Performance Measurement and Case Management Strategies for Child and Family Welfare Programs in October 2002. Ohl discussed the need to re-orient everyone's thinking around CFSRs from "compliance" and "passing or failing" to identifying the strengths and needs of State programs and implementing improvements to help them become more responsive to the needs of children and families. Other challenges mentioned included developing plans that will lead to measurable changes in outcomes for children and families and the need for States to engage the media throughout the CFSR process for the purpose of sharing findings and systemic needs.
Important components of effective improvement programs include:
- Focusing on day-to-day practice in the field--what happens when caseworkers meet children and families.
- Striving for systemic reform instead of short-term fixes.
- Engaging other systems that serve the same populations served by child welfare (such as courts, education, mental health, juvenile justice, etc.) when developing program improvement plans.
- Engaging other systems early on in the Statewide assessment process and onsite review.
- Continuing to make improvements in the use of data to examine and evaluate the effectiveness of State programs.
- Prioritizing State program improvement efforts while using the process to achieve long-term goals.
States' efforts to mobilize resources within the State and Federal government on behalf of children and families will set the tone for how child welfare programs at the State and Federal levels are evaluated in the future. Ohl challenged States to continue using CFSRs to make needed program changes and to adopt processes for self-evaluation and collaboration that look beyond compliance and what "has" to be done to what "can" be done to improve the outcomes in services for children and families.
Read more about CFSRs in these previous issues of Children's Bureau Express:
- "Results of 2001 Child and Family Services Reviews Released" (October 2002)
- "State Agencies Preparing for Federal Child and Family Services Reviews to Receive Assistance" (August/September 2002)
- "Georgia Offers Results and More on Child and Family Services Reviews Website" (July 2002)
- "States Tell How to Share Findings from Child and Family Services Reviews" (June 2002)
- National Resource Center for Youth Development Presents to Children's Bureau
Helping States and Tribes achieve the goals of the Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997, implement the Foster Care Independence Act of 1999, and assist with the Child and Family Services Review Process are among the key goals of the University of Oklahoma's National Resource Center for Youth Development (NRCYD), as presented by director Peter R. Correia III to the Children's Bureau and regional offices of the Administration for Children and Families in November.
NRCYD focuses on increasing the capacity and resources of child welfare agencies to effectively meet the needs of youth who will be emancipated from the child welfare system. NRCYD provides training and technical assistance services as well as information and resource services. By collaborating with a variety of organizations--such as other national resource centers, Family and Youth Service Bureau's training and technical assistance providers, Child Welfare League of America, and the American Public Human Services Association--NRCYD works to incorporate positive youth development/involvement approaches into all areas of programs and services.
Correia said that engaging youth in the Child and Family Services Review is invaluable to States. Some States have done this, and the information has helped tremendously in improving policies and practices.
For more information about NRCYD, contact:
The University of Oklahoma
College of Continuing Education
National Resource Center for Youth Development
4502 E. 41st St, Bldg. 4W
Tulsa, OK 74135-2512
Phone: (918) 660-3700
Fax: (918) 660-3737
Email: Peter R. Correia III, Director, firstname.lastname@example.org
Email: Dorothy Ansell, Assistant Director, email@example.com
Read "ACYF Commissioner Speaks on CFSR Challenges, Encourages States' Plans for Improvement" in this month's issue.
- Better Futures for Waiting Children
Wade F. Horn, Ph.D.
Assistant Secretary for Children and Families
Administration for Children and Families
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
In an ideal world, every child would be part of a loving and stable family. However, we do not inhabit an ideal world. Too many children cannot live with their biological parents because they were maltreated or, for other reasons, are unable to stay at home. Many are older children or have special emotional and physical needs. There were 542,000 children in public foster care in 2001; 131,000 are eligible and waiting to be adopted. While foster parents provide a valuable and much-appreciated service for children with no place else to go, foster placements are by definition temporary. Finding safe, secure, and permanent homes for these children through adoption is one of my highest priorities as Assistant Secretary for Children and Families. We are working in a variety of exciting ways to help States promote and support adoptions, using the promise of new technology, private-public partnerships, and all the incentives we have at hand to make sure that more children get what they wish for and deserve--a forever family.
In July 2002, we launched a new website, http://www.AdoptUsKids.org, featuring pictures and biographies of thousands of children who are awaiting adoption, most of whom have special needs. The site also provides information on adoption, answers questions about the children, serves as a resource for adoption professionals, and guides prospective adoptive parents to agencies that can facilitate adoption. Of course, prospective parents still must be approved for adoption after social workers perform a thorough evaluation, including home visits.
This site, the result of a collaboration among HHS; corporate partners including Answerthink, Sungard and Oracle; and nonprofit organizations is a groundbreaking example of how to use technology to erase geographic barriers and accomplish a compassionate purpose. By providing unprecedented access to information for families on kids awaiting adoption, we now have a new, streamlined way to make this important match. After a White House kickoff on July 23, 2002, featuring the President, First Lady, and our new spokesperson for adoption, Bruce Willis, the site has been receiving millions of hits. We look forward to some heartwarming success stories soon.
And that isn't all we're doing to promote adoption. To make sure that pregnant women are made aware of all their options, we implemented the Infant Adoption Awareness program in 2001. Through this program, health centers will train their staff to provide non-directive counseling including adoption information and referrals along with other courses of action discussed with pregnant clients.
In addition, we make financial awards to States that show increases in the number of children adopted each year. This was the first Federal performance-based incentive program in child welfare, and we think it works. Since its inception 6 years ago, the number of adoptions has increased by 79 percent, and we have made awards totaling some $145 million to all 50 States, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. Our investment is clearly paying off, as States use the money from the incentive awards to improve their adoption and child welfare services.
Each November is National Adoption Month, and one of the ways we mark it is by giving awards to States, local agencies, private organizations, courts, businesses, individuals and families who have made outstanding contributions to increasing adoptions. In 2002, the 18 awardees ranged from the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services to Daunte Culpeper, the quarterback for the Minnesota Vikings--truly demonstrating that everyone, no matter what walk of life, can come forward to make sure that children find loving, lifetime families.
We will continue to promote adoption and strong families in other ways--through such initiatives as the expansion of the Safe and Stable Families program, which provides States with more money for adoption activities and family preservation, and the child and family services reviews, which hold States accountable for what happens to children in their care. And to inspire us, we will always keep in mind the smiling eyes of a child, happy to be cared for and loved.
- Disproportionality in Juvenile Justice System May Have Roots in Child Welfare
Minority youth are disproportionately represented in the child welfare and juvenile justice systems. All too often, the same children are involved with both. Now, research suggests that cultural and racial bias in child welfare decision-making may compound the problem long before children reach the justice system.
Many of the same social and economic factors--such as poverty and single parenthood--put children at risk for both maltreatment and juvenile delinquency. These factors are often present to a greater degree in communities of color, but a recent article in the Child Welfare League of America's Children's Voice suggests that this is not the whole picture. Although national data is currently lacking, smaller studies have confirmed that minority children in the child welfare system experience disadvantages in areas such as the range and quality of services offered, how quickly their cases are handled, the kind of support offered to their families, and eventual outcomes. Disparate treatment of minority youth has also been found in the juvenile justice system.
The article cites a number of barriers that need to be overcome before effective solutions can be found. However, the author says that all involved agree a positive first step is for "the two systems [juvenile justice and welfare]...to collaborate and integrate services and resources to meet the needs of children, regardless of how, why, or when they enter the system."
The full article, "Minorities as Majority: Disproportionality in Child Welfare and Juvenile Justice," appears in the November/December 2002 issue of Children's Voice, and is available on the Child Welfare League of America website at http://www.cwla.org/articles/cv0211minorities.htm. A companion article focusing on promising programs to address the disparities will appear in the next issue of Children's Voice.
- New Studies Show Marriage Improves Living Standards for Children
Three new studies by Robert I. Lerman, director of the Labor and Social Policy Center at the Urban Institute, reveal that marriage significantly improves the living standards of mothers and their children. These studies strengthen the case for policies that promote, or at least avoid discouraging, marriage.
The studies, published in July 2002 and funded by a grant from HHS's Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, show families with two married parents experience more stable home environments and fewer years in poverty. These gains were relative not only to one-parent families with no other adult present, but also to cohabiting parents and to one-parent families with other adults present. Gains from marriage held even when controlling for other factors such as education, race, immigrant status, age, and number of children.
- Poverty rates of cohabiting couple parents were found to be double those of married parents; single parents with a second adult in the household had poverty rates triple those of married parents.
- The effects of marriage were most consistently significant for families with incomes 1 to 2 times the poverty level and for black households below 150 percent of the poverty line.
- Women who married after conception but before first birth did significantly better economically than women who had a child but did not marry. Women who married had fewer years in poverty and overall poverty rates less than half those of women who did not marry.
The three studies, Married and Unmarried Parenthood and Economic Well-being: A Dynamic Analysis of a Recent Cohort, How do Marriage, Cohabitation, and Single Parenthood Affect the Material Hardships of Families with Children?, and Impacts of Marital Status and Parental Presence on the Material Hardship of Families with Children?, can all be found on the Urban Institute website at http://www.urban.org/ Template.cfm?Section=ByTopic&NavMenuID=62&template=/ TaggedContent/ViewPublication.cfm&PublicationID=7858 or from the Urban Institute publication sales office at 202-261-5687 or toll-free at 1-877-UIPRESS.
Read other related articles from the following issues of Children's Bureau Express (http://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov):
- "Strengthening Couples, Marriages in Low-Income Communities" (May 2002)
- "Journal Devotes Issue to Marriage as a Child-Centered Institution" (November/December 2001)
- Project Building Understanding Looking for Participants
Pact, An Adoption Alliance, is currently looking for participants for Project Building Understanding, a research study to examine the experiences and challenges of transracial and inracial (adopting within your own race) adoptive families. Project Building Understanding is funded as an Adoption Opportunities grant from the Children's Bureau through the end of 2005. Outcomes from the study will be used to help create and target resources for transracial and inracial adoptive families. Interim reports on study results should be available by the end of 2003.
Participants in the study will be asked to complete two forms: a simple demographic form and a detailed questionnaire. The forms should take no more than 2 hours to complete. As a thank-you, participants will be given a reference guide to books for children and adults about family, adoption, and race, and a $15 gift certificate for books.
For more information about the study, or to participate, visit the Project Building Understanding website at http://www.pactadopt.org/survey/index.html or call (800) 750-7590.
- Improving Higher Education Opportunities for Foster Youth
As many as 17 States have now implemented programs to help youth in foster care earn college degrees. These programs, including tuition waivers and scholarships, have helped hundreds of young people receive an education they may not have attained without assistance.
- In Oregon, 13 students received scholarships to attend community colleges, public universities, and private colleges in 2001, the first year of that State's program.
- Kentucky offered 124 youth tuition waivers in 2001 for children to attend public and private institutions in the Commonwealth.
- Florida has been providing tuition waivers to youth in the foster care system for 15 years. In Miami-Dade County and the Florida Keys, a full 80 percent of students in the program complete their studies.
Depending on State guidelines, assistance is available to youth in care, former foster youth, and children who were adopted from foster care. Most of these programs require students to apply for Federal and State financial aid and to maintain a minimum grade point average.
The National Resource Center for Youth Development website tracks the status of tuition waiver availability in each State. Visit: http://www.nrcys.ou.edu/TuitionWaivers/USMap.htm.
Find a comprehensive listing of scholarship, grant, and tuition waiver resources for foster or adopted youth on the Casey Family Programs National Center for Resource Family Support website at http://www.casey.org/cnc/support_retention/scholarships.htm. (This link is no longer available.)
The Child Welfare League of America recently released a monograph, Improving Educational Outcomes for Youth in Care, that addresses these and other programs to help youth in foster care achieve their education goals. It can be ordered on their website at http://www.cwla.org/pubs/pubdetails.asp?PUBID=8678.
Read other related articles from the following issues of Children's Bureau Express:
- "Tuition Waiver Availability for Foster Care Youth" (June 2000)
- "Scholarships and Mentoring Available for Foster Youth" (July/August 2001)
In the November 2002 issue of Children's Bureau Express, we inadvertently identified Casey Family Programs as Casey Family Services in the Promising Practices section Casey Family Programs and Boston Department of Social Services Collaborate for Lasting Reform.
We apologize for any confusion this might have caused.
Based in Seattle, Casey Family Programs is a national operating foundation that supports children, youth, and families through local and national direct service programs, advocacy initiatives, and collaborations with other organizations and agencies. Its services include long-term foster care, adoption, kinship care, guardianship, family reunification, and transition services. Casey Family Programs was established in 1966 by Jim Casey, the founder of United Parcel Service.
- New AIA Monograph: The Role of Partners in Women's Recovery
The Children's Bureau's Abandoned Infants Assistance (AIA) National Resource Center convened a group of technical experts to explore clinical issues associated with the role of intimate partners in a woman's recovery from alcohol and drug abuse, strategies for engaging partners in women's recovery, and programmatic considerations related to staffing, funding, and interagency collaboration.
The meeting resulted in a new publication, Partners' Influence on Women's Addiction and Recovery: The Connection between Substance Abuse, Trauma, and Intimate Relationships, funded through a grant from the Children's Bureau. Available online at http://aia.berkeley.edu/media/pdf/partners.pdf, this new publication presents pertinent information for both the substance abuse and child welfare fields. The publication has a treatment focus and also includes information on model programs, several of which feature a substance abuse/child welfare collaboration. Child welfare staff will benefit from a better understanding of the needs and issues of women substance users, who constitute a large portion of their caseloads. Recognizing the critical role of partners will help agency staff develop realistic case plans that can include the mother's partner, supporting improved outcomes in strengthening families.
A hard copy of the publication is available for $15 and can be ordered online at http://socrates.berkeley.edu/~aiarc/pubs/pubform.htm (Editor's note: this link is no longer available), or by mail at:
University of California, Berkeley
AIA Resource Center
ATTN: Products & Publications
Family Welfare Research Group
1950 Addison Street, Suite 104, No. 7402
Berkeley, CA 94720-7402
For further information about this product, contact the AIA Resource Center at:
Phone: (510) 643-8390
- New Publication Takes Readers Beyond Collaboration to Results
A new book, Beyond Collaboration to Results, looks at the current environment of children's services in terms of how to improve programs and increase the resources available to children and families. The book includes three chapters on outcomes development and results-based accountability. Other chapters detail new roles for advocacy organizations, guidelines from technical assistance providers, and the need to develop new roles for community organizations, leaders, and parents in systems reform. The appendix to the book contains a set of tools for self-assessment of collaboratives' performance in achieving systems reform.
Beyond Collaboration to Results was written by Sid Gardner, M.P.A., president of Child and Family Futures and director of the Center for Collaboration for Children at California State University, Fullerton.
The book is available for $18.95 (including shipping and handling) from the Arizona Prevention Resource Center.
Arizona Prevention Resource Center
Attn: Chris Anderson
641 E. Van Buren, Suite B-2
Phoenix, AZ 85004
Phone: (602) 271-0567
Fax: (602) 271-4288
- Grants Support Services for Kinship Caregivers
The Brookdale Foundation's Relatives as Parents Program (RAPP) has issued requests for proposals (RFPs) for seed grants to develop new or expanded kinship care services for grandparents and other relatives raising children. Under the grant program, five State-based and 15 community-based organizations will each receive $10,000 during a 2-year period. Grants in past years have supported the creation of successful programs--including support groups, resource centers, and respite care programs--that help relative caregivers access needed services and provide more effectively for the children in their care.
- The application deadline for community-based organizations is January 15, 2003.
- The application deadline for State-based agencies is February 14, 2002.
- Winning programs must be collaborative, replicable, and sustainable beyond the grant period.
More information, program guidelines, and RFPs are available on the Brookdale Foundation website at http://www.brookdalefoundation.org/rapp1.html.
Read other kinship care funding articles from the following issues of Children's Bureau Express:
- "Generations United Announces 10 KinNET Grants for 2002-2003" (January 2002)
- "New Grants From HHS Support Older Caregivers of Young Relatives" (February/March 2002)
Find trainings, workshops, webinars, and other opportunities for professionals and families to learn about how to improve the lives of children and youth as well as a listing of upcoming events and conferences.
Upcoming national conferences on adoption and child welfare through March 2003 include:
- (Invitation only) Annual Meeting of State and Tribal Child Welfare Officials "Partners in Progress: Lessons Learned from the CFSR" (National Child Welfare Resource Center for Family-Centered Practice; January 27 through 29, Washington, DC).
- 17th Annual San Diego Conference on Child and Family Maltreatment (Chadwick Center for Children and Families; February 3 through 7, San Diego, CA; http://www.charityadvantage.com/chadwickcenter/2003Conferenceb.asp - Editor's note: this link is no longer available).
- National Youth Summit on Preventing Violence (National Crime Prevention Council; February 15 through 18, Anaheim, CA; http://www.ncpc.org/).
- Best of Both Worlds Conference (The Adoption Excellence Institute; February 25 through 27, Dublin, Ireland; http://www.bestofbothworlds.org - Editor's note: this link is no longer available).
- 2003 BACW Annual Conference (Black Administrators in Child Welfare, c/o CWLA; March 2 through 4, Washington, DC; http://www.blackadministrators.org/).
- CWLA 2003 National Conference: Children 2003 Imagine and America (Child Welfare League of America, March 5 through 7, Washington, DC; http://www.cwla.org/conferences/2003nationalrfp.htm).
- 9th National and 2nd International Conference on the Abuse of Children and Adults with Disabilities (The ARC Riverside, March 10 through 12, Riverside, CA; http://disability-abuse.com/cando/conf/).
- 19th National Symposium on Child Sexual Abuse (National Children's Advocacy Center on Child Sexual Abuse, March 11 through 14, Huntsville, AL; http://www.nationalcac.org/).
- National Invitational School Social Work Conference (School Social Work Association of America, March 27 through 29, Arlington, VA; http://www.sswaa.org/).
- 14th National Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect "Gateways to Prevention" (Children's Bureau, Office on Child Abuse and Neglect, Administration on Children, Youth Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, March 31 through April 5, St. Louis, MO; http://nccanch.acf.hhs.gov/profess/conferences/cbconference/fourteenth/index.cfm).
Further details about national and regional child welfare conferences can be found in the "conference" section on the National Clearinghouse on Child Abuse and Neglect Information website at http://nccanch.acf.hhs.gov/profess/conferences/index.cfm.
Further details about national and regional adoption conferences can be found in the "conference" section on the National Adoption Information Clearinghouse website at http://naic.acf.hhs.gov/general/conferences/index.cfm.
A calendar of training opportunities for those working in the child welfare field and/or address child welfare workforce training issues can be found at http://nccanch.acf.hhs.gov/profess/workforce/index.cfm.
- News from the Child Welfare Training Resources Online Network: New Training Resources Under Developm
News from the Child Welfare Training Resources Online Network: New Training Resources Under Developm
A 3-year Child Welfare Training project, designed to enhance skills in using State child welfare data to improve outcomes for children, is underway at the University of Southern Maine. Funded by the Children's Bureau in September 2000, the project has developed a module-based curriculum, with trainer's guide, aimed at increasing the ability of child welfare managers and supervisors to understand and implement mandates of the Adoption and Safe Families Act (ASFA). Titled "Bringing Together the Child Welfare Team," the new curriculum addresses ASFA from a variety of perspectives: regulatory, managerial, supervisory, system reform, and improved child welfare practice. It can be adapted easily to meet the needs of different States, and is now available for review and downloading at the ASFA Training Project website at http://www.muskie.usm.maine.edu/asfa/curric2002.htm.
The Institute of Child and Family Policy at the University's Edmund S. Muskie School of Public Service collaborated with the Department of Community Based Services, Kentucky; Department of Children, Youth and Families, New Mexico; Cuyahoga County Children and Family Services, Cleveland, Ohio; and the Division of Children and Family Services and the Training Partnerships, Wisconsin to field test the curriculum and develop the trainer's guide.
The new curriculum is based on an ASFA implementation "promising practices" analysis completed in the first year of the project, which identified competencies on which the core curriculum was designed. In 2002, the analysis was updated by polling representatives from 41 child welfare agencies and 3 court improvement projects to identify the skills that staff need to implement ASFA, as well as how meeting the requirements of ASFA has changed the way the agency does business.
An evaluation was completed on the second year of project operations, which included both in-house processes and activities aimed at evaluating the impact of the training on practice. Lessons learned are summarized in the Year 2 Project Evaluation Report found at the project website at http://www.muskie.usm.maine.edu/asfa. Also available at this site are Results of the 2002 Adoption and Safe Family Act Phone Poll and Bringing Together the Child Welfare Team Trainer's Guide.
For more information on this project, contact:
Susan Kanak, Project Director
University of Southern Maine
Edmund S. Muskie School of Public Service
Institute for Child and Family Policy
P.O. Box 15010
Portland, ME 04112-5010
Phone: (207) 780-5840
Four additional projects were funded by the Children's Bureau in the FY 2000 priority area: Training for Managers and Supervisors to Enhance Their Capability to Understand and to Implement the Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997. Summary information on these current training projects is available at the Child Welfare Training Resources Online Network at http://nccanch.acf.hhs.gov/profess/workforce/index.cfm.
- Foundation Center/Grantsmanship Center Offer Resources for Funding Information, Training
Grantseekers now have more resources to assist them in their search for funding opportunities. While, the Foundation Center and The Grantsmanship Center offer a wide range of training and grant-related information for all levels of users; they are particularly helpful to the novice. In addition to the grantwriting workshops offered by The Grantsmanship Center, their website also contains grant announcements; you'll find a summary and a link to full-text announcements in the Federal Register.
The Foundation Center has a series of free tutorials in its Virtual Classroom. Their online librarian provides an indexed set of frequently asked questions. There are free and fee-based trainings at their library field offices in Atlanta, Cleveland, New York, San Francisco, and Washington, DC. The Foundation Center has a "Cooperating Collection" of 220 libraries that have a core collection of The Foundation Center's print and electronic resources. For more information, visit The Foundation Center's tutorial page at http://fdncenter.org/learn/classroom/index.html.
Other contact information about the organizations:
The Foundation Center
79 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10003
Phone: (212) 620-4230
Fax: (212) 691-1828
The Grantsmanship Center
1125 W. Sixth Street, Fifth Floor
P.O. Box 17220
Los Angeles, CA 90017
Phone: (213) 482-9860
Fax: (213) 482-9863