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November 2005Vol. 6, No. 9Spotlight on National Adoption Month

Issue Spotlight

  • Adoption Bonuses Awarded to States

    Adoption Bonuses Awarded to States

    On September 20, 2005, the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced awards of $14.5 million to 24 States, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico for increasing the number of children adopted from foster care in fiscal year 2004. ACF provides an incentive payment to States that completed more adoptions in 2004 than in the baseline year (the higher year of 2002 or 2003). Payments are also given for increases in the adoption of older children and for children identified by the State as having special needs. Each State receives $4,000 for every child adopted beyond its best year's total, plus $4,000 for every child aged 9 and older and $2,000 for every child identified by the State as having special needs who is adopted above the baseline year. Florida received the largest award at almost $3.5 million.

    "These awards recognize the substantial progress States are making in finding permanent adoptive families for children in foster care," said Wade F. Horn, Ph.D., HHS Assistant Secretary for Children and Families. "The incentives awarded for older children are particularly important, because about half the children in foster care are at least 9 years old and are at risk of aging out of foster care with no ties to a permanent, loving family."

    The adoption incentive awards were originally enacted as part of the Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997 and were extended and expanded to focus on older youth by the Adoption Promotion Act of 2003. Each year, about 51,000 children nationwide are adopted from foster care.


  • Angels in Adoption™ Awards

    Angels in Adoption™ Awards

    This year's Angels in Adoption™ Gala, held September 13 in Washington, DC, honored more than 190 adoptive parents, adoption advocates, and other "angels" from all 50 States and at the national level who made significant contributions to the lives of children through adoption and foster care. The Angels in Adoption™ Awards Gala is the signature event of the Congressional Coalition for Adoption Institute (CCAI), a nonpartisan organization dedicated to raising awareness about foster children in this country and orphans around the world.

    This year's gala hosted over 900 guests. National awardees included actress Victoria Rowell, recording artists Jars of Clay, and the children's show Sesame Workshop. Jars of Clay also provided this year's entertainment, and President George W. Bush and First Lady Laura Bush served as Honorary Co-Chairs of the gala.

    More information can be found at

  • HHS Presents Adoption Excellence Awards

    HHS Presents Adoption Excellence Awards

    The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) honored 21 individuals and groups with 2005 Adoption Excellence Awards in recognition of outstanding work in placing children from foster care into permanent homes. The awards were presented on November 1, 2005, at a ceremony for the opening of "The National Heart Gallery" at Union Station in Washington, DC, where portraits of children awaiting adoption are on display.

    The awards have been given annually since 1997 to honor States, local agencies, private organizations, courts, businesses, individuals, and families for their work in increasing adoptions from foster care. The award winners were chosen by a committee representing nonprofit adoption agencies, child welfare and adoption advocates, adoptive parents, foundations, businesses, and State and Federal offices. These awards affirm the Department's national commitment to rebuild the lives of the nearly 523,000 children in foster care and achieve permanency for the 119,000 of those who are waiting for adoption.

    For a complete list of the 2005 award recipients, please visit

    To view the press release from the Administration for Children and Families, see

  • "Answering the Call" for National Adoption Month

    "Answering the Call" for National Adoption Month

    Families, community groups, agencies, and organizations all over the country will celebrate National Adoption Month in November, focusing attention on the loving families created through adoption and on the 119,000 children in foster care awaiting their own permanent families. Once again, the theme of National Adoption Month is "Answering the Call—You don't have to be perfect to be a perfect parent." This theme is featured in a national public service advertising campaign developed by the Ad Council, in partnership with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Administration for Children and Families, the Adoption Exchange Association, and the Collaboration to AdoptUSKids. English and Spanish ads for television, radio, and print media issue a call to action to prospective parents asking them to consider adopting a child from foster care.

    The National Adoption Month website, launched by the National Adoption Information Clearinghouse, a service of the Children's Bureau, provides resources for adoption professionals, families, and teachers for celebrating National Adoption Month. This year, the website offers a number of Spanish-language resources, as well as State-by-State contact information for Latino adoption organizations. To visit the National Adoption Month website, go to

    National Adoption Day, which will be celebrated on Saturday, November 19, has a website that offers information and tools for event planners who want to arrange a media or community event, for businesses that want to support adoption awareness, and for faith communities that want to become involved with promoting adoption. The website also lists National Adoption Day events around the country, with State information accessible by clicking on a national map. The National Adoption Day website can be accessed at

  • Adoption Information Now Available in Spanish

    Adoption Information Now Available in Spanish

    General information on adoption is now available in Spanish translation from Child Welfare Information Gateway. The general information packet includes factsheets for families on where to begin with adoption, adoption options, and the home study process. The many decisions that prospective parents encounter in the adoption process are outlined, and numerous resources are provided for further information. Two more packets of general information on the costs of adoption and on the impact of adoption and searching for birth relatives are also available in Spanish.

    The Spanish general information adoption packet is available for ordering or downloading at (Editor's note: This link is no longer active. To view Child Welfare Information Gateway's Spanish resources, visit

    Child Welfare Information Gateway also allows users to place orders for information using a Spanish-language "shopping cart." Users can opt to ver mi carro (view my cart) in Spanish by clicking on the shopping cart icon and then clicking on the Spanish-language option at the top of the page. The website provides a wide variety of resources for adoption professionals, prospective and adoptive parents, and the general public at

    Recent Issues

  • April 2024

    Spotlight on National Child Abuse Prevention Month

    Spotlight on National Child Abuse Prevention Month

  • March 2024

    Spotlight on Diversity and Racial Equity in Child Welfare

    Spotlight on Diversity and Racial Equity in Child Welfare

News From the Children's Bureau

  • Children's Bureau Discretionary Grant Awards and Competitive Cooperative Agreements

    Children's Bureau Discretionary Grant Awards and Competitive Cooperative Agreements

    The Children's Bureau has announced the award of discretionary grants that will provide funding for projects, services, and training in five areas:

    • Abandoned infants comprehensive service demonstration projects (7 grantees)
    • Demonstration projects that improve child well-being by fostering healthy marriages within underserved communities (10 grantees)
    • Grants to tribes, tribal organizations, and migrant programs for community-based child abuse prevention programs (3 grantees)
    • Model development or replication to implement the CAPTA requirement to identify and serve substance-exposed newborns (4 grantees)
    • Training of child welfare agency supervisors in the effective delivery and management of Federal independent living services for youth in foster care (6 grantees)

    In addition, the Children's Bureau announced the award of competitive cooperative agreements in four areas:

    • Developing adoption services and supports for youth who wish to retain contact with family members in order to improve permanency outcomes (9 awards)
    • National Quality Improvement Center on the Privatization of Child Welfare Services (1 award)
    • National Data Archive on Child Abuse and Neglect (1 award)
    • Consortium for Longitudinal Studies of Child Abuse and Neglect (LONGSCAN) (6 awards)

    For more information about Children's Bureau programs and funding go to

  • Child Welfare Outcomes 2002

    Child Welfare Outcomes 2002

    The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Children's Bureau has just released Child Welfare Outcomes 2002: Annual Report to Congress. This is the fifth year in which data from the Federal Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS) and the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System have been used to provide information on national child welfare outcomes. In addition, discussions of State performance are included that incorporate information from the Child and Family Services Reviews.

    Results indicate that States are moving toward improvement in the following areas:

    • Reducing maltreatment of children in foster care by foster parents or facility staff members
    • Achieving permanency for children in foster care
    • Ensuring placement stability for children during the first 12 months they are in foster care

    However, as in previous years, many States continue to face challenges in a number of areas:

    • Reducing maltreatment recurrence
    • Finding permanent homes for children with a diagnosed disability
    • Finding homes for children who enter foster care as adolescents
    • Finding homes for children who are Black or Alaska Native or Native American

    The full report is available on the Children's Bureau website at

  • Reducing Medical Neglect of Infants and Toddlers

    Reducing Medical Neglect of Infants and Toddlers

    Young children involved with the child welfare system have an urgent need for comprehensive health and developmental assessments, and they often need medical services. However, obtaining assessments and services for these infants and toddlers is challenging, especially for those in foster care. Responding to these needs, the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia developed the Starting Young program, which provides evaluations and referrals for early intervention services, primary health care, and medical specialty care for children under 3 who are in foster care, kinship care, or living with biological parents with child welfare involvement. Children are referred to the program by child welfare workers from many different agencies throughout the region.

    As part of the Starting Young program, an interdisciplinary team conducts an extensive pediatric developmental evaluation for each child that includes:

    • Speech and language assessment
    • Gross motor development assessment
    • Cognitive development assessment
    • Assessment of child’s behavioral health
    • Pediatric assessment, including physical health and growth
    • Interviews with the family’s social worker, parent(s) and/or foster parent(s)

    In order to help ensure that infants have access to Early Intervention (EI) services to which they are entitled (Part C services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act/IDEA), a service coordinator from the county’s EI program is a member of the clinical team. This service coordinator facilitates the development of an EI Individual Family Service Plan (IFSP) for those children whose Starting Young evaluation indicates eligibility for EI. Immediately after the assessment, a preliminary report and recommendations are shared with the parent or foster parent and with the family’s social worker. Evaluation follow-up is carried out by a research assistant who checks with the infant’s caregiver and caseworker to see if referrals and recommendations are being followed and identifies any barriers to accessing needed services. The team conducts an extensive re-evaluation of children every 6 months.

    Besides conducting the hands-on assessments of infants and toddlers referred to the program, the Starting Young clinical team provides training for child welfare workers on the importance of linking young children to health care, specialty care, and early intervention services. They also offer educational programs for foster parents and for health care professionals. Clinical training is provided to graduate and postgraduate health care professionals, allowing them to work with the interdisciplinary evaluation team and providing exposure to situations involving the child welfare system.

    Now in its fourth year, the Starting Young program is conducting an ongoing evaluation of its activities and outcomes. Preliminary results indicate that successful strategies include the use of an interdisciplinary team, comprehensive clinical assessment practices, collaboration with caregivers and social workers, educational programs, and alliances with community groups. Challenges have included difficulty in obtaining parental permission for sharing of information, and the fact that certain recommendations are less likely to be followed, notably, referrals for hearing evaluations with pediatric audiologists and testing for HIV infection. Preliminary results suggest that this nonoptimal compliance is due to (1) problems obtaining consent to authorize these recommended tests and (2) the fact that child welfare caseworkers and supervisors are not convinced of the urgency of these recommendations for infants and toddlers.

    Through collaboration, assessment, training, and education, Starting Young is changing the culture of child welfare workers and improving health care for young children in the child welfare system in greater Philadelphia. Community partners report that child welfare workers are much more aware of the need to refer infants and toddlers for comprehensive assessments. The Starting Young program has demonstrated the value of providing interdisciplinary assessments and is making referrals that have been shown to help these at-risk children access the health and developmental services they need.

    For more information about the Starting Young program at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, contact:

    Dr. Judith Silver, Program Director
    Starting Young Program
    Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
    3615 Civic Center Boulevard
    Philadelphia, PA 19104-4318
    Phone: 215.590.7723

    Note: The Starting Young Project was funded by the Children's Bureau, Grant 90-CA-1697, under the Children’s Bureau Priority Area: 2001B3: Field-Initiated Demonstration Projects Advancing the State of the Art in the Child Abuse and Neglect Field. This article is part of a series highlighting successful Children's Bureau Grant-funded projects around the country, emerging from official Children's Bureau site visits.

  • States' Child Welfare Responses to Substance Abuse

    States' Child Welfare Responses to Substance Abuse

    State child welfare agencies have developed a variety of programs to respond to substance abuse by parents. To aid in the dissemination of promising practices for dealing with issues that involve substance abuse, child welfare, and the courts, the National Center on Substance Abuse and Child Welfare (NCSACW) has collected and made available on its website many examples of the measures that States are taking to respond to substance abuse by parents.

    The types of products that have been collected include States' strategic plans, interagency agreements, communication protocols, outcome measures, screening and assessment protocols, training tools, and statements of underlying values. [Editor's note: This link is no longer available.]

    A list of resources is available on the NCSACW website at

  • Update on Hurricane Aid and Resources From HHS

    Update on Hurricane Aid and Resources From HHS

    Federal, State, and local governments continue to respond to the needs of children and families affected by Hurricanes Rita and Katrina. Families at risk before the hurricanes are particularly vulnerable, and many more families and children have been placed at risk because of loss of homes, jobs, or loved ones.

    At the Federal level, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) continues to provide information, funding, and services to those in need. One month after Katrina hit the Gulf Coast, HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt announced that it was estimated that 41 percent of the 857,000 evacuees were receiving HHS help. Flexibility in enrollment allowed citizens who had lost documents such as tax returns to enroll for HHS services.

    "Based on preliminary reports, we estimate that more than 40 percent of hurricane evacuees who have been displaced from their homes are getting help from HHS," Secretary Leavitt said in late September. "Working with our partners at the State and local level, we have streamlined the process for all evacuees who may need access to the range of benefits we can provide to get back on their feet."

    HHS also introduced its "Help Is on the Line" campaign designed to get information out to displaced citizens who need medical, mental health, childcare, Head Start, or other services by connecting them with a national phone number or a phone number in their own State to link them to resources. Information about this campaign is available at

    In order to help States restore essential child welfare services, the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) within HHS is awarding $2.8 million to its National Resource Centers (NRCs). The Federal money will be for training and technical assistance to help States rebuild child welfare service delivery and family court systems disrupted by Hurricane Katrina. The NRCs will assist States to develop and implement strategies to deal with a variety of urgent issues such as coordinating services for foster children evacuated from other States; locating foster children, foster families, and birth families; reestablishing and sharing records; reestablishing information systems; and reinstating court functions.

    More specific information on the services and resources provided by the Administration for Children and Families is available at (Editor's note: Link no longer active)

  • Stakeholder Involvement in Child Welfare

    Stakeholder Involvement in Child Welfare

    The Fall 2005 issue of Child Welfare Matters, published by the National Resource Center for Organizational Improvement (NRCOI), is devoted to the importance of stakeholder involvement in effective delivery of child welfare services. The lead article describes the reasons for engaging stakeholders; identifies the individuals, groups, and systems that can be important agency partners; lists the stages of collaboration and the key factors to success; and provides models of stakeholder involvement.

    Other articles provide examples of two States that have experienced some success at developing community partnerships and collaboration. Articles on State-tribal partnerships that include strategies for successful partnering and examples of States and tribes that have done so are also featured.

    Child Welfare Matters can be found online at

  • Funding States' Program Improvement Plans

    Funding States' Program Improvement Plans

    All States were required to develop and implement Program Improvement Plans (PIPs) after the first round of Federal Child and Family Services Reviews (CFSRs). As States developed these PIPs, they were also tasked with funding the implementation. A report from the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), which reviewed States' PIP-related documents and conducted interviews with staff in 24 States, shows that States funded their PIPs in two ways:

    • Using new resources made available by the State legislature
    • Reallocating existing resources

    A few States reported that they were able to fund their PIP implementation with new resources. In some cases, development of the PIP coincided with lawsuits brought against State child welfare systems or with other reform efforts that prompted legislative appropriations. In other cases, States were able to use the results from their CFSRs to obtain legislative approval for additional resources. New funding was related to a variety of PIP activities, including child welfare workforce improvements, comprehensive system reform, and State support of county PIP-related efforts.

    Most States reallocated existing resources to implement PIPs, with the most frequent allocations targeted at enhancing quality assurance, coordinating PIP implementation, and providing technical assistance to local offices. For instance, in some States, certain staff were reassigned to quality assurance positions or technical assistance positions. In other cases, funds were reallocated to create new staff positions. Some of the creative ways that States reallocated funds allowed them to stabilize and increase the frontline workforce.

    The full report on funding PIPs, Funding of Child and Family Services Reviews Program Improvement Plans, is available on the NCSL website at

  • HHS Awards $41 Million to States for Child Abuse Prevention

    HHS Awards $41 Million to States for Child Abuse Prevention

    The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced $41 million in funding to 50 States, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. territories for community-based child abuse prevention programs. The funding, for fiscal year 2005, marks an increase of 28 percent over the previous fiscal year for community-based child abuse prevention programs.

    "Through these grants, the Bush Administration is helping States and community-based groups ensure that every child is free from harm," said HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt. "This increased funding will help lower instances of child maltreatment, abuse, and neglect."

    Community-based child abuse prevention grants are provided to agencies designated by the governor of each State. Funds are used to enhance community-based efforts to prevent child abuse and neglect. They also foster the development of child abuse prevention services through State and community-based partnerships and public information activities focusing on the healthy and positive development of families.

    "These grants will support President Bush's ongoing efforts to make every home a safe and healthy environment for children," said HHS Assistant Secretary for Children and Families Wade F. Horn, Ph.D. "They will help support healthy marriages and responsible fatherhood and strengthen positive child and youth development in families throughout the nation."

    For a complete list of the community-based child abuse prevention awards, view

  • Flexible Funding for Innovative Programming

    Flexible Funding for Innovative Programming

    Since the mid-1990s, the Federal Government has encouraged innovative child welfare practices through the use of waivers that permit States more flexibility in spending Federal dollars. Under the waivers, regulations that restrict title IV-E monies to reimbursement for foster care maintenance payments are broadened, giving States greater latitude to fund alternative services to promote safety and permanency for children. Since 1996, 17 States have implemented 25 child welfare waiver demonstration components, using title IV-E funding for a variety of projects. Three new reports from the Children's Bureau synthesize characteristics and key findings from a number of these waiver demonstration projects:

    • Assisted Guardianship Child Welfare Waiver Demonstrations examines programs in Delaware, Illinois, Maryland, Montana, New Mexico, North Carolina, and Oregon that offered financial support for guardians of children previously in foster care. While outcome evaluations tracked different data in different States, evidence from one or more States suggested a decrease in length of out-of-home placements, improved permanency rates, and overall satisfaction on the part of children, guardians, and child welfare workers.
    • Substance Abuse Child Welfare Waiver Demonstrations examines programs in Delaware, New Hampshire, Illinois, and Maryland that focused on the early identification of parents with substance abuse disorders and the provision of service referrals for these parents. Outcomes indicated no strong positive effects on foster care placement rates, placement stability, reunification rates, or permanency rates. However, there was some evidence that a substance abuse demonstration project may reduce the duration of foster care placements and lower the risk of maltreatment recurrence.
    • Title IV-E Flexible Funding Child Welfare Demonstrations examines the diverse programs of Indiana, North Carolina, Ohio, and Oregon in implementing title IV-E capped allocation flexible funding waivers. Indiana focused on building local capacity for community-based services and home-based alternatives to institutional placements. Counties in North Carolina were permitted to develop their own initiatives to provide services, while Ohio counties developed their own managed care strategies. Local child welfare agencies in Oregon implemented innovative services such as early childhood assessments and one-time payments to prevent foster care placement.

    All child welfare waiver demonstration projects were required to be cost neutral and to undergo rigorous program evaluation. They also met all requirements regarding periodic foster care reviews, safety for children, permanency hearings, and case plan information.

    The three reports were prepared under the direction of the Children's Bureau by James Bell Associates, Inc. Syntheses of findings are available at (Editor's note: This link is no longer active. For more information about the child welfare waiver demonstration projects, including recent reports, visit

    Related Item

    Children's Bureau Express reported on State child welfare waivers in "HHS Approves Child Welfare Waivers for Indiana and Arizona" in the September 2005 issue.

  • Getting Fathers Involved in Early Childhood Programs

    Getting Fathers Involved in Early Childhood Programs

    The National Resource Center for Community-Based Child Abuse Prevention (FRIENDS) has released another issue in its series of Learning Tools. This issue, "Promoting Father Involvement in Early Childhood," provides recommendations and guidelines for Head Start programs for reaching out to the fathers of young children. The article provides an overview of policies and practices that can encourage fathers to become involved in their children’s lives in more meaningful ways. Parent engagement activities that specifically target fathers are also provided.

    FRIENDS is the National Resource Center for Community-Based Child Abuse Prevention (CBCAP) program grants. This issue of Learning Tools is available online at



Child Welfare Research

  • Medicaid Spending for Children in Foster Care

    Medicaid Spending for Children in Foster Care

    A recent issue brief from the Urban Institute found wide variation among States and among different populations in the amount of Medicaid funding spent on children in foster care. Using data from fiscal year 2001 as provided by the Medicaid Statistical Information System (MSIS), the issue brief looked at categories of expenditures, variation in capitated enrollment (fixed sum per child), and variation in State spending per child. Spending variations included the following:

    • Relatively more was spent on infants, adolescents, and older adolescents than on other children.
    • More was spent on boys than girls.
    • More was spent on Caucasian than on African American or Hispanic children.
    • Medicaid expenditures were 9 percent higher for children with capitated health care spending than for those without; however, these differences varied by age, sex, and race.

    The MSIS data showed that approximately $3.8 billion in Medicaid dollars was spent on children in foster care in 2001. Among States, spending per child varied greatly, from a high of $19,408 in Maine to a low of $1,309 in Arizona. There was also great variation in State reliance on different health care delivery options.

    Authors of the issue brief suggest that understanding the variations in State Medicaid spending is necessary for policymaking for future Medicaid reforms, since these policies will impact the physical and mental health of children in foster care.

    The issue brief, Medicaid Spending on Foster Children, by R. Geen, A. Sommers, and M. Cohen can be downloaded from the Urban Institute website at

    Related Item

    Children's Bureau Express last wrote about the issue of Medicaid spending for children in foster care in "Sampling Bias in Using Medicaid Data to Identify Children in Foster Care" in the September 2005 issue.

  • Characteristics of Families Approved to Foster or Adopt

    Characteristics of Families Approved to Foster or Adopt

    A research study confirmed that families with many problems are less likely to be approved as foster or adoptive families, compared to families with fewer problems. The study also looked at family income, race, education, and supply and demand of foster and adoptive families to explore what characteristics are associated with a family who receives approval to care for foster children. In comparing characteristics of families who did and did not have a child placed with them, the following was found:

    • Families who had a child placed with them had fewer problems and higher incomes than families who did not have a child placed with them.
    • Income increased the probability of placement for families with many problems but not for families with few problems.
    • Race, education, and supply and demand of foster families were not related to placement.

    Researchers studied 161 families who applied to a public agency to become adoptive or foster parents. Demographic data were supplied by the families, and researchers used standardized tests for psychosocial functioning to determine how many problems a family was experiencing. Over the 4 years of the study, 104 families (65 percent) were approved and had a child placed with them.

    The authors of the study suggest that, in many ways, the results support the current selection process. While agency workers did not have access to the researchers’ data when they determined approval, the fact that families with many problems tended not to receive approval indicates that workers were able to discern some unsuitability issues with that group. The lack of impact for race, education, and supply/demand also suggests that the process already in place was relatively unbiased with respect to these factors.

    The full article, "Parental and Familial Characteristics Used in the Selection of Foster Families," by J. G. Orme, C. Buehler, K. W. Rhodes, M. E. Cox, M. McSurdy, and G. Cuddeback has been accepted for publication by Children and Youth Services Review and is available for purchase:

Strategies and Tools for Practice

  • Strengthening Caregivers' Protective Role

    Strengthening Caregivers' Protective Role

    The Protective Capacity Assessment (PCA) model offers child protective services (CPS) workers a relatively streamlined process for case plan development when they are working with families who have substantiated abuse or neglect. As described in a recent article, the PCA model emphasizes ensuring that parents can keep their children safe on their own, rely less on CPS assistance, and find assistance from non-CPS resources and organizations. It focuses on what is keeping children from being safe and what can be done to restore or enhance caregiver capacity; the PCA does not address "why" and does not attempt to evaluate cause.

    According to the PCA model, there are four steps in restoring the caregiver to the protective role:

    • Preparation is initiated when the case is transferred from the investigation or initial assessment to ongoing CPS involvement.
    • During the introduction, the worker introduces expectations, explains CPS involvement, and finds out about the caregiver, as well as the caregiver's concerns, focus, and perceptions.
    • The discovery step involves a mutual decision about what must change with respect to foreseeable danger and diminished caregiver protective capabilities.
    • Case planning is the product of mutuality and discovery and is reflected in conclusions about the current state of the caregiver's protective capacity, what factors must change, and the desired outcome.

    The full article, "The Protective Capacity Assessment: More of a Process of Mutuality and Discovery Than an Evaluation," is part of the series of child safety articles available online from the Action for Child Protection website at (PDF - 63 KB).

  • Recruiting and Retaining Resource Families

    Recruiting and Retaining Resource Families

    In an attempt to bridge the gap between what is known as "best practices" and what is actually practiced in the field in recruiting and retaining resource families, Casey Family Programs sponsored a pilot program that used the Breakthrough Series Collaborative methodology to foster systems change. The results are chronicled in a new report, Recruitment and Retention of Resource Families: Promising Practices and Lessons Learned.

    Over 14 months, 22 public child welfare agencies implemented and tested more than 400 small-scale changes to determine what worked in recruitment and retention of famiies. The changes and their outcomes were entered into a searchable database. A review of the changes resulted in 10 key practice themes for recruiting and retaining resource families for foster care and adoption:

    • Culturally sensitive recruitment
    • Partnerships with faith-based organizations
    • Educating and engaging the community
    • Recruitment of homes for youth and siblings
    • Support and responsiveness of the child welfare agency
    • Role clarity for and inclusion of resource families
    • Relationships between resource families and birth families
    • The voice of children and youth
    • The voice of resource families
    • The voice of birth families

    For each of these themes, the report documents specific strategies, case studies, and outcomes.

    The complete report is available online at (Editor's note: Link no longer active)


  • Planning and Evaluation Tools for Nonprofits and Funders

    Planning and Evaluation Tools for Nonprofits and Funders

    Innovation Network is a nonprofit organization that provides an online forum for sharing planning and evaluation tools, as well as consultation and training. A featured resource on the site is the "Point K Learning Center," which provides free tools and resources to help nonprofit organizations create logic models, develop evaluation plans, and engage in capacity-building.

    Other online resources include:

    • Workbooks and tip sheets
    • Research reports
    • Articles and interviews

    Resources are free with registration, which allows users to sign up for website updates and two e-newsletters: the Innovation Network Quarterly, featuring evaluation research and case studies, and Grant Station Insider, a weekly newsletter with funding opportunities, grant deadlines, and a conference calendar. The website can be found at

  • Child Well-Being in Child Welfare

    Child Well-Being in Child Welfare

    Safety, permanency, and well-being are the outcomes that child welfare policy mandates, child welfare workers strive for, and children hope to experience. While safety and permanency are relatively well defined, child well-being has been a more nebulous term for policymakers and workers alike. A new book, Beyond Common Sense: Child Welfare, Child Well-Being, and Evidence for Policy Reform, asserts that policy focused on child well-being should be evidence-based and built on a developmental perspective. Specifically, this evidence should include (1) the public health approach to using observational data, as well as (2) the bioecological perspective on human development.

    Chapters in the book present both original evidence and a review of the clinical literature on child well-being. Original evidence is drawn from the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System, the Multistate Foster Care Data Archive, and the National Study of Child and Adolescent Well-Being. The evidence is used to establish a developmental theme that emphasizes age-based patterns in data and suggests that children are particularly at risk at specific ages or stages of development.

    The final chapters of the book expand on the developmental theme and address promising practices for children at specific vulnerable ages. Three developmentally distinct populations served by child welfare are discussed: children starting out, children starting school, and children starting adolescence. The authors suggest that these different age groups require different types of services from child welfare. For instance, evidence shows that young children just entering the child welfare system often need educational services, while adolescents are often more in need of mental health services. Policymakers attempting to address child well-being outcomes need to view the different child welfare populations from a developmental perspective and plan services accordingly.

    Beyond Common Sense was written by F. Wulczyn, R. P. Barth, Y.-Y. T. Yuan, B. Jones Harden, and J. Landsverk and is available in hardback and paperback from Transaction Publishers at

  • Resources to Prevent Child Fatalities

    Resources to Prevent Child Fatalities

    In 1978, the Los Angeles County Interagency Council on Child Abuse and Neglect (ICAN) formed the first child death review team. Today there are more than 900 child death review teams throughout the United States and a growing number of teams around the globe.

    ICAN has worked with international organizations to develop International, an interactive resource center on the Internet that is dedicated to supporting a multidisciplinary network of professionals who work to prevent fatal and severe child abuse and neglect.

    The online resources available include a child death review curriculum that is based on protocols developed in California and research studies from around the world. Accessing resources requires free registration. [Editor's note: This link is no longer available.]

  • Dave Thomas Foundation

    Dave Thomas Foundation

    The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption provides grants to regional and national tax-exempt organizations and projects that promote the adoption of children from foster care. The Foundation is particularly interested in supporting organizations that operate under the premise that all children are adoptable, regardless of age, minority status, sibling group, or physical or emotional challenges. Grants made in 2005 included a grant to the National Indian Child Welfare Association to support programs for recruiting adoptive Native American families and a grant to the American Public Human Services Association for the development of a new interstate compact on the placement of children.

    Grants are made on a quarterly basis, and proposals are accepted throughout the year. For more information about eligibility and the grant application process, go to

  • CDC's Prevention Program

    CDC's Prevention Program

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has developed an extensive research and public health program to prevent child abuse and neglect. A catalog of these CDC efforts is now available in Preventing Child Maltreatment: Program Activities Guide.

    The guide presents brief synopses of CDC activities in four areas:

    • Monitoring, tracking, and researching the problem
    • Developing and evaluating prevention strategies
    • Supporting and enhancing prevention programs
    • Encouraging research and development

    The guide is available on the CDC website at

Training and Conferences

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

  • Training Opportunities for Fathers

    Training Opportunities for Fathers

    The National Fatherhood Initiative (NFI) has developed a series of curricula for teaching fathering skills. Each program offers all the materials needed to present the course to individuals or small groups. The topics covered include in-depth fathering skills, health care and home safety for fathers of infants and toddlers, and programs for incarcerated fathers and fathers deployed in the military.

    NFI also offers capacity building workshops for organizations looking to create or expand their programs and services to fathers. The cost of the curricula and workshops vary. Details and ordering information are available on the NFI website, Fatherhood Online, at

  • Child Welfare Resources Related to Traumatic Stress

    Child Welfare Resources Related to Traumatic Stress

    Many children experience trauma as the result of abuse; however, childhood trauma can also be the result of natural disasters, such as Hurricane Katrina. The June 2005 issue of the e-newsletter, Training Matters, provides an overview of online resources that child welfare supervisors can utilize to help expand the trauma-related knowledge and skills of their staff.

    Training Matters is produced by the North Carolina Department of Social Services, but most of the resources listed are available nationally and include free online courses from the Child Trauma Academy and publications from the National Child Traumatic Stress Network. This issue is available online at

  • Conferences


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


    • National Winter Conference (National Association of Public Child Welfare Administrators; December 3 through December 5; San Diego, CA)
    • National Winter Conference (American Public Human Services Association; December 4 through December 6; San Diego, CA)
    • National Forum on Child Welfare Workload (ACTION for Child Protection; December 12 through 14; Santa Fe, NM)


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


    • 19th Annual Research Conference—A System of Care for Children's Mental Health: Expanding the Research Base (Research & Training Center for Children's Mental Health; February 22 through 25; Tampa, FL)
    • Children 2006: Securing Brighter Futures (Child Welfare League of America; February 27 through March 1; Washington, DC)

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