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August 2012Vol. 13, No. 7Spotlight on Practice Models

This month, CBX looks at practice models through the lens of implementation. Practice models vary by State or Tribe and are tailored to reflect the unique approach to child welfare that best serves the jurisdiction's children, families, and communities. Model implementation also varies in terms of size and scope. We examine the readiness, fidelity, evaluation, and sustainability issues in three practice model implementation projects in NH, OK, and WV.

Issue Spotlight

  • Practice Model Overview

    Practice Model Overview

    Below is an overview of recent publications about State practice models, their implementation, or evaluation. To find more articles and publications about practice models, visit the Child Welfare Information Gateway library:

    http://library.childwelfare.gov/cwig/ws/library/docs/gateway/SimpleSearchForm  

    Evolving Differential Response Practice Models
    As of July 2011, at least 15 States were in the process of or had fully implemented a differential response (DR) practice model. That same year, the Children's Bureau's Quality Improvement Center on Differential Response (QIC-DR) released an issue brief providing an overview of DR practice models in four States: Colorado, Minnesota, Ohio, and Vermont.

    Rather than advocate for a particular model or approach, the brief simply summarizes draft model components. Evolving Models of Practice and Differential Response Systems is available on the QIC-DR website:

    http://www.differentialresponseqic.org/resources/issue-brief-2.pdf (854 KB)

    Colorado's Child-Centered Model
    Developed by 32 child welfare professionals, stakeholders, and consumers, Colorado's practice model is child-centered, family-focused, and culturally competent in its approach. The practice model provides standards of practice for every level of service and specific tasks for service delivery, in addition to organizational standards and practice model skills. The State is conducting a staged rollout of the model in groups of counties over the next 3 years and plans to fully implement the practice model by 2015.

    Colorado's Practice Model: Excellence in Child Welfare Services is available on the Colorado Department of Human Services website:

    http://collaboration.omni.org/sites/cpm/Pages/Colorado-Practice-Models.aspx

    Michigan's Family Engagement Approach
    In February 2012, Michigan's Bureau of Child Welfare released a revised version of MiTEAM: Michigan's Child Welfare Practice Model. The paper outlines Michigan's Department of Human Service's (DHS's) unified approach to family engagement, clarifies roles and expectations for staff, and explains child welfare interventions and service delivery. The practice model places a strong emphasis on teaming, engagement, assessment, and mentoring.

    The MiTEAM practice model is available on the DHS Child Welfare Training Institute website:

    http://www.michiganchildwelfaretraining.com/MiTEAM.aspx

    Family-Center Practice in Maryland
    An evaluation of the implementation of Maryland's Family Centered Practice (FCP) model was released in 2011. The evaluation was conducted by the University of Maryland School of Social Work, the Ruth H. Young Center for Families and Children, and the Maryland Department of Human Resources Social Service Administration. Data was collected via focus groups with staff and families and a survey of department staff. The use of the Local Supervisory Review Instrument and success indicators associated with FCP implementation are also discussed, and recommendations for program improvement in each area are provided.

    Evaluating the Implementation of Family Centered Practice in Maryland, July 1, 2010-June 30, 2011 is available on the Ruth H. Young Center for Families and Children website:

    http://www.family.umaryland.edu/ryc_research_and_evaluation/child_welfare_research_files/2011%20Family%20Centered%20Practice%20Annual%20Report.pdf  (1 MB)

  • NH Implements Solution-Based Practice Model

    NH Implements Solution-Based Practice Model

    When the Northeast and Caribbean Child Welfare Implementation Center (NCIC) selected New Hampshire as an implementation project in 2009, the scope of the project was twofold: (1) implement a practice model for the Division of Children Youth and Families and (2) develop a model focused on permanency for the Division for Juvenile Justice Services (JJS). After the project launched, the two divisions merged, forming three separate bureaus that provide direct child welfare services. While the project scope shifted, the goal remained the same: implement sustainable and systemic improvements that strengthen family engagement and consistency in practice. 

    The merger of JJS field services and the Sununu Youth Services Center (SYSC) into the Division of Children, Youth and Families (DCYF) supports integrated policies and procedures that bring consistency. The merger also allows continued preservation of the specialized practices of child protection services (CPS) and JJS.

    The CPS and JJS practice model's foundation is Solution-Based Casework, which creates a framework for decision-making and practice structure guiding all levels of agency efforts. SYSC's practice model—for which implementation began in 2012—will have an enhanced emphasis on Restorative Justice practices, which focus on engagement and providing offenders with opportunities to restore relationships with individuals and the community.

    To prepare for the practice model implementation, DCYF organized a multidisciplinary design team composed of 45 members, including staff from all organizational levels and NCIC representatives, and each team member had an equal voting share. This collaboration was necessary, said Maggie Bishop, DCYF Director, to ensure a living, breathing model that standardized practice: "Given the time constraints of my schedule, I was hesitant to sit in a room 1 day every month with 45 staff members. In hindsight, it was the best thing I ever did. Having the director in the room with the staff as the model was built empowered staff. I told them, 'Once we walk into this room, we're all equal.'"

    The design team, said Penthea Burns, State/Tribal Liaison with NCIC, created a new level of readiness in the district offices. "When the practice model was rolled out, New Hampshire had a State full of champions. The design team members actively took on the role of liaison, going back to their offices, talking about the model, getting input, and reporting back." A separate design team was developed for the JJS project and, just recently, for the SYSC project. A State level team oversaw implementation plans with an array of strategies that evolved throughout stages of the projects.

    The full participation of youth and parent consultants on the design teams provided a dynamic element to practice model development. These former service recipients brought a creative tension to design meetings said Kimberly Crowe, Child and Family Services Review Coordinator: "If that tension is channeled in a positive way, it can be an accelerator for change. It was great to see staff reactions to their input in terms of an immediate greater awareness of what youth and families experience when involved in the child welfare system."

    DCYF also conducted an Organizational Readiness Survey prior to implementation, and the survey will be administered annually to evaluate shifts in culture and climate elements as both a consequence of and a driver for practice model implementation. Crowe said, from an evaluation standpoint, the survey was critical. "It provided an understanding of the staffs' starting point. When you're in it every day, it is difficult to see incremental changes. When that data was run, we had tangible results to show staff that we had come a long way."

    A strategic implementation plan was developed and managed that focused on training, coaching, and ongoing support to staff. The initial phase of this plan, said Todd Crumb, DCYF Senior Planner, was a statewide training on the model's structures and components. Various strategies have been piloted in advanced practice sites to allow for a well-planned rollout and a manageable change process for the field. Bishop added that continuous rollouts keep the practice model alive. A full statewide rollout of all CPS and JJS strategies will be completed by June 2013.

    To strengthen fidelity to the Solution-Based Casework model, DCYF has developed a certification process for staff and supervisors. An evaluation tool  has been piloted and will be fully implemented as part of the agency's quality assurance processes to assess fidelity on an ongoing basis. Practice model language has been included in job descriptions, annual evaluations, and agency policies. "It is my intent to ensure that New Hampshire's children, youth, and families view the role of DCYF as a seamless, valuable intervention for all children regardless of petition type; that we demonstrate positive outcomes for those served and are able to meet their ever-changing needs," Bishop said.

    New Hampshire's Practice Model Design and Implementation Project Logic Model (PDF - 38 KB), Beliefs and Guiding Principles (PDF - 264 KB), and Practice Model Fact Sheet (PDF - 83 KB) are available on the National Resource Center for Organizational Improvement's Practice Model Peer Network.

    Special thanks to Maggie Bishop, Director for DCYF, Kimberly Crowe, Child and Family Services Review Coordinator, Todd Crumb, DCYF Senior Planner, Penthea Burns, State/Tribal Liaison with NCIC, and Kris Sahonchik, Principal Investigator for NCIC, for providing information for this article.

    Related Item

    Children's Bureau Express featured New Hampshire's work with the NCIC to implement its new practice model in the following article: "New Hampshire Uses Practice Model to Build PIP" (September 2011).

     

  • NRCOI Practice Model Peer Network

    NRCOI Practice Model Peer Network

    By Anne Comstock, Associate Director, National Resource Center for Organizational Improvement

    The Children's Bureau's National Resource Center for Organizational Improvement (NRCOI) is committed to supporting States, Tribes, and territories across the country in improving their child welfare outcomes and systems. One effective strategy is peer networks. Child welfare professionals across the country value learning about the success and struggles of their peers and sharing resources, ideas, and strategies to support each other in this work. NRCOI currently supports four peer networks focusing on quality improvement, training systems, Child and Family Services Reviews/Child and Family Services Plans, and the newest peer network for practice model development and implementation.

    The NRCOI implemented the Practice Model Peer Network after discussions and a survey among States and Tribes confirmed both the need for and interest in connecting around this issue. The network formed in the spring of 2011; its primary goal is to assist network members in focusing on key issues they face in developing and implementing practice models in their agencies. Components of the network include a webpage with State documents, tools, and other relevant resources and links, a network listserv that facilitates information requests among network members, and quarterly webinars.

    Four webinars have occurred since spring 2011. In response to areas of interest identified in the survey, we have highlighted the work from IN, MI, MN, NJ, NH, UT, and VA. Content and discussion has included initial practice model development; implementation strategies; training, coaching and supervision; and measurement. We post recordings and materials from each webinar on the website. The next webinar is Monday, September 10, 2:00–3:30 p.m. (ET).

    Beyond the Practice Model Peer Network, we strive to provide general support for States, Tribes, and territories working on practice models. We have hosted a number of national webinars focusing on practice model development and implementation. Our summer/fall 2011 Child Welfare Matters newsletter highlighted the work of four States and shared their learning of 10 critical implementation elements, organized under three implementation drivers:

    • Leadership
    • Competency
    • Organization

    The newsletter shares lessons learned and provides links to resources, State documents, and opportunities to connect with others through the Practice Model Peer Network. We are currently completing a comprehensive document on system reform through developing and implementing child welfare practice models. We continue to be ready to support the needs and interests from the field in this area.

    We'd love to hear from you with suggestions or requests to improve this or any other NRCOI service. For more information, or to register for the September 10 webinar, please contact Anne Comstock, acomstock@usm.maine.edu, 720.328.0197.

  • Safety Assessment and Management in WV

    Safety Assessment and Management in WV

    In 2009, West Virginia's safety outcomes were poor, and the practice model used by the Bureau of Children and Families (BCF) was not working. Acceptance rates for reports to child protective services were high, as were rates of repeat maltreatment. That same year, the State was one of five States selected by the Children's Bureau's Atlantic Coast Child Welfare Implementation Center (ACCWIC) for a funded project. The project focused on the implementation of a new practice model that shifted the decision-making approach from risk to safety. Three years later, outcomes have improved, staff remain committed to the model, and implementation continues to bring about positive change.  

    BCF and ACCWIC collaborated to implement the safety model Safety Assessment and Management System (SAMS). SAMS consists of four family assessments, which were rolled out in two phases of two assessments each. This approach allowed BCF to evaluate the first phase and make changes accordingly. Because each assessment in SAMS builds on the previous assessment, a staged rollout allowed staff to build proficiency and develop skills. The sequential assessment, however, also proved to be a barrier. "There was some disconnect," said Susan Richards, Director of BCF Training and SAMS Project Director, "between the initial assessments and family assessments."

    Richards said paying attention to readiness issues upfront is the key to practice model implementation and success. BCF conducted several initial readiness activities, two of which were the most fruitful: (1) careful choosing and training of Special Forces members—program managers, supervisors, child welfare consultants, and trainers who provide SAMS assistance to staff throughout the State—and (2) thoughtful selection of the order in which districts would implement the model. "The districts with strong leadership and a Special Forces presence were implemented first. Additionally, leadership was educated prior to implementation, and there was communication between the supervisors and field staff to prepare them for the upcoming changes in practice." She also said that strong leadership to drive and support staff is essential: "Staff won't develop these skills overnight. Motivation and encouragement are necessary to keep them vested in the process. We changed the implementation plan halfway through the process to place more emphasis on supervisors. We also added a supervisory proficiency assessment that focuses on the supervisor's ability to consult with their staff on the model."

    SAMS data were incorporated into the State Automated Child Welfare Information System, FACTS. FACTS features Federal outcomes data, and fidelity data is currently being integrated into the dashboards. Due to budget constraints, the dashboards are accessible only to managers; however, managers can and do share the data with their supervisors and staff. Richards added that FACTS is currently used in the field for the intake assessment, but systemic issues have delayed the implementation of the Family Functioning Assessment. Additionally, BCF is working to resolve issues with software and broadband access. 

    As for fidelity, data from the second round of fidelity reviews on the first two assessments show that fidelity has remained the same from the first review to the second. Fidelity reviews for the second two assessments will begin this fall. Outcomes, especially repeat maltreatment, have shown great improvement. The national average for absence of maltreatment recurrence from 2008 to 2011 was 94.60 percent. West Virginia's rates have aligned more closely with the national average over the past 3 years.

    • In 2008, West Virginia's absence of maltreatment recurrent rate was 89.28 percent.
    • In 2009, the absence of maltreatment recurrent rate was 91.54 percent.
    • In 2010, the absence of maltreatment recurrent rate 95.60 percent.
    • In 2011, the absence of maltreatment recurrent rate 97.62 percent.

    In 2008, nearly 72 percent of case referrals to child protective services were accepted. By 2012, West Virginia's referral acceptance rates dropped to 51 percent.

    To ensure sustainability, West Virginia is undergoing a sustainability planning process with the assistance of ACCWIC. A planning team was formed and consists of BCF and SAMS leaders, who are examining all the strategies used to implement SAMS, prioritizing them, and making decisions about whether to carry them forward or make modifications. Richards said the planning process should be completed by the fall.

    As a final lesson learned, Richards said maintaining a positive attitude is crucial for achieving positive change. "Keeping a positive attitude has to be conveyed from leadership to supervisors to workers. When workers begin to have successes in this process, it tends to raise their personal self-awareness of why these changes were implemented and the positive impact this process has on the families with whom they work."

    Many thanks to Susan Richards, Director of Training and West Virginia SAMS Project Director at the West Virginia Department Bureau of Children and Families, who provided the information for this article.
     
    Related Item

    Children's Bureau Express highlighted West Virginia's implementation of SAMS in 2010 in the article "West Virginia Implements Integrated Safety System" (October 2010).

     

  • Mapping Change in Child Welfare

    Mapping Change in Child Welfare

    In 2009, the Osage Nation in Oklahoma applied for assistance with practice model implementation to the Mountains and Plains Child Welfare Implementation Center (MPCWIC). The Tribe and MPCWIC embarked on a 3-year project to infuse the Osage Nation's practice model into its child welfare practice utilizing process mapping and developing an automated data system.

    As for readiness, Lee Collins, Osage Nation Social Services (ONSS) Director, said ONSS and its staff stood on solid ground. The seven-person staff had nearly 100 years of combined child welfare experience, a Tribal court had been in place for 20 years, Tribal government support and permission for the project had been secured, and a memorandum of understanding was signed with MPCWIC. The Tribe also touted its steering committee as a readiness asset. The committee is composed of members from State, Tribal, and local entities across the child welfare continuum, and it meets every 8–12 weeks. Susan Ferrari, MPCWIC Project Coordinator, said ONSS had a practice model in place, but it wasn't written down and it wasn't always evidence based.

    Beginning with intake, MPCWIC and ONSS developed process maps that defined every step and every stakeholder's role and responsibility through the child welfare system, which took 13 months to complete. Recognizing that child welfare work does not occur in a vacuum, ONSS invited its external and internal partners to provide input on processes, ensuring a comprehensive set of maps. One hundred percent participation by all ONSS staff members was also required.

    The maps had to reflect the process. Collins said, "If we weren't using evidence-based best practices, we changed our practices. Each person had to be there as we talked through each map, each step in the process. We learned who does what and who has what information. It truly strengthened our team."

    When they were complete, agency staff, the steering committee, and other stakeholders received a copy of the practice model and maps. Ferrari said this helped mitigate fidelity issues: "Giving everyone a copy of the model made it more than just a report. It meant that every member of the system, the committee, and stakeholders would be held accountable for following the model."

    Stacie Hanson, MPCWIC Evaluator, added that standardizing practice provided child welfare professionals with greater support. "Workers reported that they felt backed up. If a family was upset about a decision, or if the Tribal court questioned a decision, a worker could point to the process maps and the practice model. They felt supported in their work with families, and it brought the staff together as a team."

    Mary Iannone, MPCWIC Implementation Manager, noted that process mapping ensured a culturally based approach. "We worked hard to ensure the maps didn't reflect traditional western child welfare models. The Tribe reminded us how their values and worldview were different, and how and where those values fed into the system. It resulted in maps and processes that reflected the Tribe's way of doing things."

    The next phase was using the practice model to guide the development of a data system and move ONSS from a paper system to a paperless system. ONSS and MPCWIC collaborated with Three Affiliated Tribes and the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians in North Dakota, who were also in the process of implementing systems change. The distance between each project location required some creative implementation. Each month, MPCWIC, the three Tribal agencies, and their partners met via the online meeting system Webex. Consultants also conducted five 2-day onsite trainings at each location. Iannone said the semi-virtual implementation was a first: "It's never been done in Indian Country before. I don't know if it's been done across counties before. It's certainly never been done across States. It was groundbreaking."

    Iannone said the staged roll out of the data system, with coaching, was influential in its success. "From the first stage of implementation, we incorporated automated case notes. Everyone in the office was exposed to the system early on and trained and coached along the way. I had never done that before and, personally, I will always recommend that approach."

    The new data system offered drastic changes for Osage Nation casework. "When a call comes in, there's a need to look at whether the family has a history with the system. This automated system makes intake easier and quicker. Staff can search for providers, too. The response time is shorter, which means there is better preparation for better response time. It's a significant improvement," Iannone said.

    The implementation project will end on September 30, 2012, and the final release of the data system will take place on September 15. During the transition phase between September and December, MPCWIC will provide ONSS with coaching, data system trouble shooting, and other assistance to support sustainability. While the project created positive systems change, Collins said September 30 will be a sad day: "Susan and our consultants have been with us for 3 years. To let them go will be very hard."

    Special thanks to Lee Collins, Osage Nation Social Services Director, Susan Ferrari, MPCWIC Project Coordinator, Stacie Hanson, MPCWIC Evaluator, and Mary Iannone, MPCWIC Implementation Manager, for providing information for this article.

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News From the Children's Bureau

The fourth article in our second Centennial Series highlights the Children's Bureau's work during World War II. We also point to new AFCARS data, new practice guidelines for working with LGBTQ youth, and an evaluation of home-based child care providers.

  • Centennial Series: The Children's Bureau During Wartime

    Centennial Series: The Children's Bureau During Wartime

    This is the fourth article in our second Centennial Series, CB Decade-by-Decade. These articles will examine highlights from each decade of the Children's Bureau's first 100 years. The first Centennial Series addressed some of the social issues, practices, and policies that laid the groundwork for the creation of the Children's Bureau.

    "We are fighting again for human freedom and especially for the future of our children in a free world. Children must be safeguarded—and they can be safeguarded—in the midst of this total war so they can live and share in that future. They must be nourished, sheltered, and protected even in the stress of war production so they will be strong to carry forward a just and lasting peace."
    —A Children's Charter in Wartime, 1942

    The research that occupied much of the Children's Bureau's efforts during the Great Depression and earlier was sidelined during World War II. If it was not considered a war effort contribution, it was suspended. Yet, the Bureau maintained its focus on evaluating the circumstances affecting children and families, conducting brief studies of child agricultural workers, juvenile detention centers, and day care programs. While it cared for children affected by war at home, the Bureau also facilitated the care of European child war victims.

    As the war pushed more women into the workforce, Bureau staff heard rumors from defense centers of children left in the care of neighbors or relatives, in parked cars, or even home alone while their mothers worked. In 1941, the Bureau called a conference on the Day Care of Children of Working Mothers to convene experts on the subject. In 1942, the Committee on Standards and Services for Day Care submitted its report Standards for Day Care of Children of Working Mothers. This work laid the foundation for Bureau studies in 1941 and 1943 of military camp facilities for the wives and infants of soldiers. At the same time, the Bureau approved the use of Federal maternal and child health funds—for which it was charged with allocating under the Social Security Act—for maternity care of wives of enlisted men. More funds still were needed to care for the increased number of military wives and new mothers. After appeals from the Bureau, in March 1943, Congress passed an appropriations bill for emergency maternal and infant care of the wives and babies of soldiers.

    The Bureau's longstanding fight against child labor also continued during wartime. The number of boys and girls aged 16–18 who left school for work rose to 3 million in the early 1940s. Just as it had done during World War I and again during the Great Depression, the Children's Bureau mounted an effort to combat the breakdown in child labor law enforcement. Working with the Office of Education, the Children's Bureau launched back-to-school drives during 1943 and 1944.

    The Children's Bureau's 1918 report Juvenile Delinquency in Certain Countries at War: A Brief Review of Available Foreign Sources highlighted evidence of increased rates of juvenile delinquency in England, Germany, France, Italy, and other countries during World War I. It was argued that the increase was due to fathers sent to the frontlines and mothers working outside the home. The trend took root in the U.S. during the second World War. Rates of juvenile delinquency began to rise in 1940 and reached their peak in 1945. The Children's Bureau launched several studies to understand the problem, focusing on the experience of juveniles in detention in Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina and police work with juveniles. The Bureau also conducted training conferences to teach the police workforce how to more effectively work with youth.

    In 1940, the fight to protect the well-being of children expanded to include thousands of European child evacuees. The United States Committee for the Care of European Children was formed in June 1940 when it became clear that government action was needed to provide refuge for children escaping the fighting. Children's Bureau Chief Katharine Lenroot published Care of Children Coming to the United States for Safety Under the Attorney General's Order of July 13, 1940, outlining the Bureau's standards for the care of these children.

    According to the report, the Bureau worked with State child welfare agencies and designated 184 agencies in 40 States to find homes for European child victims of war. The Bureau and the Committee also worked to keep an accurate record of all children who came to the United States, and, through the register, child welfare agencies were alerted of the refugee children cared for in their States. In October 1940, the British Government discouraged continued evacuation of children to the U.S. due to the increased dangers of ocean travel. Despite this announcement, the Committee and the Bureau remained steadfast in their commitment to protect the children who had fled to the U.S., provide advice to public and private entities caring for these children, and care for those who would continue to arrive.

    In 1942, the Children's Bureau called a National Commission on Children in Wartime, which was composed of 60 members. The Commission met annually and adopted A Children's Charter in Wartime, which made recommendations to guide the Children's Bureau's work during the conflict.

    World War II disrupted the lives of children, families, and communities at home and abroad. Despite the many hardships caused by the defense program, the Children's Bureau maintained its focus on staying true to its mission to "investigate and report upon all matters pertaining to the welfare of children and child life among all classes of our people."

    (This article is based on historical material found mainly in the Five Decades of Action for Children, by Dorothy E. Bradbury, published by the Children's Bureau, and available here: http://www.mchlibrary.info/history/chbu/2628.PDF [9 MB])

    Related Items

    Read the first three articles in the second Centennial Series:

  • New AFCARS Report Released

    New AFCARS Report Released

    In July, the Children's Bureau posted new statistics on the numbers of children involved with the child welfare system. Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS) Report #19 provides preliminary estimates for fiscal year (FY) 2011 and indicates that, as of September 30, 2011:

    • There were 400,540 children in foster care.
    • There were 104,236 children waiting to be adopted.
    • The average age of children in foster care was 9.3 years.
    • The largest percentage of children (47 percent) in foster care were in nonrelative foster family homes, followed by 27 percent in relative foster family homes.
    • The largest percentage of children (52 percent) had reunification with parents or primary caregivers as their placement goal.
    • Of the children in foster care, 41 percent were White, 27 percent were Black, and 21 percent were Hispanic.

    The updated Trends report, which compiles data from FY 2002 through FY 2011, shows a substantial decline in the number of children in foster care, as well as a decline in the number of children served. The number of children served declined from 800,000 in FY 2002 to 646,000 in FY 2011. Additionally, 2011 saw the lowest number of foster care entries (252,000) since AFCARS data have been reported.

    Find the latest AFCARS reports on the Children's Bureau website:

    Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS) Report #19:

    http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb/stats_research/afcars/tar/report19.pdf (300 KB)

    Trends in Foster Care and Adoption FY 2002–FY 2011:

    http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb/stats_research/afcars/trends_july2012.pdf (370 KB) 
     

  • New! From CB

    New! From CB

    The Children's Bureau website carries information on child welfare programs, funding, monitoring, training and technical assistance, laws, statistics, research, Federal reporting, and much more. The "New on Site" section includes grant announcements, policy announcements, agency information, and recently released publications.

    Recent additions to the site include:

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

    http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb

  • Evaluating Home-Based Child Care

    Evaluating Home-Based Child Care

    A recent research brief by Child Trends and sponsored by the Administration for Children and Families' Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation (OPRE) highlights results from a study of 341 home-based child care providers across five States. The goal was to identify quality profiles of home-based child care providers to guide professional development content and increase overall quality of home-based child care.

    More than half of young children in nonparental care situations attend home-based care. Low-income families, single parents, and parents with low educational attainment are more likely to use home-based care for their child care needs. While research has shown that these child care services provide children with affection and sensitivity, they offer fewer educational and instructional services than center-based care facilities.

    The home-based providers who participated in the study were grouped into three quality categories according to their scores on observational measures, including:

    • Teaching and interaction
    • Tone and discipline
    • Provisions for health
    • Instructional supports for literacy
    • Caregiver sensitivity

    The groups were labeled as either low, moderate, or above moderate in quality. Only 12 percent of the sample was rated as providing above-moderate quality of care, and 88 percent were placed in either the moderate or low quality groups. Four characteristics were identified as distinguishing elements between the low, moderate, and above-moderate quality provider groups.

    • Experience and training. Providers in the above-moderate quality groups had an average of 15 years of experience and 43 hours of training in the previous 2 years. The moderate quality group averaged 10 years of experience and 27 hours of training. The low quality group averaged 7 years of experience and 23 hours of training. 
    • Composition/characteristics of the care settings. Nearly all (98 percent) providers in the above-moderate quality group were licensed, 82 percent in the moderate quality group were licensed, and 67 percent of the low quality group were licensed. Additionally, providers in the low quality group served the greatest number of subsidized children, 22 percent compared to 15 percent in the moderate quality group.
    • Provider attitudes. Providers in the above-moderate group were more confident in their abilities and more motivated than their peers in the low and moderate quality groups. Child-centered beliefs were more prevalent in the moderate and above-moderate quality groups. 
    • Provider supports. Just 29 percent of providers in the low quality group belonged to a professional organization, compared to 69 percent of the above-moderate and 46 percent of the moderate quality group.

    The study's findings indicate that improving the quality among home-based providers is needed and may be done by increasing access to current professional development and tailoring content to the population's specific needs. However, the authors note that, while findings are consistent with previous research, additional research on the effectiveness of different professional development approaches is needed.

    Identifying Profiles of Quality in Home-Based Child Care by Nicole Forry, Iheoma Iruka, Kirsten Kainz, Kathryn Tout, Julia Torquati, Amy Susman-Stillman, et al. is available on the OPRE website:

    http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/opre/cc/childcare_technical/reports/identifying_profiles.pdf  (1 MB)

  • New Practice Guidelines for Serving LGBTQ Youth

    New Practice Guidelines for Serving LGBTQ Youth

    Commissioner Bryan Samuels of the Administration on Children, Youth and Families (ACYF) endorsed a set of practice guidelines to support the safety and well-being of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, and questioning (LGBTQ) children and youth. The practice guidelines, produced by the Child Welfare League of America and Lambda Legal, outline best practices for improving positive outcomes and ensuring the safety of LGBTQ children and youth, who are largely overrepresented in the child welfare system. Specifically, the guidelines are targeted toward working with LGBTQ youth who are at risk of or are living with HIV and involved with child welfare.

    Recommendations include: 

    • Adopt policies prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and HIV status
    • Provide services that address family rejection
    • Provide services to increase access to medical and mental health care for youth at risk of or living with HIV
    • Implement services to support transgender and gender-nonconforming youth

    Recommended Practices to Promote the Safety and Well-Being of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning (LGBTQ) Youth and Youth at Risk of or Living With HIV in Child Welfare Settings is available on Lambda Legal's website:

    http://www.lambdalegal.org/publications/recommended-practices-youth

  • Children's Bureau Centennial Update

    Children's Bureau Centennial Update

    Recent centennial news includes the following: 

    • The second webinar in the four-part historical webinar series honoring the Children's Bureau's 100th anniversary will take place on August 16, 3:00–4:30 p.m. (ET). "The Story of the Children's Bureau, America in Wartime: 1938–1960" will offer an overview of the second 25 years in Children's Bureau history. It will emphasize the impact of World War II on our nation's work to support children and families. To register for the webinar, visit: 
      https://www3.gotomeeting.com/register/459819758
    • The centennial video The Children's Bureau, 1912–2012: A Passionate Commitment. A Legacy of Leadership is now available in English and Spanish:
      https://cb100.acf.hhs.gov/videos
    • Remarks made at the April 9 centennial celebration by Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and George Sheldon, Acting Assistant Secretary of the Administration for Children and Families (ACF), are available online. 
      Remarks made by Secretary Sebelius are available on the HHS website: 
      http://www.hhs.gov/secretary/about/speeches/sp20120409.html
      Remarks made Assistant Secretary Sheldon are now available on the ACF website: 
      http://transition.acf.hhs.gov/childrens-bureau-centennial

    Be sure to check the Children's Bureau's centennial website often for more news and updates!

    https://cb100.acf.hhs.gov/

Training and Technical Assistance Update

Read an update on the QIC-EC's Learning Network, learn about NCSACW's Models of Hope and Recovery framework, and get other updates from CB's T&TA Network.

  • QIC-EC Learning Network Update

    QIC-EC Learning Network Update

    In 2010, Children's Bureau Express featured an article on the newly formed Quality Improvement Center for Early Childhood (QIC-EC). The QIC-EC is a partnership of three national organizations—the Center for the Study of Social Policy, ZERO TO THREE, and the National Alliance of Children's Trust and Prevention Funds—in a cooperative agreement with the Children's Bureau.

    Over the past 3 years, the QIC-EC's Learning Network has made great strides in information sharing among multidisciplinary organizations and individuals committed to child maltreatment prevention. Children's Bureau Express asked Charlyn Harper Browne, Project Director, and Nancy Seibel and Betty Johnson of ZERO TO THREE about the Learning Network's growth.

    What is the goal of the Learning Network; what does the QIC-EC hope it will accomplish?
    The goal of the Learning Network is to engage a broad and diverse group of professionals in dialogue and information exchange on key issues related to the prevention of child maltreatment. Participants have helped in shaping the Learning Network topics and by providing data via survey during the QIC-EC's early years. Through the Learning Network, the QIC-EC disseminates cutting-edge information on policy, research, and practice, which influences and informs the work of the Learning Network members and their colleagues.

    How has the Learning Network grown since 2010? 
    Anyone is welcome to join. Since early 2010, the Learning Network has more than doubled from 147 to 319 members. Members are affiliated with for-profit organizations; State government offices; local, State, and national nonprofit organizations; higher education institutions; the QIC-EC National Advisory Committee, Federal Government offices; the Children’s Bureau's Training and Technical Assistance Network; Children's Trust Funds; foundations; and others. 

    What resources does the Learning Network provide?
    The Learning Network provides webinars on topics related to the prevention of maltreatment among very young children, an e-newsletter, and in-person discussion groups and workshops at QIC-EC partners' national conferences, including the Center for the Study of Social Policy's Strengthening Families Summit and ZERO TO THREE's National Training Institute.

    Are there any next steps or future development plans for the Learning Network?
    We will continue to provide webinars, e-newsletters, and meetings or workshops at national conferences through the final year of the QIC-EC, which concludes in September 2013. The principle investigators of the QIC-EC's research and development (R&D) projects will present their research findings via Learning Network webinars. We will disseminate written products as well, including the R&D projects' implementation manuals. A special issue of the ZERO TO THREE Journal focused on the QIC-EC's work will be published in early 2014, and Learning Network members will be notified of its availability.

    Post-webinar surveys show that Learning Network members have found our webinars to be valuable. About half of each webinar's attendees have participated in previous webinars. They report finding them interesting, valuable, informative, and pertinent to their work. Most feel engaged by the presentations and find the information immediately applicable to their work. Participants report planning discussions of the content with colleagues, teaching, or training on the topic discussed, and otherwise incorporating the information into their work.

    For more information on the QIC-EC, visit its website:

    http://www.qic-ec.org/

    The Learning Network is available here:

    http://www.qic-ec.org/network

    Webinars, archived e-newsletter issues, and other materials from the Learning Network are available on the Resources page:

    http://www.qic-ec.org/network/resources

    More information on ZERO TO THREE is available on the organization's website:

    http://www.zerotothree.org/

  • More Updates From the T&TA Network

    More Updates From the T&TA Network

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

     

  • Models of Hope and Recovery

    Models of Hope and Recovery

    The National Center on Substance Abuse and Child Welfare (NCSACW) produced a DVD to help States, Tribes, and communities strengthen linkages among child welfare, mental health, substance abuse treatment, and court systems. The DVD features the NCSACW's 10-Element Framework: Elements of System Linkages and demonstrates strategies for increased multidisciplinary collaboration to better serve children, youth, and families across systems.

    The 30-minute video begins with an introduction from H. Westley Clark, Director of the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, who discusses the importance of cross-sector collaboration. The framework is demonstrated through programs in Miami, Dade County, FL, and Sacramento County, CA, both of which have experienced positive outcomes. The video features interviews with service recipients, program directors, child protection professionals, dependency court coordinators, and more .

    Bringing Families Together: Models of Hope and Recovery is available for desktop or mobile download on the NCSACW website:

    http://www.ncsacw.samhsa.gov/improving/improving-video.aspx

  • New Tips, Tools, and Trends From the NRCCWDT

    New Tips, Tools, and Trends From the NRCCWDT

    The National Resource Center for Child Welfare Data and Technology's (NRCCWDT's) issue brief series provides comprehensive technical assistance to States and Tribes on a variety of topics. Two new issues of Tips, Tools, and Trends address the use of data to meet provisions in the Federal Fostering Connections legislation and selecting solutions to adequately address agency challenges.

    "Data Considerations for Fostering Connections" provides tips for using data and technology to help States and Tribes develop policies to meet the legislation's requirements. Specific tips include the following:

    • Health provision tips include enhancing data systems to increase collaboration and information sharing between child welfare systems and health care providers. The NRC also suggests that States adopting electronic medical records adopt policies to incorporate child welfare data for better coordination of services.
    • Kinship provisions can be met by using video or online conferences to maintain family or sibling interactions between face-to-face visits. Social media resources also can enhance family communication and interaction.
    • Education provisions suggestions include conducting data analysis regarding a child's educational performance and attendance to better evaluate outcomes.
    • Older youth provisions tips include using National Youth in Transition Database (NYTD) surveys and responses to track outcomes. The NRC also suggests using social media to coordinate meetings and appointments and send reminders to youth. Social media also can be used among youth to share information about services.
    • Adoption provisions strategies include using technology to generate reports on conventional adoption and Tribal customary adoption, in addition to reports to track the providing information on adoption tax credit.

    "Picking Solutions That Work" provides strategies for choosing the appropriate course of action to address challenges affecting child welfare work or outcomes. The NRC suggests using critical thinking through a four-step process to identify the problem's source prior to selecting a solution: observation, evaluation, intervention, and outcome tracking and adjustments. The issue brief provides two sample scenarios and suggests possible approaches to identifying the root of the problem and addressing the situation. The first example centers on a district's below par caseworker visits. The second example focuses on a jurisdiction whose number of waiting children remains stagnant.

    Both issues of Tips, Tools, and Trends are available on the NRCCWDT website:

    "Data Considerations for Fostering Connections" is available here:

    http://www.nrccwdt.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/Fostering-Connections-TTT.pdf  (550 KB)

    "Picking Solutions That Work" is available here:

    http://www.nrccwdt.org/2012/04/tips-tools-and-trends-picking-solutions-that-work/  (608 KB)

Child Welfare Research

CBX highlights research on the impact of parental incarceration on children, an evaluation of a home visiting program in Illinois, immigration and child welfare, and more.

  • Promoting Resilience Among Youth in Care

    Promoting Resilience Among Youth in Care

    An issue brief from the Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative addresses resilience and provides a framework for helping youth in care develop resilience. Children and youth in foster care face many challenges that place them at greater risk of experiencing negative outcomes in adult life. However, research shows that youth with adequate support systems can and do develop resilience that enables them to cope with and adapt to these hardships.

    According to the brief, protective factors—specific conditions or attributes that span a wide range of areas, including childhood, family, school, and community—may decrease challenges and encourage young people to recover, and even thrive, in the face of adversity. Accordingly, increasing these protective factors in youth can positively affect the development of resilience. The monograph provides seven core principles that support the process of developing resilience for youth in care.

    • Optimism
    • Strengths-based
    • Broad context
    • Exposure level
    • Individual experiences
    • Group experiences
    • Ongoing support

    The report also includes input from youth with foster care experience and a list of references and related publications.

    Promoting Development of Resilience Among Young People in Foster Care is available on the Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative website:

    http://www.jimcaseyyouth.org/issue-brief%E2%80%94promoting-development-resilience-among-young-people-foster-care
      

  • Immigration and Child Welfare

    Immigration and Child Welfare

    The Applied Research Center (ARC) recently published a report on the obstacles that families encounter when they concurrently deal with immigration enforcement and the child welfare system. ARC's national investigation centered on the extent to which children living in foster care are prevented from reuniting with their parents who are detained or have been deported due to alleged immigration violations.

    ARC used county-level survey data from child welfare caseworkers, attorneys, and judges from 19 jurisdictions in six States for computing the national estimates used in the report. The jurisdictions represented a mix of border and nonborder regions. ARC also examined foster care cases with deported or detained parents in 20 States, specifically analyzing various impacts of border county status, presence of aggressive immigration enforcement agreements, and the percentage of foreign-born individuals in each State.

    Key findings from the report include the following:

    • Researchers conservatively estimate that at least 5,100 children currently in foster care have parents who have been either detained or deported.
    • In jurisdictions where local police aggressively participate in immigration enforcement, children of noncitizens are more likely to be separated from their parents and face bigger barriers to reunification.
    • Immigrant victims of domestic violence are especially at risk for losing their children.
    • The issue of children in foster care being separated from their detained or deported parents is a growing problem and is not confined to border States.

    The report outlines immigration and child welfare system barriers to reunification among immigrant families. Additionally, it makes policy recommendations for State and Federal entities that might protect immigrant families from separation.

    The executive summary and full report, Shattered Families: The Perilous Intersection of Immigration Enforcement and the Child Welfare System, are available on the Applied Research Center website:

    http://arc.org/shatteredfamilies

  • Evaluating Home Visiting in Illinois

    Evaluating Home Visiting in Illinois

    Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago recently released its second annual evaluation of Strong Foundations, the Illinois statewide home visiting program to reduce child maltreatment rates and improve health and well-being outcomes for families with young children. Strong Foundations is a joint effort of the Illinois Departments of Human Services and Child and Family Services, the State Board of Education, and the State Early Learning Council's Home Visiting Task Force; it is 1 of 17 grantees receiving funding through the Children's Bureau's Evidence-Based Home Visiting 5-year grant program. The report discusses areas in which Strong Foundations is making progress and identifies opportunities for improvement as the initiative continues its implementation efforts during the next 3 years.

    As its name implies, Strong Foundations' focus is building a strong statewide home visiting infrastructure with the coordination and administrative support communities need to deliver high-quality services to families at the local level with fidelity to the evidence-based home visiting model of their choice. The Strong Foundations system is focused on addressing governance, funding, monitoring and quality assurance, and training and technical assistance. Communities are implementing either Parents as Teachers, Healthy Families America, or the Nurse-Family Partnership model, depending on the needs of the children and families they serve.

    The second annual report is based on a process evaluation of State and local implementation that included interviews and surveys of staff and an analysis of administrative data. Researchers determined several areas in which Strong Foundations is performing well, such as State-level collaboration and involvement of partners as well as staff development forums, in which 12 trainings were conducted statewide to help more than 200 home visitors improve casework practice around family risk factors. However, the report also recommends several ways in which Strong Foundations can improve:

    • Despite strong communication among State-level partners, the initiative should increase opportunities for communication between management and frontline staff and families, particularly around decision-making for funding and programmatic changes.
    • Local systems development efforts should strive to expand collaborations with health, mental health, and early care and education systems.
    • To improve monitoring and quality assurance, the initiative should strengthen its systems for collecting and sharing data by identifying common data elements to gather across programs and encouraging coordination of services for families involved with multiple systems.
    • Trainings should address more casework practice topics and a "train the trainers" technique should be used to increase learning opportunities; training sessions should also be tailored to meet the unique needs of supervisors versus frontline staff.
    • To minimize the impact of State-level budget changes or cuts, funding streams should be more flexible and resilient by emphasizing long-term budget planning.

    The full report, "Building a System of Support for Evidence-Based Home Visiting Programs in Illinois: Findings from Year 2 of the Strong Foundations Evaluation," was written by J. Spielberger, E. Gitlow, C. Winje, A. Harden, K. Dadisman, and A. Banman, and is available to download on the Chapin Hall website:

    http://www.chapinhall.org/research/report/building-system-support-evidence-based-home-visitation-programs-illinois-early-findi-2




     

  • Impact of Parental Incarceration on Children

    Impact of Parental Incarceration on Children

    Of the more than 1.5 million parents with children under the age of 18 in the United States in 2008, over 809,000 of those parents were incarcerated. In light of these statistics, the Social Work in Public Health journal published a special issue dedicated to the impact of parental incarceration on children and families.

    The special issue features 11 articles spanning a range of topics and an introduction by guest editors Belinda E. Bruster, Division of Social Work at Florida Gulf Coast University, and Ann Adalist-Estrin, Director of the National Resource Center on Children and Families of the Incarcerated. Article topics include:

    • Maintaining connections among children and their incarcerated parents
    • Evaluation of mentoring programs for children of prisoners
    • African-American fathers and incarceration
    • Mapping service needs of adolescent children of prisoners
    • The effect of parental criminal justice involvement on children

    In "Parental Incarceration and Kinship Care: Caregiver Experiences, Child Well-Being, and Permanency Intentions," author Ramona W. Denby explores the impact of incarceration-related kinship care on permanency. Denby presents findings from a study of the stress-and-strain theory, which involved 72 caregivers and 127 children. The study examined how stress affects caregiver acceptance and/or rejection of the child and the caregiver's willingness to adopt. The study also examined caregiver readiness, perception of child well-being, and unmet service needs.

    Respondents scored high on the scale for strain and stress, and more than half of the study's sample said they were not likely to adopt the child in their care. However, nearly 70 percent of respondents said they would agree to establish permanency for the child through legal guardianship. There also was a strong correlation between permanency intentions and caregiver reports of unmet service needs. These findings are important in light of research showing an increase over the past two decades in the number of children living with kin because of parental incarceration. The author also notes that recent literature has identified protective factors that may mitigate risk factors associated with this population.

    Social Work in Public Health Special Issue: The Impact of Parental Incarceration on Children and Families, 27(1–2), 2012, is available for purchase here:

    http://www.tandfonline.com/toc/whsp20/current

    Related Items

    For more information on and resources for working with children with incarcerated parents, visit the following pages on the Child Welfare Information Gateway website:

  • Improving Systems That Support Kinship Care

    Improving Systems That Support Kinship Care

    Given the nearly 18 percent increase in the number of kinship caregivers in the last decade, a new report identifies several opportunities for States and communities to make systems-level improvements to kinship care services. The policy report by KIDS COUNT, a project of the Annie E. Casey Foundation, describes the experiences and needs of the relatives and close family friends who care for more than 2.7 million children nationwide, roughly 104,000 of which have been placed with kin formally under the supervision of State child welfare systems. The report's recommendations emphasize the need for State systems to tailor services to address the unique financial, health, and social challenges kinship caregivers face.

    About one-fourth of all children in out-of-home care are placed with kin, yet the report indicates many kinship caregivers are unaware of the numerous services and supports available to them or have inaccurate information about eligibility requirements. Given the Federal preference for  kinship care and the potential cost savings of diverting children from foster care, the report identifies numerous ways in which States can improve supports for kinship families:

    • Expand services, such as kinship navigator programs, to help families understand and access the numerous financial supports and subsidies that may be available to them.
    • Increase Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) payments to reflect the Federal government's estimated costs of raising a child, and adjust TANF requirements for kinship caregivers by increasing asset and time limits and offering flexible emergency funding during the initial transition period.
    • Strive to implement casework practices that identify and engage kin as early as possible and that tailor assessment, licensing, and training standards for kinship caregivers.
    • Adopt the Federal Government's Guardian Assistance Program (GAP) to offer subsidized guardianship arrangements for kin who provide permanent homes for children exiting foster care.
    • Address the need for a more comprehensive network of public and private agencies that coordinate support in areas such as housing, legal representation, health care, school enrollment, and other community services.

    Drawing upon information from the KIDS COUNT Data Center, the report also includes several figures and tables providing national, State, and community-level data on kinship care in the United States.

    "Stepping Up for Kids: What Government and Communities Should Do to Support Kinship Families," is available on the Annie E. Casey Foundation website:

    http://www.aecf.org/KnowledgeCenter/Publications.aspx?pubguid=%7b642BF3F2-9A85-4C6B-83C8-A30F5D928E4D%7d

    The national, State, and community-level data upon which the report was based is available in the KIDS COUNT Data Center:

    http://datacenter.kidscount.org/

Strategies and Tools for Practice

  • NIH Free Resource Anthology

    NIH Free Resource Anthology

    The Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR) at the National Institutes of Health created a free resource designed to house all current, quality behavioral and social science research. Created with the help of New England Research Institutes, e-Source demonstrates how social science research applies to public health initiatives, trains future scientists, and enhances the biomedical research field.

    e-Source consists of five major sections:

    • Setting the Scene introduces major concepts of behavioral and social science research.
    • Describing How discusses methodologies to explain how something could occur.
    • Explaining Why describes using qualitative methods to try to answer the question of why something is happening.
    • What Works discusses evaluation.
    • Emerging Issues highlights challenges in behavioral and social science research.

    e-Source is available on the Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research website:

    http://www.esourceresearch.org

  • Statewide Linkages Toolkit

    Statewide Linkages Toolkit

    Linkages, a services coordination partnership between Child Welfare Services (CWS) and CalWORKs, provides prevention and intervention services to families facing poverty and child maltreatment. CWS and CalWORKS worked with several partners across the child welfare continuum to create the Statewide Linkages Toolkit.

    This resource is a collection of seven toolkits that were gathered based on the "ingredients" deemed necessary to conduct successful service coordination. Each toolkit includes recommendations, guidelines, and tips on how to establish, upgrade, or maintain Linkages in a county. Samples and success stories from operational counties are also included. The seven toolkits include the following:

    • Definitional Toolkit
    • Assessment & Planning Toolkit
    • Training Toolkit
    • Evaluation Toolkit
    • Communication Toolkit
    • Fiscal Toolkit
    • Sustainability Toolkit

    Linkages suggests that counties interested in adopting a Linkages service approach begin with the Definitional Toolkit and proceed in order. This resource is the result of collaboration among CWS, CalWorks, Hay Consulting, Harder + Co. Community Research, the Child and Family Policy Institute of California (CFPIC), Cal SWEC, Regional Training Academies, Renee Wessels & Associates, and Glenn Freitas.

    For more information, visit the CFPIC website:

    http://www.cfpic.org/toolkit/

  • ICWA Resource Guide for MI Judges

    ICWA Resource Guide for MI Judges

    Guidance for State court judges on the requirements of the Federal Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) is provided in a recent publication from the ICWA Special Committee of the Michigan State Court Administrative Office. The publication, Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978: A Court Resource Guide, aims to educate Michigan judges about the provisions of ICWA to ensure compliance. The guide explains, in detail, the provisions of ICWA, related Federal regulations, and the less formal but more specific guidance provided by the U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA). 

    An introductory section, "ICWA Fundamentals," provides several universal terms and concepts that apply to all ICWA proceedings. Other sections provide more specific guidance on the types of child custody cases that judges commonly encounter, including foster care placements, guardianships, parental rights termination, and adoptive and preadoptive placements. The guidelines help judges determine which proceedings fall under ICWA jurisdiction, the proper parties to involve in an ICWA case, burdens of proof, and the benefits of collaborating with the Department of Human Services (DHS) and the child's Tribe.

    Appendices provide an array of resources, including Michigan Tribal contact information and service area maps; recommended "active efforts" inquiries; contacts, resources, and information on ICWA and Tribal issues; ICWA bench guide checklist; the full text of the Indian Child Welfare Act; BIA Guidelines for State Courts; and a series of flowcharts that provide guidance on the decision-making process and when cases must be transferred to a Tribal court.

    Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978: A Court Resource Guide is available on the Michigan Courts website:

    http://courts.michigan.gov/scao/resources/publications/manuals/cws/ICWACtResourceGuide.pdf (1 MB)
     

  • Prevention Communications, Technology

    Prevention Communications, Technology

    In December 2011, the Institute of Medicine's Forum on Global Violence Prevention Board held a workshop on the intersection of information and communications technology (ICT) and violence prevention. In June 2012, the Institute of Medicine published a summary of the papers and discussions presented at the workshop.

    The goal of the workshop, entitled mPreventViolence—the "m" stands for mobile—was to engage multidisciplinary practitioners in a dialogue and exchange cross-sector public health approaches to prevention and application of ICT in those approaches. The workshop summary consists of three sections. The first section presents an overview of the workshop themes, including transforming violence prevention through new communications, addressing disparities, and framing violence prevention communication. The second section provides presentations and papers from speakers at the workshop. The third and final section of the paper provides speaker biographies and the workshop agenda.

    Communications and Technology for Violence Prevention: Workshop Summary by Katherine Blakeslee, Deepali Patel, and Melissa Simon is available on the Institute of Medicine website:

    http://www.iom.edu/Reports/2012/Communication-and-Technology-for-Violence-Prevention.aspx?utm_medium=etmail&utm_source=Institute%20of%20Medicine&utm_campaign=06.13.12+Report+-+mPreventViolence&utm_content=New%20Reports&utm_term=Commercial

  • Caseworker, Child Care Provider Toolkit

    Caseworker, Child Care Provider Toolkit

    A toolkit produced by Project PLAY (Positive Learning for Arkansas' Youngest), with support from the Arkansas Department of Human Services (DHS) and the Division of Child Care and Early Childhood Education, aims to strengthen communication between family service workers and child care providers. Project PLAY is a free program that facilitates partnerships between Community Mental Health Centers and early care providers.

    The toolkit stresses the importance of teamwork and provides resources to build communication and information sharing, including the following:

    • An article about what caregivers can do to help children impacted by trauma
    • A guide designed to jumpstart information sharing between caseworkers and child care providers
    • A Child Progress Update form for teachers to report educational progress to caseworkers
    • A how-to on obtaining immunization records for a child in care
    • A tip sheet with strategies for supporting a child when he or she must leave a care center
    • A handout describing usual behavior patterns in the various developmental stages of a child's life

    The Child Care and Child Welfare toolkit is available on the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences website:

    http://familymedicine.uams.edu/upload/docs/Family%20Medicine/ProjectPLAY/toolkit%20with%20cover.pdf  (544 KB)

  • Kids Well-Being Indicators Clearinghouse

    Kids Well-Being Indicators Clearinghouse

    The New York State Council on Children and Families has developed the Kids' Well-being Indicators Clearinghouse (KWIC). The website is designed to use child health, education, and well-being indicators as a tool for the development of policy, planning, and accountability.

    Users can access KWIC indicator data for every county in the State by selecting an indicator from various life areas such as economic security, education, family, and community. Another way to view data on the website is to search by specific counties and topic-specific reports. A map and graph builder enable customized reports users can tailor to their specific needs, and the MyKWIC offers a registration feature to create an account for future use.

    KWIC Indicator Narratives provide definitions and the latest findings on each of the six indicators included on the website. A list of resources is also available for users looking for more information on data-focused publications. To learn more and sign up for updates, visit the KWIC website:

    http://www.nyskwic.org/

Resources

  • Respite Care for Individuals With Autism

    Respite Care for Individuals With Autism

    The incidence of children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and the need for respite services for these children and their families and other caregivers continues to grow. A new factsheet from the ARCH National Respite Network and Resource Center addresses the challenges in providing accessible, appropriate, and culturally sensitive services for these families.

    The factsheet provides an overview of the range of conditions that make up ASD, and the health, emotional, social, behavioral, and treatment aspects of autism across the spectrum. The paper also provides guidelines for the specific kinds of care a child with autism typically needs and discusses the challenges families face in finding caregivers with the appropriate training to provide such care.

    The fact sheet also provides the following information:

    • Federal and State funding resources to help pay for respite care, including Medicaid, State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) programs, and Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
    • Specific recommendations for expanding respite options and improving respite access and appropriateness for respite programs, community agencies, health care providers, and family caregivers
    • Examples of specific State programs and a list of organizations offering information and resources on autism

    Respite for Individuals with Autism is available on the ARCH National Respite Network and Resource Center website:

    http://archrespite.org/images/docs/Factsheets/FS_58_Autism_Respite.pdf (458 KB)

     

  • Resources for Youth With Mental Health Conditions

    Resources for Youth With Mental Health Conditions

    Transitions RTC at the Center for Mental Health Services Research at the University of Massachusetts is geared toward supporting youth with serious mental health conditions and helping them complete their education. RTC provides a number of resources for youth, service providers, and policymakers on a range of issues affecting this vulnerable population.

    The tip sheet Getting Accommodations at College: Tools for School guides youth through the process of requesting special accommodations at college to ensure their academic success. It answers the following questions:

    • What accommodations or modifications can I ask for?
    • What do I need in the classroom?
    • What do I need during exams?
    • What do I need to complete assignments?
    • What do I need in general?
    • How do I get accommodations?
    • What about confidentiality?


    To access the college accommodations tip sheet, visit:

    http://labs.umassmed.edu/transitionsRTC/Resources/publications/Accomodationstipsheet2.pdf (364 KB)

    A full list of products by Transitions RTC is available on the organization's website:

    http://labs.umassmed.edu/transitionsRTC/Resources/Publications.html

  • Preparing Children for Court

    Preparing Children for Court

    Participating in court proceedings may be particularly stressful for children. The Office of Court Improvement, a division of the Office of the State Courts Administrator within the Supreme Court of Florida, released an activity book specifically for children attending dependency hearings. What’s Happening In Dependency Court? aims to familiarize children with the judicial system by providing information related to the court process, legal terms, and the role of court personnel. Information is divided into easy-to-read topical areas, including the following:

    • Why did I have to leave my home?
    • Where will I live now?
    • Will I get to see my mom and dad?
    • Will I get to see my brothers and sisters?
    • Why do we keep going to court?
    • Can I go to court?
    • Can I talk to the judge?
    • What should I say and how should I act in court?
    • Who else will be in the courtroom?
    • When will I know what is going to happen to me?
    • How does the judge decide if I should go home?

    Coloring activities and crossword puzzles help children develop proper expectations, understand the importance of the rules and how to behave in court. 

    What's Happening In Dependency Court? is available on the Florida State Courts website:

    http://flcourts.org/gen_public/family/bin/dependbook.pdf (5 MB)

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.

  • Engaging Reluctant Families Training

    Engaging Reluctant Families Training

    The National Family Preservation Network (NFPN) is offering a recording of a live training focused on building specific caseworker skills for engaging reluctant families. The training is centered on engaging families from their initial involvement with the child protection system. Topics covered include:

    • Why engagement is important
    • Engaging the reluctant client
    • Resistance vs. reluctance
    • Signs of reluctance
    • Emotional incentives to reluctance
    • Recognizing reluctant styles
    • Principles for working with reluctant clients

    The training, plus a question and answer session with the moderators, is available for $20. An outline and registration is available on the National Family Preservation Network website:

    http://nfpn.org/products/233-engaging-families-conference-call.html

  • Adoption Assessor Training Handouts

    Adoption Assessor Training Handouts

    Handouts from the 2012 Ohio Adoption Training Program are now available. The first handout revisits major themes discussed during the training, including that family assessment should be a mutual process done with families, adoption and foster care assessments should be strengths based, and joint foster and adoptive parent assessments are preferred.

    The 65 pages of handouts also cover topics including how to facilitate a transition visit, defining special needs, openness, birth parent services, and more. The handouts are available on the Ohio Child Welfare Training Program website:

    http://www.ocwtp.net/Trainee%20Resources.htm#A

     

     

  • Conferences

    Conferences

    Upcoming national conferences on child welfare and adoption through November 2012 include:

    September 2012


    October 2012

    • National Staff Development and Training Association Profession Institute
      American Public Human Services Association
      October 14–17, Portland, OR
      http://nsdta.aphsa.org/pro_dev_inst.htm
    • 7th Biennial Adoption Conference "Best Interests of the Child?"
      Race, Religion, and Rescue in Adoption
      The Adoption Initiative / St. John's University
      October 18–20, New York, NY
      http://adoptioninitiative.org
    • 10th Annual Together We Can Conference
      Together We Can C/O Team Dynamics
      October 23–25, Lafayette, LA
      http://www.latwc.com

    November 2012

    • CornerHouse Child Sexual Abuse Forensic Interview Training
      Cornerhouse
      November 511, Minneapolis, MN
      http://www.cornerhousemn.org
    • 2012 Conference on Differential Response in Child Welfare
      American Humane Association
      November 1416, Henderson, NV
      http://www.differentialresponseqic.org/conference/
    • National Federation of Families' Annual Conference
      Sustaining and Expanding Excellence in Children’s Mental Health Services and Supports
      National Federation of Families
      November 14–18, Washington, DC
      http://conference.ffcmh.org

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

    http://www.childwelfare.gov/calendar/index.cfm

     

  • Human Trafficking Awareness

    Human Trafficking Awareness

    The Department of Homeland Security's Blue Campaign is now offering online training about how to spot the signs of and report suspected human trafficking. The training is aimed at the general public, the Federal workforce, first responders, and airline employees and focuses on:

    • Defining human trafficking
    • Differentiating between human trafficking and human smuggling
    • Recognizing populations vulnerable to human trafficking
    • Recognizing indicators of human trafficking    

    A glossary and additional resources also are provided. View the Human Trafficking Awareness Training on the Department of Homeland Security's website:

    http://www.dhs.gov/xlibrary/training/dhs_awareness_training_fy12/launchPage.htm