- Pediatricians' Role in Prevention
Routine pediatric care offers a prime opportunity for screening families for the major risk factors for child maltreatment. Through the Preventing Child Abuse and Neglect: A Role for Pediatricians project at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, pediatric residents were trained to recognize risk factors among low-income parents who brought their children to the University's pediatric clinic. Residents were also provided with listings of community resources, so that parents could be connected to services.
To determine the impact of the pediatric residents' special training, a comparison group of residents received no additional training. Families recruited for the study (N=558) were seen by residents from the intervention or comparison groups. Parents assigned to the intervention group completed a screening instrument designed to indicate whether they experienced any of the following:
- Substance abuse
- Domestic violence
- Use of corporal punishment
- Food insecurity
- Stress or lack of social support
Preliminary data from parent interviews indicated that special training in recognizing risk factors for child maltreatment improved the pediatric residents' intervention with parents suffering from depression, domestic violence, and stress or lack of social support. Data from questionnaires completed by the residents show that the residents who received the additional training experienced a significant improvement in their comfort level and perceived competence in addressing child maltreatment risk factors. Researchers are continuing to compile data to determine the impact of the training on the actual incidence of child maltreatment.
This type of prevention intervention has a number of advantages, including its low cost, pattern of routine visits with parents and children, and emphasis on prevention. The ability to identify risk factors for child maltreatment early on allows pediatricians to link parents with services to help prevent child abuse and neglect.
For more information on the Preventing Child Abuse and Neglect project, contact:
Howard Dubowitz, M.D., M.S.
Preventing Child Abuse and Neglect Project
Center for Families
525 West Redwood Street
Baltimore, MD 21201
The Preventing Child Abuse and Neglect: A Role for Pediatricians project was funded by the Children's Bureau, Grant 90-CA-1695, under the Children's Bureau Priority Area: 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.
- April Is Child Abuse Prevention Month
Communities can help parents reduce the risk of child abuse and neglect by providing a broad array of family supports, according to this year's theme for Child Abuse Prevention Month: Safe Children and Healthy Families Are a Shared Responsibility.
To help communities and families prevent child abuse and neglect, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Children's Bureau, Office on Child Abuse and Neglect, and its National Clearinghouse on Child Abuse and Neglect Information updated their resource packet of prevention materials. The packet includes factsheets in English and Spanish on a variety of topics:
- How organizations can build on strengths and share the message of family support
- How individuals can build healthy families, including tips for being a nurturing parent
- The scope and impact of child abuse and neglect
The prevention packet also includes a poster in Spanish and English, as well as a variety of materials that can be used for media events and community awareness activities.
The packet was developed in partnership with 28 national organizations, including Prevent Child Abuse America and the FRIENDS National Resource Center for Community-Based Child Abuse Prevention. It is available on the Prevention website:
http://nccanch.acf.hhs.gov/topics/prevention/index.cfm (Editor's note: Link no longer active)
A toolkit for evaluating child abuse prevention programs is a new resource available through this Prevention webpage. Developed by the FRIENDS National Resource Center for Community-Based Child Abuse Prevention Programs, the toolkit helps users evaluate outcomes in order to improve services for children and families.
Included in the toolkit is the Logic Model Builder, which provides guidance in developing a logic model so that indicators of success, as well as appropriate evaluation instruments, can be identified.
http://nccanch.acf.hhs.gov/topics/prevention/develop/toolkit/index.cfm (Editor's note: Link no longer active)
- A Comprehensive Approach to Prevention
Growing concerns about the consequences associated with the nearly 1 million cases of child maltreatment reported each year have led to increased focus on effective child abuse and neglect prevention programs.
A recent publication, Developing a Comprehensive Approach to Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention: Strategies for State and Local Policymakers, looks at programs that have shown some success in reducing risk to children and explores how other jurisdictions and agencies might apply the lessons learned. Two different complementary strategies are discussed:
- Coordination of prevention efforts across public agencies, including the use of common intake and assessment forms; coordinated case management; and co-locating staff
- Development of a community-based model of prevention, including a differential response system and a local decision-making body
Examples of these types of programs are provided. An appendix describes Federal funding sources that may be used to support prevention efforts.
Developing a Comprehensive Approach to Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention was written by A. Szekely and published by the Finance Project, a nonprofit research firm. The publication is available on the Finance Project website:
www.financeproject.org/publications/childabuseSB.pdf (Editor's note: Link no longer active)
- Recognition for Healthy Families New York
The Promising Practices Network of RAND Corporation has added Healthy Families New York (HFNY) to its list of "Programs That Work." HFNY received the recognition when a recent program evaluation showed generally positive outcomes, including a reduced incidence of child abuse or neglect, for the at-risk mothers and infants who participated in the program.
Based on the national Healthy Families America model, HFNY is a community-based prevention program that seeks to improve the health and well-being of children at risk for abuse and neglect by providing intensive home visitation services with specially trained paraprofessionals. The target population consists of expectant parents and parents with infants less than 3 months old who are considered to be at high risk for child abuse and neglect.
The home visitation program has four goals:
- Promote positive parenting skills and parent-child interaction
- Prevent child abuse and neglect
- Ensure optimal prenatal care and child health and development
- Increase parents' self-sufficiency
The program began in 1995 and now operates in 28 sites throughout New York State.
The evaluation of HFNY, conducted by S. Mitchell-Herzfeld, was supported through a grant from the Children's Bureau of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
A complete program description and discussion of the evaluation process can be found on the Promising Practices Network website:
- HHS Releases National Statistics on Child Abuse and Neglect for 2004
According to a report released on April 4 by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, approximately 872,000 children were found to be victims of child abuse or neglect in 2004. From 2001 to 2004, the rate of victimization decreased, from 12.5 per 1,000 children in 2001 to 11.9 per 1,000 children in 2004. That represents a significant decrease from 1993, when the rate of abused and neglected children peaked at 15.3 per 1,000 children.
Of the children who were abused and neglected in 2004:
- 62.4 percent experienced neglect
- 17.5 percent were physically abused
- 9.7 percent suffered sexual abuse
- 7.0 percent were emotionally or psychologically abused
- 2.1 percent suffered medical neglect
An estimated 1,490 children died from abuse or neglect in 2004, more than 80 percent of whom were younger than 4 years old.
While the rate of victimization has decreased, the rate of children whose cases were investigated has increased. In 2001, the rate of investigation was 43.2 children per 1,000; this increased to 47.8 children per 1,000 in 2004. After investigation, about 30 percent of the cases were substantiated for at least one child in 2004.
Approximately 60 percent of victims and 27 percent of nonvictims (children whose cases were not substantiated) received services in 2004, including in-home services and foster care. Nineteen percent of victims were placed in foster care.
The release of the full report, Child Maltreatment 2004, is timed to coincide with the start of Child Abuse Prevention Month. The statistics found in the report are based on information collected through the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System. Child Maltreatment 2004 is available on the Children’s Bureau website:
Spotlight on National Adoption Month
Spotlight on Creating a More Equitable Child Welfare System
News From the Children's Bureau
- Children's Bureau 2006 Funding Announcement
On March 18, the Children's Bureau made their first Discretionary Grant announcement for FY 2006:
Funding Opportunity No. HHS-2006-ACF-ACYF-CW-0103: Collaboration between TANF and Child Welfare to Improve Child Welfare Program Outcomes
Due date: May 18, 2006
For the latest information on Children's Bureau Discretionary Grant announcements, visit:
- Spring Teleconferences Scheduled
The National Child Welfare Resource Center for Organizational Improvement (NRCOI) has released its schedule of teleconferences for spring 2006. Teleconferences allow State administrators to hear from experts on important child welfare and agency management topics. Past topics have included strategic planning and Program Improvement Plans; materials from past teleconferences are available on the NRCOI website.
The spring 2006 schedule includes:
- Keeping Children Safe: Strategies to Reduce Recurrence of Maltreatment, April 13
- Solution Focused Practice (Parts 1, 2, and 3), April 25, May 4, May 25
- Performance Based Contracts: Making Deals with Providers, June 6
Preregistration allows participants to receive handouts and other materials ahead of time. Program details and scheduling information are available on the NRCOI website:
- African American Adoptions Through Private Agencies
African American parents who adopted through private agencies that specialized in placing African American children differed significantly from parents who adopted through public agencies. A California study that compared characteristics of 83 private adopters with data on public agency adopters found that African American parents adopting through private agencies were younger, had more education, had higher incomes, adopted younger children, and adopted fewer children than African American families adopting through public agencies. Data on foster parent adopters and kinship adopters were not included.
Researchers also found that 70 percent of the private adopters had unsuccessfully attempted to adopt through public agencies before applying to the private agencies. These families were either turned down by the public agencies, or they dropped out, sometimes because of discomfort with the process.
The study's authors discuss the role of private African American adoption agencies in recruiting adoptive families, especially those who might not adopt through public agencies. These agencies may be better equipped to guide African American parents through the adoption process.
"The Role of Private Adoption Agencies in Facilitating African American Adoptions," by T. C. Smith-McKeever and R. G. McRoy, was published in Families in Society, Volume 86(4):
- Coping With Parental Loss Due to Termination of Parental Rights
Children and adolescents who lose their parents because of a termination of parental rights (TPR) may respond with a variety of coping strategies, some of which may not promote good mental health. Despite their parents' maltreatment, these children often grieve the parental loss and may need specific help in developing coping strategies that help them heal and move forward.
To study coping strategies, researchers interviewed 60 children and adolescents, ages 9–18, who had been removed from their parents because of abuse or neglect. After an average of eight placements in foster care, these children had been placed in residential treatment because of moderate to severe emotional difficulties.
The researchers found that the children tended to use avoidant coping strategies the most, followed by emotion-focused coping strategies and problem-focused coping strategies. Only emotion-focused coping strategies, which involved focusing on feelings by expressing them, were associated with greater psychological symptomatology.
Mental health practitioners who treat children grieving the loss of their parents due to TPR may want to shift their focus away from the expression of emotions to a more concrete focus that includes:
- Answering children's questions about the situation
- Helping the children develop problem-solving skills
- Working toward increasing self-esteem
- Developing the children's interpersonal skills
- Increasing the children's social network
This study, "Coping with Parental Loss Because of Termination of Parental Rights," by K. M. Schneider and V. Phares, was published in the November/December 2005 issue of Child Welfare.
http://www.ocfcpacourts.us/assets/files/list-762/file-953.pdf (PDF - 1,096 KB)
- Final Rule on Intercountry Adoption Accreditation
The Department of State has issued a final rule on the accreditation and approval of agencies and persons in accordance with the 1993 Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption and the Intercountry Adoption Act (IAA) of 2000. The Convention and the IAA generally require that agencies and persons be accredited or approved to provide adoption services for intercountry adoptions when both countries involved are parties to the Convention.
Effective March 17, 2006, the new action establishes:
- The accreditation and approval standards that accrediting entities will use for agencies and persons
- Requirements applicable to potential accrediting entities
- A framework for the Department's oversight of accrediting entities, agencies, and persons
In taking this step, the United States has moved closer to ratification of the Hague Convention, since there must be accredited and approved service providers before the Convention can be brought into force.
To read the State Department's final rule as published in the Federal Register, Vol. 71, No. 31, go to:
http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2006-02-15/pdf/06-1067.pdf (PDF - 591 KB)
For more general information on the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption, visit the State Department's website:
Children's Bureau Express last wrote about the Hague Convention in "State Department Issues Proposed Regulations for Intercountry Adoptions" (October 2003).
- Prevention Through Partnering with Parents
A unique approach to preventing maltreatment of infants and toddlers capitalizes on the natural relationships between childcare providers and parents. Childcare providers are trained to provide support, guidance, and information to parents and to intervene effectively when risk factors for abuse and neglect are identified. The program, Partnering with Parents: Preventing Abuse and Neglect, provides training for trainers and a curriculum for use with early childhood educators, directors, and family childcare home providers.
The program’s curriculum consists of 10 modules focused on three major areas:
- Working effectively with very young children and their families
- Reducing the risk of child abuse and neglect
- The role of the program director
Developed by ZERO TO THREE in partnership with NACCRRA, the Nation’s Network of Child Care Resource and Referral, the program has been in use for over 2 years. To date, teams from 12 States have been trained. Teams have consisted of trainers who work with childcare resource and referral agencies, as well as experts in child abuse and neglect from the community. A recent training held at ZERO TO THREE’s Washington, DC, office trained 40 additional trainers.
Preliminary evaluation data have been collected through self-reports from 240 trainers and more than 2,700 childcare professionals trained by the trainers. These data indicate that trainers experienced an average knowledge gain of 26 percent in such areas as relationship-based training strategies, observation, flexible response, and the impact of abuse and neglect on infants and toddlers. Their trainees showed a 19–23 percent increase in knowledge.
The Preventing Abuse and Neglect: Parent-Teacher Partnerships in Child Care curriculum will be available from ZERO TO THREE this summer. For more information about the program and training of trainers, visit the website:
- Housing for Grandparents Raising Grandchildren
A new apartment complex in the Bronx, New York, houses a unique clientele of grandparents raising their grandchildren. In most cases, grandparents obtained custody of their grandchildren because the children's parents died, were incarcerated, or had their parental rights terminated because of substance abuse, mental illness, or child neglect. Grandparents stepped in to take care of the children, even though many did not have the financial capacity to do so.
The 50 apartments in the GrandParent Family Apartments offer an affordable housing option to these low-income grandparents. They also offer a variety of services designed especially for this population and its wide age range. For instance, grandparents have access to a social worker, support groups, and parenting classes. Children can receive tutoring and take part in social events. Group meals are often made available for everyone.
The project is the result of a public-private collaboration among three groups:
- Presbyterian Senior Services sponsored the project, receiving money from low-income housing programs to produce equity for funding; they also provide the onsite services to residents.
- West Side Federation For Senior and Supportive Housing served as the developer.
- New York City Housing Authority donated the land and rental subsidies.
Local, State, Federal, and private funds contributed to the project.
For more information about GrandParent Family Apartments, contact:
- The Public Welfare Foundation Announces Funding Priorities
Youth programs are among the priorities recently announced for the Public Welfare Foundation's 2006 funding cycle. The focus is on support for organizations that include service, advocacy, or empowerment in their approach.
The Youth Program promotes the positive development of young people through improving access to quality education and training, adequate health services, leadership development, and empowerment. Complete information about funding opportunities and requirements can be found on their website:
- Mental Health Information for Judges
The Office of Child Development and Mental Health (OCDMH) is an independent, nonprofit affiliate of the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges. It was established to provide consultation, technical assistance, and training to juvenile and family court judicial officers and other professionals working with high-risk children and their families.
OCDMH covers such topics as childhood development, neuropsychiatry, and mental health. Services include research reviews, consultation, reviews of psychological testing and psychiatric evaluations, lectures, training, and technical assistance to programs and professionals. Information and services can be accessed through their website:
- Guidance for Grant Seekers
Providing up-to-date information on available grants from private foundations is the core mission of the Foundation Center. The information about each foundation includes:
- Funding levels
- Types of projects funded
This information is available to subscribers through an online searchable database and at libraries across the country.
In addition, the Foundation Center researches trends in the field and provides education and training on the grantmaking process through online tutorials and print publications. The Center also publishes several free e-newsletters that provide the most current information on grant opportunities. Complete information about the products and services is available on the Foundation Center website:
- A Colorado Response to Drug-Endangered Children
The Colorado Alliance for Drug-Endangered Children (DEC) is a nonprofit group that provides information, resources, and protocols for professionals who respond to the needs of children who have been exposed to the illegal manufacture of methamphetamine. While some of the information is State-specific, the website has a great deal of medical and research information, as well as an up-to-date news page and responses to frequently asked questions about children and methamphetamine.
- Family Group Conferencing
Family Group Conferencing (FGC) safeguards children by broadening the group of people who are committed to their safety. A new book, Widening the Circle: The Practice and Evaluation of Family Group Conferencing with Children, Youths, and Their Families, shows how FGC can empower the family group to develop and implement a plan for safeguarding children and other family members, with the support of the child welfare agency and other community organizations.
The book offers direction to child welfare workers on how to work with family groups and their service providers. The four sections address different aspects of FGC:
- Setting up and carrying out the conference
- Initiating and sustaining an FGC program
- Evaluating conferencing
- FGC as an alternative to traditional child welfare methods
Widening the Circle was edited by J. Pennell and G. Anderson and published by the National Association of Social Workers (NASW). It is available through the NASW website:
www.naswpress.org/publications/children/widening.html (Editor's note: Link no longer active)
- Working With Traumatized Children
The understanding and treatment of traumatized children in out-of-home care is the focus of a new book, Working with Traumatized Children in Child Welfare. The book provides a framework for understanding childhood separation, loss, and trauma, as well as a variety of helping interventions that focus on specific populations or treatments.
The book is divided into three main sections:
- Early chapters examine the impact of trauma on the child welfare population, including principles of neurodevelopment and parental and social conditions that contribute to childhood trauma.
- Chapters on treatment cover ethnically sensitive practice, children with disabilities, animal-assisted therapy, adolescent mothers, and eye-movement desensitization.
- A final section of the book discusses proposals for improved collaboration between the child welfare and mental health systems.
Working with Traumatized Children in Child Welfare was edited by N. B. Webb, and contributing authors included a number of experts in child welfare and mental health. It was published by Guilford Publications and is available through their website:
- Assisting Youth With Serious Mental Health Conditions
The Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law has analyzed 57 Federal programs that address the needs of youth with serious mental health conditions who are transitioning into adulthood. Their Moving On series of factsheets offers information about each program’s purpose, services and funded activities, the administering Federal agency, and a brief assessment of the program’s impact. Twelve types of programs are included:
- Mental health
- Substance abuse
- Health services
- Basic supports
- School-based programs addressing transition issues
- Higher education
- Independent living for people with disabilities and other special populations
- Generic independent living skills
- Family planning and parenting assistance
- Social services
- Youth involved with juvenile justice
Moving On: Analysis of Federal Programs Funding Services for Transition-Age Youth with Serious Mental Health Conditions is available on the Bazelon website:
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.
- Parents Anonymous® Offers Training and Technical Assistance
Parents Anonymous has built its child abuse prevention program around a concept of shared parent leadership within community-based organizations. The national Parents Anonymous organization supports the development of effective shared parent leadership through an extensive program of training, technical assistance, publications, and research. Training and technical assistance are offered for government agencies, community-based organizations, professionals, and parents.
A core piece of the Parents Anonymous training and technical assistance program is Shared Leadership in Action. This program can be customized to meet specific needs of public and private agencies and communities in developing the leadership skills needed to effectively partner with parents. The program has seven key components, including needs assessment and planning, organizational development, training, ongoing technical assistance, staff support, recruitment of parent leaders, and evaluation.
Information about training is available online:
- Free Online Course on Bonding and Attachment
The Child Trauma Academy offers a variety of free online courses on child trauma. Their newest course, Bonding and Attachment in Maltreated Children, provides basic information on definitions of bonding and attachment, as well as a discussion of how attachment can be impaired when a child is abused or neglected.
Optional CEU credits are available for successful completion of the course. Visit the website to take the course and to view other course offerings:
Upcoming national conferences on adoption and child welfare through July 2006 include:
- Methamphetamine and Child Welfare Conference for Child Welfare and Alcohol and Drug Agency Directors
The Children's Bureau and the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment in the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
May 8–9, Washington, DC
Directors will receive invitations.
- What It Takes: Promising Practices and Collaboration for Families with Substance Abuse and Child Welfare Issues
American Humane Association's Rocky Mountain Quality Improvement Center
May 16–17, Phoenix/Mesa, AZ
- The Pathways to Adulthood National Independent Living/Transitional Living Conference
National Child Welfare Resource Center for Youth Development
May 17–19, Portland, OR
- America's Families: We All Play a Supporting Role
Prevent Child Abuse America
May 21–24, San Diego, CA
- 2006 Juvenile Justice National Symposium: Building Successful Alliances to Improve Outcomes
Child Welfare League of America
May 31–June 2, San Francisco, CA
- We Belong to Each Other: 2006 Conference and Skills Building Institutes on Family Group Decision Making
American Humane Association
June 5–8, San Antonio, TX
- Many Paths, One Direction: Strategies for Achieving Lasting Reform in Child Welfare
The Children's Bureau 2006 Meeting of States and Tribes
June 20–22, Arlington, VA
Participants will receive invitations.
- APSAC 14th Annual Colloquium
The American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children
June 21–24, Nashville, TN
- First Annual Conference: Parenting Traumatized Children
Attachment Disorder Network
June 22–24, Norcross, GA
- 20th Annual Conference: Treatment Foster Care: Withstanding the Test of Time
Foster Family-Based Treatment Association
July 16–19, Pittsburgh, PA
- The 9th National Child Welfare Data and Technology Conference
The National Resource Center for Child Welfare Data and Technology
July 19–21, 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: www.childwelfare.gov/calendar
- Methamphetamine and Child Welfare Conference for Child Welfare and Alcohol and Drug Agency Directors