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December/January 2013Vol. 13, No. 11Spotlight on Social Media

With the growing use of social media in the child welfare field, this month's Spotlight section highlights social media strategy and policy suggestions from the NRC for Child Welfare Data and Technology, a framework for developing social media privacy guidelines, and research on teen perceptions of social media's effect on their well-being.

Issue Spotlight

  • Social Media Use in Child Welfare

    Social Media Use in Child Welfare

    By Julie Ohm Chang, M.S., Project Manager, National Resource Center for Child Welfare Data and Technology

    Social media isn't a trend. It's now a principal way that people share information and stay connected. Social media technologies such as podcasts, RSS feeds, social networking sites, text messaging, and blogs allow anyone to create, modify, and share content easily and inexpensively.

    As organizations and agencies develop strategies for its use, social media is becoming more common in the child welfare field. It can help child welfare programs conduct activities ranging from advertising to staff recruitment, collaboration, networking, fundraising, and finding and supporting foster parents. Social media can help reach potential or current foster/adoptive parents, at-risk parents, past or current foster youth, mandated reporters (such as teachers and doctors), a specific neighborhood, or staff of partner or champion organizations through innovative communication tools. Additionally, social media can potentially boost the effectiveness of a wide range of programs, such as adoption, child protective services, foster care, and youth development. For effective use, however, agencies must develop two key components: a social media strategy and a social media policy.

    Developing Your Social Media Strategy
    It can be overwhelming to consider how different social media tools might benefit your agency and the children and families you serve. For example, does your agency need a Twitter or Facebook account? Who posts the updates, how often, and what should the content be?

    Instead of looking at all of the social media options and trying to figure out what you can do with them, child welfare agencies should take a look at their current programs and goals to see if any can be enhanced by social media tools. It is also important to think about the audience you want to reach. What information do they need and where will they look for it? Here are some examples.

    Examples of Goals, Audience, and Tools

    Program or AreaGoal(s)AudienceTool(s) Used and Examples
    Professional developmentHelp people know what is availableChild welfare professionals
    General public relationsGeneral public relationsGeneral public
    Child abuse preventionIncrease awareness of dangers of shaking a baby, news, awarenessParents and child care providers, other professionals working with children
    Community outreachSecure more donations of suitcases and duffel bags for children and youthSchool groups, church groups, other organizations
    Community buildingConnect foster parents to resourcesNew and experienced foster parents
    RecruitmentEnlist more families to register for trainingPotential foster/adoptive or respite families
    WorkforceJob previewsSocial work students, others considering a career in child welfare

    Social Media Policy, Safety, and Security
    Social media use brings concerns about safety and security. Child welfare information is sensitive and must be protected, and yet social media is all about sharing information. Experts say children in foster care especially need guidelines for using social media to prevent the unintentional disclosure of sensitive information. Even private messages on social networking sites are not truly secure. Organizations can address concerns by adopting a clear and comprehensive policy and designating trained people in the agency to manage its presence on social media.

    Here are some things to consider when creating a social media policy:

    • Is there already a social media strategy? Social media policy and strategy should align to avoid conflicts and allow for effective communication.
    • Consider whether existing policies need to be revised to incorporate social media. Your organization may need to revise existing policies on communications, antitrust law, employee codes of conduct, and so on.
    • Adopt a policy that takes into account unofficial outposts (personal accounts), official outposts (your organization's Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn accounts), and home bases (such as websites, blogs, or internal social networks).
    • Consider how your organization will respond to negative comments or replies, crisis situations, and queries from journalists.
    • Find your division or State's social media policies and learn them. Post them in the office. If your organization doesn't have separate social media guidelines, find your external communications policy and see if social media are covered. Talk with your public affairs or external communications team and discuss social media. Read The Getting Started With Government 2.0 Guide.
    • If your organization is a nonprofit, read The Nonprofit Social Media Policy Workbook

    Example Social Media Policies
    Here are examples of existing social media policies from child welfare, human services, and related organizations:

    For more information and examples, see the publication Social Media for Child Welfare Resource Guide by the National Resource Center for Child Welfare Data and Technology.

  • Framework for Social Media Privacy Guidelines

    Framework for Social Media Privacy Guidelines

    More than 90 percent of U.S. teenagers have access to the Internet, and roughly 73 percent of those teens use social media networks. Undoubtedly, youth in foster care are among that 73 percent. Citing the unknown prevalence of child welfare agency policies for youth in care who use social media, a new article presents a framework for developing these important guidelines.

    Dale Fitch, an assistant professor in the Missouri University School of Social Work, asserts that allowing youth in care to use social media, and presenting them with strategies for securing their privacy, presents a number of positive implications for child welfare professionals. Caseworkers and other involved adults may gain insight into the youth's life that he or she may not otherwise disclose. Other concerns, such as developmental issues, may also be discovered. Using the Critical Systems Heuristics (CSH), a structure for reflective practice based on practical philosophy and systems thinking, Fitch created a framework for child welfare agencies to develop guidelines to ensure youth privacy online.

    Fitch's article presents an application of the framework to serve as a guide for agencies, information on the scope of social media use among youth, and strategies for how concerned parties may work together to bridge the gap between the unrestricted use of social media and developing guidelines for safe use. 

    "Youth in Foster Care and Social Media: A Framework for Developing Privacy Guidelines," by Dale Fitch, appeared in the Journal of Technology in Human Services, July 2012, and is available for purchase here: 

    In September, the University of Missouri News Bureau featured an article about Fitch's framework, which is available on the News Bureau's website:

    Related Item

    On Wednesday, November 28, the Children's Bureau hosted the sixth topical webinar in its centennial webinar series. The webinar, "Friending Your Clients on Facebook: How Social Media Influences Child Welfare Practice," explored the role of social media in child welfare practice, including the importance of developing strong social media policies and procedures and the ethical issues related to the use of social media to gather information about and communicate with clients in child welfare practice. Presenters included Dr. Dale Fitch, author of "Youth in Foster Care and Social Media: A Framework for Developing Privacy Guidelines" and Brittany Smith, Director of Community Management, Children's Mental Health Network. 

    A recording and transcript of the webinar will soon be posted on the Children's Bureau's centennial website:

  • Digital Media and Drop-In Centers for Youth

    Digital Media and Drop-In Centers for Youth

    Drop-in centers for homeless youth offer an opportunity to provide exposure to and instruction in communications technology for this population. A recent article in the Children and Youth Services Review shows how integrating digital media at drop-in centers can foster relationships and teach important life and job skills to homeless and runaway youth. The article centers on the New Tech for Youth Sessions program in Seattle, WA, that provides youth with one-on-one instruction and technical training.

    The New Tech for Youth Sessions is a partnership between Street Youth Ministries in Washington State and the University of Washington Information School. The program offers 13 classes to 75 youth ages 13–22 over the course of 16 months. Program goals are twofold: (1) Create an environment where youth interact one-on-one with drop-in staff in order to develop trust and strengthen relationships and (2) help youth develop life and job skills through technology, including the following:

    • Use digital media to express goals and set goals for their future
    • Form and manage an online identity
    • Develop language and written skills
    • Use the Internet to find useful information for achieving life goals

    Program participants receive three incentives as they move through the course. At the first class, students receive a thumb drive for storing documents. At the third class, students are granted media time with the center's media tools during drop-in hours. At the final session, youth receive an iPod and a $150 gift card for purchasing music. The iPod is intended to instill a sense of self-worth for youth who typically receive secondhand items.

    The authors note the lack of literature about integrating digital technology into drop-in centers and hope this program can serve as an example for other centers that serve homeless and runaway youth. The article includes lessons learned from the New Tech for Youth Sessions program.

    "How to Integrate Digital Media into a Drop-In for Homeless Young People for Deepening Relationships Between Youth and Adults," by D. Hendry, J. Woelfer, R. Harper, T. Bauer, B. Fitzer, and M. Champagne, was published in the Children and Youth Services Review, 33(5), 2011. It is available here: (318 KB)

  • Impact of Social Media on Teens' Well-Being

    Impact of Social Media on Teens' Well-Being

    A report by Common Sense Media's Program for the Study of Children and Media presents data from a quantitative study focused on understanding American teens' perception of social media. The study examined teen perceptions of social media's role in their lives and its effect on their social and emotional well-being. According to the report, 90 percent of American teens use some form of social media.

    In early 2012, survey data were gathered from a nationally representative sample of 1,030 13- to 17-year olds to obtain a snapshot of teenage social media use. Survey results were extensive, but four key findings stood out:

    • The vast majority of teenagers in the United States are avid, daily social media users.
    • Teens are more likely to report that using social media has a positive influence on their social and emotional lives than a negative one.
    • Despite social media's pervasiveness, most teens prefer face-to-face communication, and many youth recognize that social media hinders this interaction.
    • A large number of teens expressed a desire to disconnect or "unplug" more often and understand that others close to them feel the same way.

    This emerging phenomenon has implications in the child welfare arena. The survey reveals that:

    • Most teens believe that their social networking sites have little impact, positive or negative, on their social and emotional welfare. Approximately 70-80 percent of respondents reported that their use of social media does not generally influence their self-worth, self-confidence, how popular they feel, or their level of empathy felt for others.
    • Fifteen to 30 percent of teens stated that social networking did have a positive effect on their social and emotional well-being—they reported feeling less shy, more outgoing, more self-confident, more popular, more sympathetic to others, and better about themselves.
    • A much smaller percentage of respondents, approximately 5 percent, reported that social media made them feel more depressed, less popular, less confident, and worse about themselves.

    Researchers also examined the perceptions of heavy social media users with those of other teens less active in social networking. Overall, both groups of teens reported a high level of social and emotional well-being.

    Social Media, Social Life: How Teens View Their Digital Lives is available on the Common Sense Media website: (2MB)

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News From the Children's Bureau

The eighth article in our second Centennial Series highlights the Children's Bureau's first clearinghouses and National Resource Centers. We also feature an article from CB staff about title IV-E waiver demonstration projects, announce the launch of CB's new website, and provide other Bureau updates.

  • Instability Among Young Children in Care

    Instability Among Young Children in Care

    The Administration for Children and Families' Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation (OPRE) released a research brief exploring the stability of caregivers and households of infants in out-of-home care. Based on data from the National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being (NSCAW), a longitudinal study of children at risk of abuse or neglect or already in the child welfare system, the brief focused on 1,196 children who were infants involved in investigations of abuse or neglect and were followed until they reached 5–7 years old. Data were collected from 1999 to 2007 and through interviews with caregivers and caseworkers.

    Specifically, researchers sought to find answers to the following questions:

    • How common are caregiver and household changes that last 1 week or longer for infants involved in a maltreatment investigation?
    • How many changes in caregivers and households occur during the first 2 years of life and up to the time that children enter school?
    • What are the characteristics of these children and their families?
    • Are some children at increased risk for experiencing a caregiver or household change or a higher number of changes?

    Results showed that caregiver changes were very common in the first 2 years of life. More than 33 percent of children experienced at least one caregiver change during the first 6 months of life. Just under 25 percent of children 13–18 months old experienced at least one change, and almost half of the children (45.1 percent) experienced at least one change from 19 to 24 months old.

    Instability and Early Life Changes Among Children in the Child Welfare System is available on the OPRE website: (352 KB)

  • Title IV-E Waiver Demonstration Projects

    Title IV-E Waiver Demonstration Projects

    By Bethany Miller, Children's Bureau Child Welfare Specialist

    The Child and Family Services Improvement and Innovation Act, P.L. 112-34, signed into law on September 30, 2011, provided the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) with authority to approve up to 10 title IV-E child welfare waiver demonstration projects in fiscal year (FY) 2012–2014. These demonstration projects involve the waiver of certain requirements of titles IV-E and IV-B of the Social Security Act. 

    While waiver demonstration projects do not provide additional funding to carry out new services, they allow more flexible use of Federal funds in order to test new approaches to service delivery and financing structures. It is anticipated that this flexibility will result in improved outcomes for children and families involved in the child welfare system, while remaining cost neutral to the Federal Government.

    HHS is giving priority consideration to demonstration projects that test or implement approaches that will positively impact well-being outcomes for children, youth, and their families, with particular attention to addressing the trauma experienced by children in the child welfare system. Additional emphasis is placed on leveraging resources and partners to make improvements concurrently through child welfare and related program areas.

    On September 28, 2012, HHS approved nine demonstration projects for Arkansas, Colorado, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Utah, Washington, and Wisconsin. These States are currently working to further refine the target populations they will serve, the interventions they will implement, and the evaluation designs they will use to measure the impact of the demonstration.

    The projects vary in their scope, target populations, and interventions. Some States are implementing specific evidence-based interventions (EBIs) with a discrete target population (e.g., Parent-Child Interaction Therapy with infants and toddlers and their families). Other States have identified participating counties that will choose from an array of EBIs to be implemented within those jurisdictions, with the opportunity for further expansion later in the demonstration. Still, others are taking a multifaceted approach where EBIs will be implemented statewide and with all children from birth to adulthood. Examples of proposed interventions include a Differential Response system to divert children from entering out-of-home care whenever possible; a partnership between State child welfare and mental health agencies to support interventions for children in or at-risk of entering congregate care; early childhood interventions; and post-reunification services and supports. 

    The Information Memorandum on child welfare waiver demonstration projects, ACYF-CB-IM-12-05, outlines the requirements for projects and proposal submission procedures and can be found here: (489 KB) 

    HHS set January 15, 2013, as the deadline for title IV-E agencies to submit proposals for consideration in FY 2013. Proposals must be submitted to

    Technical assistance on programmatic, fiscal, and evaluation matters is available to current and prospective child welfare waiver demonstration projects.  Additional information about title IV-E child welfare waiver demonstration projects, including technical assistance resources and evaluation reports, is accessible through the Children’s Bureau website. Questions can be directed to

  • Centennial Series: CB's Clearinghouses and National Resource Centers

    Centennial Series: CB's Clearinghouses and National Resource Centers

    This is the eighth 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.

    The 1980s saw increased incidents of child abuse and neglect, and the number of children entering out-of-home care skyrocketed. As a result of the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA), the Children's Bureau was able to respond to these crises with discretionary grants for new programs and research on the prevention, identification, and treatment of child abuse and neglect. Also as a result of CAPTA, the Children's Bureau created a clearinghouse to disseminate information and, later, a group of National Resource Centers to provide the necessary training and technical assistance (T&TA) to States on specific child welfare focus areas.

    CAPTA established the National Center on Child Abuse and Neglect (NCCAN) within the Children's Bureau to administer grants to States and help States qualify for grant funds. Congress authorized $4.5 million to support NCCAN's first-year activities. In addition to discretionary grant responsibilities, the center also was required to create and maintain a national clearinghouse.

    The National Clearinghouse on Child Abuse and Neglect Information was formed in 1975. Among its many activities, it created and disseminated training materials to the child welfare field. The 1978 Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment and Adoption Reform Act established the U.S. Advisory Board on Child Abuse and Neglect that coordinated and advised NCCAN projects. One of NCCAN's most successful resources was the User Manual Series, which was launched in 1970. The series' many volumes were intended for an audience concerned with prevention across a wide range of professional fields, including education, nursing, mental health, law enforcement, child care, and more. Individual issues focused on child maltreatment, family violence, and sexual abuse and exploitation, while the entire series was focused on a multidisciplinary approach to prevention. The User Manual Series has been an enduring resource. Some issues were revised in the early 1990s, and the latest versions were released between 2003 and 2010.

    The 1980s brought more change to the prevention field. In 1983, the first Child Abuse Prevention Month proclamation was issued. The Child Abuse Amendments of 1984 (P.L. 98-457) established the National Clearinghouse on Family Violence Prevention, and its activities were to be coordinated with the child abuse clearinghouse maintained by NCCAN. In 1986, the Omnibus Reconciliation Act (P.L. 99-509) authorized the National Adoption Information Clearinghouse. The adoption clearinghouse was responsible for collecting and disseminating information and data on infant adoption and the adoption of children with special needs. Additionally, the Children's Bureau funded a group of nine States to develop strategies for increasing adoption from foster care. Also in 1988, the Child Abuse Prevention, Adoption, and Family Services Act (P.L. 100-294) created the Inter-Agency Task Force on Child Abuse and Neglect and allowed the director of NCCAN to contract out the operation of a child abuse information clearinghouse.

    The Children's Bureau also funded its first topical National Resource Centers (NRCs) during this time. In 1986, the Bureau awarded grants to create six NRCs for Child Welfare Services. An article announcing the grants in the January-February 1986 issue of Children Today noted that funding for NRC services to States was expected to be paid in part by the States (Children's Bureau, 1986). Each of the six centers focused on a different child welfare service topic:

    • Family-based services
    • Foster and residential care
    • Legal resources on child welfare programs
    • Child welfare program management and administration
    • Youth services
    • Special needs adoption

    Three additional NRCs were established later that same year, focusing on child welfare services for children with developmental disabilities, child abuse and neglect, and a child abuse clinical resource center.

    The Abandoned Infants Assistance Act (P.L. 100-505), also enacted by Congress in 1988, authorized funding for programs to prevent infant abandonment. The act provided funding to address the needs of infants that had been abandoned (especially those with AIDS), find permanent families for these children, and recruit and retain social service professionals. The act's reauthorization in 1991 created the National Abandoned Infants Assistance (AIA) Resource Center, which still exists today and provides training, information, consultation, and resources to AIA service providers and other public and community-based agencies.

    Today, the Children's Bureau sponsors 11 NRCs in its T&TA Network, which provides States, Tribes, courts, and other child welfare organizations with assistance in meeting Federal requirements, reaching desired outcomes, using monitoring systems, and more to promote safety, permanency, and well-being for children and families. The National Clearinghouse on Child Abuse and Neglect Information and the National Adoption Information Clearinghouse consolidated in 2006 to form Child Welfare Information Gateway. Information Gateway connects adoption, child welfare and related professionals and the public to information and resources that help them address the needs of children and families in their communities. The clearinghouse collects, produces, and disseminates print and electronic publications, websites, and online databases covering a wide range of child welfare topics, including family preservation and support, child abuse prevention, foster care, domestic and intercountry adoption, search and reunion, and much more.


    Children's Bureau. 1986. Children Today, 15(1).

    Related Item

    The third historical webinar in the Children's Bureau's centennial webinar series will take place on December 11, 2012. To register for "The Story of the Children's Bureau, Changing Times, Reshaping Priorities: 1961–1986," 12 p.m.–1:30 p.m., visit:

  • CB Launches New Website

    CB Launches New Website

    The Children's Bureau (CB) is proud to announce the launch of our new website. The new look and feel prominently displays the latest CB news, highlights from our programs, and links to useful resources. One of the many upgrades is a robust, searchable resource library containing major reports, research, data, and other program-related materials and content pages. This feature makes it easier for grantees, researchers, government officials, the general public, and other audiences to efficiently find what they need. 

    The new website also allows users to perform keyword searches of the library on every individual page, view events on the new CB calendar,
    or choose to view related or featured resources.

    Visit the Children's Bureau's new website today!


    Related Item

    Children's Bureau Express featured a message from Joe Bock, the Acting Associate Commissioner of the Children's Bureau, announcing the launch of the transition websites for the Children's Bureau and the Administration for Children and Families in the article "ACF, CB Launch New Websites" (March 2012).

  • Special-Issue Journal Commemorates CB Centennial

    Special-Issue Journal Commemorates CB Centennial

    In commemoration of the Children's Bureau's centennial, the Journal of Public Child Welfare published a special double issue focused on the Children's Bureau's contributions to the field of child welfare. Children's Bureau staff authored the first article about the Bureau's history of support to the child welfare workforce. The final article, written by staff from the Bureau and Child Welfare Information Gateway, outlines a vision for the future of child welfare.

    One article explores the Children's Bureau's contributions to social work education. The authors note that the increase in reports of child abuse and neglect in the 1960s prompted many States to increase their numbers of child welfare personnel. However, States required little in the way of specialized social work education; many required only a bachelor's degree or just a high school diploma. With the passage of the Adoption Assistance and Child Welfare Act in 1980, States were allowed to apply title IV-E funds toward social work education. Over the past 25 years, the Children's Bureau has made professionalizing social work a priority, providing funds for, among other things, recruiting more social workers to the field.

    The article "Twenty-Five Years of the Children's Bureau Investment in Social Work Education" highlights the Bureau's efforts to strengthen the social work profession and examines the results of a survey sent to all social work programs in the United States.

    Other articles explore issues such as:

    • Successful student recruitment efforts
    • A historical look at the private sector's role in child welfare
    • Tribal-State intergovernmental agreements
    • Findings from a community-based title IV-E waiver demonstration program to increase family engagement

    The Journal of Public Child Welfare, 6(4), 2012, "Special Issue: One Hundred Years of the U.S. Children's Bureau Professionalizing and Improving Child Welfare," includes several free articles, and the entire issue is available for purchase here:

    For more information on the Children's Bureau's 100-year history, visit the Bureau's centennial website:

    Related Item

    Children's Bureau Express has produced two series of articles highlighting the Children's Bureau's centennial. 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. The second Centennial Series, CB Decade-by-Decade, examines highlights from each decade of the Children's Bureau's first 100 years.

  • 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:

    For news from the Administration for Children and Families, read the latest entries in its blog, The Family Room

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

  • ACF's The Family Room

    ACF's The Family Room

    The Administration for Children and Families' (ACF's) blog—The Family Room—regularly provides information about new initiatives, policy announcements, and other important ACF news. Blog entries are authored by George Sheldon, Acting Assistant Secretary for ACF, and various Administration staff and span topics that include adoption, the Affordable Care Act, child abuse and neglect, foster care, Head Start, runaway and homeless youth, and countless others.

    Recent blog articles have focused on the following:

    To read these blog entries and more, visit The Family Room on the ACF website:

Training and Technical Assistance Update

A new trainer's guide on complying with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Multiethnic Placement Act of 1994 and a toolkit to help practitioners work more effectively with LGBTQ and runaway youth are just a few updates from CB's T&TA Network.

Child Welfare Research

CBX points to a report updating the child development field on a research initiative from 2000, a study examining the effectiveness of the SafeCare program with American Indian families, research on universal mandatory reporting laws, and more.

  • From Neurons to Neighborhoods Update

    From Neurons to Neighborhoods Update

    The National Academies of Sciences recently released a report updating the child development field on a research initiative from 2000 titled From Neurons to Neighborhoods. The original report resulted from a study spanning more than 2 years and aimed at reexamining the nation's response to the needs of young children and families. The update sought to assess measureable progress on the goals outlined in the original report, as well as evaluate challenges that remain in the field.

    The first section of the report update is devoted to discussing the four themes highlighted in the original report and assessing their current relevance. The researchers note that all four themes are still worthy of attention. These themes are:

    • Children are born wired for feelings and ready to learn
    • Early environments are important, and nurturing relationships are essential
    • Society is changing, and the needs of young children are not being addressed adequately
    • Interactions among early childhood science, policy, and practice are problematic and demand significant rethinking

    The report update also devotes a chapter to research issues in early childhood development. This section includes a number of papers from experts in the field on timely topics, including nature and nurture, the role of stress in physical and mental health, and learning. Finally, the report devotes a section to policy issues in early childhood development.

    The full report, From Neurons to Neighborhoods: An Update: Workshop Summary, is available for purchase on the National Academies Press website:

    Related Item

    Children's Bureau Express covered the original report From Neurons to Neighborhoods in the article "Study Calls for Reexamining How We Treat Young Children" (January/February 2001).

  • Healing-Informed Intervention

    Healing-Informed Intervention

    The need for culturally competent interventions aimed at the young Latino population and centered on healing-informed care is the focus of a recent white paper by the National Latino Fatherhood and Family Institute (NLFFI). The paper highlights La Cultura Cura or Cultural-Based Healing, a method for healing and healthy development that uses restoring cultural identity as the foundation for enhancing well-being.

    Of the 16 million Latino children and youth in the United States, more than 35 percent are poor. These children are also more than twice as likely to drop out of high school and they make up the majority of juvenile detention center and prison populations. The authors assert that culturally competent programs addressing the unique needs of the Latino population exist but that they must be replicated to help the prevention field understand the disparity.

    La Cultura Cura employs a multigenerational process for remembering or returning to cultural values to prevent negative outcomes for Latino and Native boys and men. NLFFI, a division of the National Compadres Network, provides a framework—La Cultura Cura Healing Generations—a culturally framed, healing- and assets-based approach that can be applied to education, engagement, and prevention services. The white paper outlines policy and systems change recommendations for bringing this framework to scale.  

    Lifting Latinos Up by Their "Rootstraps": Moving Beyond Trauma Through a Healing-Informed Model to Engage Latino Boys and Men is available on the NLFFI website: (11 MB)

    Jerry Tello, National Latino Fatherhood and Family Institute Director, hosted the webinar "Lifting Latinos Up by Their Rootstraps!" The recorded webinar is now available online, however NLFFI requests that materials be used only for personal or organizational use and not for trainings. To view the webinar recording, visit:

  • 2012 Foster Care Alumni Internship Report

    2012 Foster Care Alumni Internship Report

    In 2003, the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute (CCAI), a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to raising awareness about the children in need of permanent and loving homes, instituted the CCAI Foster Youth Internship (FYI) program. Every year, a new class of foster care alumni is selected for a highly coveted congressional internship that enables them to use their child welfare experience to encourage legislative change. As part of the internship program, each FYI intern is tasked with selecting and researching a policy issue that is meaningful to him or her and affects youth in care. These policy reports, with recommendations, are presented at a congressional briefing and then made available to child welfare advocates. Hear Me Now: Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute's 2012 Foster Youth Internship Report is now available.

    In "Transitional Foster Youth, Post-Secondary Education, & Mentor Programs," the author asserts that teens graduating from high school with aspirations of attending college benefit substantially from mentoring programs that provide the support, guidance, and financial assistance they need to realize their dream of postsecondary education. Compared to adolescents in the general population, youth exiting foster care face a number of barriers to higher education; many are more focused on obtaining housing and employment than attending college, and many youth do not have the support systems in place to guide them through this next step.

    "A Pill for Every Problem: Overmedication and Lack of Mental Health Services" details the frequent misdiagnosis, overprescription, and overmedication of many youth in need of real, meaningful mental health services. The author presents the story of Kyle, a child formerly in care, and his difficult childhood that included continuous misdiagnoses and extreme overmedication and resulted in adverse biological and behavioral reactions. The author also discusses informed consent and the importance for youth to have the ability to make decisions about their own mental and physical health.

    Hear Me Now: Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute's 2012 Foster Youth Internship Report is available on the CCAI website: (2 MB)

  • The Role of Adoption Subsidies

    The Role of Adoption Subsidies

    For children in out-of-home care who cannot return home, adoption provides better outcomes than long-term foster care. A new report shows that using subsidies to achieve permanence through adoption for these children also is more cost-effective for States than long-term foster care.

    The report, The Vital Role of Adoption Subsidies: Increasing Permanency and Improving Children's Lives (While Saving States Money), shows that the use of subsidies increases the rate of adoption from foster care and helps adoptive families better meet children's need for services. At the same time, subsidy rates are generally lower than foster care rates, and increasing the number of adoptions of children from foster care can qualify a State for an Adoption Incentive Award from the Federal Government.

    The report was produced by the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute in collaboration with the North American Council on Adoptable Children and Adoption Support and Preservation (ASAP). It is available from the Adoption Institute website:  (857 KB)

    The Adoption Institute also produced a factsheet related to the report. Resources for Advocates provides links to sources of State adoption data and State child welfare policy. The factsheet is also available on the Adoption Institute website: (512 KB)

  • Examining Universal Mandatory Reporting

    Examining Universal Mandatory Reporting

    Many high-profile cases of child abuse in which timely reports were not made have prompted several States to consider whether all adults should be designated as mandatory reporters. A new policy brief from the Child Welfare State Policy Advocacy and Reform Center (SPARC), An Analysis of State Laws Regarding Mandated Reporting of Child Maltreatment, examines the experiences of States with universal mandatory reporting laws.

    In the report, author Rebecca McElroy, a senior policy analyst with the nonprofit organization ChildFocus, looks at reporting data from 2010 and compares rates of reporting between States that require all persons to report and those States that do not. The results show that the rates of reporting were no higher but that the rates of substantiation were higher in States with universal reporting.

    The report also presents the results of interviews conducted by SPARC staff with administrators of eight States with universal reporting laws. In general, these administrators felt that universal reporting is good policy. Some areas for policy improvements, including better public awareness and training on reporting requirements, also were discussed.

    The report is available on the FirstFocus website:

  • SafeCare and American Indian Families

    SafeCare and American Indian Families

    A new research study, published in the August 2012 edition of Child Maltreatment, examines the effectiveness of SafeCare, an evidence-based home-visiting program for families involved in the child welfare system. The study was implemented statewide in Oklahoma and utilized a sample of 2,175 families. Of these families, researchers were able to isolate 354 who self-identified as American Indian. Because of this large ethnic subsample, researchers were in the unique position to assess the cultural competency of the program and to examine its effectiveness for American Indians. The study is one of the first to employ a rigorous evaluation to examine the effectiveness of home-visiting services for American Indian parents involved in the child welfare system.

    SafeCare employs a home-based training curriculum for parents who are at-risk or have been reported for child maltreatment. The program was developed for families who have children between the ages of 0 and 5 and is especially well-suited to address issues with child neglect.

    The researchers compared American Indian families receiving SafeCare to those receiving services as usual. The article reported the following findings:

    • SafeCare was equally effective at reducing child welfare recidivism among American Indian parents as it was among other ethnic groups.
    • American Indian parents receiving the program services reported greater reductions in depression.
    • Those in the SafeCare group reported more positive perceptions about the cultural competency of the services.
    • Families and workers in the intervention group reported higher levels of client-provider agreement on intervention goals and greater feelings of mutual liking, collaboration, affiliation, and trust.
    • Those receiving the intervention reported higher levels of service quality.

    The full report, Is a Structured, Manualized, Evidence-Based Treatment Protocol Culturally Competent and Equivalently Effective Among American Indian Parents in Child Welfare?, is available on the Sage Publications website:

Strategies and Tools for Practice


  • Resources for Combating Exposure to Violence

    Resources for Combating Exposure to Violence

    Millions of children are exposed to home, school, and community violence in the United States. If unaddressed, exposure to violence can interfere with a child's physical, emotional, and intellectual development. To combat this issue, schools need reliable information and straight-forward tools.

    Safe Start Center's Toolkit for Schools is a collection of resources designed to teach school faculty about children's exposure to violence, its negative repercussions, and what can be done to help. The toolkit includes the following:

    • Tips for teachers
    • Tips for agencies and staff working with youth
    • Tips for agencies working with immigrant families
    • A guide for families about recognizing the signs of exposure to violence and tips for helping children recover
    • Three issue briefs from the Moving from Evidence to Action series focused on understanding children's exposure to violence

    Safe Start Center's Toolkit for Schools is available on the Safe Start Center's website:

  • Talking to Children About Adoption

    Talking to Children About Adoption

    Adoption from a child's point of view can be a confusing and difficult experience. The Kinship Center released a new tip sheet that offers practical advice on how to introduce and discuss a child's adoption story in positive, age-appropriate ways. The author, an adoptive mother and trainer in the areas of grief, loss, and trauma, shares some tips for promoting and maintaining open and direct communication around a child's background and adoption details.

    In particular, this tip sheet emphasizes the following key themes:

    • Start talking to your child about adoption from a very early age
    • Be truthful and honest in your discussions without replacing missing facts
    • Reach out to other adoptive parents, significant other, or adoption professionals for support
    • Recognize your own biases and areas of discomfort concerning adoption issues
    • Place the responsibility for stressful events or experiences on the adults involved
    • Take good care of your physical and emotional health as you allow a child to express his grief

    Your Child's Story: Tips From An Adoptive Parent by Debbie Shugg is available online on the ATTACh website: (325 - KB)

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.

  • Conferences


    Upcoming national conferences on child welfare and adoption through March 2013 include:

    January 2013

    • Kent Regional 4C 39th Annual Early Childhood Conference
      Building Blocks for a Bright Future
      Kent Regional 4C
      January 19, Grand Rapids, MI 
    • The Society for Social Work and Research 2013 Annual Conference
      January 16–20, San Diego, CA
    • 27th Annual San Diego International Conference On Child and Family Maltreatment
      Chadwick Center for Children and Families, Rady Children's Hospital-San Diego
      January 26–31, San Diego, CA

    February 2013

    March 2013

    • 2012 Baccalaureate Program Directors Annual Conference
      The Association of Baccalaureate Social Work Program Directors, Inc.
      March 6–10, Myrtle Beach, SC
    • CornerHouse Advanced Forensic Interview Training
      March 13–19, Minneapolis, MN

    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:

  • Contemporary Practices in Early Intervention

    Contemporary Practices in Early Intervention

    The Contemporary Practices in Early Intervention for Children Birth to Age Five (CPEI) is offering early childhood intervention service providers a series of trainings and resources to meet the needs of young vulnerable children and their families. The trainings are intended for early intervention and early childhood service providers from the education, health care, therapeutic, and social service arenas. 

    The CPEI curriculum is available through four options:

    • Graduate Certificate Program: Contemporary Practices in Early Childhood Intervention: A hybrid distance learning and partial classroom instruction program on evidenced-based early intervention practices through Georgetown University, School of Continuing Studies, and Center for Continuing and Professional Development
    • Continuing Education Credit: Various curriculums worth 20 credit hours or two continuing education credits and includes a certificate indicating hours earned
    • Non-Credit: Resources for providers not seeking continuing education credits
    • Group Training: Offered for those interested in arranging group trainings or trainings to statewide systems

    More information and registration for the CPEI curriculum is available on the Contemporary Practices in Early Intervention for Children Birth to Age Five website: