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June 2018Vol. 19, No. 5Spotlight on Engaging Fathers

In this month's CBX, read a message from Jerry Milner, Associate Commissioner of the Children's Bureau, about the value of father involvement to the healthy development of children and to family connectedness, particularly for children and youth involved in child welfare; how responsible fatherhood programs can help low-income fathers overcome barriers keeping them from being involved in their children's lives; how proper training can help child welfare professionals better engage fathers and help them succeed, and more.

Issue Spotlight

  • Advanced Fatherhood Training Curriculum Package

    Advanced Fatherhood Training Curriculum Package

    The National Family Preservation Network offers the Advanced Fatherhood Training Curriculum, a follow-up curriculum to the Basic Fatherhood Training Curriculum. This training is intended for professionals who want to better engage fathers who are resistant or reluctant to getting involved with their children. This curriculum focuses on the skills needed to engage fathers as well as best practices in working with them.

    The training package contains a 33-page manual featuring the following topics:

    • Differences in fathers' and mothers' communication and parenting styles
    • Strategies for overcoming obstacles to father involvement
    • Helpful hints when engaging fathers
    • Case examples identifying specific skills to engage fathers
    • Section for administrators that focuses on agency policies, competency levels, and research findings that promote father-friendly practice

    The training also includes a 33-minute video on best practices featuring the following:

    • Administrators' perspectives on creating a father-friendly agency
    • Success stories from practitioners on engaging and involving fathers in their children's lives
    • Insights from fathers on how they became engaged and involved with their children
    • Essays from school-age children on what their fathers mean to them

    This training is recommended to be conducted in small groups to allow enough time for reflection and discussion. The materials also include a recommended format for the training.

    Advanced Fatherhood Training Curriculum is available at

    Related Item

    Children's Bureau Express has previously covered the National Family Preservation Network's fatherhood curricula in the article "Father Involvement Curricula" (April 2012, Vol. 13, No. 3), which includes information on and where to find Basic Fatherhood Training Curriculum. The article is available at

  • A Time to Celebrate and to Challenge Ourselves

    A Time to Celebrate and to Challenge Ourselves

    Written by Jerry Milner, Associate Commissioner at the Children's Bureau.

    The month of June provides two causes for celebration in the child welfare world, Father's Day and National Reunification Month. Both allow us the opportunity to reflect on the importance of families. Both also prompt us to redouble our efforts to strengthen families and do everything we can as a system and in our communities to respect and nurture the integrity of the parent-child relationship.

    The value of father involvement to the healthy development of children and to family connectedness is critical. Even when fathers are unable to be active in their children's lives, paternal relatives remain vital sources of support and belonging, and they can make a tremendous difference in the healthy development and everyday lives of children. 

    Even so, working with fathers has long been a challenge in child welfare. Unfortunately, the latest round of the Child and Family Services Reviews confirms that the challenge continues.  Father engagement can be difficult and discouraging work. Human relationships, trauma, geographic separation, and a host of other societal conditions often exacerbate the challenge, not to mention values that may lead to ignoring or devaluing fathers who do not reside with their children. I know that there are incredible efforts out there that are making headway on engaging fathers, but I am afraid they remain the exception rather than the norm. 

    I am afraid, as professionals, we may be too soon to rule out or fail to recognize the inherent value of fathers to the lives of children, even if they do not reside under the same roof. In fact, the fears that fathers and their families may have relative to other human service programs—for example, child support and public assistance—may discourage fathers from coming forward seeking more active engagement with their children. We in Administration for Children and Families (ACF) are actively addressing these concerns across ACF programs so that we can project consistently positive messages and expectations regarding father involvement and alleviate some of the real or imagined barriers to keeping fathers closely connected to their children.

    Similarly, Reunification Month is a time to celebrate resiliency, hard work, and the power of families to heal. It is a time to acknowledge perseverance and commit to seeking positive outcomes for families separated through foster care. Parents that achieve reunification often have overcome great odds—and too often without adequate support. Their achievement is a demonstration of parental love and its ability to propel change. 

    Reunification month also is a time to challenge ourselves to reduce the unnecessary removal of children from their homes and a reminder of the critical importance and benefit of investing in families before harm occurs and before separation becomes necessary. The road for too many parents is incredibly arduous. We fall short of providing parents with services that match their specific needs in ways that are easy to access and effective. We ask parents to do an awful lot—sometimes too much—given all they may be confronting and the real possibly that they may be struggling with their own personal trauma histories. Responding to these situations requires us to reflect on our values as a profession, system, and society and seek to create the kinds of community-based environments where families can receive the supports they need and be helped to avoid damaging crises.

    This June, we have an opportunity to imagine a child welfare system where fathers are supported and engaged as a rule and where foster care and reunification are needed less because families are strong and intact. Let's demonstrate our commitment to fathers and all parents by working together to build a system that supports the conditions for all families to thrive, a system that is proactive, preventative, and allows all families to maximize their greatest potential.

  • Attachment Behaviors in Children With Incarcerated Fathers

    Attachment Behaviors in Children With Incarcerated Fathers

    A recent episode of the Poverty Research and Policy Podcast series, hosted by the Institute for Research on Poverty of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, focuses on attachment behaviors in children with incarcerated fathers. The episode, "Attachment Behaviors in Children with Incarcerated Fathers," features Julie Poehlmann-Tynan, professor of human ecology at the University of Wisconsin and author of the blog Kids With Incarcerated Parents.

    The podcast features a study published by Dr. Poehlmann-Tynan and colleagues that describes children's relationships with their caregivers, which are usually the parents or family members left at home while a parent is incarcerated. The researchers went to the children's homes and spoke with the caregivers and assessed the home environment. They also observed the children's visits with their incarcerated fathers and applied their findings to the jail-prison observation checklist, which was developed by Dr. Poehlemann-Tynan to capture children's attachment behaviors and emotions during visits.

    Dr. Poehlmann-Tynan found that children showed heightened attachment behaviors with their caregivers during visits to the jail or prison (e.g., often wanting to hold hands or sit on the caregiver's lap). She also found that during these visits, many of the caregivers exhibited positive behaviors that facilitated children's connections with their incarcerated parents. Caregivers would say things such as, "Show daddy what you just learned how to read,"  "Show daddy what song you just learned," or "Why don't you blow daddy a kiss?" However, there also were visits where the caregiver and the incarcerated parent argued in front of the child or the caregiver had no interest at all in the visit, which led to a more negative atmosphere.

    The type of visit—face-to-face contact or noncontact—also affected the child's behavior. Face-to-face contact visits often occurred in prisons, while noncontact visits, with the child on one side of a Plexiglas barrier and the incarcerated parent on the other side, were the most common for jails. Children were most likely to display negative behaviors, such as showing signs of distress or anger directed at the caregiver who brought them, during noncontact visits. Regardless of the visit type, most children reacted with happiness when they saw their parent, which emphasizes the importance of maintaining a visiting schedule that helps keep the child connected to their incarcerated parent.

    Dr. Peohlmann-Tynann also discusses how to help families stay connected to incarcerated individuals, especially when there are young children involved and how caregivers' attitudes play a major role in facilitating jail or prison visits and making them a positive experience for the children of incarcerated parents. In addition to addressing visits, Dr. Peohlmann-Tynann noted that law enforcement should consider how they interact with the children of the individuals they arrest, as witnessing the arrest of a parent can have lasting negative effects. She suggests additional training for law enforcement on how to handle these sensitive situations.

    A transcript of the podcast is available at (145 KB).

  • Responsible Fatherhood Programs Address Complex Needs of Low-Income Men

    Responsible Fatherhood Programs Address Complex Needs of Low-Income Men

    Children who grow up without fathers are more likely to experience poor outcomes in areas such as social-emotional adjustment, education, and mental health. These negative effects have been shown to be diminished by increasing father involvement and improving the quality of father-child interactions. A recent report developed for the Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, an office of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, examined the characteristics and opinions of fathers enrolled in four responsible fatherhood programs included in the Parents and Children Together evaluation. The report addressed the following questions:

    • What were fathers' circumstances at their point of enrollment in the programs, and what were their experiences, needs, and concerns?
    • How did the programs address these experiences, needs, and concerns?
    • By way of participation, how did the fathers respond to the programs and services?

    A total of 5,522 fathers enrolled in one of the four fatherhood programs between 2012 and 2015 took part in a survey upon enrollment. The evaluators then conducted three rounds of annual in-person interviews with a subset of fathers from each fatherhood program. Evaluators collected additional data from  program staff during two rounds of site visits, father focus-group findings, and programs' reports on fathers' involvement and participation.

    Key study findings include the following:

    • Many fathers reported that they had lived difficult lives prior to becoming fathers, including being victims of abuse and neglect during childhood and adolescence, growing up without their own fathers, and experiencing housing and employment instability.
    • Many fathers reported that fatherhood was motivation for them to turn their lives around for the sake of their children and themselves.
    • Fathers reported that the programs offered support and services that were helpful in meeting their needs, including helping them become better, more involved parents and teaching them employment readiness and job-seeking skills.
    • Fathers who participated in healthy marriage and relationship support workshops reported learning useful communication and conflict management skills.
    • Fathers were frustrated that their child support orders were not in line with their actual earnings and employment, leading them to have difficulty supporting themselves.
    • Fathers wanted more help with their coparenting relationships, which were mostly conflicted and made it hard for them to be involved with their children.
    • On average, each father participated in 45 hours of fatherhood programming. Most of the time was spent on economic stability programs, followed by parenting/coparenting and personal development programs.

    The report also offers the following recommendations on how to improve fatherhood programs:

    • To improve participation, programs should offer daily group-based services rather than weekly open-entry services.
    • Employ program graduates to engage fathers in workshops so they can relate to other fathers who have overcome similar hardships.
    • Provide ways to help fathers maintain their visitation privileges, parenting-time arrangements, or joint custody.
    • To ensure fathers participate in economic stability programs, have fathers engage in self-directed tailored activities each day until they find employment.
    • Explore opportunities to increase assistance for child support modifications, and more.

    The report, Parents and Children Together: The Complex Needs of Low-Income Men and How Responsible Fatherhood Programs Address Them, is available at (3,940 KB)

  • Dads Rock: Nurturing Father Engagement

    Dads Rock: Nurturing Father Engagement

    The Child Abuse and Neglect Technical Assistance and Strategic Dissemination Center, which is funded by the Children's Bureau's Office on Child Abuse and Neglect, has released a video, "Dads Rock: Nurturing Father Engagement," that follows fathers as they work to become more engaged with their children and the professionals working to help them achieve their fatherhood goals. The video highlights the work of the Children's Trust of Massachusetts Fatherhood Initiative and looks at home visiting with dads, father support groups, and professional men's family service providers' groups to provide insights into how to work with fathers' particular needs and address existing biases.

    "Dads Rock: Nurturing Father Engagement" is available at

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News From the Children's Bureau

Read about how at-risk youth are turning to runaway hotlines to seek help before leaving home, how substance use in families affects child welfare caseloads, a listing of the latest updates to the Children's Bureau website, and more.

  • Strengthening Protections for Social Security Beneficiaries Act of 2018

    Strengthening Protections for Social Security Beneficiaries Act of 2018

    On April 13, 2018, the Strengthening Protections for Social Security Beneficiaries Act of 2018 (P.L. 115-165) was signed in to law. The act amends information-sharing and overpayment liability requirements of child welfare agencies under the Supplemental Security Income program and the Old Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance program. P.L. 115-165 requires the Social Security Administration (SSA) to establish a monthly data exchange between SSA and state foster care agencies to identify beneficiaries with payees whose foster care arrangements have changed (i.e., the child entered foster care, exited foster care, or changed foster care placement in a given month) so SSA can redetermine the payee. It also clarifies that state payees for minors in foster care are responsible for repaying overpayments incurred while the state acted as payee. This provision is effective for determinations made on or after April 13, 2018, and for amounts unrecovered as of enactment. For purposes of this clarification on liability for overpayment, "minor" refers to a child as defined for purposes of section 475(8) of the Social Security Act.  

    For additional information and questions about P.L. 115-165, please refer to the SSA Legislative Bulletin. Title IV-E agencies building a Comprehensive Child Welfare Information System (CCWIS) may be able to add this data exchange as an optional interface. Contact your Children's Bureau federal systems analyst ( for more information on CCWIS.

  • CB Website Updates

    CB Website Updates

    The Children's Bureau website hosts information on child welfare programs, funding, monitoring, training and technical assistance, laws, statistics, research, federal reporting, and much more.

    Recent additions to the site include the following:

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

  • The Relationship Between Substance Use Indicators and Child Welfare Caseloads

    The Relationship Between Substance Use Indicators and Child Welfare Caseloads

    The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation released a research brief presenting the results from a statistical analysis that outlines the relationship between substance use and child welfare caseloads.

    Researchers conducted 188 interviews in 11 communities across the United States to try to understand the experiences of child welfare administrators and practitioners, substance use treatment administrators and practitioners, judges and other legal professionals, law enforcement officials, and other service providers with regard to their community's response to substance use among parents involved in child welfare. They looked at select indicators of substance use, such as overdose rates and rates of drug-related hospital stays and emergency department visits. In addition, the research team looked at the changes in foster care rates these local professionals were seeing in their service populations, their methods for substance use assessment and treatment, collaborative activities among key stakeholders in addressing families' complex needs, areas of success, and barriers to success.

    The brief presents the following findings:

    • Counties with higher overdose and drug hospitalization rates have higher caseload rates.
    • Increases in rates of overdose deaths and drug-related hospitalizations are linked to higher percentage of children entering foster care after reports of child abuse or neglect.
    • Opioid-related hospitalization rates have a relationship with caseload rates comparable to that of other substance types, with the exception of alcohol, which has a stronger positive relationship.

    This research brief, The Relationship Between Substance Use Indicators and Child Welfare Caseloads, is available at (390 KB).

  • Report Shows Youth Increasingly Turning to Federal Help Hotline Before Running Away

    Report Shows Youth Increasingly Turning to Federal Help Hotline Before Running Away

    New data from the National Communication System, a federally funded hotline operated by the National Runaway Safeline (NRS), shows that an increasing number of young people are calling for help before they follow through on possible plans to run away. These data are presented in the 2016 National Runaway Safeline Crisis Contacts Report, which was released by the Family and Youth Services Bureau within the Administration for Children and Families of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

    NRS responded to 29,806 calls or messages in 2016, about 74 percent of which were from youth age 21 or younger either seeking help for themselves or a friend. Data show that 9 percent of the calls were from parents and 6 percent were from concerned friends of the youth. The report shows that more youth are seeking help before they run away or end up homeless, as 35 percent of contacts were from youth contemplating running away and 16 percent were from youth who had already run away from home. The report notes that, by comparison, 56 percent of the reported hotline calls in 2011 were about youth already living on the street, 37 percent were from youth who had run away, and only 13 percent were from youth thinking about running away. Almost three-quarters (71 percent) of the NRS contacts in 2016 were from girls, and 27 percent were from boys. Nearly half (44 percent) of contacts were White, 18 percent were Black, and 16 percent were Hispanic or Latino. In decreasing order of importance, contacts were for the following reasons:

    • Family dynamics
    • Peer/social issues
    • Mental/physical health
    • Emotional/verbal abuse
    • Physical abuse/assault
    • Transportation
    • Alcohol/drug use

    The 2016 National Runaway Safeline Crisis Contacts Report is available at (1,700 KB).

Child Welfare Research

We highlight the impact of early-life, trauma-informed care on repairing developmental disruptions in infants who have been abused or neglected as well as a recent survey that measures the prevalence of adverse childhood experiences in children in the United States.

  • Health Survey Finds Most Common Adverse Childhood Experiences Are Economic Hardship, Parental Breaku

    Health Survey Finds Most Common Adverse Childhood Experiences Are Economic Hardship, Parental Breaku

    Economic hardship and the divorce or separation of parents are the two most common adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) of children in the United States, according to a new brief from ChildTrends. The brief is based on data from the 2016 National Survey of Children's Health (NSCH) and describes the prevalence of eight specific ACEs among children from birth through age 17, as reported by a parent or guardian.

    ACEs can cause intense feelings of fear and helplessness in children and have been linked to negative outcomes across the lifespan, including poor physical and mental health, substance use, depression, lower educational attainment, unemployment, and poverty. Not all children who experience ACEs suffer lasting consequences, as the long-term outcomes are often offset or mitigated if they occurred within the context of positive relationships.

    The NSCH survey asks parents or guardians whether their children have ever experienced the following:

    • Lived with a parent who has separated or divorced
    • Lived with a parent or guardian who died
    • Lived with a parent or guardian who was imprisoned
    • Lived with a parent or guardian with a substance use disorder
    • Lived with anyone mentally ill, suicidal, or seriously depressed for more than a few weeks
    • Witnessed a parent, guardian, or adult in the household behaving violently
    • Been the victim of violence or seen violence in his or her neighborhood
    • Experienced economic hardship "somewhat often" or "very often"

    Key findings include the following:

    • Almost half (45 percent) of all children have experienced at least one ACE, which is similar to the findings in the 2011-2012 NSCH survey.
    • One in 10 children have experienced three or more ACEs, putting them at high risk for poor outcomes.
    • Children of different backgrounds and ethnicities do not experience ACEs equally. Nearly two-thirds (61 percent) of Black non-Hispanic children and 51 percent of Hispanic children have experienced at least one ACE, compared with 40 percent of White non-Hispanic children and 23 percent of Asian non-Hispanic children.

    The Prevalence of Adverse Childhood Experiences, Nationally, by State, and by Race or Ethnicity is available at

  • Study Assesses Trauma-Impacted Development in Early Life, Potential Corrective Interventions

    Study Assesses Trauma-Impacted Development in Early Life, Potential Corrective Interventions

    Children age 2 and under are particularly vulnerable to child abuse and neglect and account for over one-fourth of all substantiated cases of child maltreatment. However, child welfare workers are faced with a shortage of interventions for mitigating trauma in this sensitive population. A new study emphasizes that social workers are uniquely poised to spot trauma and intervene on a family's behalf with developmentally sensitive and trauma-informed treatments for infants and toddlers.

    Untreated trauma from early childhood abuse and neglect has the potential to disrupt a child's cognitive, behavioral, social-emotional, physical health, mental health, and well-being over a lifetime. Children who suffer early maltreatment are most at risk for attachment-related disorders and impaired brain development. Because of this, therapeutic interventions are most successful when they strengthen the caregiver-child relationship and repair disrupted attachment.

    The study provides an overview of two evidence-based interventions that address infant and toddler exposure to trauma: Child-Parent Psychotherapy (CPP) and Attachment and Biobehavioral Catch-up (ABC). CPP is for children from birth through age 5 who have experienced disruptions with their primary caregivers due to early traumatic experiences. CPP seeks to restore attachment patterns and developmental trajectories through clinician-monitored free play between the parent (or primary caregiver) and child, which allows observers to note their spontaneous interactions with each other. It focuses on both the child and parent, including any potential trauma and insecure attachments in the parent's or primary caregiver's past. Research has found that CPP results in enhanced maternal empathy and parent-child interactions as well as decreased infant avoidance, resistance, and anger issues.

    ABC is a 10-session relational model aimed at addressing the physiological and behavioral impacts of early childhood trauma through play. During the sessions, the clinician focuses on common trauma responses in attachment relationships, such as the child pushing the parent away; the parent's own experiences that may interfere with attachment, such as past or current stressors; and the child's adaptive physiological and behavioral responses. The clinician guides the parent to follow the child's lead and respond to his or her cues and uses videotaped interactions to help parents or primary caregivers understand their automatic responses. Research has shown that ABC interventions result in reduced stress hormone levels and behavioral problems.

    The report also lists considerations for treatment, such as taking into account the past experiences of caregivers as well as any current stressors they may be going through and whether the intervention is able to increase mutual sensitivity between children and their caregivers.

    "Trauma-Exposed Infants and Toddlers: A Review of Impacts and Evidence-Based Interventions," by Alysse Melville (Advances in Social Work, 18), is available at (PDF - 491 KB).

Strategies and Tools for Practice

This section of CBX offers publications, articles, reports, toolkits, and other resources that provide either evidence-based strategies or other concrete help to child welfare and related professionals.

  • Six Tasks That Will Help Your Agency Explore Challenges and Plan for Change

    Six Tasks That Will Help Your Agency Explore Challenges and Plan for Change

    Written by the Children's Bureau's Capacity Building Center for States. 

    Our article in the May issue of Children's Bureau Express discussed deeper problem exploration as a tool to plan for change and implement lasting solutions. Deeper problem exploration involves identifying a problem and systematically exploring data to verify the problem, describe under what circumstances it occurs, and identify those affected. How do you begin this process? Six basic tasks, sometimes called essential functions, can help agencies effectively initiate change.

    • Task 1: Identify a problem—A problem may come to an agency's attention from sources like external monitoring, quality improvement and evaluation processes, stakeholder input, or the media. Agencies should consider existing evidence, agency priorities and goals, and agency readiness to address the problem.
    • Task 2: Create a data plan—This requires gathering existing data and identifying other sources to better understand and communicate about the problem and its root causes. Core components of a comprehensive data plan include: research questions aimed at the problem's scope and variables; multiple quantitative and qualitative data sources that are reliable, timely, and relevant; data analysis; timelines; and role assignment.
    • Task 3: Collect and analyze data—This step involves drilling down, discussing, and documenting findings in order to verify the problem, understand why it occurs, and identify who is affected. The goal is to see what story the data tell through variations, patterns, disparities, characteristics of those affected, and strengths or limitations of the analysis and findings. Data experts, evaluators, and researchers are good sources for agencies to partner with in data analysis.
    • Task 4: Identify contributing factors and root causes—Agencies should identify possible contributing factors—things that affect the outcome of a problem but are not root causes—to set the stage for determining root causes. Root cause analysis (RCA) is a structured process that "drills down" to the origin of a problem, potential contributing factors, and possible solutions. RCA includes techniques like creating a visual illustration to document and explore the relationships between possible contributing factors and the problem or applying the 5 Whys method to explore contributing factors.
    • Task 5: Explore and validate root causes—Here, the agency uses data to validate root causes and explores its organizational capacity to successfully address them. Agencies should strive to identify data or other evidence that links the contributing factors to the root causes and then validate root causes by engaging CQI and data experts, focus groups, stakeholders, and subject matter experts to confirm theories and causal connections. After validation, agencies should consider which root causes are within the agency's control and the level of organizational support needed to address them.
    • Task 6: Isolate the root cause(s) to address—Finally, the agency selects which root cause(s) to address. Selection should reflect 1) data pointing to the root cause as a source of the problem; 2) likelihood that changes in policies, programs, or practices will address the root cause; and 3) team consensus.

    These six tasks give agencies a systematic way to understand the problem and why it is occurring so that they can implement effective solutions.

    The following resources provide more information on deeper problem exploration:

    1. "5 Whys: Getting to the Root of a Problem Quickly"
    2. "Determine the Root Cause: 5 Whys"
    3. "Root Cause Analysis for Beginners"
    4. "Root Cause Analysis: Keep the Questions Coming"
    5. "Focused CQI Services, Indepth Skill Building - Module 5: Data Analysis for CQI - Identifying and Understanding the Problem" (requires free registration)
  • Trauma-Informed Approaches for Programs Working With Fathers

    Trauma-Informed Approaches for Programs Working With Fathers

    A factsheet from the National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse (NRFC), which is funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Office of Family Assistance, highlights the importance of a trauma-informed approach when engaging fathers and provides background information, tips, and related resources. Many fathers participating in fatherhood programs may have experienced trauma, and the NRFC advises that all programs be trauma informed by following a process of "universal precaution," which assumes all clients may have experienced trauma.

    The NRFC factsheet recommends that programs and individuals who work with fathers adopt the following approach:

    • Acknowledge the broad impact of trauma and understand how it can be treated
    • Infuse and standardize a trauma-informed approach in policies, procedures, and practice
    • Understand and recognize the possible signs and symptoms of trauma
    • Acknowledge and address secondary trauma

    Additionally, the factsheet points out the following:

    • Three out of five men in the United States have experienced or witnessed at least one traumatic event in their lives, but they may not have sought help.
    • These men may not recognize the symptoms of trauma that can disrupt their lives and relationships (e.g., sleep difficulties, being easily startled,  anger management issues).
    • Men of color and men who have low incomes are more likely to have experienced trauma but less likely to seek help than their White or middle-class peers.
    • Untreated trauma may cause men to engage in substance use or other risky behaviors.
    • A father experiencing the effects of a past trauma is less likely to meet the demands and challenges of parenting.
    • Parental trauma can have long-term negative effects on a child's social and emotional well-being.
    • Individuals may be retraumatized in situations or environments that rekindle feelings from the original experience.

    Trauma-Informed Approaches and Awareness for Programs Working With Fathers is available at


  • Webinar Looks at Legal Considerations of Opioids, Marijuana, and Child Protection

    Webinar Looks at Legal Considerations of Opioids, Marijuana, and Child Protection

    An increase in the use of both illicit and prescription opioids by pregnant women has led to a rise in children born with neonatal abstinence syndrome and other related health issues. Additionally, several states have legalized marijuana to some degree. These circumstances create a unique set of challenges, and it is important for child welfare workers to be familiar with what they may encounter in child maltreatment cases. The California Evidence-Based Clearinghouse for Child Welfare hosted a webinar that reviewed the legal framework for the child protection system, including looking at statutes and summarizing appellate case law, and offered suggestions for addressing associated problems that may arise.

    The hour-long webinar will help child welfare workers with the following:

    • Understanding the legal framework for child protection
    • Identifying the legal issues involved with the use of opioids and marijuana
    • Understanding the various responses to the challenges presented by opioid and marijuana use during pregnancy
    • Understanding the federal funding framework and possible state responses to substance use and abuse

    The webinar, "Opioids, Marijuana, and Child Protection: Legal Considerations of Recent Developments," and accompanying PowerPoint are available at



This section of CBX provides a quick list of interesting resources, such as websites, videos, journals, funding or scholarship opportunities, or other materials that can be used in the field or with families.

  • Driver's Manual for New Dads

    Driver's Manual for New Dads

    Children who have engaged fathers are more likely to have positive outcomes than children and youth who do not. These children have greater academic success, more positive social behavior, reduced contact with the juvenile justice system, and more. A Driver's Manual for New Dads: A Resource Guide for Taking Care of Your Partner and Your New Baby was released by the New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance and covers many aspects and potential questions a new father may have, including the following:

    • Dealing with anxiety—Expecting a new baby can be overwhelming for new fathers. The guide suggests saving money early and looking at classified ads for used items like car seats, cribs, and clothing. It also provides information on how to get the right training to secure gainful employment.
    • Obtaining a marriage license and establishing paternity—The guide suggests taking a look at the barriers preventing marriage, such as fear of commitment and holding off until financial situations improve. Also, it is important to note that in some states if a couple is not legally married at the time of the child's birth, the father is not the child's legal father. Establishing paternity is important in ensuring a father's legal rights to his children.
    • Being involved in the baby's life, even if the parents are not together—The guide encourages fathers to be engaged in the child's life from the beginning by forging an amicable relationship with the child's mother, being with her when the baby is born, acknowledging paternity for the child, talking with the mother about plans for the baby's future, offering to help out when she needs a break, and living clean.
    • Taking care of a baby—The guide provides information on a baby's developmental process, such as what newborns can see, hear, and feel, as well as tips on how to change diapers.

    This easy-to-read guide gives fathers valuable tips and suggestions that they can use in their day-to-day lives with their children. It is available at (980 KB).

  • Tip Sheet for Dads Highlights the Benefits of Reading to Children

    Tip Sheet for Dads Highlights the Benefits of Reading to Children

    The National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse, which is funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Office of Family Assistance, recently published a tip sheet for fathers on the benefits of reading to their children. It emphasizes the importance of reading, the impact it has on child development (e.g., doing better in school), and reading as an opportunity to bond with their child. The tips are actionable and straightforward. They stress how to read to your child and focusing on the quality of the time spent with the child over the quantity.

    The tips include the following:

    • Read to your children every day.
    • Think of reading or storytelling as bonding time.
    • Let your children pick books that are interesting to them.
    • Use apps and technology, such as FaceTime or Skype, to read to children and help with their literacy.
    • Read words aloud to children when out together.

    It also includes a lists of resources for dads, such as websites with suggestions for children's books and tools and programs to help children learn to read.

    The tip sheet, NRFC Tips for Dads: The Benefits of Reading to Your Children, is available at

Training and Conferences

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

  • Online Training for Child Welfare, Substance Use Treatment, and Legal Professionals

    Online Training for Child Welfare, Substance Use Treatment, and Legal Professionals

    Collaboration between the child welfare system, substance use treatment facilities, and the courts is important to helping families who are involved with child welfare and have substance use problems achieve better outcomes. The National Center on Substance Abuse and Child Welfare has released free online tutorials to support and facilitate this partnership. These tutorials, which should be taken in order, are divided into the following three parts, each consisting of five modules:

    • "Understanding Child Welfare and the Dependency Court: A Guide for Substance Abuse Treatment Professionals"—This tutorial describes how the child welfare system and the dependency court operate, effective engagement strategies and treatment practices for families involved with child welfare systems, services needed by children whose parents have substance use disorders, and ways to improve collaboration among substance use treatment providers, the child welfare system, and the court system.
    • "Understanding Substance Use Disorders, Treatment, and Family Recovery: A Guide for Child Welfare Professionals"—This tutorial informs child welfare professionals about alcohol and drug addiction and its impact on parenting, provides engagement strategies, describes the treatment and recovery process for families affected by substance use disorders, provides information on the services needed by children whose parents have substance use disorders, and highlights methods of improving collaboration among substance use treatment providers, the child welfare system, and the court system.
    • "Understanding Substance Use Disorders, Treatment, and Family Recovery: A Guide for Legal Professionals"—This tutorial is geared toward legal professionals and provides information about alcohol and drug addiction and its impact on parenting; discusses engagement, treatment, and recovery strategies for families affected by substance use disorders; provides information on services needed by children whose parents have substance use disorders; and highlights methods of improving collaboration among substance abuse treatment providers, the child welfare system, and the court system.

    Additionally, the training includes the toolkit, Helping Child Welfare Workers Support Families With Substance Use, Mental, and Co-Occurring Disorders Training Package, which was developed to educate child welfare professionals about substance use and mental health disorders they could encounter when working with families. It consists of six modules that contain a training plan and script, PowerPoint presentations, case vignettes, handouts, and reading materials.

    The tutorials and training toolkit are available at

  • Conferences


    Upcoming conferences and events on child welfare and adoption include the following:




    • 30th Annual Crimes Against Children Conference
      Dallas Children's Advocacy Center and Dallas Police Department
      August 13-16, Dallas, TX