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November 2006Vol. 7, No. 8Spotlight on National Adoption Month

Issue Spotlight

  • HHS Awards $11.6 Million to States for Increasing Adoptions

    HHS Awards $11.6 Million to States for Increasing Adoptions

    In September, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced its annual award of adoption incentive payments to States. HHS awarded a total of $11.6 million to 21 States for increasing the number of children adopted from foster care. States will use the adoption incentive awards to enhance their child welfare programs.

    States receiving incentive payments completed more adoptions in 2005 than in the baseline year, which is the year with the highest number of adoptions for the period 2002 through 2004. States will receive $4,000 for every child adopted beyond their best year's total, plus a payment of $4,000 for every child age 9 and older, and $2,000 for every special needs child adopted above the baseline year.

    The total number of adoptions with public agency involvement is estimated at just below 51,500 for FY 2005, up from about 50,700 in FY 2004. Currently, approximately 114,000 of the 513,000 children in foster care are waiting to be adopted.

    To view the complete list of awards, go to:

    To read the HHS press release on adoption incentive awards, go to:

  • Adoption Excellence Awards 2006

    Adoption Excellence Awards 2006

    The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is honoring 13 individuals and organizations with Adoption Excellence Awards, recognizing the recipients' contributions to providing stable, permanent homes for our nation's children in foster care. These awards demonstrate the Department's national commitment to rebuild the lives of the 513,000 children in foster care and to achieve permanency for the 114,000 of those who are waiting for adoption.

    The awardees will be honored at a ceremony on November 28. Nominations were reviewed and winners were chosen by a panel of recognized experts in the adoption field, including staff from Federal and State agencies.

    Among the awardees is Cassie Statuto Bevan, Ph.D. For almost 20 years, Dr. Bevan has served in numerous capacities on Capitol Hill as a trusted advisor for Members of Congress and their staff on child welfare issues. She has been a dedicated and enthusiastic advocate for foster and adoptive children throughout her career. Dr. Bevan has held many leadership positions in Congressional subcommittees and committees and currently is Senior Professional Staff Member for the House Committee on International Relations working on international adoptions and human rights issues.

    During the past several years, Dr. Bevan has played a significant role in drafting legislation, including the Adoption and Safe Families Act (ASFA) of 1997 and the Foster Care Independence Act of 1999. Dr. Bevan's advocacy has led to numerous other legislative accomplishments that have positively impacted permanency outcomes for children in foster care, such as the Adoption Tax Credit in 1996, the Intercountry Adoption Act of 2000, and the Safe and Timely Interstate Placement of Foster Children Act of 2006. Dr. Bevan's accomplishments attest to her commitment to child welfare and her willingness to work on all levels to ensure positive outcomes for vulnerable children.

    A complete list of the 2006 award recipients is available on the Children's Bureau website:

  • Postadoption Services Among Private Agencies

    Postadoption Services Among Private Agencies

    The Child Welfare League of America (CWLA) conducted an Internet survey of its private agency members in April 2006 to determine how many offered postadoption services and what types of services they offered. Of the 95 agencies that responded across 39 States, 94 percent reported providing some types of postadoption services. The most common services included:

    • Support groups
    • Crisis intervention
    • Child and family advocacy
    • Adoption searches
    • Case management
    • Family therapy
    • Mental health treatment
    • Respite care
    • Targeted case management
    In addition, some agencies offered more specialized support services created to meet the needs of specific families. For instance, some agencies provided social skills training, intensive in-home services, recreation therapy, chemical abuse treatment, marriage education, or birthland tours. Most agencies reported that funding postadoption services was problematic. Some agencies were able to use contract money from their State or county; others depended on other funding sources, small foundation grants, or Federal funding such as adoption incentive payments or Adoption Opportunities grants. Some agencies charged families for postadoption support, using a sliding scale to determine the fee.

    To read the full report, Survey Examines Postadoption Services Among Private Agencies, by K. Mack, visit the CWLA website:

    The author also has written an article about the survey that will appear in the November issue of CWLA's Children's Voice:

  • Answering the Call

    Answering the Call

    This month, families, communities, and organizations across the country will celebrate National Adoption Month. Festivities at courthouses, agencies, and community gathering places will salute the many loving families created through adoption. They also will focus attention on the approximately 114,000 children waiting in foster care for permanent families and homes. To view the President’s Proclamation of National Adoption Month, visit:

    [Editor's note: this link no longer exists]

    The theme of this year's National Adoption Month highlights the need for permanent families for older children in foster care: "You don't have to be perfect to be a perfect parent. There are thousands of teens in foster care who would love to put up with you." The theme comes from the Adoption Exchange Association and the Collaboration to AdoptUSKids' national recruitment campaign and is the focus of a series of public service announcements developed by the Ad Council.

    The National Adoption Month website, launched in August by Child Welfare Information Gateway, a service of the Children's Bureau, and the Collaboration to AdoptUSKids features resources for professionals, families, and teachers. These include a calendar of adoption-related activities for every day of the month, Spanish-language resources, and a link to the National Adoption Directory, which provides State-by-State information on a variety of adoption organizations and services.

    National Adoption Day will be celebrated this year on Saturday, November 18. The National Adoption Day website offers a number of resources to help organizations plan events. The Alliance for Children's Rights, Casey Family Services, the Children's Action Network, the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute, the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, the Freddie Mac Foundation, and Jockey International have partnered to sponsor National Adoption Day. Visit their website to access resources and find out about celebrations in your area:

  • Angels in Adoption

    Angels in Adoption

    The Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute (CCAI) honored its 2006 Angels in Adoption at a September 20 gala in Washington, DC. Each year, the nonpartisan organization, which is dedicated to raising awareness about the needs of orphans and children in foster care, recognizes citizens who have made extraordinary contributions to improve the lives of vulnerable children. This year's Angels in Adoption Gala honored people from all 50 States and the District of Columbia. Celebrity honorees included Miami Dolphins quarterback Daunte Culpepper, hip hop legend Darryl "DMC" McDaniels, and Christian recording artist Mark Schultz, who performed at the gala. Also honored was the documentary "Invisible Children," which tells the story of displaced children in Uganda and has led to the establishment of a nonprofit organization to help these children.

    To read more about the CCAI and its Angels in Adoption program, visit the website:

    Recent Issues

  • April 2024

    Spotlight on National Child Abuse Prevention Month

    Spotlight on National Child Abuse Prevention Month

  • March 2024

    Spotlight on Diversity and Racial Equity in Child Welfare

    Spotlight on Diversity and Racial Equity in Child Welfare

News From the Children's Bureau

  • Spanish Child Welfare Terms

    Spanish Child Welfare Terms

    Child Welfare Information Gateway now offers a list of more than 130 Spanish/English child welfare terms on its website. The list was developed with the assistance of professional translators and bilingual child welfare professionals from many different regions. Wherever possible, a preferred term as well as several acceptable options are offered. Consistent with priorities set forth by the Children’s Bureau, a special effort was made to select or create family-positive, strength-based terms.

    English to Spanish:

    Spanish to English:

  • Student Opportunities for ACF Grant Review

    Student Opportunities for ACF Grant Review

    The Administration for Children and Families (ACF) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is recruiting undergraduate and graduate students to serve on panels that review and make recommendations on the award of Federal grants. The ACF Student Grant Reviewer Pilot Program was created to broaden the pool and diversity of potential grant reviewers and to provide students with a valuable opportunity.

    Students selected to serve on the grant review panels will spend 1 week reading, evaluating, discussing, and making recommendations on grant proposals. They will work with other panelists from a variety of backgrounds related to helping children and families. Students may be assigned to read grant applications in any of the following topical areas covered by ACF:

    • Prevention of child abuse
    • Head Start
    • Child care
    • Developmental disabilities
    • Native Americans
    • Community services
    • Refugee resettlement
    • Family assistance

    Students who are selected to be reviewers will receive compensation for their time, as well as valuable experience in the Federal grant review process.

    For more information, download the ACF Student Grant Reviewer brochure:

    [Editor's note: This link is no longer available.]

  • Child Welfare Outcomes 2003

    Child Welfare Outcomes 2003

    Child Welfare Outcomes 2003: Annual Report to Congress provides information on the performance of each State, Washington, DC, and Puerto Rico in seven areas or "outcomes" for children and families during the year 2003. Data on child abuse, neglect, reunification, and adoption were used to rate each State in the following areas:

    • Outcome 1—Reduction in the recurrence of child abuse and/or neglect
    • Outcome 2—Reduction in the incidence of child abuse and/or neglect in foster care
    • Outcome 3—Increase in permanency for children in foster care
    • Outcome 4—Reduction in the time in foster care to reunification without increasing re-entry
    • Outcome 5—Reduction in the time in foster care to adoption
    • Outcome 6—Increase in placement stability
    • Outcome 7—Reduction in placements of young children in group homes or institutions

    Notable improvements occurred in 2003, including the reduction of maltreatment of children in foster care, increases in achieving adoptions within 24 months of children entering foster care, placement of young children in foster families rather than institutions, and achievement of reunification within 12 months of children entering foster care. Challenges continued in a number of areas, especially the achievement of permanency for older children and youth.

    To read Child Welfare Outcomes 2003, visit the Children's Bureau website:

    This publication can be ordered through Child Welfare Information Gateway:

  • Online Toolkit for Round Two of the CFSRs

    Online Toolkit for Round Two of the CFSRs

    An online toolkit is now available to help States understand and work with the new composite measures for Round Two of the Child and Family Services Reviews (CFSRs). Developed by the National Resource Center for Child Welfare Data and Technology (NRC-CWDT), the 2006 State Data Profile Toolkit contains a training curriculum that includes:

    • A general overview of the CFSR initiative
    • Sources of data for the CFSR State Data Profile
    • An introduction to the Profile
    • A guide to reading and interpreting the Profile

    Additionally, the toolkit includes a quick reference guide to the Profile elements, a sample Profile, a CFSR glossary, frequently asked questions, a discussion of composite measures and weighted components, and other useful documents and tools. The toolkit continues to be updated as new resources become available.

    To access the toolkit and check for updates, visit the NRC-CWDT website:

  • New Federal Legislation Impacts State Child Welfare Practice

    New Federal Legislation Impacts State Child Welfare Practice

    Two new Federal laws passed this summer will bring changes to child welfare practice at the State level.

    The Safe and Timely Interstate Placement of Foster Children Act of 2006 (P.L. 109-239) works to improve protections for foster children and to hold States accountable for the safe and timely placement of children across State lines. Among its provisions are requirements for:

    • Procedures for orderly and timely interstate placement of children
    • Timely completion (within 60 days) of home studies requested by another State, with an additional 15 days allowed under certain circumstances
    • Incentive payments to States that meet requirements for completion of home studies within 30 days
    • Increasing the required frequency of State caseworker visits to a child who is placed in foster care outside the State in which the child's parents reside
    • Providing health and education records to children at no cost when they age out of foster care
    • Providing for foster parents' rights (currently, opportunity) to be heard in any proceeding (currently, review or hearing) regarding their foster child
    • Consideration of out-of-State placements in permanency hearings, case plans, and case reviews

    Another new law, the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006 (P.L. 109-248), establishes a comprehensive national system for sex offender registration and community notification. States are required to conduct national fingerprint-based criminal records checks and checks of State child abuse and neglect registries for all prospective foster or adoptive parent placements. The checks must be conducted on any adult living in the home and must cover the previous 5 years. Under certain circumstances, some States may opt out of this requirement temporarily. However, as of October 1, 2008, all States must be in compliance.

    The Walsh Act also requires the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to create a national registry of substantiated cases of child abuse and neglect and to conduct a study on the feasibility of establishing data collection standards for the national registry.

    The Administration for Children and Families issued an Information Memorandum that more fully explains the Adam Walsh Act, including the opt-out provisions. It also includes the full text of the new law:

    More information may be accessed through the Child Welfare Information Gateway website:

    Related Item

    The National Conference of State Legislatures recently released State Child Welfare Legislation 2005. The 48-page report provides an overview of new State child welfare laws, including those that address kinship care, case planning, education of foster children, and children's exposure to drug manufacture. An appendix contains citations and summaries of the new laws.

  • New Resources From the NRCFCPPP

    New Resources From the NRCFCPPP

    The National Resource Center for Family-Centered Practice and Permanency Planning (NRCFCPPP) has added to its list of Hot Topics on its website. New sections on "Methamphetamine and Child Welfare" and on "Placement Stability Resources" include reports, articles, training resources, webcasts, and links to other websites.

    The NRCFCPPP has also released the latest issue of Permanency Planning Today. The featured article in this issue looks at how youth define "permanence" as it relates to their own lives. (PDF - 2,530 KB)

  • Report to Congress on Permanency for Older Children

    Report to Congress on Permanency for Older Children

    The Children's Bureau has released a Report to Congress that outlines the challenges and strategies involved with achieving permanency for older children and youth in foster care. Children age 9 and older make up a growing proportion of those in foster care. As a group, these children tend to stay in foster care longer than younger children and are at significant risk for being emancipated from care without a permanent family.

    While the challenges for finding permanent families for these children are significant, there are a number of approaches, supported by Federal initiatives, that show promising results. These include innovative recruitment strategies for adoptive families, court reform measures, enhanced pre- and postplacement services, and active youth involvement. The Report to Congress outlines these strategies and provides examples of State, foundation, and local efforts.

    Report to Congress on Adoption and Other Permanency Outcomes for Children in Foster Care: Focus on Older Children is available on the Children's Bureau website:

  • Workforce Recruitment and Retention in Three Western States

    Workforce Recruitment and Retention in Three Western States

    An ongoing project of the Butler Institute for Families at the University of Denver is working to improve workforce recruitment and retention in child welfare at five sites in Colorado, Arizona, and Wyoming. Through the development of new strategies, training, and evaluation methods, the Western Regional Recruitment and Retention Project (WRRRP) hopes to increase both the quality and numbers of applicants for child welfare jobs, retain qualified staff at higher rates, and provide proven models for practice and policy.

    The first activity of the WRRRP was a thorough assessment of staff at all levels and sites, using focus groups, interviews, and surveys. The results led to the development of a 3-year strategic plan, which continues to be reviewed and revised. Other innovative project features that show promise for improving workforce recruitment and retention include:

    • Planning teams formed at each site include staff members at all levels; their task is to set priorities and monitor and revise the plan, as needed, at their site.
    • An intranet website connects all project staff, advisory committee members, and representative planning team members.
    • The Arizona team developed a realistic job preview video, which is now required viewing for all child welfare job applicants in the State.
    • Job applicants at the Arizona sites are also able to call a child welfare worker with questions about the job.
    • Training curriculums developed and delivered include a 9-day supervisory core, 1-day basic secondary trauma, 2-day supervisory advanced secondary trauma, and 1-day training for workers on making the most of supervision.
    • WRRRP staff deliver technical assistance and customized training to staff at all sites; evaluations of the trainings to date have been very positive.
    • Ongoing evaluation of the project involves collecting data on recruitment, selection, and turnover; tracking activities and looking at changes in practice; assessing the impact of training; and conducting a thorough organizational assessment.

    Intervention ideas and resources are being compiled into a Strategies Matrix Approach for Recruitment and Retention Techniques (SMARRT) manual. The manual will explore challenges and ideas for intervention in recruitment, selection, and retention, covering such topics as marketing child welfare careers, cultivating individual and organizational learning, improving child welfare's image, intra-agency communication, teamwork, supervisory skills, and employee satisfaction. The manual is in the final stages of revision and will soon be available on the project website and widely disseminated.

    While the WRRRP is ongoing and final evaluation data are not yet available, the project has been successful in developing and delivering training and providing technical assistance across five sites in three States. The project has created useful resources and begun laying groundwork to make the recruitment and retention efforts sustainable after funding ends.

    For more information about WRRRP, contact:

    Anne Comstock, Project Manager
    Butler Institute for Families, University of Denver, Graduate School of Social Work
    2148 S. University Boulevard
    Denver, CO 80208

    The Western Regional Recruitment and Retention Project is funded by the Children's Bureau, Grant 90CT0117, under the Children's Bureau Priority Area: Developing Models of Effective Child Welfare Staff Recruitment and Retention Training. 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.

    Related Items

    Two new resources address the issue of workforce retention in child welfare:

    • An online book from the Center for the Study of Social Policy, Self-Assessment Workbook for Building a Stable and Quality Child Welfare Workforce, provides guidance for child welfare administrators about self-assessment, promising strategies, and action items for recruitment and retention of qualified staff: (PDF - 617 KB)

    • A new report from the California Social Work Education Center, The Retention of Public Child Welfare Workers, explores worker turnover among new child welfare workers in California and reports on factors affecting turnover: (PDF - 263 KB)
  • Children's Bureau Awards Discretionary Grants

    Children's Bureau Awards Discretionary Grants

    The Children's Bureau recently announced Discretionary Grants for FY 2006 in five areas:

    • Collaboration Between TANF and Child Welfare to Improve Child Welfare Program Outcomes
    • Demonstration Projects in Postadoption Services and Marriage Education
    • Infant Adoption Awareness Training Program
    • National Quality Improvement Center on Nonresident Fathers
    • National Resource Center for Programs Serving Abandoned Infants and Infants at Risk of Abandonment and Their Families

    To read a full list of grant recipients, go to the Children's Bureau website:

Child Welfare Research

  • Reunification for Families With Multiple Problems

    Reunification for Families With Multiple Problems

    Family reunification is hampered for child welfare families dealing with additional challenges. Families with co-occurring problems, such as substance abuse, domestic violence, mental health problems, or housing issues, have difficulty meeting child welfare requirements for reunification unless they can make progress in these other problem areas.

    A recent study of 724 Illinois families involved with child welfare and also challenged by parental substance abuse tracked the services and progress of these families. Quarterly reports by child welfare caseworkers over approximately 2 years showed that most families had additional co-occurring problems beyond substance abuse: 60 percent had mental health problems, 81 percent had housing problems, and 42 percent had domestic violence problems. Families experienced an overall family reunification rate of 12 percent; however, the rate rose to 21 percent for families dealing only with substance abuse.

    Findings demonstrate the importance of integrated services that are targeted to each family's individual needs. Families that could resolve or make progress in addressing one or more of their co-occurring problems increased their chances of reunification.

    The full study, "Integrated Services for Families With Multiple Problems: Obstacles to Family Reunification" by J. C. Marsh, J. P. Ryan, S. Choi, and M. F. Testa, was published in the September 2006 issue of Children and Youth Services Review and can be purchased online:

  • Determinants of Adoption Subsidies

    Determinants of Adoption Subsidies

    Adoption subsidy amounts vary widely by State as well as by child and adoptive family characteristics. A study recently published in Adoption Quarterly drew on data from the national Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS) for 2001 to evaluate some of the characteristics associated with the variations in assistance amounts. AFCARS collects adoption and foster care data from all States, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico.

    According to the authors of "Determinants of Adoption Subsidies," 88 percent of all children adopted from foster care in 2001 received adoption assistance. However, only 13 percent of those adopted in Puerto Rico received assistance, versus 100 percent of those adopted in South Carolina; other States and the District of Columbia fell somewhere in between those percentages. The amount of the monthly subsidies also varied widely by State, from a median of $174 in Puerto Rico to $856 in Iowa. The national median was $444.

    Besides State of residence, other characteristics were associated with subsidy variations:

    • Older children and African-American children were more likely to receive subsidies and to receive larger amounts.
    • Children who waited for their adoption at least 18 months after termination of parental rights tended to receive a larger amount than children adopted more quickly.
    • Children adopted by foster parents or relatives were more likely to receive subsidies than other children.
    • Children adopted by single women were more likely to receive assistance than children adopted by married couples.
    • Children adopted by African-American mothers were more likely to receive subsidies and tended to receive larger subsidies than other children.

    The authors of the study suggest that many of the variations in median amounts reflect the greater need for services by certain groups, such as older children and others who have historically encountered greater barriers to adoption. Thus, the subsidies are used to reduce these barriers and to promote permanency for children.

    "Determinants of Adoption Subsidies," by D. A. Gibbs, B. T. Dalberth, N. D. Berkman, and D. Weitzenkamp, was funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation. The article was published in Volume 9(2/3) of Adoption Quarterly and is available for online purchase:

  • Technologies Enhance Caseworker Capabilities

    Technologies Enhance Caseworker Capabilities

    Tablet PCs and Mobile Worker PDAs are among the new technologies that caseworkers around the country are taking into the field. In many cases, these devices are propelling workers into the 21st century by replacing paper notes with digitized documentation and by streamlining decision-making through the use of sophisticated resources such as digital mapping.

    In Texas, the Department of Family and Protective Services is distributing 3,000 Tablet PCs to CPS workers and Residential Child Care Licensing staff. These lightweight, portable PCs have capabilities that extend far beyond those of typical laptops. Using the Tablet PC in the field, a worker can take notes on the screen with a digital pen, access resources through wireless Internet, use the mapping software to locate clients, send and receive email, find assignments and reports, and access the CPS case management system. The Tablet PC also includes a computerized reporting system for abuse and neglect and allows workers to take pictures with a digital camera and download and send those photos through email.

    Frontline workers and ongoing case managers in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, began to take Tablet PCs into the field in August of this year. Workers can download case information from their Statewide Automated Child Welfare Information System (SACWIS) into the Tablet PC, input new data into the PC while in the field, and then upload the new information into the primary SACWIS when they return to their office.

    This streamlined approach to documentation came about in response to a workforce issue, according to Martha Johnson, Section Chief for Policy Development and Quality Improvement at the Wisconsin Department of Health and Family Services. The jurisdiction was experiencing significant turnover in case managers, and many who left cited the demands of documentation and the lack of useful technology as a reason for their resignation. The Tablet PCs were brought in to meet that need.

    There are many reasons to expect that child welfare will continue to embrace new technology. Some supervisors have noted that newer workers just entering the field of child welfare are particularly savvy with regard to new technology and expect to use sophisticated technology in their work. In addition, funding sources have increased requirements for documentation and evaluation data, and many newer technological devices are well-suited for this type of data collection.

    To read more about the Texas Tablet PC rollout, go the State website:

    To find out more about the Wisonsin Tablet PC experience, contact Martha Johnson at:

    Tell us! Does your State or jurisdiction have an innovative technology that you are piloting? We'll collect ideas for a future technology update. Drop us a line:

Strategies and Tools for Practice

  • Fathers in Family Group Conferencing

    Fathers in Family Group Conferencing

    While Family Group Conferencing (FGC) seeks to involve all members of a child's family in making decisions about the child, fathers and other paternal relatives may not be as actively engaged in the process as maternal relatives. A recent article in Protecting Children discusses some of the reasons that fathers might be overlooked or even prevented from participating in the FGC process and suggests some ways of increasing attendance by fathers and paternal relatives.

    Traditional child welfare practice may focus on the role of the mother and maternal relatives in the child's life, viewing the father as transient or uninvolved. In some cases, mothers may not want the father included in decisions about the child or may not provide child welfare workers with contact information for paternal relatives. However, research on fatherhood has shown the importance of fathers to children's well-being.

    FGC coordinators who attempt to engage fathers may run into a number of barriers, many of which can be addressed in conversations or activities that take place before the family conference. These might include:

    • Addressing a mother's misgivings or a child's expectations in conversations before the conference
    • Exploring cultural norms that may preclude men from participating fully
    • Drawing a child's family tree to get a full picture of the family composition before extending invitations to family members for a conference
    • Modeling respectful and open communication that is inclusive of male relatives
    • Affirming the father and paternal relatives for the roles they have already played

    Actively engaging fathers in the decision-making process about their children increases the support available to children and may provide opportunities for children to have better relationships with their fathers and paternal relatives and expand their permanency options.

    The full article, "The Business of Engaging Fathers (and Other Male Relatives) in the FGC Process," by J. Schmid, appeared in Protecting Children, Volume 21(1); the journal can be purchased on the American Humane website:

  • Fostering Quality Representation of Children

    Fostering Quality Representation of Children

    The relatively new practice of child welfare law, which emerged after the passage of the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) in 1974, has grown to the point where there are now law offices dedicated to the practice of child welfare law. To provide a model for best practice for child welfare law and the legal representation of abused and neglected children, the National Association of Counsel for Children (NACC) developed the Children's Law Office Project (CLOP). CLOP is designed to identify child welfare law practices, provide them with a network, and offer training and technical assistance.

    As part of this program, NACC recently released a new publication, Child Welfare Law Office Guidebook: Best Practice Guidelines for Organizational Legal Representation of Children in Abuse, Neglect, and Dependency Cases. Drawing on the expertise of law office executives with significant experience practicing child welfare law, the book offers guidance on achieving best practices. It includes guidelines in three major areas: administration, development and outreach, and programs. Under these main areas, 33 topics are covered, including staff recruitment and retention, cultural competency, development and outreach, standards of practice, training, attorney certification, and quality review. Three appendixes provide information on standards of practice, community resources, and developing outcome measures or a logic model for practice.

    The book is available for download on the NACC website: (PDF - 1,600 KB)

  • Promising Solutions for Families Dealing With Meth

    Promising Solutions for Families Dealing With Meth

    Methamphetamine use has had a huge impact on the child welfare systems in many States and communities across the country. In many cases, children from methamphetamine-affected families are now being cared for by their grandparents. Generations United, a national organization dedicated to promoting programs and policies that support older people and their families, has released a new report that examines the impact of methamphetamine on families and communities.

    The report, Meth and Child Welfare: Promising Solutions for Children, Their Parents, and Grandparents, presents an overview of the growth of methamphetamine use in the United States and the dangers it poses to children and families. It identifies strategies to prevent methamphetamine use, keep children safe, and help parents with addictions complete treatment. An array of promising approaches are described in seven specific areas:

    • Supporting expanded permanency options for children in foster care
    • Promoting and enhancing treatment options for families
    • Building interagency collaborations
    • Using public awareness to prevent methamphetamine use
    • Providing special supports for grandfamilies
    • Strengthening dependency courts and expanding the use of family drug courts
    • Targeting community supports in Indian Country

    These approaches are illustrated with examples of programs and strategies from around the country. The report also provides a comprehensive set of recommendations to improve the child welfare system's ability to address the issues posed by both methamphetamine and other social problems.

    The report is available on the Generations United website: (PDF - 2,560 KB)


  • Supporting Foster Youth's Postsecondary Education

    Supporting Foster Youth's Postsecondary Education

    Casey Family Programs has published a new resource in its series of guides to transition services for foster youth. The new guide, It's My Life: Postsecondary Education and Training, is designed to help foster youth successfully prepare for and complete postsecondary education or training. The guide's recommendations address specific areas of need, including:

    • Fostering high academic aspirations
    • Long-term planning and preparation for postsecondary education
    • Support in taking standardized tests
    • Choosing, applying for, and enrolling in postsecondary education
    • Obtaining financial aid
    • Adjusting to and completing college or training programs

    Two appendixes provide information on Chafee programs for youth and on activities that children in foster care should complete every academic year, beginning in seventh grade.

    The guide can be found on the Casey Family Programs website: (PDF - 1,007 KB)

  • Research on Family Violence in Military Families

    Research on Family Violence in Military Families

    The Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress conducts research on preparing for and responding to the psychological and health effects of traumatic events. For the past 10 years, the Center has operated the Family Violence and Trauma Project (FVTP) to provide support to social workers and family advocacy managers with the Department of the Army in the form of briefings, papers, staff studies, and a quarterly newsletter on the scientific and medical aspects of child and spouse abuse.

    FVTP completed two empirical research studies of family violence and deployment. These studies documented the importance of predeployment family violence as a risk factor for postdeployment family violence and the possible role of the "honeymoon phase" of troops returning home.

    More information, as well as recent issues of Joining Forces Joining Families, the quarterly newsletter, can be found on the website:

  • Resources for Those Serving Hurricane-Impacted Families

    Resources for Those Serving Hurricane-Impacted Families

    In the wake of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, a number of organizations have created disaster response resources and compiled information on disaster preparedness. The following three webpages offer resources to those who work with families affected by the hurricanes:

    • The National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (NCJFCJ), in partnership with the American Bar Association and the National Center for State Courts, and with support from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, sponsors an online discussion forum for judges, court staff, attorneys, caseworkers, service providers, and others working with abused and neglected children and their families in jurisdictions affected by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Persons who live or work in a jurisdiction that suffered damage or a jurisdiction that is serving evacuees are invited to register and join the discussion forum. The forum is designed to allow participants to pose questions, exchange information, and inform others of their challenges and successes.
    • Child Welfare Information Gateway recently posted a special webpage devoted to disaster preparedness and response. The webpage offers links to a variety of web resources in the areas of preparedness, response, and recovery. Federal Government resources on disaster preparedness are highlighted.
    • The Urban Institute has posted a page of their own post-Katrina resources. Papers cover the topics of children and families, the economy, education, cultural vitality, housing, employment, and government and social services.
  • Native American Children's Alliance

    Native American Children's Alliance

    The Native American Children's Alliance (NACA) is a chapter of the National Children's Alliance that provides technical assistance and support for developing multidisciplinary teams and child advocacy centers serving Native American and Alaska Native communities. The Alliance also provides training to tribes on an array of topics, including developing interagency agreements and protocols, increasing prevention and intervention services, identifying resources for maintaining programs, and preparing for accreditation by the National Children's Alliance.

  • Parent Training for Diverse Families

    Parent Training for Diverse Families

    A new resource is available to help professionals who provide parenting training to families from many cultures. Culture and Parenting: A Guide for Delivering Parenting Curriculums to Diverse Families was written to help practitioners evaluate the cultural sensitivity of their programs. The book covers topics found in parenting education curriculums for which there are significant variations among cultures:

    • Communication
    • Discipline
    • Parent-child emotional bonding
    • Family structures and roles
    • Gender role development
    • Play
    • Sleeping arrangements

    For each topic, key research findings, tips for the field, and a checklist to assess the cultural sensitivity of parent training are included. In addition, the book offers some background information on cultural values found in independent versus interdependent cultures.

    Culture and Parenting was written by L. L. Ontai, A. M. Mastergeorge, and the Families With Young Children Workgroup at the University of California, Davis. It can be downloaded at the university's website: (PDF - 289 KB)

  • Federal Funding for Community Initiatives

    Federal Funding for Community Initiatives

    The White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives has released a new booklet, Federal Funds for Organizations That Help Those in Need, designed to provide basic "how-to" information to assist community-based organizations identify and apply for Federal grants for expanding and maintaining their community service programs.

    The booklet lists over 170 Federal programs of interest to small faith-based and community groups. The programs are organized into general categories and include Federal programs that accept direct grant applications, as well as State and locally administered Federal programs. (PDF - 1,680 KB)

  • Helping Children With Incarcerated Parents

    Helping Children With Incarcerated Parents

    Meeting the needs of children who are placed in foster care when a parent is incarcerated is the focus of a new report published by the Brennan Center for Justice at the New York University School of Law. Rebuilding Families, Reclaiming Lives: State Obligations to Children in Foster Care and Their Incarcerated Parents looks at the unique challenges faced by families separated by incarceration and offers guidance to States in meeting the obligation to provide "reasonable efforts" to reunify families. The report emphasizes that preserving family relationships not only is important for the children of incarcerated parents, but it also has positive effects on parents' rehabilitation that can result in stronger families. Specific recommendations are provided for addressing these issues.

    The report is available on the Brennan Center's website:

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.

  • Child Abuse in Asian American Families

    Child Abuse in Asian American Families

    The California Social Work Education Center has published a new curriculum that focuses on child maltreatment issues and effective practice strategies among immigrant Asian families. Child Abuse: Characteristics and Patterns Among Cambodian, Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese American Families, by S. Rhee and J. Chang, is intended for use by child welfare faculty who educate M.S.W. and B.S.W. students and by public child welfare workers seeking to increase cultural competency. Curriculum modules provide information on immigration history, patterns of child abuse, and characteristics of victims and perpetrators for immigrants from Cambodia, Korea, China, and Vietnam. Suggested intervention strategies and topics for discussion are also included for each population group.

  (PDF - 442 KB)

  • Training for Child Welfare Supervisors

    Training for Child Welfare Supervisors

    The University of Michigan School of Social Work offers an online training program to update the knowledge and skills of child welfare supervisors in public agencies and voluntary agencies providing contractual child welfare services, as well as supervisory personnel in the courts. The training covers child welfare policy and practice as well as supervisory skills.

    Federal legislation covered in the training includes the Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997, the Multi-ethnic Placement Act as amended by the Inter-ethnic Provisions of 1996, the Indian Child Welfare Act, and the Foster Care Independence Program. Child welfare practice principles selected for the training include permanency planning, family-centered practice, culturally competent practice, and outcome-based supervision/practice.

    [Editor's note: This link is no longer available.]

  • Conferences


    Upcoming national conferences on adoption and child welfare through February 2007 include:

    December 2006

    • FFCMH 18th Annual Conference
      Improving Outcomes Through Practice-Based Evidence: Youth & Families Speak Out!

      Federation of Families for Children's Mental Health
      December 1–3, St. Louis, MO
    • ZERO TO THREE's 21st Annual National Training Institute
      Sharing a Vision for Babies and Families

      December 1–3, Albuquerque, NM

    January 2007

    • 21st Annual San Diego International Conference on Child and Family Maltreatment
      The Chadwick Center for Children and Families
      January 22–26, San Diego, CA
    • The National Conference on Substance Abuse, Child Welfare, and the Courts
      Putting the Pieces Together for Children and Families

      Children and Family Futures
      January 31–February 2, Anaheim, CA

    February 2007

    • 3rd International Conference on Post Adoption Policy and Practice
      Adoption Connections Training Institute: OneWorld Network
      February 19–21, Cambridge, MA
    • BACW 2007 Annual Conference
      Celebrating Our Legacy: The Gateway to New Village Leadership in Child Welfare

      Black Administrators in Child Welfare, Inc.
      February 22–24, Baltimore, MD
    • CWLA 2007 National Conference
      Children 2007: Raising Our Voices for Children

      Child Welfare League of America
      February 26–28, Washington, DC

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

  • Child Welfare Training Offered in Pennsylvania

    Child Welfare Training Offered in Pennsylvania

    The University of Pittsburgh School of Social Work has developed the Pennsylvania Child Welfare Training Program to offer training, technical assistance, and evaluation services for child welfare administrators, supervisors, and caseworkers throughout Pennsylvania. Free online training in general child welfare topics such as child development, mental health issues, and interviewing skills is also available.