- The National Response Framework
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recently rolled out the National Response Framework (NRF), which establishes a comprehensive, national response to all types of domestic incidents and disasters. The NRF outlines the roles and responsibilities of communities, States, Tribes, the Federal Government, and the private sector in responding to everything from natural disasters to terrorist threats. Written for government officials, private sector and nongovernmental leaders, and emergency management practitioners, the NRF presents a response doctrine in which planning and prevention are critical elements, and most incidents are managed locally.
The NRF Resource Center is a website created in March 2008 that carries all of the NRF materials, online training, references, briefs, partner guides, and more. Of particular interest to child welfare agencies may be Emergency Support Function #6—Mass Care, Emergency Assistance, Housing, and Human Services Annex. This guide maps out the roles and responsibilities of Federal and other agencies, as well as nongovernmental agencies, in providing human services in times of disaster. It notes the use of two federally facilitated reunification systems (the National Emergency Family Registry and Locator System and the National Emergency Child Locator Center) that are created in times of disaster. Other Emergency Support Function Annexes cover such topics as public health and transportation in times of emergency.
Visit the NRF Resource Center for more information and to access the latest FEMA materials:
- Helping Children Prepare for Disasters
Through the eyes of a child, natural disasters and other emergencies can be a frightening and confusing experience. Talking with children about disaster preparedness and involving them in the planning process can calm their fears and prepare them to deal with an emergency if one occurs. A number of organizations offer useful resources for children to learn about disasters and disaster preparedness:
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Features step-by-step instructions for children in Grades 4-5 on how families can prepare for an emergency and the role children can play in this effort. Children can learn how to create an emergency supply kit and family communication plan, understand different types of emergencies, and take a quiz to graduate from "Readiness U."
FEMA for Kids
Federal Emergency Management Agency
Presents information children may want to know about disasters, including creating a disaster supply kit and family plan, different types of disasters, protecting your home and pets, and common feelings experienced during a disaster. Children who pass a quiz can download a "Disaster Action Kid" certificate.
Playtime for Kids
National Weather Service
Provides links to games and other activities for children to learn about natural disasters such as hurricanes, winter storms, tornadoes, thunderstorms and lightning, and floods. Downloadable activity books offer information on ways to prepare, safety tips, and a quiz for children to test their knowledge.
Masters of Disaster®
American Red Cross
Presents a curriculum for both educators and families that includes downloadable toolkits, coloring books, and activity sheets to teach children how to prevent, prepare for, and respond to disasters and other emergencies. The goal is to create a culture of preparedness in the community, in school, and at home.
When Disaster Strikes . . . Be Smart, Be Prepared, Be Responsible!
California Governor's Office of Emergency Services
www.oes.ca.gov/Operational/OESHome.nsf/PDF/Be%20Smart%20Coloring%20Book/$file/ColorBk.pdf (4,050 - KB)
Helps children understand some of the basic things to do before, during, and after a disaster.
Get Ready With Tex, the Shelter-in-Place Turtle
Ready South Texas
www.readysouthtexas.gov/PDF/Ready%20STX%20Act%20Book.pdf (7,809- KB)
Teaches children how to prepare by assembling items for a shelter and creating a family communications plan.
- Preparing Courts to Deal With Disasters
Disasters such as major hurricanes impact all community systems, including the legal and judicial systems. A new online publication and webpage developed through a partnership among the American Bar Association (ABA) Center on Children and the Law, the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, and the National Center for State Courts provide guidance for courts handling child welfare cases.
Emergency Preparedness in Dependency Courts: Ten Questions That Courts Serving Abused and Neglected Children Must Address, a new multimedia publication on the National Center for State Courts website, examines the lessons learned from the response to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita to provide guidance on how court systems could be better prepared for future disasters. This web-based resource uses text, video clips, and other visuals to illustrate the need for all courts to have plans to prevent, prepare for, respond to, and recover from catastrophic events so that their essential services can become operational as soon as possible after a crisis. The authors stress that the need for emergency preparedness is important not just for areas directly impacted by disasters, but also for jurisdictions that may be indirectly affected because of the influx of children and families from disaster areas.
Using a question and answer format, the guide addresses such issues as:
- The need for emergency communications procedures for dependency courts
- Balancing the best interests of the child with confidentiality of records in times of emergency
- Minimal requirements for hearings
- The need for emergency training
The publication also includes an extensive bibliography with links to resources and organizations to help dependency courts prepare for disasters.
Emergency Preparedness in Dependency Courts was developed with support from the Children's Bureau and is available online:
The Disaster Planning Child Welfare Law Issues webpage is available on the ABA Center on Children and the Law website to help improve legal and judicial system responses to the needs of children and families affected by natural disasters.
Legal responses in 2005 and 2006 to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita centered around three areas of assistance:
- Determining and helping meet the immediate needs of dependency courts and child welfare legal offices in the hurricane-affected areas
- Providing access to pro bono child welfare law experts to help Katrina-affected children and families
- Studying child welfare legal issues affecting children and families in major disasters, including needed State and Federal legislative responses
The webpage links to various resources developed by organizations such as the Child Welfare League of America, the National Center for Homeless Education, and the National Foster Parent Association to provide guidance and assistance in the aftermath of hurricanes and other disasters. Other links provide information for understanding the long-term effects of disasters on children and families and tips for coping with future disasters. Visit the website:
- Louisiana LIFTS
Louisiana was only partially through its Program Improvement Plan (PIP) period in the fall of 2005 when Hurricanes Katrina and Rita devastated the State. A renegotiated PIP was approved by the Administration for Children and Families in June 2006, giving Louisiana additional time to meet its child welfare goals and address the new short-term recovery needs brought about by the hurricanes. Out of the tragedy, Louisiana's Department of Social Services Office of Community Services (OCS) was able to institute large-scale changes that addressed both short-term needs and long-term reform.
Following the hurricanes, OCS focused on strengthening families and ensuring permanency and safety for children by establishing a series of child welfare initiatives through a program known as Louisiana LIFTS (Leading Innovations for Family Transformation and Safety). With assistance from the Annie E. Casey Foundation and the Children's Bureau National Resource Centers, Louisiana LIFTS was implemented to redesign key elements in the State child welfare system by:
- Improving intake decisions through uniform assessment and decision-making criteria
- Meeting family needs by focusing on keeping families together in safe environments, using family-centered evaluations, and piloting an alternative response program
- Implementing community-based services by working with prevention-oriented community partners
- Supporting foster and adoptive placements by offering placement options in the community and by hiring regional recruiters
- Evaluating the current decision-making process around residential treatment
- Providing better opportunities for youth transitioning out of care, including help with family finding and with vocational, housing, and educational needs
An outgrowth of the last goal was the newly created Louisiana Youth Leadership Advisory Council (LYLAC), which provides a platform for older foster youth to give a "youth voice" to the foster care system. LYLAC was established with help from the National Resource Center for Youth Development. One of LYLAC's missions is to establish a speaker's bureau of qualified youth who will make presentations and trainings to other youth, resource families, workers, and the public.
Louisiana LIFTS was the subject of a recent article in the National Resource Center for Family-Centered Practice and Permanency Planning's (NRCFCPPP) winter 2008 Permanency Planning Today. The issue includes an interview by the Executive Director, Gerald P. Mallon, with the Assistant Secretary for OCS, Marketa Gautreau. The interview focuses on the youth permanency efforts of Louisiana LIFTS, including the technical assistance provided by the NRCFCPPP and the systems changes occurring within Louisiana's child welfare system.
A final note: In December 2007, the Governor of Louisiana received a letter from the Acting Assistant Secretary for Children and Families congratulating the Governor on the State's successful completion of the Louisiana PIP and noting the importance of the Louisiana LIFTS program in improving the State's child welfare system.
To read more about Louisiana LIFTS, visit these resources:
Louisiana Factsheet on LIFTS:
www.dss.state.la.us/Documents/DSS/LIFTSfactsheetEDITED.pdf (36 - KB)
"Lifting Louisiana and Moving Forward" by Bruce Daniels, AAICAMA Compact Administrator for Louisiana:
http://aaicama.aphsa.org/lifting.pdf (96 - KB)
"Louisiana Youth Leadership Advisory Council Aids Foster Youth" press release:
Permanency Planning Today (Winter 2008):
www.hunter.cuny.edu/socwork/nrcfcpp/downloads/newsletter/ppt-winter-2008.pdf (2,954 - KB)
- Long-Term Services After Major Disasters
Natural and manmade disasters of the last decade have highlighted the need for long-term recovery services, as well as the role that nonprofit organizations can play in providing these services. A recent study by the Urban Institute focused on lessons learned from the American Red Cross September 11 Recovery Program (SRP). Due to the substantial charitable donations that followed the September 11 terrorist attack, the Red Cross departed from its usual model of short-term disaster recovery to provide long-term recovery services, initiating the Recovery Grants Program to aid the efforts of community-based organizations. More than 4 years after the September 11 attacks, the Urban Institute contacted more than 1,500 individuals who received SRP services and 66 organizations that received recovery grants to determine the impact of these long-term services.
Five major themes emerged from the interviews:
- Need for cultural and language competency
- Inadequate services for children and youth
- Staff burnout and need for support
- The stigma of mental health services
- Difficulties in attracting clients and conducting outreach
Child and youth services recommendations include:
- Be prepared to address parental resistance when providing services for children and youth by educating and engaging parents.
- Make services available in schools and other institutions where children congregate.
- Use age-appropriate program materials.
The study also examines the ways donors and local nonprofits can work together to create more realistic timeframes for service provision, guarantee program flexibility, keep costs under control, attract more clients, and ensure adequate communication and performance measurement and reporting.
To read Providing Long-Term Services After Major Disasters, by Carol J. De Vita and Elaine Morley, visit:
- Including Children in Emergency Plans
Children are particularly vulnerable in times of disaster when the people and institutions that normally provide them with care and supervision are separated from them or destroyed. Depending on the type and scope of the disaster, children may lose family members, peers, and their connections to important institutions such as schools and daycare centers. In the aftermath of the disaster, children may be more susceptible than adults to psychological and developmental damage and trauma.
Planning for the special needs of children in times of disaster is the goal of a new guide created by Save the Children. The Unique Needs of Children in Emergencies: A Guide for the Inclusion of Children in Emergency Operations Plans is designed to help emergency coordinators develop a plan that addresses children's specific needs. Central to the plan's development is the involvement of individuals from key agencies, including social services agencies, hospitals, parent groups, faith-based groups, courts, and public health and safety offices. These individuals bring their specialized knowledge to the planning team, which then can gather basic information such as hazard risk assessment, maps of the community, and an inventory of emergency resources.
The guide offers an example of how a planning team may draft an emergency plan for children, describing the responsibilities of specific individuals and organizations. The sample plan covers such topics as educating the public (including children) about what to do in times of an emergency or disaster, developing protocols for sharing information on children and tracking them, and integrating all facilities that care for children (including schools) into local disaster plans.
The guide also includes eight appendices that cover such specialized topics as:
- Protocol to rapidly identify and protect displaced children
- Child identification survey
- Psychological effects of disasters on children
- Legal considerations for working with children in disasters
The guide can be downloaded from the Save the Children website:
The Child Welfare Information Gateway Library maintains links to emergency plans for some States and other jurisdictions. The list includes some more specific items, such as a State's protocol for foster parents in case of emergency. Access the current list of links on the Information Gateway site:
- NRC Resources for Disaster Preparedness
The Children's Bureau National Resource Centers (NRCs) offer numerous online resources as well as opportunities for training and technical assistance (T&TA) to States and jurisdictions in the area of disaster preparedness. States can contact their Regional Office for information about T&TA. Many of the online resources are listed below.
National Child Welfare Resource Center for Organizational Improvement
- Coping With Disasters and Strengthening Systems: A Framework for Child Welfare Agencies—A comprehensive series of checklists for child welfare agencies for use before, during, and after a disaster (http://muskie.usm.maine.edu/helpkids/rcpdfs/disasterchecklists.pdf [61 - KB])
- Child Welfare Matters (Spring 2006)—Focuses on tips for child welfare agencies, real-life experiences, being prepared for disasters, and supporting workers during emergencies (http://muskie.usm.maine.edu/helpkids/rcpdfs/cwmatters3.pdf [529 - KB])
NRC for Family-Centered Practice and Permanency Planning
- Disaster Preparedness and Relief webpage—Links to other resources under such categories as agency preparedness, trauma and stress, help for children and families, help for agencies and staff, displaced children, and State and Federal websites (www.hunter.cuny.edu/socwork/nrcfcpp/disaster_relief.html)
- Disaster Planning: Funding Highlights and Continued Need—PowerPoint presentation from October 2007 that lists the T&TA efforts provided by the NRCs to States affected by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita (www.hunter.cuny.edu/socwork/nrcfcpp/downloads/ppt/DisasterPresentation.10.12.07.ppt)
NRC for Child Protective Services
- Preventing Child Abuse and Neglect in Disaster Emergency Shelters—A curriculum for training emergency shelter staff and volunteers that includes a trainer’s guide, PowerPoint presentation, and participant's handbook (http://www.nrccps.org/documents/2006/pdf/Shelter_Participant_Handboo_final_Mar_2007.pdf) (1.93 MB)
National Child Welfare Resource Center on Adoption
- Foster Care and Adoption Program in the Aftermath of Katrina and Rita: One State's Experience—PowerPoint that tells the vivid story of what happened when Hurricanes Katrina and Rita hit and how Louisiana handled the care of children in out-of-home care [Editor's note: This link is no longer available].
National Child Welfare Resource Center on Legal and Judicial Issues
- Help in Child Welfare Legal and Judicial System Responses to Children and Families Affected by Disasters—Links to resources for courts and legal help for children and families (http://www.americanbar.org/content/dam/aba/publications/center_on_children_and_the_law/resourcecenter/disasters.authcheckdam.pdf [59 - KB])
- Also see "Preparing Courts to Deal With Disasters" in this issue of Children's Bureau Express
Spotlight on Child and Family Services Review, Round 4
Spotlight on Child Welfare Workforce Development
News From the Children's Bureau
- Improving Outcomes for Rural Native American Foster Youth
In an effort to address the specific needs of rural Native American foster youth in California, the San Diego State University School of Social Work has partnered with a number of organizations to develop comprehensive training programs for frontline workers and supervisors. The collaborative, called Tribal STAR (Successful Transitions for Adult Readiness), developed two training programs in partnership with Native American participants. "Creating Connections: The Gathering" was developed for frontline staff, and "Creating Connections: The Summit" was created for supervisory child welfare staff. Trainings cover the following topics:
- Historical context of American Indians
- American Indian values and culture
- Overview of the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA)
- Identifying services for Tribal youth
Training materials consist of a participant manual, a journal to document feelings and action steps, a resource CD, and a series of digital stories distributed on DVD. Instruction takes place in a neutral environment and is conducted by a cross-cultural team of instructors. In addition to these trainings, Tribal STAR has worked with the Public Child Welfare Training Academy to develop "The Other Side of ICWA." This training addresses the spirit of the law, as opposed to focusing solely on meeting ICWA requirements.
Technical assistance provided by the collaborative reinforces training, facilitates transfer of learning, connects the training and the child welfare community, and provides assistance with ICWA cases across the State. Because relationship building with the Native American community is so important to the success of improving outcomes for these youth, technical assistance also focuses on strategies to connect and collaborate across communities.
Other successes experienced by Tribal STAR partners include the development of the "Checklist for Judges When Placing Indian Youth in Non-Indian Homes" and the establishment of Independent Living Programs on reservations.
A follow-up survey was created and distributed to training participants to measure the overall impact of the trainings for workers and supervisors. Initial responses indicate that participants increased their knowledge about ICWA and how it affects their practice, gained a greater awareness and understanding of Native American culture and traditions, and feel that the training made them more effective in delivering services to Native American children.
Additional information also can be found on the project's website:
For more information, contact the project director:
Dr. Anita Harbert
Director, San Diego State University School of Social Work
Tribal STAR Principal Investigator
Academy for Professional Excellence
6505 Alvarado Road, Ste. 107
San Diego, CA 92120
Addressing the Needs of Rural Native American Foster Youth is funded by the Children's Bureau, Grant 90CT00110, under the Children's Bureau Priority Area: Training for Effective Child Welfare Practice in Rural Communities. This article is part of a series highlighting successful Children's Bureau grant-funded projects around the country, emerging from Children's Bureau site visits.
- Adoption Meeting Webcasts
The National Association of State Adoption Programs held their most recent Annual Working Meeting in October 2007. Webcasts and other materials from the meeting are now available on the National Child Welfare Resource Center for Adoption website. Webcast topics include the Child and Family Services Reviews, developing a certificate program for mental health providers, postadoption service needs and barriers to adoption, the Interstate Compact on Adoption and Medical Assistance, and more. Other downloadable resources include meeting handouts, agenda, PowerPoints, and a participant list.
- FRIENDS Protective Factors Survey
A new pre-post evaluation tool for caregivers receiving child maltreatment prevention services is available online. Developed by the FRIENDS National Resource Center for Community-Based Child Abuse Prevention and the University of Kansas Institute for Educational Research and Public Service, the Protective Factors Survey is designed to measure multiple protective factors in five areas, including family functioning/resiliency, social support, concrete support, nurturing and attachment, and knowledge of parenting and child development. Survey results will provide feedback to agencies for continuous improvement and evaluation purposes.
The Protective Factors Survey is available on the FRIENDS website:
- Apply to Be a Grant Reviewer
Each spring, the Administration on Children, Youth and Families (ACYF) in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recruits reviewers and panel chairpersons for its grant programs, including those administered by the Children's Bureau. Grant reviewers convene to receive training and then review grant applications, spending 1 week reading, evaluating, discussing, and making recommendations on grant proposals. If you are interested in applying to be a grant reviewer or chairperson, find out more and apply online by visiting the ACYF grant website:
For students interested in serving as grant reviewers, the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) recruits undergraduate and graduate students. Students selected to serve on the grant review panels will work with other panelists from a variety of backgrounds related to helping children and families. For more information, download the ACF Student Grant Reviewer brochure:
Grant reviewers and chairpersons, including students, receive compensation for their time, as well as valuable experience in the Federal grant review process.
- What Makes Foster Care Adoption Successful?
A new report from the Collaboration to AdoptUsKids, Barriers and Success Factors in Adoption From Foster Care: Perspectives of Families and Staff, presents results from two longitudinal research studies spanning the first 5 years of the AdoptUsKids project (2002-2007). The first study examined the barriers experienced by families seeking to adopt children from foster care, while the second explored factors that contribute to successful adoption outcomes for families adopting children with special needs from foster care.
The study of adoption barriers is based on periodic interviews with 200 families in the process of adopting from the child welfare system and on surveys from 382 public and private adoption agency staff members. Families were compared according to whether they finalized or chose to discontinue the adoption. Findings focused on different types of barriers:
- Families experienced agency-related barriers with greater frequency as they progressed through the adoption process, especially barriers related to adoption process logistics.
- Families who discontinued the adoption process due to a disrupted placement experienced the highest frequency of child-related barriers.
- Major family barriers identified in staff surveys included the type of child desired, criminal background of prospective parents, inability to accept certain child characteristics, unwillingness to access services, and lack of experience with children with special needs.
The study of adoption success factors involved 161 families (totaling 270 individual adoptive parents) who had finalized their adoptions between 1 and 14 years earlier. Key findings include:
- Families identified parental commitment to the child and to the adoption's success, bonding between parent and child, signs of progress in the child, and parental preparation and realistic expectations as contributing factors in a successful adoption.
- Attachment issues, significant child behavioral problems, and lack of services were the problems cited most often by families who felt their adoption was not successful.
- The most helpful postadoption services cited by families were routine dental and medical care, counseling, training, support groups, and individual child therapy.
Download the full report, by Ruth G. McRoy, from the Collaboration to AdoptUsKids website:
AdoptUsKids also created a video presenting the results of the two studies, which can be viewed online at:
- Second National Conference on Differential Response
The proceedings from the Second National Conference on Differential Response, held in November 2007, are now available from the National Resource Center for Child Protective Services. Conference materials include PowerPoint presentations, position papers, and presentation summaries covering assessment and engagement in differential response, differential response implementation in ethnically diverse neighborhoods, promoting differential response practice, training to support differential response, and more.
- New! On the Children's Bureau Site
The Children's Bureau website provides 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:
- Program Instruction (PI)-08-04, issued on May 2, 2008, provides guidance to Tribes on actions they are required to take for the June 30, 2008, submission of the Annual Progress and Services Report (APSR) required under title IV-B of the Social Security Act.
- PI-08-03, issued on April 18, 2008, provides guidance to States on actions they are required to take for the June 30, 2008, submission of the APSR required under title IV-B of the Social Security Act, the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act, and the Chafee Foster Care Independence Program.
Visit the Children's Bureau website often to see what's new!
- Online Library of Children's Bureau Discretionary Grants
For more than a dozen years, Children's Bureau discretionary grants have supported a number of innovative child welfare projects, allowing grantees to investigate better ways to help children and families through improvements that range from diligent recruitment of foster and adoptive families to helping homeless teens achieve permanency to workforce recruitment and retention. Now, a new online library provides easier access to information about the Children's Bureau Discretionary Grant awards and the projects funded by these awards.
There are two main types of library searches: program announcement and grant project information. Program announcements can be searched by keyword or fiscal year. Grant project information can be searched by keyword, State(s), Region, date, or type.
Resources in the library include the following documents, some going back to 1995:
- Copies of program announcements (requests for proposals)
- A summary list of funded projects
- A U.S. map that allows users to click on a State and see related documents
- Grant project abstracts
- Grant project site visit reports and articles
- Grant project cluster syntheses
- Other grant project products
Through the online library, users can find answers to questions such as:
- What types of projects has the Children's Bureau funded?
- What projects are currently operating (or have operated) in a particular State or Region?
- Which grantees are doing work with a particular target population, what approaches are they using, and what results are they getting?
- Who is testing innovative approaches to particular child welfare challenges or issues?
Visit the Discretionary Grants Library on the Children's Bureau website:
- Region V Roundtable on Child Welfare Training
A report of the Administration for Children and Families Region V Roundtable on Child Welfare Training Systems is now available from the National Child Welfare Resource Center for Organizational Improvement. The purpose of the roundtable was to bring together child welfare professionals in Region V States to discuss the impact and effectiveness of States' training systems, quality assurance topics, foster parent training, and opportunities for collaboration. The report includes a roundtable agenda, participant feedback from a survey conducted during the roundtable, roundtable success factors, a list of participants, and a detailed transcript of the large group presentations.
- New CB Grant Announcements
The Children's Bureau recently announced new funding opportunities. Several of these will expand and enhance the Training and Technical Assistance (T&TA) Network.
The National Quality Improvement Center (QIC) on Differential Response in Child Protective Services will be funded through a cooperative agreement. The 5-year funding period will include a 1-year planning phase, followed by a 4-year implementation phase during which the QIC will support demonstration and research projects to generate knowledge on effective practice models of differential response in child protective systems. The application deadline is July 11, 2008. Read the full funding announcement for details:
http://www.acf.hhs.gov/grants/open/HHS-2008-ACF-ACYF-CA-0056.html (link no longer available)
The National QIC on Preventing the Abuse and Neglect of Infants and Young Children also will be funded for 5 years and will spend Year 1 on research and planning, followed by 48 months of implementation. During implementation, the QIC will foster collaborative research and demonstration projects across the child abuse prevention, child welfare, early childhood, and other health, education, and social service systems. The QIC will work to improve the well-being of children 0-5 years old who are at risk of abuse and neglect, including those infants and young children impacted by substance abuse and/or HIV/AIDS. The application deadline is July 14, 2008. Read the full funding announcement for details:
http://www.acf.hhs.gov/grants/open/HHS-2008-ACF-ACYF-CA-0044.html (link no longer available)
The Children's Bureau will award cooperative agreements to establish five Child Welfare Technical Assistance (TA) Implementation Centers that will be guided by a systems of care approach and informed by the Child and Family Services Reviews. Implementation Centers will be funded for 5 years, and each will serve a specific regional area. Centers will partner with States and Tribes to implement strategies that their child welfare systems have identified to improve the quality and effectiveness of child welfare services for children, youth, and families. Read the full announcement for details as well as the modification to the announcement:
http://www.acf.hhs.gov/grants/open/Modification_to_CO0058.html (links no longer available)
Most recently, a funding opportunity has been announced to support evidence-based home visitation programs to prevent child maltreatment. These grants will be awarded for a 5-year period to include a 1-year planning phase and 4-year implementation phase. Projects will be expected to focus on collaboration in planning to leverage other funding streams, while the implementation phase should include the use of proven effective models, rigorous evaluation, and dissemination of results to the field. The application deadline is July 21, 2008. Read the full announcement for details:
http://www.acf.hhs.gov/grants/open/HHS-2008-ACF-ACYF-CA-0130.html (link no longer available)
- Relative Placements Information Packet
A new information packet on relative placements is now available from the National Resource Center for Family-Centered Practice and Permanency Planning. The packet, written by Vanessa Cohen, includes facts and statistics on relative placements, a general overview of policies and legislation dealing with relative placements, model programs and promising practices, and links to websites providing information and resources on family-centered service provision and other adoption-related topics.
- Assessing and Engaging Immigrant Families
A special issue of American Humane's Protecting Children offers seven articles on the intersection of migration and child welfare. The articles cover emerging issues in the field and include:
- "Administrators in Public Child Welfare: Responding to Immigrant Families in Crisis" (Ken Borelli, Ilze Earner, and Yali Lincroft)
- "Latino Children of Immigrants in the Texas Child Welfare System" (Tracy Vericker, Daniel Kuehn, and Randy Capps)
- "More Than Meets the Eye: Lifetime Exposure to Violence in Immigrant Families" (Elena Cohen)
- "The Care of Unaccompanied Undocumented Children in Federal Custody: Issues and Options" (Micah Bump and Elzbieta Gozdziak)
- "Overcoming Government Obstacles to the Proper Care and Custody of Unaccompanied and Separated Alien Minors" (Howard Davidson and Julie Gilbert Rosicky)
- "Child Welfare Challenges in Culturally Competent Practice With Immigrant and Refugee Children and Families" (Rowena Fong)
In "Exploring the Immigrant Experience: An Empirically-Based Tool for Practice in Child Welfare," authors Julie Cooper Altman and Suzanne Michael describe the development of a strengths-based tool for better assessing and engaging immigrant families, known as the Assessment of Immigration Dynamics (AID) guide. The AID guide is designed to help child welfare professionals working with immigrant families and children entering the child welfare system. These families commonly present practice challenges that include language barriers, different worldviews, cultural acculturation issues, and other immigration-related factors. The AID guide helps child welfare professionals look at pre-immigration, migration, arrival, and settlement experiences and family strengths and use these to help in planning the family's future. The authors found that the tool increased child welfare professionals' capacity to understand and engage immigrant families. The AID guide also avoids a prescriptive approach, promoting a more deliberative process between child welfare professionals and immigrant families.
Protecting Children on Migration and Child Welfare, Vol. 22, No. 2, can be downloaded from the American Humane website:
- The Development and Service Needs of Young Maltreated Children
A recent study explored the developmental characteristics and intervention needs of children in the age group most likely to become involved with the child welfare system—those younger than 3 years. In Developmental Status and Early Intervention Service Needs of Maltreated Children, the authors also examined the challenges of implementing the section of the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) requiring that infants and toddlers who are victims of substantiated child maltreatment be referred to early intervention services funded under Part C of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).
The study drew on data from the National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being and the National Early Intervention Longitudinal Study, along with a literature review and discussions with Part C and child welfare service experts. Findings focus on the risk factors affecting development, developmental outcomes, service receipt, and considerations for successful intervention. Results indicate that:
- Children under 3 years who have been maltreated are at substantial risk of experiencing subsequent developmental problems.
- Few of these children have a diagnosed medical condition as described in IDEA that would make them automatically eligible for Part C services.
- A sizeable proportion of young children with substantiated maltreatment have an Individualized Family Service Plan, reflecting eligibility for Part C services.
- Part C providers may not be familiar with the unique challenges associated with providing services to maltreated children and their families.
Developmental Status and Early Intervention Service Needs of Maltreated Children, by Richard Barth, Anita Scarborough, E. Christopher Lloyd, Jan Losby, Cecilia Casanueva, and Tammy Mann, was researched and written for the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The full report is available on the ASPE website:
- Promoting Consistent Data Collection
As part of its ongoing effort to promote a public health approach to the prevention of child maltreatment, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) National Center for Injury Prevention and Control has developed a set of recommendations designed to promote consistent terminology and data collection related to child abuse and neglect. Child Maltreatment Surveillance: Uniform Definitions for Public Health and Recommended Data Elements defines child maltreatment, presents associated terms, and recommends data elements for voluntary use by individuals and organizations in the public health community. It is designed to aid State and local health department staff in the collection of public health surveillance data on child maltreatment.
The publication was developed because definitions used by the research and legal communities have proven inadequate for consistent public health surveillance on the incidence of child maltreatment. The lack of consistent information about the number of children affected by maltreatment limits the ability of public health systems to respond. More consistent surveillance methods may provide the following:
- A gauge of the magnitude of child maltreatment in relation to other public health problems
- Increased ability to identify those groups at highest risk who might benefit from focused interventions or increased services
- Ways to monitor changes in the incidence and prevalence of child maltreatment over time
- An improved measure of the effectiveness of child maltreatment prevention and intervention activities
Child Maltreatment Surveillance is available on the CDC website:
www.cdc.gov/ncipc/dvp/CM_Surveillance.pdf (4,219 - KB)
- Employment Outcomes After Foster Care
Studies of former foster youth who aged of out of care have shown that these youth often experience high unemployment, unstable employment patterns, and low incomes in the period between their 18th and 21st birthdays. Now, a new report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE) finds that these poor employment outcomes are likely to continue into the youths' mid-twenties.
The study was conducted by linking child welfare, unemployment insurance, and public assistance administrative data for more than 3,300 youth who aged out of foster care in California, Minnesota, and North Carolina. Youth were assessed from age 16 to 24. Compared to youth nationally and even youth from low-income families, youth who aged out of the foster care system were less likely to be employed or employed regularly, and any earned income tended to be minimal.
The report also made recommendations for helping former foster youth maximize their employment potential:
- Youth may need support connecting to the labor market or maintaining access to adult services, even after age 21.
- Helping youth connect to the workforce prior to age 18 may have benefits later on.
- Youth who are initially connected, connected later, or never connected to the labor market may all need different types of services.
The full report, Coming of Age: Employment Outcomes for Youth Who Age Out of Foster Care Through Their Middle Twenties, can be found on the ASPE website:
- Digital Biographies of Foster Youth
Foster youth who spend extended periods of time in multiple out-of-home placements often have incomplete records of their own childhood and developmental milestones. While foster care lifebooks have been used to help some youth document their own history, the hard copy format is subject to loss and damage. For this reason, some social welfare agencies have begun to work with youth to create digital biographies where youth can record their lives.
A recent article by Nora Gustavsson and Ann MacEachron outlines the low cost and other benefits of a dual digital program. The first component is an agency-generated electronic record, which contains basic information, a brief narrative, digital photos, and other positive notations. A youth-generated electronic journal is the second component. Available through a free email account, this journal, or Internet diary, makes it possible for youth to record their memories, milestones, and thoughts.
This digital program can help ameliorate the threat of identity drift when foster youth experience multiple living arrangements with different caregivers in different areas. It serves as a means of maintaining their personal histories, which may help the youth preserve a positive sense of self over time.
"Creating Foster Care Youth Biographies: A Role for the Internet" was published in the Journal of Technology in Human Services (Volume 26, No. 1) and is available from Haworth Press:
- Involving Youth in Their Own Plans
Youth who have meaningful involvement in their treatment, education, or case plans are more likely to work toward the outcomes, and these youth gain valuable experience in making plans and setting goals. Human services providers responsible for youth plans—including case plans for youth in foster care, Individualized Education Plans, and treatment plans—will find guidance for meaningful youth involvement in a new suite of materials from the Research and Training Center on Family Support and Children's Mental Health (RTC) at Portland State University. Materials include the following:
- "Achieve My Plan" is a video that features interviews with youth who describe, in their own words, what it is like to be left out of a planning process that involves their future.
- Involving Youth in Planning for Their Education, Treatment and Services: Research Tells Us We Should Be Doing Better summarizes research on this topic and confirms that youth involvement is beneficial for youth and their families.
- Best Practices for Increasing Meaningful Youth Participation in Collaborative Team Planning is a handbook that covers such topics as developing organizational support for youth, helping youth prepare to participate, creating a safe environment for youth, and measuring youth participation.
- A self-assessment quiz allows human services organizations to rate their support of meaningful youth participation.
- Those who view the video or other materials can post their comments on a discussion site at www.rtc.pdx.edu/FeaturedDiscussions/pgFD53.php
Materials can be viewed and downloaded from the RTC site:
- Prevention-Oriented Child Death Review
The Best Practices in Prevention-Oriented Child Death Review website was created by the Harborview Injury Prevention and Research Center as a tool to assist Child Death Review (CDR) team members and other public health professionals working to prevent child injury deaths. It is designed to help make prevention-oriented recommendations part of the local child fatality review process.
The site examines a broad range of interventions designed to prevent injury and death due to child abuse, drowning, suicide, firearms, and motor vehicle crashes—the top causes of injury death for children from birth to age 18 living in Washington State. For each injury mechanism, interventions of particular interest to public health-oriented CDR teams were identified. Interventions can be accessed through a searchable database, and each listing provides a description of the intervention, targeted risk and protective factors, key features, evaluations and outcomes, and a rating of "promising," "recommended," or "unproven." The ratings are established by a review of the strength and quality of published evidence supporting the efficacy of the interventions.
The Harborview Injury Prevention and Research Center, located in Seattle, WA, is one of 10 injury-control centers supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the country.
- Sharing Youth Transition Laws and Practices
The University of Chicago Law School has created a "wiki" for interested professionals and others to share information about State and Tribal laws and practices regarding youth transition from foster care to adulthood. A wiki is a popular web-based tool that allows registered members to connect and share information with each other by working collaboratively to edit and improve the content found on the wiki. In particular, the Transition From Foster Care to Adulthood wiki provides information on State and Tribal youth transition laws and practices in areas such as:
- Age limits
- The discharge process
- Available programming
- Juvenile court jurisdiction/practice
Visit the Transition From Foster Care to Adulthood wiki:
- Effective Strategies for Funding Systems of Care
Examples of effective financing strategies to support systems of care are the focus of a new publication from the Research and Training Center for Children's Mental Health at the University of South Florida. Effective Financing Strategies for Systems of Care: Examples From the Field is based on site visits to four States and four regional or local programs. The report groups strategies into seven areas that should be addressed in a financing plan:
- Identifying spending and utilization patterns across agencies
- Realigning funding streams and structure
- Financing appropriate services and supports
- Financing to support family and youth partnerships
- Financing to improve cultural and linguistic competence and reduce disparities in care
- Financing to improve the workforce and provider network
- Financing for accountability
An additional chapter provides information specific to financing for Tribal systems of care. The study was conducted by Beth Stroul, Sheila Pires, Mary Armstrong, Jan McCarthy, Karabelle Pizzigati, and Ginny Wood. It is intended as a technical assistance document to guide stakeholders in identifying financing strategies that might be implemented in their own States or communities.
This publication is available on the USF website:
- Funding for Grandparents Raising Grandchildren
The Department of Housing and Urban Development recently announced funding opportunities for demonstration housing programs designed for intergenerational families. According to the Federal Register announcement, "The purpose of the program is to expand the supply of intergenerational dwelling units for very low-income grandparent(s) or relative(s) heads of household 62 years of age or older raising a child." Eligible applicants should be private nonprofit owners of a Section 202 project.
The application deadline is July 2, 2008. To read the full Federal Register announcement, go to:
- The Interstate Compact on Adoption and Medical Assistance
The Interstate Compact on Adoption and Medical Assistance (ICAMA) website provides basic information on agreements between member States that promote the coordination of medical and other services for children placed for adoption across State lines. The website presents the articles of the compact and identifies the States that are members of the Association of Administrators for the Interstate Compact on Adoption and Medical Assistance that governs the compact. Other resources on the website include links to resources, training, technical assistance, frequently asked questions on adoption assistance and medical assistance, and information on the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children.
- New Mental Health Resources
The Mental Health Services section of the Child Welfare Information Gateway website has been updated to provide a greater breadth of information on the mental health issues faced by children, youth, and families involved with the child welfare system and ways to improve services and support. Links to publications and resources are provided in the following topical areas:
- Common issues for children, youth, and families
- Range and effectiveness of services
- Working with families and obtaining services
- Systems issues, including mental health in the Child and Family Services Reviews
Visit the Information Gateway website to learn more:
- The Next Generation of Leaders
One of the emerging concerns for the nonprofit workforce is where to find the next generation of leaders. In a recent survey of 5,754 workers, most of whom were younger professionals in the nonprofit field, respondents answered questions about their commitment to the nonprofit field and their future career plans. Findings were published in Ready to Lead? Next Generation Leaders Speak Out.
Participants cited a number of barriers to leadership roles in the nonprofit field, including low salaries, long hours, and lack of a clear path to leadership roles. Despite the negative associations, one in three respondents aspired to be an executive director, and most felt that they were doing meaningful work. In addition, many respondents felt they were gaining the skills and experiences necessary to be leaders.
The report includes recommendations for current and future leaders, as well as boards of directors, nonprofit capacity builders, and funders. Current executives are urged to help staff build networks, mentor, provide good role models, pay reasonable salaries, and engage in succession planning. Future leaders are encouraged to develop management expertise, find a mentor and coach, and join a board.
This report was written by Marla Cornelius, Patrick Corvington, and Albert Ruesga and produced in partnership by CompassPoint Nonprofit Services, the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the Meyer Foundation, and Idealist.org. It is available on the Annie E. Casey website:
Related ItemFor a look at leadership training in this issue of Children's Bureau Express, see "Leadership Skills Development."
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.
Upcoming national conferences on adoption and child welfare through September 2008 include:
- FFTA 22nd Annual Conference on Treatment Foster Care
Foster Family-Based Treatment Association
July 13–16, The Woodlands, TX
- The 11th National Child Welfare Data and Technology Conference
Making IT Work: Achieving Safety, Permanency, and Well-Being for Youth
National Resource Center for Child Welfare Data and Technology
July 21–23, Washington, DC
- International Family Violence and Child Victimization Research Conference
Family Research Laboratory and the Crimes Against Children Research Center
July 27–29, Portsmouth, NH
- 34th Annual NACAC Conference
North American Council on Adoptable Children
July 31–August 2, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
- 31st National Juvenile and Family Law Conference
National Association of Counsel for Children
August 3–6, Savannah, GA
- Scaling the Summit Institute
Western Regional Recruitment and Retention Project of the Butler Institute for Families at the Graduate School of Social Work, University of Denver, and the Children's Bureau
August 5–6, Denver, CO
- The 21st Annual National Independent Living Conference
Growing Pains 2008
September 3–6, Orlando, FL
- 2008 Annual ATTACh Conference
Attachment: Developing Connections, Saving Lives
Association for Treatment and Training in the Attachment of Children
September 24–27, Concord-Charlotte, NC
Further details about national and regional adoption and child welfare conferences can be found through the Conference Calendar Search feature on Child Welfare Information Gateway:
- FFTA 22nd Annual Conference on Treatment Foster Care
- Leadership Skills Development
A new online training series is designed to foster leadership and management skills in a small-group format. Created for child and maternal health professionals, the series' approach is broad enough to apply to many types of public health and social work professions. Each of the training modules covers a variety of leadership topics in various formats, including video mini-lecture, interactive group discussion, hands-on exercises, and a leadership development planning worksheet. Some of the topics covered include:
- Qualities of a leader
- The effect of gender on leadership
- Developing a vision
- Team building
- Fostering professional development
The web-based Maternal and Child Health Leadership Skills Development Series is available on the Johns Hopkins Women's and Children's Health Policy Center website:
- Online Training for Child Care Staff
Child care center staff in New York City have a new way to learn about the signs and symptoms of child abuse. Tune In for Child Safety Training is a comprehensive program designed to help child care center workers learn the indicators of possible maltreatment, as well as steps to take if a worker suspects that a child may have been abused or maltreated. The training manual is accompanied by a DVD that can be viewed via a scheduled television program or online.
Tune In for Child Safety was developed by the Mayor's Interagency Task Force on Child Welfare and Safety, the New York State Office of Children and Family Services, and the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Directors and trainees log in to use the site, obtain materials, and affirm their compliance with the training.
View the website at:
- Trauma Training Toolkit
To help child welfare workers learn about the causes, impact, and treatment of traumatic stress on children in the child welfare system, the National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN) and its partners have developed a comprehensive toolkit. The multimedia toolkit consists of:
- A trainer's guide covering the impact and assessment of traumatic stress, supporting children and families, and managing professional and personal stress
- A PowerPoint presentation designed to accompany the trainer's guide
- Twenty-nine supplemental handouts that include case vignettes and other materials to complement the trainer's guide
- An audio clip of an emergency phone call that is used as an activity in the trainer's guide
- A comprehensive guide to background reading materials on traumatic stress
Totaling approximately 12 training hours, the full curriculum can be presented in 2 days, in stand-alone modules, or as an in-service training across multiple sessions. Toolkit materials can be downloaded from the NCTSN website at:
The toolkit also is available as a full-color binder for a nominal fee (to cover costs) from: