CBX spotlights this year's National Child Abuse Prevention Month initiative, features an article on different protective factors approaches to promoting child and family well-being, points to a report on mandated reporting for afterschool staff, and highlights an intervention model targeting cases of chronic child neglect.
- Family Environment and Adolescent Well-Being
Adolescence is when youth explore and further develop their identities and independence and cultivate the knowledge and skills necessary to traverse the path to adulthood. Studies indicate that the presence of healthy family settings and relationships can assist youth in this phase of development. Conversely, negative family factors can present additional challenges to an inherently tumultuous period and have long-lasting consequences that can follow youth into adulthood. A new Child Trends research brief focuses on the importance of a positive and supportive family environment in promoting adolescent well-being.
The brief builds on and provides updated findings to the 2006 publication The Family Environment and Adolescent Well-Being: Exposure to Positive and Negative Family Influences. It also explores the following five key areas of interaction between family environment and adolescent well-being: parent and adolescent closeness and communication, parental relationships, parental monitoring, eating meals together, and parental healthy behaviors. Some key findings include:
- Parents of 65 percent of teens say they communicate well with their child about important matters. Positive and frequent parent-teen communication is associated with less drug use and better physical and mental health among teens.
- Over 80 percent of teens with partnered parents have parents who express high levels of happiness and satisfaction in their spousal or partner relationship. Parents who have high levels of satisfaction in their partner relationships are more likely to model good parenting and partnership practices.
- Approximately one-quarter of teens have parents who report knowing few to none of their child's friends. When parents couple frequent monitoring with positive parenting practices, teens are less likely to engage in risky behaviors.
- Less than half of adolescents eat meals with their families at least six nights a week. Family meals are good opportunities to foster family communication, and they are associated with positive teen outcomes such as healthy eating habits and lower substance use.
- Approximately 65 percent of parents are light drinkers; however, 10 percent of single fathers report being heavy drinkers, compared to less than 5 percent of mothers and married fathers. Parents can affect their teens' health through the modeling of healthy behaviors and the maintenance of a healthy home environment.
When available, data is presented by age, gender, ethnicity, income/poverty level, parental education, and family type (two-parent family [biological, step, or adoptive], single mother, and single father).
The November 2014 brief, The Family Environment and Adolescent Well-Being, by V. Sacks, K. Anderson Moore, A. Shaw, and P.M. Cooper, is available on the Child Trends website at http://www.childtrends.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/2014-52FamilyEnvironmentRB.pdf (633 KB).
- Family Asset Builder, Chronic Neglect Intervention
In 2009, Casey Family Programs and the American Humane Association (AHA) partnered to develop a new intervention model targeting cases of chronic child neglect. The Family Asset Builder (FAB) intervention model was established using AHA's six-point framework for effectively working with families involved with child protective services (CPS) as a result of chronic neglect. It is based on the assumption that a strength-based, solution-focused approach to service delivery is necessary to address neglect early in a family's CPS involvement. An article in the Journal of Family Strengths describes the development and core components of the FAB intervention approach.
The FAB model offers intensive case-management services to families with a history of chronic neglect that focus on the family's needs, strengths, and the underlying parental and family behaviors that contributed to the neglect and the family's involvement with child welfare. The model was created in response to a lack of specialized interventions designed specifically to address neglect and a lack of evaluative studies to assess the effectiveness of such interventions. According to recent national estimates, the majority of all child maltreatment victims—over half a million children—suffered from neglect. While rates of physical and sexual abuse among victims of maltreatment have fluctuated little over time, neglect rates have increased from 63 percent in 2000 to 78 percent in 2013 among child maltreatment victims. Additionally, neglect is more likely than other forms of maltreatment to reoccur in families with a history of child welfare involvement. This pattern of chronic neglect, especially in early childhood, can have long-lasting, harmful effects on children's physical, cognitive, social, and emotional development.
The article describes the intervention approach and reviews the 2011 piloting of the FAB approach in two Minnesota counties, an evaluation study of the model, lessons learned from implementation, and preliminary findings from the intervention. Authors also present recommendations and discuss FAB's role in expanding the field's knowledge around chronic neglect and informing future child welfare research, policy, and practice.
"Development and Evaluation of the Family Asset Builder: A New Child Protective Services Intervention to Address Chronic Neglect," by T. W. Corwin, E. J. Maher, M. Idzelis Rothe, M. Skrypek, C. Kaplan, D. Koziolek, and B. Mahoney, Journal of Family Strengths, (14)1, 2014, is available at http://digitalcommons.library.tmc.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1244&context=jfs (262 KB).
- A Comparison of Two Protective Factors Approaches
Protective factors are strengths and resources that may mediate or serve as a buffer against risk factors that contribute to maltreatment. These factors may strengthen parent-child relationships, a family's ability to cope with stress, and parents' capacity to provide for children. Studies have shown that in order to successfully ensure child well-being, interventions need to not only reduce families' risk factors but also increase their protective factors. There are several different approaches programs, agencies, and professionals can use to promote protective factors. A new factsheet developed by the Center for the Study of Social Policy (CSSP) provides information on two approaches: CSSP's Strengthening Families™ and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC's) Essentials for Childhood.
The factsheet begins by highlighting the commonalities between the two approaches. Both aim to ensure that children have safe, stable, and nurturing relationships with their parents and caregivers. They both also work toward shifts in families' environments to help ensure that children and families have safe, stable, and nurturing experiences in their larger social context. This, in turn, helps promote these same factors in their more intimate family settings. The differences between the two approaches are primarily concerned with where interventions are implemented within a family's environmental sphere. For example, Strengthening Families aims to affect families by intervening in the programs and systems that interact with families, such as child welfare and education systems. Essentials for Childhood seeks to influence families via larger environmental context by effecting change in the communities in which they live. This could include, for example, ensuring access to affordable child care or physical and mental health care.
The factsheet discusses the benefits of implementing both frameworks simultaneously, as well as some issues to consider when doing so. Benefits can include the following:
- The Strengthening Families leadership team provides a strong cross-systems base for the collective impact approach needed for Essentials for Childhood.
- The Essentials for Childhood framework provides a broad "umbrella" that many different strategies can fit under, and Essentials goal areas can apply to prevention work in many areas, including the Strengthening Families Protective Factors.
To access the factsheet Essentials for Childhood and Strengthening Families, visit the CSSP website at http://www.cssp.org/reform/strengtheningfamilies/2014/EfC-SF.pdf (166 KB).
For more information on Strengthening Families and Essentials for Childhood, view their jointly sponsored webinar at https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/100000000064298584;jsessionid=abc8jX9w7b6oHdjLGhjWu.
You can also download the webinar presentation slides at http://www.cssp.org/media/webinar-assets/Strengthening_families_State_Partners_Webinar_Slides.pdf (1 MB).
To read more about protective factors approaches, read Child Welfare Information Gateway's issue brief Protective Factors Approaches in Child Welfare, available at https://www.childwelfare.gov/pubs/issue-briefs/protective-factors/.
Both the Strengthening Families and Essentials for Childhood approaches are discussed in detail in the 2015 Prevention Resource Guide: Making Meaningful Connections, highlighted in this month's Children's Bureau Express. Read more in the article "April Is National Child Abuse Prevention Month."
- Nationwide Survey Celebrates 40 Years of IFPS
Since its inception in 1992, the National Family Preservation Network (NFPN) has served as the national voice for intensive family preservation. Through research-based tools, training resources, and technical assistance, NFPN works with public and private child- and family-serving agencies to promote family preservation, reunification, and father involvement. One of its avenues for achieving these goals is through the promotion of Intensive Family Preservation Services (IFPS), an intervention strategy that works to reduce the number of children entering out-of-home care by strengthening and preserving families. Starting in 1994, NFPN has conducted periodic nationwide surveys of IFPS that examined topics such as exemplary programs in use across the nation and information about less intensive programs being implemented by States.
The 2014 IFPS Survey Report coincided with the 40th anniversary of the Institute for Family Development's HOMEBUILDERS® model, the United States' oldest and best-documented IFPS program. The model provides intensive, in-home crisis intervention, counseling, and life-skills education for families with children who are at imminent risk of placement in foster care. In honor of the HOMEBUILDERS® milestone, the 2014 survey report highlights 40 years of IFPS events and activities that have helped families stay safely together. The report is divided into four sections:
- Exemplary IFPS Programs—2014
- New Survey Questions
- IFPS Then and Now
- The Future of IFPS
The report provides a table illustrating how exemplary States have successfully implemented the HOMEBUILDERS® model. A list of contacts for exemplary States is also included. A timeline walks readers through major IFPS events starting in 1974, which is when HOMEBUILDERS® was first implemented in Tacoma, WA. The report compares specific results from the 1994 and 2014 surveys, and it concludes with a discussion of ideas regarding how IFPS will continue to be implemented after the current leaders in the field have retired.
Access IFPS Nationwide Survey 2014 Special Edition: Celebrating 40 Years: Past, Present, and Future on the NFPN website at http://www.nfpn.org/preservation/2014-ifps-survey.
Children's Bureau Express interviewed Charlotte Booth, Executive Director of the Institute for Family Development, and Priscilla Martens, Executive Director of NFPN, in the May 2014 issue. Read more in "Intensive Family Preservation Services Turns 40."
- Afterschool Staff and Mandated Reporting
With more than 8 million children and youth spending an average of 8 hours a week in an afterschool program, providers and staff for these programs play an important role in identifying and reporting suspected child maltreatment. The fall 2014 issue of Afterschool Matters features an article on the role of afterschool program staff as mandated reporters and in keeping children safe.
Mandated reporters are classified as anyone whose employment puts them in contact with children and are therefore required by law to report suspected child abuse or neglect. This designation includes afterschool program staff. However, there is no current research on mandated reporting of child maltreatment by afterschool staff, and research on the related field of child care shows that child care providers are far less likely to report suspected abuse.
The article features findings from a survey of 71 staff from a large afterschool program in California—using questions from the Educators and Child Abuse Questionnaire—inquiring about staff knowledge surrounding child maltreatment and its signs and symptoms, mandated reporting, and training. Training for mandated reporters varies by State and, while California law encourages employers to provide training, only school districts are required to provide training.
Survey findings showed that nearly all staff knew they were responsible for reporting suspected maltreatment. However, about 80 percent of respondents were not aware of the required timeframes for making reports—California law requires that, when a reporter suspects abuse, a phone report be made as soon as possible and a written report be submitted within 36 hours. Of the survey respondents, 21 percent had never received mandated reporter training, and 89 percent said they wanted more training. Findings suggest that more training may improve staff knowledge about child maltreatment and reporting laws. The article also discusses factors influencing staff decisions to make a report and implications of survey findings for program administrators.
"Keeping Children Safe: Afterschool Staff and Mandated Child Maltreatment Reporting," by M. Gandarilla and J. O'Donnel, Afterschool Matters, 20, 2014, is available at http://www.niost.org/pdf/afterschoolmatters/asm_2014_20_fall/ASM_Fall2014_Fullarticle.pdf (5 MB).
For more information on mandatory reporting, read Child Welfare Information Gateway's Mandatory Reporters of Child Abuse and Neglect, available at https://www.childwelfare.gov/topics/systemwide/laws-policies/statutes/manda/.
- April Is National Child Abuse Prevention Month
Each year during the month of April, the Children's Bureau observes National Child Abuse Prevention Month—a time to raise awareness about child abuse and neglect and promote activities across the nation aimed at protecting children and supporting families. This year's Prevention Month initiative continues to highlight the theme chosen by the Office on Child Abuse and Neglect's (OCAN's) 2014 National Conference, "Making Meaningful Connections," which focuses on the community and cross-system collaborations required to protect children and strengthen families.
The 2015 Prevention Month website features resources, publications, videos, and more aimed at protecting children and strengthening families. Also highlighted is the updated 2015 Prevention Resource Guide: Making Meaningful Connections. This year's Resource Guide features the following:
- The 2015 Resource Guide builds on the theme "Making Meaningful Connections" by keeping last year's core structure, refreshing new information, and expanding on theme-related content.
- Chapter Two, "Working With Families Using the Protective Factors," includes a new section on "Protective Factors in Practice," which features vignettes illustrating how multiple protective factors can support and strengthen families who are experiencing stress. These vignettes are also featured as interactive scenarios on the Prevention Month website.
- The guide features 19 strength-based parent tip sheets—in English and Spanish—each addressing a specific parenting issue. This year's guide includes three new tip sheets: "Feeding Your Family," "Human Trafficking: Protecting Our Youth," and "Support After an Adoption."
- Activity calendars for parents, programs, and community partners offer suggestions for promoting well-being using protective factors during April. The three calendars are also available in both Spanish and English.
The Resource Guide is the result of collaboration among the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Children's Bureau, OCAN, Child Welfare Information Gateway, the FRIENDS National Resource Center for Community-Based Child Abuse Prevention, the Center for the Study of Social Policy, and numerous national organizations.
In support of the Prevention Month initiative, Child Welfare Information Gateway refreshed its Preventing Child Abuse and Neglect web section with updated resources and a new section on Home Visiting and Maternal Mental Health.
For more information on National Child Abuse Prevention Month or to view or order a copy of the Prevention Resource Guide, visit the Prevention Month website at https://www.childwelfare.gov/topics/preventing/preventionmonth/.
Spotlight on Creating a More Equitable Child Welfare System
Spotlight on Child and Family Services Review, Round 4
News From the Children's Bureau
We highlight new data releases from the National Data Archive on Child Abuse and Neglect (NDACAN) and a report from the Administration for Children and Families' Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation on a behavioral intervention to support incarcerated noncustodial parents.
- Modifying Child Support Orders for Incarcerated Parents
The Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation (OPRE) within the Administration for Children and Families of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recently released a report about a behavioral intervention in Texas designed to support incarcerated noncustodial parents in modifying their child support orders. This intervention is part of OPRE's Behavioral Interventions to Advance Self-Sufficiency project, which uses a behavioral economics approach to improve programs that serve poor and vulnerable families. Child support staff in Texas noticed that less than one-third of incarcerated parents took advantage of the modification program, which allowed them to temporarily decrease the amount of their child support order, thereby decreasing the debt they accrue while incarcerated and easing their reentry to the community.
Project staff conducted an analysis of the modification packet and determined potential behavioral reasons for parents not applying. They then designed a revised packet and tested it using intervention and control groups. Parents receiving the revised packet were more likely to apply for child support order modifications than those receiving the standard packet (39 percent versus 28 percent).
Additional information about the intervention, including the full report Taking the First Step: Using Behavioral Economics to Help Incarcerated Parents Apply for Child Support Order Modifications, is available on the OPRE website at http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/opre/resource/taking-the-first-step-using-behavioral-economics-to-help-incarcerated-parents-apply-for-child-support-order-modifications.
- NDACAN Issues New Data Releases
The National Data Archive on Child Abuse and Neglect (NDACAN) promotes research, analysis, and information sharing in the child welfare field by providing dataset and technical assistance and promoting collaboration in the scientific community. NDACAN recently released four new datasets focusing on youth in transition, children and adolescents' well-being, and children in foster care.
- National Youth in Transition Database (NYTD) - Outcomes File, FY2013
Investigator: Children's Bureau
NYTD, funded by the John H. Chafee Foster Care Independence Program (CFCIP), and established in response to the same law that created CFCIP, serves a dual purpose: (1) tracking the services provided through CFCIP to youth who are emerging from foster care without a permanent home at age 18 and (2) collecting outcome measures that aid in assessing the program. This first dataset, the Outcomes File, contains the results of surveys conducted with youth to examine certain well-being, financial, and educational outcomes as they get older. Data collection began in 2011.
- National Youth in Transition Database (NYTD) - Services File, FY2013
Investigator: Children's Bureau
The Services File, NYTD's second dataset, contains cross-sectional information on the services provided by States under CFCIP and the youth who receive those services. States submit this data every 6 months on a continuing basis. NYTD contains data from all 50 States, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico.
- The National Survey on Child and Adolescent Well-being II (NSCAW II) General Release, Waves 1-3
Investigator: Research Triangle International
Like NSCAW I, NSCAW II measures the well-being, functioning, service needs, and service use of children served by the child welfare system. Data collection, completed in December 2012, tracked a cohort of children approximately 2 months to 17.5 years old at baseline and ranged in age from 34 months to 20 years old at Wave 3. The survey studied the well-being of children involved with child welfare agencies, and it collected information about the children's families, child welfare interventions, and other services. The survey also focused on elements of child development and the health, mental health, and developmental risks of children who suffered severe abuse and violence.
- Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS) Foster Care File 2013
Investigator: Children's Bureau
AFCARS offers case-level information about children covered by the protections of titles IV-B/E of the Social Security Act (Section 427). This federally mandated data collection system, with reporting periods from October 1 to September 30 of each subsequent year, presents both State and Federal policy development and program management issues. AFCARS data help researchers examine and analyze U.S. foster care and adoption programs. Find more information on AFCARS on the Children's Bureau website http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb/research-data-technology/reporting-systems/afcars.
To learn more about these and other similar releases, visit the NDACAN website at http://www.ndacan.cornell.edu.
- National Youth in Transition Database (NYTD) - Outcomes File, FY2013
- Associate Commissioner's Page
The following is the monthly message from JooYeun Chang, the Associate Commissioner of the Children's Bureau. Each message focuses on the current Children's Bureau Express (CBX) Spotlight theme and highlights the Bureau's work on the topic.
As I noted in my letter at the beginning of the 2013 Child Maltreatment Report (http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb/resource/child-maltreatment-2013), we have seen great progress in the reduction of child abuse and neglect in recent years. From 2009 to 2013, there were 23,000 fewer victims of child maltreatment. As we kick off National Child Abuse Prevention Month, I'd like to draw attention to new efforts to prevent child maltreatment, specifically within the issue of human trafficking.
The U.S. Department of State's 2014 Trafficking in Persons Report (http://www.state.gov/j/tip/rls/tiprpt/2014/?utm_source=NEW+RESOURCE:+Trafficking+in+Persons+R) noted that approximately 44,000 survivors of trafficking were identified around the world within the previous year. These victims are often from the most vulnerable populations, including children and youth who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or questioning; youth who have run away from home or foster care; and children and youth involved with child welfare. The Preventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act (P.L. 113-183) was signed into law on September 29, 2014, and includes provisions with direct implications for child welfare workers and agencies. In addition to defining sex trafficking, the law also sets title IV-E requirements for identifying, reporting, and determining services to victims.
Among other requirements, the act requires title IV-E agencies to:
- Demonstrate, by September 29, 2015, that they have (1) consulted with other agencies having experience with at-risk youth and (2) developed policies and procedures to identify, document, and determine appropriate services for at-risk children and youth.
- Demonstrate that they are implementing these policies and procedures within 2 years of the law's enactment—by September 29, 2016.
- Report within 24 hours to law enforcement children or youth who the agency identifies as being sex trafficking victims. Implementation of this provision is required by September 29, 2016.
- Report, within 3 years of the law's enactment (September 29, 2017), annually to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) the total number of children and youth described under the law's definition who are victims of sex trafficking. Within 4 years of the law's enactment (by September 29, 2018), HHS must report to Congress the number of children and youth reported by title IV-E agencies as victims of sex trafficking.
- Develop and implement (by September 29, 2015) protocols to locate children missing from foster care; determine the factors that lead to the child's being absent from foster care and, to the extent possible, address those factors in subsequent placements; determine the child's experiences while absent from care, including whether the child fell victim to sex trafficking; and report related information as required by HHS.
The Children's Bureau released an Information Memorandum (IM) providing information on the new law, including title IV-E plan changes, new case plan requirements and definitions, additions to the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System, modifications to the Family Connection grants, Chafee program, and reauthorization of the Adoption and Guardianship Incentive Program. The IM is available on our website at http://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/cb/im1403.pdf (337 KB).
The July/August 2013 issue of Children's Bureau Express spotlighted the intersection of human trafficking and child welfare and featured articles on a training and technical assistance center offering services to professionals who may encounter victims and a handbook for enhancing the child welfare response to human trafficking. The spotlight section is available at https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewSection&issueID=148&subsectionID=50.
The 2015 Prevention Resource Guide: Making Meaningful Connections provides a new tip sheet, "Human Trafficking: Protecting Our Youth." The tip sheet defines trafficking, outlines some signs and symptoms of trafficking, and offers tips to parents and communities on being aware of tactics used to recruit youth into trafficking and where to report suspected trafficking. The tip sheet is available at https://www.childwelfare.gov/pubPDFs/Human%20Trafficking%20%20Protecting%20Our%20Youth.pdf (88 KB), and the entire Resource Guide is available on the website for Child Welfare Information Gateway at https://www.childwelfare.gov/topics/preventing/preventionmonth/resource-guide/. For more information on the Bureau's prevention initiative, see the article "April Is National Child Abuse Prevention Month" in this issue.
As the methods of human traffickers continue to evolve, so must our efforts to protect children and youth. Our goal is that the Children's Bureau will continue to strengthen your capacity to respond to the issue of human trafficking and keep children and youth safe.
- CB Website Updates
The Children's Bureau website carries information on child welfare programs, funding, monitoring, training and technical assistance, laws, statistics, research, Federal reporting, and much more.
Recent additions to the site include:
- ACF/HUD Letter to Support Collaboration to Prevent and End Homelessness – A joint letter by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Administration for Children and Families (ACF) regarding services to support children and families facing housing instability and homelessness: https://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb/resource/acf-hud-announce-prevent-end-homelessness
- IM-15-01 – An Information Memorandum (IM) informing State and Tribal title IV-E agencies about the publication of the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS) Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) and where to submit comments: https://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb/resource/im1501
- IM-15-02 – An IM emphasizing the importance of child welfare agencies assessing and providing appropriate services to families with a child in foster care or involved with a child welfare agency whose parent(s) and legal guardians may be at risk of, or are, being detained or deported: https://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb/resource/im-15-02
- Building the Evidence for Family Group Decision-Making in Child Welfare HHS-2015-ACF-ACYF-CF-1008 – A funding opportunity announcement (FOA) soliciting proposals for 36-month demonstration projects: http://www.acf.hhs.gov/grants/open/foa/index.cfm?switch=foa&fon=HHS-2015-ACF-ACYF-CF-1008
Visit the Children's Bureau website often to see what's new at http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb.
CBX explores a study examining the residential settings of California's young adults in extended foster care, an article on proper implementation of wraparound services, and an annual report on child and youth well-being.
- Residential Settings for Young Adults in Foster Care
Since 2012, California's Fostering Connections Act (based on the Federal Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act) has given youth in foster care the option to remain in care past their 18th birthday. Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago published a report on a study that examined the residential settings of California's young adults who choose to remain in care.
Young adults in California who choose to remain in extended foster care must fulfill specific requirements. Unless they have medical conditions that would preclude them from doing so, they must be in school, work at least part time, and participate in employment assistance programs. They must also live in specific residential settings as stipulated in the Federal Fostering Connections Act.
The Chapin Hall study held seven focus groups with 61 youth in or eligible for extended foster care in California to collect details about their residential settings. The report discusses the different types of residential settings available to these youth and the variance in their condition. Youths' feelings about their residential settings are addressed, as are the challenges they face in their residential settings (e.g., long commutes, financial challenges like learning to balance a budget). While most of the young people interviewed found their residential settings and experiences to be positive and helpful in their transition to adulthood, there were some challenges regarding residential setting conditions, feelings of isolation or loneliness, and difficulty managing their new independence.
Access Residential Settings of Young Adults in Extended Foster Care: A Preliminary Investigation, by L. Napolitano and M. E. Courtney, on the Chapin Hall website at http://www.chapinhall.org/sites/default/files/Qualitative%20Report.pdf (337 KB).
- Implementation of Wraparound Services
Children, youth, and families who are involved with more than one child- and family-serving system, such as mental health, child welfare, juvenile justice, and special education, may need extra help receiving individualized and coordinated care to best meet their complex needs. Wraparound services aim to emphasize child and family strengths and deliver coordinated, unconditional services to achieve positive outcomes. The Technical Assistance Network for Children's Behavioral Health (TA Network) published an article on how improper implementation of wraparound services can affect child and family outcomes and how wraparound can be implemented properly.
While 20 years of research on wraparound implementation in small and controlled pilot project settings found wraparound services to be associated with increased positive outcomes, the article discusses situations in which wraparound has had less success when implemented in a more "real world" setting. Two studies are examined in which wraparound services were implemented with larger groups of children and youth in Nevada and Ontario, Canada, while a comparison group received more traditional intensive case management. Due to the poor implementation of wraparound components, the outcomes for the wraparound groups were not significantly different than the group that received more traditional case management.
The article explains what it means to "do wraparound well" and what steps systems and programs can take to ensure they are implementing wraparound services properly. These include the following:
- Effective training, coaching, and supervision, as well as other types of human resource decisions, such as appropriate job descriptions, hiring practices, caseload sizes, performance systems, and staff support, including compensation
- A focus on an array of systems-level structures, policies, and supports necessary to ensure quality practice-level implementation and positive outcomes
The article includes a link to guidelines for training, coaching, and supervision for wraparound facilitators. Access "Wraparound Is Worth Doing Well: An Evidence-Based Statement," by E.J. Burns, The TA Telescope, 1(2), 2015, at https://mlsvc01-prod.s3.amazonaws.com/57c33206301/01f96080-ebf2-4214-a90a-7ff405a8ce7c.pdf (677 KB).
- 2014 National Child and Youth Well-Being Index
The Duke University Center for Child and Family Policy recently released its annual Child and Youth Well-Being Index (CWI) report, which includes an analysis of key national indicators and trends from 1975 through 2013. The CWI incorporates data across seven domains:
- Family economic well-being
- Safe/risky behavior
- Social relationships
- Emotional/spiritual well-being
- Community engagement
- Educational attainment
The following are a sample of key trends discussed in the report:
- The overall composite scores for 2012–2013 are trending upward.
- Family economic well-being has improved slightly from 2010 through 2013.
- Children and youth continue to exhibit or be exposed to fewer unsafe or risky behaviors including teenage births, violent crime victimization, smoking, and binge drinking.
The 2014 report includes the new Child Suffering Index, which assesses the barriers to children's well-being and happiness. The CWI report is available at http://childandfamilypolicy.duke.edu/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/Child-Well-Being-Report.pdf (3 MB).
- Recommendations of the Birth Parent Advisory Committee
The Birth Parent Advisory Committee (BPAC) for Casey Family Programs released a report that outlined a set of recommendations to improve four components of the child welfare system:
- Mandated child maltreatment reporting
- Decision-making processes
- Funding to support families and promote safety
The report is based on a 2-day meeting in 2013 that included members and staff from Casey Family Programs and the National Alliance of Children's Trust and Prevention Funds. BPAC is composed of a national set of parents who have a wide range of expertise and personal experience with the child welfare system and currently hold a variety of roles within the system.
A Vision for a Better Child Welfare System: Birth Parent Advisory Committee Recommendations Report is available at http://www.ctfalliance.org/images/pdfs/BPAC%20Recommendations%20Report%20lr.pdf (2 MB).
This section of CBX offers publications, articles, reports, toolkits, and other instruments that provide either evidence-based strategies or other concrete help to child welfare and related professionals.
- Trauma in Dual-Status Youth
The Robert F. Kennedy (RFK) Children's Action Corps and the RFK National Resource Center for Juvenile Justice published a brief outlining the significance of identifying and treating trauma in children and youth with both child welfare and juvenile justice system involvement—also known as dual-status youth. The brief begins by examining the prevalence of exposure to potentially traumatic events among dual-status youth, as well as the prevalence of trauma-based behavior among this population. The importance of creating "best practices" to identifying these trauma-based behavioral or psychological problems is discussed, including practices for screening and assessment methods. The brief pinpoints five core needs in making first steps to supporting dual-status youth experiencing trauma: defined objectives regarding what needs to be identified, a best-practice screening and assessment protocol, guidelines for information collected and shared, a response protocol to screening and assessment, and staff training.
This brief is designed to be the first in a series that will provide indepth information and tools for recognizing and responding to trauma-based issues affecting dual-status youth.
Trauma in Dual Status Youth: Putting Things in Perspective, by T. Grisso and G. Vincent, is available on the RFK National Resource Center for Juvenile Justice website at http://www.rfknrcjj.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/Trauma-in-Dual-Status-Youth-Putting-Things-In-Perspective-Grisso-Vincent-RFKNRCJJ.pdf (867 KB).
- Safety Resources and Kinship Placements
In a 2014 survey of its State's child welfare professionals, the North Carolina Division of Social Services (DSS) learned that professionals were keenly interested in accessing quality and consistent information on the topic of safety resources and kinship care. In an effort to create some consistency among child welfare agencies on the use of safety resources and kinship placements, DSS and the Family and Children's Resource Program developed an issue of Practice Notes that addresses some of these concerns. Some of the topics discussed in the issue include the following:
- "Safety Resources: Definition, Benefits, and Challenges"
- "Use of Safety Resources and Title IV-E Funding"
- "Using Temporary Safety Resource Placements: Best Practices"
- "Sample Safety Resource Placement Memo of Agreement"
- "Research on Kinship Care: Implications for Practice"
- "Reaching Out to Relatives When Children Enter Foster Care"
- "Kinship Caregiver Benefits Checklist"
Access Practice Notes: Safety Resources and Kinship Care, 20(1), 2014, at http://practicenotes.org/v20n1.htm.
- Dependency Court Hearings and Family Engagement
A recent article in the journal Advances in Social Work highlights a study that examined the effect of particular settings on the development of positive partnerships between child welfare professionals and the families with whom they work. This qualitative study discussed the importance of engaging effectively with families in order to promote healthy cross-collaborative relationships. Using focus group interviews and dependency court observations, interactions between families and dependency court professionals were assessed in order to determine factors that can impede collaboration between professionals and families, in addition to those that may contribute to increased family engagement. The data provided suggest needed changes in the organizational conditions of dependency courts in order to promote collaboration in sustaining family permanency, as well as cross-system trainings with child welfare professionals, attorneys, and judges.
"Engaging Families Building Relationships: Strategies for Working Across Systems From a Social Exchange Perspective," by K. Rice and H. Girvin, Advances in Social Work, 15(2), 2014, is available at https://journals.iupui.edu/index.php/advancesinsocialwork/article/view/8766/18386.
For more information on engaging and supporting families, see Child Welfare Information Gateway's Family Engagement Inventory (https://www.childwelfare.gov/FEI/) and Engaging Families webpage (https://www.childwelfare.gov/topics/famcentered/engaging/).
This CBX section provides a quick list of interesting resources, such as websites, videos, journals, funding or scholarship opportunities, or other materials that can be used in the field or with families.
- Resources for Prospective Parents With Disabilities
A new web section from AdoptUSKids focuses on the unique challenges faced by parents with disabilities pursuing adoption, as well as the strengths of these families. This section is designed for parents with disabilities considering adoption or foster parenting and the professionals who work with them. It features information on the challenges associated with fostering and adopting, the real-life story of a parent's journey adopting from foster care, and online resources and support for prospective parents. Additional resources for more information are included, such as links to the following:
- Rocking the Cradle: Ensuring the Rights of Parents With Disabilities and Their Children, a 2012 report issued by the National Council on Disabilities: http://www.ncd.gov/publications/2012/Sep272012/
- "Identifying Solutions: Carrie Ann Lucas' Story": http://adoptuskids.org/join-the-conversation/real-foster-care-and-adoption-stories/families/story?k=lucas-family
- Through the Looking Glass National Center for Parents With Disabilities, which offers consultations, trainings, and publications to parents, family members, and professionals: http://www.lookingglass.org/services/national-services/71-ncpd
To access this new web section, visit AdoptUSKids at http://adoptuskids.org/for-families/who-can-foster-and-adopt/resources-for-people-with-disabilities.
For more resources for parents with disabilities, visit Child Welfare Information Gateway's Services for Parents With Disabilities webpage at https://www.childwelfare.gov/topics/systemwide/service-array/services-to-children-and-youth-with-disabilities/youth/disabilities/.
- Sex Trafficking in Schools
The National Center for Homeless Education (NCHE) published a brief for educators and school personnel on recognizing and preventing sex trafficking of students. The brief offers suggestions, resources, statistics, definitions, reporting information, and a general overview on trafficking.
Recognizing signs that a youth may be a target of sex trafficking is the first step in identifying a victim. The brief emphasizes the importance of school personnel recognizing signs of trafficking and knowing how to effectively respond to the situation. Some of the indicators that a child may be a victim of trafficking can include unexplained truancy, sudden change of behavior, homelessness, psychological symptoms (e.g., depression, anxiety, and/or an overly submissive attitude), and evidence of physical trauma. The brief also outlines the following recommendations by NCHE for schools to set in place in order help school personnel effectively respond to trafficking of students:
- Train school personnel to recognize and respond to signs of trafficking.
- Develop and implement a trafficking protocol.
- Offer a prevention curriculum to students.
The brief also discusses subtitle VII-B of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, the Federal legislation that addresses the education of homeless children and youth, as well as the importance of State Coordinators for Homeless Education and school districts' local homeless education liaisons in preventing the trafficking of students.
Sex Trafficking of Minors: What Schools Need to Know to Recognize and Respond to the Trafficking of Students is available at http://center.serve.org/nche/downloads/briefs/trafficking.pdf (627 KB).
To read more about this topic, see the Children's Bureau Express July/August 2013 Spotlight on Child Welfare and Human Trafficking, as well as the following CBX articles:
- Promoting Sibling Connections in Foster Care
Recognizing that sibling relationships are critical for the healthy development of a child, child welfare agencies make efforts to keep siblings together in foster care whenever possible. Sometimes, however, not all siblings can remain together. The Coalition for Children, Youth and Families, in collaboration with the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families, developed a tip sheet for foster parents regarding ways to support sibling connections for the children and youth they are fostering who have been separated from their siblings. The tip sheet also addresses challenges resulting from these separations.
Some of the topics covered by the guide include:
- Identifying signs of grief caused by the stress of living apart from siblings
- Determining if connections are safe and appropriate
- Preparing your child and helping arrange for successful visits
The tip sheet also offers useful recommendations aimed at supporting the family bond and preserving contact among siblings, such as the following:
- Display a photo of brothers/sisters in your child's room.
- Facilitate and supervise visits as appropriate and approved by the caseworker.
- Encourage the exchange of cards/letters and social media interactions as methods of contact (with monitoring).
Links to related books, web resources, and tip sheets from other organizations are also included.
Fostering a Child Whose Sibling(s) Live Elsewhere is available on the Coalition's website at
http://www.wiadopt.org/Portals/WIAdopt/Tipsheets/ChildrenYouth/FosteringSiblingsinSeperateHomes.pdf (505 KB).
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 child welfare and adoption through July 2015 include:
- NYSCCC 26th Annual Conference: Uniting Families
New York State Citizens' Coalition for Children (NYSCCC)
May 8–9, Albany, NY
- 22nd Annual National Foster Care Conference "Footsteps to the Future"
Daniel Memorial Institute
May 20–22, Orlando, FL
- 2015 NCA Leadership Conference
National Children's Alliance (NCA)
May 31–June 3, Washington, DC
- National Post-Adoption Conference
Harmony Family Center
June 1–2, Nashville, TN
http://harmonyfamilycenter.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/ASAP/ASAPConferenceSavetheDateAnnouncement.pdf (474 KB)
- One Child, Many Hands: A Multidisciplinary Conference on Child Welfare
Field Center for Children's Policy, Practice & Research at the University of Pennsylvania Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
June 10–12, Philadelphia, PA
- MFCAA's One Conference
Midwest Foster Care and Adoption Association (MFCAA)
June 17–20, Osage Beach, MO
- Putting Family First Conference: Family Strengthening to Adoption
National Council For Adoption & Joint Council on International Children's Services
June 22–24, Arlington, VA
- National Foster Parent Association 2015 National Convention
National Foster Parent Association
June 25–28, Norfolk, VA
- "Growing Positive Community Norms: Innovations in Research, Practice, and Leadership"
Montana Summer Institute
July 7–10, Big Sky, MT
- APSAC's 23rd Annual Colloquium
American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children (APSAC)
July 22–25, Boston, MA
- NCJFCJ 78th Annual Conference
National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (NCJFCJ)
July 26–29, Austin, TX
- Prevention and the Child Protection Professional: Implementing Effective Child Abuse Prevention Programs
Gundersen National Child Protection Training Center
July 29–30, St. Paul, MN
- 2015 NACAC Conference
North American Council on Adoptable Children (NACAC)
July 30–August 1, Long Beach, CA
Further details about national and regional child welfare and adoption conferences can be found through the Conference Calendar Search feature on the Child Welfare Information Gateway website at http://www.childwelfare.gov/calendar/index.cfm.
- NYSCCC 26th Annual Conference: Uniting Families
- Preventing Teen Dating Violence
VetoViolence, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's violence prevention website, is offering an online training course for educators and professionals who work to improve the health and well-being of teens. The course, Dating Matters: Understanding Teen Dating Violence Prevention, explores the definition of teen dating violence and ways mentors can prevent it through communication with teens. Course highlights include:
- What is teen dating violence? Including statistics, examples, and consequences of violence
- Risk and protective factors for teen dating violence, including early warning signs and factors that may increase a teen's risk for dating violence
- Making healthy relationship choices, including characteristics of healthy and unhealthy teen relationships and educators' role in teaching about healthy relationships
The course also features interviews with experts, interactive exercises, engaging video storytelling, and a resource center with additional information and tools.
For more information, visit http://vetoviolence.cdc.gov/apps/datingmatters/.