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July/August 2010Vol. 11, No. 6Spotlight on the Fostering Connections Act

This month, CBX spotlights the Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008. Articles focus on Family Connection grants, implications for kin, and resources for implementing the Act.

Issue Spotlight

  • The Fostering Connections Resource Center

    The Fostering Connections Resource Center

    The Fostering Connections Resource Center is a comprehensive source of information for the various stakeholders working to implement the Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act. The Resource Center provides access to the latest information, training, tools, experts, and advocates, including:

    • Data and resources on each section of the Fostering Connections legislation
    • Technical assistance for State leaders and policymakers
    • Tracking of implementation activity
    • Opportunities to communicate with experts and peers
    • National networks of stakeholders organized by the six major topic areas of the law—adoption, kinship, older youth, Tribal child welfare, health, and education

    The Implementation Approaches section of the website highlights successful efforts from States and Tribes. Among the featured examples are family-finding efforts, guardianship assistance programs, kinship placement strategies, transition planning efforts, and foster parent recruitment.

    The Resource Center is sponsored by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, Casey Family Programs, Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, Duke Endowment, Eckerd Family Foundation, Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative, Sierra Health Foundation, Stuart Foundation, and Walter S. Johnson Foundation.

    There are several ways to stay current with the Fostering Connections Resource Center:

  • States' Implementation of Fostering Connections

    States' Implementation of Fostering Connections

    The National Association of Public Child Welfare Administrators (NAPCWA) was one of the first national organizations to compile and publish information on how States were addressing the various requirements found in the Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008. Partnering with Casey Family Programs, NAPCWA surveyed the 50 States and the District of Columbia and posted the survey results on its website.

    The survey results (currently available for 36 States) are presented for each State under the following headings:

    • Descriptions of the State's at-risk children (State statistics on children involved with child welfare, including any trends in out-of-home placements, adoption, services, and more)
    • Budget landscape, including information on legislation and State economic projections
    • State options regarding the Act, including the Guardianship Assistance Program and extending assistance to youth up to age 21
    • Tribes, including any Tribal-State agreements to administer title IV-E programs
    • Mandatory provisions of the Act, including relative notification, educational stability, sibling connections, transition plans for children, and more
    • Family Connections grants implemented in the State (if applicable)
    • Opportunities and challenges noted by the State

    Visit the NAPCWA website to find State-specific information on implementing Fostering Connections:

  • T&TA Network Resources on Fostering Connections

    T&TA Network Resources on Fostering Connections

    Several of the Children's Bureau Training and Technical Assistance (T&TA) Network members have developed, collected, and disseminated resources to help States and Tribes implement the Fostering Connections and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008 (P.L. 110-351). These include:

    The National Quality Improvement Center on Nonresident Fathers and the Child Welfare System (QIC-NRF)
    The winter 2010 issue of QICNews features articles about Fostering Connections legislation as it applies to fatherhood: (672 KB)
    The site also offers a paper from the American Bar Association Center on Children and the Law, The Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008 Offers Help to Children Raised by Relatives: (450 KB)

    National Resource Center on Legal and Judicial Issues (NRCLJI)
    The NRCLJI has posted a working document, Implementation of the Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008, with hyperlinks to information about Children's Bureau policy, guidance, and other implementation activities for the law:

    National Resource Center for Permanency and Family Connections (NRCPFC)

    The NRCPFC offers training and technical assistance to States and Tribes on Fostering Connections as it applies to education, health, kinship/guardianship, and Tribes.  (34 KB)
    The NRCPFC has a webpage of links to resources:
    The NRCPFC has also created a Fostering Connections Hot Topic page:

    Related Item

    To provide guidance on the Fostering Connections legislation and requirements for States and Tribes, the Children's Bureau has made a number of policy/program issuances:

  • Recognition for Informal Kinship Care With Kinship Navigator Programs

    Recognition for Informal Kinship Care With Kinship Navigator Programs

    Through Family Connection grants authorized by the Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008, $5 million will be directed annually toward "kinship navigator" programs. These programs can help children in foster care or at risk of child welfare involvement connect with relatives such as grandparents. Navigator programs also support relatives caring for children at risk of entering the child welfare system by connecting the families with services and supports.

    Writing about kinship navigators in Common Ground, the newsletter for New England child welfare professionals, Gerard Wallace suggests that this type of support for private caregivers may "signal a new direction in child welfare policy and practice" that could allow informal kinship care to become better integrated into States' and agencies' plans and resource allotments. Wallace points out that the informal kinship system cares for 12 times more children than foster care, but informal kinship caregivers have only limited access to the resources and supports often provided through formal foster care.

    Wallace's article, "Kinship Navigators: The New Child Welfare System," goes on to describe some of the new kinship navigator programs funded through Fostering Connections, including programs in Maine and Rhode Island. He also explores existing kinship navigator programs, including the New York State Kinship Navigator, which he directs.

    State programs that predate Fostering Connections vary in their components, size, and personnel. While some offer just information and referrals, others provide more extensive services, including advocacy, case management, and direct services. In some jurisdictions, grandparents answer phones and provide referral information. In other jurisdictions, child welfare workers serve as navigators for kinship caregivers. Generally, kinship caregivers who contact the programs are looking for four types of support: general services, child welfare services, specialized services such as support groups and respite care, and legal assistance.

    In discussing the potential of the Family Connection grant support for kinship navigators, Wallace notes that the new grants may help identify what works best for informal kin caregivers. The funded programs may also serve as emerging models for other State programs, and they may pave the way toward integrating kinship navigator programs permanently into child welfare planning.

    Wallace's article is available on the website of the Common Ground, Vol. XXV(1) (p. 3): (2.21 MB)

    Related Item

    See "Family Connection Discretionary Grant Cluster" in this issue for information about the Family Connection grantees.

  • Family Connection Discretionary Grant Cluster

    Family Connection Discretionary Grant Cluster

    One of the key components of the Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoption Act of 2008 (P.L. 110-351) was the creation of the Family Connection Grants Program. The purpose of these grants is to help children who are in, or at risk of entering, foster care to reconnect with family members. As demonstration projects, these grants are serving as testing grounds for new and unique approaches for family connection services and as sources of guidance and insight for States and localities seeking to implement similar programs.

    In September 2009, the Children’s Bureau awarded grants to 24 public child welfare agencies and private nonprofit organizations across the United States. Family Connection grantees are implementing one or more of the following programs:

    • Kinship navigator (six grants): Assist formal and informal kinship caregivers to learn about, find, and use existing programs and services to meet their own needs and the needs of the children they are raising. These programs also promote effective partnerships between public agencies and private, community, and faith-based agencies to better serve the needs of kinship caregiver families.
    • Intensive family finding (four grants): Reconnect children in or at risk of entering foster care with family members through family-finding efforts. These programs use search technology, effective family engagement, and other means to locate biological family members and then seek to reestablish relationships and explore ways to establish a permanent family placement for the children.
    • Residential family treatment (five grants): Enable parents and their children to live in a safe environment for at least 6 months and receive substance abuse treatment services, children's early intervention services, family counseling, medical and mental health services, nursery and preschool, and other comprehensive treatment services that support families.
    • Family group decision-making (FGDM) (one grant): Engage families in making decisions and developing plans that nurture children and protect them from abuse and neglect. FGDM projects address any domestic violence issues that arise in a safe manner and facilitate connecting children exposed to domestic violence to appropriate services.

    Eight grants were awarded to projects that are implementing two or more of these programs.

    To assist the Family Connection grants, the Children’s Bureau has established two support mechanisms for the project. The National Resource Center for Permanency and Family Connections (NRCPFC) provides programmatic technical assistance, and James Bell Associates provides evaluation technical assistance and is conducting a cross-site evaluation.

    For a list of all awardees, including links to project abstracts, visit the NRCPFC website:

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News From the Children's Bureau

Find links to the latest news, including the President's Fatherhood Initiative, changes at ACF, a new Report to Congress, and more.

  • Site Visit: Changing Systems to Improve Family Engagement

    Site Visit: Changing Systems to Improve Family Engagement

    An effort is underway in Fairfax County, VA, to make organizational changes within the Department of Family Services to improve engagement with families involved in the child welfare system. The effort is an outgrowth of one professional's experiences with the National Child Welfare Leadership Institute (NCWLI) training program, which was designed to build leadership skills in mid-level managers in public and Tribal child welfare agencies. Sponsored by the Children's Bureau, NCWLI prepares managers to develop and implement changes in their communities through two sessions totaling up to 8 days of training, as well as ongoing technical assistance.

    In May 2008, the Quality Assurance Manager for Fairfax County's Children, Youth and Families (CYF) Division began her training with the NCWLI program. Training sessions focused on the stages of change and applying evidence-based management skills and data-driven decision-making to systems change efforts. The Fairfax County manager leveraged these new skills and knowledge to launch a two-phased family engagement project.

    The first phase of the project brought together a voluntary workgroup of 30 supervisors and frontline staff to determine what broad changes were needed to improve CYF efforts to engage families. The Division had previously initiated several practices focused on family engagement, such as the development of a strengths-based model of practice and Family Group Conferencing, but the workgroup's initial assessment identified a number of ways the Division’s structure did not support family engagement.  These structural issues included the assignment of different caseworkers as families moved through the system, multiple family assessments, “siloed” services, and lengthy investigations. Differing practices among in-home services social workers and inadequate resource allocation also contributed to the lack of systemic support for family engagement. The workgroup developed the following short- and long-term goals for making organizational changes to promote a more fluid, family-focused system:

    • Establish a centralized process for families entering the system
    • Use common assessment tools
    • Maintain worker continuity throughout the case
    • Open lines of communication across programs to increase trust among workers

    Phase two of the county's effort convened a smaller workgroup to develop a model for implementing these goals. The workgroup assessed how to engage families at each stage of the child welfare process and what skills staff would need to accomplish more meaningful engagement. The CYF management team was also tasked with developing a management plan and revising leadership job descriptions in accordance with the proposed changes.

    Although the Family Engagement project is still in the planning stages, the project's leaders feel that participation in the NCWLI has contributed to their efforts by helping them to see the big picture regarding systems change and to apply effective leadership principles to their initiative.

    Two other systems change initiatives are also occurring in Fairfax County and across Virginia that may support the Family Engagement project. The first involves a department-wide Lines of Service review of protocol and practice to identify gaps and inefficiencies and develop action plans to address them. The second is the Children's Services System Transformation (, a statewide effort to follow a new practice model to enact systems change in a number of areas, including family engagement and enhanced communication among partners.

    For more information on Fairfax County's project, contact Allison Lowry, Quality Assurance Manager, at

    The full site visit report will be posted on the Child Welfare Information Gateway website:

    For more information on NCWLI, visit the NCWLI website:

    The National Child Welfare Leadership Institute is funded by the Children's Bureau, CFDA #93.648.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.

  • ACF Grants Available

    ACF Grants Available

    The Administration for Children and Families has announced new funding opportunities with summer deadlines, including the following Children's Bureau discretionary grants:

    Other ACF grants of interest include:

    In addition, the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), in collaboration with ACF, offers the following funding opportunities:

    For a listing of current open ACF discretionary grants, visit the ACF website:

    General information about the 2010 Children's Bureau Discretionary Grants can be found on the Children's Bureau website:

  • New! On the Children's Bureau Site

    New! On the Children's Bureau Site

    The Children's Bureau website carries information on child welfare programs, funding, monitoring, training and technical assistance, laws, statistics, research, Federal reporting, and much more. The "New on Site" section includes grant announcements, policy announcements, agency information, and recently released publications.

    Recent additions to the site include:

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

  • Updates From the T&TA Network

    Updates From the T&TA Network

    The Children's Bureau's Training and Technical Assistance (T&TA) Network continues to produce resources that can help States and Tribes in their work with children and families. Some recent resources are listed below:

    • Child Welfare Information Gateway has launched a new website section: Management and Supervision. This section addresses child welfare agency administration and management, ethical practice, client rights, program evaluation, disaster preparedness, funding, information systems and data, practice improvement, supervision, system reform, training, and strategies to enhance the child welfare workforce.
      Information Gateway also launched a new Adoption section tailored for adoption professionals, Preplacement Adoption Casework Practice, which includes information on cultural competence; recruiting, retaining, and preparing parents; preparing children and youth for permanency; working with expectant parents; interjurisdictional placement; and other relevant topics.
      Also new on the site is an updated version of the factsheet Domestic Violence and the Child Welfare System:  (1,362 KB)
    • The National Abandoned Infants Assistance Resource Center has posted the audio presentation and accompanying slides for two teleconferences.
    • The National Center on Substance Abuse and Child Welfare (NCSACW) has developed an online Child Welfare Training Toolkit. The six modules include training scripts, PowerPoints, case vignettes, handouts, and other materials and cover the following topics: Access the Child Welfare Training Toolkit on the NCSACW website:
      • Understanding the Multiple Needs of Families Involved with the Child Welfare System
      • Understanding Substance Use Disorders, Treatment, and Recovery
      • Understanding Mental Disorders, Treatment and Recovery
      • Engagement and Intervention with Parents Affected by Substance Use Disorders, Mental Disorders and Co-Occurring Disorders
      • Developing a Comprehensive Response for Families Affected by Substance Use Disorders, Mental Disorders and Co-Occurring Disorders
      • Understanding the Needs of Children of Parents with Substance Use or Mental Disorders
    • The National Child Welfare Workforce Institute (NCWWI) has produced a white paper that describes its dissemination planning and activities based on review of literature on dissemination practices and on the Dissemination Needs Assessment Survey of 150 child welfare practitioners that NCWWI conducted in 2009. (937 KB)
    • The National Resource Center for Recruitment and Retention of Foster and Adoptive Parents at AdoptUsKids has launched a newly reorganized NRCRRFAP homepage, which includes updates for the Publications for Professionals webpage and other features:
    • AdoptUsKids also offers free online training to social workers, site members, and anyone who wants to learn more about its website's features and capabilities. Training is every third Wednesday of the month at 11 PST/2 EST. Visit the website for more information: 
    • The National Resource Center on Legal and Judicial Issues has produced a booklet designed to help lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) youth in foster care. It's Your Life is also an attempt to improve the legal system's approach to LGBTQ youth in foster care. (6,489 KB)
    • The National Technical Assistance and Evaluation Center for Child Welfare Systems of Care Grantees (NTAEC) is sponsoring a series of webinars on child welfare systems of care. On July 29, the topic will be "Developing the Infrastructure for a System of Care," and on Sept. 21, the topic will be "Meaningful Family Involvement: Beyond the Case Plan." The 90-minute webinars begin at 2 pm ET and are limited to 125 participants. Users can participate by phone and request presentation materials in advance by contacting NTAEC at 703.225.2270 or Transcriptions of the webinars also will be available.
      Also, the NTAEC website URL has changed! New URL:
  • Report to Congress on Grants to Help Children Affected by Parental Substance Abuse

    Report to Congress on Grants to Help Children Affected by Parental Substance Abuse

    The Child and Family Services Improvement Act of 2006 (P.L. 109-288) provided authorization and funding to implement the Targeted Grants to Increase the Well-Being of, and to Improve the Permanency Outcomes for, Children Affected by Methamphetamine or Other Substance Abuse. In 2007, under this legislation, 53 organizations around the country were competitively awarded Regional Partnership Grants (RPGs) to implement interagency collaborations and provide integrated child welfare and substance abuse treatment services. As required by the legislation, the Children's Bureau recently completed the first Annual Report to Congress on the RPG program.

    The report describes the activities and progress of the RPG program and the grantees from October 2006 through July 2008. During this time, significant accomplishments included:

    • Releasing the Program Announcement and awarding funds to 53 grantees to carry out the purposes of the legislation through a broad range of program activities
    • Establishing and strengthening interagency collaborative partnerships in all 53 sites to provide integrated child welfare and substance abuse treatment services
    • Developing a set of 23 RPG performance data indicators representing four domain areas (children/youth, adult, family, and regional partnership/service capacity) that reflects the broad goals of the legislation and aligns with the diverse activities of the 53 RPGs
    • Developing an RPG data collection and reporting system to assess the performance of the grant recipients
    • Completing in-depth site visits with each of the 53 regional partnerships
    • Implementing a national programmatic and evaluation technical assistance program to support the work of the 53 regional partnerships
    • Enrolling more than 1,800 adults and children in RPG programs

    The 53 grantees developed activities and services in five broad areas: systems collaboration and improvements, substance abuse treatment linkages and services, services for children and youth, support services for parents and families, and expanded capacity to provide treatment and services to families. After only 6 months into their grants, more than half the grantees were providing a broad array of services to children and adults. During this same time period, grantees provided trainings to more than 3,500 RPG staff.

    The report documents the significant progress that grantees have made in achieving their first-year program and evaluation objectives. Future reports will focus on grantees' continued progress, drawing on data from the 23 performance indicators.

    To read the full report, Targeted Grants to Increase the Well-Being of, and to Improve the Permanency Outcomes for, Children Affected by Methamphetamine or Other Substance Abuse: First Annual Report to Congress, visit the Children's Bureau website: (1.14 MB)

    For additional information on this cluster of grants, please go the National Center on Substance Abuse and Child Welfare website at  For questions, please contact the Federal Project Officer, Elaine Stedt, at

    Related Item

    Children's Bureau Express last wrote about the RPG program in "Regional Partnership Grants Strive to Improve the Lives of Children and Families Affected by Methamphetamine and Other Substance Abuse" (October 2008). 

  • The President's Fatherhood and Mentoring Initiative

    The President's Fatherhood and Mentoring Initiative

    On June 21, President Obama announced his new Fatherhood and Mentoring Initiative. The initiative addresses father absence in America through partnerships with fatherhood and family-serving groups. The initiative has three steps:

    • Community forums held around the country and hosted by the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships and the Office of Public Engagement
    • E-newsletters with resources from leaders in the fatherhood and family fields
    • Organizational support designed to have a cultural impact on responsible fatherhood through such activities as local forums and community trainings

    Read more about the Fatherhood and Mentoring initiative, and find information about joining, on the National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse website:

    Read about the President's national conversation on fatherhood and personal responsibility on the White House website:

  • Nazario Resignation

    Nazario Resignation

    Carmen Nazario, Assistant Secretary for Children and Families, is resigning her post effective July 16. Nominated by President Obama, her nomination was confirmed by the Senate on September 23, 2009.

    During her tenure, Assistant Secretary Nazario has defined the goals of the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) as helping families achieve economic success, supporting healthy and comprehensive child development, and improving ACF's institutional capacity to make a difference in the lives of children. Secretary Sebelius has commended Nazario for overseeing ACF's first organization assessment, for her focus on program oversight and integrity, and for initiating an outreach program to engage underserved populations.

    Assistant Secretary Nazario is resigning for family reasons. Until a new nominee is identified and confirmed by the Senate, ACF's current Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, David Hansell, will serve as Acting Assistant Secretary.

Child Welfare Research

Child welfare research news links you to articles on some of the most critical issues in the field, including citizen review panels, kinship adoption, immigrant families, and runaway and transitioning youth.

  • Children of Immigrants in the Child Welfare System

    Children of Immigrants in the Child Welfare System

    Over the past decade, immigration patterns have contributed significantly to the changing demographic profile of the child welfare system, such that 9.6 percent of children reported to child welfare agencies are living with a foreign-born parent or caregiver. These children may be at risk of maltreatment due to the stresses involved with immigration, acculturation, and differences in parenting and discipline styles.

    In an effort to identify some of the characteristics of this group, American Humane and partners recently published two new research briefs based on data from the National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being (NSCAW). The NSCAW was conducted with a nationally representative sample of children who were subjects of child protective services (CPS) reports in 1999 and 2000, including 3,336 children with native parents and 351 children with immigrant parents.

    Children of Immigrants in the Child Welfare System: Findings From the National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being, by Alan Dettlaff and Ilze Earner, notes a number of similarities and differences between children in the child welfare system who have native parents and those of immigrant parents. For instance, children of immigrant parents were significantly more likely to:

    • Be female
    • Have a biological father in the home
    • Experience emotional abuse

    Children of native parents were significantly more likely to:

    • Experience physical neglect
    • Have parents who abuse alcohol or drugs
    • Have parents with intellectual, cognitive, or physical impairments

    In many ways, the two populations were similar, including their income levels and neighborhood and community factors.

    The authors suggest that child welfare professionals need to assess the strengths as well as the risk factors of immigrant families reported to CPS.

    The article can be viewed on the American Humane website: (436 KB)

    Latino Children of Immigrants in the Child Welfare System: Findings From the National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being, by Alan Dettlaff and Ilze Earner, looks specifically at the characteristics of Latino families that come to the attention of the child welfare system, comparing families with at least one immigrant parent with families with native parents. For instance, compared to children of native-born Latino parents involved with child welfare, children of immigrant Latino parents were more likely to:

    • Be older and have older parents
    • Be poorer
    • Have a biological father in the home
    • Experience sexual abuse

    Children of native Latino parents were significantly more likely to:

    • Experience physical neglect
    • Have parents who abuse drugs
    • Have high family stress

    The authors discuss the results in terms of protective factors that may be present in immigrant families and the implications for child welfare agencies that work with these populations.

    The article can be found on the American Humane website: (432 KB)

    Related Item

    The Bridging Refugee Youth and Children's Services (BRYCS) website provides information and resources on immigrant and refugee children, including those involved with child welfare:

  • Characteristics of Effective Citizen-State Child Welfare Partnerships

    Characteristics of Effective Citizen-State Child Welfare Partnerships

    Research has shown that agencies can benefit from citizen participation in child welfare. A national study published in Children and Youth Services Review examines citizen review panels (CRPs) in particular, exploring the relationships between characteristics of CRPs—information flow between CRPs and States, group cohesion, and self-governance—and perceived effectiveness of CRPs. The study presents findings from online surveys completed by 426 CRP members and 42 CRP coordinators across the United States and from data analyses that identify and explain relationships among variables.

    Findings from the study include:

    • Group cohesion predicted the level of perceived self-governance effectiveness, which, in turn, predicted whether or not members believed their work had a positive impact upon child welfare.
    • Information flow affected the perception of self-governance effectiveness and positive impact.
    • Perceived information flow between CRPs and States, group cohesion, and self-governance explained 53 percent of the variance in CRP members' perceptions of effectiveness.

    The authors also offer recommendations for improving CRP effectiveness, including the need for panel autonomy, consistency in sharing information with panels, and intentional relationship building between panel members and State agencies.

    "Key Features of Effective Citizen-State Child Welfare Partnerships Effective: Findings From a National Study of Citizen Review Panels," Children and Youth Services Review, 32(4), by Valerie Bryan, Blake Jones, and Emily Lawson, is available for purchase online:


    Related Item

    Visit the National Citizens Review Panels virtual community for information about CRPs:


  • Effective Program Strategies for Helping Youth Transition to Adulthood

    Effective Program Strategies for Helping Youth Transition to Adulthood

    A new factsheet from Child Trends, What Works for Older Youth During Their Transition to Adulthood: Lessons from Experimental Evaluations of Programs and Interventions, synthesizes results from experimental evaluations of 31 programs geared towards positively influencing older youth (ages 18 to 25). Researchers examined the effects of programs such as Job Corps, Upward Bound, New Chance, and others to identify strategies that worked across outcomes, as well as promising findings for education, career, reproductive health, and substance use outcomes. The factsheet highlights the following pertinent findings:

    • Education and career programs can be effective, especially for low-income youth and for youth targeted early in their transition to adulthood.
    • Specific intervention strategies, such as mentoring, case management, and providing child care for young parents, are associated with program success across outcomes.
    • Findings have been inconsistent regarding the effectiveness of substance use and reproductive health programs across outcomes for this age group.

    The report also contains a chart that provides detailed information on individual program success across the outcome categories. The authors also offer suggestions for further research, noting that this particular age group is often overlooked because of assumptions that this population is already benefiting from general services available for adults.

    The factsheet, by Alena M. Hadley, Kassim Mbwana, and Elizabeth C. Hair, is available on the Child Trends website: (282 KB)

  • Study on Runaway Youth Examines Lifetime Prevalence

    Study on Runaway Youth Examines Lifetime Prevalence

    A new study from the Urban Institute uses new methodology to yield estimates of the number of youth who run away from home, the number of times they run away, and their age when they first run away. In On the Prevalence of Running Away From Home, author Michael R. Pergamit draws on the data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, 1997 cohort (NLSY97), to develop measures not generally found in the literature. The data follow a cohort of youths from age 12 to age 18. The measures combine to provide an estimate of the lifetime prevalence of runaway behavior.

    Results indicate that nearly one in five U.S. youths will run away from home before age 18, and almost 30 percent will do so three or more times, greatly heightening their risk of violence and many other dangers. Females and Black youth run away the most often, although findings show a heterogeneous population in terms of their runaway histories. The author also points out that most runaway and homeless youth have histories of runaway (and throwaway) episodes.

    The publication is available on the Urban Institute website:

    Related Item

    The National Runaway Switchboard provides an array of services to help keep runaway and at-risk youth safe and off the streets. Foremost among its services is a 24-hour crisis line staffed by counselors who provide free, anonymous, and confidential assistance to a teenager who is thinking of running away from home, has a friend who has run away and is looking for help, or is a runaway ready to go home. They also can provide advice to teachers looking for information to pass along to students about alternatives to running away from home.

    The National Runaway Switchboard services are provided in part through funding from the Family and Youth Services Bureau (FYSB) in the Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The FYSB website provides resources for parents and the media, a runaway prevention curriculum, and materials for Runaway Prevention Month held each November.

  • The Rise in Kinship Adoption

    The Rise in Kinship Adoption

    A new issue brief created by ChildFocus and the North American Council on Adoptable Children, Kinship Adoption: Meeting the Unique Needs of a Growing Population, was developed to draw attention to and explore the needs of children adopted by their relatives. The issue brief points out that the number of children in foster care finding permanent homes with relatives is steadily growing—up from 21 percent in 2000 to 30 percent in 2008. The authors look at why this trend persists and how agencies can promote and support kinship adoption.

    Why is kinship adoption on the rise? The authors point to:

    • Increased recognition of the benefits of kinship care for children
    • State and Federal preferences for kinship care
    • Placement with relatives in order to keep children out of foster care
    • Recognition that relatives will adopt if it is in the best interests of the children

    According to the brief, some of the benefits of kinship adoption include kinship caregivers' unique knowledge about the child and the family dynamics and the greater likelihood of children maintaining some kind of connection with their birth parents, if desired.

    How can agencies best support kinship adoption? The authors point to the need to:

    • Fully prepare kinship families for the adoption
    • Approach the assessment and training differently with kin than with unrelated prospective families
    • Ensure postpermanency services are open to kinship families
    • Develop kinship competence in staff to overcome general assumptions
    • Educate families on flexible kinship licensing policies

    The full issue brief is available on the ChildFocus website: (523 KB)

Strategies and Tools for Practice

CBX brings you information on using technology for virtual home visits and information exchange, and connects you to useful child insurance information.

  • National Children's Health Insurance Toolkit

    National Children's Health Insurance Toolkit, a website that offers State-specific information on health insurance coverage for children through Medicaid and CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program), now offers an online toolkit for professionals. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services designed the toolkit to help organizations raise public awareness and understanding of children's health insurance programs, thereby encouraging eligible parents and guardians to apply for coverage on behalf of their uninsured children. A variety of information, materials, tools, and tactics are provided to assist in education and outreach efforts and are organized into the following toolkit sections:

    • Developing an Approach and Setting Goals
    • Material Development and Dissemination
    • Partner Engagement and Activation
    • Working With Media and Integrating Social Media
    • Retaining Participation in Children's Health Insurance Programs
    • Tracking and Evaluating Your Efforts

    Organizations also may add their logos and local contact and State-specific information to the toolkit's customizable materials. This toolkit will be updated as new successful strategies and practices emerge. Currently, parts of the toolkit are in Spanish, Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese.

    For more information, visit:

  • Virtual Home Visits Provide Effective Home Intervention Services

    Virtual Home Visits Provide Effective Home Intervention Services

    Barriers related to geography, time, and transportation can make it difficult, and sometimes impossible, for IDEA Part C early intervention programs serving remote rural areas to provide the required home visits. These federally funded programs are obligated to serve all eligible infants and toddlers in their area, regardless of difficulty.

    Efforts to overcome these barriers in rural Utah where harsh winters pose a particular challenge is discussed in a recent article in Family Center on Technology and Disability News & Notes. The article, "A New Approach to Early Intervention: Virtual Home Visits," describes efforts by workers at the Early Intervention Research Institute, Center for Persons with Disabilities, at Utah State University to utilize technology-based virtual home visits to overcome those barriers in a way consistent with the current digital culture. Although nontraditional, the new approach meets the criteria for service provision and has enabled IDEA Part C providers to maintain a consistent schedule of home visits for families who may live as far as 125 miles away from the provider's home base.

    Using grant money to help families acquire computers and other equipment, service providers were able to set up video conferencing with families. The center also developed some online tutorials to take parents through the steps of installing their cameras and microphones and downloading the desktop software. Through these video conferences, providers can observe parent and child interactions and provide instruction to the families.

    Families generally have been receptive to the visits, although early intervention staff prefer direct contact with children and families, so virtual visits are regarded as supplemental and not as a replacement for home visits.

    News & Notes
    is available on the Family Center on Technology and Disability website: (1.80 MB)

  • Roadmap for Electronic Information Exchange

    Roadmap for Electronic Information Exchange

    Children in foster care often have complex needs that require the support of multiple State or local agencies. If providers are empowered to share key information across systems more quickly and efficiently, children will benefit.

    A recent analysis by The Children's Partnership (TCP) presents a guide for States and jurisdictions interested in improving their information systems and policies to support the electronic exchange of information on children in foster care. The report highlights some of the benefits of using electronic information exchange:

    • Improved ability to provide an array of coordinated and individualized services
    • Increased receipt of preventive care
    • Decreased use of emergency services and psychiatric care
    • Substantial cost savings

    Recent Federal legislation requires States to examine their ability to exchange information on the health-care needs of children in foster care. The Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008 mandates that the State or Tribal agency responsible for foster care services work with the State Medicaid agency to develop a plan for ongoing oversight and coordination of health care services for children in foster care, including how medical information for those children will be updated and shared.

    Considering the benefits of electronic information exchange and both Federal and State initiatives that address such exchanges, the report analyzes the potential for California to develop and implement a shared electronic data system for health and child welfare agencies. The report includes two models, with differences in how the agencies could develop privacy restrictions for data storage and access. The report also outlines several issues for the State to consider as it creates a strategic plan to fund and design the new system. Some of the recommendations include:

    • Leverage existing State and local electronic systems
    • Create policies and technical standards for information technology
    • Clarify privacy laws related to data-sharing for children in foster care
    • Establish a system of governance
    • Promote leadership at the highest levels of State government
    • Use local pilot efforts to test the system before statewide implementation

    The report, Electronic Information Exchange for Children in Foster Care: A Roadmap to Improved Outcomes, was written by Stefanie Gluckman with Ashley Phelps. Visit the TCP website to download the full report or an executive summary:

    Related Item

    The Federal Government's National Information Exchange Model (NIEM) is designed to enable information sharing. Read about NIEM's applicability for youth and family services on the NIEM website:


  • Fellowships for Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect

    Fellowships for Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect

    The Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago have launched the Doris Duke Fellowship for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect. The fellowship program contributes to knowledge development in the field of abuse and neglect and the creation of effective strategies for preventing child maltreatment.

    The program is open to doctoral students at U.S. academic institutions who are interested in a career in child abuse and neglect prevention. With the guidance of expert mentors and an annual stipend of $25,000 for up to 2 years, fellows will tackle important issues in the field, as well as participate in professional development opportunities. The multidisciplinary program reflects the various fields that work to prevent child maltreatment, including social work, public health, medicine, public policy, education, and economics.

    Students can apply to the first of two 15-fellow cohorts beginning August 15, 2010. Applications are due December 15, 2010.

    For more information on the Doris Duke Fellowship, visit:

  • Youth-Related State Legislation in a Searchable Database

    Youth-Related State Legislation in a Searchable Database

    Information on the status of State legislation on topics related to youth, including juvenile justice, financial literacy, substance abuse and prevention, youth in transition, and youth violence, is available in a searchable database from the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL).

    NCSL works in cooperation with StateNet to provide up-to-date information about youth legislation for all 50 States and the District of Columbia. The database tracks related youth legislation from the 2009 and 2010 session and can be searched by State, topic, keyword, year, status, or primary sponsor.

    The NCSL Youth Legislation Database is available on the NCSL website:

  • Health Care for Transitioning Youth

    Health Care for Transitioning Youth

    The National Association of Public Child Welfare Administrators (NAPCWA) has published an issue brief, Addressing the Health Care Needs of Transitioning Youth, that describes how some States are working to provide health care to youth who are transitioning out of foster care and into independence.

    Children in foster care are more likely to experience acute and chronic health conditions. While they are entitled to health-care benefits through Medicaid, a lack of Medicaid providers reduces their chances of consistent and timely care—and those benefits end when they leave the foster care system.

    The Fostering Connections Act of 2008 requires States to create and maintain a health oversight and coordination plan for each young person in foster care. The objective of these plans is for health-care providers to ensure that each child receives regular and comprehensive care, access to services beyond his or her 18th birthday, and a medical passport—an electronic, portable record of the child’s medical and family health histories.

    Thirty-two States extend Medicaid coverage to youth beyond age 18. The paper gives examples of how some States coordinate and monitor health-care provision for youth in, and out of, foster care:

    • California, Colorado, and Maine have Medicaid passport programs; South Carolina is developing one. 
    • Alaska has programs that keep children in foster care with the same doctor throughout the life of the child's case.
    • Arizona, Delaware, and Minnesota teach life skills including understanding medical needs, the dangers of high-risk behaviors, and family planning.
    • Nebraska provides detailed medical records, including immunization and medical histories, to youth as they leave the system.
    • New York operates comprehensive health-care coordination—including evaluations, referrals, treatment plans, and education—for each child in foster care.

    To read the issue brief, go to: (47 KB)

  • Data on Latino Children's Well-Being

    Data on Latino Children's Well-Being

    A new data book gives an overview of current national and State-level trends for Latino minors relative to non-Hispanic White and Black children. America’s Future: Latino Child Well-Being in Numbers and Trends provides State-specific data for Hispanic children between the years 2000 and 2008 for 25 indicators in the following data book sections:

    • Population Trends and Geographic Location
    • Nativity Status and Citizenship
    • Family Structure and Income
    • Education and Language
    • Health
    • Juvenile Justice

    The book was produced by the National Council of La Raza (NCLR) and the Population Reference Bureau and is now available on the NCLR website:

Training and Conferences

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

  • Forensic Interviewing and Related Trainings

    Forensic Interviewing and Related Trainings

    The National Children's Advocacy Center (NCAC) provides training, prevention, intervention, and treatment services to fight child abuse and neglect. The trainings are offered online, on the NCAC campus in Huntsville, AL, and at trainee locations through customized arrangements.

    As part of its training series, online presentations on a variety of child maltreatment and investigation topics are offered at no charge. The trainings are developed by experts in the field and are designed to be viewed by individuals or groups of child abuse or related professionals. Access the 23 online trainings on the NCAC website.

    Trainings on the NCAC campus include forensic interviewing and evaluation, as well as family and victim advocacy. Customized trainings are available through special arrangements and can include a variety of topics centering on forensic interviewing.

    Visit the NCAC website for more information:

  • Conferences


    Upcoming national conferences on child welfare and adoption through November 2010 include:

    August 2010

    September 2010

    • 23rd Annual National Independent Living Conference
      Growing Pains 2010

      Daniel Memorial Institute
      September 7–10, National Harbor, MD
    • 15th Annual Conference on Violence, Abuse & Trauma
      Institute on Violence, Abuse, and Trauma
      September 11–12, San Diego, CA
    • Eleventh International Conference on Shaken Baby Syndrome/Abusive Head Trauma
      National Center on Shaken Baby Syndrome
      September 12–14, Atlanta, GA
    • XVIII ISPCAN International Congress
      One World, One Family, Many Cultures
      International Society for Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect
      September 26–29, Honolulu, HI

    October 2010

    November 2010

    • 5th Annual Conference on Differential Response in Child Welfare
      The Child Welfare Response Continuum
      American Humane
      November 8–10, Anaheim, CA

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