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May 2024Vol. 25, No. 4Spotlight on National Foster Care Month

This edition of CBX highlights National Foster Care Month. Learn about the Children’s Bureau’s commitment to creating a child welfare system that authentically engages and supports young people who are preparing to leave foster care. Read a farewell message from Associate Commissioner Aysha E. Schomburg about the continuing evolution of her purpose-driven career serving children and families. This issue also includes valuable resources for professionals and the families they serve.

Issue Spotlight

  • Ten Toes Down, A Message From Aysha E. Schomburg

    Ten Toes Down, A Message From Aysha E. Schomburg

    Written by Associate Commissioner Aysha E. Schomburg

    Twenty-four years ago, almost to the day, I was working at a certain organization in New York when I was offered my first job in child welfare. I didn’t know a whole lot about child welfare as a profession at the time, but I knew about foster care. I knew that even when it was necessary, it was not good. I didn’t understand as much as I do now about the nuances—the extreme consequences of family separation—but I did understand that there were children in need. I was curious about the position, but I wasn’t sure if I was ready to take that professional leap.

    I called my mom and asked her, “what should I do?” I always sought guidance from my mom when I needed to make a big decision and she always knew exactly what to say. For much of my life, she might have known me better than I knew myself. Without hesitation, she replied, “Aysha, go where you are needed most.” It was after that conversation that I accepted the job.

    Now, here I am, 24 years later, more committed, and more determined than ever before and, frankly, still following her advice. What on earth could be more important than supporting children and families when they need it? I can’t think of one thing. Now, as professionals, we know so much more about listening to what children, young adults, and families need than we did when I accepted that job so many years ago. We value lived experience and true collaboration. We understand foster care is a last resort and we know for sure, we cannot prevent it alone. We need all hands—education, housing, family assistance, health systems, philanthropy. As professionals when we say prevention takes a village—we mean we must live harmoniously with the other villagers. To do it right, our work requires unprecedented commitment to serving families, wholly and holistically.

    I have been fortunate to have found my purpose in life the day I followed my mother’s advice. I have lived a purpose driven life in complete service of children and families; I do it with love in my heart, and I am fortunate to have never known regret. There’s so much more to do, I keep challenging myself to level up. I firmly believe that as long as we are breathing, we can evolve. I also believe that the path to evolution is a choice.

    The universe set me up to evolve when I accepted this challenge. It swung the door wide open, and I walked through it and stayed for 3 solid years. In certain belief systems, three represents understanding, which is attained through knowledge and wisdom. During our time, the Children’s Bureau has advanced in each of these qualities, which has led to unprecedented accomplishments. It has truly been an honor to serve you, and to serve this nation, in this way.

    Evolution, if you choose it, is constant. I can hear my mother’s voice telling me that now it is time for me to go where I am needed most. So, I will go. And while evolution requires change over time, my purpose remains fixed. I will continue with my service to children and families. Assuredly, my service is my purpose and, wherever I go, I will always lean in on it with unparalleled love, ten toes down.

  • May Is National Foster Care Month

    May Is National Foster Care Month

    It’s May and National Foster Care Month (NFCM), a time dedicated to raising awareness about the important role people in all areas of child welfare play in supporting children, youth, and families. This year's NFCM theme—"Engaging Youth. Building Supports. Strengthening Opportunities."—highlights the need to create a child welfare system that authentically engages and supports young people who are preparing to leave foster care.

    Every year, the Children’s Bureau, in collaboration with Child Welfare Information Gateway and other partners, develops a dedicated campaign website that includes a variety of resources, stories, and outreach tools related to the year’s theme. Here are some key highlights of the 2024 website:

    • Information about NFCM, including FAQs, the Children’s Bureau's NFCM message, and lists of Children’s Bureau partners and projects
    • New, real-life stories added to the Reflections: Stories of Foster Care series
    • NFCM resources that emphasize this year’s theme
    • The official 2024 outreach toolkit, which provides a variety of free resources that amplify this year's theme, including the following:
      • The latest key facts and statistics on youth in foster care
      • NFCM virtual backgrounds for Zoom and Microsoft Teams
      • Themed graphics and GIFs (options available in Spanish)
      • Sample social media posts, outreach messages, and proclamations

    Visit the NFCM campaign website to learn more about the importance of engaging youth and helping them leave care with strengthened relationships, concrete supports, and opportunities.

  • New Data Show Fewer Children in Foster Care for the Fourth Year in a Row

    New Data Show Fewer Children in Foster Care for the Fourth Year in a Row

    The latest data from the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS) are now available. According to the report, the number of children in foster care has decreased for the fourth consecutive year. The Family First Prevention Services Act has been instrumental in shifting the focus toward preventing foster care placements and preserving families.

    Other notable data from the current report, which presents data from fiscal year (FY) 2022, include the following:

    • The number of children in foster care for FY 2022 decreased by nearly 6 percent compared to FY 2021, a greater decrease than FY 2021’s nearly 4-percent decrease relative to FY 2020.
    • The number of children in foster care at the end of FY 2022 was 368,500, compared to 392,000 children in foster care at the end of FY 2021.
    • The number of children exiting foster care has decreased compared to last year (from 214,500 in FY 2021 to 201,400 in FY 2022). Since 2020, the number of children exiting foster care has outpaced the number of children entering foster care. 

    State and tribal title IV-E agencies are required to report AFCARS case-level information on all children in foster care and on children who have been adopted and have had title IV-E agency involvement. The way AFCARS data is collected changed significantly at the start of FY 2023. Changes include the type of data collected and the format of the data submissions. The data are intended to help policymakers at the federal, tribal, and state levels assess how many children are in foster care, the reasons they entered care, and how they exited care, as well as to develop strategies to prevent unnecessary out-of-home placements. The AFCARS report also provides information about the children who are removed from their homes, their placement details, and foster or adoptive parents. 

    To view the complete AFCARS report for FY 2022, visit the Children's Bureau website. Read the press release for more information about AFCARS report #30 and additional trends in data.

  • Analysis From a State-by-State Survey of Kinship Care Policies

    Analysis From a State-by-State Survey of Kinship Care Policies

    A recent survey conducted by Child Trends for the Annie E. Casey Foundation sheds light on the evolving landscape of kinship care policies across states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. To be released in a five-part series of briefs throughout early 2024, the survey reveals increasing efforts by jurisdictions to promote kinship care and support caregivers involved with the child welfare system. In 2022, Child Trends surveyed state child welfare administrators from 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico, with 46 completing the survey.

    This executive summary offers survey highlights, including the five policy areas the series will examine, general trends in policy content and implementation, and recommendations for policymakers. The survey's recommendations focus on increased investment, data collection, and input from families with lived experience, as well as tools to help implement the new federal rule on kin-specific licensing.

    The findings underscore states' growing reliance on placing children with relatives. They also highlight the urgent need to address disparities in assistance and services available to kinship caregivers. While progress has been made in promoting supported placements with kin, the analysis reveals that financial assistance and support services are often not needs-based, disadvantaging caregivers who are unable to meet licensing requirements.

    New opportunities emerge with the U.S. Administration for Children and Families' September 2023 rule, allowing child welfare agencies to simplify the approval process for relative foster parents and access federal title IV-E foster care funds. This rule mandates states to provide licensed or approved kinship caregivers with the same financial assistance as nonrelative foster parents, presenting a significant shift in policy.

    The survey's findings can inform policymakers in responding to these new opportunities, enhancing efforts to reduce barriers to licensing and increase support for kinship caregivers. The series will provide an indepth examination of state policies on kinship caregiving, covering areas such as licensure of kinship foster parents, support for unlicensed caregivers, kinship diversion policies, agency engagement with kinship caregivers, and the inclusion of kinship care families' perspectives in policy design.

    Read the executive summary, "Family Ties: Analysis From a State-by-State Survey of Kinship Care Policies." The policy data and analysis will be released as a five-part series throughout early 2024.

  • Report Uses Strategic Foresight to Explore the Future Conditions of Young Adults Exiting Foster Care

    Report Uses Strategic Foresight to Explore the Future Conditions of Young Adults Exiting Foster Care

    On the Threshold of Change: Forces That Could Transform Future Conditions for Youth in Extended Foster Care (EFC), a report by the Institute for the Future, the Youth Law Center, and the California Youth Connection, uses strategic foresight to present a forward-thinking vision for transforming extended foster care (EFC) in the United States. The report's executive summary describes this strategic foresight as "a set of tools, processes, and research methodologies designed to bring discipline, creativity, and imagination to how we reinvent and plan for the long-term future."

    The report outlines the historical context of EFC, starting from Congress's authorization in 2008 for states to extend foster care to age 21. While this shift was intended to provide a safety net for youth in foster care, data from the past decade reveal persistent challenges, including homelessness, incarceration, and health issues among EFC participants.

    The report identifies challenging realities facing youth in foster care today, such as family inequity, racial injustice, economic inequality, climate crises, the digital divide, and social volatility. It calls for systemic changes to address these challenges and presents four transformational future forces that could reshape EFC by 2035: equitable transition, restorative care, relational design, and computational advantage. These forces envision a system that provides universal access to stable housing, financial security, holistic health care, nurturing family ties, and digital literacy.

    Key insights emphasize the importance of prioritizing loving relationships, financial security, and holistic well-being for youth in EFC. The report advocates shifting the focus from avoiding adverse outcomes to promoting comprehensive well-being and life fulfillment. It emphasizes the need to co-create the future of EFC with young people and leverage partnerships across sectors to build a supportive network anchored in communities.

    Ultimately, the report calls for collective action to shape a future where youth in EFC have the resources, support, and opportunities to thrive, emphasizing the importance of centering youth voices and fostering inclusive collaboration.

    In addition to the full report and executive summary, there is a short companion film and an hour-long recorded virtual conversation.

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News From the Children's Bureau

In this section, find the latest news, resources, and publications from the Administration for Children and Families, the Children's Bureau, and other offices within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services as well as a listing of the latest additions to the Children's Bureau website.

Training & Technical Assistance Updates

This section features resources and updates from the Children's Bureau's technical assistance partners to support practices and systems that improve the lives of children and families.

Child Welfare Research

In this section, we highlight recent studies, literature reviews, and other research on child welfare topics.

  • 2024 Race for Results Report

    2024 Race for Results Report

    The U.S. child welfare system has historically performed poorly when it comes to supporting children and youth of color. In 2014, the Annie E. Casey Foundation released a report, Race for Results, detailing racial disparities and disproportionality using 12 well-being indicators. Ten years later, the foundation released a new edition of Race for Results with updated data. The new data show that while there have been improvements across racial and ethnic groups in at least six indicators, wide disparities remain for children of color.

    The report provides scores (in percentages) for the following well-being indicators:

    1. Babies born at a normal birth weight
    2. Children ages 3 to 5 enrolled in nursery school, preschool, or kindergarten
    3. Fourth graders who scored at or above proficient in reading
    4. Eighth graders who scored at or above proficient in math
    5. High school students graduating on time
    6. Young adults ages 19 to 26 who are in school or working
    7. Young adults ages 25 to 29 who have completed an associate degree or higher
    8. Females ages 15 to 19 who delay childbearing until adulthood
    9. Children who live with a householder who has at least a high school diploma
    10. Children who live in two-parent families
    11. Children living at or above 200 percent of poverty
    12. Children who live in low-poverty areas (poverty less than 20 percent)

    The report authors analyze trends by indicator and racial and ethnic group. For example, they identify that American Indian and Alaska Native child well-being improved in six categories but worsened in five, Asian and Pacific Islander children exceeded the national average in all but one category, White children exceeded the national average in all categories, and, despite improving in seven indicators, Black children continue to face the steepest obstacles to opportunity. Percentages by race indicate that race continues to be a factor in well-being and non-White groups often face barriers to opportunities and success.

    The report delves into the indicator categories of early childhood, education and early work experience, family resources, and neighborhood context. It also highlights key milestones for each racial and ethnic group and provides recommendations for a “brighter future.” There are three steps outlined for advancing universal policies to bolster all children:

    • Expand federal and state child tax credits and earned income tax credits for low-income families.
    • Design programs that help families provide for their children’s future while reducing racial disparities.
    • Expand Medicaid coverage.

    In addition, the report outlines four targeted strategies:

    • Follow the data.
    • Engage communities that face the steepest barriers to opportunities and success.
    • Analyze root causes of inequities.
    • Use racial equity impact assessment tools and implementation measures to ensure policies achieve targeted goals.

    More information is available in the report and its summary on the Annie E. Casey Foundation website.

  • Examining Behavioral Health Diagnoses and Service Receipt Among Youth in Care

    Examining Behavioral Health Diagnoses and Service Receipt Among Youth in Care

    Children and youth involved with child welfare often experience behavioral health conditions. The treatment of these conditions has been a subject of concern as children and youth in care may be overprescribed psychotropic medications, despite limited data and potential side effects. A recent brief from the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation explores these concerns by examining the behavioral health diagnoses and treatment services received by children and youth involved with the child welfare system in 2019.

    Behavioral Health Diagnoses and Treatment Services for Children Involved With the Child Welfare System uses claims data from Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). It analyzes information about 719,908 children and youth involved with the child welfare system and 31,473,608 children and youth in other Medicaid eligibility categories. The following are some of the study’s key findings:

    • More than 40 percent of children and youth involved with child welfare had been diagnosed with behavioral health conditions.
    • Children and youth involved with child welfare were more likely than other children and youth to use behavioral health services.
    • More than 45 percent of children and youth in care used behavioral health services, with 40.3 percent using outpatient services and 26.3 percent using psychotropic medications.
    • Most children and youth in care with a behavioral health diagnosis also received behavioral health services (90 percent).
    • Of the children and youth in care who had a behavioral health diagnosis, more than half received psychotropic medication.
    • Seven percent of children and youth in care without a behavioral health diagnosis also received psychotropic medication.
    • Rates of psychotropic medication use varied by state, with Georgia at the low end of distribution at 6 percent and Virginia at the high end of distribution at 47.2 percent.

    The brief and related research represent the first Transformed Medicaid Statistical Information System (T-MSIS) analyses to focus on a child welfare population. The brief is available on the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation's website.

  • Study Examines Prevalence of Foster Care Among Youth With Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

    Study Examines Prevalence of Foster Care Among Youth With Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

    A February 2024 investigation published in JAMA Pediatrics examines the clinical and sociodemographic characteristics of youth with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) in foster care. Youth with I/DD are more likely than other youth to experience foster care. To better understand the service needs and disparities experienced by these youth, researchers conducted a population-level analysis of youth with I/DD in foster care.

    The report uses data about youth with I/DD who were enrolled in Medicaid through foster care in 2016, a total of 39,143 youth. Researchers used the data to examine the association between risk of foster care involvement and race, ethnicity, age, and sex. Three diagnostic subgroups of youth with I/DD were examined: autism spectrum disorder only, intellectual disability only, or both autism spectrum disorder and intellectual disability.

    Findings indicate that Black youth and females had an increased likelihood of foster care involvement, and the likelihood of foster care involvement increased with age. These findings align with research showing Black youth experience disparities and overrepresentation at all points of contact with child welfare, according to the report. The increased risk for females aligns with a recent call for research on the identification of autism spectrum disorder in females, as females are often diagnosed later than males.

    The study identifies the need for more research and attention in several areas. It calls for increased attention to what happens to youth with I/DD once they are placed in foster care. The study also emphasizes the importance of continuity of care, largely because disruptions in health care can have significant effects on short- and long-term health outcomes among youth with I/DD.

    It also calls for the representation of youth with I/DD in research, since knowing I/DD status could contribute to knowledge of what contributes to risk for foster care involvement, and subsequently, how to prevent it.

    More information is available in the article, “Foster Care Involvement Among Youth With Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities.”

Strategies and Tools for Practice

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

  • Moving Beyond Legal Permanency

    Moving Beyond Legal Permanency

    Written by the Capacity Building Center for States

    Child welfare professionals have traditionally focused on identifying and establishing legal permanency on federally established timelines for young people determined to be unable to return to the care of their parents. However, focusing mostly on legal permanency may result in a young person’s other essential connections—such as prior foster caregivers, schoolteachers, and peers—not receiving the same attention as other forms of valuable support. In turn, this may cause young people in care to lose relationships with their biological families and kin as well as other important individuals in their lives.

    In recent years, agencies have begun to understand that relational permanency is critical to the well-being of young people (Child Welfare Information Gateway, n.d.-b). Relational permanency encourages children and young people to form long-lasting permanent connections in foster care that include retaining connections with their cultures, communities, and families. By focusing on relational permanency, agencies can encourage children and young people to form strong relationships and social connections with people in their lives that can help them feel loved, accepted, and supported. This may also give young people more options and long-term security when it comes to choosing their permanent connections (Child Welfare Information Gateway, n.d.-a).

    Challenges and Benefits of Moving Beyond Legal Permanency

    Focusing on relational permanency is not without challenges. One of the challenges young people might face is that while they may be forming committed connections with adults in their lives, they may still lack a sense of belonging, seeing themselves as “just a foster child” (Thompson & Greeson, 2015). Young people may also have trouble forming meaningful relationships with adults in their lives because of trust issues due to entering care or previous experiences with adults, trauma caused by being in the system, lack of positive examples, or a fear of rejection due to past experiences (Thompson & Greeson, 2015). By being aware of these challenges and offering mental health support where needed, agencies can better facilitate relational permanency for young people in foster care.

    In addition, collecting data on relational permanency can be a challenge for agencies. It is easier to determine the number of young people exiting care through adoption or guardianship than to determine how many young people are exiting care with an adult they can call when they are facing personal challenges such as ones related to child care or finances. These data points are much harder to define, but these types of connections are essential for young people who have experienced child welfare. Having at least one individual to call on in times of stress can make a difference between a young person who is simply surviving and one who is thriving and resilient.

    Despite these challenges, there are substantial benefits to moving beyond legal permanency for children and young people, including the following (Williams-Butler, 2017):

    • Positive long-term effects on young people’s social, psychological, and financial outcomes
    • Improved self-esteem
    • Improved educational achievement and social skill development

    Child welfare agencies could experience the following potential benefits (Williams-Butler, 2017):

    • Improved turnover rates for young people returning to care
    • Better permanency outcomes and opportunities for young people and families

    By working on relational permanency, agencies will be able to apply lessons learned and best practices when working on legal permanency with children and young people.

    How Children and Young People Can Strengthen Permanent Connections

    Agencies can better support relational permanency for children and young people by exploring strategies to help them nurture, strengthen, and maintain permanent and personal connections. Instead of solely focusing on replacing connections young people had before entering care, child welfare agencies should strive to support them in maintaining existing connections while also nurturing new ones. Offering this support can help build positive relationships between young people, families, and agencies.

    Some steps agencies can take toward encouraging relational permanency and moving from the standard legal lenses of permanency include the following (Child Welfare Information Gateway, 2019):

    • Begin involving young people and families in permanency planning as early as possible, including discussing how they define “family” and “permanency.” Agencies can create space to allow young people and families to advocate for themselves during family team meetings, organize permanency planning calls, and be open-minded to nontraditional permanency solutions proposed by families.
    • Strengthen reunification services. Train new and existing staff about the different permanency options, how to determine which option is best for individual young people in their care, and how to better involve young people and families when discussing permanency options.
    • Listen to young people about which connections they value most and what they feel would be most beneficial to them.
    • Help young people maintain or establish relationships with kin and other essential connections if they wish to do so.
    • Continue to explore relational permanency throughout a young person’s time in child welfare. Hold ongoing conversations with young people and families about building supportive connections and systems in their lives.

    Supporting emotional, physical, and relational stability is at the core of helping children and young people thrive. By moving past legal permanency as the goal and investing in relational permanency, agencies can help children and young people build a community of supportive connections that last a lifetime.

     

    References

    Child Welfare Information Gateway. (n.d.-a) Permanency. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Children's Bureau. https://www.childwelfare.gov/topics/permanency/

    Child Welfare Information Gateway. (n.d.-b) Relational permanency. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Children's Bureau.  https://www.childwelfare.gov/topics/permanency/relational-permanency/

    Child Welfare Information Gateway. (2019). Promoting permanency for older youth in out-of-home care. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Children's Bureau. https://www.childwelfare.gov/resources/promoting-permanency-older-youth-out-home-care/

    Thompson, A. E., & Greeson, J. K. P. (2015, August). Legal and relational permanence in older foster care youths. Social Work Today, 15(4), 24. https://www.socialworktoday.com/archive/072115p24.shtml

    Williams-Butler, A. (2017). The role of relational permanence in positive outcomes among African American adolescents in foster care. [Doctoral dissertation, University of Michigan]. Deep Blue Documents. https://deepblue.lib.umich.edu/bitstream/handle/2027.42/137144/ abigwill_1.pdf?sequence=1

  • The Role of Leadership in Youth Engagement: A Lesson Learned From the QIC-EY Project

    The Role of Leadership in Youth Engagement: A Lesson Learned From the QIC-EY Project

    In 2023, the Quality Improvement Center on Engaging Youth in Finding Permanency (QIC-EY) established its Lessons Learned series to share key insights related to engaging children and youth in child welfare, especially in relation to permanency decisions, through knowledge gained from the QIC-EY project.

    The second lesson in the series—leaders set the tone for building relationships that drive authentic engagement of children and youth—acknowledges the important role leaders can play in building and nurturing relationships within organizations that, in turn, enable and empower child welfare staff to engage youth in the decisions that affect their lives.

    Supporting insights are provided, including an episode from the QIC-EY Podcast, which features an on-topic conversation with Addie D. Williams, former president and chief executive officer of Spaulding for Children. The lesson also encourages child welfare leadership to consider the following questions as they work to implement this lesson and drive the active and intentional partnership with youth:

    • As you lead staff members who engage directly with children and youth, are you modeling and exhibiting characteristics that encourage authentic engagement?
    • Do the staff whom you lead feel valued, included, and part of the decision-making process?
    • As you and the teams that you lead are working to provide safety, permanence, and well-being for children and youth, how are you supporting your staff members by valuing those same priorities for them?
    • Are your staff members equipped with the skills, resources, and tools they need to find ways to engage authentically with children and youth?

    To learn more about the second lesson learned, including how leaders can address possible barriers to engagement, visit the QIC-EY website.

    Related item: Other lessons from the QIC-EY’s Lessons Learned series are featured in the May 2023, September 2023, and December/January 2024 issues of CBX.

  • Investing in Peer Support Programs to Improve Family Well-Being

    Investing in Peer Support Programs to Improve Family Well-Being

    A new resource for professionals, Promoting Peer Support in Child Welfare, details the importance of peer support programs to help bolster children, youth, and families as they navigate the child welfare system. The publication outlines what peer support is, why it is important, the evidence for its effectiveness, and the importance of investing in peer support programs.

    When leaders invest in growing and scaling peer support programs, there can be many benefits:

    • It can amplify lived experience, as many support programs fundamentally partner with those who have experienced child welfare.
    • It can build capacity for peer-to-peer delivered services in communities.
    • It can reduce isolation by connecting people with similar experiences.
    • It can enhance family well-being by connecting families to services and supports.
    • It can build evidence for peer support.

    Peer support programs can help many families involved with child welfare, including youth and young adults, parents, and kinship caregivers. It can also take many forms, such as mentoring, resource navigation, support groups, training, one-on-one coaching, advocacy, and outreach. While research about peer support programs in child welfare is limited, some early results are promising:

    • Researchers found that involvement in the Iowa Parent Partner Program reduced reentry rates by more than 40 percent and significantly increased the likelihood of reunification.
    • A study of the Parents for Parents Program in Washington found that the program helped parents better understand the system and increased reunification by 32 percent.
    • Evaluations of the Sobriety Treatment and Recovery Teams program in Kentucky found that children in the program were about half as likely to enter foster care as children not involved in the program. It also reduced the likelihood of foster care reentry.

    The publication, available on the Generations United website, was developed by a committee of members from the Children’s Trust Fund Alliance, Generations United, FosterClub, and Zero to Three.

Resources

In this section, we present interesting resources, such as websites, videos, journals, funding or scholarship opportunities, or other materials, that can be used in the field or with families.

  • Positive Parenting, Thriving Kids

    Positive Parenting, Thriving Kids

    The Child Mind Institute in partnership with the state of California developed the Positive Parenting, Thriving Kids Project to help parents and caregivers support the mental health and self-esteem of their children. The project provides a series of free videos that feature more than 150 caregivers, youth, and experts talking about challenging topics, organized into the following categories:

    • Self-Care and Parent-Child Relationships
    • Healthy Child and Adolescent Growth
    • Big Changes and Challenges
    • Family and Community Stress

    Videos answer a variety of questions, such as:

    • How can I take care of myself so I can be the best parent I can be?
    • How can I build and maintain a warm and positive relationship with my child or teen?
    • How do I help my child build healthy self-esteem?
    • How do I build my child’s basic wellness habits, like sleep, diet, and exercise?
    • How and when do I talk to my kids about sex, consent, and safety?
    • How do I talk to my child about sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression?
    • How and when do I talk to my kids about alcohol and drugs?
    • How do I recognize signs and help my child struggling with mental health problems?
    • How do I help my child with difficult experiences such as encountering and responding to racism and discrimination?

    Each video is less than 10 minutes; available in English and Spanish; and includes a downloadable learning guide with evidence-based tips, tools, and additional resources. 

    To learn more, visit the project’s webpage.

    Related item: Healthy Minds, Thriving Kids, another Child Mind Institute Thriving Kids project and video series, is featured in the June 2022 issue of CBX.

  • Empowering Young People in the Age of Social Media

    Empowering Young People in the Age of Social Media

    A new web resource from Promising Futures—a project of Futures Without Violence—offers some practical tips for supporting young people as they navigate social media and learn to accept and care for their bodies.

    A 1-minute introductory video prompts parents and caregivers with a question: Are you concerned about the effects of social media on your child’s self-esteem and body image? The video notes that, while many teens report social media has been detrimental to their self-image, caring adults can help mitigate these negative effects by creating nurturing, healing environments that encourage body acceptance and self-compassion.

    The web resource highlights authentic youth perspectives on the effects social media has had on their lives. The resource explains why creating safe and affirming environments is so important and provides the following list of open-ended questions that parents can use to engage youth in conversation:

    • What do you enjoy and dislike about social media?
    • What things help you feel at home in your body, and what things make you feel uneasy?
    • When was the last time you felt proud, ashamed, or something else about your appearance while on social media? What created those feelings?
    • Are there times when you don’t think about your appearance?
    • How does your body help you do the things you love to do?

    Not all social media is harmful, though. It can also be a place of inclusion and appreciation for all types of people—a place that can help youth foster self-acceptance and love. The web resource offers a selection of positive social media accounts and resources.

    To learn more, view How to Empower Young People in the Age of Social Media: Supporting Body Acceptance & Self-Compassion on the Promising Futures website.

Training and Conferences

Find trainings, webinars, workshops, 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.