Children's Bureau ExpressJuly/August 2005 | Vol. 6, No. 6

Table of Contents
 

News From the Children's Bureau

  • Kinship Care From the Child's Perspective
  • A Positive Approach to Preventing Abuse
  • ACF Releases New Report on Healthy Marriage Initiative
  • Nominations Now Open for the Adoption Excellence Awards

Child Welfare Research

  • Family Group Conferences for Youth in Group Care
  • Study Casts Doubt on Attachment Disorder Screening Instrument
  • National Incidence Study of Child Abuse and Neglect
  • Lessons From the Tsunami

Strategies and Tools for Practice

  • Permanency for Youth Toolbox
  • Establishing Community Partnerships for Child Welfare

Resources

  • Youth Who Sexually Offend
  • African-American Children in Child Welfare
  • Bridging Refugee Youth and Children's Services (BRYCS) Spotlights Program Challenges and Resources
  • Tips for Conducting Program Evaluations
  • New Resource for Social Work Research
  • Federal Grant Writing Toolkit

Training and Conferences

  • HIPAA Training for Social Workers
  • Conferences

News From the Children's Bureau

Kinship Care From the Child's Perspective

The National Abandoned Infants Assistance Resource Center (AIA) recently explored the topic of kinship placement from a unique perspective—that of the child. "From the Child's Perspective: A Qualitative Analysis of Kinship Care Placements" presents findings from small focus groups conducted with a total of 40 children, aged 10 to 14 years, who were interviewed about their perceptions of transitional issues, family relationships, the stigma of living with relatives, and the stability of their placement. The children were either living with a relative who was a legal guardian, or they were in an informal placement with a relative.

Results of the focus group discussions show that these children generally viewed their family constellations as fluid. This view led to their belief that they were still living with "family" and that there was little, if any, stigma associated with kinship care. The children expressed conflicting feelings about their birth parents that included anger, disappointment, love, and hopefulness. Children who lived with legal guardians seemed to derive some comfort from the fact that the relatives had legal rights, and these children seemed more secure in their placements than those in informal placements.

This article is available on the AIA website at http://aia.berkeley.edu/media/pdf/kinship_research_summary.pdf. (PDF 281 KB)

Related Item

Also available from AIA is the Spring 2005 issue of its newsletter, The Source, which focuses on young children of substance abusers. The issue can be downloaded from the AIA website at http://aia.berkeley.edu/media/pdf/source_vol14_no1.pdf. (PDF 614 KB)

Issue Date: July/August 2005
Section: News From the Children's Bureau
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=66&articleid=2426


A Positive Approach to Preventing Abuse

Only a portion of abusive behavior experienced by children is reported to child protective services. An innovative project in San Diego County, CLASP (Children Linked to Adults for Safety and Protection), seeks to increase the knowledge of children and adults about positive parenting in order to reduce family violence, encourage children to report abuse, and provide intervention and counseling for children and adults living in abusive homes.

Funded in 2001 by the Children's Bureau, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the project serves low-income, high-risk youth with a prevention curriculum delivered in school classrooms and through YMCA after-school programs. A unique feature of this program is the positive focus of its curriculum, which emphasizes healthy families and positive parenting in contrast to a more typical "bad touch" or "stranger danger" approach. CLASP's educators are adept at presenting the curriculum in either Spanish or English, and sometimes both at the same time. This is critical, as 72 percent of the children participating in the program are Latino.

Other keys to the program's success include:

The program has encountered a number of challenges, including concerns for staff safety in high-risk neighborhoods, some resistance from schools to bringing a prevention program into the classroom, and fears of immigrant children that their family might be forced to leave the country if abuse is reported. Despite these challenges, preliminary evaluation results indicate that short-term outcomes, such as increases in children's knowledge, are being achieved. Project staff continue to work toward demonstrating long-term outcomes, including the reduction of under-reporting of child abuse and neglect.

For more information about this project, contact:

Ana Gabriela Torres, CLASP Project Director
YMCA of San Diego County
4715 Viewridge Avenue, Suite 101
San Diego, CA 92123
(619) 691-1331

Note: This program was funded by the Children's Bureau, Grant #90-CA-1694. This article is part of a series highlighting successful Children's Bureau Discretionary Grant-funded projects around the country, emerging from official Children's Bureau site visits.

Issue Date: July/August 2005
Section: News From the Children's Bureau
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=66&articleid=994


ACF Releases New Report on Healthy Marriage Initiative

On Monday, June 13, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Assistant Secretary for Children and Families Wade F. Horn, Ph.D., announced the release of a new report on President Bush's Healthy Marriage Initiative.

"This report takes stock of the progress we have made with the President's Healthy Marriage Initiative," said Dr. Horn. "By helping couples form and sustain a healthy marriage, we help improve the well-being of children, families, and communities."

The report, titled "Healthy Marriage Initiative: Activities and Accomplishments 2002-2004," provides an overview of healthy marriage demonstration projects and grant activities, the African American and Hispanic healthy marriage initiatives, healthy marriage research, and other resources funded by ACF through 2004.

The Healthy Marriage Initiative was launched in 2002. Its mission is to help couples, who have chosen marriage for themselves, gain greater access to voluntary marriage education services, where they can acquire the skills and knowledge necessary to form and sustain a healthy marriage. The primary motivating factor of the initiative is research showing the substantial benefits of healthy marriage for adults, children, and society.

In its welfare reform law of 1996, Congress stipulated three of the four purposes of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) block grant to States be related to promoting healthy marriages. In his budget request for 2006, President Bush has proposed $100 million in matching funds for States and tribes to develop innovative healthy marriage programs, and another $100 million to fund technical assistance and research as well as demonstrations targeted to family formation and healthy marriage.

To view the report, go to http://www.acf.hhs.gov/healthymarriage/pdf/accomplishments2005.pdf (Editor's note: Link no longer active). For more information on the Healthy Marriage Initiative, go to http://archive.acf.hhs.gov/healthymarriage/.

Issue Date: July/August 2005
Section: News From the Children's Bureau
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=66&articleid=1004


Nominations Now Open for the Adoption Excellence Awards

The Administration for Children and Families is now accepting nominations for the 2005 Adoption Excellence Awards. Individuals, families, organizations, businesses, agencies, and States are eligible to receive these awards, which honor those who have demonstrated excellence in providing stable, permanent homes for children in foster care. The deadline for submission of nominations is Monday, August 15.

Nominees are eligible to receive an award in the following categories:

Nominations will be evaluated on the basis of clear and measurable success in these areas. A panel of recognized experts in the adoption field will review all nominations and make award recommendations to the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Award recipients will be notified by October and recognized in November during National Adoption Month.

 

Issue Date: July/August 2005
Section: News From the Children's Bureau
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=66&articleid=1005


Child Welfare Research

Family Group Conferences for Youth in Group Care

Family group conferencing (FGC) has shown positive results for engaging families and enhancing permanency for children in out-of-home care. A recent study in Washington State explored the effectiveness of FGC as a strategy for improving placement and relationship outcomes for some of the most troubled children in the child welfare system—those in group care.

Connected and Cared For was a 3-year project of the Northwest Institute for Children and Families and the Washington State Children's Administration, Region 3, with funding from the Stuart Foundation. During the project, 81 family group conferences were conducted for 96 children between 11 and 18 years of age who were in group care at the time of the conference. A total of 57 youth were ultimately included in the study sample. Of these youth, more than half had experienced more than six placements, and 19 percent had experienced more than 10 placements.

Postconference interviews indicate that the conferences were largely successful in engaging families in planning for the youth and increasing communication among families, social workers, and service planners. Findings include:

A final report on the evaluations was completed in January 2005. The report and an executive summary may be obtained by contacting Karin Gunderson of the institute at kgund@u.washington.edu.

Issue Date: July/August 2005
Section: Child Welfare Research
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=66&articleid=1003


Study Casts Doubt on Attachment Disorder Screening Instrument

Reactive attachment disorder is the subject of considerable debate within the adoption field. Professionals disagree about what constitutes the disorder and whether or not it is overdiagnosed. A study published in the February 2005 issue of Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal (Vol. 22, No. 1) attempted to assess the attachment problems of children in child welfare custody and, at the same time, to validate the Randolph Attachment Disorder Questionnaire (RADQ)—an instrument professionals use with children's caregivers to diagnose attachment disorders. Instead, researchers concluded that the RADQ has not been adequately validated and may have limited usefulness as a clinical assessment tool.

The authors' conclusions are based on a double-blind study of 54 children in the custody of North Carolina's child protective services. Children in the sample varied with respect to placement setting, gender, age, length of time in placement, and number of placements. Adults who had lived with the children at least 3 months completed the questionnaires. Findings included:

From these findings, the authors concluded that the RADQ's ability to differentiate among different pathologies, including attachment disorder, may be limited. The authors note that future research should examine RADQ's usefulness in other samples and geographic locations. They also note that the sample for this study was taken from a suburban-rural area and may not represent the types of children in placement in an urban area.

The article, "Correlates of the Randolph Attachment Disorder Questionnaire (RADQ) in a Sample of Children in Foster Placement," by G.G. Cappelletty, M.M. Brown, and S.E. Shumate, can be found in the Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal 22(1). Find information about the journal online at www.springerlink.com/link.asp?id=104690

Issue Date: July/August 2005
Section: Child Welfare Research
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=66&articleid=993


National Incidence Study of Child Abuse and Neglect

The fourth National Incidence Study of Child Abuse and Neglect (NIS-4) is now underway. Mandated by Congress, NIS gathers information from multiple sources to estimate the number of children who are abused or neglected. The study also provides information about the nature and severity of maltreatment; characteristics of children, perpetrators, and families; and the extent of changes in the incidence or distribution of child maltreatment since the time of the last national incidence study.

In contrast to other studies, such as the National Data System on Child Abuse and Neglect (NCANDS), the NIS design assumes that the children seen by child protective services (CPS) agencies represent only part of the child maltreatment picture. NIS estimates include children investigated by CPS as well as maltreated children who are identified by professionals in a wide range of agencies in representative communities. These professionals, called "sentinels," may include those working in elementary and secondary public schools; public health departments; public housing authorities; short-stay general and children's hospitals; State, county, and municipal police departments; licensed child care centers; juvenile probation departments; voluntary social services and mental health agencies; and shelters for runaway and homeless youth or victims of domestic violence.

NIS-4 will gather data in a nationally representative sample of 122 counties, selected to ensure a mix of geographic regions and of urban and rural areas. The CPS agencies serving these counties will be asked to provide data about all children in cases they accept for investigation during the study period (September 4 through December 3, 2005). Professionals working in the same counties will be asked to serve as NIS-4 sentinels.

A number of reports about the study will be released, including technical reports concerning all activities. The final document will be a Report to Congress on the study findings.

Learn more about the study on the NIS-4 website (www.nis4.org).


Issue Date: July/August 2005
Section: Child Welfare Research
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=66&articleid=991


Lessons From the Tsunami

Tragedies of great proportion, such as the Southeast Asia tsunami of 2004, reveal both the best and worst of human nature. In the case of the tsunami, enormous generosity, including offers to adopt orphans, existed side by side with exploitation, including trafficking in children. In the aftermath of such tragedies, the need for policies that will protect the most vulnerable victims—the children—becomes apparent.

A recent policy brief by the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute examines the role of intercountry adoption in emergencies such as natural disasters and armed conflicts. The brief outlines the unique threats to children and current policies, such as the U.N. Declaration and the Hague Convention, that regulate and guide intercountry adoption in these situations.

Suggested organizational responses to children's needs in the wake of emergencies are outlined under the following categories:

Recommendations include the use of intercountry adoption, under specific circumstances, but never immediately after an emergency. Other recommendations include:

The full policy brief, "Intercountry Adoption in Emergencies: The Tsunami Orphans," can be downloaded from the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute website at www.adoptioninstitute.org/publications/2005_Brief_ICA_In_Emergencies_April.pdf (Editor's note: Link no longer active).

Related Items

For more information on U.S. and international policies regarding intercountry adoption, see the following:

 

Issue Date: July/August 2005
Section: Child Welfare Research
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=66&articleid=992


Strategies and Tools for Practice

Permanency for Youth Toolbox

A toolkit is now available that offers practical strategies and promising practices for agencies seeking permanent homes for adolescents and youth in out-of-home care. The overarching approach is based on a permanency assessment that includes all the youth's current relationships and all possible pathways to permanency. An array of permanency options is discussed—including family preservation, reunification, legal guardianship, kinship care, and customary adoption in tribes—recognizing that the best permanency solution may be different for each youth. In addition, the toolbox describes a variety of techniques for supporting permanency, including:

Appendixes to the toolbox offer additional practical resources and models for permanency planning for youth. Toolbox No. 3: Facilitating Permanency for Youth, by G. P. Mallon, can be purchased from CWLA Press at www.cwla.org/pubs/pubdetails.asp?PUBID=0043.

Issue Date: July/August 2005
Section: Strategies and Tools for Practice
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=66&articleid=2217


Establishing Community Partnerships for Child Welfare

The movement toward partnerships between child welfare agencies and communities is based on the consensus that safety, permanency, and well-being for children are more successful when children and families are supported within their communities. Putting this concept into practice means that child welfare agencies must determine meaningful ways to partner with communities so that the responsibility for supporting families is broadly shared. Moving this vision from theory to practice is the focus of a recent series of articles from the Center for Community Partnerships in Child Welfare (CCPCW). The articles include the following:

The full text of these articles can be found in the Spring 2005 issue of CCPCW's Safekeeping at http://www.cssp.org/publications/child-welfare/community-partnerships-for-the-protection-of-children/safekeeping-spring-2005.pdf (PDF - 390 KB).

 

Issue Date: July/August 2005
Section: Strategies and Tools for Practice
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=66&articleid=995


Resources

Youth Who Sexually Offend

Clinicians, juvenile justice workers, and other professionals who work with juvenile sexual offenders will find a range of information in a recent volume of the Journal of Child Sexual Abuse. Volume 13 (No. 3/4) focuses entirely on children and youth who commit sexual offenses and includes information on research, statistics, models, treatment, and therapy. Articles address the following topics:

Articles from this issue of the Journal of Child Sexual Abuse are available for purchase from Haworth Press. Find information about the journal and tables of contents at http://www.tandfonline.com/toc/wcsa20/current#.U3F4G86tKyc.

Related Item

The topic of youth who commit sexual offenses was covered by Children's Bureau Express (http://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov) in "Treating Youth Who Sexually Abuse: An Integrated Multi-Component Approach" (November/December 2001).

Issue Date: July/August 2005
Section: Resources
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=66&articleid=2218


African-American Children in Child Welfare

Two recent books look at the child welfare system from the perspective of serving African-American children.

Race Matters in Child Welfare: The Overrepresentation of African American Children in the System (2005), edited by D. Derezotes, J. Poertner, and M. Testa, is a collection of papers originally presented at the first Race Matters forum held in Washington, DC, in January 2001. These papers consider child welfare policy and practice, the causes of child maltreatment, and how each affects the disproportionate representation of African-American children in the system. They provide readers with a model with which to examine what is happening along the entire child welfare continuum, including screening, investigation, service provision, out-of-home care, and reunification. Race Matters is published by CWLA Press at https://www.cwla.org/pubs/pubdetails.asp?PUBID=8746.

Child Welfare Revisited: An Africentric Perspective (2004), edited by J. Everett, S. Chipungu, and B. Leashore, asserts the importance of cultural perspective when formulating child welfare policies and practices to secure the safety, permanence, and well being of African-American children. Grouped into three sections, "Societal and Cultural Context," "Understanding African American Families and Children," and "Using an Africentric Perspective for Practice and Service Delivery," the essays stress the importance of kinship ties; collective identity; spirituality; unity of body, mind, and spirit; and harmony between nature and humanity. Topics covered include unwed fathers' participation in permanency planning, homelessness, HIV/AIDS, systems of care for mental health disparities, and adoption. The book is published by Rutgers University Press (http://rutgerspress.rutgers.edu).

Issue Date: July/August 2005
Section: Resources
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=66&articleid=2219


Bridging Refugee Youth and Children's Services (BRYCS) Spotlights Program Challenges and Resources

The May spotlight article on the BRYCS website "Refugee Children Without Their Parents: Guardianship, Kinship Care, and Foster Care," examines programming challenges and resources for separated refugee children living in the United States. Read more at www.brycs.org/documents/upload/brycs_spotmay2005.pdf (PDF 52 KB).

Issue Date: July/August 2005
Section: Resources
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=66&articleid=2220


Tips for Conducting Program Evaluations

Need help with conducting program evaluations and already have a full plate? The first in a series of quarterly tip sheets from the Minnesota Office of Justice Programs may provide the assistance you seek. Prepared by Wilder Research as one means of technical support to grantees, Laying the Foundation: Tips for Conducting Program Evaluations (January 2005) offers 12 steps to a solid evaluation and why you should consider conducting one. The tip sheet is available online at www.wilder.org/fileadmin/user_upload/research/crimevictimservices1_1-05.pdf (PDF 174 KB).

Issue Date: July/August 2005
Section: Resources
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=66&articleid=2221


New Resource for Social Work Research

The National Association of Social Workers website now has a research section (www.socialworkpolicy.org/research) that provides information to inform policy, practice, and education. Developed through a partnership with the Institute for the Advancement of Social Work Research, the site highlights research findings and provides helpful information for practitioners. Featured topics change monthly, and archives will be available.

Issue Date: July/August 2005
Section: Resources
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=66&articleid=2222


Federal Grant Writing Toolkit

The ARC (Accessing Resources for Community and Faith-Based Organizations) Initiative, a project of the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention's National Training and Technical Assistance Center, has created a new toolkit designed to help community and faith-based organizations effectively navigate the Federal funding process.

Originally developed to supplement trainings conducted in 2004, the ARC toolkit provides information in nine areas:

The website also features an interactive learning community. Complete information about accessing and using the toolkit is available on the ARC website at https://www.nttac.org/index.cfm?event=arc.Toolkit

Related Item

Find a list of current, open Children's Bureau Discretionary Grant announcements on the Children's Bureau website at www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb/programs_fund/index.htm.

Issue Date: July/August 2005
Section: Resources
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=66&articleid=2424


Training and Conferences

HIPAA Training for Social Workers

The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) offers a series of six online courses to help social workers comply with Federal HIPAA regulations. Their newest offering, HIPAA Security Basics, will familiarize social workers with HIPAA security regulations, provide examples of the three categories of security measures required, and review practical applications of security for electronic health information. Other courses in the series include:

The cost for one course is $35 for NASW members ($45 for nonmembers). Package prices also are available. Find complete information about the courses on the NASW website at www.socialworkers.org/hipaa/class.asp.

Issue Date: July/August 2005
Section: Training and Conferences
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=66&articleid=2425


Conferences

Upcoming national conferences on adoption and child welfare through November 2005 include:

August

September

October

November

Further details about national and regional adoption and child welfare conferences can be found in the "Conference Calendar " on Child Welfare Information Gateway: www.childwelfare.gov/calendar

Issue Date: July/August 2005
Section: Training and Conferences
URL: https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=66&articleid=999



Articles in Children's Bureau Express are presented for informational purposes only; their inclusion does not represent an endorsement by the Children's Bureau or Child Welfare Information Gateway.

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