Vol. 95, No. 1
From the Editor: Real Scholarship on Real-World Issues for America’s Children, Youth, and Families
The Family Unification Program (FUP): A Housing Option for Former Foster Youth
Amy Dworsky, M. Robin Dion, Rebecca Kleinman and Jackie Kauff
Adoption Policy and the Well-Being of Adopted Children in the United States
Ashley J. Provencher, Nicholas E. Kahn and Mary Eschelbach Hansen
Child Sexual Abuse and the Impact of Rurality on Foster Care Outcomes: An Exploratory Analysis
Austin Griffiths, April L. Murphy and Whitney Harper
Psychological Maltreatment, the Under-Recognized Violence Against Children: A New Portrait from Quebec
Claire Malo, Jacques Moreau, Chantal Lavergne and Sonia Hélie
Vol. 94, No. 6
From the Editor: It’s Still All About Families
Assessing the Needs of Reunified Families from Foster Care: A Parent Perspective
Tricia Nichola Stephens, Tyrone Parchment, Geetha Gopalan, Geraldine Burton, Aida Ortiz, Taishawn Brantley, Selestina Martinez and Mary McKay
Transition-Age Foster Youth and Caregiver Perceptions of Self-Sufficiency
Marina Lalayants, Laura Montero, Laura S. Abrams and Susanna R. Curry
Family Finding Project: Results from a One-Year Program Evaluation
Liat Shklarski, Vincent P. Madera, Katricia Bennett and Kimberley Marcial
Principled Quality Assurance in Child Welfare: A New Perspective
Andrew Koster and Gissele Damiani-Taraba
Resources, Race, and Placement Frequency: An Analysis of Child Well-Being
Jeremiah W. Jaggers, Eprise Armstrong Richardson, Matthew C. Aalsma and James A. Hall
Vol. 94, No. 5
Promising Results for Cross-Systems Collaborative Efforts to Meet the Needs of Families Impacted by Substance Use
Kimberly Dennis, Michael S. Rodi, Gregory Robinson, Kenneth DeCerchio, Nancy K. Young, Sidney L. Gardner, Elaine Stedt and Marianna Corona
Predictors of Substance Abuse Assessment and Treatment Completion for Parents Involved with Child Welfare: Child Welfare: One State’s Experience in Matching across Systems
Dorian E. Traube, Amy S. He, Limei Zhu, Christine Scalise and Tyrone Richardson
Examining the Relationships between Family Drug Court Program Compliance and Child Welfare Outcomes
Holly Child and Dara McIntyre
Changes in Adult, Child, and Family Functioning among Participants in a Family Treatment Drug Court
Merith Cosden and Lauren M. Koch
Making It Work Without a Family Drug Court: Connecticut’s Approach to Parental Substance Abuse in the Child Welfare System
Jane Ungemack, Marilou Giovannucci, Samuel Moy, Karen Ohrenberger, Thomas DeMatteo and Staceyann Smith
Peer Mentoring in Child Welfare: A Motivational Framework
Anna Rockhill, Carrie J. Furrer and Thuan M. Duong
Enhancing Family Protective Factors in Residential Treatment for Substance Use Disorders
Joan E. Zweben, Yael Moses, Judith B. Cohen, Genny Price, William Chapman and Joanna Lamb
An Integrated Intervention to Address the Comorbid Needs of Families Referred to Child Welfare for Substance Use Disorders and Child Neglect: FAIR Pilot Outcomes
Effects of Intensive Family Preservation Services in Rural Tennessee on Parental Hopefulness with Families Affected by Substance Use
Edwina Chappell, Kathryn Sielbeck-Mathes, Randall Reiserer, Hannah Wohltjen, Wendy Shuran and Elizabeth McInerney
Vol. 94, No. 4
How Many Families in Child Welfare Services Are Affected by Parental Substance Use Disorders? A Common Question that Remains Unanswered
Mental Health Disorders among Children within Child Welfare who have Prenatal Substance Exposure: Rural vs. Urban Populations
Ira J. Chasnoff, Erin Telford, Anne M.Wells and Lauren King
Co-Occurrence of Parental Substance Abuse and Child Serious Emotional Disturbance: Understanding Multiple Pathways to Improve Child and Family Outcomes
Becci A. Akin, Jody Brook and Margaret H. Lloyd
Practice-Informed Approaches to Addressing Substance Abuse and Trauma Exposure in Urban Native Families Involved with Child Welfare
Nancy M. Lucero and Marian Bussey
Sobriety Treatment and Recovery Teams in Rural Appalachia: Implementation and Outcomes
Martin T. Hall, Ruth A. Huebner, Jeanelle S. Sears, Lynn Posze, Tina Willauer and Janell Oliver
Effects of a Rural Family Drug Treatment Court Collaborative on Child Welfare Outcomes: Comparison Using Propensity Score Analysis
McLean D. Pollock and Sherri L. Green
Family-Based Recovery: An Innovative In-Home Substance Abuse Treatment Model for Families with Young Children
Karen E. Hanson, Dale H. Saul, Jeffrey J. Vanderploeg, Mary Painter and Jean Adnopoz
Rethinking Child Welfare to Keep Families Safe and Together: Effective Housing-Based Supports to Reduce Child Trauma, Maltreatment Recidivism, and Re-Entry to Foster Care
Marny Rivera and Rita Sullivan
New Approaches for Working with Children and Families Involved in Family Treatment Drug Courts: Findings from the Children Affected by Methamphetamine Program
Michael S. Rodi, Colleen M. Killian, Philip Breitenbucher, Nancy K. Young, Sharon Amatetti, Russ Bermejo and Erin Hall
Vol. 94, Nos. 2 & 3
Special Issue: Improving the Use and Usefulness of Research Evidence
Special Foreword: Making Research Work in Child Welfare: Overcoming Challenges
Kimberly DuMont and Christine James-Brown
Strategies to Improve the Use and Usefulness of Research in Child Welfare
Lydia F. Killos, Catherine Roller White, Peter J. Pecora, Erin Maher, Kirk O’Brien, Dave Danielson, Kimberly DuMont, Fred Wulczyn, Bryan Samuels and Clare Anderson
Innovation and the Use of Research Evidence in Youth-Serving Systems: A Mixed-Methods Study
Lawrence A. Palinkas, Qiaobing Wu, Dahlia Fuentes, Megan Finno-Velasquez, Ian W. Holloway, Antonio Garcia and Patricia Chamberlain
From a Provider’s Perspective: Integrating Evidence-Based Practice into the Culture of a Social Service Organization
Miranda Yates, Jennifer Nix, Jennifer Schurer Coldiron and Laurie Williams
Selecting an Evidence-Based Practice in Child Welfare: Challenges and Steps to Identifying a Good Fit
Jared Martin, Cambria Rose Walsh and Jennifer Rolls Reutz
Co-Creating the Conditions to Sustain the Use of Research Evidence in Public Child Welfare
Allison Metz and Leah Bartley
Research Evidence Use in the Child Welfare System
Fred Wulczyn, Lily Alpert, Kerry Monahan-Price, Scott Huhr, Lawrence A. Palinkas and Laura Pinsoneault
Exploring the Integration of Systems and Social Sciences to Study Evidence Use among Child Welfare Policy-makers
Thomas I. Mackie, R. Christopher Sheldrick, Justeen Hyde and Laurel K. Leslie
Learning to Listen and Listening to Learn: Recursive Information Flow to Build Relationships and Improve Practice
Anita M. Larson and Sara E. Langworthy
Tensions and Opportunities: Building Meaningful Partnerships Between Child Welfare Decision-makers and Evaluators
Emily Fisher, Jacquelyn Spangler and Ruth Huebner
Benefits of Embedding Research into Practice: An Agency-University Collaboration
Michael A. Nunno, Elliott G. Smith, William R. Martin and Sharon Butcher
Strategies for Strengthening the Utility of Research in Supportive Housing-Child Welfare Partnerships
Miriam J. Landsman and Mitchell Rosenwald
From Novel to Empirical: Developing CommunityBased Programs into Research-Ready Programs
Rebecca J. Macy, Dania M. Ermentrout, Phillip H. Redmond, Jr., Cindy Fraga Rizo and McLean D. Pollock
Engaging the Child Welfare Community in Examining the Use of Research Evidence
Vol. 94, No. 1
Special Issue: Housing, Homelessness, and Economic Security
Ruth Anne White and Debra Rog
Factors Influencing Risk of Homelessness among Youth in Transition from Foster Care in Oklahoma: Implications for Reforming Independent Living Services and Opportunities
Brandon L. Crawford, Jacqueline McDaniel, David Moxley, Zohre Salehezadeh and Alisa West Cahill
Housing Trajectories for Youth Transitioning from Foster Care: Gender Differences from 2010–2014
Robert G. Hasson III, Andrew D. Reynolds and Thomas M. Crea
Economic Well-Being and Independent Living in Foster Youth: Paving the Road to Effective Transitioning out of Care
Elizabeth Trejos-Castillo, Gayle Davis and Terri Hipps
Partnering to Leverage Multiple Data Sources: Preliminary Findings from a Supportive Housing Impact Study
Jessica Raithel, Miranda Yates, Amy Dworsky, Maryanne Schretzman and Whitney Welshimer
Physically Hazardous Housing and Risk for Child Protective Services Involvement
Bomi Kim Hirsch, MiYoun Yang, Sarah Font and Kristen S. Slack
Poverty, Homelessness, and Family Break-Up
Marybeth Shinn, Jessica Gibbons-Benton and Scott R. Brown
Housing Matters for Families: Promising Practices from Child Welfare Agencies
Mary Cunningham and Michael Pergamit
Integrated Solutions for Intertwined Challenges: A Statewide Collaboration in Supportive Housing for Child Welfare-Involved Families
Anne F. Farrell, Kellie G. Randall, Preston A. Britner, Betsy Cronin, S. Kim Somaroo-Rodriguez and Lisa Hansen
The Family Unification Program: A Randomized-Controlled Trial of Housing Stability
Patrick J. Fowler and Michael Schoeny
Family Stability and Child Welfare Involvement among Families Served in Permanent Supportive Housing
Debra J. Rog, Kathryn A. Henderson and Andrew L. Greer
Vol. 93, No. 6
Using Qualitative Data-Mining for Practice Research in Child Welfare
Colleen Henry, Sarah Carnochan and Michael J. Austin
Implementing ASFA with Vulnerable African American Families: A Community Capacity Approach
Adrienne L. Edwards and April L. Few-Demo
Efficacy of Blended Preservice Training for Resource Parents
Lee White, Richard Delaney, Caesar Pacifici, Carol Nelson, Josh Whitkin, Maureen Lovejoy and Betsy Keefer Smalley
Parental Disability in Child Welfare Systems and Dependency Courts: Preliminary Research on the Prevalence of the Population
Ella Callow and Jean Jacob
Social Supports in the Lives of Child Welfare-Involved Families
Marina Lalayants, Meaghan Baier, Anne Benedict and Diana Mera
Vol. 93, No. 5
Understanding Correlates of Higher Educational Attainment among Foster Care Youths
Dana R. Hunter, Pamela A. Monroe and James C. Garand
Exploring Cyberbullying among Primary Children in Relation to Social Support, Loneliness, Self-Efficacy, and Well-Being
Dorit Olenik-Shemesh and Tali Heiman
Trust-Based Relational Intervention® (TBRI®) for Adopted Children Receiving Therapy in an Outpatient Setting
Amanda R. Howard, Sheri R. Parris, Lauren E. Nielsen, Rob Lusk, Kathleen Bush, Karyn B. Purvis and David R. Cross
Marathon County Community Response: Voluntary Services for Families Screened out of Child Protective Services
Kathryn Maguire-Jack and Jessica Bowers
Building Learning Organizations within Public Child Welfare Agencies through Internal Research Capacity
Ruth A. Huebner, Peter Watson, Laura Dyer, Christeen Borsheim and Colleen M. Caron
Evaluation of Smoke-free Foster Care Education for Foster and Adoptive Caregivers
Cam Escoffery, Michelle C. Kegler, Lucja Bundy, Debbie Yembra, Shadé Owolabi, Dianne Kelley and Dorothy Mabry
Vol. 93, No. 4
The Treehouse Community: An Innovative Intergenerational Model for Supporting Youth Who Have Experienced Foster Care
Jen H. Dolan and Harold D. Grotevant
Therapeutic Visiting in Treatment Foster Care
Sally Palmer, Duane Durham and Margaret Osmond
Kinship Care and Undocumented Latino Children in the Texas Foster Care System: Navigating the Child Welfare-Immigration Crossroads
Jennifer Scott, Monica Faulkner, Jodi Berger Cardoso and Jane Burstain
Status Offenders and Delinquent Youth: Actual or Artificial Taxonomy
Camela M. Steinke and Elisa M. Martin
Young Offender Sexual Abuse Cases Under Protection Investigation: Are Sibling Cases Any Different?
Delphine Collin-Vézina, Elizabeth Fast, Sonia Hélie, Mireille Cyr, Stéphanie Pelletier and Barbara Fallon
Vol. 93, No. 3
Need for Trauma-Informed Care Within the Foster Care System: A Policy Issue
Brittany A. Beyerlein and Ellin Bloch
Family Engagement in “Voluntary” Child Welfare Services: Theory and Empirical Evidence from Families under Differential Response Referrals in California
Risk Management in Child Protective Services: A Balanced Scorecard Approach
Michael J. Camasso and Radha Jagannathan
The Caregiver-Reported Value of Participation in a Kinship Support Center
Ron J. Hammond, Jacci Graham, Anna-Lee Hernandez, and Kent Hinkson
Measuring Social Support among Kinship Caregivers: Confirming the Factor Structure of the Family Support Scale
David Kondrat, Jayme R. Swanke, Kerry Littlewood, and Anne Strozier
When Rights Collide: A Critique of the Adoption and Safe Families Act from a Justice Perspective
Adrienne Whitt-Woosley and Ginny Sprang
Vol. 93, No. 2
Homeless Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Youth in New York City: Insights from the Field
Geoffrey L. Ream and Nicholas R. Forge
Children and Youth with Disabilities in the Child Welfare System: An Overview
Leveraging the Experiences of Foster Care Alumni: A Mixed-Method Model for Organizing
J. Jay Miller and Larry W. Owens
Facilitating Ethical Decisions in Practice: The Professionalization Efforts of One Title IV-E Collaboration
Angela R. Ausbrooks, Amy D. Benton, Rhonda Smith and Martha S. Wildberger
Collaborative Relationships and Improved Service Coordination among Child Welfare and Early Childhood Systems
Samantha M. Brown, Sacha Klein and Julie S. McCrae
Vol. 93, No. 1
Mental Health Care of Families Affected by the Child Welfare System
Manny J. Gonzalez
The Scottish Children’s Panels as a Catalyst for Civic Engagement and Child Well-Being
Anne S. Robertson
Child Maltreatment Entrenched by Poverty: How Financial Need is Linked to Poorer Outcomes in Family Preservation
Jody Hearn Escaravage
Former Foster Youth’s Perspectives on Independent Living Preparation Six Months After Discharge
Loring P. Jones
Risk of Early Sexual Initiation and Pregnancy Among Youth Reported to the Child Welfare System
Ellen Wilson, Cecilia Casanueva, Keith R. Smith, Helen Koo, Stephen J. Tueller, and Mary Bruce Webb
Differential Effects of Single and Double Parental Death on Child Emotional Functioning and Daily Life in South Africa
Lorraine Sherr, Natasha Croome, Claudine Clucas, and Elizabeth Brown
Vol. 92, No. 6
The Path from Process to Outcomes: A Cross-Site Evaluation of 24 Family Connection Grantee Projects
Jennifer Dewey, Grace Tipton, Joanna DeWolfe, Carolyn Sullins, and Chi Connie Park
Measuring the Impact of Enhanced Kinship Navigator Services for Informal Kinship Caregivers Using an Experimental Design
Leonard H. Feldman and Amanda Fertig
Family Team Conferencing: Results and Implications from an Experimental Study in Florida
Robin Perry, Jane Yoo, Toni Spoliansky, and Pebbles Edelman
All in the Family: Variations in the Use of Family Meetings in Child Welfare
Heather Allan and Erin Maher
Using Multi-Informed Fidelity Data to Determine the Impact of a Neutral Child Welfare Facilitator for Permanency Decision Teams
Elizabeth J. Greeno, Kantahyanee Murray, and Berenice Rushovich
Residential Family Treatment for Parents with Substance Use Disorders who are Involved with Child Welfare: Two Perspectives on Program Design, Collaboration, and Sustainability
Gretchen Clark Hammond and Amanda McGlone
Vol. 92, No. 5
- A Translational Neuroscience Perspective on the Importance of Reducing Placement Instability among Foster Children
Philip A. Fisher, Anne M. Mannering, Amanda Van Scoyoc, and Alice M. Graham
- Placement instability is a common occurrence among foster children and others involved with child welfare system services, and is associated with negative psychiatric and mental health outcomes. The purpose of this paper is to review and synthesize research in this area and to consider this information in terms of child welfare practice and policy. Evidence from 59 sources is reviewed, including research on (a) the connection between placement instability and poor outcomes; (b) sources of information that can be employed to reliably predict risk for placement instability; and (c) interventions designed to mitigate the effects of placement instability. The available empirical evidence suggests that placement instability and other family chaos is associated with disrupted development of the brain’s prefrontal cortex, which is involved in executive functioning. Poor executive functioning is implicated in elevated risk for ADHD, disruptive behavior disorders, substance abuse, and other forms of disinhibitory psychopathology. This might help to explain the high rates of psychiatric medication prescriptions for foster children. Notably, however, recent research findings have shown that placement instability is both predictable and preventable and that interventions to address placement instability have the potential to mitigate neurobiological and psychiatric effects of prior adversity.
- Young Children in the Child Welfare System: What Factors Contribute to Trauma Symptomology?
Rachel Fusco and Helen Cahalane
- Despite growing attention to antecedents and consequences of trauma symptoms in children, there are gaps in knowledge. Although nearly half of all children enter the child welfare system between ages 0-5, few studies have focused on the mental health of very young children. The current study examined trauma symptomology in preschool-aged children involved in the child welfare system across an entire state (n = 100). Child, maternal, and maltreatment characteristics and their relationship to child trauma symptoms were explored. Results showed that more than a quarter of children exhibited trauma symptomology. Trauma symptoms were more likely to be present when children were biracial, referred for neglect, and in homes with intimate partner violence. When mothers had their own childhood history of child welfare involvement, children were less likely to have trauma symptoms. Implications for practice with these families are discussed.
- The Impact of Prevention Programs on Decisions in Child Protective Services
Kathryn Maguire-Jack and Kaela Byers
- Relying on the Decision-Making Ecology (Baumann, Dalgeish, Fluke, & Kern, 2011) model, the authors sought to gain insight into the ways in which child protective services (CPS) workers use their knowledge of maltreatment prevention programs in deciding whether to screen cases in, open cases for ongoing services, and substantiate maltreatment. During in-depth interviews with 13 CPS workers and supervisors in four Wisconsin counties, respondents reported that the programs had a direct impact on screening and case opening/closing decisions but not substantiation decisions. Substantiation decisions, rather, were impacted indirectly, as CPS staff members were able to justify a substantiation or court referral decision if families did not comply with the prevention program. This study has implications for measuring prevention program effectiveness: Given that CPS decisions may be impacted in part by prevention programs, it may be problematic to rely on official CPS records as the sole measure of maltreatment.
- The Development of Child Protection Supervisors in Northern British Columbia
Karen Blackman and Glen Schmidt
- This mixed-methods research examined the development of supervisors in the North Region of the Ministry of Children and Family Development in the Canadian Province of British Columbia. Survey questionnaires, focus groups, and individual interviews were used to gather data from child protection social workers, supervisors, and managers in order to better understand how the organization prepares social workers to assume supervisory responsibilities and how it can improve the development of new supervisors. Training and professional development, mentoring, and acting leadership opportunities were considered to be the most important elements in developing supervision and leadership skills.
- Parent Representation Model in Child Safety Conferences
- Due to limited empirical knowledge about the parent representation model in child protection, this article describes this innovative service model and explores the use of parent representatives in child safety conferences. It discusses the functions that parent representatives perform and the potential benefits of their work based on perceptions of multiple stakeholders: birthparents, parent representatives, and child protective services staff. Implications are drawn concerning the use of parent representatives in child welfare.
- The Bookworm Club: The Implementation Story of an Evidence-Informed Literacy Program for Children Residing in Out-of-Home Care in Ontario
- This paper details how the Ontario child welfare community implemented The Bookworm Club, a province-wide literacy program for children residing in out-of-home care. The province utilized a UK-based, evidence-informed practice idea and moved it into full-scale provincial implementation, which has contributed to the growth of a strong commitment to evidence-informed practice (EIP), particularly as it relates to the improvement of educational outcomes for children and youth residing in out-of-home care placements. The Bookworm Club story is noteworthy; it provides insight into the process, challenges, and opportunities involved in undertaking such an endeavor and describes how the program was moved from an idea into practice. Opportunities, successes, and challenges are detailed, along with the future goals of the program. It is hoped that this conceptual paper will inspire others involved in promoting the welfare of vulnerable children and families in implementing such evidence-informed programs.
Vol. 92, No. 4
Pre-Placement Risk and Longitudinal Cognitive Development for Children Adopted from Foster Care
Jill M. Waterman, Erum Nadeem, Emilie Paczkowski, Jared Cory Foster, Justin A. Lavner, Thomas Belin, and Jeanne Miranda
- This study examined the trajectory of cognitive development over the first five years of adoptive placement among children adopted from foster care and how pre-adoption risk factors relate to this development. Overall, children’s cognitive scores increased significantly, with the most rapid improvement occurring in the first year post-placement. By five years post-placement, children’s mean cognitive and achievement scores were in the average range. Adoption is a positive intervention for children’s cognitive development.
- Challenges to Recruit and Retain American Indian and Alaskan Natives into Social Work Programs: The Impact on the Child Welfare Workforce
Suzanne L. Cross, Angelique Day, Lucas J. Gogliotti, and Justin J. Pung
- There is a shortage of professionally trained American Indian/Alaskan Native (AI/AN) social workers available to provide services including child welfare services to tribal communities. This study used a mixed-model survey design to examine the perceptions of 47 AI/AN BSW and MSW students enrolled in social work programs across the United States to determine the challenges associated with recruitment and retention. The findings are supported in the literature. Findings indicate that social work academic programs have not made substantial gains in the recruitment and retention of AI/AN students over several decades. Students identified the following seven major barriers to successful recruitment and retention: (1) a lack of AI/AN professors; (2) a shortage of field placement agencies that serve AI/AN clients; (3) conflicts between students’ academic obligations and responsibilities to their families and tribal communities; (4) students’ feelings of cultural isolation; (5) the need for AI/AN role models and mentors; (6) a lack of understanding by universities of cultural customs and traditional values; and (7) racism. Implications for policy and practice are offered.
- Acknowledging the Past while Looking to the Future: Conceptualizing Indigenous Child Trauma
Shanley Swanson Nicolai and Merete Saus
- Trauma affects children from all ethnicities, nationalities and socioeconomic backgrounds. However, indigenous children may experience trauma differently than their majority population peers due to traumatic histories of colonization and marginalization. This article reports on an exploratory qualitative study of how service providers in Western Montana and Northern Norway conceptualize Native American and Sami children’s experiences of trauma today. Findings reveal that participants relate current trauma experiences of indigenous youth to historical and intergenerational traumas.
- Peer-Centered Practice: A Theoretical Framework for Intervention with Young People in and from Care
Kim Snow and Varda Mann-Feder
- This paper puts forward a conceptual framework for engaging peers as central to transitional services for care-leavers. The situation of youth exiting care is examined and an evidence-informed approach to supporting care-leavers is presented. Exploring the social networks of youth leaving care provides a mechanism for both supporting the maintenance of ties and fostering the development of weak tie connections that facilitate opportunities for social mobility.
- Wisconsin’s Community Response Program for Families That Have Been Reported for Child Maltreatment
Kathryn Maguire-Jack, Kristen S. Slack, and Lawrence M. Berger
- In 2006, the Wisconsin Children’s Trust Fund launched a pilot initiative called “Community Response,” a program targeted to families reported for maltreatment but not served by child protective services due to insufficient child safety concerns. This article presents general information on the program, including the variation in models used by sites across the state, information on the families that were served by the program, and lessons learned from the experience that may guide practical decisions around the implementation of similar models elsewhere.
- The Effects of the Orff Approach on Self-Expression, Self-Efficacy, and Social Skills of Children in Low-Income Families in South Korea
Young-Bae Yun and Ji-Eun Kim
- This experiment was designed to study the Orff Approach–a child-centered, developmental approach to music education that aims to enrich the imagination through the acceleration of psychological activities. The study was conducted in children who had exhibited problematic behavior possibly due to economical or psychological issues; it aimed to determine whether the Orff Approach satisfies educational and treatment purposes and is an acceptable alternative in improving self-expression, self-efficacy, and social skills. The experiment involved 43 elementary school children in South Korean households with a monthly income of 100% below the average (according to the National Basic Living Security Act, South Korea’s Ministry of Health and Welfare), and the results showed an increase of the chil-dren’s self-expression, self-efficacy, and social skills after musical activities with the Orff Approach. Also, children interacted with the musical activities–according to the Orff Approach–like a game. They noted that they were able to explain their thoughts and emotions better; their relationships with friends improved, as well. Therefore, this research is significant because it shows that musical activities according to the Orff Approach have possibilities to be utilized as a program for children’s psychological and emotional support.
Vol. 92, No. 3
- Therapeutic Mentoring: Reducing the Impact of Trauma for Foster Youth
Sara B. Johnson and Julia M. Pryce
- This study utilized secondary data analysis to examine therapeutic mentoring (TM) as a service intervention in helping to reduce trauma symptoms in foster youth. Outcomes were compared for mentored (n = 106) and non-mentored (n = 156) foster youth related to experience and symptoms of trauma. Results showed that mentored youth improved significantly in the reduction of trauma symptoms relative to non-mentored youth, suggesting that TM shows promise as an important treatment intervention for foster youth with trauma experiences.
- Comparison of On the Way Home Aftercare Supports to Traditional Care Following Discharge from a Residential Setting: A Pilot Randomized Control Trial
Alexandra L. Trout, Matthew C. Lambert, Michael H. Epstein, Patrick Tyler, Ronald W. Thompson, McLain Stewart and Daniel L. Daly
- This study compares the On the Way Home (OTWH) aftercare program to traditional aftercare supports on placement and school stability for 82 youth (43 treatment, 39 control) with disabilities discharging from residential care. One-year-post-discharge results revealed that negative event occurrence (i.e., returning to care or discontinuing enrollment in the community school) was three to over five times less likely for OTWH youth compared to youth in the control condition.
- Quality of Life and Mental Disorders of Adolescents Living in French Residential Group Homes
Guillaume Bronsard, Christophe Lancon, Anderson Loundou, Pascal Auquier, Marcel Rufo, Sylvie Tordjman, and Marie-Claude Simeoni
- Here, the quality of life (QoL) of adolescents living in residential group homes (RGHs), is compared to QoL of a general adolescent population, and links between QoL and the presence of mental disorders are examined. Adolescents living in RGHs reported a significantly lower perception of their overall QoL compared to the general adolescent population. The presence of mental disorders was significantly and negatively associated with QoL scores. Some indices of QoL (physical and psychological well-being, relationship with teachers) did not show differences with the general population, indicating that mental health needs or lack of well-being are expressed in unusual ways.
- Evaluation of the Miami Child Well-Being Court Model: Safety, Permanency, and Well-Being Findings
Cecilia Casanueva, Jenifer Goldman Fraser, Adrianne Gilbert, Candice Maze, Lynne Katz, Mary Ann Ullery, Ann M. Stacks, and Cindy Lederman
- This study presents preliminary outcomes for a problem-solving court improvement model, the Miami Child Well-Being Court(TM) (Miami-CWBC), which makes evidence-based clinical intervention and integration of the treating clinician’s ongoing assessment and perspective central in the dependency court process. Records were reviewed for children adjudicated for maltreatment that completed treatment. Several promising findings suggest that this approach can help jurisdictions improve the lives of young children and their families’ capacity to care for them.
- Organizational Influences on Data Use among Child Welfare Workers
Sang Jung Lee, Charlotte Lyn Bright, and Lisa J. Berlin
- This study addresses organizational factors associated with child welfare workers’ data use in their day-to-day work. Survey data from 237 respondents were analyzed using logistic regression. Familiarity with data and supervisor support were significant predictors of child welfare workers’ data use. Findings highlight the value of child welfare organizations (a) facilitating workers’ familiarity with child welfare data and data use and (b) training or educating supervisors so that they can support workers’ use of data.
- A Comparison of Adoptive Parents’ Perceptions of their Child’s Behavior among Indian Children Adopted to Norway, the United States, and Within Country: Implications for Adoption Policy
Suzanne Brown and Victor Groza
- The Hague Convention on the Protection of Children suggests that intercountry adoption be considered as a permanent care option only after other solutions within the child’s country of origin have been exhausted. Data from the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL) were examined for 478 Indian children ages 4-18 adopted domestically, adopted to Norway, and adopted to the United States. The CBCL has a reported reliability of .9 (Achenbach, 1991; Achenbach & Edelbrock, 1983) and contains five subscales assessing internalizing problems plus a summative Internalizing Scale, and three subscales assessing externalizing problems plus a summative Externalizing Scale. Perceptions of Norwegian, American, and Indian adoptive parents regarding their child’s functioning were compared. Children adopted to Norway and the United States were perceived by their parents to be functioning significantly better behaviorally than children adopted within country, while controlling for age of child and gender of adoptive parent completing the CBCL. Policymakers should examine the evidence prioritizing within country adoption over intercountry adoption.
Vol. 92, No. 2
- The Public Health Approach for Understanding and Preventing Child Maltreatment: A Brief Review of the Literature and a Call to Action
- Over the past 50 years, most major advances in child maltreatment have focused on protecting severely maltreated children and punishing perpetrators. This article argues that it is time to rigorously apply a public health framework to improve our understanding of, and accelerate efforts to, prevent child abuse and neglect. The article describes the fundamentals of a public health approach; discusses how this approach has been applied to improve surveillance of serious maltreatment injuries and fatalities, the understanding of risk and protective factors, and the long-term consequences of maltreatment; and describes how a public health approach is an effective means to prevention.
- Extent and Nature of Child Maltreatment-Related Fatalities: Implications for Policy and Practice
Jennifer Sheldon-Sherman, Dee Wilson, and Susan Smith
- This article reviews significant research findings regarding child maltreatment fatalities over the last thirty years. Notably, the article focuses on several important subsets of children who die from maltreatment, including young children, children reported to child protective services, and children who live in families with poor parental attachment, mental illness, substance abuse, and domestic violence. The article then sets forth three proposals for broadening the United States’ approach to child protection and reducing child maltreatment fatalities.
- Preventing Severe and Fatal Child Maltreatment: Making the Case for the Expanded Use and Integration of Data
Emily Putnam-Hornstein, Joanne N. Wood, John Fluke, Amanda Yoshioka-Maxwell, and Rachel P. Berger
- In this article we examine risk factors for severe and fatal child maltreatment. These factors emerge from studies based on different data sources, including official child maltreatment data, emergency department and hospitalization data, death certificates, and data from child death review teams. The empirical literature reflects a growing effort to overcome the measurement uncertainties of any one individual data system. After review and reflection upon what is known, we consider how integrating this information can advance efforts to protect children, providing examples where the use and linkage of multiple sources of data may enhance surveillance, improve front-end decisionmaking, and support cost-effective research and evaluation.
- Advancing Public Health Surveillance to Estimate Child Maltreatment Fatalities: Review and Recommendations
Patricia G. Schnitzer, Sam P. Gulino, Ying-Ying T. Yuan
- Fatal child maltreatment is a compelling problem in the United States. National estimates of fatal child maltreatment, based largely on child welfare data, have fluctuated around 1,500 deaths annually for the past ten years. However, the limitations of child welfare and other mortality data to accurately enumerate fatal child maltreatment are well documented. As a result of these limitations, the true magnitude of fatal child maltreatment remains unknown. Public health surveillance has been proposed as a mechanism to improve estimation of fatal child maltreatment, as well as to collect and analyze relevant risk factor data for the ultimate goal of developing prevention strategies. This paper describes public health surveillance efforts undertaken to improve estimation of fatal child maltreatment, and presents the unique challenges of identifying fatal child neglect. The strengths and limitations of existing sources of child maltreatment fatality data are reviewed and broad recommendations for strategies to advance public health surveillance of fatal child maltreatment are presented.
- Applying a Public Health Approach: The Role of State Health Departments in Preventing Maltreatment and Fatalities of Children
Malia Richmond-Crum, Catherine Joyner, Sally Fogerty, Mei Ling Ellis, and Janet Saul
- Child maltreatment prevention is traditionally conceptualized as a social services and criminal justice issue. Although these responses are critical and important, alone they are insufficient to prevent the problem. A public health approach is essential to realizing the prevention of child abuse and neglect. This paper discusses the public health model and social-ecology framework as ways to understand and address child maltreatment prevention and discusses the critical role health departments can have in preventing abuse and neglect. Information from an environmental scan of state public health departments is provided to increase understanding of the context in which state public health departments operate. Finally, an example from North Carolina provides a practical look at one state’s effort to create a cross-sector system of prevention that promotes safe, stable, and nurturing relationships and environments for children and families.
- Effective Primary Prevention Programs in Public Health and their Applicability to the Prevention of Child Maltreatment
Frederick P. Rivara and Brian Johnston
- Principles of public health practice can be applied to problems, such as child maltreatment, that have behavioral antecedents and injury outcomes. Successful campaigns to promote bicycle helmet use to prevent brain injury and to promote supine sleeping to prevent sudden infant death are described. These programs were universally applied, featured simple behavioral goals, were based on the best available evidence, and monitored both behavioral and health-related outcomes.
- Safety and Risk Assessment Frameworks: Overview and Implications for Child Maltreatment Fatalities
Peter J. Pecora, Zeinab Chahine, and J. Christopher Graham
- This article highlights current models used in child protection to assess safety and risk, and discusses implications for child maltreatment fatalities. The authors advance that current risk and safety practice approaches were not designed to accurately estimate the likelihood of low base-rate phenomena and have not been empirically tested in their ability to predict or prevent severe or fatal child maltreatment. They advance that, regardless of the ultimate effectiveness of safety and risk tools, competent assessment and decisionmaking in child protection depend on sound professional judgment and a comprehensive systemic approach that transcends the use of specific tools.
- Innovative Cross-System and Community Approaches for the Prevention of Child Maltreatment
Paul DiLorenzo, Catherine Roller White, Alex Morales, Andrea Paul, and Suma Shaw
- Because of the complexity and depth of problems facing children and families today, child protection can be best accomplished through a community effort–not simply through the efforts of the traditional child welfare system and other child- and family-serving agencies. Community-based initiatives supporting families and individuals are promising mechanisms through which to efficiently reach a wide range of community members consistent with a public health model. This conceptual paper describes the principles of community-based approaches for the prevention of child maltreatment and briefly describes four initiatives that are providing comprehensive, community-based prevention.
- Applying Principles from Safety Science to Improve Child Protection
Michael J. Cull, Tina L. Rzepnicki, Kathryn O’Day, and Richard A. Epstein
- Child Protective Services Agencies (CPSAs) share many characteristics with other organizations operating in high-risk, high-profile industries. Over the past 50 years, industries as diverse as aviation, nuclear power, and healthcare have applied principles from safety science to improve practice. The current paper describes the rationale, characteristics, and challenges of applying concepts from the safety culture literature to CPSAs. Preliminary efforts to apply key principles aimed at improving child safety and well-being in two states are also presented.
- Soft is Hardest: Leading for Learning in Child Protection Services Following a Child Fatality
Andrew Turnell, Eileen Munro, and Terry Murphy
- The way in which a child protection agency responds to a child fatality always has a strong influence on subsequent practice. Very often, organizational responses and child death reviews are punitive and escalate an already anxious and defensive organizational culture. This paper outlines an alternative approach that not only helps staff to manage their emotional responses but also encourages and prioritizes a learning culture within the organization throughout the crisis and in the longer term.
- Effective Communications Strategies: Engaging the Media, Policymakers, and the Public
Allison Blake, Kathy Bonk, Daniel Heimpel, and Cathy S. Wright
- Too often, strategic communication is too little, or comes too late, when involved with a child fatality or serious injury. This article explores the challenges arising from negative publicity around child safety issues and the opportunities for communications strategies that employ a proactive public health approach to engaging media, policymakers, and the public. The authors provide a case study and review methods by which child welfare agencies across the nation are building public engagement and support for improved outcomes in child safety while protecting legitimate confidentiality requirements. Finally, the piece articulates the rationale for agency investments in the resources necessary to develop and implement an effective communications plan.
- The Road Ahead: Comprehensive and Innovative Approaches for Improving Safety and Preventing Child Maltreatment Fatalities
Zeinab Chahine and David Sanders
- This article presents a high-level overview of the complex issues, opportunities, and challenges involved in improving child safety and preventing child maltreatment fatalities. It emphasizes that improving measurement and classification is critical to understanding and preventing child maltreatment fatalities. It also stresses the need to reframe child maltreatment interventions from a public health perspective. The article draws on the lessons learned from state-of-the-art safety engineering innovations, research, and other expert recommendations presented in this special issue that can inform future policy and practice direction in this important area.
Vol. 92, No. 1
- What Child Welfare Staff Say about Organizational Culture
Robin Spath, Virginia C. Strand, and Stephanie Bosco-Ruggiero
- This article examines the factors that can affect job satisfaction, organizational culture and climate, and intent to leave at a public child welfare agency. Findings from focus group data collected from direct line, middle, and senior managers revealed a passive defensive culture. The authors discuss concrete organizational interventions to assist the agency in shifting to a constructive oriented culture through enhancements in communication, including supervision and shared decisionmaking, recognition and rewards, and improvement in other areas related to working conditions.
- Promoting Cross-Sector Partnerships in Child Welfare: Qualitative Results from a Five-State Strategic Planning Process
Crystal Collins-Camargo, Mary I. Armstrong, Bowen McBeath, and Emmeline Chuang
- Little is known about effective strategic planning for public and private child welfare agencies working together to serve families. During a professionally facilitated, strategic planning event, public and private child welfare administrators from five states explored partnership challenges and strengths with a goal of improving collaborative interactions in order to improve outcomes for children and families. Summarizing thematic results of session notes from the planning event, this article describes effective strategies for facilitation of such processes as well as factors that challenge or promote group processes. Implications for conducting strategic planning in jurisdictions seeking to improve public/private partnerships are discussed.
- A Profile of Post-ASFA Hearings in the U.S. Congress
Heather R. Edwards
- Examination of the policymaking process can yield a better understanding of the rationale behind policy content and prescriptions for shaping future policies. To this end, this study uses data from 38 child welfare hearings held by the U.S. Congress from 1999-2010 to describe key hearings, as well as Congress, committee member, and child welfare indicators. This manuscript concludes with implications for research and practice.
- Substantiation Assessment Criteria: A Framework for Evaluating Contested Substantiation in Child Protection Practice
- This article presents substantiation assessment criteria as an evidentiary framework for evaluating contested substantiation of child maltreatment in child protection practice. To accomplish this purpose, the article discusses contested substantiation and judicial outcomes in contested cases as a means of underscoring the criteria’s evidentiary relevance. The article presents conceptually and empirically driven substantiation assessment criteria and highlights their relevance for guiding substantiation decisions, evidentiary hearings, and future research in contested substantiation of child maltreatment.
- Child Custody Disputes within the Context of Child Protection Investigations: Secondary Analysis of the Canadian Incident Study of Reported Child Abuse and Neglect
Michael A. Saini, Tara Black, Barbara Fallon, and Alena Marshall
- Working with parents and children caught in child custody disputes after or during separation and divorce can be challenging for professionals when they lack a clear understanding of the unique circumstances of these disputes. To address this gap, this study reports on national data about child custody disputes within the context of child protection investigations by using secondary analysis of the Canadian Incidence Study of Reported Child Abuse and Neglect (CIS-2003). A descriptive profile of custody cases compared to non-custody cases is important to begin informing the field about the unique characteristics of families involved in both family law and child protection proceedings. The sample includes child maltreatment investigations as children came into contact with child protection services over a three-month sampling period. Based on the 11,562 child maltreatment investigations, 12% involved a child custody dispute. Child custody dispute files were more likely to be opened more than three times and they had higher rates of malicious referrals, compared to non-custody child protection files. Twenty percent of investigations involving a child custody dispute were for children’s exposure to domestic violence, followed by physical abuse, emotional harm and neglect. Children involved in custody disputes were reported to have higher proportion of emotional harm and more functioning issues compared to children not caught in their parents’ custody disputes. Parental alcohol abuse was also significantly higher in child custody cases. Implications for child protection systems are explored. Suggestions are made to improve child protection procedures for the earlier detection of child custody cases and for the enhancement of specialized knowledge for workers to effectively intervene and protect children from the negative consequences of adult conflict after separation and divorce.
- Parenting in Recovery Program: Participant Responses and Case Examples
Sanna Thompson, Chuck Roper, and Laura Peveto
- Approximately 80% of children served by child welfare agencies have parents who abuse or are dependent on alcohol or illicit drugs. Despite the devastating effects on children from living in substance abusing families, child protective service practitioners have limited options available to assist these families. The Parenting in Recovery program was created to address the needs of substance-abusing mothers involved in child welfare. This manuscript describes this program and perceptions of participants concerning its effectiveness.
- The Environment as a Cause of Disease in Children”: Josef Friedjung’s Transnational Influence on Modern Child Welfare Theory
Elizabeth Ann Danto
- Josef K. Friedjung’s Advanced Pediatrics–A Companion to Traditional Textbooks (Erlebte Kinderheilkunde–eine Ergaenzung er gebraeu-chlichen Lehrbucher), published in 1919 in Vienna, has cast a long but nearly-vanished shadow over modern child welfare theory. The originality of his focus on “the whole child” was in some ways a commentary on Sigmund Freud, but its overtly progressive political character gave Friedjung’s argument visible applicability within the field of urban social welfare. As a pediatrician and an ardent cosmopolitan, Friedjung was willing to consider conflicting values between traditional family systems and the state. Had the Nazis not forced him into exile in Palestine, where he died in 1946, Friedjung’s pioneering oeuvre would have joined our child welfare narrative long ago. Fortunately today archival evidence on which this study draws, fragmented as it is in both German and English, does confirm that the first and second generation psychoanalysts, Friedjung among them, built a mental health movement around a social justice core closely allied to the cultural context of central Europe from 1918 to 1933. In many ways, child welfare as we know it emerged as a practical implementation of that ideology.
Vol. 91, No. 6
- Parent Engagement in Child Safety Conferences: The Role of Parent Representatives
- Parent engagement is a critical and challenging task of child welfare, and meaningful parent engagement in a dialogue, service planning, and acceptance of services is even more challenging in the context of non-voluntary child protection. This study described and examined the parent representation model that made use of parent representatives in engaging birthparents during child safety conferences in child protection. The findings identified the barriers to parental engagement and determined factors promoting engagement. Implications of this model are discussed.
- Engaging Families in the Child Welfare Process Utilizing the Family-Directed Structural Assesment Tool
Tara McLendon, Don McLendon, Pamela S. Dickerson, Jane K. Lyons, and Karen Tapp
- Effectively engaging parents in the provision of child welfare services is a crucial component of the helping process; however, it has proven to be an ongoing challenge for workers in this service area. The literature indicates that outcomes are improved for children and families when parents are actively involved in service provision. This article presents a literature review specific to parental engagement in child welfare services, identifies gaps in service provision, and introduces the Family-Directed Structural Assessment Tool, which addresses several challenges of engaging parents in this process. The pilot utilization of this assessment tool by two Bachelor of Social Work students is also presented. Finally, implications for child welfare practice are described.
- Measuring Social Support Among Kinship Caregivers: Validity and Reliability of the Family Support Scale
Kerry Littlewood, Jayme R. Swanke, Anne Strozier, and David Kondrat
- The scope of research about kinship care has expanded. One area of interest is the impact social support has on kinship caregivers (Kelley, Whitley, & Campos, 2011). The Family Support Scale (FSS) has been used to measure social support among kinship caregivers (Kelley et al., 2011; Leder et al., 2007); however, there has been no rigorous examination of the psychometric properties of the FSS when administered to kinship caregivers. This study used a sample of 255 kinship caregivers to conduct a principal component analysis and developed a four-component structure for the FSS. The results suggest that the four-component structure identifies four subscales that have adequate face validity and internal consistency validity with this population.
- Defining a Target Population at High Risk of Long-Term Foster Care: Barriers to Permanency for Families of Children with Serious Emotional Disturbances
Becci A. Akin, Stephanie A. Bryson, Tom McDonald, and Sheila Walker
- Long-term foster care (LTFC) is an enduring problem that lacks evidence of effective strategies for practice or policy. This article describes initial activities of a statewide project of the national Permanency Innovations Initiative. The authors sought to: (1) verify the relevance of children’s mental health as a predictor of LTFC, (2) describe critical barriers encountered by parents of children with serious emotional disturbances, and (3) identify systems barriers that hinder permanency for this target population.
- The Association Between Child Maltreatment and Coping Strategies Among Finnish 9th Graders
Sari Lepistoe and Eija Paavilainen
- Child maltreatment is commonplace, and adolescents are involved in it either as witnesses or victims. Research has shown that child maltreatment plays a major role in adolescent well-being and coping. The purpose of this study is to describe adolescents’ experiences of child maltreatment and coping with it. The survey included 1,028 ninth-graders from one Finnish municipality. Further knowledge of child maltreatment and coping can help develop more effective interventions for increasing adolescents’ health and well-being.
- Child Protection Policy Reform in Quebec: Its Impact on Placement and Stability in Substitute Care
Daniel Turcotte and Sonia Helie
- In recent years, the Government of Quebec has struggled to address the number of out-of-home child-protection placements as well as the problem of placement instability among children in care. In 2007, the Youth Protection Act (YPA) was modified to ensure that children benefit from continuity of care, stable relationships, and stable living conditions that correspond to their age and needs. This paper explores the effects of the new YPA by examining the changes in out-of-home placements and the stability of the children. Once the changes to the Act had come into effect, the number of children who were placed in substitute care decreased and their situations became more stable. Given that the social conditions of the families remained stable in the three years preceding and following 2007 (number of reports, funding), this result suggests that the changes to the Act have led to the observed effects.
- Mental Health of Foster Children: Do Biological Fathers Matter?
Femke Vanschoonlandt, Johan Vanderfaeillie, Frank Van Holen, Skraellan De Maeyer, and Caroline Andries
- The high prevalence of mental health problems in foster children is well-documented (e.g., Armsden, Pecora, Payne, & Szatkiewicz, 2000; Tarren-Sweeney, 2008). From an ecological perspective, it can be expected that several factors in different systems (e.g., foster child, foster family, biological parents, and community) influence foster children’s behavioral problems. Mainly, the influence of pre-care experiences, such as a history of maltreatment (Oswald, Heil, & Goldbeck, 2010), and in-care experiences, such as the number of out-of-home placements (Newton, Litrownik, & Landsverk, 2000), is investigated and confirmed. Although the body of research on predictive factors of foster children’s behavioral problems is growing (McWey, Acock, & Porter, 2010), the possible influence of one important party is being neglected: biological fathers. This is remarkable given the central role of birth parents in family foster care (O’Donnell, 2001), and even more striking given the growing evidence of the influence of fathers on developmental outcomes of children (Lamb, 2010). This study reports on the involvement of birth fathers during foster care placement of their child and their association with the foster child’s well-being. First, we review the literature on the influence of parents on foster children’s mental health and discuss the limited research on fathers’ involvement. Next, the results of our study are presented and discussed.
Vol. 91, No. 5
- The Benefits of Motivational Interviewing and Coaching for Improving the Practice of Comprehensive Family Assessments in Child Welfare
Elizabeth H. Snyder, C. Nicole Lawrence, Tara N. Weatherholt, and Paul Nagy
- The engagement of families in child welfare services is critical for successful outcomes related to safety, permanency, and child and family well-being. Motivational interviewing (MI), an effective approach to working with individuals struggling with alcohol and drug addiction, has great appeal for use with families involved with the child welfare system. Consequently, many social service agencies are beginning to integrate MI into their training curriculum. However, research has shown that training in MI alone is not enough; ongoing coaching is crucial in order to transfer learned MI skills into practice. The current study employs qualitative interview data from caseworkers in order to examine the implementation of MI and long-term coaching within the child welfare system. Findings showed that MI can be implemented successfully within the child welfare system, and that caseworkers believed MI, supported by ongoing coaching, to be a valuable tool in engaging families in the assessment process.
- Assessing Systemic Barriers to Permanency Achievement for Children in Out-of-Home Care: Development of the Child Permanency Barriers Scale
April L. Murphy, Riaan Van Zyl, Crystal Collins-Camargo, and Dana Sullivan
- State and local child welfare agencies are engaged in multiple efforts to enact systems change to improve outcomes, particularly in regard to achievement of child permanency. The Child and Family Services Review process, conducted by the Administration Children and Families, requires states to implement program improvement plans designed to improve outcomes for which they are not meeting national standards. However, a tool has not been demonstrated as useful in assessing the barriers to achievement of permanency across the out-of-home service continuum, from recruitment of families to placement stability. This article reports on the development and refinement of such a tool in one Midwestern state. The Child Permanency Barriers Scale has four factors: kinship, placement and matching, adequate services and resources, and communication and collaboration. Implications for use in state-specific and multisystem assessment and system reform are discussed.
- Cherish the Family: A Program Model of Strengths and Attachment in Reunifying Substance-Abusing Mothers with their Children
Ruby Natale, Stephanie H. Scott, Stephanie T. Camejo, Maria Hernandez, and Omayra Sellas-Lamberty
- The Cherish the Family (CTF) program targets mothers with children (age 0-3) engaged in the child welfare system, and provide services to strengthen a mother’s ability to care for her child. A multimodal design was used with data collected at three points of time. Program results revealed positive changes in the areas of child well-being, parental capabilities, family interactions, family safety, caregiver/child ambivalence, and readiness for reunification among the treatment group.
- Short-Term Disruption Rates and Long-Term Outcomes of a Professional Parent Program
- Both traditional and specialized foster care have disruption rates ranging from 36% to 70%. Connecting Children and Families was a professional parent program that provided permanent family placements for children and young adults with significant behavior problems and mental health issues. During the 15 years of the Connecting Children and Families program, the short-term disruption rate was 21%. Long-term positive outcomes (i.e., stability in the family, reunification with birth family, or adoption) occurred for 83% of the children and young adults. This article is a program description of Connecting Children and Families. There were five key elements of this program: (a) The primary treatment was the life itself provided by the professional parents; (b) The parents were paid a significant stipend and they were treated both as professionals and as the parents of the children placed in their home; (c) The program model was one based on continuity of clinical care rather than case management; (d) Treatment interventions were derived from the fields of behaviorism and applied behavior analysis; and (e) The core value of the program was rooted in Wolfensberger’s concept of social role valorization.
- Social Workers and Satisfaction with Child Welfare Work: Aspects of Work, Profession, and Personal Life that Contribute to Turnover
Micheal L. Shier, John R. Graham, Eriko Fukuda, Keith Brownlee, Theresa J.B. Kline, Seemeen Walji, and Nuelle Novik
- Social workers practicing in government-mandated child welfare programs experience several unique challenges and workplace stressors that can contribute to social worker workplace dissatisfaction and higher rates of turnover. Most research on workplace well-being primarily focuses on workplace characteristics rather than on other variables, such as personal and professional life factors. From a sample of child welfare workers (n = 145), and following a model of subjective well-being, our findings show that three factors–work, profession, and personal life–significantly predict overall social worker satisfaction and intention to leave, confirming previous research on the multiple aspects of a social worker’s life that contributes to his or her subjective well-being.
- Supporting College Success in Foster Care Alumni: Salient Factors Related to Postsecondary Retention
Amy M. Salazar
- The current study aimed to identify factors associated with postsecondary disengagement for young people with foster care experience using survey data from a cross-sectional sample of foster care alumni scholarship recipients. Bivariate and multivariate analyses revealed several factors that differentiated those who did and did not disengage from college. Recommendations are given for improving service provision for youth transitioning from foster care who are considering pursuing higher education.
- Massachusetts and Scotland: From Juvenile Justice to Child Welfare?
Janice McGhee and Lorraine Alice Margaret Waterhouse
- Comparative data from two systems of dual jurisdiction, the Massachusetts juvenile court and the Scottish children’s hearings, is examined to explore the relative use of child welfare and juvenile justice referrals in the lives of children. In Scotland, a radical shift away from juvenile delinquency toward child welfare cases has altered the system’s capacity to fulfill a welfare-oriented approach to older adolescents. In Massachusetts, the juvenile court is becoming more welfare-oriented as older adolescents are claimed.
Vol. 91, No. 4
- Differential Program Evaluation Model in Child Protection
- Increasingly attention has been focused to the degree to which social programs have effectively and efficiently delivered services. Using the differential program evaluation model by Tripodi, Fellin, and Epstein (1978) and by Bielawski and Epstein (1984), this paper described the application of this model to evaluating a multidisciplinary clinical consultation practice in child protection. This paper discussed the uses of the model by demonstrating them through the four stages of program initiation, contact, implementation, and stabilization. This organizational case study made a contribution to the model by introducing essential and interrelated elements of a “practical evaluation” methodology in evaluating social programs, such as a participatory evaluation approach; learning, empowerment and sustainability; and a flexible individualized approach to evaluation. The study results demonstrated that by applying the program development model, child-protective administrators and practitioners were able to evaluate the existing practices and recognize areas for program improvement.
- Predictors of Family Preservation Outcomes and Child Welfare Success in Colorado
Rebecca Orsi, Marc Winokur, Graig Crawford, Stephanie Mace, and Keri Batchelder
- Rebecca Orsi, Marc Winokur, Graig Crawford, Stephanie Mace, and Keri Batchelder A sample of 4,589 Colorado child welfare cases that closed between October 2007 and September 2009 was analyzed. All cases involved child abuse or neglect. Permanency and follow-up outcomes were scored using a methodology developed for the study. Scores were used to create an ordinal measure of success for the case. A cumulative logit statistical model examined the relationship between the newly-developed ordinal success measure and six predictor variables: number of caregivers, risk of abuse, poverty, risk of neglect, age of primary caregiver, and substance abuse issues. Case profiles are provided. Limitations and implications for practice are discussed.
- The Prevalence of Youth with Disabilities Among Older Youth in Out-of-Home Placement: An Analysis of State Administrative Data
Katharine M. Hill
- Children with disabilities are overrepresented in in out-of-home-placement; however, there is little research available on the prevalence of older youth with disabilities in foster care. Using state administrative data, this exploratory study used descriptive statistics and logistic regression analysis to examine the prevalence and demographic make up of older youth with disabilities in one state’s out-of-home placement system. Findings indicate that in one state, youth with disabilities are overrepresented in out-of-home placement and differ in their racial and ethnic identities from youth with disabilities who are not in foster care in the same state. Implications for research, policy, and practice are discussed.
- Pragmatic Determination and Correlates of Victimization among Female Adolescents Presenting for Residential Addictions Treatment
Steven L. Proctor and Norman G. Hoffmann
- This study sought to determine whether a structured diagnostic interview using a direct questioning strategy administered at admission to a residential addictions treatment program could identify the nature and extent of victimization and relationships of victimization to co-occurring mental health conditions relatively early in the treatment process. Interview data from 198 consecutive admissions of female adolescents were analyzed. Results revealed that 85% of participants reported victimization (i.e., physical, sexual, or emotional abuse) at intake. Prevalence rates for mood, anxiety, and behavioral disorders were positively related to the extent of victimization. Early exploration of victimization using direct questioning at admission appears both feasible and clinically relevant. Clinical implications for the standard residential addictions treatment intake assessment procedures are discussed.
- Consistency Between Self-Reported Risks and Strengths Among Prospective Adoptive Couples: Findings From Home Studies
Thomas M. Crea, Richard P. Barth, and Heather M. Moreno
- This study examines patterns of strengths and risks among prospective adoptive families using completed home study questionnaires. The study explores male-female differences, within heterosexual couples, pertaining to functioning and serious issues of concern. Results show significant variability related to plans for discipline, and drug use for self and partner. These findings are discussed in light of adoption home study practices, particularly for increased structure of information gathering, and joint and separate interviews of applicants.
- Foster Parent Experience: The Later Years
William A. Metcalfe and Gregory F. Sanders
- In this qualitative study, 37 foster parents over the age of 62 from were interviewed to gain an in-depth understanding of their experiences. Older foster parents were healthy, personally flexible, and adaptable. Analysis of interviews revealed several unique themes, including: the desire to help and make a difference; the continuation of family; the influence of spouses on motivation; the desire to contribute to the well-being of younger generations; the expression of personal values; the importance of having support; the influence of stamina on activities; the roles of society and change; and the understanding that being older is a strength.
Vol. 91, No. 3 – Special Issue: Services for Native Children and Families in North America
- Truth, Healing, and Systems Change: The Maine Wabanaki-State Child Welfare Truth and Reconciliation Commission Process
Esther Altvater Attean, Panthea Burns, Martha Proulx, Jamie Bissonette-Lewey, Jill Williams, and Kathy Deserly
- Maine state child welfare staff understand the Indian Child Welfare Act requirements, yet their knowledge of Wabanaki history is limited because it has excluded the voices of the Wabanaki people. A group of Native people and state representatives are creating a truth and reconciliation commission process in Maine, designed to reckon with this history as a way of improving the child welfare system and promoting healing for Wabanaki children and families.
- Moving Toward Reconciliation in Indigenous Child Welfare
- The Touchstones of Hope reconciliation movement consists of principles (culture and language, self-determination, structural interventions, non discrimination, and holistic approach) that guide a reconciliation process of truth-telling, acknowledging, restoring and relating to reshape indigenous child welfare led by indigenous peoples and supported by their non-indigenous counterparts. This article describes a reconciliation movement in Canada grounded in Touchstones of Hope principles, involving a reconciliation process between indigenous and non-indigenous individuals, which has enabled culturally relevant concepts of child welfare and plans for child safety to emerge.
- Findings from a National Needs Assessment of American Indian/Alaska Native Child Welfare Programs
Robin Leake, Cathryn Potter, Nancy Lucero, Jerry Gardner, and Kathy Deserly
- The National Child Welfare Resource Center for Tribes, a member of the Children’s Bureau Child Welfare Training and Technical Assistance Network, conducted a national needs assessment of tribal child welfare. This assessment explored current practices in tribal child welfare to identify unique systemic strengths and challenges. A culturally based, multi-method design yielded findings in five areas: tribal child welfare practice, foster care and adoption, the Indian Child Welfare Act, legal and judicial, and program operations.
- Continuum of Readiness for Collaboration, ICWA Compliance, and Reducing Disproportionality
Tom Lidot, Rose-Margaret Orrantia, and Miryam Choca
- From 2008-2010, a California Breakthrough Series Collaborative (BSC) addressed the disproportionality of African American and American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) children in public child welfare services in partnership with the Annie E. Casey Foundation, Casey Family Program, the Child and Family Policy Institute of California, and the California Department of Social Services. The result was the development of the Continuum of Readiness, to be utilized by California counties to make strategic decisions to achieve Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) compliance and address AI/AN disproportionality through collaboration with tribes and urban Indian communities.
- A Collaborative and Trauma-Informed Practice Model for Urban Indian Child Welfare
Nancy M. Lucero and Marian Bussey
- Preventing the breakup of the American Indian family is the fundamental goal of the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA). However, few models exist to provide CPS workers and other practitioners with effective and practical strategies to help achieve this goal. This article presents a collaborative and trauma-informed family preservation practice model for Indian Child Welfare services with urban-based American Indian families. The model encompasses both systemic and direct practice efforts that assist families facing multiple challenges in creating a nurturing and more stable family life. System-level interventions improve the cultural responsiveness of providers, encourage partnerships between CPS and community-based providers, and support ICWA compliance. Direct practice interventions, in the form of intensive case management and treatment services, help parents/caregivers become more capable of meeting their own and their children’s needs by addressing challenges such as substance abuse, trauma and other mental health challenges, domestic violence, and housing instability. Evaluation of the practice model suggests that it shows promise in preventing out-of-home placement of Native children, while at the same time improving parental capacity, family safety, child well-being, and family environment.
- Family Group Decision Making (FGDM) With Lakota Families in Two Tribal Communities: Tools to Facilitate FGDM Implementation and Evaluation
Lyscha A. Marcynyszyn, Pete Small Bear, Erin Geary, Russ Conti, Peter J. Pecora, Priscilla A. Day, and Stephen T. Wilson
- This article describes an adapted Family Group Decision Making (FGDM) practice model for Native American communities, the FGDM family and community engagement process, and FGDM evaluation tools as one example for other native communities. Challenges and successes associated with the implementation and evaluation of these meetings are also described in the context of key historical and cultural factors, such as intergenerational grief and trauma, as well as past misuse of data in native communities.
- Best Outcomes for Indian Children
Loa L. Porter, Patrina Park Zink, Angela R. Gebhardt, Mark Ells, and Michelle I. Graef
- The Wisconsin Department of Children and Families and the Midwest Child Welfare Implementation Center are collaborating with Wisconsin’s tribes and county child welfare agencies to improve outcomes for Indian children by systemically implementing the Wisconsin Indian Child Welfare Act (WICWA). This groundbreaking collaboration will increase practitioners’ understanding of the requirements of WICWA and the need for those requirements, enhance communication and coordination between all stakeholders responsible for the welfare of Indian children in Wisconsin; it is designed to effect the systemic integration of the philosophical underpinnings of WICWA.
- Native American Indian Child Welfare System Change: Implementation of a Culturally Appropriate Practice Model Across Three Tribal Child Welfare Systems
Maria Scannapieco and Mary A. Iannone
- Currently, there are 565 federally recognized tribes in the United States who are independent sovereign nations. These tribes have varying capacities to manage and administer child welfare programs. Most provide some type of child welfare service to the children and families within their tribal land. However, there are no national resources to document the number of children in foster care or the extent of abuse and neglect in the families served by tribal child welfare agencies. Information is only known about those Native American/Alaska Native families and children who are reported to state child protection agencies. Native American children represented 0.9% of all children in the United States in the late 1990s, but they comprised 3.1% of the substitute care population in state-run child welfare systems (Morrison, et al., 2010). Incident rates of child welfare referrals, substantiated referrals, and foster care placement among Native American children and families are relatively high compared to other ethnic groups (Earle & Cross, 2001) but precise interpretation of Native American status is difficult due to variations in child welfare reporting systems (Magruder & Shaw, 2008).
- An Examination of the Living Conditions of Urban American Indian Children in Unmarried Families: Increasing Cultural Competence in Child Welfare
Gordon E. Limb and Ryan Garza
- The past 50 years have revealed dramatically shifting trends in the familial structure of American society. When examining these trends, and family research in general, the American Indian family unit has received little to no attention. This study utilized data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study to examine the living conditions of urban American Indian children in unmarried families. Results showed that while these children appear to have a strong start, concerns are raised regarding American Indian mothers’ low educational achievement and high incidence of poverty. These concerns can lead to potential issues regarding sustained development that can arise as the children grow. Therefore, child welfare workers must understand these issues and work to ameliorate them in order to provide culturally competent services to urban American Indian families and children.
Vol. 91, No. 2
- Do Evidence-Based Group Parenting Programs for High-Risk or Maltreating Parents Include Content About Psychological Maltreatment?: A Program Review
Amy Baker, Mel Schniederman, Marla R. Brassard, and Lauren J. Donnelly
- Psychological maltreatment (PM) is a widespread form of child maltreatment, both in high-risk and maltreating parents, yet there are no intervention programs that target it directly. In this study, the content of parenting programs for high-risk and maltreating parents was assessed to determine whether the program manuals include content on PM. Nine evidence-based group parenting programs for high-risk or maltreating parents (e.g., included in the SAMHSA or a comparable model program registry) were identified. Program manuals were rated for whether they included content on 18 types of psychological maltreatment (PM). Only one type of PM was rated as being included in all nine programs. Not one of the remaining PM types was rated as being included in more than four programs; and many of the PM types were not rated as being included in any program manual. Therefore, existing parenting program manuals do not contain content related to many forms of psychological maltreatment.
- Strengthening Families and Communities to Prevent Child Abuse and Neglect: Lessons from the Los Angeles Prevention Initiative Demonstration Project
Jacquelyn McCroskey, Peter J. Pecora, Todd Franke, Christina A. Christie, and Jaymie Lothridge
- The Prevention Initiative Demonstration Project, funded by the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS), is a community-specific strategy delivered through eight regional networks designed to address the full spectrum of community-based prevention. This article summarizes a strong and meaningful pattern of improvements found in the second year evaluation for three groups of families–those living in high-risk communities but not involved with DCFS, those being investigated by DCFS for possible child maltreatment, and those with open DCFS cases.
- Estimating Staffing Needs for In-Home Child Welfare Services with a Weighted Caseload Formula
Sarah Kaye, Terry V. Shaw, Diane DePanfilis, and Karen Rice
- State child welfare risk and safety assessment data were analyzed to determine three levels of in-home service that correspond to the Child Welfare League of America’s (CWLA) national caseload standards and to evaluate the number of staff needed to provide services at each level. The analysis revealed that 50% additional case-carrying in-home services staff were needed to provide appropriate risk- and safety-based services to children in their own homes. Findings from this study were used by the state child welfare services agency to allocate vacant worker positions to local jurisdictions.
- Understanding the Use of Psychotropic Medications in the Child Welfare System: Causes, Consequences, and Proposed Solutions
Zakia Alavi and Nancy G. Calleja
- Recent studies have highlighted the progressively increasing number of children prescribed psychotropic medication, while findings have illustrated significantly greater usage among child welfare-involved children. These findings have raised serious concerns among mental health and child welfare professionals as well as the general public. To address this issue, the authors explore the factors that may contribute to the higher incidence of psychotropic medication usage among child welfare-involved children and the unintended negative consequences for these children and the public health system. They propose methods to effectively address this problem.
- Youth and Administrative Perspectives on Transition in Kentucky’s State Agency Schools
Amy Marshall, Norman Powell, Doris Pierce, Ronnie Nolan, and Elaine Fehringer
- Students, a large percentage with disabilities, are at high risk for poor post-secondary outcomes in state agency education programs. This mixed-methods study describes the understandings of student transitions in state agency education programs from the perspectives of youth and administrators. Results indicated that: transition is more narrowly defined within alternative education programs; key strengths of transition practice are present in nontraditional schools; and the coordination barriers within this fluid inter-agency transition system are most apparent in students’ frequent inter-setting transitions between nontraditional and home schools.
Vol. 91, No. 1
- Expanded Medical Home Model Works for Children in Foster Care
Paula Kienberger Jaudes, Vince Champagne, Allen Harden, James Masterson, and Lucy A. Bilaver
- The Illinois Child Welfare Department implemented a statewide health care system to ensure that children in foster care obtain quality health care by providing each child with a medical home. This study demonstrates that the Medical Home model works for children in foster care providing better health outcomes in higher immunization rates. These children used the health care system more effectively and cost-effective as reflected in the higher utilization rates of primary care and well-child visits and lower utilization of emergency room care for children with chronic conditions.
- Mandated Reporting Thresholds for Community Professionals
Kathryn Crowell and Benjamin H. Levi
- This study examines how community-based mandated reporters understand and interpret reasonable suspicion, the standard threshold for mandated reporting of suspected child abuse. Respondents were asked to identify the probability necessary for “suspicion of child abuse” to constitute reasonable suspicion. Data were analyzed for internal consistency, evidence of a group standard, and associations with professional and educational demographics. There was a 90.4% response rate (1,233/1,364). On both ordinal probability and estimated probability scales, respondents demonstrated wide variability in the thresholds they identified for what constitutes reasonable suspicion. Comparing individual responses for the two scales, 83% were inconsistent. Responses on the estimated probability scale were correlated with frequency of reporting child abuse, professional background, and prior education on child abuse. Lack of consensus in how community professionals interpret reasonable suspicion raises the question of whether more specific training is needed for this threshold to be understood, interpreted, and applied in a consistent manner.
- Transracial Mothering and Maltreatment: Are Black/White Biracial Children at Higher Risk?
Rachel A. Fusco and Mary E. Rautkis
- The number of people identifying as biracial is rapidly growing, though little is known about the experiences of interracial families. Previous work indicates that biracial children may be at elevated risk of entering the child welfare system. This could underscore additional risks faced by these families. This document includes data from the Longitudinal Studies of Child Abuse and Neglect (LONGSCAN), a project funded by the Administration on Children, Youth, and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and distributed by the National Data Archive on Child Abuse and Neglect. LONGSCAN data were used to examine familial risks associated with child maltreatment. White mothers of white children were compared to white mothers of biracial children with the hypothesis that interracial families would have less social and community support. Results showed that the women were similar in terms of mental health and parenting behaviors. There were no differences in maternal age, employment status, or presence of a partner. However, mothers of biracial children were poorer, had more alcohol use, and decreased social support. They experienced more intimate partner violence and lower neighborhood satisfaction. Findings have implications for intervention programs focused on reducing social isolation within interracial families.
- Does Formal Integration Between Child Welfare and Behavioral Health Agencies Result in Improved Placement Stability for Adolescents Engaged with Both Systems?
Rebecca Wells and Emmeline Chuang
- National survey data were used to assess whether child welfare agency ties to behavioral health care providers improved placement stability for adolescents served by both systems. Adolescents initially at home who were later removed tended to have fewer moves when child welfare and behavioral health were in the same larger agency. Joint training of child welfare and behavioral health staff was negatively associated with numbers of moves and numbers of days out of home.
- Promoting Supervisory Practice Change in Public Child Welfare: Lessons from University/Agency Collaborative Research in Four States
Crystal Collins-Camargo and Kenneth Millar
- This article describes qualitative findings regarding lessons learned from research and demonstration projects in four states focused on the implementation of clinical supervision within their public child welfare agencies. This was part of a larger mixed methods study of the effectiveness of these new clinical supervision models on practice, organizational, and client outcomes. Themes from 15 focus groups with frontline supervisors participating in the projects are provided; they focused on the challenges experienced while participating and working to use clinical supervision techniques, recommendations regarding implementing such projects in the public child welfare environment, and those aspects of the implementation that were most effective in supporting their work. These themes provide direction for states and localities wishing to shift frontline supervision to a more clinical model within the public child welfare setting.
Vol. 90, No. 6 – Special Issue: Effectively Addressing the Impact of Child Traumatic Stress in Child Welfare
- Trauma Adapted Family Connections: Reducing Developmental and Complex Trauma Symptomatology to Prevent Child Abuse and Neglect
Kathryn S. Collins, Frederick H. Strieder, Diane DePanfilis, Maureen Tabor, Pamela A. Clarkson Freeman, Linnea Linde, and Patty Greenberg
- Families living in urban poverty, enduring chronic and complex traumatic stress, and having difficulty meeting their children’s basic needs have significant child maltreatment risk factors. There is a paucity of family focused, trauma-informed evidence-based interventions aimed to alleviate trauma symptomatology, strengthen family functioning, and prevent child abuse and neglect. Trauma Adapted Family Connections (TA-FC) is a manualized trauma-focused practice rooted in the principles of Family Connections (FC), an evidence supported preventive intervention developed to address the glaring gap in services for this specific, growing, and underserved population. This paper describes the science based development of TA-FC, its phases and essential components, which are based on theories of attachment, neglect, trauma, and family interaction within a comprehensive community-based family focused intervention framework.
- Trauma-Informed Forensic Child Maltreatment Investigations
Donna M. Pence
- Trauma-informed child welfare systems (CWSs) are the focus of several recent national and state initiatives. Since 2005 social work publications have focused on systemic and practice changes within CW which seek to identify and reduce trauma to children and families experiencing child maltreatment or other distressing events, as well as to the agency personnel working with these clients. Within the body of trauma-informed literature, little attention has been devoted specifically to the initial investigative response and its role in controlling for system induced trauma to the child, family, and caseworker. Training child protection services (CPS) workers on the impact of trauma in child maltreatment forensic investigations and the worker’s role in anticipating and mitigating the effects of trauma during the investigative process is rarely addressed in the trauma-informed literature. This article reports on a training strategy to infuse trauma information into an existing forensic child maltreatment investigation curriculum with the goal of enhancing CPS caseworker’s knowledge, skills, and values concerning the importance of viewing investigations and their associated tasks through a trauma lens.
- Addressing the Impact of Trauma Before Diagnosing Mental Illness in Child Welfare
Gene Griffin, Gary McClelland, Mark Holzberg, Bradley Stolbach, Nicole Maj, and Cassandra Kisiel
- Congress set requirements for child welfare agencies to respond to emotional trauma associated with child maltreatment and removal. In meeting these requirements, agencies should develop policies that address child trauma. To assist in policy development, this study analyzes more than 14,000 clinical assessments from child welfare in Illinois. Based on the analysis, the study recommends child welfare agencies adopt policies requiring that (1) mental health screenings and assessments of all youth in child welfare include measures of traumatic events and trauma-related symptoms; (2) evidence-based, trauma-focused treatment begin when a youth in child welfare demonstrates a trauma-related symptom; and (3) a clinician not diagnose a youth in child welfare with a mental illness without first addressing the impact of trauma. The study also raises the issue of treatment reimbursement based on diagnosis.
- Complex Trauma and Mental Health in Children and Adolescents Placed in Foster Care: Findings from the National Child Traumatic Stress Network
Johanna K. P. Greeson, Ernestine C. Briggs, Cassandra L. Kisiel, Christopher M. Layne, George S. Ake III, Susan J. Ko, Ellen T. Gerrity, Alan M. Steinberg, Michael L. Howard, Robert S. Pynoos, and John A. Fairbank
- Many children in the child welfare system (CWS) have histories of recurrent interpersonal trauma perpetrated by caregivers early in life often referred to as complex trauma. Children in the CWS also experience a diverse range of reactions across multiple areas of functioning that are associated with such exposure. Nevertheless, few CWSs routinely screen for trauma exposure and associated symptoms beyond an initial assessment of the precipitating event. This study examines trauma histories, including complex trauma exposure (physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, neglect, domestic violence), posttraumatic stress, and behavioral and emotional problems of 2,251 youth (age 0 to 21; M _ 9.5, SD _ 4.3) in foster care who were referred to a National Child Traumatic Stress Network site for treatment. High prevalence rates of complex trauma exposure were observed: 70.4% of the sample reported at least two of the traumas that constitute complex trauma; 11.7% of the sample reported all 5 types. Compared to youth with other types of trauma, those with complex trauma histories had significantly higher rates of internalizing problems, posttraumatic stress, and clinical diagnoses, and differed on some demographic variables. Implications for child welfare practice and future research are discussed.
- Screening for Trauma Exposure, and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and Depression Symptoms among Mothers Receiving Child Welfare Preventive Services
Claude M. Chemtob, Sascha Griffing, Erika Tullberg, Elizabeth Roberts, and Peggy Ellis
- The role of parental trauma exposure and related mental health symptoms as risk factors for child maltreatment for parents involved with the child welfare (CW) system has received limited attention. In particular, little is known about the extent to which mothers receiving CW services to prevent maltreatment have experienced trauma and suffered trauma-related psychopathology. This study examined screening data collected from 127 mothers receiving CW preventive services. There were high levels of trauma exposure among screened mothers and their young children. Among mothers, 91.6% experienced at least one traumatic event (M _2.60) and 92.2% reported their children had been exposed to one or more traumas (M _ 4.85). Mothers reported high levels of trauma-related symptoms: 54.3% met probable criteria for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or depression (61.7%). Nearly half (48.8%) met criteria for co-morbid PTSD and depression. The large majority of the clients with trauma-related disorders were not receiving mental health services. Latina women had significantly more severe PTSD symptoms than African American women. Case planners reported that the screening process was useful and feasible. These findings underscore the feasibility and importance of trauma screening among parents receiving CW preventive services.
- Linking Child Welfare and Mental Health Using Trauma-Informed Screening and Assessment Practices
Lisa Conradi, Jeffrey Wherry, and Cassandra Kisiel
- An abundance of research suggests that children in the child welfare system (CWS) have experienced numerous traumatic events and are exhibiting traumatic stress symptoms. Therefore, it is critical that the CWS work closely with the mental health system to ensure that these children receive the appropriate trauma screening, trauma-focused assessment, and referral to the appropriate trauma-focused mental health services. This paper begins by providing a concrete definition of trauma-focused screening and highlighting how that differs from a more comprehensive trauma-focused assessment process and a psychological evaluation. From there, the authors highlight existing trauma-focused screening and assessment tools that are used widely within CWSs and the challenges related to integrating trauma focused screening practices into CWSs. The authors provide recommendations for ways in which child welfare jurisdictions can integrate trauma-focused screening practices into their daily practice.
- Secondary Traumatic Stress and Burnout in Child Welfare Workers: A Comparative Analysis of Occupational Distress Across Professional Groups
Ginny Sprang, Carlton Craig, and James Clark
- This study describes predictors of secondary traumatic stress and burnout in a national sample of helping professionals, with a specific focus on the unique responses of child welfare (CW) workers. Specific worker and exposure characteristics are examined as possible predictors of these forms of occupational distress in a sample of 669 professionals from across the country who responded to mailed (e-mail and post) invitations to participate in an online survey. Email and home mailing addresses were secured from licensure boards and professional membership organizations in six states from across the country that had high rates of child related deaths in 2009. Respondents completed the Professional Quality of Life IV (Stamm, 2005) to ascertain compassion fatigue (CF) and burnout symptoms. Being male, young, Hispanic, holding rural residence, and endorsing a lack of religious participation were significant predictors of secondary traumatic stress. Similarly, being male and young predicted high burnout rates, while actively participating in religious services predicted lower burnout. CW worker job status as a professional was significantly more likely to predict CF and burnout compared to all other types of behavioral healthcare professionals. Based on the findings from this study, this paper proposes strategies for enhancing self-care for CW workers, and describes the essential elements of a trauma-informed CW agency that addresses secondary traumatic stress and burnout.
- A Grassroots Prototype for Trauma-Informed Child Welfare System Change
James Henry, Margaret Richardson, Connie Black-Pond, Mark Sloane, Ben Atchinson, and Yvette Hyter
- The development of trauma-informed child welfare systems (TICWSs) that advance individual agency practice to target transformation of the system as a whole has been conceptualized but not documented. A grassroots effort to build a TICWS with key participants (e.g., Department of Human Services, Community Mental Health, Family Court, schools) in nine Michigan communities provides a field tested model for implementation. This article describes what emerged as the core elements for a TICWS, which includes (1) development and support of a project champion, (2) trauma identification, (3) comprehensive assessment of traumatic impact, (4) evidence based trauma treatment, (5) establishing a common trauma language, and (6) trauma-informed decisionmaking. Several new instruments for assessing a TICWS are identified. Lessons learned are highlighted for consideration of communities seeking to develop TICWSs.
- Creating Trauma-Informed Child Welfare Systems Using a Community Assessment Process
Alison Hendricks, Lisa Conradi, and Charles Wilson
- This article describes a community assessment process designed to evaluate a specific child welfare jurisdiction based on the current definition of trauma-informed child welfare and its essential elements. This process has recently been developed and pilot tested within three diverse child welfare systems in the United States. The purpose of the assessment is to identify strengths and barriers related to trauma and child welfare in each site, to make tailored recommendations to help the sites better understand, and to address the impact of trauma on the families served and on the child welfare system itself. The specific components of the assessment process is explained, and a summary of some of the findings that were common across sites are provided. Recommendations for future work are also discussed.
- Promising Practices and Strategies for Using Trauma-Informed Child Welfare Practice to Improve Foster Care Placement Stability: A Breakthrough Series Collaborative
Lisa Conradi, Jen Agosti, Erika Tullberg, Lisa Richardson, Heather Langan, Susan Ko, and Charles Wilson
- This paper provides information on a recent Breakthrough Series Collaborative (BSC) conducted by the National Child Traumatic Stress Network on Using Trauma-Informed Child Welfare Practice to Improve Foster Care Placement Stability. Information on this particular BSC is provided, followed by initial findings gathered from an evaluation of the BSC and metrics gathered by each of the nine participating teams throughout the BSC process. Specific trauma informed promising strategies adopted by teams are presented along with recommendations for next steps.
Vol. 90, No. 5
- Benefits of Mother Goose: Influence of a Community-Based Program on Parent-Child Attachment Relationships in Typical Families
- An estimated 50 to 60% of children from typical families develop secure attachment relationships with their parents (Ainsworth, Blehar, Waters, & Wall, 1978; Van IJzendoorn & Kroonenk Parent-Child Mother Goose Program (n.d.) and families on the waitlist for the program were asked to complete questionnaires to assess parenting efficacy and satisfaction as well as parents’ perception of their own and their child’s attachment styles at the beginning of the program, the end of the program, and six months later. Mothers in the program group reported significantly more positive change in their reports of parenting efficacy over time and also reported significantly more change in their children’s attachment category. Specifically, children in the program group were significantly more likely to be classified as secure over time (55% at T1 to 81% at T3) as compared to the waitlist participants (45% at T1 to 62% at T2). In this popular 10-week, community-based program, parents learned skills that continued to influence their relationship with their children six months after the conclusion of the program.
- Training Child Welfare Workers from an Intersectional Cultural Humility Perspective: A Paradigm Shift
Roberta M. Ortega and Kathleen Coulborn Faller
- The increasing diversity of the populations encountered and served by child welfare workers challenges cultural competence models. Current concerns focus on the unintentional over-emphasis on shared group characteristics, undervaluing unique differences of individuals served, and privileging worker expertise about the client’s culture, thereby exacerbating the power imbalance between them. This article promotes cultural humility in child welfare service delivery as a compliment to cultural competence, to liberate workers from expectations of cultural expertise about others, and to actively engage the clients, inclusive of their cultural differences, in the service delivery process. Skills and practice principles are discussed.
- The Role of Therapeutic Mentoring in Enhancing Outcomes for Youth in Foster Care
Sara B. Johnson, Julia M. Pryce, and Zoran Martinovich
- Effective service interventions greatly enhance the well-being of foster youth. A study of 262 foster youth examined one such intervention, therapeutic mentoring. Results showed that mentored youth improved significantly in the areas of family and social functioning, school behavior, and recreational activities, as well as in the reduction of expressed symptoms of traumatic stress. Study results suggest that therapeutic mentoring shows promise for enhancing treatment interventions.
- Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Among Foster Care Alumni: The Role of Race, Gender, and Foster Care Context
Lovie J. Jackson, Kirk O’Brien, and Peter J. Pecora
- Little is known about the prevalence of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in adult alumni of foster care and its demographic and contextual correlates. This is one of the first studies to report on racial/ethnic and gender differences and the influence of foster care experiences (i.e., revictimization during foster care, placement change rate, and placement in kinship care) on past year PTSD. Findings revealed significant gender disparities and a moderating influence of kinship care on the relationship between gender and PTSD, as well as increased risk associated with a history of emotional and sexual abuse. Recommendations are made for clinical and systemic intervention.
- Adolescent Fathers Involved with Child Protection: Social Workers Speak
Derrick M. Gordon, Natasha D. Watkins, Sherry M. Walling, Sara Wilhelm, and Brett S. Rayford
- This study examined adolescent paternity through structured interviews with their social workers. It adds to the literature by exploring if there were young men involved with the child protection services (CPS) system who are fathers, identifying their unique needs, and beginning discussions on working with these young men. CPS social workers from six area offices and one juvenile detention facility completed surveys for each father on their caseload. A 3.5% rate of adolescent paternity was observed across these offices. Information about the nature of the young men’s involvement with CPS, their involvement with their children, and their unique needs as fathers are provided. This paper also identifies some practice and policy implications for adolescent fathers and CPS charged with their care.
- A Care Coordination Program for Substance-Exposed Newborns
Jean E. Twomey, Donna Caldwell, Rosemary Soave, Lynne Andreozzi Fontaine, and Barry M. Lester
- The Vulnerable Infants Program of Rhode Island (VIP-RI) was established as a care coordination program to promote permanency for substance-exposed newborns in the child welfare system. Goals of VIP-RI were to optimize parents’ opportunities for reunification and increase the efficacy of social service systems involved with families affected by perinatal substance use. Findings from VIP-RI’s final four years show that by 12 months, 86% of substance-exposed newborns had identified permanent placements and 77% were placed with biological parents or relatives.
Vol. 90, No. 4 – Special Issue: Taking Child and Family Rights Seriously: Family Engagement and its Evidence in Child Welfare
- Fostering Families’ and Children’s Rights to Family Connections
Miriam J. Landsman and Shamra Boel-Studt
- Recent federal legislation strengthens children’s and families’ rights to family-centered practice by increasing the responsibility of child welfare agencies to identify and engage extended family members in providing care and support to children placed out of the home. Preliminary results from an experimental study of a federally funded family finding project found greater involvement of family, kin, and informal supports and a higher likelihood of reunification or relative placement compared with standard child welfare services.
- Perceptions of Fidelity to Family Group Decision-Making Principles: Examining the Impact of Race, Gender, and Relationship
Mary E. Rauktis, Jonathan Huefner, and Helen Cahalane
- This study explored the perceptions of fidelity to family group principles using comparative information from family, friends, and professionals, taking into account race and gender. White respondents felt there was a greater degree of fidelity than did the African American respondents, with other race respondinteractions.
- Does Community and Family Engagement Enhance Permanency for Children in Foster Care? Findings from an Evaluation of the Family-to-Family Initiative
David S. Crampton, Charles L. Usher, Judith B. Wildfire, Daniel Webster, and Stephanie Cuccaro-Alamin
- There is limited research assessing the effectiveness of family engagement for improving permanency for children. An important challenge is that randomized designs are not feasible for evaluating these practices because effective implementation of family engagement requires systemic change. Findings from a national evaluation are presented to illustrate how preliminary evidence can be dety participation may facilitate permanency for children.
- Family Engagement in the Perinatal Period and Infant Rights
Menka Tsantefski, Cathy Humphreys, and Alun C. Jackson
- The meaning of human rights for children is a contested issue; the notion of rights for unborn babies poses additional complexity. Drawing on data from a prospective case study of a specialist drug and alcohol obstetric provider and the statutory child protection service, this article discusses family engagement within a child-rights framework, and demonstrates how adherence to the “best interests” principle, in the absence of an appropriate service provision, excludes vulnerable mother/infant dyads from drawing on extended family support.
- Two Generations at Risk: Child Welfare, Institutional Boundaries, and Family Violence in Grandparent Homes
Susan E. Day and Gordon Bazemore
- Participation of extended family members, particularly custodial grandparents, has generally resulted in better outcomes for abused children and relief for an overburdened child welfare system. This research explores the risk of adolescent perpetrated violence in custodial grandparent households with data from the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice. Findings suggest that living arrangements with custodial grandparents have a significant and differential impact on rates of violent offending for chronic and serious offenders by race and gender.
- Engaging with Families in Child Protection: Lessons from Practitioner Research in Scotland
Michael Gallagher, Mark Smith, Helen Wosu, Jane Stewart, Scott Hunter, Vivienne E. Cree, and Heather Wilkinson
- This paper reports findings from practitioner-led research on engagement with families in the child protection system in Scotland. Engagement is here defined in a participative sense, to mean the involvement of family members in shaping social work processes. Key findings include the importance of workers building trusting relationships; the value of honest and clear communication, information, and explanation; and the potential for formal structures such as reports and meetings to hinder family engagement. These findings contribute to a growing critique of managerialism in social work.
- Multiple Family Groups: An Engaging Intervention for Child Welfare-Involved Families
Geetha Gopalan, William Bannon, Kara Dean-Assael, Ashley Fuss, Lauren Gardner, Brooke LaBarbera, and Mary McKay
- Differences between child welfare- and non-child welfare-involved families regarding barriers to child mental health care, attendance, program satisfaction, and relationship with facilitators are examined for a multiple family group service delivery model aimed at reducing childhood disruptive behaviors. Although child welfare-involved caregivers reported more treatment barriers and less program satisfaction than non-child-welfare-involved families, no significant differences exist between groups on average total sessions attended and attendance rates over time.
- Rights and the Role of Family Engagement in Child Welfare: An International Treaties Perspective on Families’ Rights, Parents’ Rights, and Children’s Rights
Gertrud Lenzer and Brian Gran
- According to international human rights treaties, what rights do family members, parents, and children have in family engagement in child welfare decision-making? A socio-legal analytical approach produces a typology of rights, then applies the typology to eight countries’ approaches to family engagement to show that strong bundles of rights are available in some countries, but not in others. This study reveals international treaties have articulated many rights necessary to family engagement, but some rights are missing.
Vol. 90, No. 3
- The Potential Contribution of Mentor Programs to Relational Permanency for Youth Aging Out of Foster Care
Rosemary J. Avery
- This article summarizes published research regarding the effectiveness of mentor programs in general, and for youth in foster care specifically, as a basis for evidence-based practice in child welfare. It examines the pros and cons of mentor programs and characteristics of programs that are more or less effective for achieving specific social goals. The author explores the opportunity cost of investments in transitional mentor programs versus efforts to find permanent parents for youth aging out of care, and concludes with practice and policy implications of these findings.
- Diagnosis and Medication Overload? A Nurse Review of the Psychiatric Histories of Older Youth in Treatment Foster Care
Sarah Carter Narendorf, Julie Bertram, and J. Curtis McMillen
- Prior research has raised concern about the appropriateness of psychotropic medication use and the validity of psychiatric diagnosing for youth in child welfare but has lacked in-depth case information. This study reports results from a psychiatric nurse review conducted with eight youth entering a foster care intervention using case records and multiple key informant interviews. Results revealed extensive histories of unique (nonoverlapping) psychiatric diagnoses (M 5 8, range 7-9) and past psychotropic medications (M 5 13, range 9-21). The findings highlight the need to improve assessment practices and to create mechanisms that promote greater continuity of psychiatric care.
- Sandra J. Altshuler and Amber Cleverly-Thomas
- Although the methamphetamine epidemic in the United States has caught the attention of law enforcement and the media, the needs of the children living in so-called “meth homes” have not yet been addressed. These children are endangered from not only the chemicals involved, but also parental abuse and/or neglect. Little is known, however, about how drug-endangered children are faring. This article summarizes the levels of health and well-being of drug-endangered children at the time they were removed from meth homes. Differences between children whose parents use meth and whose parents use other drugs are noted. Overall, the subjects are a highly traumatized, troubled, developmentally delayed group of very young children.
- Internalizing Symptoms Linking Youth’s Maltreatment and Delinquent Behavior
Kimberly Bender, Ariana W. Postlewait, Sanna J. Thompson, and David W. Springer
- This study examines internalizing mental health symptoms (depression and posttraumatic stress disorder) as potential intervening factors in the relationship between maltreatment and delinquency using data from the National Survey for Child and Adolescent Well-Being (N 5 1,179). Significant mediating effects indicated that youth at greater risk of maltreatment experienced higher levels of internalizing symptoms that result in increased risk for delinquent behavior, although longitudinal effects were not supported. These findings highlight internalizing mental health symptoms as an important factor to address in treating victimized children at risk of future delinquency. Implications for child welfare service provision are discussed.
- Child Fatality Review Teams: A Content Analysis of Social Policy Welfare Agencies
Emily M. Douglas and Sean C. McCarthy
- Child fatality review teams (CFRTs) have existed since the 1970s; yet, a comprehensive understanding of their procedures, practices, and outcomes is lacking. This article addresses that gap in this study of CFRT state statutes. Findings indicate CFRT laws address nine areas of practice, from team composition, to purpose, to outcomes. Results also indicate that laws address prevention three times as often as investigation, but that both areas are related to state crime rates.
- State Capacity: The Missing Piece in Child Welfare Privatization
Katherine Howard Barillas
- Privatization has been used to address the limited capacity of government to achieve positive results in child welfare systems. Privatized systems have not realized better outcomes than their public counterparts, however, and many states continue to struggle with implementation. In order to demonstrate that privatization is in fact an investment on the part of the state, rather than a solution to limited public resources, this article explores the relationship between state capacity and privatization and makes recommendations for more effective partnerships between the public and private sectors.
Vol. 90, No. 2 – Special Issue: Child Welfare Evaluation
- Methods of Evaluating Child Welfare in Indian Country: An Illustration
Kathleen Fox, Terry L. Cross, Laura John, Patricia Carter, Thomas Pavkov, Ching-Tung Wang, and Javier Diaz
- The poor quality and quantity of data collected in tribal communities today reflects a lack of true community participation and commitment. This is especially problematic for evaluation studies, in which the needs and desires of the community should be the central focus. This challenge can be met by emphasizing indigenous methods and voice. The authors provide an illustration of how to do this.
- Context Matters: Real-World and Utilization-Focused Evaluation Strategies to Support Change and Improvement in Child Welfare
Kristin J. Ward, Erin J. Maher, Lyscha A. Marcynyszyn, Mei Ling K. Ellis, and Peter J. Pecora
- This article examines the importance of context in evaluative inquiry. Following guidelines from real-world and utilization-focused evaluation frameworks, four projects are described to illustrate one foundation’s pragmatic approach to evaluation that values collaboration, methodological appropriateness, and utilization. The authors contend that such an approach helps to ensure meaningful and actionable results in child welfare because it is responsive to local agency information and capacity needs while simultaneously contributing to the knowledge base of the field.
- Alan J. Dettlaff and Rowena Fong
- As the population of the United States has changed over the last two decades, so has the population of children who come to the attention of the child welfare system, resulting in increasing calls for cultural competence in all aspects of child welfare programming and practice. Given the changing demographics among children involved in the child welfare system and the increasing need to address the racial and ethnic disparities observed in this system, the need for culturally competent approaches to evaluate the outcomes of services for children and families is essential. This article discusses the challenges in conducting culturally competent evaluations and provides strategies to address those challenges within a child welfare context.
- Collaborative Research in Child Welfare: A Rationale for Rigorous Participatory Evaluation Designs to Promote Sustained Systems Change
Crystal Collins-Camargo, Kim Shackelford, Michael Kelly, and Ramie Martin-Galijatovic
- Expansion of the child welfare evidence base is a major challenge. The field must establish how organizational systems and practice techniques yield outcomes for children and families. Needed research must be grounded in practice and must engage practitioners and administrators via participatory evaluation. The extent to which successful practices are transferable is also challenged by the diversity of child welfare systems. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Children’s Bureau funded Quality Improvement Centers (QICs) that were designed to promote collaborative, multisite research that would address these evaluation needs. This article, based on the findings of a regional and a national QIC, describes the challenges facing research collaboration and the strategies for achieving success.
- Comparing Child Protective Investigation Performance Between Law Enforcement Agencies and Child Welfare Agencies
Neil Jordan, Svetlana Yampolskaya, Mara Gustafson, Mary Armstrong, Roxann McNeish, and Amy Vargo
- This study examines the comparative effectiveness of using law enforcement agencies for child protective investigation (CPI), in contrast with the traditional approach of CPI conducted by the public child welfare agency. The analysis uses 2006-2007 data from a natural experiment conducted in Florida to show modest differences in performance and cost-efficiency between the two approaches to CPI. These findings may have implications for other states considering outsourcing CPI to law enforcement.
- Housing Services for Child Welfare-Involved Families: An Initial Evaluation Using Observational Data
Patrick J. Fowler, Jeremy J. Taylor, and Anne K. Rufa
- This study evaluated the impact of housing services among child welfare-involved families using observational data. Propensity score matching with data from the National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being compared intact families (n 5 183) who received housing services 12 months after initial investigation to nontreated families balanced on characteristics at the time of investigation. Results suggested that general housing services failed, on average, to effectively address the needs of inadequately housed families.
- Predictors of Placement Stability at the State Level: The Use of Logistic Regression to Inform Practice
Jon R. Courtney and Retta Prophet
- Placement instability is often associated with a number of negative outcomes for children. To gain state level contextual knowledge of factors associated with placement stability/instability, logistic regression was applied to selected variables from the New Mexico Adoption and Foster Care Administrative Reporting System dataset. Predictors identified in the model are consistent with previous research, reliable across time periods, and informative to the understanding of potential risk/protective factors of placement stability/instability specific to the New Mexico child welfare agency.
- Organizational Factors and the Implementation of Family to Family: Contextual Elements of Systems Reform
Thomas M. Crea, David S. Crampton, Nelson Knight, and Lisa Paine-Wells
- In efforts to reform the child welfare system, agency leaders must involve staff at all levels; yet, little research has been done to determine which organizational factors encourage or inhibit staff engagement. Employees from an urban child welfare agency were invited to complete a survey regarding organizational effectiveness and its influence on reform efforts. The results show how these findings can be used by managers to improve practice, specifically through increased information sharing with stakeholders.
Vol. 90, No. 1
- Factors Related to Resilience in Preschool and Kindergarten Students
Kathleen M. Nesheiwat and David Brandwein
- This study was designed to examine the relationship between resilience and within-child characteristics of children under the age of 6. Participants included preschool and kindergarten students (N 5 29) and their parents and teachers from two urban communities in New Jersey. Data were obtained through the Joseph Picothesized that a significant relationship exists among resilience, self-concept, and behavioral concerns. Correlational analyses were conducted to determine the extent of each relationship. Results suggest a significant negative correlation between resilience and behavioral concerns.
- Addressing Substance Abuse Treatment Needs of Parents Involved with the Child Welfare System
Arazais Oliveros and Joan Kaufman
- The goal of this paper is to synthesize available data to help guide policy and programmatic initiatives for families with substance abuse problems who are involved with the child welfare system, and identify gaps in the research base preventing further refinement of practices in this area. To date, Family Treatment Drug Court and newly developed home-based substance abuse treatment interventions appear the most effective at improving substance abuse treatment initiation and completion in child welfare populations. Research is needed to compare the efficacy of these two approaches, and examine cost and child well-being indicators in addition to substance abuse treatment and child welfare outcomes.
- Urban American Indian/Alaskan Natives Compared to Non-Indians in Out-of-Home Care
Vernon B. Carter
- Historically, American Indian/Alaskan Native (AI/AN) children have been disproportionately represented in the foster care system. In this study, nationally representative child welfare data from October 1999 was used to compare urban AI/AN children to non-Indian children placed into out-of-home care. Compared to non-Indian children, urban AI/AN children were older, were more often male, came from poorer homes, and were more frequently placed into group homes/residential placements. Urban AI/AN caregivers had a greater prevalence of alcohol abuse and mental health problems compared with non-Indian caregivers.
- Mentoring and Social Skills Training: Ensuring Better Outcomes for Youth in Foster Care
Charles A. Williams
- Youth in foster care face significant life challenges that make it more likely that they will face negative outcomes (i.e., school failure, homelessness, and incarceration). While the reason(s) for out-of-home placement (i.e., family violence, abuse, neglect and/or abandonment) provide some context for negative outcomes, such negative outcomes need not be a foregone conclusion. In fact, interventions created to serve at-risk youth could ostensibly address the needs of youth in foster care as well, given that they often face similar social, emotional, and other challenges. Specifically, the author posits that supporting foster care youth through the use of mentoring and social skills training could reduce the negative outcomes far too common for many of these youth.
- A Culture of Education: Enhancing School Performance of Youth Living in Residential Group Care in Ontario
- This article presents a synthesis of what is known about the educational experiences of youth living in residential group care based on a literature review that highlights both the experiences of the youth themselves and the operational context of residential group care in Ontario as it pertains to educational performance. The author argues that there is little emphasis on education within the residential group care sector in Ontario that could translate into more productive educational experiences for youth. The article then provides a framework for developing a culture of education for residential group care that can be acted upon expeditiously. Enhancing the educational performance of young people living in group care will require a cultural approach that provides for daily and pervasive education supports and encouragement, and aims to enhance the lived experience of young people pursuant to their education.
- Evidence-Based Practice in Group Care: The Effects of Policy, Research, and Organizational Practices
Carol Stuart, Larry Sanders, Maria Gurevich, and Robert Fulton
- This article describes the effect of a province-wide vision of evidence-based and outcome-based services for children and youth and the challenges of implementing evidence-based practice (EBP) and evidence-based treatment (EBT) approaches within group care settings. The paper is based on the results of a survey of group care settings in the province of Ontario, Canada, which was designed to understand the factors affecting the use of EBP and EBT. The critical roles of policy, access to research, and organizational structure as they affect the frontline workforce were explored. The results identified key differences between programs who implemented an evidence-based approach and those who are struggling to do so. Differences in case management practices as well as organizational factors affect the program’s ability to use an evidence-based approach.
Vol. 89, No. 6
- The Educational Experiences of Former Foster Youth Three Years After Discharge
Loring P. Jones
- This article presents three years of outcome data that describe the educational and vocational experiences of a sample of foster youth discharged from a residential education program (n 5 106). Of respondents, 33% were attending college at each of the four data collection points, which was far below the stated aspirations of 80% of the youth to attend college. An additional 10-15% were in a vocational training program. Of the sample, 13% initially entered a four-year college, but it was not possible to confirm whether they continued attending a four-year school for longer than two years. Community college attendees were more likely to remain in school than four-year attendees. The policy and practice implications of these findings are discussed.
- After Family Treatment Drug Court: Maternal, Infant, and Permanency Outcomes
Jean E. Twomey, Cynthia Miller-Loncar, Matthew Hinckley, and Barry M. Lester
- This study reports on maternal functioning, infant developmental, and permanency outcomes for 52 families following maternal participation in a family treatment drug court (FTDC) for perinatal substance users. Although the majority of families experienced positive child welfare outcomes, over time, maternal functioning deteriorated and infant developmental concerns were identified. Even when promising interventions like FTDC are used, long-term needs of families affected by perinatal substance use need to be considered and addressed.
- Preventing Child Abuse and Neglect: A National Evaluation of Parents Anonymous Groups
Margaret L. Polinsky, Lisa Pion-Berlin, Sandra Williams, Tanya Long, and Angela M. Wolf
- This evaluation assessed whether participation in Parents Anonymous mutual support groups was associated with child maltreatment prevention. Parents new to groups across the United States were interviewed at baseline, one month, and six months. Using standardized scales, all parents showed improvements in some child maltreatment outcomes, risk factors, and protective factors. Parents starting out with particularly serious needs showed statistically significant improvement on every scale. Results indicated that Parents Anonymous participation contributes to child maltreatment reduction.
- Foster Care Transition Services for Youth with Disabilities: Findings from a Survey of County Service Providers
Katharine Hill, Elizabeth Lightfoot, and Ericka Kimball
- This study explores the transition services available for youth with disabilities in foster care and the collaboration among foster care transition programs with other types of providers. Findings from this survey of independent living coordinators working for child welfare agencies indicate that while youth with disabilities are being served through transition programs and these programs collaborate with other government agencies, there are few services targeted directly toward their needs, little collaboration with community-based agencies, and a need for more information sharing.
- Workforce Retention Issues in Voluntary Child Welfare
Brenda G. McGowan, Charles Auerbach, Kathryn Conroy, Astraea Augsberger, and Wendy Schudrich
- Unlike many studies focused on retention and turnover in public child welfare, this study examined issues of job satisfaction and retention in voluntary child welfare. Although three-fourths of the 1,624 workers surveyed intended to remain in child welfare, 57.3% had thought about leaving their agencies during the past year. All respondents were dissatisfied with their level of pay, but those thinking of leaving were significantly less satisfied with the contingent rewards they received.
- Is Vicarious Trauma the Culprit? A Study of Child Welfare Professionals
Jo Ann Jankoski
- This article reports on a qualitative, multi-case study of child welfare professionals who discussed the changes they experienced because of the work they do. It was concluded that vicarious trauma was the cause. This study was grounded in the constructive self-development theory, a developmental and interpersonal theory with a trauma focus that explains the impact of trauma on an individual’s psychological development, identity, and adaptation.
Vol. 89, No. 5 – Special Issue: Convention on the Rights of the Child
- The USA and Non-Ratification of the Convention on the Rights of the Child
- Editoris Note: Professor Yanghee Lee is a national of the Republic of Korea and Chair of the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child. The committee is a body of experts who monitor the implementation by countries who are parties of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). The committee can make suggestions and issue recommendations to governments on ways to meet the CRCis objectives. In her presentation, iThe USA and Non-Ratification of the Convention on the Rights of the Child,i Lee provides a general overview of the CRC and an update on its optional protocols and emphasizes the significance of U.S. ratification. She presented this speech at the CRC U.S. Ratification Seminar in 2009.
- Childrenis Health in the United States: Assessing the Potential Impact of the Convention on the Rights of the Child
- This article examines the potential implications of U.S. ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) on the health and well-being of children in the United States. The article reviews the relevant provisions of the CRC and U.S. law, along with the health status of U.S. children. It finds that ratification could lead to measures that most Americans already support and that could improve the health status of children.
- In Search of the Highest Attainable Standard of Mental Health for Children
Gary B. Melton
- The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) may be a leading example of psychological jurisprudence. By its emphasis on promotion of the ichildis sense of dignity and worth,i the CRC offers a framework for comprehensive child policy in a manner that is consistent with the promotion of mental health and prevention of mental health problems.
- Compliance Issues Raised by the United Statesi Ratification and Implementation of the Education Articles of the Convention on the Rights of the Child
Christopher Adams and Jordana Rubel
- This article evaluates compliance issues the United States could face in ratifying the education provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). The authors compare states partiesi obligations under the education provisions of the CRCoas construed by the CRC committeeowith federal and state education protections and programs in the United States. The authors conclude that the United States currently complies with most of the provisions and faces minimal risk in ratifying the remaining provisions.
- Companion Piece: The Education Landscape and the Convention on the Rights of the Child
- Converging influences in the public policy environment in the United States have generated renewed interest in ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). Although considerable overlap exists between the goals of education in the United States and the goals articulated in the CRC, education has not had a central role in ratification efforts. The article highlights the relevance of the CRC to education in the United States and discusses shared interests, differences, controversies, and implications of ratification on education.
- The Implications of Articles 37 and 40 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child for U.S. Juvenile Justice and U.S. Ratification of the Convention
Wallace J. Mlyniec
- The Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) guarantees that children accused of crimes will have the right to fair court procedures and humane sentences. Current U.S. laws concerning the childis age when a court has jurisdiction, and others concerning sentencing practices and the place of confinement, contravene the provisions of the CRC. Some U.S. laws are consistent with the treaty but are nonetheless not enforced. Recent developments, including increasing understanding of brain development, U.S. Supreme Court decisions on the constitutionality of punishments for children, and the Committee on the Rights of the Child General Comment 10, will have substantial impacts on U.S. ratification. This article discusses Articles 37 and 40 of the CRC and their effect on U.S. practices if the treaty is ratified.
- Denial of the Childis Right to Counsel, Voice, and Participation in Juvenile Delinquency Proceedings
- Article 12 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child clearly recognizes the importance of the childis voice in judicial proceedings that affect him or her. Nowhere is the childis voice more important than in delinquency proceedings where decisions will be made about the childis liberty, rehabilitative prospects, and other important constitutional rights. This article examines the role of the childis voice in improving fairness and accuracy in adjudicatory and dispositional decisions and enhancing therapeutic outcomes for youth in juvenile court.
- Companion Piece: Convention on the Rights of the Child Special Protection Measures: Overview of Implications and Value for Children in the United States
Kimberly Svevo-Cianci and Sonia C. Velazquez
- The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) is an international treaty that commits ratifying states parties to uphold the rights of all children under the age of 18. This article discusses the issues of highest relevance to the United States and reviews the pros and cons of ratifying, from the perspective of the conventionis intent and potential, sovereignty of states, and national public policies, and regarding the special protection recommended for particularly vulnerable children. Specific implementation issues discussed include training, accountability, and monitoring.
- U.S. Ratification of the CRC and Reducing Child Poverty: Can We Get There from Here?
J. Lawrence Aber, Andrew S. Hammond, and Scott M. Thompson
- If the United States finally ratifies the United Nations Convention of the Rights of the Child (CRC), will it improve the countryis abilities to effectively combat child poverty and thereby improve child well-being? This article addresses this and related questions in two ways. First, the authors examine how ratification of the CRC has influenced the efforts of other wealthy Anglophone countries to reduce child poverty. Second, they draw on lessons learned from these other countriesi efforts to generate predictions about Americais postratification future. The authors conclude that, while the CRC is a compelling, practical tool, a communications strategy and business plan are necessary complements to achieve desired results.
- Needs, Rights, and the Human Family: The Practicality of the Convention on the Rights of the Child
Robin S. Mama
- The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) is an important document that has both policy and practice implications. Its practicality as a working document hinges on its implementation. This article proposes that the CRC be viewed from a child rights perspective that has five building blocks. These building blocks relate to specific articles in the CRC. They also each allow for the CRC to be realistically interpreted and to be actively promoted.
- Companion Piece: Needs, Rights, and the Human Family: A Bio-Psycho-Social-Spiritual Perspective
Sr. Ann Patrick Conrad
- This article sets forth a bio-psycho-social-spiritual perspective on the needs and rights of children. Consideration is first given to the philosophical nature of need. The nature of rights is then examined in relation to need as a basis for social justice claims. Various need paradigms, such as human development needs, socially constructed needs, and needs hierarchies, are considered and compared to the rights paradigm presented in the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Rationale for ratification is then presented.
- Child Participation and Positive Youth Development
Edmund Bernard Bruyere
- This article explains how a childis right to participation in healthy relationships, experiences, and opportunities promotes positive youth development. The author identifies the substantive articles related to participation, identifies and explains the social anchors vital to promoting participation, highlights the importance of the 40 developmental assets for empowering children with the capacities necessary to assert their right to participation, and concludes by calling for a national family policy guided by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.
- Time for USA to Ratify the Child Rights Convention
Kul Chandra Gautam
- Editoris Note: Mr. Kul Chandra Gautam worked as Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations and Deputy Executive Director of the United Nations Childrenis Fund (UNICEF) at its headquarters in New York until December 2007. In his presentation, iTime for USA to Ratify the Child Rights Convention,i he points out that 20 years of experience in which the CRC has been ratified globally has demonstrated its benefits for all countries, including the United States.
Vol. 89, No. 4
- Adaptation of a Community-Based Participatory Research Model to Gain Community Input on Identifying Indicators of Successful Parenting
Cheryl Zlotnick, Marguerite Wright, Roberto Macias Sanchez, Rosario Murga Kusnir, and Iemaima Teio-Bennett
- Parenting models are generally based on families in stable homes, rather than in transitional situations such as in foster care, homeless shelters, and other temporary, at-risk residences. Consequently, these models do not recognize the unique challenges of families in transition. #is study explored the domains of the Circumplex Model and examined its $t for transitional families using tenets from community-based participatory research. Findings suggest that in addition to the Circumplex Modelis components, caregivers with children living in transition believe that managing the scrutiny of external authority systems and countering the negative infuences of poverty and racism are two indicators that contribute to parenting success. Obtaining consumer-informed views of parenting not only is an important contributor to standards of practice, but also a promising avenue for future research.
- A Qualitative Study of Exodus Graduates: Family-Focused Residential Substance Abuse Treatment as an Option for Mothers to Retain or Regain Custody and Sobriety in Los Angeles, California
Susan D. Einbinder
- In this article, 21 long-term, poly-substance abusing mothers describe how they successfully completed an 18-month family-focused residential substance abuse treatment program in southern California that helped them retain or regain custody of their children. Their stories and experiences with specific program characteristics and approaches of this rare treatment option are described, in their own voices. Policy implications for child welfare and parental substance abuse treatment are examined in light of these success stories.
- Dimensions of Child Neglect: An Exploration of Parental Neglect and Its Relationship with Delinquency
Daniel Maughan and Simon C. Moore
- While neglect is generally associated with poor developmental outcomes, it remains poorly de$ned. Factor analysis was applied to 39 parental behavior variables on data from the Cambridge Study in Delinquent Development (CSDD) to explore underlying dimensions of parental behavior that were consistent with the concept of neglect. Logistic regression assessed associations between the dimensions of neglect recovered from the CSDD and future adult delinquency. Factor analysis revealed four dimensions; logistic regression revealed significant associations between two of these dimensionsopoor supervision and a disorganized, chaotic home environmentoand future adult delinquency. Neglect is a viable construct that can summarize aspects of parental behavior and predict future adult delinquency.
- Animal-Human Relationships in Child Protective Services: Getting a Baseline
Christina Risley-Curtiss, Lisa Anne Zilney, and Rebecca Hornung
- Inclusion of certain aspects of animal-human relationships (AHR), such as animal abuse and animal-assisted interventions, can enhance child welfare practice and there are resources available to promote such inclusion. However, there is little knowledge of whether this is being accomplished. This study sought to fill this gap by conducting a national survey of state public child welfare agencies to examine AHR in child protective services practice, their assessment tools, and crossreporting policies.
- Research Evidence Utilization in Policy Development by Child Welfare Administrators
Susan Jack, Maureen Dobbins, Lil Tonmyr, Peter Dudding, Sandy Brooks, and Betty Kennedy
- An exploratory qualitative study was conducted to explore how child welfare administrators use research evidence in decisionmaking. Content analysis revealed that a cultural shift toward evidence-based practice (EBP) is occurring in Canadian child welfare organizations and multiple types of evidence inform policy decisions. Barriers to using evidence include individual, organizational, and environmental factors. Facilitating factors include the development of internal champions and organizational cultures that value EBP. Integrating research into practice and policy decisions requires a multifaceted approach of creating organizational cultures that support research utilization and supporting senior bureaucrats to use research evidence in policy development.
- An Asset-Based Approach to Facilitating Positive Youth Development and Adoption
Robin B. Howse, David C. Diehl, and Carol M. Trivette
- The present study examined outcomes for youth in foster care who participated in an asset-based camp designed to build youth assets and facilitate adoption. The study addresses youth perceptions of their assets and the relationship between assets and adoption status. Youth perceived that their assets increased over time and adopted youth reported having more assets than youth who were not adopted. An asset-based approach may lead to positive outcomes for youth in foster care.
Vol. 89, No. 3
- Reforming Child Welfare: An Integrated Approach
Marie Connolly and Ray Smith
- Throughout the 1990s, child welfare systems were exposed to intense pressure. As a result, most systems have undertaken processes of reform and change. This article discusses the strategic development of New Zealandis service system in child welfare. A partnership between managerial discipline and professional leadership has been critical in the service system reform. With respect to management, a strong vision, a culture of high performance, and greater organizational stability and confidence provided the platform on which professional reforms could be establishedoincluding the knowledge framework, the service model, the practice package, and staff support. The managerial efforts that have provided the platform for the professional reforms are discussed, followed by an exploration of the professional reform package.
- Effect of Child Protective Services System Factors on Child Maltreatment Rereporting
Hwa-ok Bae, Phyllis L. Solomon, Richard J. Gelles, and Tammy White
- This study examined how child protective services (CPS) systems respond to initial and subsequent reports in the context of child maltreatment rereporting and to what extent CPS system factors are associated with the risk of rereporting after controlling for abuse type and child and family factors. This study followed 67,243 families who were reported to the CPS agencies in seven counties in Florida for child abuse and neglect over a period of 5.4 years and found that 14,218 families had one or more child maltreatment rereports. Key findings include that CPS system factors were significantly different from initial report to subsequent reports. Five CPS system factors, reporting source, contact by CPS workers, investigative level at intake, postinvestigation services, and duration of CPS involvement were significantly associated with the risk of child maltreatment rereporting. Multivariate analyses found that CPS system factors were substantially different for three categories of rereporting, unsubstantiated rereports, substantiated rereports, and recurrence reports. Interpretations and implications for practice are discussed.
- Comparing Differential Responses within Child Protective Services: A Longitudinal Examination
Sheila K. Marshall, Grant Charles, Kristin Kendrick, and Vilmante Pakalniskiene
- This study examines the efficacy of a family differential response program to lower rates of (1) reentry into child protective services (CPS) and (2) child removal. Data were collected over 20 months from one region of British Columbia, Canada. Comparisons between family development response (FDR) and cases assigned to regular investigation (INV) suggest that FDR does not decrease recidivism to CPS. However, fewer children in the FDR group were removed than children in the INV group.
- Letis Help Caregivers and Children in Informal Kinship Care: De Facto Custodian Legislation
Priscilla A. Gibson and Shweta Singh
- Caregivers in informal kinship care encounter numerous difficulties when lacking a legal relationship with the children in their care. The de facto custodian guardianship, a concept that is relatively unknown in social work, provides an additional legal option to caregivers by allowing them to present their caregiving history during custody hearings. This article introduces the significance of the de facto concept and provides detailed information on its components and limitations. Recommendations are forwarded for social education and practice.
- Understanding Caregiving Patterns, Motivations, and Resource Needs of Subsidized Family, Friend, and Neighbor Child Care Providers
Meirong Liu and Steven G. Anderson
- Family, friend, and neighbor (FFN) caregivers play important roles in delivering subsidized noncustodial child care. Yet, little is known about these noncustodial caregivers. This article profiles the caregiving experiences, motivations, and resource needs of these providers, based on a survey of 301 randomly selected FFN providers in one state. Recommendations are offered for strengthening public supports to enhance the quality of this form of caregiving.
- Vulnerable Infants Program of Rhode Island: Promoting Permanency for Substance-Exposed Infants
Jean E. Twomey, Donna Caldwell, Lynne Andreozzi Fontaine, and Barry M. Lester
- The Vulnerable Infants Program of Rhode Island is a care coordination program to promote permanency for substance-exposed infants by addressing parental needs and increasing collaboration among social service agencies. Over the first four years of the program, there was a decrease in time spent in the newborn nursery beyond medical necessity and identification of permanent placements by 12 months for 84% of infants, with the majority of infants (78%) placed with biological parents or relatives.
Vol. 89, No. 2
- The Building Bridges Initiative: “Residential and Community-Based Providers, Families, and Youth Coming Together to Improve Outcomes
Gary M. Blau, Beth Caldwell, Sylvia K. Fisher, Anne Kuppinger, Jody Levison-Johnson, and Robert Lieberman
- The Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) provides a framework for achieving positive outcomes for youth and families served in residential and community programs. Founded on core principles, an emerging evidence base, and acknowledged best practices, the BBI emphasizes collaboration and coordination between providers, families, youth, advocates, and policymakers to achieve its aims. Examples are presented of successful state, community, and provider practice changes, and available tools and resources to support all constituencies in achieving positive outcomes.
- Performance-Based Contracting in Residential Care and Treatment: Driving Policy and Practice Change through Public-Private Partnership in Illinois
Kathleen A. Kearney, Erwin McEwen, Brice Bloom-Ellis, and Neil Jordan
- The National Quality Improvement Center on the Privatization of Child Welfare Services selected Illinois as a demonstration site in 2007 to evaluate performance-based contracting in residential treatment services. This article discusses the first two years of project implementation including developing residential treatment performance indicators, adjusting those indicators for risk at the provider level, and setting agency-specific benchmarks, as well as the project’s fiscal foundation and related systemic improvements to support policy and practice change resulting from this initiative.
- National Child and Youth Care Practitioner Professional Certification: Promoting Competent Care for Children and Youth
Dale Curry, Frank Eckles, Carol Stuart, and Basil Qaqish
- This article provides an overview of the history, development, and conceptual framework guiding a national certification initiative for child and youth care workers. Summarized are descriptions of three certification assessment measures (supervisor assessment, situational judgment certification exam, and portfolio assessment), integrated with results from an international pilot validation study. The certification program is the first national effort to identify and assess underlying child and youth work competencies that transcend work setting (community-based to out-of-home care), population characteristics (diagnosed mental health concerns, experiencing child abuse, etc.), and age of the child/youth (early childhood through adolescence). The authors assert, building on a seven-year collaborative effort to establish the certification program, that it is time to transform the child and youth serving workforce crisis into an opportunity to bring together the varied child- and youth-caring fields into a united profession that has a rich knowledge and skill base of international scope.
- Innovations in Implementation of Trauma-Informed Care Practices in Youth Residential Treatment: A Curriculum for Organizational Change
Victoria Latham Hummer, Norin Dollard, John Robst, and Mary I. Armstrong
- Children in the child welfare system frequently experience trauma within the caregiving relationship. These traumatic experiences may be compounded by system trauma and place these children at high risk of emotional disorders and placement in out-of-home (OOH) mental health treatment programs. This article reviews the literature on trauma and children in the child welfare system and discusses a study of trauma-informed practices in OOH treatment programs and the curriculum Creating Trauma-Informed Care Environments, which resulted from study findings.
- A Social Pedagogy Approach to Residential Care: Balancing Education and Placement in the Development of an Innovative Child Welfare Residential Program in Ontario, Canada
Kiaras Gharabaghi and Ron Groskleg
- This paper chronicles the exploration and development of a residential program of the child welfare authority of Renfrew County in Ontario, Canada. Recognizing that virtually its entire population of youth in care was failing to achieve positive outcomes in education, Renfrew County Family and Children Services embarked on a program development process that included many unique elements within the Ontario child welfare context. This process introduced the theoretical framework of social pedagogy to the provision of residential care, and it replaced the idea of psychotherapy as the primary agent of change for youth with the concept of living and learning. The result is a template for the Ottawa River Academy, a living and learning program for youth in care that exemplifies the possibilities embedded in creative thought, attention to research and evidence, and a preparedness to transcend traditional assumptions with respect to service designs and business models for residential care in child welfare.
- Modernizing Residential Treatment Centers for Children and Youth–An Informed Approach to Improve Long-Term Outcomes: The Damar Pilot
Jenell Holstead, Jim Dalton, Anita Horne, and Diane Lamond
- Much controversy exists regarding the effectiveness of residential treatment. Recently, emerging research has demonstrated that community-based residential treatment has more positive long-term outcomes for youth. This article describes a community-based program that was implemented at a residential treatment agency serving youth. Targeted recidivism variables that were used to guide the study are described. Results demonstrated significant behavioral improvements, as well as improved post-discharge status. Conclusions and recommendations are also provided.
- Children and Residential Experiences: A Comprehensive Strategy for Implementing a Research-Informed Program Model for Residential Care
Martha J. Holden, Charles Izzo, Michael Nunno, Elliott G. Smith, Thomas Endres, Jack C. Holden, and Frank Kuhn
- This paper describes an effort to bridge research and practice in residential care through implementing a program model titled Children and Residential Experiences (CARE). The strategy involves consulting at all levels of the organization to guide personnel to incorporate CARE evidence-based principles into daily practice, and fostering an organizational culture and climate that sustains the integration of CARE principles. CARE aims to promote residential care programs that serve the best interests of children.
- Psychotropic Medication Management in a Residential Group Care Program
Douglas F. Spellman, Annette K. Griffith, Jonathan C. Huefner, Neil Wise III, Ellen McElderry, and Laurel K. Leslie
- This article presents a psychotropic medication management approach that is used within a residential care program. The approach is used to assess medications at youths’ times of entry and to facilitate decision making during care. Data from a typical case study have indicated that by making medication management decisions slowly, systematically, and based on behavioral data, it is possible to make changes to psychotropic treatment that have a positive effect on youth behavior and psychological well-being.
- Restraint Use in Residential Programs: Why Are Best Practices Ignored?
Janice LeBel, Kevin Ann Huckshorn, and Beth Caldwell
- Several states and providers have embarked on initiatives to reduce using restraint and seclusion in residential programs. Restraint and seclusion are associated with harm to youth and staff, significant costs, reduced quality of care, and less engagement of youth and families. Successful reduction/prevention strategies have been identified, implemented, and reported. Both states and residential providers have implemented prevention approaches, made significant changes, reduced restraint/seclusion use, and offered their experience and positive outcomes.
- Academic and Behavioral Characteristics of Students at a Secondary Residential School
Courtney D. Gaskins and Margo A. Mastropieri
- This study examined academic and behavioral characteristics of 423 adolescents who had attended a residential school over a seven-year period. Students represented diverse demographic backgrounds. Student academic achievement was examined at admissions and over time in reading, mathematics, written language, and fluency. Findings are discussed with respect to present and future programming for youth enrolled in residential schools.
- Young People’s Satisfaction with Residential Care: Identifying Strengths and Weaknesses in Service Delivery
Jenni Southwell and Elizabeth Fraser
- This paper presents findings from a landmark Australian study investigating the experiences and perspectives of young people in residential care. Data from a representative sample are analyzed to identify young people’s satisfaction with various aspects of their residential care experience: their sense of safety, normality, support, comfort in general living environment, participation in decisionmaking, and improvements in well-being. Findings point to strengths and weaknesses in current service delivery. The vast majority of respondents felt safe and well-treated and satisfied with the care and support provided by staff. Respondents were less commonly satisfied with the care and support provided by caseworkers, their participation in higher order decisionmaking, their sense of normality, and the amount of contact with their families. Compared with older respondents, younger respondents less commonly expressed satisfaction with various aspects of their care. Similarly, those reporting more placements were less satisfied with their care and support than those reporting fewer placements.
- Comparing Three Years of Well-Being Outcomes for Youth in Group Care and Nonkinship Foster Care
Julie S. McCrae, Bethany R. Lee, Richard P. Barth, and Mary E. Rauktis
- Using three waves of data from the National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being, this study examines differences in cognitive, academic, and affective well-being of youth first placed in nonkinship foster care (N=259) and youth first placed in group care (N=89). To compare nonrandomized groups, propensity score matching was used. Results from hierarchical linear modeling suggest that both groups of youth show improved behavior and below-average academics over time.
- Lessons Learned from 14 Years of Outcomes: The Need for Collaboration, Utilization, and Projection
Jacqueline Remondet Wall, Steven M. Koch, John W. Link, and Cathleen Graham
- In 1995, the Indiana Association of Residential Child Care Agencies (IARCCA), an association of children and family services, responded to a request to demonstrate effectiveness of residential care. The organization developed a vision for evaluating outcomes that incorporated collaboration with others, use of data and projection toward the future. This guiding vision led to an ongoing project for IARCCA member agencies across Indiana. This article shares lessons learned from this 15-year process, including developing benchmarks to establish best practices for serving youth.
Vol. 89, No. 1
- Supporting Resilience in Foster Families: A Model for Program Design that Supports Recruitment, Retention, and Satisfaction of Foster Families Who Care for Infants with Prenatal Substance Exposure
- As the health, social, and developmental needs of infants in foster care become more complex, foster families are challenged to develop specialized knowledge to effectively address these needs. The goal of this qualitative research study was to identify the process of becoming a foster family and providing family foster caregiving within the context of caring for infants with prenatal drug and alcohol exposure. A constructivist grounded theory approach was used to study foster families (including mothers, fathers, and birth and adoptive children) who specialized in caring for infants within a Canadian provincial child welfare system. This article describes an infant foster care model, applies resilience theory to the model, and provides recommendations for program development for foster families that specialize in the infant population.
- Infusing Culture into Practice: Developing and Implementing Evidence-Based Mental Health Services for African American Foster Youth
Harold Eugene Briggs and Bowen McBeath
- The lack of culturally appropriate health and mental health care has contributed to the large number of African American youth and families involved in the child welfare system. This article reviews the consequences of the insufficient access to culturally sensitive, evidence-supported interventions for African American foster youth. The authors describe a framework for the development of culturally appropriate mental health interventions responsive to the needs of African Americans.
- The Value of Coordinated Services with Court-Referred Clients and Their Families: An Outcome Study
Kenneth M. Coll, Roger A. Stewart, Renee Morse, and Amber Moe
- This study assessed the effectiveness of building partnerships with community resources and systems for court-referred clients and their families through a participant outcome evaluation. Specific variables studied included change in substance abuse patterns, family well-being, child safety, and recidivism. Results from pre-post testing revealed that a model with a single case coordinator who collaborated across service providers was particularly effective with court-referred clients and their families for increasing family intimacy and child well-being and for decreasing family danger and conflict. Discussion and recommendations are included.
- Media Analysis of Early Dissemination of Canadian Child Maltreatment Surveillance Data
Lil Tonmyr and Susan Jack
- A media strategy was developed to disseminate Canadian child maltreatment surveillance data. Print media were systematically searched and 29 articles reporting on the data were retrieved. Using content analysis, the articles were analyzed to assess informational accuracy and to understand how the media framed the issue of maltreatment. This analysis permits the authors to share “lessons learned,” which will be helpful for researchers disseminating child maltreatment data through the media.
- Permanency Through Wabanaki Eyes: A Narrative Perspective from “The People Who Live Where the Sun Rises”
Carolyn Morrison, Kathleen Fox, Terry Cross, and Roger Paul
- Tribal sovereignty is a theory that has gained credibility over the past few decades, but one that the child welfare field has still not fully embraced. A mainstream reluctance to understand or accept customary adoption, unique to tribal culture, illustrates the lack of credibility given to tribal child welfare beliefs and practices. Roger Paul, a member of the Passamaquoddy and Maliseet Tribes, was asked to discuss customary adoption. His wide-ranging narrative response illuminates past abuses and current strengths of tribal child welfare practice and belief. Two primary policy and practice implications emerge. They are (1) that cultural and institutional oppression continue to be embedded in current policy and practice and continue to have a detrimental impact on tribal children, families, and communities and (2) that little recognition of or support for the child welfare structure exists in tribal communities, as exemplified by the Wabanaki experience. Child welfare practices embedded in traditional tribal social structure can be trusted and effective. The recognition and acceptance of these practices will expand permanency resources for American Indian/Alaskan Native children and will improve relationships between tribal, state, and federal child welfare systems.
- Supporting Youth in the Transition from Foster Care: Formal and Informal Connections
Mary Elizabeth Collins, Renee Spencer, and Rolanda Ward
- Social support is needed by everyone, but particularly by vulnerable populations at times of transition. This study utilizes data collected from 96 former foster youth regarding supports they received during the transition from care. The report addresses three questions: (1) What types of supportive relationships did the sample report? (2) What are the characteristics of supportive relationships? (3) What is the relationship of social support to outcomes? Based on the analysis, the authors draw implications for intervention and research.
Vol. 88, No. 6
- North African and Latin American Parents’ and Adolescents’ Perceptions of Physical Discipline and Physical Abuse: When Dysnormativity Begets Exclusion
Ghayda Hassan and Cecile Rousseau
- This research documents the cultural norms around physical discipline and physical abuse among immigrant parents and youth, and assesses the impact that perceived divergences in these norms have on the relation between the family and the outer social world. Interviews were conducted with 10 parents and 10 adolescents from North African Arab countries, and 10 parents and 10 adolescents from Latin America living in Canada. Results highlight that divergent discipline practices were perceived by participants as an important source of tension when they were accompanied with a demeaning image, projected by the host society onto the immigrant family.
- The Long-Term Effects of the Houston Child Advocates, Inc., Program on Children and Family Outcomes
Hersh C. Waxman, W. Robert Houston, Susan M. Profilet, and Betsi Sanchez
- Hersh C. Waxman, W. Robert Houston, Susan M. Profilet, and Betsi Sanchez The objective of the study is to investigate the longitudinal effects of the Houston Child Advocates, Inc., program on children’s outcomes. The treatment group consisted of children in the court system that were assigned Child Advocates volunteers, and the comparison children were chosen randomly from a similar population of children. The treatment group had significantly higher scores on the protective factor and family functioning measures and received more social services than those in the comparison group. Children in the treatment group also had significantly fewer placement changes and did better academically and behaviorally in school than children in the comparison group.
- Child Welfare Professionals’ Experiences of Childhood Exposure to Domestic Violence
Sandra van den Bosse and Melanie A. McGinn
- This study explores the impact of childhood exposure to domestic violence and using family intervention techniques. In interviews, 12 child welfare professionals explored their experiences with the violence, the family interventions, the lifelong impact, and its influence on their career choice. The results pointed to a need for creating more opportunities for children to talk about their lives with professionals, for improved screening techniques, and for a preference for interventions focusing on rehabilitation for the batterer, which maintained family preservation.
- What Happens When Family Resources Are Across International Boundaries? An Exploratory Study on Kinship Placement in Mexican Immigrant Families
Jodi Berger Cardoso, Rebecca J. Gomez, and Yolanda C. Padilla
- Children in Latino immigrant families are significantly less likely to be placed in kinship care than other children are. Using grounded theory, the researchers conducted focus groups and individual interviews with child welfare workers working with Mexican origin families in south Texas to study the extent to which they use international kin placement resources. Key barriers to international kinship placement include lack of accurate information concerning international placements and conflicting agency mandates. Lack of child protective services policy enforcement also plays a role. Recommendations for practice and agency policy are discussed.
- Child Welfare Employee Recruitment and Retention: An Organizational Culture Perspective
DeBrenna LaFa Agbenyiga
- Drawing data from an organizational culture study, this cross-sectional study investigates the effect of organizational culture on child welfare employee recruitment and retention (N = 92). Findings from quantitative analyses of the organizational culture inventory suggest that constructive culture style in child welfare organizations, especially humanistic-encouraging and self-actualizing culture norms, highly predict recruitment through employees’ perception of “fit” and satisfaction as a member of the organization. Limitations, future research, and relevant implications are discussed.
- Culturally Competent Systems of Care with Latino Children and Families
Alan J. Dettlaff and Joan R. Rycraft
- The Latino population represents the fastest growing ethnic minority in the United States. As a result, child welfare agencies need to be prepared to provide culturally appropriate services to Latino families. This paper describes an evaluation of a federally funded initiative designed to train child welfare practitioners in using an existing evidence-based framework–systems of care–with Latino children and families to address the need for culturally competent, community-based services with this population. Results indicate that trained participants responded positively to the systems of care framework, increased their knowledge of systems of care, and reported positive benefits to their clients through using this framework. However, challenges to implementing systems of care were identified. Implications of these findings and the use of systems of care in child welfare are presented.
- Kinship Care in Northern British Columbia
Susan Burke and Glen G. Schmidt
- An exploratory case study design using three sources of data–interviews with kinship caregivers, interviews with social workers, and file reviews–was used to identify the needs of kinship caregivers in northern British Columbia. The research found that kinship caregivers identified many needs that must be addressed if kinship caregiving is to be a viable and sustainable option for children in need of care.
Vol. 88, No. 5 – Special Issue: Strengthening the Child Welfare Workforce: Promoting Recruitment and Retention:
- Introduction: Achieving Positive Outcomes for Children and Families: Recruiting and Retaining a Competent Child Welfare Workforce
Joan Levy Zlotnik, Virginia C. Strand, and Gary R. Anderson
- Job Previews in Child Welfare: State of Innovation and Practice
Kathleen Coulborn Faller, Michael Masternak, Claudette Grinnell-Davis, Marguerite Grabarek, Judy Sieffert, and Freda Bernatovicz
- We review the uses of realistic job previews (RJPs) for recruitment, selection, and retention of child welfare employees. We describe the history of development of RJPs in child welfare, summarize the contents of 10 RJPs, and report on interviews with human resources personnel and other key informants about how RJPs were developed and how they are used in child welfare recruitment and selection. Outcome data on the effectiveness of RJPs were available from one state, Michigan; these findings are reported.
- A Research-Based Child Welfare Employee Selection Protocol: Strengthening Retention of the Workforce
Alberta J. Ellett, Chad D. Ellett, Jacquelyn Ellis, and Betsy Lerner
- This article describes the development and initial implementation of a new employee selection protocol (ESP) for child welfare grounded in the results of recent large-scale employee retention studies and a set of research-based, minimally essential knowledge, skills, abilities, and values. The complete ESP consists of a sequenced set of Web- and site-based assessment processes and procedures for potential applicants. Using the ESP, applicants and employers make informed decisions about the goodness of fit between the applicant and the demands of a career in child welfare. To date, the new ESP has been piloted in three Georgia Division of Family and Children Services (DFCS) regions and implemented by all nine colleges and universities participating in IV-E child welfare education programs. Evaluation data collected from students and new employees in one DFCS region strongly support the value of the ESP Web-based activities to make a more informed decision about whether to apply for the IV-E stipends and child welfare positions. Feedback from trained ESP assessors supports the value of various ESP activities. A major goal of implementing the ESP is to select more professionally committed and highly qualified applicants to strengthen employee retention and outcomes for children and families.
- Recruiting and Retaining Child Welfare Workers: Is Preparing Social Work Students Enough for Sustained Commitment to the Field?
Anita P. Barbee, Becky Antle, Dana J. Sullivan, Ruth Huebner, Steve Fox, and Jon Christopher Hall
- Graduates of specialized BSW child welfare education programs are more likely to be retained after two years of service in the agency, but many leave at the four year mark. Two studies explored possible reasons for departure at this time. The first study found that graduates of specialized child welfare programs were significantly more likely to engage in best practices in nine areas than workers from other fields. Thus, frustration with practice skill was ruled out as a cause. The second qualitative study found that poor supervision, lack of coworker support, and organizational stress among other variables prompted these high-functioning workers to leave the agency. Suggestions for innovative interventions to enhance retention at this critical juncture are included.
- One State’s Effort to Improve Recruitment, Retention, and Practice Through Multifaceted Clinical Supervision Interventions
Crystal Collins-Camargo, Dana J. Sullivan, Bonnie Washeck, Jeff Adams, and Paul Sundet
- The professional literature has described the critical role child welfare supervisors play in the recruitment and retention (R&R) of a competent workforce and in practice enhancement to produce positive outcomes for children and families. Building on findings from a federally funded demonstration project related to implementation of clinical supervision in the child welfare setting, this article provides a description of a comprehensive approach to achievement of these outcomes: an integrated implementation of an employee selection protocol, 360-degree evaluation and employee development planning, and peer consultation and support groups for supervisors. An outline of the evaluation designed to assess relative effectiveness of each component on organizational culture, staff R&R, and practice is provided.
- Improving the Retention of Child Welfare Workers by Strengthening Skills and Increasing Support for Supervisors
Lynette M. Renner, Rebecca L. Porter, and Steven Preister
- Increasingly, effective supervision has been found to be critical in the retention of child welfare workers. In 2006 the State of Missouri Children’s Division implemented a supervisory strategic plan to concentrate on supervisory training and effectiveness, with the expectation that emphasis on supervision would improve the retention of frontline workers. Using annual responses to the survey of organizational excellence and retention data, this study examines perceptions of child welfare workers and supervisors on three workplace constructs. Analyses support hypotheses that retention of workers improved in the year following the implementation of the supervisory plan, and measures of supervisor effectiveness, team effectiveness, and job satisfaction also increased. Explanations of primary findings are provided and implications for practice and policy are discussed.
- The Influence of Supervisor Support, Peer Support, and Organizational Culture Among Early Career Social Workers in Child Welfare Services
David Chenot, Amy D. Benton, and Hansung Kim
- Previous studies have demonstrated that those who are in the first years of Child Welfare Services (CWS) employment are at particularly high risk for turnover. This study explored how the effects of support and organizational culture on retention (as the antidote for turnover) vary across different stages of CWS careers. A sample of 767 workers was divided into subgroups based on their years in CWS. A series of multilevel models were used to examinethe differences between the groups. Findings include the crucial role supervisor support plays in retaining workers not only in their agencies, but in the field of CWS. In addition, passive defensive organizational culture has a negative effect on early career workers, but not on mid or late career workers. This suggests that a unique sensitivity to passive defensive organizational cultures exists early in CWS workers’ careers that appears to dissipate over time. Implications for organizational practices are discussed.
- Design Teams: A Promising Organizational Intervention for Improving Turnover Rates in the Child Welfare Workforce
Jessica Strolin-Goltzman, Catherine Lawrence, Charles Auerbach, Jim Caringi, Nancy Claiborne, Hal Lawson, Mary McCarthy, Brenda McGowan, Rosemary Sherman, and MiSeung Shim
- This purpose of this article is to describe results from a quasi-experimental study investigating the effects of an intervention designed to address organizational causes of turnover in public child welfare. Much of the previous research in this area has used proxy measures for turnover while the current study measures both worker intent to leave and actual turnover rates. This study adds to the knowledge base by (1) describing an organizational intervention aimed at addressing the organizational causes of turnover; (2) analyzing quantitative changes in actual turnover rates as well as organizational factors; and (3) analyzing supplemental qualitative data to provide a deeper understanding of the organizational changes that occurred through the course of the intervention.
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- Intervening in Multiple States: Findings from the Western Regional Recruitment Project
Cathryn C. Potter, Anne Comstock, Charmaine Brittain, and Michele Hanna
- Child welfare agencies face complex workforce challenges. In 2003, the Children’s Bureau funded five Recruitment and Retention Projects to test innovative organizational interventions for workforce improvement. The Western Regional Recruitment and Retention Project used collaborative university-agency teams in six western sites to assess organizational needs, design intervention strategies, and track organizational outcomes. Qualitative and quantitative findings support the efficacy of this approach. This article describes the organizational process used and presents findings from one site’s experience.
- Predictors of Undesired Turnover for Child Welfare Workers
Nancy S. Dickinson and John S. Painter
- The persistently high turnover of child welfare staff hampers the ability of agencies to adequately serve families, children, and youth. This article presents the results of an experimental retention study using baseline demographic and attitudinal data collected from a child welfare worker survey, combined with employment data from a human resource database. Survival analyses and multilevel regression models identify the strongest predictors of intent to leave and actual turnover. Implications for research-based recruitment and retention strategies are discussed.
- Retaining Workers Approaching Retirement: Why Child Welfare Needs to Pay Attention to the Aging Workforce
Amy Cohen-Callow, Karen M. Hopkins, and Hae Jung Kim
- The child welfare workforce faces looming staffing shortages complicated by the large number of workers approaching retirement. Strategies that mitigate the loss of talented older workers to retirement represent a partial solution. However, child welfare research to date has not examined whether or how older workers might differ from younger workers in terms of retention-related issues. To address this gap, this study utilizes an integration of two theoretical perspectives–organizational climate theory and the life course perspective–as a guiding framework. Data from a sample of 432 public child welfare workers were analyzed in terms of moderating effects of age on the relationship between individual and organizational factors on work and job withdrawal. Results indicate that age moderates the relationship between perceived stress and work withdrawal (i.e., disengagement from work while remaining in the job) and between organizational commitment and job withdrawal (i.e., leaving the job entirely). Practice and research implications are discussed for retention and delaying retirement of talented and engaged mature workers interested in remaining employed.
Vol. 88, No. 4:
- A Longitudinal Evaluation of the Preservice Training and Retention of Kinship and Nonkinship Foster/Adoptive Families One and a Half Years After Training
Brian L. Christenson and Jerry McMurtry
- A comprehensive evaluation of the Parent Resources for Information Development and Education (PRIDE) foster/adopt preservice training and resource family development program was conducted one and a half years after training. Results indicate PRIDE is an effective training, family development, and retention program whose lessons stay with the participants well after they have completed the program. Knowledge tests were administered to participants before PRIDE training, at graduation from training, and 18 months after the completion of training. This is the subsequent study to the Christenson and McMurtry (2007) publication titled “A Comparative Evaluation of Preservice Training of Kinship and Non-Kinship Foster/Adoptive Families.”
- Homelessness and the Transition from Foster Care to Adulthood
Amy Dworsky and Mark E. Courtney
- Prior research suggests that homelessness is a significant problem among young people aging out of foster care. However, these studies have not attempted to identify potential risk or protective factors that might affect the likelihood of becoming homeless during the transition to adulthood. This paper uses data from a longitudinal study to examine both the occurrence and predictors of homelessness among a sample of young people from three Midwestern states who recently aged out of foster care.
- Challenges to Tracking Subjects for Follow-Up Research: A Case Study
- This narrative presents issues faced by the author and her research assistants in attempting to locate 40 subjects who had participated in a child welfare research study two decades earlier. The experience of the researchers suggests that attempting to locate subjects, especially where contact has not been maintained over the years, may not be accomplished without considerable time and expense. The author reflects on possible contributors to the difficulties in contacting these participants, highlights some recent developments in techniques for locating subjects after long periods of time have elapsed, and discusses some relevant ethical dilemmas.
- Removing Barriers to Educating Children in Foster Care Through Interagency Collaboration: A Seven County Multiple-Case Study
Lois A. Weinberg, Andrea Zetlin, and Nancy M. Shea
- This multiple-case study examines interagency collaboration between child protective services (CPS), local education agencies (LEAs), and other public agencies in seven California counties. These agencies were provided technical assistance to remove barriers impeding the education of children in foster care and improve their educational outcomes. Results of this study suggest that making changes to remove educational barriers for foster children and improve their educational outcomes requires successful collaboration between CPS and LEAs and strong leadership within at least one of the agencies.
- Male Social Workers in Child Welfare: A Qualitative Analysis
- This article reports on an exploratory study conducted with a cohort of male social workers (N = 17) who practice in child welfare. The findings revealed that among other things, participants experience a high level of satisfaction with their role. Moreover, they believe they have made significant contributions to child welfare practice, which include challenging hegemonic masculinity that supports the notion that child welfare is the exclusive responsibility of women. The findings and their implications are discussed.
- Hypermasculinity, Intimate Partner Violence, Sexual Aggression, Social Support, and Child Maltreatment Risk in Urban, Heterosexual Fathers Taking Parenting Classes
Desi Alonzo Vasquez Guerrero
- This study examines the relationships between hypermasculinity, sexual aggression, intimate partner violence, social support, and child maltreatment risk among heterosexual fathers completing parenting classes. Hypermasculinity scores were found to be significant predictors of study participants’ reported verbal, physical, and sexual aggression toward their intimate partners. Only lack of social support, operationalized as the reported frequency of participants’ conversations with friends, relatives, or neighbors about their problems, was found to be a significant predictor of child maltreatment risk. Alcohol frequency, education, and monthly income were not found to be unique, significant predictors of any dependent variables. Implications for clinical practice and research as well as limitations to the current study are discussed.
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- Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: The Missed Diagnosis
Damion Grasso, Joseph Boonsiri, Deborah Lipschitz, Amanda Guyer, Shadi Houshyar, Heather Douglas-Palumberi, Johari Massey, and Joan Kaufman
- Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is frequently underdiagnosed in maltreated samples. Protective services information is critical for obtaining complete trauma histories and determining whether to survey PTSD symptoms in maltreated children. In the current study, without protective services information to supplement parent and child report, diagnosing PTSD was missed in a significant proportion of the cases. Collaboration between mental health professionals and protective service workers is critical in determining psychiatric diagnoses and treatment needs of children involved with the child welfare system.
Vol. 88, No. 3:
- The Effects of Training Reinforcement on Training Transfer in Child Welfare
Becky F. Antle, Anita P. Barbee, Dana J. Sullivan, and Dana N. Christensen
- The purpose of this research was to compare the impact of different training methods on training transfer. Child welfare workers were assigned to one of three groups: classroom training only, classroom training plus reinforcement, and no training. The effect of these different training approaches on the transfer of assessment and case planning skills from the training was examined through a review of 120 child welfare case records. Results indicated that providing both training and reinforcement yielded a higher level of transfer than training alone or no training.
- Hispanic Caregiver Perceptions of Preventive Service
Michael H. Phillips and Annie C. Paumgarten
- This qualitative study uses grounded theory to examine 38 Hispanic caregivers’ perceptions of preventive service at six urban community-based agencies. The findings show caregivers seek an open personal relationship with workers, value a worker’s ability to speak Spanish, respond well to group treatment, place a strong value on family, have deficits in the area of social supports, and struggle to meet the goals of preventive service treatment due to socioeconomic pressures. The article discusses implications for treatment.
- The Restraint Spiral: Emergent Themes in the Perceptions of the Physical Restraint of Juveniles
Malcolm L. Smith and Karen Myers Bowman
- This qualitative investigation explores the experiences of both children who were physically restrained in a juvenile facility and that of the adult professionals who restrained them. Among the major themes identified were the rationalizations of safety and noncompliance for restraint use by the adults. Children associated fear, anger, and retraumatization with the experience of being restrained. Both the children who were restrained and the adults who restrained them identified lingering emotional and behavioral postrestraint effects. Restraint incidents were found to follow a predictable 10-layered behavioral spiral. Implications for practice and further research are explored.
- Placement Outcomes for Children Removed for Neglect
Kimberly Bundy-Fazioli, Marc Winokur, and Tobi DeLong-Hamilton
- Child neglect represents one of the most complex social problems in the field of child welfare. This study uses a comparative research design to analyze the out-of-home placement outcomes for children removed for neglect compared to children removed for abuse. According to the findings, children removed for neglect experienced more days in out-of-home care and were less likely to reunify than were children removed for abuse. Implications for practice and future research are discussed.
- Challenges of Transcultural Placements: Foster Parent Perspectives
Jason D. Brown, David St. Arnault, Natalie George, and Jennifer Sintzel
- A random sample of licensed foster parents in a central Canadian province was asked, “What are the challenges of fostering children who have different values, beliefs, and traditions than you?” In response to this question, 49 unique responses were made and grouped together by foster parents. Seven themes emerged from the analysis: understanding, respecting, learning, compromising, disagreements, child’s feelings, and teaching. Several differences were found between the literature and study participants, suggesting areas worthy of future research.
- CPS: Client Violence and Client Victims
- This paper describes a study that explored the extent and nature of workplace violence in child protective services (CPS). A total of 68 workers and clients reported on their experiences. Of workers, 70% reported being the victim of client violence, and 22% reported they had perpetrated a violent act toward a client. Of clients, 55% reported being a victim of assault by a CPS worker, while 42% acknowledged perpetrating violence. Future research needs and recommendations for practice including training, reporting, and policy development are discussed.
- Your Policies, Our Children: Messages from Refugee Parents to Child Welfare Workers and Policymakers
Gary C. Dumbrill
- In this study, refugee parents living in Canada share their views of parenting and their experiences of Canadian child welfare services. Using photovoice methods, parents develop messages for child welfare workers and policymakers working with refugee families and communities. The messages are presented from the parents’ point of view within three major themes: understanding the hopes and fears we have for our children, understanding our settlement challenges, and working with us in the development of child welfare policies and services.
Vol. 88, No. 2:
- Individuals with Disabilities Act of 2004 and the John H. Chafee Foster Care Independence Act of 1999: What Are the Policy Implications for Youth with Disabilities Transitioning from Foster Care?
- Youth with disabilities who are transitioning out of foster care are at high risk for poor adult outcomes. Although there are not definitive studies, research estimates that between 50% and 80% of youth in the child welfare system are youth with disabilities (United Cerebral Palsy & Children’s Rights, 2006). The John H. Chafee Foster Care Independence Act of 1999 expanded transition services for youth aging out of foster care; the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 2004 continues the federal commitment to transition supports for youth with disabilities through special education services. This article examines the similarities and differences between the transition mandates in each of the two laws and makes recommendations for policy improvements.
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- The Voices of Grandchildren of Grandparent Caregivers: A Strengths-Resilience Perspective
Roberta G. Sands, Robin S. Goldberg-Glen, and Heajong Shin
- This paper presents the perspectives of grandchildren who are cared for by 20 grandparents or great-grandparents. It is based on videotaped family interviews that were analyzed qualitatively, and it shows how the grandchildren portray their parents and how they talk about their grandparents, as well as the grandchildren’s strengths and resources. This inquiry demonstrates the nature of the grandchildren’s attachments to their grandparents and their resilience. Implications for child welfare practice are identified.
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- Emerging Issues at the Intersection of Immigration and Child Welfare: Results from a Transnational Research and Policy Forum
Alan J. Dettlaff, Maria Vidal de Haymes, Sonia Velazquez, Robert Mindell, and Lara Bruce
- In July 2006, the American Humane Association and the Loyola University Chicago School of Social Work facilitated aroundtable to address the emerging issue of immigration and its intersection with child welfare systems. More than 70 participants from 10 states and Mexico joined the round – table, representing the fields of higher education, child welfare, international immigration, legal practice, and others. This roundtable created a transnational opportunity to discuss the emerging impact of migration on child welfare services in the United States and formed the basis of a continued multidisciplinary collaboration designed to inform and impact policy and practice at the local, state, and national levels. This paper presents the results of the roundtable discussion and summarizes the emerging issues that participants identified as requiring attention by child welfare systems to facilitate positive outcomes of child safety, permanency, and well-being. Suggestions for further research and implications for policy and practice are also presented.
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- The Legal and Ethical Context for Knowing and Using the Latest Child Welfare Research
Allan E. Barsky
- Many child welfare researchers, policymakers, and practitioners are embracing evidence-based practice as a means of promoting more effective services. This article explores the implications of this movement, including the potential for malpractice liability, limiting the discretion of child welfare professionals, complications with informed consent, and other legal and ethical risks.
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- Mental Health and Substance Abuse Indicators Among Homeless Youth in Denver, Colorado
Carrie Merscham, James M. Van Leeuwen, and Megan McGuire
- We report the results of mental health evaluations from 182 homeless youth residing in a Denver, Colorado, shelter. The literature on homeless youth, although developing, is still somewhat limited as it relates to mental health, substance abuse, and trauma. This study was motivated by clinically observed high rates of mental illness, trauma, dangerousness issues, and drug and alcohol abuse. Using archival data from mental health evaluations conducted over two years, variables including gender, age, ethnicity, primary diagnosis, drug of choice, trauma history, suicidal ideation, homicidal ideation, and legal history were assessed. Results discovered significantly higher than expected diagnoses of mental illness and associations between drug of choice and diagnosis, trauma history and suicidal ideation, and trauma history and diagnosis. Results suggest a strong need for co-occurring treatment, trauma-focused therapy, and attention to both mental illness and substance abuse in homeless youth.
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- Overlooked: Children with Disabilities in Residential Care
Alexandra L. Trout, Kathryn Casey, M. Beth Chmelka, Catherine DeSalvo, Robert Reid, and Michael H. Epstein
- While estimates suggest that 10% to 31% of children in residential care are identified as with a disability, little is known about their characteristics or functioning as compared to nondisabled peers. This study evaluated data of 123 children with (n=34) and without (n=89) disabilities in residential care to determine demographic, behavioral, mental health, and educational characteristics. Data included demographic, behavior checklist, and standardized mental health and academic measures. Results indicated that both groups presented elevated risks; however, scores for children with disabilities revealed even greater levels of need. Primary risks were found on indicators of behaviors (e.g., social functioning), mental illness (e.g., anxiety), and academic performance (e.g., general knowledge and reading). Implications, limitations, and recommendations for future research are discussed.
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- Effects of Early Maltreatment on Development: A Descriptive Study Using the Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scales-II
- Children with histories of chronic early maltreatment within a caregiving relationship may develop complex trauma or developmental trauma and suffer from a variety of deficits in many domains. This study explored the effects of complex trauma on the development of 57 children, as measured by the Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scales-II. This is the first descriptive study to report on the significant discrepancies between chronological and developmental ages in adopted and foster children. This study found that adopted and foster children with a psychiatric diagnosis of reactive attachment disorder show developmental delay in the domains of communication, daily living skills, and socialization. The average adaptive behavior composite score for the children in this study yielded a developmental age (age equivalency) of 4.4 years, while the average chronological age was 9.9 years.
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Vol. 88, No. 1 – Special Issue: Mental Health Practice Guidelines for Child Welfare: Context for Reform
- Mental Health Services for Children Placed in Foster Care: An Overview of Current Challenges
Peter J. Pecora, Peter S. Jensen, Lisa Hunter Romanelli, Lovie J. Jackson, and Abel Ortiz
- Given the evidence from studies indicating that children in care have significant developmental, behavioral, and emotional problems, services for these children are an essential societal investment. Youth in foster care and adults who formerly were placed in care (foster care alumni) have disproportionately high rates of emotional and behavioral disorders. Among the areas of concern has been the lack of comprehensive mental health screening of all children entering out-of-home care, the need for more thorough identification of youth with emotional and behavioral disorders, and insufficient youth access to high-quality mental health services. In 2001, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP) and the ChildWelfare League of America (CWLA) formed a foster care mental health values subcommittee to establish guidelines on improving policy and practices in the various systems that serve foster care children (AACAP and CWLA, 2002). Because of the excellent quality and comprehensiveness of these statements, the Casey Clinical Foster Care Research and Development Project undertook consensus development work to enhance and build upon these statements. This article presents an overview ofmental health functioning of youth and alumni of foster care, and outlines a project that developed consensus guidelines.
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- Identification of Mental Health Service Need Among Youth in Child Welfare
Jessica Mass Levitt
- Despite the recognized importance of mental health concerns among youth in the child welfare population, data suggest a significant gap between children who need services and children who receive services. This paper aims to address this problem by focusing on the ways in which the system identifies–or fails to identify–children as needing mental health services. The paper reviews current guidelines, policies, and practices for mental health screening and assessment of youth in child welfare including available evidence-based screening instruments that have been evaluated in child welfare or other settings. It is concluded that the use of evidence-based screening and assessment instruments will improve the identification of children needing mental health services and offer the opportunity to provide appropriate care to children who are currently being overlooked.
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- Psychosocial Interventions for Children and Adolescents in Foster Care: Review of Research Literature
John A. Landsverk, Barbara J. Burns, Leyla Faw Stambaugh, and Jennifer A. Rolls Reutz
- Between one-half and three-fourths of children entering foster care exhibit behavioral or social-emotional problems warranting mental health care. This paper, condensed and updated from a technical report prepared for Casey Family Programs in 2005, reviews evidence-based and promising interventions for the most prevalent mental conditions found among children in foster care. This paper also makes several recommendations regarding increasing access to mental health care and effective psychosocial interventions for foster care children.
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- The Use of Psychotropic Medication for Children in Foster Care
M. Lynn Crismon and Tami Argo
- The use of psychotropic medication for foster children is in itself not unique; however, these children are of particular interest because of the stress associated with their life situations. A thorough assessment of the child and family should occur before beginning these medications, and in general, they should only be used in the presence of a Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, 4th edition, diagnosis of a mental disorder. Parents and caregivers need to be aware of principles of use, potential side effects, and monitoring parameters.
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- Engaging Parents in Child Welfare Services: Bridging Family Needs and Child Welfare Mandates
Susan P. Kemp, Maureen O. Marcenko, Kimberly Hoagwood, and William Vesneski
- Calls for expanded use of tested child mental health interventions in child welfare practice add new urgency to the longstanding question of how to enhance parent engagement in child welfare services, where low and uneven levels of engagement are pervasive, and services to parents and children tend to be separated, leaving important opportunities for parent-child interventions underutilized. Tackling these issues requires both expanded understandings of what engagement entails and the incorporation into child welfare practice of systematic, research-based strategies for supporting parental involvement. Drawing on a review of factors that shape (and often confound) efforts to engage parents in child welfare, and on relevant research, this paper lays the initial foundation for such an approach by identifying and describing six core dimensions of engagement and related intervention strategies.
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- Dissemination of a Multilevel Evidence-Based System of Parenting Interventions with Broad Application to Child Welfare Populations
- Parenting interventions are relevant to many touch points of the child welfare system. This paper describes a multilevel system of parenting interventions called “Triple P” that matches intervention intensities to families, builds on a strong scientific base, provides multiple access points for parents, and offers a destigmatized, cost-efficient approach. This population approach can simultaneously address child-maltreatment prevention and promotion of child mental health.
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- Enhancing the Empowerment of Youth in Foster Care: Supportive Services
Sandra J. Kaplan, Louise Skolnik, and Ayme Turnbull
- This paper reviews the research on youth empowerment in seven child welfare programmatic areas. A lack of studies specifically focused on the empowerment of youth in foster care was found. Conceptual perspectives and existing data, however, suggest that the empowerment of youth in and transitioning out of care is essential and should be overtly facilitated through policy and program development.
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- Best Practices for Mental Health in Child Welfare: Screening, Assessment, and Treatment Guidelines
Lisa Hunter Romanelli, John Landsverk, Jessica Mass Levitt, Laurel K. Leslie, Maia M. Hurley, Christopher Bellonci, Leonard T. Gries, Peter J. Pecora, Peter S. Jensen, and the Child WelfareMental Health Best Practices Group
- The Best Practices for Mental Health in Child Welfare Consensus Conference focused on developing guidelines in five key areas (screening and assessment, psychosocial interventions, psychopharmacologic treatment, parent engagement, and youth empowerment) related to children’s mental health. This paper provides an overview of issues related to the first three areas, presents the guidelines developed in these areas, and discusses the implications these guidelines have for the field of child welfare.
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- Best Practices for Mental Health in Child Welfare: Parent Support and Youth Empowerment Guidelines
Lisa Hunter Romanelli, Kimberly E. Hoagwood, Sandra J. Kaplan, Susan P. Kemp, Robert L. Hartman, Casey Trupin, Wilfredo Soto, Peter J. Pecora, Theressa L. LaBarrie, Peter S. Jensen, and the Child Welfare Mental Health Best Practices Group
- This paper, the second in a series of two guideline papers emerging from the 2007 Best Practices for Mental Health in ChildWelfare Consensus Conference, provides an overview of the key issues related to parent support and youth empowerment in child welfare and presents consensus guidelines in these important areas. The paper also discusses some of the implications these guidelines have for the child welfare field.
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Vol. 87, No. 6
- The Connections Project: A Relational Approach to Engaging Birth Parents in Visitation
Charyl E. Gerring, Susan P. Kemp, and Maureen O. Marcenko
- This paper presents a practical framework for relational practice with birth families, organized around parental visitation. The approach was developed in the Birth Family Foster Family Connections Project, a three-year collaborative research demonstration project between a large private agency and the Washington State Department of Child and Family Services. The overall goal of the Connections Project, which served young children from infancy to age six, was to create supportive connections among birth families, foster families, children, and the child welfare system. Although engaging parents in child welfare services is a challenging task for social workers, the Connections Project resulted in strong parent-worker relationships, very high participation in weekly visitation by birth parents, and quite extensive contact between birth- and foster families. The paper describes relational strategies used by Connections social workers before and during visits, with the goal of providing child welfare social workers with a practical and effective framework for engaging parents through this core child welfare service.
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- Implementation of Group Supervision in Child Welfare: Findings from Arizona’s Supervision Circle Project
Cynthia A. Lietz
- The process of supervision plays an important role in developing the skills necessary to respond effectively to reports of child maltreatment. Specifically, educational supervision prompting discussion and critical thinking can enhance the analytic skills needed to consider the complexity commonly found in child welfare practice. To this end, group supervision was implemented with supervisors in Arizona to enrich supervisory dialog to better prepare for the unique and often unexpected challenges of child welfare. Post-test data collected from participants suggest group supervision may be one way the field of child protection can enhance critical thinking.
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- Serious Illness, Injury, and Death in Child Protection and Preparation for End-of-Life Situations Among Child Welfare Services Workers
Ellen L. Csikai, Charlotte Herrin, Maggie Tang, and Wesley T. Church II
- A mailed survey of child welfare workers in one southern state assessed various aspects of encounters with end-of-life situations in practice. Findings revealed that child deaths, children with life-threatening or life-limiting illnesses, and parental deaths were most commonly encountered and that coworkers were relied on for support. Many had no specific end-of-life coursework in educational programs and fewer had continuing education in this area. These respondents indicated course content was most needed in the psychological and social needs of patients and families. Agencies can support staff by providing specific training on end-of-life issues that affect child welfare practice.
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- Primary Factors Related to Multiple Placements for Children in Out-of-Home Care
- Using an ecological framework, this study identified which factors related to out-of-home placements significantly influenced multiple placements for children in Utah during 2000, 2001, and 2002. Multinomial logistic regression statistical procedures and a geographical information system (GIS) were used to analyze the data. The final model included delinquency, sexual abuse, minor health problems, and mental health problems. Implications for child welfare practice, training, and policies are discussed, as well as recommendations for further research.
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- Recreating Family: Parents Identify Worker-Client Relationships as Paramount in Family Preservation Programs
Annemarie Gockel, Mary Russell, and Barbara Harris
- Although existing family preservation program research has focused on identifying the components of effective treatment, we remain far from fully developing empirically supported interventions (Barth, Chamberlain, Reid, Rolls, Hurlburt, Farmer, James, McCabe, & Kohl, 2005; Dufour, Chamberland, & Trocme, 2003). The current longitudinal study expands existing efforts to understand the active ingredients of effective interventions by learning from parents who experienced a family preservation intervention themselves. The current study reports on the reflections of 35 parents who child protection social workers referred to family preservation programs. In contrast to a focus on intervention components, parents related the helpful interventions they received to the effectiveness of intervention processes-namely, to the quality of the relationships they had with their individual family preservation workers and with service teams at the programs they attended. Parents identified that workers in effective programs used specific relational skills to recreate a nurturing family environment that fostered parent engagement and change throughout the process of intervention.
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- Resiliency in Children and Youth in Kinship Care and Family Foster Care
- This study examined self-concept, resiliency and social support in 107 children and youth placed in foster care in New York City. Of the children and youth, 55 were placed in family foster care, while the remaining 52 children and youth were placed in a kinship foster home. Significantly more of mothers of the kinship foster care children and youth were homeless or substance abusing, yet visited their children more often than the family foster care youth. These same kinship-placed children and youth had significantly more robust self-concept, performance, and personal attribute scores. Implications for these findings are highlighted.
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- Walking the Tightrope: Using Power and Authority in Child Welfare Supervision
Marion Bogo and Katharine Dill
- Recognizing the importance of understanding the way in which supervisors in child welfare perceive their administrative responsibilities and use of power and authority, an exploratory study was conducted. Supervisors in child welfare agencies in urban and rural settings participated in focus groups and discussed the impact of macro and micro factors on their performance. Policy changes, including using new approaches to child welfare, and organizational culture had a major affect on the way they offered supervision. At the micro level, their use of power was related to elements in their relationships with frontline workers and their own professional development. Implications for child welfare practice and for new and experienced supervisors are presented.
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Vol. 87, No. 5
- The Relationship of Child Neglect and Physical Maltreatment to Placement Outcomes and Behavioral Adjustment in Children in Foster Care: A Canadian Perspective
Robyn A. Marquis, Alan W. Leschied, Debbie Chiodo, and Arlene O’Neill
- Dramatic increases in child welfare rates in Canada over recent years have been largely driven by an increased reporting of neglect cases (Trocm Fallon, MacLaurin, & Neves, 2005). To a large extent, exploring the importance of neglect separate from physical maltreatment has been ignored in the child maltreatment literature. This study examined the differential effects of foster care in the child welfare system with children who presented as either experiencing physical maltreatment or neglect prior to their admission to care. Findings from this study are important to child welfare decision making about the differential needs of these two groups of children. The files of a sample of 110 children (79 neglected children and 31 physically maltreated children) were examined for differences in their adjustment while in foster care and on discharge. Some distinct differences in presentation were noted between the children experiencing the two types of maltreatment. Children experiencing neglect were younger, were more likely to have caregivers diagnosed with a substance abuse disorder, and had higher rates of exposure to spousal violence than maltreated children. Physically maltreated children displayed greater difficulty during their foster care adjustment. Once discharged from care, neglected children were more likely to be returned to the care of the agency. This study draws attention to the differential needs of children who experience neglect prior to their admission to a child welfare agency. Longer-term outcome studies are necessary to more completely understand how these two types of maltreatment influence the outcomes of children who are provided care within the child welfare system.
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- Cascading Implementation of a Foster and Kinship Parent Intervention
Patricia Chamberlain, Joseph Price, John Reid, and John Landsverk
- Most foster parents in the United States are required to participate in training, yet no empirical support exists for the training’s effectiveness. During the past two decades, high-quality clinical trials have documented that parent management training (PMT) programs produce positive outcomes for children and families in clinical and school settings; yet, these advances have not transferred to foster/kinship parents. Here, we describe a randomized control trial testing the effectiveness of a PMT-based treatment with 700 foster/kinship parents in San Diego County. The collaborative processes to engage stakeholders, the strategies for involving parents, and the results of two levels of developer involvement in training and supervision on child behavioral outcomes are also described.
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- The Parent-Child Home Program in Western Manitoba: A 20-Year Evaluation
Barbara M. Gfellner, Lorraine McLaren, and Arron Metcalfe
- This article is a 20-year evaluation of the Parent-Child Home Program (PCHP) of Child and Family Services in Western Manitoba. Following Levenstein’s (1979, 1988) approach, home visitors model parent-child interchanges using books and toys to enhance children’s cognitive development through appropriate parenting behaviors. The evaluation provides a profile of PCHP families and performance outcomes. Findings show impressive gains in cognitive competence and parenting behaviors. Recommendations are given for program development and future research.
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- Planning and Evaluating Child Welfare Training Projects: Working Toward a Comprehensive Conceptual Model
Mary Elizabeth Collins, Maryann Amodeo, and Cassandra Clay
- Training is widely believed to be an important element in promoting good child welfare practice. Scholarly attention to training, however, has been limited. To facilitate further development of child welfare training, in this article, we discuss the importance of conceptualization in the design and evaluation of training projects, offer a conceptual model developed for a national evaluation project, and suggest modifications to the model for further use in other settings.
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- Impact of Intensive Family Preservation Services on Disproportionality of Out-of-Home Placement of Children of Color in One State’s Child Welfare System
Raymond S. Kirk and Diana P. Griffith
- This study examines the impact of intensive family preservation services (IFPS) on racial disproportionality of placement into out-of-home care. A large sample was partitioned on the basis of race, risk, and services received. The probability of placement is examined as a function of these variables. High-risk minority children receiving traditional services are at higher risk of placement than white children are, but minority children receiving IFPS are less likely to be placed than white children are. When only minority children are examined, those receiving IFPS are less likely to be placed than those receiving traditional services are. IFPS is associated with a reduction in racial disproportionality of out-of-home placement among high-risk families. Within-race analysis suggests that IFPS may mitigate racial disparity in out-of-home placement existing in the remainder of the child welfare population that receives traditional services.
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- Placement History of Foster Children: A Study of Placement History and Outcomes in Long-Term Family Foster Care
Johan Strijker, Erik J. Knorth, and Jana Knot-Dickscheit
- The files of 419 children in family foster care and kinship foster care were used in a retrospective longitudinal design study that examined their placement histories in child welfare. Significant associations were found between the number of placements on one hand, and the prevalence of attachment disorders, severity of behavioral problems, and breakdowns of new foster care placements on the other hand. It appears that a breakdown can be predicted to a certain extent, the implications of which are discussed.
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- The Impact of Child and Family Service Reviews on Knowledge Management
Pamela A. Mischen
- This article uses knowledge management as a framework to analyze the impact of the child and family review process on child protective service agencies. Results of a qualitative analysis of child and family service reviews and program improvement plans indicated that the process has led to an increase in the use of family team meetings and risk assessment tools as ways of managing information and increasing knowledge.
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Vol. 87, No. 4
- Labor of Love: Foster Mothers, Caregiving, and Welfare Reform
Filomena M. Critelli
- Using a telephone survey, this study examined the experiences of 100 foster mothers who receive aid through Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). Foster mothers reported numerous difficulties with TANF, including frequent sanctions and case closings, limited work and training opportunities, and pervasive material hardships. Foster children exhibited high levels of emotional and behavior problems. The data suggest that lack of access to child care and pressure to become self-sufficient may contribute to a decreased pool of foster mothers.
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- Does Family Group Decision Making Affect Child Welfare Outcomes? Findings from a Randomized Control Study
Stephanie Cosner Berzin, Ed Cohen, Karen Thomas, and William C. Dawson
- This article describes the evaluation of two family group decision-making programs administered under the California Title IV-E Waiver Demonstration Project. This is the only evaluation using random assignment to examine FGDM. Overall, results did not indicate more positive outcomes for children receiving the intervention, but did indicate that children were not worse than those receiving traditional services; outcomes examined were related to child safety, placement stability, and permanence.
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- The Nature of Parental Supervisory Neglect
- The primary purpose of this study is to determine whether different types of supervision problems such as leaving a child alone and leaving a child with an inadequate caregiver have different correlates and consequences for children. A case-comparison design was used to compare four types of supervision problems. Data were extracted from child protective services investigative reports. The results showed that each type of supervision problem had a distinct set of characteristics. Recommendations for assessing and treating different types of supervision problems are addressed.
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- Children in Foster Care: Before, During, and After Psychiatric Hospitalization
Joe Persi and Megan Sisson
- Although it is generally accepted that foster children are at greater risk for mental health problems than are children in the general population, very little is known about the smaller group of foster children admitted to psychiatric hospitals. The present study sought to determine whether foster children admitted to inpatient care are a distinct and more vulnerable group than other hospitalized children and found that they are. Youth admitted from the foster care system were found to have higher rates of externalizing problems and diagnoses and lower social competence relative to other inpatient children. They were also found to have a distinguishing pattern of service use including first admissions at younger ages, higher numbers of restraints in hospital, and greater likelihood of readmission. These findings point to pressing needs for additional research to improve understanding of the vulnerabilities and inpatient care needs of foster children and for better initiatives to prevent early and recurrent hospitalization.
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- The Social Service Divide: Service Availability and Accessibility in Rural Versus Urban Counties and Impact on Child Welfare Outcomes
Kathleen Belanger and Warren Stone
- An empirical study of 75 counties in a state found that social services are more available and accessible in urban versus rural counties signaling a need for public policy addressing service allocation. The study also found a relationship between the accessibility of intensive family preservation services and reentry into foster care, a child welfare outcome. Implications for achieving outcomes affecting safety, permanence, and well-being of children, are discussed.
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- Should I Stay or Should I Go? A Comparison Study of Intention to Leave Among Public Child Welfare Systems with High and Low Turnover Rates
- This comparison study analyzes the commonalties, similarities, and differences on supervisory and organizational factors between a group of high turnover systems and a group of low turnover systems. Significant differences on organizational factors, but not on supervisory factors, emerged from the statistical analysis. Additionally, this study found that low turnover is not necessarily predictive of a healthy organizational environment. Implications for turnover reduction and prevention are provided in conclusion.
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- Meeting the Long-Term Needs of Families Who Adopt Children Out of Foster Care: A Three-Year Follow-Up Study
Doris M. Houston and Laurie Kramer
- The purpose of this study was to assess the extent to which agency and nonagency supportive resources contributed to the stability and well-being of 34 newly adoptive families over 3-years. Results revealed significant pre- to postadoption declines in families’ contact and satisfaction with formal and informal helping resources. Greater preadoption contact with formal adoption agency staff predicted adoption stability and lower levels of family conflict at the 3-year assessment. The results highlight the importance of providing adoptive families with formal and informal support that meet their evolving needs.
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Vol. 87, No. 3
- Characteristics of Out-of-Home Caregiving Environments Provided Under Child Welfare Services
Richard P. Barth, Rebecca Green, Mary Bruce Webb, Ariana Wall, Claire Gibbons, and Carlton Craig
- A national probability sample of children who have been in child welfare supervised placements for about one year identifies the characteristics (e.g., age, training, education, health, and home) of the foster parents, kinship foster parents, and group home caregivers. Caregiving respondents provided information about their backgrounds. Interviewers also used the HOME-SF to assess the caregiving environments of foster care and kinship care. Comparisons are made to other nationally representative samples, including the U.S. Census and the National Survey of America’s Families. Kinship care, foster care, and group care providers are significantly different from each other- and the general population- in age and education. Findings on the numbers of children cared for, understimulating environments, use of punitive punishment, and low educational levels of caregivers generate suggestions for practice with foster families.
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- Engaging Families in Child Welfare Services: Worker Versus Client Perspectives
Julie Cooper Altman
- Part of a larger mixed-method study of engagement in neighborhood-based child welfare services, the qualitative data this article reports on highlights the extent to which parents and workers differ in their views of engagement, the best ways to foster engagement in services, and the importance each group places on it as a process. Strategies designed to improve engagement are offered, including knowledge that can help workers interact more effectively with families and in so doing improve permanency for children.
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- Accessing Substance Abuse Treatment: Issues for Parents Involved with Child Welfare Services
Anna Rockhill, Beth L. Green, and Linda Newton-Curtis
- The complex issues associated with barriers to treatment entry for parents who are involved with child welfare has not been well explored. Accessing timely treatment is now critical for these parents since the introduction of the Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997, limiting the time until a permanency decision is made. Using a longitudinal, qualitative approach, substance-abusing parents from 15 families, their relevant family members, and service providers were interviewed approximately every 3 months over an 18-month period. The experiences of these parents add to our knowledge of the unique barriers this population faces, and expands our understanding of the mechanisms by which certain barriers may delay treatment.
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- Parents with Co-Occurring Mental Health and Substance Abuse Conditions Involved in Child Protection Services: Clinical Profile and Treatment Needs
Layne K. Stromwall, Nancy C. Larson, Tanya Nieri, Lynn C. Holley, Diane Topping, Jason Castillo, and Jose B. Ashford
- This article reports findings of an exploratory study of 71 parents with substance abuse conditions involved in a child dependency court. Over half (59%) of the parents had a co-occurring mental health condition. Parents with cooccurring conditions (PWCC) differed in several important ways from those with only substance abuse conditions. PWCC were also more likely than their case managers were to report a need for mental health treatment. Implications for child welfare practice and research are offered.
- Perceptions of Child Neglect Among Urban American Indian/Alaska Native Parents
- A survey of 101 American Indian/Alaska Native (AIAN) parents in Los Angeles was conducted to explore perceptions of child neglect among urban AIAN parents and factors associated with perceptions. Participants rated substance abuse by parents as the most serious type of neglect. Providing material necessities and providing adequate structure were ranked as the least serious types of neglect. Gender, education, marital status, and indirect experience with Child Protective Services were significantly related to perceptions of neglect among urban AIAN parents.
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- Citizen Review Panels for Child Protective Services: A National Profile
Blake L. Jones and David Royse
- Citizen Review Panels (CRPs) for Child Protective Services are groups of citizen-volunteers throughout the United States who are federally mandated to evaluate local and state child protection systems. This study presents a profile of 332 CRP members in 20 states with regards to their demographic information, length of time on the panel, and attitudes regarding the variables that promote and hinder collaboration between the panels and state child welfare agencies. Results indicate that the average review panel member tends to be a professional, middle-aged female with an advanced degree. Better communication (between child protective services and the CRPs) and clearer goals/objectives for CRPs were the most cited suggestions of how CRPs and child welfare agencies can work together. Lack of funding and the defensiveness of the child welfare agency were seen as the top obstacles to such collaboration. Policy implications and avenues of further study are discussed.
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- Reasonable Efforts? Implementation of the Reunification Bypass Provision of ASFA
Jill Duerr Berrick, Young Choi, Amy D’Andrade, and Laura Frame
- The Adoption and Safe Families Act (ASFA) of 1997 includes provisions to deny reunification services under specified conditions and gives states latitude to develop any number of additional “aggravated circumstances” in which parents need not be offered services. California legislators have developed a relatively large number of conditions enabling agencies to bypass reunification services. Based upon a case record review involving 1,055 parents, this study attempts to identify the proportion of parents eligible for a reunification bypass, the proportion recommended to the courts, and the proportion of parents who were denied reunification services, and examines the characteristics of parents associated with reunification bypass recommendations. Based upon focus groups and interviews with child welfare and judicial personnel in six counties, the study also examines the implementation of reunification bypass provisions. Implications for public policy and practice are provided.
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Vol. 87, No. 2 Special Issue: Racial Disproportionality in Child Welfare
- Introduction: Gaps in Research and Public Policies
Kathleen Belanger, Deborah K. Green, and Lloyd B. Bullard
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- Editorial: Commentary on Disproportionality in Child Welfare
Terry L. Cross
Purchase this article for $9.95PART I – UNDERSTANDING AND MEASURING RACIAL DISPROPORTIONALITY AND DISPARITY OF OUTCOMES
- Measuring Racial Disparity in Child Welfare
Terry V. Shaw, Emily Putnam-Hornstein, Joseph Magruder, and Barbara Needell
- Overrepresentation of certain racial/ethnic groups in the foster care system is one of the most troubling and challenging issues in child welfare today. In response, many states have started reporting outcomes by race and ethnicity to identify disproportionately high rates of system contact. The identification of disproportional representation is the first step in developing targeted strategies to address disproportionality–highlighting where resources should be directed and guiding future research. However, present and future efforts to address disproportionality must be accompanied by statistically sound and meaningful methods of measurement. In this article, we argue for the adoption of a relative rate measure of representation–a “Disparity Index”–as the primary instrument for assessing racial disparity in child welfare.
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- Deconstructing Disproportionality: Views From Multiple Community Stakeholders
Alan J. Dettlaff and Joan R. Rycraft
- While the existence of racial disproportionality has been well documented, the causes of disproportionality are less clear. Studies identifying contributing factors have relied largely on analyses of state and national data sets, which may lack the robust data necessary to fully explain the factors related to this issue. Further, a limitation of existing research is the lack of data from the voice of those in communities affected by disproportionality. This study was designed to develop a deeper understanding of disproportionality from the views of multiple community stakeholders. Using a qualitative approach, data were collected to provide a greater depth of information that can be used alongside existing studies toward developing an enhanced understanding of disproportionality in child welfare.
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- Visible Minority, Aboriginal, and Caucasian Children Investigated by Canadian Protective Services
Chantal Lavergne, Sarah Dufour, Nico Trocmé, and Marie-Claude Larrivée
- The aim of this descriptive study was to compare the report profiles of Caucasian, Aboriginal, and other visible minority children whose cases were assessed by child protective services in Canada. The results show that children of Aboriginal ancestry and from visible minority groups are selected for investigation by child protective services 1.77 times more frequently than are children in the general population. Physical abuse is reported and substantiated more often for Asian children, whereas neglect is chiefly an issue with Aboriginal and black children. Child vulnerability factors and parental and housing risk factors alone cannot explain the higher substantiation percentages, except for Aboriginal children, for whom the risks are higher than for the other groups. The individual and family profiles of Asian and black children appear to be significantly less of a burden than those of Aboriginals and Caucasians. These results may reflect a certain degree of racial bias in the identification and reporting of maltreatment cases to child protective services and in decisions about the substantiation of maltreatment.
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- Connective Complexity: African American Adolescents and the Relational Context of Kinship Foster Care
- Attempts to address racial disproportionality in child welfare must include a focus on the benefits and challenges facing children in kinship care. African American children not only are overrepresented in the child welfare system, but also are placed disproportionately in kinship foster care. Using a sample of 18 African American adolescents ages 11 to 14, this article explores how the relational context of care experienced by adolescents in kinship foster care differs from that of adolescents in nonkinship foster family placements. Findings are presented regarding the stability of relationships as well as complex role dilemmas experienced by kinship youth as they relate to caregivers and birthparents in the child welfare context. Implications are given for practice with kinship families.
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- The Role of Faith in Adoption: Achieving Positive Adoption Outcomes for African American Children
Kathleen Belanger, Sam Copeland, and Monit
- African American children are overrepresented in foster care by more than twice their proportion in the population (U.S. Government Accountability Office
[USGAO], 2007). Building upon research relating faith (religiosity) to positive health and mental health, this study utilized cognitive and religious coping theories to examine the influence of faith on choosing to adopt, achieving positive adoption outcomes, and reducing disproportionality. From Louisiana and Texas, 113 families who adopted 226 children, 48% African American, participated in a survey measuring children’s behavior and parent distress (PSI-SF Difficult Child and Parent Distress Subscales) and religiosity (Hoge Intrinsic Religiosity Index). Of the respondents, 93% of the respondents belonged to a religious congregation, 86% attended church weekly. Controlling for child’s behavior, religiosity predicted lower stress in adoptive parenting; church attendance was related to improvement in parental health since adopting. Faith was rated most frequently as essential in parents’ decisions to adopt. The study concludes that faith may be an asset in increasing adoptions and improving adoption outcomes resulting in increased numbers of African American children adopted.
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The Racial Geography of Child Welfare: Toward a New Research Paradigm
Dorothy E. Roberts
This article examines the community-level impact of concentrated child welfare agency involvement in African American neighborhoods. Based on interviews of 25 African American women in a Chicago neighborhood, the study found that residents were aware of intense agency involvement in their neighborhood and identified profound effects on social relationships including interference with parental authority, damage to children’s ability to form social relationships, and distrust among neighbors. The study also discovered a tension between respondents’ identification of adverse consequences of concentrated state supervision for family and community relationships and neighborhood reliance on agency involvement for needed financial support. The author discusses the implications of these findings for a new research paradigm aimed at understanding the community-level effects of racial disproportionality.
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The Intersection of Race, Poverty, and Risk: Understanding the Decision to Provide Services to Clients and to Remove Children
Stephanie L. Rivaux, Joyce James, Kim Wittenstrom, Donald Baumann, Janess Sheets, Judith Henry, and Victoria Jeffries
Studies have found that certain racial groups, particularly the children of African American families, are placed in foster care at a higher rate than children of other races. These families are also sometimes found to be afforded fewer services that might prevent these removals, relative to families of other races. It is unclear why this is so. Poverty has been suspected, and sometimes found, to be the primary cause of the disparity. Lacking in some of these analyses, however, was how risk of future abuse/neglect to the child entered into the decisions and particularly, how assumptions about race, poverty, and risk are factored into the decision-making process. It is important to understand this process if we are to find a way to correct it. The current study addresses this process.Findings indicate that even when controlling for risk and poverty (as well as other relevant factors), race affects the decision to provide services and to remove. We find that poverty is associated with higher risk scores. We also find that the risk scores of African American families in cases that are closed, those receiving Family Based Safety Services, and those resulting in children being removed are lower than the risk scores for Anglo families in the same groups. This suggests that rather than racial bias in the assigning of the risk score itself, disproportionality may be better explained by racial/ethnic differences in the risk threshold workers use to decision to take action on a case. In particular, the risk threshold for providing services or removing a child is higher for Anglo Americans than for African Americans.
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Children Ever in Care: An Examination of Cumulative Disproportionality
Joseph Magruder and Terry V. Shaw
Most studies of ethnic disproportionality in child welfare examine data in one of two ways: a point in time approach or an entry cohort approach. While each provides insight into disproportionality, neither gives a full picture of the differences among ethnic groups in the experience of the child welfare system over time. This study uses longitudinal administrative child welfare data to examine ethnic disproportionality in involvement with the child welfare system during the first seven years of life at three levels of contact: (1) initial referrals, (2) substantiated referrals, and (3) first entries. Findings suggest the experience of African American families, and probably Native America families, with the child welfare system is much different from other families.
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The Benefits of Life Table Analysis for Describing Disproportionality
David Crampton and Claudia J. Coulton
This article reviews how life table analysis can improve on cross-sectional analysis of disproportionality by comparing African American and Caucasian children’s risk of being investigated for child maltreatment or being placed in foster care before their 10th birthday. We then highlight the application of life table results in advocacy. Newspaper commentaries and presentations for community groups using these results raised awareness with policymakers and in turn helped to increase funding and programming that addresses disproportionality. Life table results point to the role of age and geography in understanding why disproportionality occurs. We conclude by describing how one community is using these results to develop interventions and reform strategies based on addressing these age and geography factors.
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PART II: PRACTICE METHODS TO REDUCE RACIAL DISPROPORTIONALITY AND DISPARTY OF OUTCOMES
- Editorial: Acknowledging Disproportionate Outcomes and Changing Service Delivery
Ruth G. McRoy
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- Emerging Strategies for Reducing Racial Disproportionality and Disparate Outcomes in Child Welfare: The Results of a National Breakthrough Series Collaborative
Oronde A. Miller and Kristin J. Ward
- Racial disproportionality in child welfare has been discussed as a seemingly intractable challenge with complex contributing factors. Some argue that these dynamics are far too difficult to be significantly impacted by public child welfare systems alone. The Breakthrough Series Collaborative (BSC) methodology, incorporating an analysis of structural racism and potential system bias, was proffered as a tool for engaging public child welfare agencies in a rapid, action-oriented process for identifying innovative strategies and practices to reduce racial disproportionality and disparate outcomes. This article describes the Disproportionality BSC process, as well as the work of participating jurisdictions with respect to transforming organizational culture and testing/implementing child welfare practice improvements. A theory of change is presented and critical lessons learned are shared in the form of collaborative reflections.
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- Evaluating Multisystemic Efforts to Impact Disproportionality Through Key Decision Points
Dennette Derezotes, Brad Richardson, Connie Bear King, Julia Kleinschmit-Rembert, and Betty Pratt
- Working in four communities, Casey Foundation/Center for the Study of Social Policy (CSSP) Alliance on Racial Equity (the Alliance) have developed a Racial Equity Scorecard for measuring disproportionality at key decision points for use in impacting disproportionality in the child welfare system. The four communities include King County, Washington, Guilford County, North Carolina, Ramsey County, Minnesota, and Woodbury County, Iowa. Data from one site–Woodbury County, Iowa–are used as an example. This article provides the background and method for identification and measurement of key decision points in the child welfare system to track change affected by multisystemic approaches to reduce disproportionality. Interpretation of the results in the scorecard is provided and recommendations for future interventions based on the data are discussed.
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- Addressing the Disproportionate Representation of Children of Color: A Collaborative Community Approach
Monique Busch, Jacqueline Remondet Wall, Steven M. Koch, and Clara Anderson
- The state of Indiana recommended a committee be formed to address the disproportional representation of black youth in out-of-home placements. In response, the Indiana Disproportionality Committee (IDC) was established. This article presents the development, objectives and future of the IDC. One of the objectives, research, will be offered as an example of the committee’s collaborative strategies. The IDC, in partnership with another organization, has begun exploring relationships between ethnicity, risk factors and treatment outcomes. The results of this research effort have examined disproportion and disparity, leading the IDC to identify needs for change within the state. Barriers and successes of the IDC will be shared, so that others can use these efforts to guide their own strategies to reduce disproportionality.
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- Addressing Disproportionality Through Undoing Racism, Leadership Development, and Community Engagement
Joyce James, Deborah Green, Carolyne Rodriguez, and Rowena Fong
- In 2005 the Texas 79th legislature passed Senate Bill 6, which included mandates to address disproportionality. This article will describe how the Texas Department of Family Protective Services in collaboration with Casey Family Programs’ Texas State Strategy systems improvement initiative is addressing disproportionality statewide through promising practices and innovations in undoing racism trainings, values-based leadership development, and community engagement strategies
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- Comparative Analysis of Two Community-Based Efforts Designed to Impact Disproportionality
- Children of color are overrepresented in child welfare in Iowa at a rate double their percentage of the population. In 2005 the Iowa Department of Human Services implemented two pilot demonstration projects to address overrepresentation of Native American and African American children in the child welfare system. The projects, called the Minority Youth and Families Initiative (MYFI), included ongoing evaluation. Results obtained over two years indicate improved worker and participant alliance, family functioning, and outcomes for children. Findings are discussed and recommendations are provided for further improvements in practice, research, and evaluation to reduce racial disparities the child welfare system.
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- Taking Action on Racial Disproportionality in the Child Welfare System
Patricia Clark, Jackie Buchanan, and Lyman Legters
- Mirroring national trends, children of color in Washington state’s King County are overrepresented at every point in the child welfare system and fare worse by most measures than are Caucasian children. The King County Coalition on Racial Disproportionality was formed to reduce and ultimately eliminate racial disproportionality in the county’s child welfare system. The research-based strategies implemented to address the issue focused on children in care longer than two years. They included participation in the Breakthrough Series Collaborative on Racial Disproportionality, implementation of benchmark hearings, and development of Champions for Permanence.
Purchase this article for $9.95Now in the beginning stages, perhaps the most significant success is heightened awareness within the community of the disparate outcomes for children of color in the child welfare system.
- Point of Engagement: Reducing Disproportionality and Improving Child and Family Outcomes
Eric J. Marts, Eun-Kyoung Othelia Lee, Ruth McRoy, and Jacquelyn McCroskey
- This paper describes an innovative service delivery model to reduce the number of children entering the child welfare system. Point of Engagement (POE) is a collaborative family- and community-centered approach initiated in Compton, a regional office in Los Angeles County that serves south Los Angeles, a predominantly African American and Hispanic/Latino area. Over the past two years, the POE has been implemented in the Compton area by providing more thorough investigations, engaging families, and delivering needed services to children and families within their homes and communities. POE has demonstrated a reduction in the number of children removed from their families, an increase in the number of children returned to their families within one year, and an increase in the number of children finding legal permanency.
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- Closing: Gaps in Research and Public Policies
Robert B. Hill
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Vol. 87, No. 1
- Children With Problematic Sexualized Behaviors in the Child Welfare System
Amy J. L. Baker, Len Gries, Mel Schneiderman, Rob Parker, Marc Archer, and Bill Friedrich
- This study assessed the utility of the Child Sexual Behavior Inventory (CSBI) in a child welfare sample. In this study, 97 children from ages 10 to 12 from either foster boarding homes or a residential treatment center participated. Researchers interviewed foster parents or primary therapists about children’s sexual behavior, traumatic events, clinical symptoms, and their attitudes toward the child. Findings revealed that problematic sexualized behaviors were more prevalent in the residential treatment center (RTC) sample than they were in a normative sample. The pattern of associations between sexual behavior problems, traumatic events, and clinical syndromes in both the RTC and the foster boarding home (FBH) samples was similar to what has been found in samples in which biological custodial parents were the respondents. Analyses comparing youth who met the criterion for having problematic sexualized behaviors and youth who did not meet the criterion revealed that the two groups differed on clinical symptoms, prior traumatic events, and negative reports by caregivers. Results confirm the utility of the CSBI measure for this population and highlight several important clinical and programmatic concerns for addressing problematic sexual behavior in children in the child welfare system.
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- The Role of Interagency Collaboration for Substance-Abusing Families Involved With Child Welfare
Beth L. Green, Anna Rockhill, and Scott Burrus
- Meeting the needs of families who are involved with the child welfare system because of a substance abuse issue remains a challenge for child welfare practitioners. In order to improve services to these families, there has been an increasing focus on improving collaboration between child welfare, treatment providers, and the court systems. This paper presents the results from qualitative interviews with 104 representatives of these three systems that explore how the collaborative process works to benefit families, as well as the barriers and supports for building successful collaborations. Results indicate that collaboration has at least three major functions: building shared value systems, improving communication, and providing a “team” of support. Each of these leads to different kinds of benefits for families as well as providers and has different implications for building successful collaborative interventions. Despite these putative benefits, providers within each system, however, continue to struggle to build effective collaborations, and they face such issues as deeply ingrained mistrust and continued lack of understanding of other systems’ values, goals, and perspectives. Challenges that remain for successful collaborations are discussed.
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- Safety, Family, Permanency, and Child Well-Being: What We Can Learn From Children
Adair Fox, Jill Duerr Berrick, and Karie Frasch
- This study is an attempt to infuse into discussions about system accountability the notion that children can speak to issues of safety, family, permanency, and well-being in child welfare. The study utilized a cross-sectional survey design involving in-home, semistructured interviews with children ages 6 to 13 in two urban California counties. Of the 100 children who participated in face-to-face interviews, 59 were living with kin caregivers and 41 were living with nonkin. Standardized instruments and measures developed specifically for this study were employed. Findings indicate that while children assess their homes as safe, neighborhood conditions are often challenging. A significant proportion of children reveal less than optimal relationships with their caregivers, and many experience feelings of impermanence. Nevertheless, children report positive regard for the caregiving they receive and are optimistic about the future. Implications for practice and research are addressed.
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- The Climate of Child Welfare Employee Retention
Helen Cahalane and Edward W. Sites
- This article describes differences in perceptions of the child welfare work environment among Title IV-E educated individuals who remain within public child welfare and those who sought employment elsewhere after fulfilling a legal work commitment. Job satisfaction, emotional exhaustion, and personal accomplishment were predictive of staying versus leaving. The empirical evidence suggests that efforts to retain highly skilled and educated public child welfare workers should focus on creating positive organizational climates within agencies.
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- African American Males in Foster Care and the Risk of Delinquency: The Value of Social Bonds and Permanence
Joseph P. Ryan, Mark F. Testa, and Fuhua Zhai
- Juvenile delinquency remains a significant problem for child welfare systems throughout the United States. Victims of child abuse and neglect are more likely relative to children in the general population to engage in delinquency (Ryan & Testa, 2005; Widom, 1989). Although the magnitude of this relationship is not fully understood (Zingraff, Leiter, Myers, & Johnsen, 1993), the risk of delinquency is particularly high for African American males, adolescents, and children in substitute care settings. Unfortunately little is known about the factors that connect the experiences of maltreatment and delinquency. This lack of knowledge makes it nearly impossible to decrease the risk of delinquency for children in foster care. To improve the understanding of juvenile delinquency in the child welfare system, the current study tests aspects of social control theory within the context of foster care. We focus specifically on the effects of foster parent-foster child attachment, commitment, and permanence. The results indicate that strong levels of attachment decrease the risk of delinquency for youth in foster care. Involvement with religious organizations also decreases the risk of delinquency. In contrast, perceptions of placement instability, placement with relatives, and school suspensions are associated with an increased risk of delinquency.
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- Child Abuse and Neglect in Cambodian Refugee Families: Characteristics and Implications for Practice
Janet Chang, Siyon Rhee, and S. Megan Berthold
- This study examines the characteristics and patterns of child maltreatment among Cambodian refugee families in Los Angeles and assesses the implications for child welfare practice with Cambodian refugee families. Data were extracted from 243 active Cambodian case files maintained by the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services (LAC-DCFS). Some of the major findings include (1) Cambodian child maltreatment cases were most frequently reported to the LAC-DCFS among various Asian Pacific ethnic groups; (2) Cambodian refugee families were more likely to be charged with neglect, while their Asian Pacific counterparts were more likely charged with physical abuse; (3) the circumstance under which maltreatment occurred most frequently was parental substance abuse and mental illness; and (4) while fathers who maltreated their child were likely to use alcohol, mothers were also more likely to have a mental health problem such as depression. This study suggests the importance of collaboration between Child Protective Service agencies, substance abuse programs, traditional healers, mental health services, and other social service agencies for effective child abuse prevention and intervention efforts.
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Vol. 86, No. 6
- Youth Characteristics Associated with Behavioral and Mental Health Problems During the Transition to Residential Treatment Centers: The Odyssey Project Population
Amy J. L. Baker, Marc Archer, and Patrick Curtis
- This study aimed to determine what youth characteristics were associated with emotional and behavioral problems exhibited within the first three months of placement in residential treatment centers (RTCs) in a sample of youth from 20 agencies in 13 states. Two primary research questions were addressed: 1) What characteristics were associated with behavior during the transition to care? 2) Were the characteristics associated with behavior during the transition the same for boys and girls? Data were drawn from the Time 1 phase of the longitudinal national Odyssey Project dataset developed by the Child Welfare League of America. Measures included an extensive child and family characteristics (CFC) form and the Achenbach Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL). The results revealed significant gender-specific patterns of associations between youth characteristics and behavior exhibited during the transition to RTC placement. Notably, a sexual abuse history was associated with Externalizing for girls and Internalizing for boys and entering on psychotropic medication was associated with Internalizing for girls and boys and Externalizing for boys only. Results suggest many avenues for refining practice.
- Child Welfare Workplace: The State of the Workforce and Strategies to Improve Retention
Maria Scannapieco and Kelli Connell-Carrick
- Child welfare systems throughout the United States are being closely scrutinized as sensational cases appear in the media in nearly every state. At the federal level, with the Child and Family Service Review process, the government is documenting that states across the country are not conforming to federal child welfare requirements (DHHS, 2007) put in place to ensure the safety and well-being of children. One of the most crucial underlying causes of these inadequacies is a workforce that lacks the manpower for the tasks it confronts. To meet performance standards for the seven major Adoption and Safe Family Act child welfare safety outcomes, child protection agencies must stop the outward flow of staff from the workplace. This paper presents a study examining correlates related to retention. It was found supervisors and co-workers play a crucial role in the retention of workers. Strategies are presented aimed at assisting states in ways to slow the turnover rate of workers in child welfare.
- Social Networks, Informal Child Care, and Inadequate Supervision by Mothers
- The purpose of this study is to determine whether less informal child care support from family and friends is related to supervisory neglect, and if there is a relationship, to test several explanations for why some mothers receive less child care. Thirty-two low-income mothers who did not adequately supervise their children were matched to 32 mothers who provided adequate supervision. The results showed the mothers who provided inadequate supervision received less child care support from their partners and relatives, but not their friends. These differences appear to be linked to several properties of the mothers’ social networks. For example, the majority of the mothers who provided inadequate supervision either did not have a partner or knew them for less than one year. They had fewer family members living nearby and more negative relationships with them than the mothers who provided adequate supervision. To reduce chronic supervisory neglect, mothers may need assistance with both informal and formal child care support.
- The Training Process of the Maryland Guardianship Assistance Project: A Collaborative Model for Kinship Foster Care
Pamela L. Thornton, Joshua N. Okundaye, and Donna Harrington
- Understanding models of multidisciplinary collaborations in child welfare has become essential for policy development, program success, and improving outcomes for children in foster care. The authors present the state of Maryland’s Guardianship Assistance Project (GAP) as a model of multidisciplinary collaboration in child welfare and describe the training process that supported the development of the model. Key components for effective collaborative practice, lessons learned, and recommendations from the GAP collaboration are presented.
- Outcomes of a Randomized Trial of Continuum of Care Services for Children in a Child Welfare System
E. Wayne Holden, Susan Rousseau O’Connell, Qinghong Liao, Anna Krivelyova, Tim Connor, Gary M. Blau, and Dorian Long
- The Connecticut Department of Children and Families Title IV-E waiver demonstration evaluated whether the well-being of children approved for residential mental health services could be improved, and lengths of stay in restrictive placements reduced, by providing case rate payments to community agencies to provide continuum of care services. Children between ages 7 and 15 were randomly assigned to either the demonstration group (n = 78) or to usual state-supported services (n = 79). One-year outcome results indicated that in a situation that is less costly, improvement in outcomes occurred in less restrictive settings. Continuum of care services were more effective in 1) returning children to in-home placements, 2) reducing the length of stay in restrictive placements, and (3) utilizing higher levels of case management through coordination among agencies and family support services.
- Shaping Child Welfare Policy Via Performance Measurement
- Performance measurement is generally depicted as a neutral, technical exercise providing objective data for decision-making. But it also has a normative role in framing policy problems and solutions. This article explores the role of indicators in shaping child welfare, comparing stated policy with performance indicator regimes in England. It shows how indicators construct child welfare narrowly as investigation and placement, contradicting the more comprehensive family support approaches of policy and legislation.
Vol. 86, No. 5 Special Issue: Effectively Addressing Mental Health Issues in Child Welfare Practice
- Edited by
Members of the Mental Health Advisory Board
- This volume is dedicated to advances in policies, programs, and practices for effectively addressing the mental health issues in child welfare practice, and it reflects CWLA’s and the Mental Health Advisory Board’s commitment to ensuring children and their families receive effective mental health services that lead to their optimal well-being.
- Creating More Trauma-Informed Services for Children Using Assessment-Focused Tools
Robyn Igelman, Nicole Taylor, Alicia Gilbert, Barbara Ryan, Alan Steinberg, Charles Wilson, and Gail Mann
- This article promotes integrating assessment and evidence-based practice in the treatment of traumatized children through a review of two newly developed trauma assessment tools: (1) the Child Welfare Trauma Referral Tool (CWT), and (2) Assessment-Based Treatment for Traumatized Children: A Trauma Assessment Pathway Model (TAP). These tools use pathways and algorithms to increase understanding of individual child trauma victims, and assist professionals working with children to make appropriate referral and treatment decisions within both child welfare and mental health contexts.
- Mental Health Assessment of Infants in Foster Care
Judith Silver and Sheryl Dicker
- Infants placed in foster care are at high risk for emotional and behavioral problems. Assessment of their mental health must account for their often-adverse life experiences prior to placement and the involvement of multiple systems that shape their lives in lieu of parents’ authority. This article presents practice guidelines for infant mental health evaluations with consideration of legal requirements and the unique issues conferred by foster care.
- The Influence of Family Environment on Mental Health Need and Service Use Among Vulnerable Children
Richard Thompson, Michael A. Lindsey, Diana J. English, Kristin M. Hawley, Sharon Lambert, and Dorothy C. Browne
- Children in child welfare are especially likely to have unmet mental health needs. The role of family factors in children’s use of mental health services was examined in a longitudinal sample of 1,075 maltreated or at-risk children. Vulnerable family environment (poor family functioning, low social support, and caregiver psychological distress) is an important predictor of children’s mental health needs. It also predicts them not having these needs met.
- Effectively Addressing Mental Health Issues in Child Welfare Practice: The Family Connection
- Nonprofit family-run organizations, such as Tennessee Voices for Children (TVC), are providing leadership in advocating for and delivering services to children and families in need. Utilizing a family-driven approach and a staff partially comprised of parent-professionals, TVC’s Nashville Connection and Family Connection programs have strengthened families by providing alternatives to state custody for children and families living with serious emotional or behavioral problems. TVC’s Nashville Connection and Family Connection programs did this by coordinating support services, building community bridges, and providing comprehensive in-home services.
- Effectively Addressing Mental Health Issues in Permanency-Focused Child Welfare Practice
Laura A. Ornelas, Deborah N. Silverstein, and Sherylle Tan
- Children and families built by adoption or relative caregiving have specialized needs. This paper proposes a rubric for the central elements of permanency-focused mental health services in child welfare practice. Kinship Center provides an innovative mental health service delivery system, weaving foster and adoptive placement programs, adoption specialty Wraparound1, and a relative caregiver support program into its permanency-focused children’s clinics. Named a ‘promising practice’ in child behavioral health services (McCarthy & McCullough, 2003), Kinship Center’s mental health clinics are publicly funded and are a significant contribution to a managed care behavioral health approach in three diverse California counties. Six years of clinical outcomes data provide promising preliminary information for the field.
- Fostering Healthy Futures: An Innovative Preventive Intervention for Preadolescent Youth in Out-of-Home Care
Heather N. Taussig, Sara E. Culhane, and Daniel Hettleman
- Fostering Healthy Futures (FHF) is a randomized, controlled trial of an innovative preventive intervention for preadolescent youth (ages 9-11) placed in out-of-home care. The program is designed to promote child well-being by identifying and addressing mental health issues, preventing adolescent risk behaviors, and promoting competence. This paper describes the design, implementation, and uptake of the FHF program as well as our approaches to the challenges of conducting research-based prevention work within a child welfare setting.
- Reducing Transfers of Children in Family Foster Care Through Onsite Mental Health Interventions
Carmen Collado and Paul Levine
- This article describes a successful pilot project in New York City that effectively reduced the number of transfers or replacements of children in family foster care through the placement of mental health clinicians onsite at two foster care agencies.
- Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports: Using Strength-Based Approaches to Enhance the Culture of Care in Residential and Day Treatment Education Environments
Thomas Kalke, Ann Glanton, and Maria Cristalli
- Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports model, first introduced into public schools, has been extended to alternative settings. This article highlights applying PBIS to day treatment and residential treatment education programs increasingly challenged to serve seriously emotionally disturbed youth whose risk factors have become more complex. The results demonstrate a more positive environment enhancing children’s treatment and education along with decreasing numbers of safety holds and need for out-of-classroom supports.
- Psychotropic Medication Management for Youth in State Care: Consent, Oversight, and Policy Considerations
Michael W. Naylor, Christine V. Davidson, D. Jean Ortega-Piron, Arin Bass, Alice Gutierrez, and Angela Hall
- The use of psychotropic medications in youth with emotional disturbances in state custody is increasing and presents unique challenges concerning consent and oversight. We examine various means that state child welfare agencies use to provide consent for and oversight of psychotropic medications for children in state custody and describe benefits of a consent process that provides for expert consultation to the child welfare agency and prescribing clinicians, case-specific and systemic oversight of psychotropic medication use, and education for stakeholders.
Vol. 86, No. 4
- Racial Disparity in Minnesota’s Child Protection System
Erik P. Johnson, Sonja Clark, Matthew Donald, Rachel Pedersen, and Catherine Pichotta
- Minnesota has been recognized by several studies as a state with a significant amount of racial disparity in its child protection system. This study, using 2001 data from Minnesota’s Social Services Information Service, was conducted to determine at which of the six decision points in Minnesota’s child welfare system racial disparities are statistically significant. The authors employ a nested model to examine a child’s journey through the Minnesota child protection system. Using binary logistic regression, they are able to determine the odds that a child belonging to a particular racial or ethnic group would progress to the next decision point.
- Addressing the Impact of Foster Care on Biological Children and Their Families
Maha N. Younes and Michele Harp
- This study explores from a dual perspective the impact of the fostering process on biological children in the home. Ten foster parents and their biological children were interviewed separately. The impact of foster care on the psychological, educational, and social well-being of biological children and their relationship with parents and siblings were examined. The exploration reveals a paradoxical and life-changing process as seen through the eyes of biological children and their parents.
- Mothers’ Strategies for Protecting Children from Batterers: The Perspectives of Battered Women Involved in Child Protective Services
Wendy L. Haight, Woochan S. Shim, Linda M. Linn, and Laura Swinford
- During in-depth, individual interviews, seventeen battered women involved in the public child welfare system discussed the effects of domestic violence on their children, and their strategies for protecting and supporting them. Most mothers articulated the detrimental effects of domestic violence on their children and coherent strategies to protect them physically, but described difficulties supporting young children psychologically. Collectively, mothers reported a number of apparently useful strategies for supporting children’s psychological resilience. Implications for intervention are discussed.
- Immigrant Families and Public Child Welfare: Barriers to Services and Approaches for Change
- This article describes the results of two focus groups of immigrant parents who recently experienced child protective investigations in New York City. The purpose of this study was: 1) to hear immigrant parents describe their experiences with child welfare services, 2) to identify barriers to services these parents encountered, and 3) advocate for changes in policy, program, and practice so that public child welfare services can effectively address the special needs of immigrant families, children, and youth. Barriers to child welfare services identified by immigrant parents in this study were caseworker’s lack of knowledge about immigration status, cultural misunderstanding, and language access issues. Recommendations for addressing these barriers are offered.
- What Criteria Do Child Protective Services Investigators Use to Substantiate Exposure to Domestic Violence?
- The primary purpose of this study is to determine whether child protective services investigators apply a recognizable set of criteria to substantiate batterers and victims of battering for exposing their children to domestic violence. Although domestic violence occurred in 35% of the 1,248 substantiated incidents of child maltreatment, only 31 (7.1%) couples were investigated for exposing a child to domestic violence or failing to protect a child from domestic violence. All of the batterers investigated and in the caregiver role when their children were exposed to domestic violence were substantiated. The unsubstantiated victims of battering tended to use more protective behaviors (M=3.82) than the substantiated victims (M=2.00); yet, at the case level, using more than one protective behavior did not seem to be a criterion used to substantiate the victims. Instead, it appears that investigators were discriminating between those protective behaviors by the victims that ended contact between the batterers and the children-for a substantial amount of time-and those that did not in both the substantiation and removal decision. Key issues related to applying criteria in incidents involving domestic violence are discussed along with recommendations to further refine and document them.
The tables for this article appeared incorrectly in the July/August issue. They will be reprinted in our November/December issue.
- Improving Healthcare for Children Entering Foster Care
Christina Risley-Curtiss and Belva Stites
- Despite the fact that children in foster care are, perhaps, the most vulnerable children, healthcare for them has been lacking woefully for many years. A growing body of research has documented the need for such care as well as the failure of child welfare agencies to make major improvements in providing healthcare to foster children. Nonetheless, current efforts are being made to change this situation. This article reports on one effort to improve the provision and timeliness of health exams for children entering care. One rural and one urban county served as project treatment sites, with two additional rural and urban counties serving as control sites. The treatment sites achieved a statistically significant improvement in their rate of exam completion as compared to the control sites. The study finds that despite an existing policy for healthcare for children entering foster care, legislation mandating additional efforts, shortened time frames, and provision for judicial oversight are needed for improvement.
Vol. 86, No. 3
- Partitioning the Adoption Process to Better Predict Permanency
Tom McDonald, Alan Press, Peggy Billings, and Terry Moore
- Under federal outcome standards established by the Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997, discharges to adoption are expected to occur within 24 months of the most recent removal from home for at least 32% of cases. In the research recounted here, adoption is treated as a process composed of two discrete steps: adoptive placement, and adoption finalization. It was hypothesized that the predictors of completion may differ for each step, offering direction for practice and policy. Predictors included child characteristics, maltreatment history, placement history, system variables, and service delivery variables. Children’s adoption event history was viewed through five annual entry cohorts, including all children with adoption case plans, rather than the exit cohorts of the federal measure, which includes only adopted children. Over this five-year period, the length of time from removal to adoption finalization decreased significantly, primarily as a result of decreased time from adoption placement to finalization. Child and family characteristics and abuse/neglect history were found to be much more predictive in the analysis of timely adoption placement than of time from placement to finalization. These and other significant predictors suggest strategies for improving timely adoption outcomes.
- An Exploratory Study of Drug-exposed Infants: Case Substantiation and Subsequent Child Maltreatment
An-Pyng Sun, Margaret P. Freese, and Mark Fitzgerald
- This study explores factors related to drug-exposed infants’ case substantiation and subsequent child maltreatment. Child protective services computerized administrative data (from January 1998 to October 2001) were obtained from an urban Nevada county. The data included 457 drug-exposed infant cases. Chi-square, t-test, one-way ANOVA, and logistic regression were used to analyze the data. Results indicate that: (1) drug-exposed infant case substantiation was related to type of drug exposure and the unit to which the case was assigned, but not to the mother’s ethnicity; and (2) subsequent maltreatment among drug-exposed infants was related to the mother’s age and prior parental alcohol abuse, but not to the type of drug exposure, nor to the initial drug-exposed infant status of case substantiation. Implications for child welfare practice and research are discussed.
- Family Group Decision Making and Disproportionality in Foster Care: A Case Study
David Crampton and Wendy Lewis Jackson
- Research on the disproportionate number of children of color in the child welfare system suggests that we should focus on key decision points such as investigations, substantiations, and placements to understand how experiences of children vary by race and ethnicity. This article describes one community’s efforts to use Family Group Decision Making in placement decisions to reduce disproportionality in foster care by diverting children from regular foster care services and keeping them within their extended families.
- Characteristics of Difficult-to-Place Youth in State Custody: A Profile of the Exceptional Care Pilot Project Population
Marilyn P. Armour and James Schwab
- This study examines the characteristics of Texas youth designated as ‘most difficult to place’ recipients of service under the “Exceptional Care Pilot Project” (N = 46). Findings include, among others, high levels of comorbid psychiatric disturbance (> 3 diagnostic groupings), physical (78.3%) and sexual (88%) maltreatment, and placement breakdowns (m = 4.8 therapeutic placements). This initial profile of the population provides a base for helping other states identify and plan for the needs of their most troubled youth.
- Mental Health and Behavioral Problems of Youth in the Child Welfare System: Residential Treatment Centers Compared to Therapeutic Foster Care in the Odyssey Project Population
Amy J.L. Baker, David Kurland, Patrick Curtis, Gina Alexander, and Cynthia Papa-Lentini
- This is the first multisite, prospective study of behavioral and mental health disorders of youth in residential treatment centers (RTC) and therapeutic foster care (TFC), and the first study to compare the two. This study addressed two questions in a sample of 22 agencies in 13 states: (1) how prevalent were emotional and behavioral disorders in the youth admitted to RTCs and TFC?, and (2) were the youth in RTCs significantly more likely to be disturbed than youth served in TFCs? Data were drawn from the Time 1 phase of the longitudinal national “Odyssey Project” developed by the Child Welfare League of America (1995). Measures included an extensive child and family characteristics form (CFC) and the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL). The results revealed extremely high levels of behavioral and mental health disorders in the sample as a whole, well above the norms for a non-child welfare population. The prevalence of disorder in the RTC population was substantially greater than in the TFC population.
- Methamphetamine and the Changing Face of Child Welfare: Practice Principles for Child Welfare Workers
- Methamphetamine use and production is changing child welfare practice. Methamphetamine is a significant public health threat (National Institute of Justice, 1999) reaching epidemic proportions (Anglin, Burke, Perrochet, Stamper, & Dawud-Nouris, 2000). The manufacturing of methamphetamine is a serious problem for the child welfare system, yet child welfare has not addressed the needs of children living in homes where methamphetamine is manufactured (U.S. Department of Justice, 2002; DOJ, 2003; Altshuler, 2005). This article presents key issues for child welfare workers related to the use, production, and effects of methamphetamine on children and families, and identifies practice principles for child welfare workers in order to ensure safety for victims, parents, and workers themselves.
Vol. 86, No. 2 Special Issue: Adoption
- Sibling Kinnections: A Clinical Visitation Program
Joyce Maguire Pavao, Melissa St. John, Rebecca Ford Cannole, Tara Fischer, Anthony Maluccio, and Suzanne Peining
- The growing literature on sibling relationships throughout their lifespans is of great importance to those working in the child welfare system, and in adoption services in particular. Sibling bonds are important to all of us, but they are particularly vital to children from disorganized or dysfunctional families. These relationships assume even greater importance when children from these families enter the care system. Supporting and sustaining sibling bonds should be, and most often is, a priority throughout the child welfare system, with practice literature providing guidelines for arranging and sustaining sibling contact. However, children in the care system may also have dysfunctional sibling relationships as a result of their early experiences, and sibling visitation alone may not be enough to ensure a healthy, long-lasting relationship among siblings. Some form of sibling therapy, or ‘clinically supervised visitation,’ may be required to help children remove the barriers to form mutually satisfying relationships and to reinforce life-long relationships with each other.
- Adoption Now: A Joint Initiative of New York’s Courts and Child Welfare System
Kathleen R. DeCataldo and Karen Carroll
- In November 2002, Chief Judge Judith Kaye attended the National Adoption Day festivities in Albany County and New York County (Manhattan). Although pleased that 600 adoptions were being finalized statewide on this special day, she was concerned to learn more than 6,000 other children were free for adoption but had not yet found permanent families. Judge Kaye reached out to New York State Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) Commissioner John A. Johnson and New York City Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) then-Commissioner William Bell to come together and begin a discussion to identify and resolve systemic barriers to adoption. At a press conference in May 2003, Chief Judge Kaye, Governor Pataki, New York City Mayor Bloomberg, and Judges and Commissioners representing counties from across the state announced the Adoption Now initiative that set a goal of finalizing adoptions for 5,000 children (3800 in New York City and 1200 upstate) by the end of 2003.
- Making MEPA-IEP Work: Tools for Professionals
Ruth McRoy, Maryanne Mica, Madelyn Freundlich, and Joe Kroll
- The Multiethnic Placement Act of 1994 and the Interethnic Adoption Provisions of 1996 (MEPA-IEP) require states to develop plans that “provide for the diligent recruitment of potential foster and adoptive families that reflect the ethnic and racial diversity of children in the state for whom foster and adoptive homes are needed.” This paper explores the background of MEPA-IEP, describes the disparate outcomes for minority children in the child welfare system, and identifies agency challenges in finding permanent families for African American children. Tools are provided for successfully recruiting families while following MEPA-IEP and avoiding potentially discriminatory practices in placement decisionmaking.
- Assessing Lesbian and Gay Prospective Foster and Adoptive Families: A Focus on the Home Study Process
Gerald P. Mallon
- Foster care and adoption by gay men and lesbians is not a new phenomenon. Children and youth have always been placed by states and public agencies in homes with gay and lesbian parents. Some gay men and lesbians have fostered or adopted children independently from private agencies or have made private adoption arrangements with individual birthmothers, while others have fostered or adopted through the public system. Drawing on research literature, practice wisdom from 31 years of child welfare experiences, and case examples, this article offers child welfare professionals guidelines for competent assessment with prospective foster or adoptive parents who identify as lesbian or gay.
- Strengthening Adoption Practice, Listening to Adoptive Families
Anne Atkinson and Patricia Gonet
- In-depth interviews with 500 adoptive families who received postadoption services through Virginia’s Adoptive Family Preservation (AFP) program paint a richly detailed picture of the challenges adoptive families face and what they need to sustain adoption for many years after finalization. Findings document the need for support in a variety of forms, including respite, counseling, and information. Numerous implications for strengthening adoption practice through effective training and technical assistance are discussed.
- Supporting Child Welfare Supervisors to Improve Worker Retention
- Recent child welfare research has identified supervisors as key to retaining qualified and committed workers. This paper describes implementation of a federally funded child welfare training initiative designed to improve worker retention largely through developing, implementing, and evaluating a statewide supervisor training program in a Midwestern state. Unique to this collaborative effort was involving all child welfare supervisors in identifying needed content components, developing competencies, and conducting self-assessments.
- A Comparative Evaluation of Preservice Training of Kinship and Nonkinship Foster/Adoptive Families
Brian Christenson and Jerry McMurtry
- In 2003, Idaho selected the Foster PRIDE/Adopt PRIDE preservice training and resource family development program. PRIDE participants (n=228) completed a pre and posttest survey based on the PRIDE training competencies in 2004-2005. Results indicate that PRIDE is an effective training and resource family development program. Providing and evaluating foster/adoptive parent preservice training programs can assist child welfare programs in making a positive difference in the lives of families and children involved in the child welfare system while increased cost-savings by retaining foster/adoptive families over time.
- Home Study Methods for Evaluating Prospective Resource Families: History, Current Challenges, and Promising Approaches
Thomas M. Crea, Richard P. Barth, and Laura K. Chintapalli
- Every state requires a home study before the placement of foster children for adoption. This article examines the history of home studies, presents results from expert interviews on the changing processes and purposes of home studies, and explores current challenges for the field. The article also introduces the Structured Analysis Family Evaluation (SAFE), a uniform home study format that encourages consistent family evaluations across workers, agencies, and jurisdictions. The article clarifies how SAFE may address challenges facing foster care and adoption practice.
Vol. 86, No. 1
- Characteristics of Children in Residential Treatment in New York State
Nan Dale, Amy J.L. Baker, Emily Anastasio, and Jim Purcell
- This study addresses three questions about the population of children and families served in the highest level of care in the child welfare system in New York State residential treatment centers (RTCs): (1) How prevalent are emotional and behavioral problems in the youth entering RTCs? (2) Has the proportion of youth with such problems increased compared to ten years ago? (3) Are there identifiable subgroups of youth entering RTCs? One-fourth of RTC admissions in FY 2001 were randomly selected from a representative sample of 16 RTCs. The study completed standardized data collection instrument based on a review of agency records, and included information that was known at the time each child was admitted. The results show significant increases compared to ten years earlier in the proportion of youth with mental health problems and juvenile justice backgrounds. The findings suggest that youth who traditionally have been served by other systems of care are now being served in the child welfare system. The increased treatment needs of these youth and the heterogeneity of the RTC population have important implications for policies, programs, and practice.
- Birthfamilies as permanency resources for children in long-term foster care
Susan C. Mapp and Cache Steinberg
- Provisions of the Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997 mandated shorter time frames for making permanency decisions and facilitating adoption. Yet for many children, foster care continued to be a significant portion of their life experiences. This project explored the potential permanency option of birthfamilies and extended kin for children who languished in foster care while being free for adoption. Eighteen children achieved permanent placement with their birthfamilies. In addition, staff found that although many families could not provide permanent placements, they could offer appropriate relationships with the children. This project team recommends viewing family relationships as an integral component where placement is one option on a continuum that includes letters, phone calls, and visits.
- Organizational Constructs as Predictors of Effectiveness in Child Welfare Interventions
Jane Yoo, Devon Brooks, and Rino Patti
- Organizational context, including line-worker characteristics and service settings, may help explain the equivocal findings of intervention studies in the field of child welfare. Yet organizational context has been largely ignored in studies of child welfare interventions. The purpose of this article is to expound upon the likely role of the organizational context in explaining service effectiveness in child welfare. Several bodies of literature within child welfare and human service organization and administration are reviewed and synthesized. A conceptual framework that can be used to guide future child welfare research is then proposed.
- A Clinical Consultation Model for Child Welfare Supervisors
Virginia C. Strand and Lee Badger
- This article presents findings from a consultation project conducted by faculty from six schools of social work with approximately 150 child welfare supervisors over a two-year period. The purpose of the program was to assist supervisors with their roles as educators, mentors, and coaches for casework staff, specifically in relationship to case practice decisions. The consultation model, the development of the curriculum, the project implementation, and the results of the initial assessment are described.
- Improving Child Welfare Performance: Retrospective and Prospective Approaches
Dennis E. Zeller and Thomas J. Gamble
- Some of the key outcome measures used in the first federal Child and Family Service Reviews rely on retrospective cohorts and exclude key portions of the population from the analysis. Most discussions of this issue have focused on the extent to which retrospective measurement is a valid basis on which to judge states’ performance (Courtney, Needell, & Wulczyn, 2003). The analyses presented here suggest that in some instances the relative or comparative results of retrospective and prospective measurements exhibit few differences. On the other hand, the analyses also make clear that retrospective measurements have two serious deficiencies in relation to improving performance. First, they are likely to identify the wrong issues, and, second, even when they identify the correct issues they fail to provide information needed to improve performance. This article suggests some practical ways in which the information currently available to child welfare agencies can be used to correct these problems.
- Domestic Violence Screening and Service Acceptance Among Adult Victims in a Dependency Court Setting
James E. Rivers, Candice L. Maze, Stefanie A. Hannah, Cindy S. Lederman
- Many child welfare systems are unable to effectively identify and address co-occurring domestic violence and child maltreatment. In response, the Dependency Court Intervention Program for Family Violence implemented a protocol to identify indicators of domestic violence in families involved with child protection proceedings. This article highlights data that demonstrate the ability of an outreach and screening process to identify adult victims of domestic violence in dependency court and to offer them appropriate intervention services.
Vol. 85, No. 6
- Facilitating Visitation for Infants with Prenatal Substance Exposure
Caroline Long Burry and Lois Wright
- Permanency planning for infants with prenatal substance exposure is challenging due to characteristics of the infants and the ongoing substance use, or relapse of the parents. Visitation is a primary mechanism through which child welfare workers determine and support permanency planning. Productive use of visitation for permanency planning for infants with prenatal substance exposure is described, along with strategies for skillfully focusing visits on issues and needs relevant to this population.
- Parent-Child Interaction Therapy: Application of an Empirically Supported Treatment to Maltreated Children in Foster Care
Susan G. Timmer, Anthony J. Urquiza, Amy D. Herschell, Jean M. McGrath, Nancy M. Zebell, Alissa L. Porter, and Eric C. Vargas
- One of the more serious problems faced by child welfare services involves the management of children with serious behavioral and mental health problems. Aggressive and defiant foster children are more likely to have multiple foster care placements, require extraordinary social services resources, and have poor short- and long-term mental health outcomes. Interventions that work with challenging foster children and enhance foster parents’ skills in managing problem behaviors are needed. This article presents the successful results of a single case study examining the application of Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT) with an aggressive young boy and his foster-adoptive parent. PCIT is a dyadic intervention that has been identified as an empirically supported treatment for abused children and for children with different types of behavioral disruption. The application of PCIT to assist foster parents is a promising direction for child welfare services.
- The Impact of Serial Transitions on Behavioral and Psychological Problems Among Children in Child Protection Services
Marie-Christine Saint-Jacques, Richard Cloutier, Robert Pauzé, Marie Simard, Marie-Hélène Gagné, Amélie Poulin
- This study focuses on the impacts of serial transitions on externalized and internalized behavior disorders, anxiety, and depression among children in child protection services. The research was carried out with a sample of 741 children. The findings demonstrate that the number of times a family is blended is a stronger predictive factor for children’s adjustment than is the family structure at the time of the interview. In predicting externalized and internalized behavior problems among children, however, the effect of family structure disappears in favor of the variables associated with family functioning and family climate.
- The Relationship Between Child Disability and Living Arrangement in Child Welfare
Stephanie C. Romney, Alan J. Litrownik, Rae R. Newton, Anna Lau
- The influence of disabilities on placement outcomes was examined for 277 children who were removed from their biological parents due to substantiated maltreatment. Results indicated that children with a disability were less likely to reunify and more likely to reside in non-kin foster care two years later than typical children. Children with cognitive, emotional/behavioral, and physical disabilities were over four times more likely to be permanently living in non-kin foster care than to be reunified.
- An Analysis of Selected Measures of Child Well-Being for Use at School- and Community-Based Family Resource Centers
Mieko K. Smith and Carl F. Brun
- This article describes standardized instruments designed to measure physical and emotional health outcomes among children for a statewide implementation of community- and school-based family resource centers. It includes descriptive and psychometric information, and strengths and weaknesses of two measures of physical well-being and four measures of emotional and behavioral well-being, based on criteria selected by the evaluation team. The authors conclude by recommending those instruments that accommodated the evaluation goals of the family support programs.
- Adolescents’ Feelings about Openness in Adoption: Implications for Adoption Agencies
Jerica M. Berge, Tai J. Mendenhall, Gretchen M. Wrobel, Harold D. Grotevant, Ruth G. McRoy
- Adoption research commonly uses parents’ reports of satisfaction when examining openness in adoption arrangements. This qualitative study aimed to fill a gap in the adoption research by using adolescents’ voices to gain a better understanding of their adoption experiences. Adopted adolescents (n = 152) were interviewed concerning their satisfaction with the openness in their adoption arrangements with their birthmother. Results and implications are discussed in relation to how adoption agencies can use this information to further their work with adopted adolescents and their families and to understand more fully the recent trend towards adoption agencies offering more open adoption arrangements.
Vol. 85, No. 5
- Thinking Mindfully About Parenting and Parenting Education
- This volume is dedicated to advances in the theory, research, and practice of parenting education and support, and it reflects CWLA’s and the National Parenting Education Network’s focus on improving the lives of children by supporting the parents and care providers who nurture and guide them. The work of CWLA is well known to readers but that of the National Parenting Education Network (NPEN) may not be. In this introduction, NPEN’s vision, mission, and core principles are briefly described (see www.npen.org for further elaboration), and an overview of the articles included in this volume is provided.
- Parenting: A Relationship-Oriented and Competency-Based Process
- Parents have a complex task of guiding a specific child to maturity by using the opportunities offered by the environment, while avoiding its detrimental aspects. This article develops a theory of the parenting process that describes components of the parental role; situations where development and, thus, parenting occurs; the responsibility of parents in those situations; the attributes parents use to fulfill their role; and implications for professionals.
- Parents as Developing Adult Learners
Catherine Marienau and Joy Segal
- Drawing largely on the literature from adult learning and development, this article presents parents as continuous learners whose critical reflections on their experiences with parenting can be rich fodder for their growth and development. Theories and models are highlighted that may suggest a wider repertoire of approaches for helping professionals who are facilitating parents in their learning and growth.
- Competencies of a Parent Educator: What Does a Parent Educator Need To Know and Do?
- This article examines efforts by organizations and states to describe the competencies of a parent educator, to explain what parent educators teach parents through parent education, and to show how that informs parent educator competencies. It summarizes examples of certification, licensure, and other accountability programs, and identifies the issues involved, along with ways practitioners can use these identified competencies to assess their level of competency. Finally, the article concludes with a call to continue developing certification and other accountability programs to insure quality in parent education.
- Building a Professional Development System: A Case Study of North Carolina’s Parenting Education Experiences
George M. Bryan, Jr., Karen DeBord, and Karen Schrader
- Designing a professional development system for parent educators requires weaving together multiple pieces from within the network of organizations providing parenting education. North Carolina examined how to build a system using the influence of evidence-based programs as well as professional credentialing for parenting educators. A system built with professionals who understand sound parenting practices and networked together to use best practices with parents is critical to support families and prevent child abuse.
- Thinking Critically About the Internet: Suggestions for Practitioners
Nancy Martland and Fred Rothbaum
- Parents have a long history of seeking child-rearing in-formation in the popular media. This trend continues on the World Wide Web, with the number of parents online still on the rise. The Web offers speed, 24-hour access, and extremely large quantities of child rearing information. Although the availability of huge quantities of child-rearing information has many positive aspects, there is a serious risk of exposure to erroneous and potentially harmful information due to the absence of monitoring of online material. This article summarizes the literature on parents’ Web use and describes several steps that, if taken, will help to lessen the chance of parents’ exposure to risky online material. The steps include: making parents aware of the risks, providing them with sets of screened sites that they can trust, and teaching them a few simple Web skills to improve their searching and their assessment of sites’ trustworthiness.
- Trends in Popular Parenting Books and the Need for Parental Critical Thinking
- Parents continually struggle to find better ways to make decisions regarding their children, and many use popular parenting books. The purpose of this article is to discuss the critical thinking skills needed by parents and practitioners who work with parents to make informed parenting decisions influenced by popular media. It also addresses strategies on sleeping, cosleeping, feeding and toilet training in popular parenting books, and the corresponding empirical evidence found in the scientific literature.
- Parents and Their Young Adult Children: Transitions to Adulthood
Idy Barasch Gitelson and Dana McDermott
- This paper considers how parents are affected by and play a role in the lives of their young adult children. The years during which young people make the transition to adulthood has changed significantly in recent years- this transition now takes place over a longer period of time. We describe how young people experience these years; how they affect their parents and parent-child relationships; and how this time period is experienced by vulnerable youth.
- Closer to Home: Parent Mentors in Child Welfare
Edward Cohen and Linda Canan
- This article addresses the emerging use of parent mentors–parents who have successfully negotiated the child welfare system and provide support and advocacy to others. The theoretical justification, roles, and expected outcomes and benefits of parent mentors are explored. The organizational factors thought to be required for such programs are also described, drawing on the available literature and the practice experience of a recently implemented Parent Partners program in a county child welfare agency.
- Future Challenges for Parenting Education and Support
Harriet Heath and Glen Palm
- The authors of this special edition of Child Welfare have shared current shifts in perspective about parenting and parenting education that are raising some interesting challenges. We will first briefly review the shifts identified in the articles presented here. Second, we will raise questions about the implications of these shifts for the field of parenting education.
Vol. 85, No. 4
- Child Death Review Teams: A Vital Component of Child Protection
Neil J. Hochstadt
- The alarming number of children killed and seriously injured as a result of child maltreatment and neglect has led to increased calls for action. In response, interdisciplinary and multiagency child death review teams have emerged as an important component of child protection. Paradoxically, child death review teams are among the least visible and understood elements in efforts to protect children. This article examines the role and functions of child death review teams and their contributions to child welfare in practice, prevention, and policy.
- Indian Family Exception Doctrine: Still Losing Children Despite the Indian Child Welfare Act
Suzanne L. Cross
- Since 1982, the Indian Family Exception Doctrine has been circumventing the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978. Although not clearly defined, the doctrine has been pivotal in sever