Children's Voice Dec 2005

In This Issue...

Executive Directions
Parenting Pages
Management Matters
About Children's Voice

Eye on CWLA

Adults Earn Mediocre Grade from Teens

UCAN Teen Report Card With the tables turned and grade books in their hands, a sampling of teens across the United States gave adults an overall C grade for their progress on issues affecting teens.

For the seventh year, the Uhlich Children's Advantage Network (UCAN) in Chicago asked more than 1,000 teens ages 12-19 to grade adults in 22 subjects. Teens received the questions in the form of a mail survey, with the results weighted to reflect regional, ethnic, and gender distribution nationwide. CWLA helped conduct a focus group for the UCAN Teen Report Card in Washington, DC, and CWLA's Research Division provided long-term trending analysis of survey results.

Although the grades were fairly consistent geographically, adults in suburban areas earned somewhat higher grades than did their urban counterparts. Issues such as gang violence, drugs, neighborhood safety, and a host of other subjects led to lower scores for adults from urban teens. Latino and African American teens gave adults an average grade of C , whereas white teens graded adults at an even C.

Adults received Bs in providing quality education for young people, providing young people with safe places to live, creating job opportunities for the future, keeping schools safe from violence and crime, fighting AIDS, protecting teens and kids from gun violence, being honest, preventing child abuse, leading by example, making neighborhoods safer, and protecting young people from terrorism.

Adults received Cs for fighting the war on terrorism (dropping from a B last year); disciplinary tactics; combating prejudice and racism; preventing teens from running away; understanding the realities of teen sex; protecting the environment; protecting teens and kids from gun violence; stopping young people from drinking, smoking, and using drugs; getting rid of gangs; listening and understanding young people; helping young people cope with depression; and reducing bullying.

The only D grade was for a limited understanding of why teens run away from home.

"In a DC-based focus group, one young person gave adults in her life an F and complained that the opinions and ideas of young people such as herself don't matter to adults," says Shay Bilchik, CWLA's President and CEO. "With seven years of data and mediocre grades now under our belts, it has become increasingly clear that we have a long way to go in terms of respecting, valuing, and listening to the unique opinions and ideas of our nation's youth."

A full copy of the UCAN Teen Report Card is available online.

Organizations Foster One Cool Summer

Foster One Cool Summer For 1,300 children in foster care in Washington, DC's Child and Family Services Agency, last summer was more than just sleeping in and watching television. Capital One, in a partnership with CWLA, Casey Family Programs, the National Foster Care Coalition, and the National Foster Parent Association, sponsored the children's attendance at summer camps run by DC's parks and recreation program.

Highlighting the importance of people and programs that "change a lifetime for children in foster care," CWLA generated advertisements on National Public Radio and a full-page color ad in the Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call to promote Capital One's Fostering One Cool Summer program. A panel discussion at a downtown Washington restaurant formally announced the summer program and featured five foster care alumni, who spoke about how enrichment activities such as summer camp had improved their lives. CWLA President and CEO Shay Bilchik hosted the event.

CWLA is in the second year of its partnership with Capital One to promote foster care. In 2004, with CWLA's help, Capital One focused on recruiting foster parents by featuring information about foster parenting in some of its mailings, and by holding a nationally televised holiday ice skating program that highlighted the needs of kids in foster care. This year, Capital One's focus has been on Washington youth in foster care.

CWLA Program Trains Child Welfare Administrators

When the University of California, Davis, found itself in need of a training module on evidence-based practice for child welfare supervisors last spring, it turned to CWLA for assistance.

CWLA's Research to Practice (R2P) division pulled together a three-hour training module that includes a definition of evidence- based practice, a skills primer for the research consumer, and application of evidence using examples of practice in family engagement, assessment, and case planning.

This training module is now available for presentation by CWLA staff to other agencies. The training is appropriate not only for public agency supervisors, but can also be used in the private sector, for policymakers, and with administrators. "There is some latitude for tailoring it to the needs of a specific audience," says R2P Director Sue Steib.

For more information about the training module, contact Steib at 225/654-9347 or

Getting the Word Out About Meth Abuse

CWLA has been front and center in publicizing how methamphetamine abuse is increasingly putting children in harm's way. In July, President and CEO Shay Bilchik publicly commented on the release of two studies by the National Association of Counties (NACO) showing the effect of increased abuse of meth on law enforcement and child welfare.

"The last time we faced this kind of crisis around drug use was back in the 1980s with crack cocaine," Bilchik told Belo Broadcasting's Washington bureau. Belo owns the Dallas Morning News, the Providence Journal in Rhode Island, and the Press-Enterprise in Riverside, California, as well as 19 television stations nationwide, including WFAA in Dallas/Fort Worth, KING-TV in Seattle/Tacoma, and KTVK in Phoenix.

In the interview, Bilchik also noted that local governments need help with law enforcement, health care, drug abuse treatment, and child welfare services to combat the problem. "They need the resources staff-wise, training-wise, and treatment-wise," he said.

NACO's study included a survey of child welfare agencies. Of those responding, 40% reported an increase in out-of-home placements in the last year due to methamphetamine.

Also in response to the growing meth problem, CWLA has established an internal meth task force to develop policy recommendations and identify evidence-based best practices addressing meth abuse. One of the task force's first efforts was to assemble a wealth of data and information about how the drug is adversely affecting children, families, communities, and the child welfare system nationwide. CWLA presented this information during a Congressional hearing in July.

CWLA continued its focus on meth abuse during the fall by commencing a five-part teleconference series that runs through January 2006 about the effects that meth manufacture and use are having on the child welfare system and the creative responses of states and communities nationwide.

Author, Author

Recently published by CWLA members.

Beneath the Mask: Understanding Adopted Teens
By Debbie Riley MS, with John Meeks MD
Case studies and treatment considerations for therapists and parents, by the Executive Director of the Center for Adoption Support and Education (CASE), Silver Spring, Maryland, with the cofounder and President of The Foundation Schools, Rockville, Maryland. Available from CASE Publications (2005), $19.95.
 Available Online.

Management by Essay, Leading with Hope
By Dave Bradley, photographs by Tom Spitz
A series of short inspirational essays on a number of topics by the Executive Director of La Paloma Family Services, Tucson, Arizona. Published by Kino Publishing (2003), $12.95.
 Available Online.

Of Such Is the Kingdom: God's Legacy of Love
By Kay K. Ekstrom
The history of Christian Family Care Agency, Phoenix, Arizona, by its founder and CEO. (2004).
 Available Online.

Assessment Tool Now Available on CD

FAF Pro In an effort to make its resources more readily accessible, CWLA has published CD versions of the Family Assessment Form (FAF). Developed by Children's Bureau of Southern California, and marketed and distributed by CWLA, the CDs are software versions of the printed assessment tool first published by CWLA in 1997.

CWLA is selling three CD versions--a Trial CD, available for the cost of shipping and handling, as a free download from the Internet; a full Pro version; and an abbreviated Express version. The software allows agency staff to complete family assessments via computer. Each CD contains a limited number of assessments.

Additional assessments and upgrades for multiple sites are available directly from Children's Bureau--CWLA is selling the initial software CDs only. For more information, visit CWLA's website or, or call toll free 888/357-9135.

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