Children's Voice July/Aug 2006

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Eye on CWLA

Popular Workforce Study Now Available

The 2005 Salary Study, CWLA's popular child welfare workforce study is now available on CWLA's members-only website and can be purchased on CWLA's webstore. Published every two years, the Salary Study marks trends concerning the child welfare workforce.

For more than 20 years, the study has provided information about average salaries, broken down according to public and private agencies and by such categories as chief administrators, child protective services workers, residential workers, child day care staff, and research.

The survey covers education levels for the same categories of workers. For instance, the starting salary for a child protective service worker with a college degree working for a public agency ranged from a low of $24,410 to a high of $42,468; for private agencies, the range was $22,000-$65,981.

For residential child and youth workers with college degrees, starting salaries ranged from $14,560 to $43,835, in public agencies; private agencies in the same category had a starting salary range of $12,500-$33,177.

For child day care workers, the starting salary range for lead teachers was $16,000-$46,685. The survey also includes data on benefits structures and staffing level information.

CWLA member agencies can download the 2005 Salary Study online; member number and password are required to log in. Or go to www.cwla.org/pubs or call toll free 800/407-6273 to purchase a copy (Item number 10307, $28.95).

Addressing Indian Child Welfare and Meth Addiction

Few communities have escaped the effects of methamphetamine addiction on children and families--neither big cities, nor remote Indian reservations. Tribal nations, in particular, face unique challenges concerning meth, including the extreme distances separating tribal peoples from available services, a lack of appropriate activities for tribal youth, and insufficient law enforcement.

To support tribal child welfare, CWLA participated in a hearing on Capitol Hill before the Senate Indian Affairs Committee last spring to stress the necessity of increasing the partnership of federal, state, and tribal governments in planning and responding to meth.

CWLA submitted testimony on the effects of meth on the child welfare system and made a number of policy recommendations, including the guarantee that tribal representatives will be full partners in developing plans to combat meth use, specifically as it relates to child welfare. CWLA also requested passage of the Indian Child Protection and Family Violence Act, the reintroduction of the Child Protection/ Alcohol and Drug Partnership Act, and that tribal nations have full access to Title IV-E foster care, adoption assistance, and training funds.

Meth addiction is "causing challenges far beyond regular substance abuse addictions" for tribal nations, said Senator Byron Dorgan (D-ND) in announcing that he and Senator John McCain (R-AZ) were introducing legislation to expand the meth hot spots designation to tribal areas, and to make Drug Endangered Children (DEC) programs available to tribal communities. Currently, the Combat Meth Act, included in the Patriot Act, contains a $20 million allocation to support DEC programs, but this funding is not available for tribal governments.

Existing data on meth use affecting tribal communities is startling. The National Survey on Drug Use and Health shows that 1.7% of the American Indian/Alaska Native population reported meth use in the past year. This rate is only behind Native Hawaiians (1.9%) and those of two or more races (1.9%) as the highest rates of use, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Fewer than 1% of white, non-Hispanics reported using meth in the past year, even though meth addicts accounted for 73% of people entering treatment for substance abuse. Native Americans represented only 2.2% of people entering treatment due to meth use, SAMHSA data shows.

Making Child Welfare a Centerpiece on Capitol Hill

Last spring, CWLA and other leading national organizations began participating in a new Congressional briefing series designed to inform Senate and House staffers about the needs of children in the child welfare system.

"The impetus of the briefing series was a desire to shift to a more proactive approach in terms of our children's legislative agenda," says CWLA Government Affairs Codirector John Sciamanna. "The ultimate goal is to make children, particularly those in child welfare, a centerpiece of the November elections."

At the first briefing in March, CWLA's Government Affairs staff released two documents--Background of Child Welfare Services, which details population trends of child abuse, children in foster care, adoption rates, and youth transitioning from care, and Funding of Child Welfare Services, which provides an overview of all federal funding streams that support child welfare services and notes current funding levels. Electronic copies of these reports are available by e-mailing govaffairs@cwla.org.

At the same briefing, the Urban Institute presented findings from a survey, Cost of Protecting Children V: Understanding State Variation in Child Welfare Financing, documenting the amount states spent on child welfare activities in FY 2004 and what services the funds supported.

CWLA Publishes Monographs on Quality of Care for Vulnerable Children

Vulnerable families are often the most in need of multiple services and community supports to address their behavioral health needs. These needs often are exacerbated by larger social conditions such as poverty, racism, violence, and untreated trauma.

The solution lies in an integrated response, because no one child- or family-serving system has the resources to address person-specific issues and the larger social conditions that affect them.

In 2003 and 2004, CWLA and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation convened a series of three summits as a first step toward addressing this problem. The summits brought together the experience and expertise of a diverse range of stakeholders, including federal, state, and local officials; public and private service agencies; researchers and academics; and service consumers, including youth involved with the different systems and their families.

CWLA has posted on its website the second of two monographs--Integrating Systems of Care: Improving Quality of Care for the Most Vulnerable Children and Families--to support the development of a consensus agenda for systems-culture change. It outlines a detailed plan for change across these systems and identifies the steps necessary to implement this approach at the national, state, and local levels.

The first monograph, Improving the Quality of Care for the Most Vulnerable Children, Youth, and Their Families, addressed what we know and what we are learning to improve the quality of care for our most vulnerable children, youth, and families.

Both monographs are available online.

Coming Soon

November 13-15, 2006
 Finding Better Ways
Best Practice in Working with Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning Youth
Gaylord Opryland Hotel
Nashville, Tennessee

February 26-28, 2007
 CWLA National Conference
Children 2007: Rasing Our Voices for Children
Marriott Wardman Park
Washington, DC

Dates and locations subject to change. For more information on the CWLA calendar, including conference registration, hotels, programs, and contacts, visit our conference page, or contact CWLA's conference registrar at register@cwla.org or 202/942-0286.

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