Children's Voice November/
December 2008


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End Notes

Ready Resources

Child Welfare Information Gateway has expanded the Mental Health Services section of its website. This web section focuses on mental health as it relates to children and youth involved in the child welfare system, who may be at greater risk for mental health issues than children in the general population. The section, available online, is designed to provide information of interest to administrators involved with developing and funding mental health programs and to supervisors, caseworkers, and other related professionals who secure, provide, or monitor mental health treatment for children and families.

Adoption placements that move a child from one state to another must follow the guidelines of the Interstate Compact for the Placement of Children (ICPC), which is applicable in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The hitch is that the ICPC dates from the 1950s, and its age shows--many states are concerned with the compact's outdated administrative process and lack of accountability. In 2004, the American Public Human Services Association adopted a resolution calling for a rewrite of the ICPC, and has since created a website to track the progress of the new ICPC. Visit APHSA's website for updates, frequently asked questions, interstate placement data, state-by-state statutes, and other resources.

The Maternal and Child Health Library recently launched the Community Services Locator, an online clearinghouse for ways to find local services for a number of health concerns. The locator, provides information about search tools that may be helpful to those seeking child care/early childhood education, education/special needs, family support, financial support, health and wellness, and parenting services.

Dispatch from Abroad

Dr. Haider Maliki is a psychiatrist at the Central Pediatric Teaching Hospital in Baghdad. The government-run hospital is, according to an NPR report, the premiere pediatric care center in Iraq, but in the midst of a war-torn country, that is not the ringing endorsement it could be. Conditions at the hospital leave much to be desired.

Despite the fact that he has no specialized training to work with children, Maliki is the only federally employed child psychiatrist in Iraq. He taught himself, NPR reported, because he didn't see anyone else stepping up to focus on children's mental health. "I have no training," Maliki told NPR. "I didn't see any child psychiatry center outside Iraq. We told the ministry, we told the government. They say they have no money for the training."

He says he's already treated hundreds of children at Central Pediatric, according to the report, and expects there are hundreds more who need psychiatric care. Just like other Iraqi citizens, children have been exposed to the violence of war--many have been kidnapped, tortured, raped, or killed. Even those who are not the victims of physical violence are susceptible to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Maliki explained that children with PTSD may abuse drugs or alcohol, stop studying, or become violent themselves. In an interview with the BBC, Maliki said the problems of today will only compound with time. "Many of the children who have experienced trauma become very violent," he told the BBC. "They are violent towards their parents and they have no respect for their teachers. It will be a very violent generation."

He estimates more than 15% of Iraqi children show some signs of PTSD, NPR reported, and the problem continues to grow. In response, the government of Iraq recently agreed to fund a new clinic at the hospital. Maliki will lead the ward to treat children with psychological problems, including PTSD. The clinic opened in early September.

View the full NPR report. Watch Maliki's BBC interview.

Research Report

In 2007, the National Association of Counties (NACo) began a partnership with the Pew Charitable Trusts for an initiative to raise awareness of the difficulties faced by young adults who age out of foster care. NACo noted that counties operate the child welfare system in 13 states, and everywhere they provide the bulk of services that former foster youth need: housing, education, health care, training, and job placement. In Youth Aging Out of Foster Care: Identifying Strategies and Best Practices, an issue brief published earlier this year, NACo's County Services Research Division highlighted model programs in counties across the country. The brief is available online.

A timely report from policy center Zero to Three focuses on investments in early childhood development, and how they can become a different sort of economic stimulus. More and more, when economists discuss taking advantage of "human capital" through education and skills training, they highlight high-quality early childhood programs and the benefits they bring to society. Investing in Infants and Toddlers: The Economics of Early Childhood outlines current economic research, its application to the childhood development field, and ways that professionals from both areas can work together to better advocate for more investment in children and families. Click here to read the article.

The latest offering from the National Center for Children in Poverty's Research Connections project is a brief examining Demographics of Family, Friend, and Neighbor Care. The report asserts that family, friend, and neighbor (FFN) care is the most common form of nonparental care in the country; some statistics suggest that between one-third and one-half of children whose parents are employed experience FFN care. Despite that, its prevalence, role, and impact are not clearly understood, and this report examines the definitions, demographics, and methods behind FFN care. Read or download the report. For more about Research Connections, the National Center's free, web-based compendium of child care and early education information can be found online

Save the Date

Each November, one Saturday is designated as National Adoption Day. Courts and communities across America celebrate the occasion by finalizing adoptions for thousands of children and honoring all families who make the choice to adopt. Additionally, National Adoption Day seeks to raise awareness about the more than 100,000 children in foster care waiting to be adopted, encourage more families to adopt, highlight the availability and need for post-adoption services, and promote collaboration between adoption agencies, courts, and advocacy organizations.

National Adoption Day began in 2000 with nine events, and has only grown since: In 2007, 4,300 adoptions were finalized in more than 300 events in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. National sponsors are the Alliance for Children's Rights, Casey Family Services, Children's Action Network, Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute, the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, and the Freddie Mac Foundation.

Generally, National Adoption Day is recognized on the Saturday before Thanksgiving, but this year, the event has been rescheduled in respect for the nation's remembrance of the 45th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy's assassination on November 22. For 2009, the regular schedule will resume.

Visit www.nationaladoptionday.org for more information. Links are also available from CWLA.


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