Children's Voice Jan/Feb 2009

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CWLA Short Takes

Congressional Recognition

CWLA presented New York Congressman Charles B. Rangel (D) with the Champion for Children Award during a press conference in New York City at the end of October. The award is given to individuals who have made extraordinary contributions and advances to improving the lives of children and families. Rangel chairs the House Ways and Means Committee, which is involved in foster care, adoption assistance, and independent living issues. Additionally, Rangel also commissioned a report from the General Accounting Office to explore the disproportionate representation of African American children in foster care. He was also instrumental in the 110th Congress' passage of the Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008.

"Congressman Rangel's commitment and dedication to improving the lives of children and families has been an invaluable asset to CWLA and its member agencies throughout the country," CWLA President and CEO Christine James-Brown said when announcing the award.

Linda Spears, CWLA's Vice President of Public Policy and Public Affairs, presented the award to Rangel Thursday, October 30, at the Adam Clayton Powell State Office Building. Several member agencies were able to attend, including Children's Village, Children's Aid Society, MercyFirst, New York Foundling, Council of Family and Child Caring Agencies, and Jewish Board of Family and Children Services.

Hope in the New Administration

Less than a week after Sen. Barack Obama (D) was chosen to become the 44th president in the November election, CWLA delivered a comprehensive briefing and set of recommendations to the President-elect and his transition team. Hope for America's Children, Youth, and Families covers five main areas: preventing child abuse and neglect; permanency for children and families through reunification, kinship care, and adoption; the health of children and families as tools for prevention and permanency; youth in transition; and the fundamental building blocks of a successful child welfare system.

"We offer this document as a detailed blueprint that, carried out over both the short and long term, can create a strong vision for this country's most vulnerable children and families--and all of America's families," the introduction reads. "CWLA envisions a future in which families, communities, organizations, and governments ensure all children and youth benefit from the resources they need to grow into healthy, contributing members of society."

To read the document, click here.

For Your Bookshelf

Two new CWLA publications will make their debut at the National Conference February 23-25.

Child Welfare journal published a special issue in January/February exploring mental health concerns for foster care children and alumni. All nine articles in the issue stem from a conference to develop a consensus around guidelines for screening, assessment, treatment, and related issues. The special issue is one of six issues that Child Welfare publishes each year. To subscribe, click here.

Additionally, James L. Gritter's third book for CWLA examines the next step after open adoption. It is Hospitious Adoption: How Hospitality Empowers Children and Transforms Adoption. Building on his previous books, which promote the inclusion of birth parents, Gritter takes the approach that practicing goodwill, respect, and courage within the realm of adoption makes the process move smoother and enriches children's lives. To purchase the book, visit our webstore.

Copies of these and many other CWLA publications will be available for purchase at the National Conference at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel, February 23-25.

News from the Hill: Supporting Children's Rights

On November 20, the 19th anniversary of the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child--the world's most ratified international human rights treaty--four panelists presented a briefing to encourage the U.S. Senate to accept the Convention. Focusing on the Convention's stance on children's health issues, representatives from the American Academy of Pediatrics, American Psychological Association, American Bar Association Center for Children and the Law, and CWLA discussed how ratification of the Convention would improve the well-being of children across national borders.

Each speaker gave supporting points from their expert perspectives. CWLA Vice President of Policy and Public Affairs Linda Spears explained that even without ratification, Convention recommendations have already made their way into practice through the CWLA Standards of Excellence. "Every single one of the guidelines we have in our Standards on Health Care comes from the CRC," she said. Echoing the other panelists, she said that unresolved childhood health problems only become exacerbated later in life, and noted these problems are worse for children suffering trauma from being placed in out-of-home care.

Currently, the United States and Somalia are the only two UN members that have not ratified the Convention, although the United States played a key role in drafting the document from 1979 to 1989.

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