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Second Annual Bullying Prevention Summit Takes Place in Washington

Vice President for Policy and Public Affairs Linda Spears attended the second annual Bullying Prevention Summit in September 2011, hosted in Washington, DC, by the Department of Education and eight other members of the Federal Partners in Bullying Prevention Steering Committee. The event assembled federal and national organizations, parents, teachers, and students to discuss recent advances in anti-bullying measures and legislation. The problem of bullying remains a significant one; according to the National Center for Education Statistics, more than 70 percent of students have been involved in bullying situations as a victim, bully, or witness.

The summit built upon more than a year of concentrated work by the Department of Education and its federal partners to increase bullying awareness on both the individual and public-policy levels. Particular focus has been given to encouraging both the prevention and proper handling of bullying, bolstering relevant state laws, and developing a comprehensive definition of what "bullying" connotes.

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan stressed at the summit that combating bullying remains a collective imperative, noting that parents, teachers and classmates are as significant in anti-bullying measures as are policy changes.

"The impact of bullying on children and youth can be tremendous," said Spears. "We in child welfare need to do more to understand how bullying affects the children we serve who are already vulnerable. We also need to be at the table in local communities as we have expertise that we can bring to bear on helping victims and bullying."

For more on the summit and on anti-bullying efforts, see www.stopbullying.gov.

CWLA Lends Support to Fourth Annual GrandRally

In partnership with Generations United, AARP, the Children's Defense Fund, GrandFamilies of America, and the National Committee of Grandparents for Children's Rights, CWLA participated in the fourth annual GrandRally, held in Washington, DC, on September 15, 2011. The rally aims to highlight the specific needs of families in which children are under the care of their grandparents.

These families, notes CWLA President Christine James-Brown, face a variety of hardships--economic troubles, health concerns of aging grandparents, emotional challenges, and navigating the often-complex and difficult terrain of social service programs. "A large majority of ccustodial grandparents have 'informal relationships' with their grandchildren, meaning that the grandchild's custody went directly from the parent to the grandparent without involvement of the child welfare system," says James-Brown. "This informal relationship excludes them from many services and resources that are available to those with legal custody or guardianship."

The GrandRally brought together thousands of grandparents and other kinship caregivers to focus attention on this subsector of the childcare population. Particular emphasis was placed upon the need to strengthen Social Security benefits for older adults who have legal responsibility for their grandchildren.

Child Welfare League of Canada Featured at March 2012 CWLA Conference

The Child Welfare League of Canada, a CWLA partner, co-hosted "Canada Night" at CWLA's 2012 conference, "Making Children a Priority: Leading Change." Jeremy Berland of the Office of the Repre- sentative for Children and Youth, Victoria, British Columbia, joined speakers from the U.S. Department of Heath and Human Services and International Social Services for a panel discussion on international trends in child welfare.

The CWLC is a national organization with more than 115 members from all provinces and territories, and includes representation at the federal level.

For Your Bookshelf

CWLA recently published a special issue (Vol. 90, No. 4) of Child Welfare on family engagement and its involvement in child welfare efforts. The featured articles center on parents' rights, multiple-family households, the role of race and gender in foster care situations, infant rights, and more, echoing the basic tenet that proper childcare is a cooperative and multifaceted endeavor--and that supporting both children and family units is crucial. Full CWLA members and subscribers should receive a copy of this issue in the mail, per their membership; to order the issue, go to www.cwla.org/pubs.

To comment on this article, e-mail voice@cwla.org.

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