End Notes

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Ready Resources

Need to compare kinship care in Minnesota and Mississippi? The State Child Welfare Policy Database, a website developed by Child Trends with support from Casey Family Programs, helps users understand the differences in policies from state to state. Federal funding and federal laws require that states respond to and care for abused and neglected children, as well as children at risk of maltreatment. However, states have flexibility in the way they develop and manage their child welfare systems. As the data presented on this site show, there is great variation in state child welfare policies and financing of services. John Sciamanna, former co-director of CWLA's Government Affairs, assisted in the development of the site. Visit www.childwelfarepolicy.org/pages/map.cfm to see data by state or by topic.

Bridging Refugee Youth and Children's Services, better known as BRYCS, offers a pair of webinars for resettlement or other refugee service professionals who do not have a background in child welfare. Part 1 helps these workers recognize suspected child maltreatment in the diverse families they serve, and Part 2 teaches about cooperating with child welfare agencies to strengthen these families. The webinars, which both include an audio recording, a PowerPoint presentation, and highlighted resources list, are available at www.brycs.org/askBrycs/webinars-archived.cfm. Child welfare workers who serve immigrant and refugee populations may also find resources on the BRYCS child welfare page at www.brycs.org/child_welfare.cfm.

An annual publication for service providers, the Strengthening Families and Communities: 2010 Resource Guide, is now available through the Child Welfare Information Gateway, one of its authors, at www.childwelfare.gov/pubs/res_guide_2010/. The main goal of the guide is to help service providers prevent child abuse and neglect with resources from organizations and agencies around the country.

Research Report

The latest special issue of CWLA's peer-reviewed journal Child Welfare was published recently, with a focus on residential care and treatment. In 4 sections, 13 articles explore overarching macro policies, program models, program issues, and outcomes. Leading researchers from residential services share examples and analysis from across the country, with international programs described as well.

Arecent study attempts to map the long and twisting path to adulthood and the implications for youth, their families, and society as a whole as the transition from adolescence to adulthood grows longer. While the study, "What's Going On with Young People Today?"--published in the spring 2010 volume of the Brookings Institution and Princeton University journal Transitions to Adulthood--does not focus on youth aging out of the foster care system, the conclusions about additional supports needed for all youth and the burdens some families face may help highlight the additional needs of youth in out-of-home care. The study is available online at www.futureofchildren.org/ publications/journals/article/index.xml?journalid=72&articleid=519.

In mid-April, First Focus published the first of a series of papers entitled Caught Between Systems: The Intersection of Immigration and Child Welfare Policies. The first report focuses on the policies of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) programs, which do not allow detained or deported parents to take part in child welfare proceedings. This risks separation between parents and children, and could potentially affect the more than 5 million children in the United States who have at least one undocumented parent. The report also provides suggestions to improve policy, recommending that families be kept together whenever possible. The full series is available at www.firstfocus.net, and the ICE report can be downloaded from www.firstfocus.net/pages/3682.

Dispatch from Abroad

New research conducted in Romania as part of the decade-old Bucharest Early Intervention Project (BEIP) shows that children exposed to severe neglect and deprivation can develop "stereotypies," repetitive behaviors such as rocking, flapping, spinning objects, and head-banging, which are commonly seen in people with autism or other mental illnesses. Researchers, led by Charles A. Nelson of Children's Hospital Boston, also determined that the behaviors abated when the children were placed in quality foster care--and the sooner the better, with age 2 appearing to be a critical point. The study evaluated 136 Romanian children with a history of early institutional care, and was published in the May Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine. The BEIP was the first randomized, controlled trial to demonstrate that placing an institutionalized child in quality foster care can partially reverse earlier declines in cognition and behavior caused by neglect and deprivation. For more, click here.

ABBC series has been following four youth in Great Britain for a year and a half as they age of out the foster care system. Facing dire odds similar to their counterparts in the United States--less likely to complete higher education, less likely to hold a job, more likely to end up in prison--more than a quarter of British foster youth leave care at the age of 16, with care ending by 18 for all. The BBC notes that the average British youth doesn't leave his or her parents' home until age 24. See the series of Newsnight reports here.

Random searches of laptops at the border to Canada have resulted in two U.S. men being arrested and charged so far this year after pornographic child abuse images were found on their laptops. A Florida man was arrested at the Thousand Islands Bridge border crossing in January, and a 25-year-old Minnesota man was arrested in April at the Ottawa International Airport.

Health Beat

Arecent article in The Washington Post examines the lives of young adults once called "crack babies" because of their birth mothers' use of cocaine during pregnancy. Misinformation spread rapidly in the late 1980s and early 1990s about these children, as the number of drug-exposed infants abandoned in hospitals or coming into out-of-home care grew. Some people worried the United States would see spikes in crimes when the children reached adolescence and young adulthood, but those fears haven't been borne out by the facts. The Post article profiled several now-grown "crack babies" in the Washington area, who were adopted and have found stability and the mixed success of many other populations. Rep. Jim McDermott (D-Washington) recently wrote a blog post for The Hill following up on the article and encouraging more adoptions, especially of older youth and special-needs children.

Several recent press reports cite a possible increase in the number of child victims of shaken baby syndrome, linked to the recession. There is also a move for pediatricians and others to exclusively use the term "abusive head trauma," the formal name for the act, to reinforce its severity. It often leads to brain damage or paralysis. A recent study examined 511 cases over five years in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Cincinnati, Ohio; Columbus, Ohio; and Seattle, Washington. Two-thirds of the children were under age 1, about the same number who were admitted to intensive care at the hospitals; 16% of the shaking victims died. Abuse from shaking increased in every city, and the median rates of cases per month has nearly doubled since the economic recession began, from 4.8 in January 2004-November 2007 to 9.3 in December 2007-December 2009. In response to this report, the National Center on Shaken Baby Syndrome is spreading the word about its PURPLE Crying program, which educates parents about the developmental stage where normal, healthy babies may cry for five hours or more each day. The program currently has a presence in 45 states. For more, visit www.dontshake.org.

Have an opinion on child welfare issues in the news, especially the comments above? Send a letter to the editor to voice@cwla.org.

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