End Notes

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Title V of the Social Security Act turned 75 in October, and the Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB) celebrated at a special Federal/State Maternal and Child Health Partnership Meeting October 20 in Washington, DC. Title V, known now as the Maternal and Child Health (MCH) Block Grant, was signed into law by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1935 and is viewed as the longest lasting public health legislation in American history. It provides MCH formula grants to states, discretionary grants, and separate abstinence education grants. In honor of the anniversary, MCHB has suggestions for a "meeting in a box" local celebration kit, and also encourages spending 75 minutes volunteering in local communities. See www.hrsa.gov/ourstories/mchb75th for more.

The National Women's Law Center and Rebecca Project for Human Rights recently released a report on states' treatment of pregnant inmates. Pennsylvania prisons rate best in the nation, with an A-, while six states received the lowest grade of F . Ratings were based on analysis of policies related to prenatal care, treatment of women during childbirth, and alternatives to incarceration that allow mothers to be with their children. Learn more about the state-by-state report card at www.nwlc.org/mothersbehindbars. Earlier this year, Children's Voice examined the issue of mothers and their young children in prisons; to read the article visit www.cwla.org/voice/JA10babies.html.

Health Beat

How can service providers in the United States effectively build on the family and community strengths of refugees from outside communities? The fall 2010 brief from Bridging Refugee Youth and Children’s Services answers that question. Supporting Refugee Families: Adapting Family Strengthening Programs that Build on Assets helps agencies who work with immigrant families to reestablish the strong family connections many of them already relied on. Many other cultures are far more integrated than American society, but immigrants and especially refugees may be separated from family members and need assistance to assess and confirm their commitment to each other in their new lives here. Many refugee service providers have adapted national “Family Strengthening Programs” that range from prevention to more intensive interventions. This BRYCS Brief highlights this topic along with “promising practices” and additional resources; download the brief at http://brycs.org/documents/upload/brycs_spotfall2010.pdf.

Anew website, iFoster, aims to help foster families, youth aging out of care, and organizations. Its first project is a discount at national and local retailers, grocery stores, health care providers, restaurants, and other vendors. The discount program is free. Registration for retail discounts usually takes one business day, because iFoster confirms that registrants are members of the foster care community, so plan ahead. The discount program is an effort to encourage more families to become foster caregivers, as well as to ensure children’s basic needs are covered so they can focus on learning and building life skills.iFoster is working to launch other programs to support families and youth, and the site has a feedback forum to leave comments. Visit www.iFoster.org.

Social work and child care practitioners can plan and provide better care for children, including family strengthening and out-of-home placement, with the Better Care Network Toolkit. The toolkit includes practical tools on how to prevent unnecessary family separation and support families and communities to develop better care alternatives when separation is inevitable. Visit http://bettercaretool-kit.org/bcn/toolkit for more.

Research Report

First Focus and the Migration and Child Welfare Network explore the intersection of immigration and child welfare policies in a series called Caught Between Systems. The papers in the series focus on immigration enforcement; language, culture, and immigration relief options; and public benefits and child welfare financing. Together, the series examines the challenges that arise when the immigration and child welfare systems collide, and provides solutions on how the two systems can work together to better protect the interests of children and families. Download the full series of papers at www.firstfocus.net/sites/default/files/CaughtBetweenSystems.pdf.

Infants in poverty with depressed mothers were the subject of a recent brief from the Urban Institute, offering a first-time national look at the characteristics, access to services, and parenting approaches of these infants. More than half of poor babies have mothers showing signs of depression. The authors reveal that 11% of infants living in poverty have a mother suffering from severe depression. At the same time, many of these families are connected to services, such as Women and Infant Children, health care services, food stamps, and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, presenting opportunities for policymakers and service providers to help these families. Download the brief at www.urban.org/url.cfm?id=412199.

The New America Foundation's Early Childhood Initiative finds gaps in early childhood education data can cause an insufficient portrait of children's educational progress over time. The report says the implications of these gaps are vast. Teachers need the data in order to identify students who need additional help as early as possible, researchers need data in order to analyze the effectiveness of education programs, and policymakers need data to determine where future investments should be directed. In the past five years, the federal government has designated about $515 million to expand states' data systems. Despite this and other investments, most states still don't collect adequate early childhood data, particularly on children who attend Head Start or federally subsidized child care. The report concludes with a number of recommendations for states that opt to integrate early childhood data into their longitudinal data systems. Download the report at http://earlyed.newamerica.net/sites/newamerica.net/files/policydocs/NAF_ManyMissingPieces.pdf.

Dispatch From Abroad

In October, the United States signed an international convention to protect children--the Convention on Jurisdiction, Applicable Law, Recognition, Enforcement and Cooperation in Respect of Parental Responsibility and Measures for the Protection of Children. According to a statement from the Department of State, this agreement ensures international recognition and enforcement of custody and visitation orders, complements and reinforces the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, and contains provisions addressing cooperation on key issues such as runaway children and the cross-border placement of children in foster families or institutional care.

Doctors in Saudi Arabia took classes in late October to learn about working on child abuse cases. The National Family Safety Program and the International Society for Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect offered courses in Jeddah and Dammam, according to Arab News. The courses were led by specialized trainers from Harvard University, University of Florida, and Sydney University in Australia, and focused on providing physicians with advanced skills to diagnose and identify cases of physical and sexual abuse and neglect among children.

Recently, a study in Canada has refocused attention on child neglect. The report, sponsored by the Public Health Agency of Canada, found that neglect made up 34% of all substantiated investigations, and that neglected children were more likely to require medical treatment than abused children. Nico Trocme, a researcher at McGill University, authored the study. The Toronto Sun reported that Trocme said social workers across Canada are keeping a closer eye on child neglect than in years past.

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