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Young Advocates

The Forever Home Youth Council is a group of teens who have spent much of their lives in out-of-home care, and many of them have had a less-than-perfect history with the foster care system. They've all found their way to Catholic Community Services in Salem, Oregon, where they've joined the council, committed to helping fellow foster youth. That journey brought them to Washington, DC, this summer to speak with legislators on Capitol Hill, and they stopped by CWLA's headquarters office.

The Forever Home Youth Council at CWLA's headquarters office.

Catholic Community Services is the lead agency on a grant from the Quality Improvement Center on Early Childhood called Fostering Hope, which aims to build up neighborhood-based family support and strengthen families through early care and education. Much of the conversation between the Youth Council, CCS, and CWLA staff--including President & CEO Christine James-Brown, Director of Practice Excellence Julie Collins, and Director of Government Affairs Tim Briceland-Betts--was around sustainability of programs like these. CWLA gave the teens of the youth council free White House Conference T-shirts to wear during their visits to Capitol Hill to help build momentum for that event.

Members Share Expertise

The National Family Preservation Network (NFPN), a CWLA member agency based in Idaho, has been doing work around father involvement recently. One particularly helpful piece is a guide for meeting the Child and Family Services Review standards for father involvement. While there is no specific measure for father involvement, there are four relevant proxies under a Child Well-Being Outcome. NFPN also has new online father involvement training courses. Visit http://nfpn.org/father-involvement1.html to see the entirety of the group's work around fatherhood.

On a related note, CWLA member American Humane recently published guidelines on family group decision making (FGDM) based on expertise from their national center on FGDM, established in 1999. The guidelines have sections on the FGDM coordinator; referrals to FGDM; preparing for, conducting, and following up after the meetings; and administrative support. The guidelines are available as a PDF download.

Casey Family Programs, a CWLA member agency, recently examined progress in the state of Tennessee as part of their Common Knowledge Project, and highlighted the symbiotic relationship between two other CWLA member agencies: Youth Villages and the Tennessee Department of Children's Services. The report highlights several of Youth Villages' innovations, including an intensive in-home services program, and forms of practices where the agency excels, such as providing care along a continuum of services and through performance-based contracting. Download the report.

For Your Bookshelf

New this fall is LGBTQ Youth Issues: A Practical Guide for Youth Workers Serving Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning Youth. This is a revised edition of author Gerald P. Mallon’s 2001 book Lesbian and Gay Youth Issues. With a combination of practical tips, proven research, and personal vignettes, this book is a guide for workers who want to help LGBTQ youth confront challenges with their families, at school, in out-of-home care, or in the wider community. New in this edition is a chapter on transgender youth issues, a chapter on other special populations of LGBTQ youth, and specially highlighted sections in each chapter that answer the question, “What Can Youth Workers Do?” Find the book at www.cwla.org/pubs, item #1385, for $19.95 or $15.96 for members.

Two of CWLA’s recent publications are must-haves for workers involved in residential care. The spring special issue of Child Welfare (Vol. 89, No. 2) covers residential care and treatment. With more than a dozen articles on every aspect of group care—including commentary about the practice—the journal provides a comprehensive look at questions, trends, and models in residential care that are the current hot topics and will be the focus of discussion for the next several years. For an in-depth look at one particular model, consider Children and Residential Experiences: Creating Conditions for Change. Martha J. Holden delineates the six principles that form the frame-work of the CARE practice model, but can be utilized in a wide variety of programs: developmentally focused, family-involved, relationship- based, competence-centered, trauma-informed, and ecologically oriented. The CARE practice model tries to close the gap between what the field knows about children and what the field does for children.

Find both of these publications at www.cwla.org/pubs. The residential care issue of Child Welfare is item #J892, and is $35 or $28 for CWLA members. Children and Residential Experiences, item #1262, is $19.95 or $15.96 for members.

Speaking Out

"One of the best ways as a nation to keep our children safe is by making better decisions. Putting more funding and effort into preventing child abuse by educating parents about how to be good parents is a start. Also, helping educate women about how to avoid being a victim of domestic violence and date rape will also make a difference. And finally, each of us as citizens and friends has a responsibility to recognize the signs of abuse and neglect... and to offer help."

-- CWLA President & CEO Christine James-Brown in a recent blog for The Huffington Post. Find all her entries at www.huffingtonpost.com/christine-jamesbrown.

New Membership Opportunities

Did you know CWLA is the oldest and largest membership-based child welfare organization in the country? CWLA has been serving children and families for more than 90 years and draws its membership from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Bermuda, and Canada. Members are direct service providers, state and local agencies, schools of social work, advocacy groups, parents associations, training institutes, state associations, individuals, and corporations. CWLA offers flexible membership categories for both public and private child- and family-serving organizations, including two newer categories: corporate and individual.

Corporate membership is for companies that share CWLA's mission and vision. Individual membership is for professionals and retirees who want to stay connected with the field, but would not be able to enjoy the types of benefits that come from agency membership. These categories join others already in place: full agency, affiliate, and supporting partner. For more details, as well as a membership application, visit www.cwla.org/members or e-mail memberservices@cwla.org.

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