E-Notes, the monthly newsletter from the National Resource Center for Diligent Recruitment at AdoptUSKids.
Strategies for Working with Community Organizations
Most child welfare agencies recognize partnerships with community organizations are essential to providing for the permanency, safety, and well-being of children and youth in foster care. These relationships are also critical to finding and supporting kinship, foster, and adoptive families.
Many agencies have been successful in working with local communities of faith to recruit and support kinship, foster, and adoptive parents. Finding Common Ground: A Guide for Child Welfare Agencies Working with Communities of Faith (PDF – 1.3 MB) is a useful guide for agencies that want to initiate or strengthen these collaborations. It shares practical advice for creating and maintaining strong working relationships with faith-based partners. The guide was co-authored by AdoptUSKids, the National Resource Center for Adoption, and the Spaulding Institute.
Community service providers who want to partner with child welfare systems sometimes find the process unclear and confusing. To assist, the Child Welfare Information Gateway has produced a new guide that gives behavioral health and mental health professionals an overview of child welfare, including the typical functions of agencies. What Is Child Welfare? A Guide for Behavioral Health/Mental Health Professionals (PDF - 299 KB) describes how these professionals and child welfare workers can partner and support one another in serving children, youth, and families involved with the child welfare system.
The Florida Guardian ad Litem Program has released A Voice Heard—Let Kids be Kids (PDF – 9 MB), a report on the initial outcomes of Florida’s legislative initiative to bring “normalcy” to the lives of children and youth in foster care. The 2013 law gives foster parents the authority to allow children and youth in their care to participate in age-appropriate activities using a “reasonable and prudent parent” standard without fear of civil liability. A follow-up survey of foster parents, guardians ad litem, and child welfare managers found the implementation of the law is well underway. The report concluded that the law has already “substantially improved the lives of the children and youth as a result of their increased involvement in a wider variety of age-appropriate experiences and provided foster parents with the decision-making authority to create a normal home life for children in their care.” Obstacles identified include insufficient funds and lack of transportation necessary for children and youth to participate in outside activities.
Study on Explanations of Instability in Foster Care
A recent article in the journal Children and Youth Services Review details the results of a study of placement changes for a group of children who experienced multiple placements. The researchers identified three factors that contributed to placement stability for this group of children: a) a caregiver’s commitment to a child’s legal permanence; b) the absence of a child’s mental health diagnosis; and c) placements with a relative caregiver. They also found that early in placement, placement changes are most likely to occur due to system- or policy-related reasons, while over time the majority of moves occur because of foster family-related or child behavior-related reasons. The article, What Explains Instability in Foster Care? Comparison of a Matched Sample of Children with Stable and Unstable Placements, was authored by Eun Koha, Nancy Rolock, Theodore P. Crosse, and Jennifer Eblen-Manning. The entire article is available for a fee from Science Direct.
Cumulative Risks of Experiencing Foster Care by Age 18
While the risk that a child will be in foster care on any given day is very low, a recent longitudinal analysis of Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS) data found that the risk is substantially higher when considered over the entire span of a childhood, and significant racial disparities exist. While the national average is that 5.91% (1 in 17) of children will experience foster care placement at some point before turning 18, the rate for Native American children is 15.44% (1 in 7) and for African-American children it is 11.53% (1 in 9). Cumulative Risks of Foster Care Placement by Age 18 for U.S. Children, 2000–2011 (PDF – 274 KB) was authored by Christopher Wildeman and Natalia Emanuel.
Evaluation of Family Finding in North Carolina
Child Trends has completed an evaluation of Family Finding services in nine counties in North Carolina, reported in A Rigorous Evaluation of Family Finding in North Carolina. The evaluation found that children and youth who received Family Finding services had more contacts with relatives than those in a control group who did not. However, those who received these services were found to be no more likely to step-down to lower levels of care or to achieve other permanency or safety outcomes. The evaluators suggested that the lack of expected positive results may have been a result of incomplete or inconsistent implementation of the Family Finding model.
News and Announcements
Third Round of Child and Family Services Reviews
The Children’s Bureau is preparing for the third round of Child and Family Services Reviews (CFSRs). Children’s Bureau Express has information on changes that have been made to the process and implementation plans. States on the tentative CFSR schedule for 2015 include Delaware, North Carolina, Vermont, New Mexico, Georgia, Kansas, Massachusetts, and Arizona. Read more
AdoptUSKids is operated by the Adoption Exchange Association and is made possible by grant number 90CQ0003 from the Children’s Bureau. The contents of this email are solely the responsibility of the Adoption Exchange Association and do not necessarily represent the official views of the Children’s Bureau, ACYF, ACF, or HHS. The Children’s Bureau funds AdoptUSKids as part of a network of National Resource Centers established by the Children’s Bureau. Find out more about us.