The growing awareness of human trafficking in the United States and abroad requires government and human services agencies to reevaluate old policies and develop new ones for identifying and serving victims. Due to their potentially unstable living situations, physical distance from friends and family, traumatic experiences, and emotional vulnerability, children involved with child welfare are at risk for being targeted by traffickers who are actively seeking children1 to exploit. Therefore, it is imperative that child welfare agencies be at the forefront of the response to and prevention of human trafficking. Additionally, recent Federal legislation established new requirements for child welfare agencies related to identifying and serving minor victims of human trafficking.

1 For the purposes of this report, the term “children” includes youth. The term “youth” is used when source materials specifically reference that population.

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Child welfare caseworkers can be an invaluable resource in helping communities respond to the human trafficking of children. Children involved with child welfare are at risk for being targeted by traffickers because of their potentially unstable living situations, physical distance from friends and family, traumatic experiences, and emotional vulnerability. Therefore, it is imperative that child welfare caseworkers be at the forefront of efforts to identify, respond to, and prevent human trafficking. This bulletin explores how caseworkers can identify and support children who have been victimized as well as children that are at greater risk for future victimization. It provides background information about the issue, strategies caseworkers can use to identify and support victims and potential victims, and tools and resources that can assist caseworkers.

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Missing Children, State Care, and Child Sex Trafficking: Engaging the Judiciary in Building a Collaborative Response

This technical assistance brief is a publication of the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges and National Center for Missing & Exploited Children®. Special thanks to Melissa Snow, M.A., Child Sex Trafficking Program Specialist, National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, and Mimari Hall, M.A., for developing this technical assistance brief. Additional thanks to Maureen Sheeran, Chief Program Officer, and Sarah Smith, J.D., Senior Staff Attorney of the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges for their thorough review as well as Staca Shehan, Director, Case Analysis Division, and Yiota Souras, Senior Vice President, General Counsel, for the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children.

Reproduction of this publication for noncommercial education and information purposes is encouraged. Reproduction of any part of this publication must include the copyright notice and attribution:
Missing Children, State Care, and Child Sex Trafficking: Engaging the Judiciary in Building a Collaborative Response. Technical assistance brief. National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, Alexandria, Virginia, and National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, Reno, Nevada, 2015. Copyright © 2015 National Center for Missing & Exploited Children and National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges. All rights reserved.

Published in Judges

Attached you will find some helpful resources on the Implications of Immigration Status on Foster Care Licensure. Thanks to Cristina Ritchie Cooper, Senior Counsel and Assistent Director of State Projects at the ABA Center for Children and the Law, for sharing them.

 

Published in Children's Justice Act

Kinship care families: New policy can guide pediatricians to address needs

Sarah H. Springer, M.D., FAAP
 
 

A growing body of evidence suggests that children who cannot live with their biological parents fare better overall when living with extended family than with nonrelated foster parents. Acknowledging the benefits of kinship care arrangements, federal laws and public policies increasingly favor placing children with family members rather than in nonrelative foster care.

Despite overall better outcomes, families providing kinship care endure many hardships, and the children experience many of the same adversities as children in traditional foster care.

A new AAP policy statement from the Council on Foster Care, Adoption and Kinship Care outlines the unique strengths and vulnerabilities of these children and families, and offers strategies for pediatricians to help them to thrive. The policy, Needs of Kinship Care Families and Pediatric Practice, is available at https://doi.org/10.1542/peds.2017-0099 and will be published in the April issue of Pediatrics.

As many as 3% of U.S. children live in kinship care arrangements.

Because placement with a kinship caregiver often is sudden and unplanned, caregivers frequently are unprepared to meet the needs of the children and are unaware of available supports. Furthermore, caregivers may not have legal authority to advocate or make decisions for a child, complicating health care and educational decisions. Caregivers frequently have their own financial and health burdens, and often are asked to care for sibling groups, multiplying the stresses.

Pediatricians can help by recognizing these families in the office setting and addressing their needs.

Among the recommendations in the policy are the following:

  • Children may need more frequent visits to address mental health, developmental and educational needs, similar to children in traditional nonrelative foster care. These needs are more common and often more complicated than for children who live with their biologic parents.
  • Families may need information about supports and help accessing legal, health insurance and financial assistance programs.
  • Consent and confidentiality roles may need to be specifically defined.

The policy statement provides information to help pediatricians learn more about resources available in their own states and communities, and how to connect families to those resources.

Advocacy opportunities also are reviewed in the policy, such as working with policymakers and others to eliminate barriers so children can be placed with kin, when appropriate, and ensuring funding to support provision of care and health and social services.

The pediatrician’s role in meeting the health needs of children in kinship care is especially important because most of the families are not connected to child welfare or other formal services.

Dr. Springer, a lead author of the policy, is a member and former chair of the AAP Council on Foster Care, Adoption and Kinship Care. She also chaired the former Task Force on Foster Care.

A new article has been released by Robyn M. Powell, Esq. on protecting rights of parents with disabilities. The title is: Safeguarding the Rights of Parents with Intellectual Disabilities in Child Welfare Cases: The Convergence of Social Science and Law. It is available at http://www.cunylawreview.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/05-Powell.pdf.

Published in Parents' Attorneys

The Legal Center for Foster Care and Education (http://www.fostercareandeducation.org) would like to share important news regarding the issuance of final federal regulations by the U.S. Department of Education implementing the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). This link will guide you to the regulations released on November 28, 2016: http://www2.ed.gov/policy/elsec/leg/essa/essaaccountstplans1129.pdf.

There are several key provisions in these regulations important to children in foster care, but the language addressing transportation is most timely given impending deadlines.  The regulations clarify the obligation of education and child welfare agencies to provide transportation during disputes over payment of any "additional costs" of transportation to maintain children's school stability.  Specifically, the regulations reinforce the responsibility of the State Education Agencies (SEAs) to:

  • Ensure that children in foster care promptly receive transportation, as necessary, to and from their schools of origin when in the children's best interest.
  • Ensure that LEAs that receive funding under Title I collaborate with child welfare agencies to develop and implement clear written transportation procedures that describe how school stability will be ensured in the event of a dispute over which agency or agencies will pay for any additional costs incurred.
  • Ensure that LEAs' local transportation procedures describe which agency or agencies will initially pay the additional costs so that transportation is provided to children in foster care during the pendency of any funding disputes.

These regulations send a clear message that providing transportation to achieve school stability for children in foster care is of paramount importance and that SEAs as well as LEAs, in collaboration with local child welfare agencies, have a clear duty to ensure that transportation is promptly provided.  Neither ESSA nor this regulation specifically allocate the responsibility to fund additional costs to either LEAs or local child welfare agencies.  Rather, this new regulation clarifies that state and local educational agencies have bottom line responsibility for developing and implementing procedures that guarantee school stability transportation for all children in foster care when disputes arise - and during the pendency of disputes - over which agency or agencies will fund any additional costs incurred.

These regulations go into effect January 30, 2017. However, it is important to remember that the provisions in ESSA relating to school stability, prompt school enrollment, and transportation to ensure school stability for children in foster care go into effect on December 10, 2016. State and local child welfare and education agencies must immediately begin or continue conversations about their shared responsibility to support the school stability and the success of students in foster care.  In order to ensure consistency across all districts within a state, the U.S. Department of Education has encouraged SEAs to issue uniform statewide guidance on how disputes should be resolved regarding which agency or agencies will fund transportation (including funding for transportation pending those disputes) and to establish a common dispute resolution process at the state level.

We look forward to continuing to support this work in your state, and encourage you to please contact us with questions or updates.

Kristin Kelly, Esq.

American Bar Association

Center on Children and the Law

1050 Connecticut Avenue NW, 4th Floor

Washington, DC 20036

(202) 662-1733

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In October, Rise will start a new writing workshop for young parents who grew up in foster care. Please share the application widely. Since 2012, our 'My Story, My Life' project has amplified the voices of young parents who grew up in foster care through writing, public speaking and collaborations with researchers and policymakers.  

Sponsored by RISE http://www.risemagazine.org/

Published in Youth

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