A new report completed by Child Trends, under contract to the Office of Planning, Research & Evaluation at the Administration for Children and Families, examines Healthy Marriage and Relationship Education (HMRE) programs. HMRE programs aim to help youth form healthy relationships and, eventually, healthy marriages (and avoid unhealthy ones) by improving their attitudes, knowledge, skills, and expectations around romantic relationships. This report builds on research that finds that young people's romantic relationships can influence their behaviors and experiences (both positive and negative) during adolescence and beyond.

The report finds that most HMRE programs target and reach diverse-and often disadvantaged-youth populations in a variety of settings. However, these reach more youth ages 14 to 17 than in the 18 to 24 age range, which leads the authors to recommend providing more programs targeted at older youth. Read more about the report's findings and recommendations at acf.hhs.gov.

 

Wednesday, 23 August 2017 16:30

Southwest Louisiana Foster Care Coalition

Young adults aging out of foster care have been a large concern not only for our nation, but our community. Some of these individuals will turn eighteen with no connections or resources. As a result, the City of Lake Charles established a committee to help combat this crisis.

The coalition is made up of individuals from various organizations. However, their goal is the same. The goal is to help these young adults by providing them with the tools and guidance to reach their full potential. This document was created by the AmeriCorps Vista members to work on the daily operations to achieve this goal. These young adults are our future. Therefore, it is our responsibility to do all we can to help them.

This website has regional and state resources that are available for foster youth and families.

http://www.swlafostercare.com/

 

Published in Youth

Determining if a Child is Safe

The basic and most important determination judges make in child in need of care cases is whether a child(ren) is safe. Critical safety decisions are made when removing a child and determining whether a child should return home. However, without a comprehensive decision-making structure and thorough inquiry, decisions can lead to over and under removal, leaving children unsafe or returning them home too quickly. 

The Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) has implemented a research-based, structured safety assessment process designed to avoid these problems. It is the responsibility of all individuals involved in a case to understand the goal of child safety, the terminology used when discussing safety, and the type of information needed to make good decisions about child safety.

This bulletin was developed in 2016 by the Pelican Center for Children and Families with assistance from ABA Center for Children and the Law and the Pelican Center/Louisiana Child Welfare Training Academy Training and Education Committee members. Please download and share!

 

Published in Law and Best Practices

"Nonmedical prescription opioid misuse is a fast growing public health problem and primary cause of unintentional deaths nationwide, particularly in many rural areas of the country.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), everyday 44 people die of a prescription drug related overdose.1 The opioid crisis is multifaceted and affects communities nationwide. When the costs are calculated they exceed $55 billion annually."

Foster parent shortage dire as heroin overdoses rise

WBAL - May 24, 2017

In a policy brief from July 2016 titled "Families in Crisis," the HRSA stated that the National Advisory Committee on Rural Health and Health Services "is concerned that the opioid crisis could exacerbate child abuse and neglect given that we're seeing a link nationally. State child welfare systems have reported that they are experiencing an increase in families coming to their attention with substance use problems impacting their ability to safely parent."

Report: 1 Families in Crisis: The Human Service Implications of Rural Opioid Misuse: https://www.hrsa.gov/advisorycommittees/rural/publications/opioidabuse.pdf

Published in Children's Justice Act

This report includes an overview of a faith-based initiative for recruiting and supporting foster parents:

America's Kids Belong 2016 Annual Report.
America's Kids Belong.
2017
http://americaskidsbelong.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/AKB-Annual-Report-2016-compressed.pdf

The information was shared publicly through the Child Welfare Information Gateway.

Published in Children's Justice Act

The Complete Engaging Fathers Podcast Series Now Available!

Children with a caring father figure in their lives are at less risk for behavioral problems, substance use, teen pregnancy, and incarceration than their peers who lack positive paternal involvement.  Learn how you can engage fathers and paternal family members in your everyday casework and improve outcomes for the children and families you serve in our new 3-part podcast series, Engaging FathersEngaging Fathers explores partnerships between child welfare agencies and community fatherhood organizations that work toward engaging fathers and paternal-side family members. Including fathers and paternal family members in casework effectively doubles a child's family resources. Listen to professionals from child welfare agencies and fatherhood organizations discuss why it's so important to have a father in a child's life and learn about steps that child welfare agencies can take to partner with community fatherhood organizations to improve father engagement.

The Engaging Fathers podcast series features valuable insights and perspectives from fatherhood engagement experts with the South Carolina Center for Fathers and Families, a faith-based nonprofit organization; Daddy University, a Philadelphia-based male parenting education company; and the Kanawha Institute for Social Research & Action, a community change organization aimed at strengthening families:

Visit the Child Welfare Information Gateway Podcast Series page today for these and other conversations that span the child welfare continuum.

Published in Home Page

Toolkit to Support Child Welfare Agencies in Serving LGBTQ Children, Youth, and Families

As the culture and laws related to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) individuals have become more inclusive in recent years, an increasing number of LGBTQ people are self-disclosing their sexual orientation and/or gender identity (i.e., “coming out”) during childhood or adolescence. Additionally, the number of LGBTQ individuals coming forward to serve as temporary or permanent caregivers to children and youth in foster care has increased.

This toolkit is designed to help States and territories adapt their policies and practices to meet the growing needs of LGBTQ children, youth, and families. It provides links to knowledge and skill building resources, including articles, videos, tools, training curricula, tip sheets, information briefs, websites, and other products. Resources are divided into the five categories. 

Access the website with resources, click here.

Published in Best Practices

Creating LGBTQ Affirming Agencies Video and Guide

The Creating LGBTQ Affirming Agencies video and guide builds State and territorial capacity to create culturally inclusive environments within child welfare agencies for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) individuals. Creating a culturally inclusive environment means developing a welcoming, culturally sensitive, supportive, and affirming agency for all people—regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.

Culturally inclusive child welfare agencies provide children, youth, and families with opportunities to: 

  • See themselves mirrored in the agency’s art and photos
  • Feel visible instead of invisible
  • Fill out forms inclusive of sexual orientation and gender identity
  • Receive respectful treatment from support staff, frontline staff, training staff, and supervisory staff

The Creating LGBTQ Affirming Agencies Video Guide (PDF - 219 KB) helps public child welfare agencies understand the purpose of and context for the Creating LGBTQ Affirming Agencies video and how the video can be used to support LGBTQ children, youth, and families who are involved in the child welfare system. It also includes additional resources as well as discussion questions that agencies may use to facilitate presentation of the video.

This video illustrates two versions of one couple's experience with an agency: The first version shows an agency that does not demonstrate a culturally-inclusive environment, while the second version shows an agency that does.

Video Link

Published in Best Practices
An Inclusive Approach to Improving Transition Outcomes for Youth with Disabilities
To move toward national policies that will, by extension, lead to better outcomes for youth with disabilities and others, the Federal Partners in Transition (FPT) Workgroup aims to embed equality, diversity, inclusion, and opportunity into its policy work. Doing so ensures our federal interagency strategy “removes disability from the special shelf ” and reflects the underlying spirit of civil rights laws like the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Rehabilitation Act), as amended by the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act 2014 (WIOA), and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which promote the full inclusion, integration, and participation of youth and adults with disabilities. Transition provisions recently enacted by WIOA are consistent with the principles, goals and policy priorities identified in The 2020 Federal Youth Transition Plan: A Federal Interagency Strategy (2020 Plan).
 
To read the full report, click here.
Published in Children's Justice Act
Friday, 17 February 2017 16:42

The Crisis of Connection for Adolescent Boys

U.S. Office of Adolescent Health presents: TAG Talks

Video: "The Crisis of Connection for Adolescent Boys with Niobe Way

Niobe Way

NYU Professor Niobe Way explains how boys' intimate friendships in early and middle adolescence support their mental health. By late adolescence, many boys speak of losing these close male friendships and reveal feelings of loneliness and isolation. The webcast illuminates the dangers of assuming that boys don’t want or need close male friendships and the importance of fostering positive friendships that can help adolescent boys thrive. 

Published in Children's Justice Act
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