The National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges recently passed resolutions and policy statements on how to improve the lives of youth and families involved with juvenile or family courts. The resolutions address the needs of homeless youth and families, support a developmental approach to juvenile probation, and recognize the need for independent oversight of youth confinement facilities. The Council also released two bench cards: one with guidance on working with youth regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression, and one on applying principles of adolescent development in delinquency proceedings. In addition, the Council released a guide of principles and practices addressing custody and visitation.

Published in Home Page

The US Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families and Office for Civil Rights have compiled documents that provide guidance to ensure that child welfare agencies and state court systems are aware of their responsibilities to protect the civil rights of children and families in the child welfare system. The attached documents will address policy for Title VI, Disabilities, and Disproportionality issues.

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

Announcing the electronic version of the FRIENDS Summer 2017 Parent and Practitioner Newsletter.  This newsletter is created by members of the FRIENDS Parent Advisory Council (PAC).  The FRIENDS PAC is excited to announce that starting with this edition, the Parent and Practitioner Newsletter will be simultaneously available in English and Spanish!  As always, feel free to disseminate the electronic version widely among your networks of parents and practitioners.  Don’t forget to check out our website www.friendsnrc.org for the web link to this newsletter and previous editions as well as other great information and resources.

 

MaryJo Alimena Caruso, M.Ed., Training / Technical Assistance Coordinator - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

FRIENDS National Center For Community-Based Child Abuse Prevention

 

FRIENDS is a service of the Children’s Bureau

Published in Home Page

The ABA Center on Children and the Law, in collaboration with the National Child Traumatic Stress Network, is pleased to announce the release of "TRAUMA: What Child Welfare Attorneys Should Know." This resource provides practical information about trauma-informed legal advocacy by attorneys representing children, parents, and child welfare agencies.

In furtherance of the American Bar Association's policy on trauma-informed legal practice, this resource can strengthen advocacy, improve attorney-client relationships, and promote appropriate screening, in-depth assessment, and evidence-based treatment. In addition, awareness of secondary traumatic stress can improve prevention, identification, and self-care among legal professionals.

The resource was developed by the NCTSN Justice Consortium Attorney Work Group, co-chaired by Christopher Branson, Ph.D., Carly Baetz, JD, Ph.D., and Eva Klain, JD (ABA Center on Children and the Law).

Published in Attorneys

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.

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
CHILD AND FAMILY SERVICES REVIEWS: How Judges, Court Administrators and Attorneys Should Be Involved 
 
The Children’s Bureau within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families conducts Child and Family Services Reviews (CFSRs) in all States periodically to ensure conformity with Federal child welfare requirements, to gauge the experiences of children, youth, and families receiving State child welfare services, and to assist States in helping children families achieve positive outcomes.
 
The first two rounds of the CFSR were completed in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia between 2001 and 2010, and the third round will take place between 2015 and 2018. www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb/monitoring/child-family-services-reviews/round3
 
This paper provides:
•An introduction to CFSRs,
•An explanation of why CFSRs are important to maintaining the momentum of court improvement efforts, and
•Specific suggestions for how courts can become involved in CFSRs.

Click to read the full document.

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

A Guide for Child Protective Services Staff - Protecting Children with Disabilities from Abuse and Neglect

Authors

  • Scott J. Modell, Ph.D., Deputy Commissioner, Department of Children’s Services, State of Tennessee
  • Marcie Davis, M.S., Director, Underserved Populations, New Mexico Coalition of Sexual Assault Programs, Inc.
  • Carla Aaron, M.S.S.W., Executive Director, Office of Child Safety, Department of Children’s Services, State of Tennessee
  • Irma Buchanan, M.S.S.W., Director of Investigations, Office of Child Safety, Department of Children’s Services, State of Tennessee

In 2011, the average annual rate of violent victimization for children with disabilities was more than twice the rate among children without disabilities. Serious violent victimization for children with disabilities was more than three times than that for children without disabilities (Truman & Planty, 2012). In the U.S., victimization is increasing for individuals with disabilities. Average annual rates from 2009-2011 tell a story. Children with intellectual disabilities had the highest rate of violent victimization from 2009 to 2011.

Among children with intellectual disabilities, the average annual rate of serious violent victimization doubled from 2009 to 2011. The average annual rate of serious violent victimization against individuals with self-care disabilities more than tripled from 2009 to 2011. The average annual rate of serious violent victimization against individuals with multiple disability types was double compared to individuals with one disability type (a net result of four times the victimization than persons without disabilities) (Harrell, 2011; Harrell, 2012). Data meta-analysis (Spencer et al., 2005; Sullivan
& Knutson, 2000) indicates that children with intellectual disabilities are:

  • 2.9 - 3.7 times as likely to have been neglected
  • 3.4 - 3.8 times as likely to be emotionally abused
  • 3.8 - 5.3 times as likely to be physically abused
  • 4.0 - 6.4 times as likely to be sexually abused

Almost fifty percent of people with developmental disabilities who are victims of sexual abuse will experience 10 or more abusive incidents (Valenti-Hein & Schwartz, 1995). According to a study involving the sexual abuse of persons with disabilities, almost eighty percent were sexually assaulted on more than one occasion and fifty percent of those experienced more than 10 victimizations (Sobsey, & Doe, 1991). People with disabilities are more likely to experience severe abuse over longer durations with multiple incidences and multiple abusers (Schaller & Fieberg, 1998; Young et al.,
1997). 

Child abuse normally occurs in the framework of a relationship between a child and an adult, or when the adult is a caregiver. Abuse or neglect is more likely to occur if the child and the caregiver exhibit certain risk factors. If there is a lack of protective factors to intervene with the risk factors present in their lives, then that family is at a greater risk of child abuse.

Read the full document. Click on the attached file.

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