New Resources and Important Information

 
LEGAL AND COURT GUIDANCE FROM ASSOCIATE COMMISSIONER JERRY MILNER
 
The Children’s Bureau (CB) is aware of questions and concerns regarding a number of child welfare issues in light of the COVID-19 public health emergency, including whether CB can waive statutorily required judicial proceedings. As discussed and delineated below, CB cannot waive these statutory requirements but expects that courts and states will work together to determine how best to balance child-safety related statutory requirements against public-health mandates. But as delineated below, as situations require, courts can and should use flexible means of convening required hearings.
 
The Children's Bureau has released a memorandum for child welfare professionals with guidance on COVID-19 response and the courts. Please review and follow the guidance with your court cases. Click here.
 
 
CHILD WELFARE COURTS DURING A PUBLIC HEALTH CRISIS: ACCESS TO JUSTICE AND ADVOCACY...
 
A joint statement on Child Welfare Courts from Child Welfare Partners:
In this time of profound uncertainty, child welfare systems face unprecedented challenges to ensuring safety, wellbeing, and permanency for young people. As the public health crisis persists, it is incumbent upon courts and legal professionals to critically assess and safeguard the needs and rights of every young person and family member experiencing dependency court involvement. Judicial officers, attorneys for children, parents, agencies, and tribes, CIPs, CASAs, and court administrators should resist reactive, sweeping policies and insist upon thoughtful consideration of each child’s and each family’s individual circumstances, promoting decisions based on current information, informed by medical expertise, and anchored in due process values. Specifically: Click to read the full statement. Very important resources and contacts shared within the document.
 
 
2020 PELICAN CENTER FOR CHILDREN AND FAMILIES COURSE CATALOG
 
The course catalog of sessions currently offered by the Court Improvement Program from January to June 2020. Click to view or download. 
 
 
NEW COURSE! FUNDAMENTALS OF CHILD WELFARE - To Be Scheduled for ONLINE TRAINING - STAY TUNED!
 
This one-day, interactive workshop provides a comprehensive overview of the Child in Need of Care (CINC) practice. Designed for a multi-disciplinary audience, this workshop will incorporate adult learning theory, lecture, small group activities and interactive practice using real case scenarios. Topics will explore constitutional, federal and state law, ethics in practice, child development and trauma in child welfare cases.  The ethics portion of this workshop will focus on practice as guided by the Rules of Professional Conduct for attorneys and the National Association of Social Workers Code of Ethics. Upon completion of this workshop, participants will have gained a greater understanding of constitutional, federal and state laws that govern CINC practice, the purpose of each of hearing; concepts of timely permanency for families; reasonable efforts to prevent removal and to achieve the permanency goal; ethical rules and regulations; roles and responsibilities of involved parties and the impact of child development and trauma on children and parents.  

Fundamentals of Child Welfare is an asset for improving the knowledge base of Attorneys, CASA, Child Welfare Staff, Social Workers and others who provide professional service, representation, advocacy and/or care for children in need of care and/or their parents. Those new to the Child Welfare profession, as well as those wanting a refresher, will especially appreciate this workshop. Registration is $25 and will cover lunch, refreshments and training materials. DCFS staff may attend with supervisory approval. DCFS Child Welfare Training Office will submit the names of all authorized attendees for registration. 6.5 general CLE hours approved, includes 1 hour each of Ethics and Professionalism, and 6.5 SW CEU general hours approved. Pre-registration is required in order to accommodate lunches. 

 

NEW COURSE! CULTURE S.M.A.R.T. - To Be Scheduled for ONLINE TRAINING - STAY TUNED!

This training experience is designed for multidisciplinary professionals who touch the lives of families and children in the Child Welfare System. It is developed to enhance the ability of child welfare practitioners to respond to the unique needs and differences of children and families of various racial and ethnic groups in ways that are culturally congruent to improve outcomes for children and families. Culture S.M.A.R.T. is an engaging experience that simulates aspects of what it is like to “walk in another racial, ethnic or cultural group’s shoes.” In the shoes of another person and come face to face with personal bias and perspectives and assumptions. This training helps us to build skills and knowledge of other cultures and identify opportunities for growth and development in a safe environment. Presenting cultural differences as a reflection of the way we solve similar problems promotes a sense of our common humanity, recognize we are all in this together for challenges in Child Welfare. Understanding this basic notion allows us to view cultural differences as a rich reservoir of solutions to real world concerns. Instead of looking upon cultural differences as things to be tolerated, we can relate to each other as cultural problem solvers with the same desired goals – better outcomes for children and families. Presenter: Patsy Wilkerson, M.A. Registration is $25 and will cover lunch, refreshments and training materials.  DCFS staff may attend with supervisory approval. DCFS Child Welfare Training Office will submit the names of all authorized attendees for registration. 5.0 general CLE hours approved, includes 1 hour of Professionalism and 5.5 SW CEU general hours approved. Pre-registration is required in order to plan for lunches/seating. 

 
 
2020 ANNUAL TRAUMA-INFORMED CARE CONFERENCE - POSTPONED!

This dynamic one-day event will feature nationally recognized experts on childhood trauma and will equip those working with children in the child welfare system with the knowledge and skills necessary to foster resilience. Keynote presentations will build a trauma-informed practice framework and breakout sessions will target the  application of trauma-informed skills tailored to both professional and foster/adoptive parenting roles in working with children. 9 am to 3:00 pm on the Southeastern Louisiana University campus. Continuing education applications pending for CLE and CEU. $25 and includes lunch. Click for more information. 

 

QUALIFICATIONS AND STANDARDS FOR ATTORNEYS REPRESENTING CHILDREN IN NEED OF CARE

Since July, 2005 the Louisiana Supreme Court Division of Children and Families has been collecting and maintaining information received from attorneys pursuant to this Rule.  This list is a compilation based on information submitted to the Supreme Court and includes those attorneys qualified for appointment as counsel for children in child abuse and neglect cases as of the day indicated in the update notice. It is the continuing responsibility of each attorney to provide documentation of his/her qualifications to the Division of Children and Families.  Any attorney who has not submitted, prior to January 31 each year, evidence of attendance of at least six hours of approved continuing legal education in the past calendar year will no longer be considered as qualified under this Rule. Questions or comments about the list of qualified counsel for children in child abuse and neglect cases?  Please e-mail Curtis Nelson, Director, Division of Children and Families, Louisiana Supreme Court: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  

 

TOGETHER WE CAN CONFERENCE - SPEAKER PROPOSALS INVITED NOW

The 2020 Together We Can conference is currently inviting proposals to be considered for the fall conference. The conference dates are November 4-6, 2020 and it will be held in Lafayette, Louisiana. For more information on the conference, go to: www.latwc.org

Thursday, 25 April 2019 14:06

Joint Blog Discusses OJJDP and Children’s Bureau Partnership To Prevent Child Abuse

In a new joint blog, OJJDP Administrator Caren Harp and Children’s Bureau Associate Commissioner Jerry Milner discuss how both agencies are partnering to promote the safety and well-being of children and families in recognition of National Child Abuse Prevention Month and throughout the year. The blog highlights the efforts of OJJDP and the Children’s Bureau within the Department of Health and Human Services to promote community partnerships and support efforts to address and prevent child abuse and neglect.

Friday, 18 January 2019 14:13

Benchcards for Judicial Safety Decision Making

These benchcards were published as an accompanying tool to the book Child Safety: A Guide for Judges and Attorneys. They are also referred to during the Safety Decision Making course presented by the Pelican Center for Children and Families - Court Improvement Program training.  The book can be accessed online. Click hereAuthors: Theresa Roe Lund MSSW and Jennifer L. Renne  Date: 2009

Tuesday, 08 January 2019 13:00

The 2019 catalog of training is now available and will provide you with a listing of all courses that are currently scheduled for the year. These courses are part of the Louisiana Court Improvement Program. We encourage all legal practitioners to mark your calendar for courses in your area. The cost to attend is either free or $25 per course. If you are attending an all-day course, lunch is also included. Please download and share this information.

Tuesday, 06 November 2018 20:25

by Jerry Milner and David Kelly  -  November 6, 2006

Far too often the wrong examples drive child welfare policy and practice in the United States.

We see it time and time again in jurisdictions where there is a child fatality; a formulaic response.  Negative stories run, resignations are sought, blue ribbon commissions or task forces assembled, recommendations made.

Perhaps a new policy is created or law passed to hold folks more accountable—often based on the facts of the most recently publicized tragedy as opposed to data and what we know children and families need.  Commonly, there are corresponding spikes in the number of kids removed from their homes, everyone becomes scared and that fear is reflected in social work and legal decision making.

Attention then turns to recruiting more foster homes to place the increasing numbers of kids coming into foster care and we create a demand for which supply will never be adequate. Dockets and caseloads swell, workforce stress and turnover become endemic, and children and parents often do not receive services or supports to meet their needs. Such reactions bring tragic consequences and affect tens of thousands of lives annually—the unnecessary separation of children from their parents and ensuing trauma. The child welfare system often becomes stuck in this cycle, and it comes at enormous human and financial cost. Yet, we continue to respond in the same damaging and costly way, over and over again.

As a field we know the trauma children experience when separated from their parents is considered a powerful adverse childhood experience that can lead to long-term health, relational, and self-sufficiency challenges. It is also highly traumatic for parents and can trigger relapse or decompensation for those that may be in recovery or struggling with substance abuse or mental health issues. In other words, fear of making a wrong decision can lead to over removal. Over removal is a near guarantee of harm to a much larger population and perpetuates intergenerational cycles of disruption and maltreatment. This is a quieter, more far-reaching tragedy.

Read the full article

 
Child Law Practice (CLP) Today, published by the ABA Center on Children and the Law, is a free online resource for child law practitioners. Practical articles tied to the ABA Center on Children and the Law's primary areas of work, and the work of our partners in the field, will be shared as they are published and may be accessed at www.childlawpractice.org. Past articles from the parent publication, Child Law Practice, are also freely accessible.
Wednesday, 31 October 2018 15:03

We want to share this quick 5-minute overview with you about the Child Safety: A Guide for Judges and Attorneys that was co-authored by Jennifer Renne and Theresa Roe-Lund. We use this textbook and the bench cards in our Safety Decision Making courses that we host in Louisiana. We offer a one-hour webinar and a 6 hour class periodically. Click for the video link.

Tuesday, 31 July 2018 11:14

The All Children - All Families Webinar Series kicks off tomorrow, August 1st at 3:00 PM ET with our introductory 90-minute offering on LGBTQ competency for child welfare professionals. This webinar, along with our two other core offerings on serving LGBTQ parents and LGBTQ youth, will be presented live monthly from August to March and available on demand. All three core webinars provide 1.5 CE credits from NASW at a cost of $40/webinar. Click here to register and learn more about purchasing CEs. Note: Employees at ACAF participating agencies are eligible for a 50% discount on CEs. If your agency participates in ACAF, ask your team’s ACAF leads for the discount code to submit at time of purchase. Not sure if your agency is eligible? This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or request to participate today.

Looking for in-person staff training? ACAF’s 3-part training series is also eligible for NASW CE credit -- up to 18 hours! Learn more at hrc.im/acaf-training. Sponsored by the Human Rights Campaign.

Monday, 21 May 2018 12:00

There is a newly updated APP available for Apple and Android devices that was developed by the Louisiana Children's Justice Act Taskforce. This APP has national, state and parish level resources for those who work in the field of child welfare. It also has the state's Safe Haven locations listed by parish. Please share the APP flyer so that more people begin using the APP. 

Monday, 14 May 2018 11:28

The growing opioid crisis has been declared a public health emergency. It's sparked a parallel crisis you rarely hear about: the impact on children neglected by addicted parents. More than one million American children now live with grandparents, primarily because of their parent's addiction to opioids and other drugs: heroin, crack, meth and alcohol. Grandparents are putting off retirement and plowing through savings to rescue their grandchildren from dangerous situations.

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/opioid-epidemic-leaving-grandparents-to-raise-grandchildren/

CBS Sixty Minutes Report

Tuesday, 20 February 2018 13:51

CliffsNotes on Family First Act, Part Three: Adoption, Foster Home Recruitment, Reunification and More (Commentary)

Chronicle of Social Change - February 15, 2018

The foster care prevention services and the limits on congregate care are the central reasons for this legislation. But there are several significant provisions that are included in the bill that became law.

Also: CliffsNotes on Family First Act, Part One: Services to Prevent Foster Care: https://chronicleofsocialchange.org/finance-reform/cliffsnotes-family-first-anatomy-massive-child-welfare-entitlement-reform

Also: CliffsNotes on Family First Act, Part Two: Limiting Support for Congregate Foster Care: https://chronicleofsocialchange.org/finance-reform/cliffsnotes-family-first-act-part-one-services-prevent-foster-care/29896

https://chronicleofsocialchange.org/finance-reform/cliffsnotes-family-first-act-part-three-adoption-foster-home-recruitment-reunification/29897

Wednesday, 07 February 2018 11:48

State supreme courts are increasingly being asked to provide guidance about requests for findings related to Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS).[1] An immigrant youth can only seek SIJS, a form of humanitarian immigration relief, from the federal government after securing a state court order that includes specific findings. As the number of immigrant children and youth seeking SIJS has increased, more state trial and appellate courts are asked to consider petitions for findings in specific cases and, more broadly, the role of a state court in the SIJS process.

Several appellate decisions focus on whether the trial court can enter any SIJS findings. Others address more discrete areas, such as what a trial court with jurisdiction over youth under 18 should do when the young person reaches the age of majority in the state. In a recent case, the District of Columbia Court of Appeals (the court of last resort in Washington, D.C.) addressed the finding of reunification of an immigrant youth with a parent not being viable due to abandonment. Read the rest of the article, click here.  Source: ABA Child Law Practice Today.  January 24, 2018 by Cristina Cooper

 

Tuesday, 19 December 2017 16:53

In early 2017, the American Bar Association officially passed a policy adopting the Legal Center for Foster Care and Education (LCFCE) Blueprint for Change: Education Success for Children in Foster Care (http://fostercareandeducation.org/AreasofFocus/BlueprintforChange.aspx) and the Legal Center for Youth Justice and Education (LCYJE) Blueprint for Change: Education Success for Youth in the Juvenile Justice System (https://www.jjeducationblueprint.org/). Both Blueprints were produced under the leadership of the ABA Center on Children and the Law through partnerships with the Education Law Center, Juvenile Law Center, and the Southern Poverty Law Center.

The ABA's endorsement of the two Blueprints means the nation's largest legal association stands behind the approaches contained in each Blueprint and supports their widespread adoption. The ABA calls on judges, lawyers, and other legal practitioners to advocate for improved policies and practices that support education success for court-involved youth. The ABA also calls on federal, state, territorial, tribal, and local legislatures, government agencies, and courts to adopt laws, regulations, policies, and court rules to implement the Blueprints. There are two documents. The first (PDF) is the ABA policy language. The second provides more information about the implications this ABA policy can have in the field broadly and for your individual jurisdictions.

Tuesday, 12 September 2017 12:29

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.

Thursday, 07 September 2017 12:01

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.