July 3-10: CA&N News Articles and Resources

Some recent media articles and resources relating to child abuse and neglect. If you have items that you think would be helpful to include in this occasional post, please forward them to me at the email in my signature block.
These stories were chosen because of their perceived relevance to the child welfare community.  MiPSAC is not responsible for the views expressed in any of these articles, nor does it take a position for or against the positions expressed in the articles.  They are presented merely to provide a sampling of what the media is saying about child welfare.

Charlie Enright, JD, MSW
4907 Foster Rd.
Midland, MI  48642
(989) 600-9696
[email protected]
Michigan Professional Society on Abuse of Children, MiPSAC
This and previous posts can be found at: http://www.mipsac.org/category/can-articles




ANNOUNCEMENT: Congratulations are in order for one of our own. The American Professional Society on Abuse of Children has elected Frank Vandervort, JD, Board Member at Large to the Executive Committee. Mr. Vandervort is a Clinical Assistant Professor at Law, Child Advocacy Law Clinic, at the University of Michigan Law School, Ann Arbor, Michigan


Penn State Scandal Shows Sex-Abuse Laws Can Backfire

Jul. 10, Philadelphia Inquirer: The trial of Jerry Sandusky is over, but the crisis over sexual abuse at Penn State is not. Lawmakers in many states have decided that the Penn State scandal shows a need for tougher penalties for sexual abuse and stricter laws requiring sexual abuse to be reported — though Pennsylvania’s existing laws would have been adequate if officials had lived up to their obligations. There is little evidence that tougher penalties reduce the incidence of sex crimes one whit. They have, however, dramatically raised the stakes of reporting and charging such crimes. Over the past two decades, advocates, the media, and politicians have stoked public fears about sexual abuse. The resulting panic has subjected all sexual offenders to greater stigma and, more importantly, has led to a complex array of laws that dramatically increase the costs of conviction even for less serious sexual offenses. Prison is just the start. Every state also imposes the public shame of community notification. Most restrict where such offenders can live. There is little evidence that all these measures reduce the incidence of sex crimes one whit. They have, however, dramatically raised the stakes of reporting and charging such crimes which may act as a deterrent to reporting. Link to Article


WI: State Senator Introduces Bill To Brand Single Parenthood As Child Abuse Factor

July 9, Mediaite,com: Non-married parents are under attack in Wisconsin as a bill which demands that the Child Abuse and Neglect Board focus on nonmarital parenthood as a contributing factor to child abuse. Link to Article


DC: Time To Draw Back The Curtain On Child Welfare System

July 9, Washington Post: In Maryland, the courts, documents, records and lips of everyone who has any say in the lives of nearly 7,000 children who have been taken from their homes are sealed. It’s all a big secret. And that’s why it is worth looking at the way child dependency courts are open to the public in Los Angeles, Michigan, Illinois and a handful of other places where legislators believe transparency leads to a more accountable child welfare system. In California, Judge Michael Nash, the chief presiding judge of Los Angeles County’s children’s court, simply ruled this year that all courtrooms would be open unless an individual judge can prove a child would be harmed by this. Has it harmed anyone? “Confidentiality tends to protect the system, rather than the children in the system,” Nash told me. He’s seen more scrutiny, attention and discussion of the way child welfare cases are decided since he opened the courts. Vivek Sanakaran saw the difference right away when he moved to Michigan. “I practiced in D.C. for five years,” said Sanakaran, a clinical assistant professor of law in the Child Advocacy Law Clinic at the University of Michigan. “When a system is beyond scrutiny, there is a certain amount of lawlessness that pervades.” Link to Article


IL: Child Abuse Hotline Callers Must Leave Messages

July 8, State Journal-Register: More than 60 percent of calls to Illinois’ child abuse hot line — a resource designed to protect the state’s neglected and battered children — are answered by a message service instead of a welfare specialist, according to a published report Sunday. The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services recorded messages for the majority of the 236,000 calls logged over an 11-month period ending May 31. State law requires the department to operate the hot line 24 hours per day, seven days per week. However, insufficient staffing has been reported and was cited in the death of a child in 2010. DCFS doesn’t track average callback times, but workers and police told the Tribune that it can take several hours during peak periods to get a response. Link to Article


MI: Commentary: Child Welfare Being Reinvented in Michigan

July 6, Detroit News: Op Ed by Maura D. Corrigan, Director of the Michigan Department of Human Services. In 2006, a class action lawsuit on behalf of children in foster care led to a 2008 federal consent decree, which transferred oversight of child welfare to federal district court. By late 2010, our progress had frustrated the court monitors, and we found ourselves at a crossroads. With Gov. Rick Snyder’s support and leadership, we renegotiated the 2008 consent decree. In July 2011, the court approved this modified agreement. On June 25, the monitors issued their first report to the court under this agreement, and the news was positive. We are substantially meeting the requirements of the decree. Together with our partners in the courts and private agencies, we are reinventing child welfare in Michigan. We are the first state in the Midwest to extend foster care to age 21. We are working with 30 colleges across the state to assist foster youth who want a college education. DHS and our partners are firmly committed to easing the transition to adulthood for the young adults in our care. The demands of the modified settlement agreement will become increasingly stringent over the next two years, but we have a plan. Link to Op Ed

See Also:

MI: Is Foster Care in Michigan Getting Better?

July 2, Michigan Radio: Michigan’s foster care system is huge, the sixth biggest in the country. So many kids in the system were being abused, neglected or just forgotten about under the state’s care that a group called Children’s Rights sued the state to force it to change in 2006. Two years ago, the state entered into a court settlement and is now being monitored as it makes changes to its child welfare system. Maura Corrigan, the Director of the Michigan Department of Human Services says the state is making improvements. However, there are others, advocates like Frank Vandervort, who is a clinical professor of law with primary interests in juvenile justice, child welfare, and interdisciplinary practice. He says this case is not going to make the system much better. He would like to see an overhaul in how the state approaches families in crisis. Link to Article


MI: In Wake of Supreme Court Ruling, Juvenile Justice Reform Has Just Begun

July 5, Detroit News: In her majority opinion in Miller v. Alabama, Elena Kagan traces a history of legal precedent to the logical conclusion that mandatory sentences of life in prison without the possibility of parole are unconstitutionally cruel punishment for juveniles. To me, as a juvenile justice advocate, juvenile law reform has not gone far enough. The same rationale, differentiating youth from adults when considering the harshest sentences, also underpins other compelling legal questions. Today’s proliferation of transfers to adult court abuses what the pioneers of the system intended as a rare exception. Juvenile sentencing is outmoded and ineffective. Judges rely on incarceration in a way the framers of the juvenile court never would have supported. The United States jails more adolescents than any nation on Earth — 336 per 100,000, five times more than the next-highest country. To accomplish what? Up to 62 percent of youths released from juvenile custody are rearrested within three years. By contrast, Missouri, a model of reform by de-emphasizing incarceration, boasts a three-year rearrest rate of 16 percent. Rehabilitation works.  Link to Op Ed


US: Deciding Whether to Share a History of Child Abuse

July 5, New York Times: K. survived an abusive childhood, and she is trying to decide when, and how, to share her history of sexual abuse with her young adult children. Most readers, whether they were victims of abuse themselves, or had a parent who shared that facet of his or her history, felt that it was usually better to tell than to keep the secret. Those who disagreed were those who felt burdened by too much knowledge of a parent’s past — or the expectations that came with it. The one piece of advice that echoed across most responses was that K. should be certain that whatever decision she makes is one that is made with her children’s needs in mind and not her own. Link to Article


US: Study Says Childhood Abuse Linked to Adult Obesity in Black Women

July 4, Los Angeles Times: Researchers say higher levels of childhood physical or sexual abuse are associated with an increased risk for obesity among adult African American women. It was the first study to look at a large group of African American women for this association, which has been found among women in previous studies, the researchers from Boston University said in the August issue of the journal Pediatrics. Link to Article


MI: Harsh Sentencing Rules Cost Millions Without Cutting Crime: Op Ed

July 3, Detroit Free Press: Michigan legislators and taxpayers looking to save hundreds of millions of dollars in corrections costs should check out the Pew Center report (“Time Served: The High Cost, Low Return of Longer Prison Terms”) that shows Michigan prisoners released in 2009 led the nation in average time served. Harsh sentencing policies are the biggest reason Michigan has one of the nation’s highest incarceration rates, making it one of only four states that spend more on prisons than higher education. On average, Michigan prisoners were incarcerated 23 months longer than their counterparts in 1990, costing the state nearly $500 million. Rising crime rates weren’t the reason, as rates two decades ago were comparable to those of today. National and state studies have shown little, if any, correlation between length of stay and recidivism. On the contrary, longer sentences might actually increase the chances of recidivism because they make prisoners even less employable and less able to adjust to a rapidly changing society. Link to Op Ed

Comment by C. Enright: So much for addressing child maltreatment by increasing the sentence for child abuse with Dominick’s Law.


CA: Landmark U.S. Verdict Against Jehovah’s Witnesses

July 2, The Star: Candace Conti says the molestation began when she was 9 years old, distributing Bibles door to door with a fellow churchgoer. When she found out she was not the only victim, she sued the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of Ne w York Inc. — the corporation that oversees Jehovah’s Witnesses — on the grounds that the elders of her congregation knew of Kendrick’s record and did nothing to protect her. Last month, in a landmark ruling, a California jury sided with Conti, ordering the Watchtower to pay nearly $25 million in damages and the molester to pay about $3 million. She also alleged the Watchtower had a policy, since 1989, of instructing elders to keep accusations of child sex abuse secret. Link to Article


CA: California Bill Would Allow a Child to Have More Than Two Parents

July 2, Sacramento Bee: Surrogate births, same-sex parenthood and assisted reproduction are changing society by creating new possibilities for nontraditional households and relationships. Surrogate births, same-sex parenthood and assisted reproduction are changing society by creating new possibilities for nontraditional households and relationships. Under the bill, if three or more people who acted as parents could not agree on custody, visitation and child support, a judge could split those things up among them. SB 1476 is not meant to expand the definition of who can qualify as a parent, only to eliminate the limit of two per child. Link to Article




Keeping Kids Safe on Roller Coasters and Other Thrill Rides

July 5, Health Day News: Height requirements are designed to weed out kids who are too young to enjoy the ride. This summer, thrill-seekers will test their bravery on extreme roller-coaster rides — twisting, flipping and spinning, all while trying to keep their lunch down. Although the height and speed of roller coasters can look scary, amusement-park rides aren’t dangerous as long as people follow the rules, said Kathryn Woodcock, an amusement-ride expert at Ryerson University in Toronto. To keep kids safe, Woodcock offers safety tips. Link to Health Day News Article


Teen Sexting and Its Association With Sexual Behaviors

July 2012, Archives of Pediatric & Adolescent Medicine: Results: Twenty-eight percent of the sample reported having sent a naked picture of themselves through text or e-mail (sext), and 31% reported having asked someone for a sext. More than half (57%) had been asked to send a sext, with most being bothered by having been asked. Adolescents who engaged in sexting behaviors were more likely to have begun dating and to have had sex than those who did not sext (all P < .001). For girls, sexting was also associated with risky sexual behaviors. Conclusions: The results suggest that teen sexting is prevalent and potentially indicative of teens’ sexual behaviors. Teen-focused health care providers should consider screening for sexting behaviors to provide age-specific education about the potential consequences of sexting and as a mechanism for discussing sexual behaviors. Link to APAM Article


Safety Effects of Drawstring Requirements for Children’s Upper Outerwear Garments

July 2012, Archives of Pediatric & Adolescent Medicine: Objective: To evaluate the effectiveness of the requirements of the voluntary safety standard for drawstrings on children’s upper outerwear garments in preventing child deaths resulting from drawstring entanglement. Conclusions: The requirements of the voluntary safety standard for drawstrings have been highly effective in preventing deaths resulting from the entanglement of drawstrings in children’s upper outerwear garments. Link to APAM Article


Rates of Nonsuicidal Self-Injury in Young Children: Age, Sex, and Behavioral Methods in a Community Sample

July 1, Pediatrics: OBJECTIVE: The goal was to assess the rate and behavioral methods of nonsuicidal self-injury (NSSI) in a community sample of youth and examine effects of age and sex. CONCLUSIONS: Children and adolescents engage in NSSI. Ninth-grade girls seem most at risk, as they engage in NSSI at 3 times the rate of boys. Behavioral methods of NSSI also vary by grade and gender. As possible inclusion of an NSSI diagnosis in the fifth edition of the DSM-5 draws near, it is essential to better understand NSSI engagement across development and gender. Link to Pediatrics Article




2012 Crimes Against Children Conference Program

Join APSAC at the August 13-16, 2012 for the 24th Annual Crimes Against Children Conference hosted by the Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center and the Dallas Police Department. APSAC is a Training Partner for this conference. Link to Conference info.pdf


SCAO Trainings: 

Guidelines for Achieving Permanency in Child Protection Proceedings:The “Yellow Book” Training
Thursday, Jul 26 at 9:00 AM EDT

ICWA “Qualified Expert Witness” Testimony to Protect the Best Interests of the Indian Child
Wednesday, Aug 8 at 9:00 AM EDT

Telling a Story: Trial Skills for the Child Welfare Lawyer
Thursday, Aug 16 at 9:00 AM EDT

Testifying in Court for Nonlawyers
Wednesday, Aug 22 at 10:00 AM EDT

Writing for Resources: Grant Writing for Court and Child Welfare Professionals
Wednesday, Sep 12 at 9:00 AM EDT

Guidelines for Achieving Permanency in Child Protection Proceedings:The “Yellow Book” Training
Wednesday, Sep 19 at 9:00 AM EDT

Keeping them Connected: The Role of Parent-Child Visitation In Promoting Child Well-Being and Achieving Timely Permanency
Thursday, Nov 8 at 9:00 AM EST

Click on any of the Titles to go to the SCAO Upcoming Trainings Page




Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance — United States, 2011

June 8, 2012, Abstract: Priority health-risk behaviors, which are behaviors that contribute to the leading causes of morbidity and mortality among youth and adults, often are established during childhood and adolescence, extend into adulthood, and are interrelated and preventable.
Reporting Period Covered: September 2010–December 2011.
Description of the System: The Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS) monitors six categories of priority health-risk behaviors among youth and young adults: 1) behaviors that contribute to unintentional injuries and violence; 2) tobacco use; 3) alcohol and other drug use; 4) sexual behaviors that contribute to unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), including human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection; 5) unhealthy dietary behaviors; and 6) physical inactivity. In addition, YRBSS monitors the prevalence of obesity and asthma. YRBSS includes a national school-based Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) conducted by CDC and state and large urban school district school-based YRBSs conducted by state and local education and health agencies. This report summarizes results from the 2011 national survey, 43 state surveys, and 21 large urban school district surveys conducted among students in grades 9–12. Link to CDC Report Web Page  Includes Michigan Data


New High School Toolkit Offers Hope in Preventing Suicide Among Adolescents

June 22, 2012, SAMHSA Press Office: The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) unveiled a new toolkit to help prevent suicide. Preventing Suicide: A Toolkit for High Schools aims at reducing the risk of suicide among high school students by providing school administrators, principals, mental health professionals, health educators, guidance counselors, nurses, student services coordinators, teachers and others guidelines for identifying teenagers at risk and resources for taking appropriate actions to provide help. Link to Summary and Toolkit




New Juvenile Dependency Court Focuses on Foster Youth Education

Winter 2011-2012, Youth Law News: The Middle School Education Court (MSEC) in Santa Clara County, California is the first education-focused collaborative juvenile court in the nation. Its mission is to help foster children attain academic success through appropriate educational placements and support. It is currently in its final year of a two-year pilot phase. The court, launched in January 2011, is part of Santa Clara County’s Juvenile Dependency Court. It brings together various child welfare advocates to serve approximately 24 middle school-aged youth. During their time in MSEC, students receive a comprehensive educational needs report and are matched with resources according to the report’s recommendations. For the first time, agencies like the Department of Family and Children’s Services and the Office of Education, among others, are collaborating to ensure that foster children receive the best educational support possible. Some of the participants are receiving special education support that they were not getting before, and others have been identified for gifted and talented programs. Link to Article


Preparing Youth for Adulthood

July 2012, Children’s Bureau: In 2007, roughly 800 Washington, DC, youth transitioning from child welfare planned to exit care with Alternative Planned Permanent Living Arrangements (APPLA). APPLA is a permanency option selected when reunification, adoption, legal guardianship, and relative placements are not possible, leaving the agency responsible for the child until adulthood. The Preparing Youth for Adulthood (PYA) initiative was designed to help reduce the number of DC youth exiting care with APPLAs and help them achieve safety, permanency, and well-being. PYA is a collaborative effort among the DC Family Court, DC Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASAs), the DC Office of the Attorney General (OAG), and the DC Child and Family Services Agency and is supported by Court Improvement Program Basic Grant Funds. Youth in the program are assigned a CASA through the Family Court, and the CASA works with a social worker and youth to develop an Individual Transitional Independent Living Plan (ITILP). The ITILP is then filed with the Family Court Magistrate Judge, who holds regular preparation hearings to discuss transition goals, tasks, and timelines. PYA participants must meet with their CASA volunteers at least twice per month and attend all preparation hearings. Link To CB Express Page With Further Links


New Issue of CASA’s Connection: Dually Involved Youth (Combined NA and JJ)

July 2012, Children’s Bureau: With studies showing that youth involved in child welfare have a much higher likelihood of entering the juvenile justice system, effective collaboration among child welfare agencies, juvenile justice agencies, the courts, and other stakeholders can be key in improving outcomes for dually involved youth. Improving cross-system responses to dually involved youth is the focus of a recent issue of The Connection magazine, published by Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) for Children. Link To CB Express Page With Further Links


New Frontier in Serving Crossover Youth (Combined NA and JJ)

July 2012, Children’s Bureau: A white paper sponsored by Georgetown University’s Center for Juvenile Justice Reform and the Robert F. Kennedy Children’s Action Corps provides a new framework for serving youth involved in both the child welfare and juvenile justice systems, sometimes known as “crossover” youth. The framework combines the core elements from the Systems Integration Initiative (SII) and the Crossover Youth Practice Model (CYPM) within a comprehensive management tool. The result is a methodology to help jurisdictions better serve youth involved in the child welfare and juvenile justice systems. Link To CB Express Page With Further Links


Resources for Serving LGBTQ Youth

The National Resource Center for In-Home Services (NRC In-Home) recently released new resources for child welfare professionals who work with lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, and questioning (LGBTQ) youth. The NRC In-Home hosted a webinar in May titled “Building Support to Serve Families of LGBTQ Youth.” The webinar, which is now posted on the NRC’s website, coincides with the NRC’s publication of In-Home Services for Families of LGBTQ Youth. Link To CB Express Page With Further Links

Additional Training and Technical Assistance Network Updates

Link To CB Express Page With Further Links


Florida’s Family-Centered Visiting

Parent-child and sibling visiting is an important component of family-centered practice that can help achieve timely reunification. The State of Florida has successfully implemented a community-based parent-child and sibling visiting program that is rooted in encouragement and is yielding positive outcomes. Link To CB Express Page With Further Links


Family Finding and Rethinking Connectedness in New York

After the 2008 Child and Family Services Review (CFSR) showed poor permanency outcomes for youth in New York State, staff at Hillside Family of Agencies realized something had to change. To bolster their efforts to achieve better permanency outcomes, Hillside, in 2010, implemented two segments of family finding services: (1) quality family finding training and technical assistance (T&TA) to staff across public and private child welfare, mental health, juvenile justice, and developmental disabilities sectors and (2) services for youth. Deborah Rosen, Director for the Hillside Institute for Family Connections, said the concept of family finding goes beyond finding immediate or extended family members for youth in care. “Young people need to be connected to permanent and loving families, but also to resilient communities. We’re looking at redefining connectedness.” She added that family finding requires a shift in mindset to include not just moms, dads, and grandparents, but any person the child is related to or cares about because it’s important to think of this as expanding the universe of possibility for the child. Link To CB Express Page With Further Links


Children With Incarcerated Parents: Mental Health Aspects

The spring 2012 issue of Child Rights Litigation, an American Bar Association (ABA) publication, features an article about meeting the needs of children with incarcerated parents. The authors also touch on collaborative opportunities and best practices between the child welfare and justice systems. Three case studies are provided by attorneys and guardians ad litem, each focused on visitation and accompanied by a mental health analysis. The article is a follow-up to “A Voice for the Young Child With an Incarcerated Parent,” which focused on the mental health aspect of parent-child separation and visiting with incarcerated parents. Link To CB Express Page With Further Links


Setting Limits to Support Reunification in Kinship Care

Kinship caregivers raising the children of relatives, especially relatives affected by substance abuse, need help from professionals to establish appropriate boundaries and set limits to their support, according to a new study published in the journal Families in Society. There are numerous benefits to placing children with kin; however, researchers found that kinship care arrangements in which parents perceive unlimited support and unclear boundaries regarding visits with their children can contribute to lower reunification rates. Summary of Article Only

Victimizations Known to Authorities

Less than half of all incidents of child victimizations are known to police, schools, or medical authorities, according to the latest National Study of Children’s Exposure to Violence (NatSCEV). Authorities were more likely to know about victimization perpetrated by adults and more serious victimizations, like kidnapping and sexual or physical assault, and were less likely to know about peer-to-peer victimization. The study’s findings can help authorities target prevention and treatment services for underreported victimization types and encourage more disclosures from underserved groups. Link To CB Express Page With Further Links

CW360: Secondary Trauma in Child Welfare

The spring 2012 issue of CW360° is dedicated to the topic of secondary trauma and the child welfare workforce. Twenty-four articles written by a wide variety of child welfare, medical, mental health, and other related professionals and researchers provide a comprehensive look at this relatively new and important concept. Much research has been done on secondary trauma as it relates to emergency responders and mental health practitioners. However, with respect to the child welfare field, research in this area is lacking and has historically focused on turnover and burnout. Secondary traumatic stress (STS), often mistaken for burnout, can develop when a person empathizes with a traumatized individual. Link Directly to pdf Journal Issue

Family Education Rights and Privacy Act Q&A

The American Bar Association’s Children and the Law, Education Law Center, and Juvenile Law Center, published a foster care and education factsheet about the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) to guide information sharing among child welfare systems, schools, and the courts. FERPA provisions dictate which types of information can be shared, with whom, and how. Link To CB Express Page With Further Links

Health Care Toolkit for Youth

SparkAction, a website with tools and information for those who work with children and youth, has shared a new toolkit by Young Invincibles. “Get Covered: A Health Care Toolkit for Gen Y” is designed to help youth understand all aspects of health care. Written by and for young people, the rereleased toolkit serves as a guide for young adults about obtaining health care coverage—either by remaining on a parent’s plan or purchasing their own plan—with special sections on preexisting conditions, cancer, and women’s health issues. After entering an email address, users can download the full toolkit with information specific to where they live and resources available in their State.

The toolkit consists of several topics, including the following:

  • Health options when the student has graduated
  • How to and if they are eligible to join their parent’s insurance plan
  • Glossary of terms to know when buying an insurance plan
  • A section  for young women covering pregnancy prevention, contraceptives, and pregnancy
  • How to handle preexisting conditions
  • Young adults and cancer

For more information and to download the full toolkit, visit the SparkAction website: Link Directly to Toolkit


Mental Health Assessment Tip Sheet

Children and youth in foster care often have symptoms and behaviors that may require assessment for possible pharmacological support. In Arizona, the Child and Family Team (CFT) process facilitates discussions around the need for appropriate services, which may involve a referral for psychiatric assessment and medication treatment. The tip sheet Guidelines for Caregivers: Are You Prepared for Your Child’s Psychiatric Evaluation? by the Arizona Department of Economic Security, Division of Children, Youth and Families, provides caregivers with a checklist of questions to ask during the evaluation and medication monitoring appointments. This brief guide focuses on the following key recommendations:

  • Explain the purpose of the visit with the child
  • Describe child behavior in detail
  • Provide relevant medical records
  • Review diagnosis and medication treatment plan
  • Discuss pros and cons of medication, side effects, etc.
  • Evaluate the informed consent form

After the evaluation, additional areas of focus relate to the prescription, use, and management of any medications. The tip sheet is available on the Arizona Department of Economic Security website: Direct Link to pdf Tip Sheet


Promoting Quality Individualized Learning Plans: A “How to Guide” Focused on the High School Years

A guide designed for schools, educators, and other professionals who assist youth with college and career readiness and transition planning. This guide was developed in response to feedback from schools indicating a need for curriculum and implementation guidelines to support whole-school buy-in for implementing individualized learning plans (ILPs). A key goal of the guide is to help schools develop a bridge between college and career readiness efforts through the use of ILPs and help youth achieve prosperous and productive lives. The career development activities and resources in this guide are also useful for youth service professionals in the workforce development system. Direct Link to Guide


Child Welfare and Technology Guide

The Center for Advanced Studies in Child Welfare (CASCW) released the second guide in its policy brief series based on the 2011 CWO360°: Child Welfare and Technology. The guide, Child Welfare and Technology: A Guide for Policymakers, explores how technology is used in Minnesota’s child protection, foster care, and adoption systems. The guide is meant to be a “user’s guide” for policymakers, directing them toward influential articles and solutions regarding common policy problems. Citations throughout the brief link to the full text in CWO360°: Child Welfare and Technology. The guide tackles three policy problems—large and incompatible data systems, challenges maintaining accurate data records, and the effects of budget constraints on quality connections—and provides solutions and a list of further reading for each emerging issue. CASCW is a nonpartisan research and training center at the University of Minnesota School of Social Work. Child Welfare and Technology: A Guide for Policymakers is available on the University’s website: Direct Link to Guide

More information about CASCW is available here: http://www.cehd.umn.edu/ssw/cascw/




Which State Child Welfare Systems Are Right for Kids?

Each state’s child welfare system typically operates out of the public eye unless a tragedy, often the death a child, pulls the system from the shadows to the front page. It should not be this way. Protecting children from abuse and neglect is a fundamental responsibility of a civil society. Yet, the average American, and even most policymakers and members of the media, has little understanding of how their state’s child welfare system performs. The annual RIGHT FOR KIDS RANKING provides the hard facts about how well states are serving vulnerable kids. The RIGHT FOR KIDS RANKING and the companion RightForKids.org Web site answers basic questions like:

• Which states are doing the best job overall in serving children who are abused and neglected?

And more focused questions like:

• Which states are best serving teenagers in foster care by helping them move on to permanency and stability?

The 2012 RIGHT FOR KIDS RANKING is based on the most recent data available–mostly from 2010–and factors a state’s change in performance over time, from 2007 to 2010.

Link to pdf Report They rank Michigan 22nd out of 51 overall.


Locating and Engaging Youth After They Leave Foster Care
Experiences Fielding The Multi-Site Evaluation of Foster Youth Programs

• States are required to collect data on youth aging out of foster care and provide them to the National Youth in Transition Database.

• Youth aging out of foster care are difficult to trace, being highly mobile and even experiencing bouts of homelessness. Those most difficult to find are most likely in need of services.

• For states to successfully locate youth who have left foster care, they must plan ahead, employ a large set of tracking methods, establish rapport with the youth, and connect with youths’ families. Link to pdf Brief


Extending Foster Care Beyond 18: Improving Outcomes for Older Youth

Young people formerly in foster care, compared to the general population, experience significantly different outcomes in areas of education, employment, income, and involvement in the criminal justice system, among other measures (Courtney et al., 2010). Extending care for youth and providing them with greater support during their transition into adulthood may lessen the likelihood of negative outcomes and experiences. Provides a list of resources for those working with older youth. Link to Information Packet


MI: Foster Care: Developing the Service Plan.
Michigan Dept. of Human Services 2012 Policy Manual Excerpt

An extensive excerpt from the Michigan DHS Children’s Foster Care Manual Link to pdf DHS Manual Excerpt


Tips for Talking to Children About Child Abuse.

National Center for Victims of Crime. Dept. of Justice: A tip sheet with child appropriate language. Link to pdf Tip Sheet


Protection v. Presentment: When Youths in Foster Care Become Respondents in Child Welfare Proceedings.

Kansas Legal Services. Children’s Advocacy Resource Center. Primarily considers the legal ramifications of a child who is or becomes a parent while in foster care. Link to Article

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