Posts Tagged by foster care
|April 9, 2013||Posted by M. P. under Children and Family, Drug and Alcohol, Policy, Program Model, Youth Development||
The impact of parental substance abuse on children’s stability and well-being is a concern that crosses systems. Data suggests that parental drug and alcohol use is related to abuse and neglect and increases the likelihood of a parent’s involvement in the justice system – including the possibility of incarceration. The National Center on Substance Abuse and Child Welfare (NCSACW) provides In-Depth Technical Assistance (IDTA) to a handful of sites across the country in the areas of substance abuse, child welfare and the courts to result in better outcomes for families involved in these systems. For approximately 18 months, the IDTA team works with local, state or tribal entities to coordinate strategy and services across systems through the use of evidence-based programs and on-site technical assistance in order to grow capacity for improved child and family outcomes.
The report, In-Depth Technical Assistance (IDTA) Final Report 2007-2012 provides an overview of the IDTA program model, related site accomplishments, and the lessons of system change at various levels. Some findings include,
- 50 percent of the sites implemented (or enhanced) a recovery specialist model in their programs;
- 68 percent developed and/or implemented cross-system training plans;
- 60 percent developed and/or implemented screening protocols that resulted in lowers costs, reduced redundancy and a more efficient referral process;
- 27 percent used cross-system data collection and tracking processes, such as case reviews and drop-off analysis, to inform policy and program decisions. (Note: according to the SAMHSA website, a Drop-Off Analysis is “a method used to assess linkages among child welfare, treatment agencies and courts. The method helps to identify connections that families need to make between systems to obtain services and achieve their child welfare case goals.”)
In addition to program findings, the brief discusses numerous lessons learned around systems change, particularly: issues in achieving long-term policy and practice changes and avoiding the fracture of collaborative relationships post-project, leadership focused on engaging and sustaining partners, use of data to identify areas of and opportunities for change, and realistic timelines for implementing system change and shared accountability.
|August 2, 2012||Posted by M. P. under Behavorial Health, Children and Family, Drug and Alcohol, Juvenile Delinquency, Research, Uncategorized||
Therapeutic foster care (TFC) differs from traditional foster care as it is most often used as an alternative to a child being placed in a medical or juvenile justice system facility due to serious behavioral or physical conditions that require residential care. Rather, they are placed with skilled foster parents trained to care for these intensive-needs youth.
Data from The National Survey on Drug Use and Health, an annual survey from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) indicate that youth in therapeutic foster care (also known as treatment foster care) had higher rates of use of alcohol, marijuana and illicit use of prescription drugs in the past 30 days compared to the national average of their peers’ past month substance use. These data are not a surprise considering the correlation between increases in parental drug use and increased foster care numbers. Also, children from homes with substance abuse and addiction often have behavioral problems and a history of high risk activity with some becoming runways until they land in the system through the juvenile detention or child welfare pipeline.
While foster youth being at higher risk of addiction is not a new trend, it is troubling because youth who have moderate to lengthy histories in foster care are more likely to have histories of neglect, sexual or physical abuse, alcohol and drug use and a pattern of risky behaviors. Often, kids in therapeutic foster care have already seen multiple placements, and may be facing their last chance of avoiding a residential unit at a detention facility. TFC programs – whether run by county government or contracted to nonprofit or for-profit providers -should have extensive substance abuse prevention and intervention components tailored to this high risk population, from screenings for the kids to support and training for the foster parents.
Individualized Services, Lower Caseloads & Higher Adoption Rates: The Wendy’s Wonderful Kids Program Evaluation Report
|October 27, 2011||Posted by M. P. under Children and Family, Evaluation, Program Model||
The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption (DTFA) and its Wendy’s Wonderful Kids initiative strive to increase adoptions of foster children in the United States and some provinces in Canada. A recent evaluation of the program found that it is more successful in attaining the goal of adoption than traditional casework and adoption models.
The Wendy’s Wonderful Kids (WWK) program, funded partially from donations from Wendy’s restaurants, administers grants through DTFA to adoption agencies across the country who then work with local professionals to place children in the foster care system with adoptive families. The process is highly individualized, with much attention paid to getting to know the children and placing them with recruited, well-vetted families according to the history, strengths and unique needs of the youth. In this model, WWK staff carry a caseload of 12 to 15 children.
The evaluation found that overall; the youth in the WWK program were more likely to be adopted (1.5 times more) than youth outside the program and those who had mental health diagnoses were three times more likely to be adopted than their counterparts in the control group. Also, as the age of the child increased, so did the likelihood that they would be adopted compared to youth receiving traditional services; for example, the report states that youth entering the program at age 11 were twice as likely to be adopted and those referred at age 15 were three times as likely to be adopted. Taking this data at face value it appears the model used by the WWK works exceptionally well with youth sometimes considered more challenging to place in adoptive families (those with special needs, teenagers, etc.).
Demographics of the intervention group, a more detailed breakdown of the findings and information on the WWK program model are available in the Evaluation Report Summary and other evaluation materials at the Child Trends website. A fact sheet of the findings is also available.
Citation of Evaluation Report: Malm, K., Vandivere, S., Allen, T., DeVooght, K., Ellis, R., McKlindon, A., Smollar, J., Williams, E. and Zinn, A. (2011). Evaluation Report Summary: The Wendy’s Wonderful Kids Initiative, Child Trends, Washington, D.C.
|August 9, 2011||Posted by M. P. under Children and Family, Education, Health, Juvenile Delinquency||
Adding to the bleakness of the anemic economic and employment outlook, stock market “adjustments”, riots in the streets of London and protests against economic conditions in Israel, comes the news that child poverty in the United States increased nearly 10 percent between 2008 and 2009, according to the latest data from the Children’s Defense Fund.
In the report, The State of America’s Children 2011, the CDF presents some unsettling data that indicate segments of the population are falling further behind, putting the current well-being (and the futures) of their children at risk. The report finds children of color are trailing in a majority of child well-being indicators, and
- are more likely to be born to mothers who have received little to no prenatal care,
- are more likely to live in poverty (1 in 3 black children and 1 in 3 Hispanic children versus 1 in 10 white children),
- are more likely to live with domestic upheaval (including separation from one or both parents), and
- are over-represented in the child welfare system.
Facts and discussion on child nutrition, education, juvenile justice and numerous other indicators are included in the complete report, available for download and in an interactive format at the CDF website.
|June 15, 2011||Posted by M. P. under Children and Family, Policy, Youth Development||
The May 2011 brief KIDS COUNT Data Snapshot on Foster Care Placement from the Annie E. Casey Foundation summarizes the progress of state child welfare systems have made toward reducing the rate of children placed in group homes or residential institutions rather than than foster family homes.
In general, child welfare policies and professionals encourage the placement of children in the least restrictive setting possible with emphasis on their safety and well-being. According to the research brief, placing a child with a relative or a non-relative foster family may ease the trauma of being separated from a parent or parents. Also, within a home setting, the child can experience a safe, stable family environment and remain connected with their siblings, friends and school.
Using data from the Adoption and Foster Care Reporting System (AFCARS) the KIDS COUNT Data Snapshot concludes that while the number of youth in foster care has declined nationally since 2000, the breakdown of the placement of children in the system has remained nearly stagnant. In 2009,
- 16 percent of foster youth were in a group home or institution,
- 24 percent were in a relative’s foster family home, and
- 48 percent were in a non relative’s foster family home.
In Pennsylvania, out of the 16,878 children in foster care in 2009,
- 23 percent had been placed with a relative/kin foster family,
- 24 percent were in a group home or institution, and
- 47 percent were in a non-relative foster family placement.
|May 25, 2011||Posted by M. P. under Behavorial Health, Children and Family, Federal Government, Health, Policy||
Research indicates that the youngest members of society are the most at risk of experiencing trauma, abuse and neglect, therefore having a high likelihood of contact with the child welfare system. The vulnerability of young children makes their safety and well-being a high priority, a point recognized by policy-makers and professionals as evidenced by the growing collaborative efforts between the child welfare system and early childhood experts.
A brief from the Administration for Children and Families, US Department of Health and Human Services entitled TIP SHEET FOR EARLY CHILDHOOD-CHILD WELFARE PARTNERSHIPS: Policies and programs that promote educational access, stability, and success for vulnerable children and families, provides a concise review of the many federal policies and programs in place to improve access to child care, early intervention and early education for youth in the child welfare system. Programs highlighted include:
- The Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA): The reauthorization of this Act last year provided incentive and support for linking physical and mental health and developmental services to the child welfare system to target at-risk children, especially those under the age of three.
- Head Start: A free program to eligible children regardless if they live with their parents, kin, or have been placed in a foster home.
- Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act: This bill requires that youth in foster care, even very young children, experience a stable placement with as few disruptions to their education and residential setting as possible.
More programs and initiatives are summarized on the brief that also includes a list of web-based resources, making this a handy resource for families, advocates, child care workers, educators and social service staff.