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News and Information from the National Court Appointed Special Advocate Association

Child Welfare News

Digital Stories from the Field

The National Resource Center for Permanency and Family Connections at the Hunter College School of Social Work has a new website showcasing its digital stories with key stakeholders in the child welfare field. In their own voices, storytellers present their narratives, combining their voices with images, sounds and video to create short, powerful movies. These stories bring the voices and experiences of those most affected by the child welfare system into the room. A wide range of topics are explored, including permanency, adoption, reunification, youth development, the importance of parent and youth voice in case planning as well as the role of courts in planning for and with families. They are accompanied by additional web-based resources on the story topic. Go to nrcpfc.org and search for Digital Stories from the Field.

Inside the Research: What Are the Important Differences Among Kinship Foster Families?

Much of the policy encouraging the use of kinship foster families as a placement resource rests on the implicit assumption that kinship foster families are very much alike. However, findings from studies of various child welfare jurisdictions suggest that the kinship family population is not, in fact, homogeneous. To address this gap, a recent Chapin Hall study by Andrew Zinn characterized the differences among kinship families along two related dimensions: family structure and household composition, both of which are related to a range of child outcomes. Go to chapinhall.org/research and type in the search box the title or author’s name.

Issue Brief on Underperforming Schools and the Education of Vulnerable Children

Although they represent a substantial minority of public school students, vulnerable children and youth are largely missing from discussions around how to improve academic achievement. This issue brief describes the impact of disruptive and traumatic life experiences on the behavior and learning of children, schools’ frequent response of placing these children in special education and the students’ often poor educational outcomes in high school. Lisa Walker and Cheryl Smithgall show that the lives of vulnerable children and the performance of their schools are intertwined. They propose that innovative efforts to improve underperforming schools must be coupled with a focus on developing effective ways for teachers and school leaders to work with vulnerable youth. Go to chapinhall.org/research and type the title in the search box.

Children’s Bureau Express Celebrates 10th Anniversary

In its March 2010 online issue, Children’s Bureau Express looks back at the last decade of news in child welfare. What’s changed? Where is the field headed? This special issue includes retrospective articles on past trends and important happenings, technology, accountability, workforce issues, legislation and special articles from guest contributors who explore some of the significant changes in the field. Read the issue at cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm.

Healthy Foster Care America Website

The American Academy of Pediatrics has launched a website to promote improved health and well-being for children and teens in foster care. Healthy Foster Care America is designed to engage communities in supporting children, youth and their families with the services they need and in providing a continuum of care. Child welfare and related professionals and organizations can find tools, resources and information on the health and well-being of children and youth in foster care. Foster parents and kin caring for children may also find appropriate resources to help them in their caregiving as well as in understanding mental and physical health issues and interventions. Visit aap.org/fostercare/index.html.

Report Describes OJJDP’s Efforts to Improve the Lives of At-Risk Tribal Youth

The American Youth Policy Forum has published Strengthening Indian Country Through Tribal Youth Programs. The report describes how the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention’s Tribal Youth Program is empowering Native American youth and reinforcing cultural connections in tribal communities. The Tribal Youth Program awards grants to Native American communities to support and enhance tribal efforts to prevent and control delinquency and improve their juvenile justice systems. The complete report is available at aypf.org/documents/TYPReportLongVersion.pdf.

Supporting Parents of Young Children in the Child Welfare System

This report from the National Center for Children in Poverty explores the challenges and benefits of improving mandated parent training. Drawing on lessons from research and practice, it calls on states, courts and communities to use a more intentional, cost-effective and strategic approach to required parent training. Visit nccp.org and type the title in the search box.

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