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News and Information from the National Court Appointed Special Advocate Association

Child Welfare News

New Research Reports from Chapin Hall

Midwest Study on Transitioning Out of Care into Adulthood

The Midwest Study provides a comprehensive picture of how youth in foster care are faring since the Foster Care Independence Act of 1999 became law. Young people who age out of care continue to face major challenges in their early 20s, often unable to complete their education and find housing and jobs. These new findings look at outcomes at ages 23 and 24. Find Midwest Evaluation of the Adult Functioning of Former Foster Youth by Mark E. Courtney, Amy Dworsky, JoAnn S. Lee and Melissa Raap by going to bit.ly/midwesteval.

Does Keeping Youth in Foster Care Beyond Age 18 Help Prevent Homelessness?

Allowing young people to remain in foster care until their 21st birthday may not prevent—but may delay—entry into homelessness. Foster youth in Illinois are about one-third as likely to become homeless by age 19 and about three-quarters as likely to become homeless by age 21 as foster youth in Wisconsin and Iowa. However by age 23 or 24, those differences have nearly disappeared. Find the report on homelessness among youth formerly in care by going to bit.ly/18homeless.

Areas Where Transitioning Youth Need Services

In the effort to achieve independent adulthood, youth who age out of foster care have, in general, four possible avenues of life experience as they struggle to make it on their own long before the majority of their peers. These subgroups are identified in the latest issue brief from the Midwest Study: Distinct Subgroups of Former Foster Youth During Young Adulthood: Implications for Policy and Practice. The issue brief by Mark E. Courtney, Jennifer L. Hook and JoAnn S. Lee can be downloaded by going to bit.ly/fostersubgroups.

Researcher Finds Secure Attachments in Most Young Children in Care

Attachment relationships between 76 young children (mean age of 22 months) and their foster mothers were examined through interviews with the women and home observational measures. The researchers found 58% of the children were securely attached, compared to 67% in the general population. “Attachment in Foster Care: The Role of Maternal Sensitivity, Adoption, and Foster Mother Experience,” by Leslie Ponciano of Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles, is in the April issue of Child and Adolescent Social Work (volume 27, issue 2). Secure attachment was higher among children whose mothers were rated high in maternal sensitivity, had decided to adopt their children, had fewer children in the home and were new foster parents. The author concludes that the findings support the use of concurrent planning. To access an abstract, go to bit.ly/foster-attachment.

Adoption Quarterly: Transracial Adoption

“Influence of Age on Transracial Foster Adoptions and its Relation to Ethnic Identity Development,” by Joshua Padilla, Jose Vargas and Lyssette Chavez, explores the factors that increased the prospects of transracial adoption between 2000 and 2005. Researchers found that transracially adopted children were significantly younger than those in same-race adoptions. The report—in the current issue of Adoption Quarterly (volume 13, issue 1)—found biracial Caucasian/African American children had 29.5 times the odds of being adopted transracially as Caucasian children, whereas the odds for an African American child were 4.1 times greater and for a Hispanic child 15.7 times greater. Transracially adopted black children were 5.4 years old on average compared to 7.3 years for same-race adoptions. The authors conclude that since the central work of racial/ethnic identity development is in adolescence, and over 90% of transracial adoptions occur prior to that stage, more needs to be done to address the needs of these children and families. To access an abstract, go to bit.ly/transracial-adoption.

Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute Reports on Tax Credit

On April 15, the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute released a report on the Adoption Tax Credit, which was extended through December 2011. The tax credit applies to all types of adoptions. To access the report, go to bit.ly/adopt-tax-credit.

Child Trends Report Identifies Strategies for Youth Aging Out of Care

Child Trends published a report in March, What Works for Older Youth During the Transition to Adulthood: Lessons from Experimental Evaluations of Programs and Interventions by Alena Hadley, Kassim Mbwana and Elizabeth Hair. The report synthesizes findings from 31 experimental program evaluations addressing a wide range of needs and categorizes them as not proven to work, mixed findings and found to work. To access the report, go to bit.ly/older-youth.

The Impact of Immigration Enforcement on Child Welfare

An estimated 73% of the children of unauthorized immigrants are born in the United States and are therefore US citizens. When the parents of these children are arrested because of their immigration status, the children are at high risk of prolonged separation from their families and may end up in long-term foster care. A new report from First Focus, The Impact of Immigration Enforcement on Child Welfare, looks at how families are affected. Authors Wendy Cervantes and Yali Lincroft discuss the need for federal, state and local agencies to develop more humane protocols when conducting enforcement actions in order to minimize children’s trauma when a parent is detained. They also note that a detained parent is often hindered in meeting child welfare case plan requirements. The authors suggest that better coordination between law enforcement and child welfare systems is needed. The report includes humanitarian guidelines developed by Immigration and Customs Enforcement and is available by going to bit.ly/ICE-impact.

Self-Assessment Tools for Programs Serving Young Children

Strengthening Families recently revised and expanded its Online Self-Assessment Package for use by programs serving young children and their families, including early care and education, home visitation, family support and child welfare. The tool helps programs make small but significant changes in their day-to-day practice to dramatically impact the lives of families. Programs first answer a series of questions about the services they provide. The results can be used to create an action plan for program areas needing improvement. To help programs measure the impact of their improvement efforts, the package also includes two survey tools for use with parents and staff to gauge changes in behaviors and attitudes over time. The surveys address staff interaction with families and parents’ perceived strengths related to five protective factors. View the materials, create an account or watch a webinar describing the Online Self-Assessment Package by going to bit.ly/SF-assess.

Do you have news about the child welfare field to share with Connection readers? We'd love to hear about it! Send an email with a brief summary to theconnection@nationalcasa.org.

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Anonymous @ 10/20/2010 1:50:14 PM 
I think that One Child International/Child AbuseWatch's 'Inform' campaign should be mentioned here. We have provided over 100,000 child protection and abuse prevention brochures around the country free since the end of June to volunteer organizations such as CASA. CASA headquarters also received them. They're available free by emailing your name and address to info@abusewatch.net. The three brochures are: 1/ The Four Types of Child Abuse. 2. Physical Abuse: Warning Signs and 3. Child Sexual Abuse Explained (for concerned parents).
Thank you - Evin Daly, CEO, One Child Int'l
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