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The Judges' Page newsletter is published by the National CASA Association and the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges.

January 2013

Promoting Well-Being for Children and Youth in Foster Care

judge dean lewisJudges' Page Editor Judge J. Dean Lewis (retired)

Former Member, National CASA Association Board of Directors
Past President, National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges

 

Children who have sustained the trauma of abuse or neglect often have extensive health and mental health needs, developmental and social integration delays, as well as educational challenges. In this issue of The Judges' Page, articles focus on the term "child well-being" and its multifaceted aspects. It is our hope that these articles will inspire courts, child-serving agencies and communities to develop new insight and expand their commitment to promote and enhance the well-being of each and every foster child and youth. Read the complete editor's message.

Articles in this issue:

Improving Service to Children: Building on Success and Delivering Challenges
Bryan Samuels, Commissioner, Administration on Children, Youth and Families, Administration for Children and Families, US Department of Health and Human Services

Summary: The author offers an overview of his efforts to improve child welfare outcomes, shares good news about reductions in the number of children in foster care, and explains ways in which child welfare–system stakeholders and advocates can focus system efforts on child well-being.

Shifting Our Frame in Child Welfare: A Focus on Child Well-Being
Shadi Houshyar, Vice President for Child Welfare Policy, FirstFocus

Summary: The author cautions that federal legislative and budget efforts must focus on addressing the unmet short and long term needs of foster children in order to foster resiliency and promote well-being.

Improving Child Well-Being Through Continuous Quality Improvement
Victor E. Flango, Executive Director, Program Resource Development, National Center for State Courts

Summary: The author explains the continuous-quality approach and how it allows states to evaluate intervention efforts of courts and agencies and improve services based upon outcomes.

Better Information About Child Well-Being Will Result in Better Outcomes for the Whole Child
Judge Rob Hofmann, Texas Child Protection Court of the Hill Country, Mason, TX

Summary: The author explains that ASFA has been the law for 15 years, yet the focus of courts and child welfare has been on court performance measures for child safety and permanency, not well-being. He encourages advocacy for implementation of child well-being court performance measures to improve child well-being outcomes.

Transforming Education Outcomes for Children and Youth in Foster Care Using a Statewide Collaborative Model
Judge Patricia A. Macias, 388th Family District Court, El Paso, TX

Summary: Judge Macias describes the work of the Texas Supreme Court Commission on Children, Youth and Families, which developed the Texas Blueprint: Transforming Education Outcomes for Children and Youth in Foster Care, and explains the goal of the task force that will prioritize and monitor implementation of the committee’s recommendations.

Children’s Needs Should Be First and Foremost
Judge Joyce Williams Warren, 10th Division Juvenile Court Judge, AR
Michelle Trulsrud, Executive Director, Pulaski County CASA, AR


Summary: The authors share best practices implemented by the court and CASA program to ensure the foster child's needs for safety, permanency and well-being are met.

 

Supporting Infants and Toddlers in Child Welfare and Court
Darneshia Bell, Community Coordinator
Dawn Bentley-Johnson, Supervising Community Coordinator

Kimberly Diamond-Berry, Assistant Director

Kristi McGibbony, Assistant Community Coordinator

All with Safe Babies Court Team Project, Zero to Three

 

Summary: The authors explain how the collaborative approach of improving services to infants and toddlers has caused a ripple effect of improving services to all families in Little Rock, AR, and New Orleans, LA.

Well-Being of Native Children and Youth in Foster Care: Leave No American Indian Child Behind!
Daryle Conquering Bear Crow (Oglala Sioux Tribe), Foster Care Alumni and Consultant for the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges and National Resource Center for Tribes

Summary: Judges, lawyers, guardian ad litem attorneys, CASA volunteers and others need to keep in mind the agony, hurt and lack of connection that many native youth going into care will experience and make a conscious choice to consider their well-being and need for connection to their culture.

The Legislative Role in Child Well-Being
Nina Williams-Mbengue, Program Director, Children and Families Program, National Conference of State Legislatures

Summary: In this article, the author informs readers about the legislative changes passed by states to improve social and emotional well-being of children and youth in foster care. In a second article, "The Child and Family Services Reviews and Child Well-Being," she explains the challenges states have faced and strategies they have pursued to improve outcomes on the child well-being reviews.

The Child and Family Services Reviews and Child Well-Being
Nina Williams-Mbengue, Program Director, Children and Families Program, National Conference of State Legislatures

Summary: In this second article, the author explains the challenges states have faced and strategies they have pursued to improve outcomes on the child well-being reviews.

Using Scorecards to Promote Accountability in Advocacy
Alan Abramowitz, Executive Director, Florida Guardian ad Litem Program*

Summary: The author explains how the Florida Guardian ad Litem Program is assessing the program’s overall effectiveness and quantifying the influence that GAL volunteers can have on improving child welfare outcomes using a guardian ad litem scorecard.

Unadoptable Is Simply Unacceptable: Evidence-Based Practice for America’s Longest-Waiting Children
Rita L.Soronen, President and CEO, Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption

Summary: Soronen reminds us that concluding a child welfare case with a successful adoption is an integral part of ensuring child well-being. Wendy's Wonderful Kids model of recruitment, matching and support has shown extraordinary success in placing older youth, sibling groups, children with clinical challenges and those at risk of aging out of care.

Model Courts Strive for Measurable Improvements in Well-Being
Authored by staff from the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges Permanency Planning for Children Department

Summary: Staff at PPCD share information about the efforts of model courts to impact social and emotional well-being of foster children and youth.

Web Resources

NCJFCJ Permanency Planning for Children Department staff have compiled an extensive list of resources on child well-being for our readers with links to online information and articles.

The comments of article authors do not necessarily reflect the policies of the National CASA Association or the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges.

The US Department of Justice has supported CASA advocacy since 1985 through its Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.
This Web site is funded in part through a grant from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Deliquency Prevention, Office of Justice Programs, US Department of Justice. Neither the US Department of Justice nor any of its components operate, control, are responsible for, or necessarily endorse, this Web site (including, without limitation, its content, technical infrastructure, and policies, and any services or tools provided).