News and Information from the National Court Appointed Special Advocate Association

Child Welfare News

Free Life Insurance Policy for Working Families

The Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual) is offering a free, 10-year life insurance policy to working families who meet certain income and health qualifications. The policy offers a death benefit of $50,000 to be used to cover educational expenses of dependent children, including foster children. To learn more about the LifeBridge policy, visit MassMutual’s corporate responsibility web page.

Crime During Transition to Adulthood

Research by Chapin Hall suggests that foster youth, like their peers, engage in less crime as they move into adulthood. While youth in care report more crime than their peers as they approach the transition, by ages 19 and 21 there are few differences between the groups. However, foster youth remain much more likely than their peers to be arrested. Read the full report at Chapin Hall's website.

New Fostering Connections Section of NRCPFC Website

A new section of the National Resource Center for Permanency and Family Connections (NRCPFC) website features news and updates on the Fostering Connections to Success Act. The Fostering Connections education webpage currently offers information on the following topics: promising practices and policies from states and tribes, T/TA & web based resources from NRCs, Children’s Bureau and the T/TA Network; resources from collaborating organizations; and evidence-based practice, research and reports. The section will be continuously updated. For more on this topic, see the July 2011 edition of The Judges’ Page.

Running Away from Foster Care

New research conducted and compiled for the National Runaway Switchboard indicates that runaway youth were more likely to have exited and reentered the foster care system and had more placements on average than the typical youth in foster care. Unlike other runaways, youth who run away from foster care are generally not trying to escape from abuse or neglect, although they may experience conflict with caregivers. Having been separated from their families and friends, youth who run away from foster care are sometimes seen as running to something rather than running away. The report is available online.

Judicial Guide to Implementing Fostering Connections

The American Bar Association Center on Children and the Law, the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges and the National Center for State Courts recently announced a new publication, the Judicial Guide to Implementing the Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008. This guide contains an analysis of the barriers faced by courts as well as implementation strategies to overcome these barriers. Download the guide.

Reinstating Parental Rights for Youth in Care

Despite federal and state laws that require termination of parental rights when a child has remained in foster care for a specified period of time, studies indicate that relationships with their biological parents (and other relatives) are important to children and youth in foster care. Once it becomes clear that the purpose of terminating parental rights will not be fulfilled (i.e., child will not be freed for adoption), children in care, social work agencies and parents are increasingly approaching the courts asking that the legal relationship between the child and parent be reinstated. A recent teleconference by the National Resource Center for Permanency and Family Connections discussed what some states are doing to find permanency for youth in this situation by reinstating one or both of their parents’ rights. Listen to the audio and see materials from this event.

Reducing Problems for Middle-School Girls in Foster Care

Girls in foster care have been shown to be at risk for emotional and behavioral problems, especially during the preadolescent and adolescent years. A recent study published in Prevention Science indicated that an intervention prior to middle-school entry can reduce problems and increase prosocial behavior among girls. Read the abstract for free online or purchase the full report by subscribing to


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