A Framework to Design, Test, Spread, and Sustain Effective Practices in Child Welfare
A practical guide for strengthening child welfare systems. It describes a process for exploring problems in child welfare, developing interventions, building evidence about their effectiveness, integrating effective interventions into routine child welfare practice, and continually improving on their delivery. The framework is designed to promote better integration of evaluation with program and policy decision-making and to encourage stronger partnerships between child welfare stakeholders.
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When Child Welfare Works: A Working Paper
Through the collective work of committed advocates, policymakers and child welfare professionals, the United States has made notable progress in improving its child welfare system over the past decade. As described below, multiple laws have been passed; new programs have been developed, evaluated and implemented across the system; a focus on early intervention and permanency has contributed to a decrease in the numbers of children in foster care; and the overall length of time children remain in care has been shortened. Despite this progress, more work remains. Complicating the prospects for further progress is an arcane federal financing structure that fails to support or provide incentives for the best practices we now know are essential to improve the well-being of children. Without action, systemic problems will only worsen, perpetuating inefficiencies in the system and denying children and families better opportunities to succeed. Until federal financing and desired goals are better aligned, sustained progress on improving outcomes for vulnerable children and families will remain difficult for states to achieve. This paper proposes advancing best practices through strategic alignment of the Title IV-E reimbursement system and other federal financing sources in four key areas: permanence and well-being; quality family foster care; capable, supported child welfare workforce; and better access to services.
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Missed Opportunities: Preventing youth in the child welfare system from entering the juvenile justice system

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Addressing the Mental Health Needs of Young Children in the Child Welfare System – What Every Policymaker Should Know
This issue brief explores what we currently know about the prevalence of young children (ages birth to 5) in the child welfare system, how the occurrence of maltreatment or neglect affects their development, and the services currently offered versus needed for these young children. It is based on the “Strengthening Early Childhood Mental Health Supports in Child Welfare Systems” emerging issues roundtable convened by NCCP in New York City in June 2009.
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The Affordable Care Act and Youth Aging Out of Foster Care: New Opportunities and Strategies for Action
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), enacted in March 2010 and fully implemented in January 2014, has powerful implications for families involved in the child welfare systems, particularly youth who have aged out of foster care. The ACA increases the number of individuals who have access to health insurance, simplifies insurance enrollment, requires that benefits include substance abuse and mental health coverage, as well as medical services, and promotes innovations to help coordinate the fragmented delivery of care. More specifically, the ACA includes a targeted provision to require health insurance coverage under Medicaid for youth ages up to age 26 previously in foster care and enrolled in Medicaid. The purpose of this brief is to explain this provision and to identify key steps towards effective implementation.
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Making Healthy Choices: A Guide on Psychotropic Medications for Youth in Foster Care
Making decisions about your health and psychotropic medications involves several steps, shown in the arrows below. This guide presents valuable information for youth in foster care related to each step. Depending on your situation, selected sections or the entire guide may be useful to you. The guide’s checklists and worksheets can help you organize your thoughts.
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How Can State Law Support School Continuity and Success for Students in Foster Care
The federal Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008 (Fostering Connections) promotes education stability for all children in foster care. A May 2014 joint letter from the U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services and Education reinforces the duty of education and child welfare agencies to ensure all children in foster care receive Fostering Connections’ protections. The federal McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act (McKinney-Vento) provides education stability for some children in foster care, especially children “awaiting foster care placement.” Both laws recognize the need for school stability and continuity for highly mobile children, such as youth in foster care.
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A Family’s Guide to the Child Welfare System
Was created to help you better understand how the child welfare system works, to inform you of your rights and responsibilities, and to help answer questions you may have. Throughout this nation, the absence of information has fueled parents’ fear and often their anger. Reading A Family’s Guide to the Child Welfare System is one way to get information. It can help you become involved and feel empowered within the system. It might help to ease any fear and anger that you may feel. Families involved in the child welfare system and other individuals came together to create A Family’s Guide.
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Long Term Consequences of Child Abuse and Neglect
For fiscal year (FY) 2011, States reported that 676,569 children were victims of child abuse or neglect (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2012). While physical injuries may or may not be immediately visible, abuse and neglect can have consequences for children, families, and society that last lifetimes, if not generations.
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Medicaid Behavioral Health Care Use among Children in Foster Care
This fact sheet details behavioral health care use and expense for this high-need population, and outlines policy implications.
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Stepping Up For Kids Policy Report 2012
This policy report from Kids Count (Annie E. Casey Foundation) focuses on what government and communities should do to support kinship families. Across every generation and culture, grandparents, other relatives, and close family friends have stepped forward to raise children whose parents can no longer care for them. This time-honored tradition, known as kinship care, helps protect children and maintains strong family, community, and cultural connections. When children cannot remain safely with their parents, other family and friends can provide a sense of security, positive identity, and belonging.
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Cooptation of Peer Support Staff: Quantitative Evidence
In 2007, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) sent a letter to state Medicaid directors outlining requirements for implementing peer-based recovery support services (P-BRSS) as a Medicaid-funded service. Since then, 30 states have implemented these services. Although the literature describing implementation of P-BRSS has identified the cooptation of peer support staff (PSS) as a barrier to the effective provision of P-BRSS, the evidence for it remains anecdotal. This study attempts to determine if the context of employment in either a treatment organization or peer organization affected cooptation, as well as implications for practice.
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Strange Bedfellows: How Child Welfare Agencies Can Benefit from Investing in Multidisciplinary Parent Representation - Published by Center for the Study of Social Policy.
This publication is the second of a series of articles that examines the role that advocates for parents and families can play in furthering the wellbeing and safety of children. This article highlights emerging parent representation models that expedite the safe reunification of children already in foster care.
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Building Agency Capacity for Family Involvement in Child Welfare
As a result of their family involvement activities, child welfare agencies were better prepared to improve the fit between their services and families’ needs. At the same time, families felt more supported and motivated to adopt active roles in working toward change (National Technical Assistance and Evaluation Center for Systems of Care, 2010).
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Building Family Capacity for Family Involvement in Child Welfare
Family involvement requires not only that child welfare workers embrace new approaches and perspectives in working with families, but that family members adopt new perspectives and take on new roles. Under Systems of Care and other initiatives grounded in family-centered practice, child welfare workers are encouraged to make a change from traditional practices that tended to be authoritative and deficit-based, to a strengths-based approach and broader perspective that views families as partners in developing solutions.
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Bringing Back the Dads: Changing Practices in Child Welfare Systems
Reality and research clearly indicate that U.S. children who come from father-absent households are more prone to experience negative social, health, and economic outcomes. These outcomes cross racial, ethnic, and socio-economic lines. Hence, it should be the business of government entities to help fathers be good parents and to maximize children’s access to good fathers. However, one of the crucial mistakes of so many well-meaning efforts is the implementation of services with minimal to no input from the target audience. A 5-year-old federal project is making great strides to include the input of fathers in order to ensure that services and resources actually match the real needs and wants of the target population of fathers.
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Addressing the Needs of Youth Known to both the Child Welfare and Juvenile Justice Systems
This article discusses innovative practices courts can help implement to better serve children that come to their attention through multiple systems, in particular the juvenile justice and child welfare systems. It identifies ways courts and their system partners can reengineer their work to best serve these youth and prevent further system involvement.
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