Category Archives: Research

CCAI Foster Youth Offer Recommendations For Improvements to Child Welfare

The Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute’s (CCAI) 2014 Foster Youth Internship (FYI) report,”Shaping Tomorrow with Today’s Minds”, was released on Wednesday, July 30. A group of interns finished up their summer work on Capitol Hill by unveiling the set of recommendations. The proposals were crafted by the 11 interns who, through their intern experiences observing the Washington process and by blending what they learned with their own personal experiences, developed a series area-specific changes to foster care.

Policy recommendations include:
• Giving Youth a Voice: Contact After Involuntary Termination of Parental Rights
• Increasing Stability for Infants and Toddlers in Care
• Essential Documentation for Youth in Care
• Addressing the Trauma: Treating Children’s Mental Health with Screening and Assessments
• Creating Best Practice Standards for the Intersection of Immigration Enforcement and the Child Welfare
• Renewing the System’s Commitment to Child Well Being: Fostering Resilience through Trauma Informed
• Providing Comfort and Information to Children Transitioning into the System
• Stolen Pasts, Corrupted Futures: Preventing Identity Theft for Youth in Foster Care
• Empowering Foster Youth through Case Plan Trainings to Increase Youth’s Acceptance Rate of Extended Foster
• Helping Foster Youth Overcome Barriers to Employment
• Improving Educational Outcomes for Foster Youth: Special Education and Mental Health

The recommendations include a number of proposed changes to current federal law to address strengthen the protections for youth in care as well as proposals to strengthen current practices. To read and download a copy of the report go to the CCAI website under, Shaping Tomorrow with Today’s Minds

Research On Differential Response

The National Quality Improvement Center on Differential Response in Child Protective Services (QIC-DR) has released the final report from the Cross-Site Evaluation on Differential Response. Differential Response (DR) represents a different way of structuring a state’s child protective services system (CPS). DR allows CPS agencies to respond differently to child abuse and neglect based on the level of risk and needs of the family without compromising child safety. It is sometimes referred to as “dual track,” “multiple response system,” “alternative response,” and “family assessment response” in various jurisdictions. Lower risk cases may be directed to an alternate path while more serious cases will still be evaluated under the more traditional investigative response (IR).

The research represents the fourth major evaluation report coming out of the QIC-DR this year, following three individual site evaluation reports from Colorado, Illinois and Ohio. All of the reports are available on the website, under the “evaluation” tab. On Tuesday, July 29th from 12:00-1:30PM ET, Marc Winokur, Social Work Research Center, School of Social Work Colorado State University; Raquel Ellis, Westat; and Ida Drury, Colorado Department of Human Services, will be presenting a free webinar on the findings from their study of Differential Response in five counties in Colorado. Space is limited, so sign up early by visiting the website.

Part of the conclusion of the report states,

“In two of the three QIC-DR sites, the entire CPS system was impacted by the introduction of the new AR pathway. Most of the changes observed in Colorado’s and Ohio’s implementations of DR were not reserved for AR (alternate response) families, but rather the modifications became embedded into child welfare systems for all CPS families. The AR pathway, like the IR pathway, is guided by procedures and policies, and influenced by the skills and characteristics of caseworkers.

Although AR might be considered to be merely an alternative to IR, as its name implies, a fully implemented DR system may have deep impacts upon the community and its families; the CPS workforce; the policies, practices, and procedures guiding child protection casework; and the child welfare agency mandate. These impacts may not be solely in terms of different outcomes for those who have come to the attention of CPS, but rather may widen the reach and influence of CPS to other families who may be at risk or vulnerable. DR may indeed reshape the core mission of CPS.”

Some states have implemented their DR practices under more rigorous evaluation including the states of Ohio and Minnesota which included random control studies designs. There is no federal regulation or definitions as states implement this approach but the QIC-DR was a five year project funded by HHS and intended to help in that process.

Commission on Child Deaths Goes to Florida

The Commission To Eliminate Child Abuse and Neglect Fatalities conducted a second field hearing last Thursday, July 10 when they went to Tampa Florida. The Commission heard from both Florida officials as well as national experts. Panelists included Interim Secretary Mike Carroll, Florida Department of Children and Families, Dr. Celeste Philip, Florida Department of Health, Richard Barth, University of Maryland, and Howard Davidson, of the American Bar Association among several others. The topics included child protective services involvement with child deaths, using child welfare administrative data to protect vulnerable children, the use of predictive analytics and the issue of confidentiality.

Much of the discussion focused on what data and research tells us about the most likely cases of child fatalities and strategies that might be built into prevention efforts based on that information. The afternoon focused on some of the challenges the state of Florida has experienced with rising numbers of child deaths and how different Florida communities are implementing different practices resulting in more effective results. Emily Putnam-Hornstein, PhD, Children’s Data Network, University of Southern California, provided an overview of child protection and child fatalities data. Her presentation indicated that annual estimates of children reported for abuse and neglect understate how many children are involved with child protection over time and that what we think of as a relatively rare event is much more common than has been indicated. Citing recent studies, she said that while one in 100 US children are substantiated annually as being victims of child abuse, one in eight children (12.5%) have been confirmed as a victim by age 18. The prevalence for black children is 20.9%. She also indicated that after adjusting for other risk factors at birth, a previous report to CPS (regardless of disposition) emerged as the strongest predictor of injury or death during a child’s first five years of life.

That and other similar comments set the stage for a series of witnesses who discussed data-driven strategies that could assist in pinpointing the greatest risks. Certain characteristics are more likely to be present in child fatalities, characteristics such as the presence of substance abuse, the presence of a “paramour” or an unrelated adult in the family and other common factors such as water-related and sleeping-related deaths are more likely to be found in these cases. The data discussions include ways to match child welfare related data such as NDACAN (National Data Archive on Child Abuse and Neglect) and the foster care SACWIS (Statewide Automated Child Welfare Information System) as well as health and birth related data. There was also a great deal of discussion regarding the use of predictive analytics—a methodology that is becoming a buzz word within the human services field—that attempts to use statistical data and mining of the information to determine the most effective policies and strategies.

A significant part of the Commission time was devoted to the state of Florida and the differences in child deaths between jurisdictions and what different practices within the state might be effecting why some areas are more successful than other areas in preventing child deaths. In March the, Miami Herald ran an extensive report: Innocents Lost which highlighted the increasing numbers of child deaths, particularly those children that had previously been know to the child protection and child welfare system.

Last month the Commission held a hearing in the state of Texas, the state with the highest number of child fatalities in each of the last five years according to NCANDS data. Florida has had the second highest number of child deaths for four of the past five years. The five states with the highest rates of child deaths per 100,000 children in 2012 were: New Mexico, Colorado, Idaho, Louisiana, and Florida.

The next and third field hearing scheduled for the Commission is scheduled for August 28 in Detroit, MI.
To obtain more information about the Commission go to its website which has a link for submitting comments, the latest news reports on child deaths within states, event schedules and other information on the Commission and its actions.

Commission to Eliminate Child Abuse and Neglect Fatalities to Hold Public Meeting in Tampa, Florida

Here is the Latest:

The Commission to Eliminate Child Abuse and Neglect Fatalities (CECANF), a federal advisory committee established by the Protect Our Kids Act of 2012 (P. L. 112-275), will hold there next meeting next week.If youwant to participate register now!

Meeting time: Thursday, July 10, 2014, from 8:00 a.m.–4:30 p.m. EDT.
Location: Children’s Board of Hillsborough County, 1002 East Palm Avenue, Tampa, FL 33605.

Interested members of the public may listen by calling 1-866-928-2008, and entering passcode 556476.

To attend in person or listen to the teleconference, please register by 5:00 p.m. EDT on Thursday, July 3, 2014:

Meeting agenda: The purpose of this meeting is for Commission members to gather information to better understand the extent of, and risks associated with, child abuse and neglect fatalities. The Commission will:
• Hear from researchers regarding strategies for improving national data and preventing fatalities.
• Learn more about the federal policy framework for addressing these fatalities.
• Gain a better understanding of confidentiality issues and possible solutions.
• Hear about child welfare, law enforcement, health, and public health strategies for addressing the issue of child abuse and neglect fatalities.

Attendance: Individuals interested in attending the meeting in person must register in advance due to limited space (see link above). The meeting site is accessible to individuals with disabilities. The meeting also will be accessible via teleconference. Members of the public will not have the opportunity to ask questions or otherwise participate in the meeting, either on the phone or in person.

For further information:

Visit the CECANF website:

Or contact Patricia Brincefield, Communications Director, 1800 F St., NW, Room 7003D, Washington, DC 20006.
Phone: 202-818-9596