Child welfare newsletter October2011

October 2011




NCSL can help state child welfare systems develop ways to safely reduce the number of children in foster care through:

  • Presentations, informal briefings and testimony before committees and hearings,
  • Written research and analyses, or
  • Informal telephone conference calls with state child welfare administrators, legislators and legislative staff in other states to discuss their experiences with child welfare reform.


Following are federal updates in the area of child welfare, including legislative activity as well as a new federal grant award and study.

Federal Legislation News

Child and Family Services Improvement and Innovation Act (S. 1542/H.R. 2883)

The Child and Family Services Improvement and Innovation Act was signed into law on September 30, 2011. This bipartisan legislation reauthorizes child and family service programs and renews Title IV-E state child welfare waiver authority which will authorize ten waiver demonstration projects for three fiscal years (2012-2014), for a total of 30 waivers. Goals include: increasing permanency for all infants, children and youth in foster care, including promoting a successful transition to adulthood for older youth; increasing positive outcomes for children, youth and families in their homes and communities; and/or preventing child abuse and neglect as well as the re-entry of children into foster care.

The legislation also includes requirements for: states to report on all money spent on adoption services; setting priorities for the educational stability of children in foster care; assisting youth who are 16 to obtain a credit report to prevent identify theft; protocols for the appropriate use of psychotropic medications; how states will address the emotional trauma associated with maltreatment and removal from their home; caseworker visits; and activities to reduce the length of time children in care under five do not have a permanent placement. Click here to view a complete summary of the Act.

Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA), P.L. 111-320

On December 20, 2010, President Obama signed the reauthorization of the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA), P.L. 111-320. The legislation reauthorizes CAPTA for fiscal years 2011 through 2015. CAPTA is the sole federal child welfare program focusing only on preventing and responding to allegations of child abuse and neglect. While the law does not change the federal definition of neglect, it strongly encourages states to review their state laws, practices, policies, and procedures to ensure children are protected. Click here to view NCSL’s summary of the reauthorization of CAPTA.

Federal Grant Award and Study Educational Stability Grants

The Administration for Children and Families announced a series of grant awards totaling $28 million, including 10 new grants focused on improving educational stability and permanency outcomes for youth between the ages of 10 to 17 years old in the child welfare system. Click here for more information.

Federal Study, “Building Infrastructure to Support Home Visiting to Prevent Maltreatment: Two-Year Findings from the Cross-Site Evaluation of the Supporting Evidence-Based Home Visiting Initiative”

The Administration for Children and Families has released a study of early implementation of a grant program designed to support states and communities selecting, implementing, and sustaining evidence-based home visiting programs. The study shows that states are enthusiastic about home visiting and most already had programs operating in their states when the five-year grant began in 2008. Click here to view the full report. 


November 8th, 2011 Webinar: "Knowing the Best of What’s Out There: Understanding and Identifying Evidence-Based Practices in Child Welfare"

The National Resource Center for Child Protective Services will be holding a webinar on November 8, 2011 at 1:00 PM -2:30 PM Eastern/ 12:00 Noon-1:30 PM Central/ 11:00 AM-12:30 PM Mountain/ and 10:00 AM-11:30 AM Pacific times. This webinar will provide information concerning the California Evidence-Based Clearinghouse for Child Welfare (CEBC) and how the CEBC can be a useful and practical resource for those looking to find in-depth, yet user-friendly, information on Evidence-Based Practices (EBPs) in the field of Child Welfare. Click here to register for this webinar.

NCSL Webinar Recording: The Texas Permanent Judicial Commission on Children, Youth and Families

This webinar, which took place on September 27th, highlights the work of the Texas Permanent Judicial Commission on Children, Youth and Families and its efforts to engage state legislators and child welfare agencies in strengthening the child welfare system. This Commission works to strengthen courts for children, youth and families in the Texas child protection system and thereby improve the safety, permanency, and well-being of children. Tina Amberboy, Executive Director of the Texas Permanent Judicial Commission on Children, Youth and Families discussed the Commission’s work to: tear down barriers to finding homes for foster care children; address concerns about the federal Child and Family Services reviews; engage families in court hearings; and collaborate across systems to reform child welfare. Click here to view the archived recording and access the presentation.

NCSL Webinar Recording: Engaging State Legislatures in Child Welfare Reform: Arkansas’ Experience

This webinar, which took place on July 28th, discusses the efforts of the Arkansas Division of Children and Family Services (DCFS) to reach out to state legislators to engage them in child welfare reform. Director Cecile Blucker of the Arkansas DCFS discusses concrete strategies such as developing a targeted communications strategy aimed at legislators and legislative staff, disseminating newsletters for stakeholders, committing to transparency in communications with lawmakers, developing a communications “flow-chart” to respond to legislative requests and training child welfare agency staff to interact effectively with the legislature. Click here to view the archived recording and access the presentation.


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