The Three Branch Institute on Child Social and Emotional Well-Being is a partnership between NCSL, the National Governors Association, Casey Family Programs, the National Center for State Courts, and the National Council for Juvenile and Family Court Judges. The 2014 Three Branch Institute on Child Social and Emotional Well-Being was held June 30-July 2, 2014, in Milwaukee, Wisonsin. This meeting was hosted by the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices, the National Conference of State Legislatures, Casey Family Programs, the National Center for State Courts, and the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges. The initiative is aimed at engaging all three branches of government—as well as the broader services and advocacy community—to improve the social and emotional well-being of kids in foster care. States participating in 2013-2014 are: Connecticut, Illinois, Kansas, New Mexico, Virginia, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
The Three Branch Institutes began in 2009 with a meeting of 18 states examining strategies to safely reduce the numbers of children in foster care.
In 2011 and 2012 the Three Branch Institute partners worked with five states—Colorado, Delaware, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin—on strategies to enhance permanency for older adolescents in foster care. The current 2013-2014 Three Branch Institute focuses on the social and emotional well-being of children in foster care, including behavioral and mental health, physical health, psychotropic medications, substance abuse, child well-being finance, and cross agency collaborations. Visit NCSL's 50 State Child Well-Being Legislative Enactments, 2008-2013 page for more.
The 2014 Three Branch Institute featured national experts from Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago, the Forum for Youth Investment, the University of Pennsylvania, Casey Family Programs, Anu Family Services, the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, Children and Family Futures/National Center on Substance Abuse and Child Welfare, Vermont Department of Health, Tufts University School of Medicine, and the University of Illinois at Chicago Department of Psychiatry. In addition, three representatives from Tennessee, who developed an independent three branch institute, were on hand to share their successes and experiences.
Each Three Branch Institute consists of representatives from the legislative, executive and judicial branches of government working in teams to develop and implement coordinated, comprehensive strategic plans. States are selected through a competitive RFP process. Teams participate in a yearly two-and-a-half day meeting where they interact with national experts, foster youth, state administrators and their colleagues in other states to develop plans, exchange ideas, and discuss barriers and potential solutions. They also receive technical assistance, participate in educational webinars and receive other assistance throughout the year.
Photos: Representative Harry Brooks of Tennessee, Judge Donna Davenport of Rutherford County Juvenile Court in Tennessee, and James Henry, Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services, address the group about Tennessee’s success with their independent three branch effort.
The 2013 Three Branch Institute on Child Social and Emotional Well-Being was held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in July, 2013. To view the agenda for that meeting, click HERE.
Also check out Governing Magazine's article highlighting the Three Branch Institute: Coordinating Foster Care Across the 3 Branches of Government
For foster youth education legislation, please see NCSL’s 2013 publication, Educating Children in Foster Care: State Legislation, 2008-2012.