Failure to Protect
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Resources, Readings, and LinksResources, Readings, and Links

Links to relevant reports and articles, as well as government and research and advocacy websites. Special thanks to Tony Raden, associate director of Columbia University's Institute for Child and Family Policy, for identifying the following resources.

» The Children in the System
Foster Care Youth United (FCYU)
The website for FCYU, a bimonthly magazine written by and for young people in foster care, includes links to articles in the most recent issues. The September/October 2002 issue includes stories and articles about how foster care affects the children's education, and offers articles and support on how to cope when the parent of a foster child is in prison.
"Youth Who Age out of Foster Care: Troubled Lives, Troubling Prospects" (PDF)
This December 2002 research brief, prepared by Child Trends, a Washington, D.C., research and advocacy organization, profiles the harsh realities that face children who "age out" of foster care (i.e., those who leave care when they are, typically, 18 years old) and determines that "all the available evidence suggests that they experience a set of problems that makes finding a niche in adult society an enormous challenge."
"Improving the Odds for Healthy Development of Young Children in Foster Care"
This policy paper from the National Center for Children in Poverty, released January 2002, gives an arresting profile of the young children (those under five years of age) in the system. Among other conclusions, the report says that nearly 80 percent of them are at risk of many medical and developmental problems related to prenatal exposure to maternal substance abuse; that more than 40 percent of them are born low birth-weight or are premature; more than half suffer from serious physical health problems; and that a significant percentage do not receive basic health care, such as immunizations.
"The Well-Being of Children Involved with the
Child Welfare System: A National Overview"
This January 2002 paper from the Urban Institute, which it says "presents the first national overview of the well-being of children involved with the child welfare system," concludes that children in the child welfare system are more likely to have behavioral and emotional problems than children living with their parents -- "even children living with a low-income single parent."
"Preventing Delinquency Through Improved Child Protection Services" (PDF)
This July 2001 report from the U.S. Department of Justice's Office of Justice Programs explores the link between child abuse and juvenile offenders. "To fully understand the toll exacted by child abuse and neglect, policymakers must read the files of incarcerated youth," the authors write. "Many of these youth come from abusive homes and often have moved in and out of foster care for years before ending up in the juvenile correctional system."
» Overviews of the Child Welfare System
"Running to Keep in Place: The Continuing Evolution
of Our Nation's Child Welfare System"
This October 2001 report from the Urban Institute gives an overview of the status of and problems facing the nation's child welfare system. Among many other issues, the authors address the shortage of foster care homes and its impact on the system.
"Protecting Children from Child Abuse and Neglect"
In a series of articles written by national experts, this issue of The Future of Children, which is published by the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, explores the evolution of child protective services, the philosophies that undergird the system today, and the various reforms happening at the state level. Among other things, this issue explores kinship care, the role of "family-centered" services, and the costs of child protection.
» Policy Analyses
» Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1977
GAO Report on ASFA (PDF)
This June 2002 report from the U.S. General Accounting Office, titled "Foster Care: Recent Legislation Helps States Focus on Finding Permanent Homes for Children, but Long-Standing Barriers Remain," gives a comprehensive overview of the Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997 and concludes that while the annual number of adoptions has increased by 57 percent since ASFA was enacted, "changes in other foster care outcomes and the characteristics of children in foster care cannot be identified due to the lack of comparable pre- and post-ASFA data."
» The Costs
"The Cost of Protecting Vulnerable Children III:
What Factors Affect States' Fiscal Decisions?" (PDF)
From December 2002, this 45-page report from the Urban Institute gives an excellent overview of the child welfare funding landscape. It explains what funding streams are available to states and how those funds can be allocated to families. However, as the authors note, the paper reflects the financial realities of fiscal year 2000. "The combination of the recession and the events of September 11 has forced most states to cut spending on social services," the authors write. "We know that child welfare financing has already changed in many states." (The Urban Institute also provides this brief overview of child welfare spending, titled "Facts and Perspectives: The Costs of Protecting Vulnerable Children." (PDF) And visitors can also see the Urban Institute's two previous reports, "The Cost of Protecting Vulnerable Children I" and "The Cost of Protecting Vulnerable Children II." )
» In the States
"Collaboration between State Welfare and Child Welfare Agencies"
Noting that half of all foster children come from families that are eligible for welfare, this August 2002 policy brief from the Urban Institute discusses the intersection of the welfare and child welfare systems and its effect on children and families. "Despite overlapping clientele, welfare and child welfare agencies made few formal attempts to collaborate before welfare reform in 1996, and dual-system families have suffered as a result," the authors write. "In qualitative research conducted by the Urban Institute, child welfare workers noted that dual-system families were often overwhelmed by the multiple, competing requirements of the two systems."
"State Child Welfare Legislation: 2001" (PDF)
From the National Conference of State Legislatures, this February 2002 report summarizes what types of reforms states are pushing, from changes in kinship care policies to foster children's rights.
"Child Protective Services and Domestic Violence" (PDF)
From the David and Lucile Packard Foundation's publication, The Future of Children, this Winter 1999 policy brief discusses the many ways that states are addressing the link between domestic violence and the children involved in child protective services. "Collaboration between CPS and the domestic violence community is under way in several states and communities throughout the country," the authors write. "A number of promising strategies are emerging as results of this collaborative work."
"Returning Home from Foster Care: What Policymakers Need to Know" (PDF)
This December 2001 report from the National Conference of State Legislatures explains the policy issues that affect reunification efforts. "Given the current emphasis on shortening children's stays in foster care and reducing the rate of recurrence of maltreatment and re-entry to care, states need to do more to ensure the safety, permanency and well-being of children who return home from foster care," the author states. "The available research underscores the need for more intensive services to support families before and after reunification."
» Family Preservation
"What is Family Preservation and Why Does it Matter"
This July 2001 article by Jacquelyn McCroskey, a professor of social work at the University of Southern California, was published by the Chapin Hall Center for Children, which is affiliated with the University of Chicago. McCroskey gives an overview of "family preservation" -- both as an ideological movement and as a basis for family-centered policies. She also attempts to discredit some of the myths about family preservation programs offered to parents of children involved in the system. "Many of those who are most negative about family preservation services ... appear to believe that such services are offered to all parents, even those who have most grievously injured their children," writes McCroskey. "But that isn't the case."
"The Shifting Policy Impact of Intensive Family Preservation Services"
This paper, also published by the Chapin Hall Center in July 2001, discusses intensive family preservation services. "Even as the momentum behind family preservation services has slowed, it is now part of a larger array of services that is developed more integrally with local communities and neighborhoods," writes Frank Farrow, the director of the Center for the Study of Social Policy in Washington, D.C. "This approach may provide a refuge from the polarizing and fruitless debate between protecting children and strengthening families."
» Elsewhere on the Web
» Government Websites
U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families
The website for the Administration for Children and Families provides access to the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System, which was set up in the mid-1990s so that the government could collect data across all states about children in foster care. Further, ACF's Children's Bureau website includes links to the bureau's programs and the various federal laws and policies governing child protection. Finally, HHS includes contact information for various state agencies and organizations involved in child protective services.
» Research and Advocacy
National Clearinghouse on Child Abuse and Neglect Information (NCCAN)
A service of the HHS Children's Bureau, the NCCAN through its website provides a wealth of information about the child welfare system, including links to the various state statutes that address mandatory reporting laws, permanency plans for children in foster care, and the legal definitions of abuse and neglect in each state. The NCCAN site also has a compilation of statistics about the child welfare and foster care systems.
Child Welfare League of America
The CWLA is a nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C., that researches child welfare issues. Its National Data Analysis System is an indispensable resource that provides access to several years' worth of research regarding any number of child welfare issues, presented in pre-defined tables. (Simply sign on using "guest" as both the user name and password.) Visitors can determine what foster families are paid per child, the amount of training that investigative caseworkers are required to have, all on a state-by-state basis.
Chapin Hall Center for Children
An independent research center affiliated with the University of Chicago, Chapin Hall examines the various policies, programs, and practices related to the well-being of children, including those involved in the child welfare system and foster care. Its 2000 update to its Multistate Foster Care Data Archive describes and compares the foster care populations of 11 states from the years 1983 to 1998, analyzing the racial distribution, the average length of stay, and the age at which the children entered care, among other variables.
National Center for Children in Poverty
The center, which is based at Columbia University's School of Public Health, researches child poverty in the U.S. as well as policies that can ameliorate the problem. Its January 2002 policy paper, "Improving the Odds for Healthy Development of Young Children in Foster Care," gives an arresting profile of the young children (those under five years of age) in out-of-home care.
Columbia University Institute for Child and Family Policy
The website for the institute includes links to several other research centers on child welfare and family policies.
ABA Center for Children and Law
The American Bar Association's Center for Children and the Law includes a section on foster care in which it discusses the 1999 Foster Care Independence Act, and this overview of the 1997 Adoption and Safe Families Act.
Children's Rights
A national nonprofit based in New York City, Children's Rights conducts research, collaborates with communities, and also uses the legal system -- class-action lawsuits, consent decrees, and court orders, for instance -- to effect change and protect children in the child welfare system. The site includes links to the organization's publications and legal briefs.
National Center for Youth Law
This nonprofit legal advocacy organization, headquartered in Oakland, Calif., works with the legal system to "protect children from the harms caused by poverty, and to improve the lives of children living in poverty." The center's website includes articles and analyses of various cases across the nation that affect children in the foster care system.
Prevent Child Abuse America
Funded by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, this website provides links to the various state offices of PCA, as well as an overview of its advocacy efforts across the nation.
Family to Family: Tools for Rebuilding Foster Care
The Annie E. Casey Foundation, through its Family to Family reform initiative, has developed 17 tools for rebuilding foster care. The website for the initiative also includes links to other resources as well as other organizations.
Children's Defense Fund: Adoption/Foster Care
Developed as part of the Children's Defense Fund's Child Welfare and Mental Health Division, these publications explore ASFA and how to improve the role of courts in child protection systems.
National Coalition for Child Protection Reform
NCCPR is a nonprofit organization based in Alexandria, Va., which is funded by the Annie E. Casey Foundation and the Open Society Institute. Its board members include some of the leading voices from the family preservation movement. The site includes background papers on issues ranging from the incidence of substance abuse and the limits of child welfare laws, along with links to various magazine and newspaper articles.
Connect for Kids: Children and Foster Care
Funded by Casey Family Programs, this section of Connect for Kids includes several useful webpages, such as "The ABCs of Foster Care," which compiles its publications about improving foster care and other guidelines for people involved in the system.

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