Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Model Family Foster Home Licensing Standards

The following is a press release from the ABA:
The American Bar Association (ABA) Center on Children and the Law, the Annie E. Casey Foundation, Generations United and the National Association for Regulatory Administration (NARA) are thrilled to announce the release of Model Family Foster Home Licensing Standards.
 Our partnership has been working for several years on these comprehensive pre-placement licensing standards that, for the first time, help ensure children in foster care are safe while also establishing a reasonable, common-sense pathway to enable more relatives and non-related caregivers to become licensed foster parents.
While we acknowledge that not all states will be able to implement this model in its entirety without any modifications, we challenge all states to use the Model to assess and align their own standards.
The package of materials includes:
  • Purpose statement
  • 10 guiding principles
  • The Model Standards
  • An Interpretative Guide, which summarizes the purpose of each standard and  provides instructions for compliance determinations
  • A crosswalk tool, which is designed to assist states and counties in comparing and aligning their current standards with the Model      
We are committed to assisting states and counties in implementing this Model.  Attorneys at Generations United and the ABA Center on Children and the Law are available to provide technical assistance to jurisdictions seeking to align their current rules, policies and practices with the Model Family Foster Home Licensing Standards.  This technical assistance is available free of charge thanks to support from the Annie E. Casey Foundation.  Contact Ana Beltran at abeltran@gu.org  or Heidi Redlich Epstein at Heidi.Epstein@americanbar.org .   Licensing experts are also available through NARA to provide agencies with in-depth consulting services.  www.naralicensing.org  
The standards are posted on www.grandfamilies.org or are available HERE.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The ACE Study: How Childhood Trauma Can Affect Your Health

On October 15, 2014 David Boyer of the PDA attended a Health and Resilience Symposium entitled “Growing a Trauma-Informed Community.”  Here is his response:

The principle concept behind the expert presentations at the symposium was Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) and their impact, after the fact, on that individual’s life.
As an interesting side note, during a break, I was approached by an individual whom I didn’t know. He stopped in front of me and looked for an extended time at my name tag which, identified me as a representative of “The Parental Defense Alliance.”  He pulled his eyes up from my tag and without further introduction, commented that “the best way to prevent child abuse was to prosecute the responsible parents and put them in jail.” End of story.  I have had persons in the past make comments insinuating that I was “evil” for defending those accused of abuse or neglect of children, but this was the first time I had been directly confronted by a “professional” therapist in the community.  
I personally, am proud of the job each of us does in the defense of our clients. Though our valiant efforts, those who are innocent of the charges waged against them find relief from wrongful prosecution.  Equally important, through our efforts, those clients who truly struggle with parenting, mental and physical health and substance abuse can be directed to those professionals and programs that can help them overcome those challenges. 
Later in the symposium I was impressed that the results of the ACE study are being used to develop therapy techniques to reduce the negative effects of ACE’s on the individual and in so doing, reduce the “cycle of abuse” which we, as parental defense attorney’s are all aware exists.  
"The ACE Study is ongoing collaborative research between the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, GA, and Kaiser Permanente in San Diego, CA. With over 17,000 Kaiser patients participating in the study, the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) study is one of the largest investigations ever conducted to assess associations between childhood maltreatment and later-life health and well-being.  From 1995 to 1997, the Kaiser participants  underwent a comprehensive physical examinations, and chose to provide detailed information about their childhood experience of abuse, neglect, and family dysfunction. See www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/acestudy and www.acestudy.org

Knowing your ACE Score might make information you read about the Study's findings more relevant for you.
Use The ACE Score Calculator at www.acestudy.org to find out!  The ACE Score attributes one point for each category of exposure to child abuse and/or neglect included in the Study.  Add up the points for a Score of 0 to 10.  
The higher the score, the greater the exposure, and therefore the greater the risk of negative consequences.  These consequences are discussed throughout the publications available for download.
The ACE Score Calculator will not reflect all forms of abuse, neglect, and trauma that can be experienced during childhood, only those included in the ACE Study.  
Childhood abuse, neglect, and exposure to other traumatic stressors which are termed adverse childhood experiences (ACE) are common.  Almost two-thirds of the study participants reported at least one ACE, and more than one of five reported three or more ACE. 
The short- and long-term outcomes of these childhood exposures include a multitude of health and social problems:
Alcoholism and alcohol abuse
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
Fetal death
Health-related quality of life
Illicit drug use
Ischemic heart disease (IHD)
Liver disease
Risk for intimate partner violence
Multiple sexual partners
Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)
Suicide attempts
Unintended pregnancies
Early initiation of smoking
Early initiation of sexual activity
Adolescent pregnancy
It is interesting that adverse childhood events can have such a strong impact on our overall health.  The higher the ACE score the larger the impact.  For additional information see: http://mbcc.mt.gov/News&Events/Conferences_Training/CrimePrev/2013/Breakout%20Sessions/Now%20that%20you've%20got%20your%20score.pdf

Monday, October 13, 2014

DCFS Responds to the Supreme Court's Denial of Cert. in the Same-Sex Marriage Cases

On Monday, October 6, 2014, the Supreme Court of the United States denied all seven petitions that arose from challenges to various state bans on same-sex marriage, including that belonging to Utah.

Brent Platt, the director of the Division of Child and Family Services, sent out the following guidance to case workers regarding how the division would respond to the court decision:

As promised, this is a follow up to offer guidance regarding Monday's Supreme Court decision as it relates to our work at DCFS.
1.  DCFS recognizes all legally married couples and individuals who meet the Licensing and DCFS criteria for preliminary, kinship, foster care, and adoptive placements.
2.  When placement decisions are being made, we must always consider what's in the best interest of the child(ren).
3.  In order to comply with the Supreme Court decision and Governor Gary R. Herbert's directive, we will be updating Practice Guidelines immediately.
Please direct any questions to our State Office Program Administrators:
Foster Care - Tanya Albornoz, 801-646-4866
Adoption - Marty Shannon, 801-540-0833
Thank you for your hard work and commitment to Utah's children and families. 

Friday, October 3, 2014

VIDEO: Child and Family Law Courts Meet Brain Science

The National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges has produced a video about using brain science and trauma informed practices can improve outcomes for those involved in the juvenile court system.  It's worth watching.

For additional information on brain science and the promising solutions it offers you can visit the following website:  http://www.ncjfcj.org/child-and-family-courts-meet-brain-science.