Working to transform the child welfare system.

Briefs

The Impact of Poverty on Children and Families (2023 update)

KEY TAKEAWAY Policies aimed at reducing childhood poverty can yield positive benefits for Washington in terms of improved individual and family functioning, and increased economic self-sufficiency for future generations.

Strive two-pager overview, October 2021

Strive Overview: Partners for Our Children (P4C) at the University of Washington has been working in close collaboration, since 2014, with the Washington State Department of Children Youth and Families (DCYF), and over 100 stakeholders to develop and test the Strive Supervised Family Time program. Strive is a parent education and support program that aims to engage parents in the visitation process, assist parents in preparing for high quality family time with their children, and promote child safety.

Strengthening Family Connection for Incarcerated Parents

More than 50% of incarcerated people are parents at-risk of permanently losing parental rights. Federal policy (TPR) has inequitable impacts on Black, Indigenous, and other POC, low-income families, and women. The brief outlines recommendations.

Foster care alum who lived in group homes could benefit from systems change

New brief from Think of Us and PFC documents experiences of foster care alumni who have lived in group homes and their experiences including lower degrees of well-being and greater barriers to college access and completion of higher education programs, all made worse from the impact of the pandemic. Specific recommendations are outlined in the brief.

The Multi-Ethnic Placement Act (MEPA) needs reform to reduce racial inequities in foster care and adoption

MEPA prevents consideration of children’s race and culture at placement, resulting in many White families adopting transracially without adequate training

Federal opportunites for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, and Asexual (LGBTQIA+) youth impacted by child welfare

Legislation could be unified at the federal level to ensure that all LGBTQIA+ children, youth, and potential LGBTQIA+ foster and adoptive families are protected from discrimination and have equitable experiences throughout the child welfare process and beyond.

Short history of foster care in the United States

This P4C brief provides an introductory history of foster care and relevant historical context, critical to understanding how the current system reflects and upholds systemic racism in its policy and practice. Since its establishment in the late 19th century, the foster care system has been a microcosm of broader systemic violence against communities of color. The foster care system was originally predicated on the well-being of white children and families, and many of its present day policies continue to reflect a myopic understanding of child welfare. Harmful effects of the foster care system must be fully understood to envision, create, and enact a future that protects and ensures safety for all children.

Poverty and neglect in child welfare

Poverty is the greatest threat to child well-being. Child neglect, the most common reason for child welfare intervention, is often the result of poverty rather than parental maltreatment. Furthermore, child removal and out-of-home care remains standard practice in child neglect cases. Separation of children and families is detrimental, and especially traumatic for BIPOC children, who are removed at a disproportionate rate compared to white children. Short- and long-term access to economic support and social services ensure families can invest in the long-term well-being of their children.

Banning the use of restraints on pregnant women in custody

Currently it is routine practice for officers in nearly half of U.S. corrections institutions to physically restrain pregnant and laboring women. Restraining pregnant women poses health and developmental risks to the mother and baby. Heeding these concerns, many states and federal agencies have passed policies limiting the use of restraints on this population. Federal legislation could ban the use of restraints on pregnant women in all corrections institutions, including jails, prisons, and detention centers, unless a legitimate safety or security concern exists.

Supporting the Birth Parent and Caregiver Relationship: Recommendations for Programs and Policies

Entry into the foster care system can be a traumatic experience for children which can have many lasting negative effects. Burgeoning state and city practices offer ideas about how we can improve the relationships between birth parents and caregivers to maintain connection and support children. Supporting the connection of birth parents and caregivers is a key area for improving systems. Establishing the Family Connection Program puts the needs of children in the center and supports families in Washington.

2020 state legislative priorities

In 2020, Partners for Our Children will promote policies that keep children and relationships at the center, helping ensure that Washington’s children, youth, and famileis will have the services and support they need to thrive

Systems improvements for child welfare involved parents who are impacted by substance abuse

Parents involved with the child welfare system have numerous barriers that can prevent and/or delay reunification with their children. Many parents struggle with substance use disorders (SUDs) which impact their relationships with their children and the child welfare system in a myriad of ways. In the spring of 2018, we conducted a thorough literature review and stakeholder interviews. Our goals were to understand available treatment services for parents who are child-welfare involved, barriers to accessing treatment, and to create recommendations that may improve outcomes for parents impacted by SUDs and their children.

RECENT RULING ENABLES HHS TO DISCRIMINATE ON THE BASIS OF GENDER IDENTITY OR SEXUAL ORIENTATION; OPPORTUNITY FOR PUBLIC COMMENT UNTIL DECEMBER 19, 2019

On November 1, 2019, the Trump Administration issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) that would enable Health and Human Services grantees, including Child Placing Agencies, to discriminate against individuals on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. An immediate Notice of Nonenforcement of current protections was issued along with the proposed rule. The passage of this rule has the potential to reduce significantly the number of licensed foster and adoptive homes available and limit significantly the placement of LGBTQ+ children in homes affirming their identity. Public comment is accepted on the Federal Register until 12/19/19.

The Indian Child Welfare Act: The Gold Standard of Child Welfare Practice

Want to learn more about The Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA)? We are pleased to share this research brief about ICWA, the impact of the law on reducing the number of American Indian/Alaskan Native (AIAN) Children placed in out-of-home care across the United States, and remaining disparities . To ensure we continue to improve well-being outcomes for AIAN children, a full commitment is required to implement the law as it stands.

Children, Youth & Families in the Current Budget Proposals

This budget comparison was updated on April 13, 2017 and it looks at a number of items related to children, youth and families in the three different budget proposals: the Governor’s, the Senate and the House.

Children’s Mental Health

Providing greater access, early identification, effective and appropriate mental health services to children and youth will help reduce the need for more expensive services, such as emergency rooms and juvenile detention, and better ensure success in school and life.

Family Visitation in the Child Welfare System

Frequent visitation between parents and their children in out-of-home care is linked to improved outcomes. Visitation also represents an untapped and vital opportunity to address child and family needs in order to improve visit quality and potentially receive a greater return on the investments made in visits each year.

Family Visitation in the Child Welfare System

Frequent visitation between parents and their children in out-of-home care is linked to improved outcomes. Visitation also represents an untapped and vital opportunity to address child and family needs in order to improve visit quality and potentially receive a greater return on the investments made in visits each year.

The Impact of Poverty on Children and Families

Policies aimed at reducing childhood poverty can yield positive benefits for Washington in terms of improved individual and family functioning, and increased economic self-sufficiency for future generations.

Creating a new Department of Children, Youth and Families

Creating a new department in Washington State will reorganize and support effective programs and services into one agency that specifically serves children, youth and families, with a focus on prevention, well-being and the science of brain development.

Children’s Mental Health

This 2016 brief provides key facts on mental health issues related to children – how many are affected, how many receive the care they need, what level of mental health coverage is available, and more.

Poverty & Involvement in the Child Welfare System

This 2016 brief provides key facts on the intersection between poverty and involvement in the child welfare system, as well as policy recommendations to ensure family economic security.

A Separate Children’s Department in Washington State

This 2016 policy brief provides an overview of why creating a separate Children’s Department in Washington State would be a better way to serve children and families.

Making Sure McCleary Meets the Educational Needs of All Children

This 2014 policy brief provides background on the McCleary vs. State lawsuit and emphasizes that changes made only to the education system (and not social service system) threatens to widen the achievement gap for low-income and poor students.

Court Involvement and Time to Permanency

This brief discusses the statewide uptick in in court involvement with children entering care and opportunities for future exploration to better understand the implications of this trend.

Family Assessment Response: Promoting the Goals of Child Safety and Family Preservation

This brief gives an overview of Family Assessment Response (or differential response) and how it might impact children and families.

Family Visitation in Child Welfare: Helping Children Cope with Separation while in Foster Care

This brief reports that children with frequent family contact while in foster care experience a greater likelihood of reunification, shorter stays in out-of-home care, overall improved emotional well-being, and positive adjustment to placement.

Social Impact Bonds: Exploring an Alternative Financing Strategy for Children and Families in Washington State

This brief explores Social Impacts Bonds: what they are, how they are created, and what elements are necessary to implement them.

Washington’s Parents Representation Program

This brief discusses the Parents Representation Program (PRP), which was developed to enhance the quality of defense representation for parents in dependency and termination hearings.

Washington State Foster Care: The Parents

This brief provides highlights from the 2008 Parent Survey, which shows that parents involved with Washington State’s child welfare system are poor, unemployed, disproportionately of color, and living in unstable situations.

Families in Child Welfare System Struggle to Meet Basic Needs

This legislative brief provides highlights from the 2008 Parent Survey, with an emphasis on parents’ economic hardships, parents’ risk factors, and the differences between parents’ and social workers’ views of the parents’ service needs.