Blog Posts -- Legislation & Policies

Unfinished business: Bipartisan help for child vicitims of the opiod crisis [thehill.com]

I found this post to be a helpful focus on important federal health legislation as we face a potential transition in priorities to address trauma-informed approaches to the opioid crisis. The author encourages bipartisan support to keep up momentum gained by successful programs and grants already serving communities and researching further solutions. Opioid addiction is undeniably a public health concern we know impacts multiple systems. Why not focus on increasing cross-systems support to...

Can a Separate Department Reinvigorate Chid Welfare? [uwcita.org]

Early in December an article from realchangenews.org was shared with the group about Washington State merging children and family services into one Department. As with many States, leaders in Washington State are looking to advances in brain-science, trauma-informed practices, the impacts of ACEs, and focus on the developing child to provide scaffolding for the framework of this new Department. Click here to download the final report and read more about the Blue Ribbon Commission – the group...

Left Behind: Trump's Immigration Plans Could Spur Uptick in Foster Care Numbers [socialjusticesolutions.org]

As we begin a new year, a new presidency, and new policies on immigration, it’s vital for child welfare leaders to increase coordination with Immigration and Customs Enforcement to address the impacts of deportation policies on children who remain in the US, often in a foster care placement, following the deportation of their parents. Having experienced a significant lack of coordination between child welfare and immigration systems, including barriers to reunification in my own practice,...

New York Child Welfare Leader Takes Up Obama Legacy, Foster Care Hackathons [chronicleofsocialchange.org]

In May, a couple hundred technologists, child welfare experts and foster youth gathered on the grounds of the White House for the first foster care hackathon to reach such national prominence. During the last hour of the two-day event , Rafael López, who leads President Obama’s Administration for Children, Youth and Families , offered a chance for participants to share their commitments in regards to fomenting increased use of technology in child welfare. One of the hands that went up was...

Washington to combine child services programs into one department [RealChangeNews.org]

A commission released its recommendations to fix Washington state’s faulty system that delivers services to children and families by breaking up the agency out of the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) and creating a new, independent department addressing the needs of children 21 years old and younger. The proposal would dramatically realign the current system, including the state’s foster care system, by taking the Children’s Administration out of DSHS and combining it with the...

Texas has options for improving its foster care system - and Texas must [Star-Telegram.com]

I’ve always been intrigued by community-based or county run vs. state administered/state run child welfare systems; does one model perform better than the other? I remember hearing about Florida transitioning to a community-based child welfare system following several instances in which children in the system were hurt by the system. This article references some great outcomes for Florida, and describes how Texas is in the midst of their own reform – Foster Care Redesign , a pilot operating...

Child Welfare and Human Trafficking - Connections Rooted in Trauma

Recently in Washington State, there has been a massive, multi-pronged coordinated effort to address Commercially Sexually Exploited Children (CSEC) across systems. As this effort made its reach to child welfare, I was reminded of a documentary I watched years ago about two girls who were swept into a life of sexual exploitation, kept from their families and everything familiar. One of the girls was in and out of foster care and group homes, the other had run away from her family home, both...

Fostering Stable Housing Opportunities Act: A Necessary Step to Protect Those Aging Out [chronicleofsocialchange.org]

Those of us who've worked in child welfare know all too well that child welfare systems do not make good parents. Meaning, youth who age out of foster care are lacking, more often than not, supportive connections that all youth launching into adulthood need to ensure their success. Think about where you went for your first Thanksgiving when you were a freshman in college. Think about who you called the first time you were short on your rent. Many youth who've aged out of foster care don't...

AG Kamala D. Harris Seeks to Better Serve Foster Youth [sdvoice.info]

Attorney General Kamala D. Harris Issues New Guidelines to Encourage Secure Sharing of Information Between Schools and Child Welfare Agencies to Better Serve Foster Youth Attorney General Kamala D. Harris today announced that the California Department of Justice’s Bureau of Children’s Justice (BCJ), the California Department of Education (CDE), and the California Department of Social Services (CDSS) have jointly developed statewide guidelines for school districts, county offices of...

North Dakota Trauma Initiative Sparked at August 16th U.S. Senate Field Hearing and Roundtable in Bismarck

Dr. Tami DeCoteau, holds the sign-up sheet for a North Dakota trauma initiative, flanked by Dr. Zach Kaminsky, (left), Dr. Mary Cwik, (right) of the Center for American Indian Health, Johns Hopkins University, and Megan DesCamps, health policy advisor for U.S. Senator Heitkamp ________________________ There is often a distinct event that leaders in the trauma movement mention when asked about how it all got started in their community. Many times it is when one of the authors of the ACE...

Legislation to improve tracking of mental health services for California's foster kids moves forward [mercurynews.com]

SACRAMENTO -- Legislation that would require better transparency and tracking of mental health services for foster kids in every California county unanimously passed the Assembly Appropriations Committee on Thursday. (August 11, 2016) Senate Bill 1291, by Sen. Jim Beall, D-San Jose, would institute more stringent annual oversight of county Medi-Cal mental health plans' services to foster youth. Services may include screenings, assessments, psychiatric hospitalizations, crisis interventions,...

Foster Youth meets Psychiatry: First Do No pHarm

When a foster youth encounters a psychiatrist, chances are high that s/he will get medicated. Traumatized foster youth are often prescribed powerful psychotropics due to exhibiting a wide variety of “normal reactions to abnormal events”, such as despair, agitation, anxiety and self-harm. The practice has been well documented; foster children are prescribed psychotropics at a 2.7 to 4.5 times higher rate than non-foster youth [1] . The National Center for Youth Law aptly summarizes the...

Oregon psychiatrist testifies before Senate Finance Committee on the impact of childhood adversity and toxic stress on adult health

Appearing before the powerful Senate Finance Committee in Washington, DC, recently, Dr. Maggie Bennington-Davis, psychiatrist and chief medical officer of Health Share Oregon, devoted a significant portion of her testimony to the role of adversity and toxic stress during childhood on adult health, both physical and emotional. She explained how Health Share Oregon—that state’s largest Medicaid coordinated care organization—examined the people with the costliest health bills and found them to...

 
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