Arizona National Youth in Transition Database: An Innovative Child Welfare Agency and University Collaboration

Arizona State University, ASU, #1InnovationThe Arizona Department of Child Safety (DCS) and Arizona State University (ASU) established a unique partnership to collect federally required National Youth in Transition Database (NYTD) survey data from young people in Arizona. Social work students in a Title IV-E program conducted many of the interviews while learning about the needs of young people who are transition-aged and gaining research skills. This article describes the process of developing and implementing the project and provides recommendations for engaging in child welfare agency and university collaborations to meet federal reporting requirements while advancing knowledge about young people in transition.

PDF icon Read the entire article here

Child Sex Trafficking Report- Maricopa County Collaborative December 2020

Child Sex Trafficking Report- Maricopa County Collaborative December 2020

Between 2017 and 2020, 291 children in Maricopa County were confirmed victims of child sex trafficking. These disturbing findings are outlined in a report released by the Arizona State University Office of Sex Trafficking Intervention Research, Mercy Care, and the Phoenix Police Department and funded by the Arizona Governor’s Office of Youth, Faith and Family. This report reviews child sex trafficking victims reported to the Maricopa County Child Sex Trafficking Collaborative between 2017 and 2020.

The Maricopa County Child Sex Trafficking Collaborative is a unique community initiative that was developed to serve child victims of sex trafficking through a multidisciplinary and holistic perspective. Details about the victims, how they were referred to the Collaborative, their guardianship, and information about the impact of COVID-19 are included in this report.

Findings include:

  • 291 child sex trafficking victims over three years (this equals six school buses full of children).
  • The age of the child sex trafficking victims has steadily dropped since 2017
  • A 29% increase in child sex trafficking victims identified from March to October 2020 compared to March to October 2019.
  • An increase in child sex trafficking victims having their parents as guardians, instead of being in the custody of the Arizona Department of Child Safety 

Read the report here: PDF icon  2020 Sex Trafficking Report

How Are Arizona Youth Living in Out of Home Placements Really Doing?

How Are Arizona Youth Living in Out-of-Home Placement Really Doing?
Written by: Julia Hernández, PhD, MSW

Arizona State University, ASU, #1Innovation, Foster Care Awareness Month, Foster Care, Foster Youth,Supporting foster kids, NYTD, DCS, Department of Child safety

What is NYTD?
The National Youth in Transition Database (NYTD) is a Federal reporting system designed to track youth and the independent living services they receive from states as they prepare to transition out of the foster care system.

In 1999, Public Law 106-169 established the John H. Chaffee Foster Care Independence Program, providing states with flexible funding for programs that help youth transition from foster care to independence. As a condition of receiving funding, the law requires states to track the services they provide and the outcomes of youth who participate in Chafee funded programs. In 2008, the Administration for Children and Families (ACF), the federal agency tasked with overseeing the administration of Chaffee funding, developed NYTD to meet this provision. As part of NYTD, states are required to survey youth in foster care at ages 17, 19, and 21.

Why does it matter?
NYTD presents an opportunity for youth to share their experiences in foster care while providing information that will help improve programs and services for youth transitioning out of foster care. It helps the state identify areas where youth are thriving and areas where youth can benefit from additional supports.

Who is involved?
In Arizona, the Department of Child Safety has partnered with the ASU Center for Child Well-being and the ASU Child Welfare Education Program to survey foster youth who are transitioning into adulthood. All youth who turn 17 between October 1, 2019 and September 30, 2020 and who are in foster care at the time of their 17th birthday are eligible to participate.

In the first six months of the current project year – October 1, 2019 to March 31, 2020 – the Arizona NYTD team surveyed 204 youth about various topics including finances, education, and their experiences in foster care.

What did we find?
Overall, youth report feeling very safe in their placements – rating their safety an average of 9 on a 1 to 10 scale where 1 means not all safe and 10 means completely safe. Almost 90% report that they are currently enrolled in school; 92% also report having at least one adult in their life that they can turn to for support. When asked to name up to three things that are going really well in their life, youth commonly cited school, family, and friends.

Almost three-quarters of youth reported that they have been very or somewhat involved in the development of their Transition to Adulthood Plan, which outlines the plan for meeting the youth’s needs as they move into adulthood and independence.

Looking to the future, almost 80% of youth plan to attend college or vocational school post-high school. Youth plan to pursue a variety of careers including author, detective, graphic designer, and dental hygienist. When asked to name the three things they are most looking forward to in the future, youth mentioned going to college, having a career, and starting families of their own.

Youth, however, noted a number of barriers that may make it more difficult for them to achieve their future goals. One-third of youth foresee the cost of attending school and the need to work full time as barriers to pursuing post-high school education and training. About one-quarter of youth report that not having transportation to and from school or training programs will be a barrier for them.

What does this mean?
Overall, youth report that a number of aspects of their lives are going well, including school and their placements. A majority of youth are maintaining relationships with family members and friends who are important to them, have plans for continued education, and are involved in planning for their future. However, there are areas for improvement. A small proportion of youth were not aware of their Transition to Adulthood Plan. Youth also foresee a number of barriers to pursuing future education. Both these areas present opportunities for further education about the resources available to foster youth as they pursue higher education and for engagement in services that prepare youth for independence.


PDF icon For a full summary of the findings, download our infographic hereMay is Foster Care Awareness Month, to learn more about what the Center for Child Well-Being has been doing to support Foster Youth in Arizona, please visit our Foster Month Awareness Page

Strong Threads

Strong Threads
by Irene Burnton,
Professor of Practice
ASU School of Social Work
and the Center for Child Well-Being

Strong Threads is part of our Foster Care Awareness Month Series


Each day we weave our life experiences into a tapestry.  The intricate interplay of contrast results in a masterpiece or a mess – often both.   Strong threads bind the art whereas others that may appear flimsy add creativity and innovation.  How we weave life’s contrasts makes one tapestry a work of art and another a bland fabric.   

Students just graduated from college during a time of unprecedented difficulties caused by Covid 19.  I asked them what led them to not only start their college journey but complete their degree. Most identified the support of family or a special friend.  Several are the first in their family to achieve a college degree.  Kayla Taylor overcame overwhelming circumstances.

May is foster care awareness month.  Over 70% of foster youth dream of going to college, yet only 20% enroll.  Estimates regarding graduation with a four-year degree range from one to 11% (Johnson, 2019).  The threads that run through the life of a foster youth who successfully graduates from college are enormously strong. 

Kayla was adopted by her foster mother a month before her 18th birthday.  Although stubborn is often viewed as an undesirable trait, she believes it is the thread that allowed her to persevere from living in a crack house behind a Walmart in rural Arizona to obtaining her bachelor’s degree in social work in the midst of a pandemic. Arizona State University, ASU, #1Innovation, Foster Care Awareness Month, Foster Care, Foster Youth,Supporting foster kids, NYTD, DCS, Department of Child safety, Foster Youth Resilience, Foster Stories of success, Foster Youth graduation rates, college

Kayla’s teen years were spent moving from motel-to motel, panhandling for gas money, stealing food from dollar stores and crisscrossing the country.  Kayla and her biological mother trudged from Arizona to Florida where her brother, ten years her junior, was born.  Soon thereafter they followed her birth mother’s meth-addicted boyfriend back to Arizona with the new baby in tow. 

When she should have been in school texting friends and studying for exams, Kayla, her brother, and birth mother were living in a car driving aimlessly from place-to-place.  Her mother’s meth addiction over a prolonged time impacted her brain and her behavior became increasingly erratic mimicking schizophrenia.  In one incident, Kayla was holding her one-year-old brother on her lap because they had no car seat.  Her mother “spaced out” and stopped in the middle of a 4-way intersection where they could have been T-boned by another car.

Police officers, case workers, and chaos made up the fibers of Kayla’s daily environment bouncing back and forth between her biological and foster mother.  Several times she and her foster mother discovered that her baby brother was missing.  This prompted a police report and subsequently he was found with his birth mother in a crack house.  Kayla grew more fearful as her mother’s addiction left her with little connection to reality.  After 15 years of it being “just the two of them,” her mother became a stranger.  Eleven months after a traumatic incident on her 17th birthday Kayla was adopted by her foster mother. 

Kayla attended school sporadically, making it difficult to cultivate friendships and leaving her feeling isolated.  When she was at her foster home the oppressive fear was absent, and she concentrated on her studies.  School was an escape and became a channel for inspiration.  Her grades improved.  A high school counselor noticed and supported Kayla’s dream to attend college.  She was accepted at ASU.

ASU’s Bridging Success Early Start program provides trauma informed support and coaching for students who have been involved with the child welfare system. Coordinator Justine Cheung, helped Kayla learn about financial aid and the power of someone who cares.  She met other foster youth and for the first time in her life, Kayla found a place where she felt like she belonged.   

 Kayla started classes in nursing but did not like “guts or chemistry.”  Justine suggested social work.  Kayla had interactions with social workers many times, but never imagined she could be one too.  She has found that she is “actually quite good at this.” (K. Taylor, zoom interview, May 13, 2020)

 Kayla said what motivated her through the difficult and sometimes isolating four years in college was fear of ending up like her birth mother and having to pay back college loans.  But it is also her intrinsic characteristics coupled with supportive relationships. 

Research tells us that foster youth who are successful in college have a strong sense of autonomy (a fancy word for stubbornness) and an internal drive to achieve (Johnson, 2019).  Kayla is blessed with a keen mind.  She has a belief in herself and her ability to do what she sets out to do despite life’s challenges.  She remains open to opportunities even if they come from unexpected places.

From the time she was a little girl, Kayla’s birth mother encouraged her to get a college degree.  Among the “burnt-out” professionals she encountered was a high school counselor and college advisor who saw Kayla’s potential and provided support and direction.  Kayla believes she is one of the ‘lucky ones’ because she had a consistent foster mother. 

Kayla plans to use her degree to assist youth.  She understands the deep pain of children in the foster care system.  She encourages foster youth to “not listen to negative people who try to push you down – or make you feel stupid or useless – know yourself and if you think you can, you can.  Trust yourself and your gut feelings.”  She adds, “no matter what, you are worth it – and your dreams, no matter how out of reach they may seem, are achievable.”  (K. Taylor, zoom interview, May 13, 2020)

As each of us weaves the tapestry of our lives – navigating through and around a worldwide pandemic - we can all use Kayla’s advice and those strong, stubborn threads that made her tapestry a work of art. 

References

Johnson, R. M. (2019, October 24). The State of Research on Undergraduate Youth Formerly in Foster Care: A Systematic Review of the Literature. Journal of Diversity in Higher Education. Advance online publication. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/dhe0000150

Taylor, Kayla.  May 13, 2020. Zoom interview

The Voice of the Youth:Foster Care and Social-Emotional Well-Being

The Voice of the Youth:Foster Care and Social Emotional Well-Being

May is National Foster Care month. It began with President Regan in 1988 to bring awareness to the important role of foster care. This year, in honor of all those involved with the foster care system, CCWB is kicking off Foster Care Month with the voice of youth.

Young people living in out-of-home care, whether that is with foster parents, kinship caregivers (family or qualified friends) or some other type of residential placement such as a group home are presented with a number of challenges to their overall well-being. At a minimum, they have experienced a disruption to their family, their living circumstances possibly including their school, and in most cases have experienced trauma originating from exposure to the abuse and neglect that precipitated their involvement with the child welfare system. Seldom have we heard their perspective. As part of a larger evaluation study we interviewed 20 youth living in group care and in the custody of the public child welfare system. What they told us about their social emotional well-being fell into eight different areas or themes. Below are some quotes from the youth that reflect each area.

  1. Ability to cope with adversity. “I need the support of staff and peers who have similar experiences to help me cope. Listening to music, playing sports, drawing, and talking with other youth in group home also help me cope.”
  2. Prioritizing academic success. “I want to go to college and make something of myself.”
  3. Learning to be happy during difficult times.  “I think if you are sad all of the time, you aren't doing well. But if you feel happy and laugh and can relax even though that's a bunch of bad stuff going on, you're doing well.”
  4. Expanding my vision for the future.  “I guess I just don't know where I'll be when I turn 18 though or what I need to go do. I'm not like the other kids in school who know what they're doing. I need more help.”
  5. Seeking normalcy. “Having something simple like the food I like to eat at home would go a long way. Not every kid likes the same stuff… It would be nice if I could have friends over to the house like other kids or go to the mall. I can't even have a cell phone.”
  6. Managing my emotions. “I know I'm doing well when I control myself and make good. Like if someone tries to fight me, I just walk away. Everybody here's got problems. I used to get in fights all the time, but not anymore.”
  7. Cultivating and maintaining relationships. “I don't have my old friends here. At the group home, we have to do everything together. We go to school together, and we live together. You develop a bond because you are always here. They're my friends now, too, but I miss my friends from home.”
  8. Dependency on adult perceptions. “I know I'm doing well when adults tell me I'm doing good. If I do something as simple as my chore, like, “good job“ or when I bring my grades home, and I have good grades, “good job.””

There is a lot to be learned from listening to young people in out-of-home care. Understanding their conceptualization of social-emotional well-being presents opportunities for enhanced engagement and actions needed to promote their self-esteem, happiness and personal adjustment. It is clear that young people view their out-of-home caregivers as critical in influencing their ability to cope, achieve successful pro-social interactions, and make positive choices that will impact their futures. Quality out of home experiences matter.

Please click here to read the full details of the study  

The Arizona Department of Child Safety (DCS) Title IV-E Waiver evaluation supported this research. The opinions in this article do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the Arizona DCS. For inquiries, please email Dr. Judy Krysik, Director of the ASU Center for Child Well-Being at judy.krysik@asu.edu

 

 

At the Center for Child Well-Being, we are passionate about foster youth, especially in Arizona. We are updating our blog with Foster Awareness Month articles and insight regularly. Please keep checking back as we share with you our research, our partners' work, and helpful tools to support this population.

Foster Awareness Month

Let's Celebrate Earth Day

 

Happy 50th Birthday Earth Day!  This year's theme for Earth Day is Taking Action!  The Center for Child Well-Being has compiled an activity guide and coloring book meant to inspire even the youngest among us to do their part in saving our planet.  The book is free to download and share.  We hope that it brings you hours of entertainment!

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PDF icon ccwb_earth_day_activity_book.pdf


We have also chosen ten Earth Day friendly books for you and your young readers to enjoy! Each fit within this year's Earth Day theme of "taking action!"  

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If you are looking for more engaging activities for you and your little ones, especially during this time where we're spending more time at home, check out our Fun Activities for Kids it's chock full of engaging entertainment to keep everyone busy for hours on end!

 

 

The Center for Child Well-Being Gets in on the #GettyChallenge ...with a twist!

The Getty Museum issued a challenge last week to recreate art with things you have at home. The movement has become so popular that outlets from Buzzfeed to Business Insider are talking about the Getty Museum Challenge (which can be followed at #gettymuseumchallenge as well as #betweenartandquarantine), the movement is so big its even gone international.  While some people have gotten creative with pets the Center for Child Well-Being decided to stretch our creative muscle by recreating works of art, only using children's toys.  We have to admit, we're pretty proud of our efforts!

Here, our team has recreated famed glassblower Dale Chihuly's featured art from the Museum of Glass

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What better way to utilize Legos than the recreation of Killer Whale Mockup for Film, "Jaws 2".  The staff at the CCWB much prefers our cute lego whale to their original killer whale... it might be in the eyes

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What do Lego figurines, a GI Joe, and My Little Ponies Pegasus have in common? Warriors Fight A Wolf by Ernst Alpers, of course! 

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Lions, and Tigers, and Sloth Bears... Oh My! this recreation of Sloth Bear in a Cage is unBEARably cute!

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These two barbie dolls have been turned into Roman Goddesses in Roman Fountain 

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Some may say, we went for the low hanging fruit with our next selection.  However, the "banana art" entitled Comedian was too great an opportunity to pass up to recreate! Especially when you have a whole make-believe kitchen with plastic fruit and vegetables at your disposal! 

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We hope we get some eggstra credit for attempting to recreate Egg in Spotlight.  It's quite eggstraordinary if you ask us!

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Arizona State University, ASU, #1Innovation, Earth Day, Green, Sustainability, Zero Waste, Earth Day for Kids, Kids Books about the environment If you're looking for some adorable Earth Day content... follow me to our Earth Day page!

Have you and your family taken the Getty Art Challenge?  Why not pay a visit to our Virtual Art Museum Field Trip activity page, and spend the day exploring the art museums of the world? You may just find a piece of art that inspires you to take part in the challenge too! 

If you're looking for other fun things to do with the kids while we're hanging out at home, check out our Activity Guide page, which is chock full of fun puzzles, activities and coloring books!  And, be sure to check us on out Pinterest where we are always updating our boards with the latest fun ideas to banish boredom.

Celebrate National Sibling Day!

Did you grow up with siblings?  While we may remember the squabbles, the pranks, and the push and pull of vying for our parents attention, research shows that having siblings as we grow and develop is actually very beneficial for many reasons, including teaching empathy and understanding, learning conflict resolution, as well as learning and sharpening our negotiation skills.  Our siblings are also our most enduring relationships throughout our lives. 

Dr. Teri Apter, author of The Sister Knot  discussed sibling connections with The Huffington Post, stating that, "siblings know you right through your soul as a result of sharing the same parents, same environment, same conditioning, same discipline and even the same disappointments."  If you have opposite sex siblings, they help hone the skills that will contribute to how you interact with partners and your spouse. 

"The impact of having a sibling is powerful and life long," Joshua Kirsh, editor of Fatherly discusses, "and they echo throughout our lives," including how we write our familial history, as well as having those storytellers to share in remembrances as we age. 

Are you looking to create some lasting sibling memories while we are spending extended stays at home? We have compiled a "Sibling Detective" game (linked below) which is a fun way for kids to spend  time getting to know one another!  We also have a list of other activities for siblings to do (even if they are spaced apart in age) that can get the whole family bonding and creating lasting memories.

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PDF icon Sibling Detective 

 

For more even more ideas of things to do while we're practicing social distancing, check out our Activity Guides
Why not follow us on our Pinterest boards, so you don't miss any of our content!

Take a Virtual Trip to the Art Museum!

With so many of us at home socially separated amid COVID19, who couldn’t use a few creative ways to keep the children learning and engaged, while also having fun?  Right now, many international art museums are offering free virtual tours of their galleries. Below you will find a downloadable activity sheet to keep the children interested while playing explorer through many of the world’s most famous art galleries.

  1. Find the Colors of the Rainbow
    Help your children navigate the search function,or if they’re a bit older, let them take the wheel and discover paintings around the globe that are Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo & Violet

  2. Let’s Spell Your Name (you can play this by Title of Artwork, or by Artist)
    If you need a little help finding a letter Wikipedia pages are linked above) 
    Girl with a Pearl Earring (G), Romeo & Juliet (R )  American Gothic (A), Camille on the Beach (C) Earthenware Jug (E)

  3. Count to Ten!
    Find 10 paintings with the same theme (flowers, fruit, all start with the same letter, etc.)
    The options are endless for this game.  

  4. Art from Around the World
    Depending on the age of your children, you can create this simple or complex task.  You can search for art from specific regions (i.e. artists from the Americas, Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia) by regions (Southwest US, Midwest US, Eastern US etc.) or by period (Impressionist, Renaissance, Modernist, Romantics etc.). 

  5. Mini-Monet
    Handmade Pre-School has compiled a huge selection of FREE color by numbers of the most well-known pieces of art.  You can check it out here – after your “field trip” to the art museum, what a fun and interactive way to continue to learning experience!

 

 We’ve created an activity sheet featuring the activities mentioned in this blog post. 

Arizona State University, ASU, #1Innovation, COVID19, Corona Virus, Activities for Kids, Kids Coloring Books, Fun activities to do while at home, social distancing, activities for kids out of school, activities for kids while quarrantined,
PDF icon You can download it here.

 

Check out how the Center for Child Well-Being team took their own virtual field trip for the Getty Art Challenge!   

If you liked this activity guide and are looking for more fun resources, we have TONS of fun coloring and activity books listed here

POSTPONED: Children of Incarcerated Parents National Conference

CIP 2020, Incarceration, Incarcerated Parents, #1Innovation, ASU, Be the Solution, COVID19, Corona Virus, Social Distancing

The Children of Incarcerated Parents National Conference is Being Postponed

In light of the most recent recommendations from the CDC, we have decided to postpone the Children of Incarcerated Parents Conference to a date that will be determined at a later time.

It is our hope that many of you will still be able to attend, present, exhibit or sponsor CIP 2020 when we have a firm date for the rescheduled conference. As we future plan for CIP 2020, we will send email updates as information becomes available.

It is our hope that we will be able to proceed with the conference agenda and plans as they currently exist at a future date, but realize that will be dependent upon everyone's schedules and availability.

If you need to cancel your current registration please email childwellbeing@asu.edu with "Registration Cancellation" in the subject line.

We look forward to the time when we can deliver what was shaping up to be a really fantastic conference.

Visiting Day

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Picture book – Young readers/school-age readers

 

Visiting Day is beautifully illustrated, with rich, vibrant images of an African American family experiencing a visit with an incarcerated father. A little girl looks forward to visiting her incarcerated father with her grandmother. She and her grandmother prepare for the visit, getting dressed up, preparing food and riding the bus. When the visit is over, they look forward to the next visit, but also the day that the father will live with them again. The prose is relatable and accessible, telling a difficult story exquisitely.

 

The story is primarily relatable to children of incarcerated parents, but the beautiful illustrations and positive stories are compelling enough to assist other children to understand visiting a parent.

 

Donate today to help lessen the stigma of incarceration through literature.
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Sing Sing Midnight

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The story of an incarcerated parent is told through the character of an orange cat named Midnight who lives in a prison. A little girl named Maya misses her father who is incarcerated and goes to visit him with her mother and brother every week. One week Maya is worried about who takes care of her father in prison, and her father tells her the story of Midnight the cat and how he helps the prisoners. The book paints a more comforting story of prison life for young readers, while also addressing Maya’s separation from her father. However, at its heart, this is a positive story of Midnight’s journey to the prison and his relationship and activities with the prisoners.

 

While children of incarcerated parents will find it particularly compelling, this story is relatable to all audiences as it is primarily Midnight’s story of his discovery of his purpose and his home.

 
Arizona State University, ASU, #1Innovation, Children of Incarcerated Parents. CIP, Be the Solution , Libraries, library books, prisons, books in prisons, Florence, Florence Prison Arizona

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5 Ways to Use Tech to Teach Life Skills

We know that technology is constantly changing and evolving, and as a society use technology to complete many of our daily tasks.  With this evolution of technology, how do we ensure our children are building necessary life skills to prepare them for adulthood?  HRMOM Melissa B. Griffin discusses this topic in a recent blog post “If our kids have time for HOURS of Snapchat or Instagram,” she asserts, “they have time to learn marketable skills on these same laptops and devices.” She believes that by helping them to build confidence in these versions of “adulating” they will experience less anxiety when they are expected to perform them on their own.  If we help our children, and ease them into these types of experiences and encourage them while they make their fumbling attempts, we can help them build confidence and prepare them for a time in their lives when they are on their own, in their first jobs, or living in their first apartments.

We’re sharing 5 Ways to Use Tech to Teach Life Skills

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Everyone Makes Mistakes: Living with My Daddy in Jail


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Everyone Makes Mistakes Living with my Daddy in Jail is unique in that it was written by 10 year old Madison Strempek. Part self-help book, and part auto-biography, Madison tells her story and how she overcame difficulty. Coming from a large, supportive Korean family, Madison’s parent are divorced when her father makes a mistake and goes to jail. Madison’s voice shines through as she speaks about being sad and missing her father, but her optimism and strength are also apparently when she suggests that children identify who it is you can talk to for help and use hobbies and other things you love as distraction and focus.

The book walks through a broad range of topics like visiting your parent, handling conversations with peers, and utilizing teachers and counselors as support. After each section, there are prompts for the reader to complete such as identifying who you can talk to or listing questions that you have.

This is a good resource for children of incarcerated parents to hear from someone who has been in their shoes. While not applicable to a general audience, the book should also be read by those working with children of incarcerated parents for its unique child perspective.

 

For more information or to purchase this book, you can view it on Amazon

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Registration Is Now Open for CIP 2020!

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From Awareness to Action, Children of Incarcerated Parents 3rd Annual National Conference

Don't miss this exciting conference!  Join Us!

April 20-22nd | Phoenix, Ariz. | Venue: The Wigwam Resort , Litchfield Park, AZ 

Looking back to our first two years, the focus of the National Children of Incarcerated Parents Conference has been on building awareness and collaboration. This year, our audacious conference goal is to expand programming, advocacy and policy, across the country in a big way.

We have been inspired by the feedback from prior conference attendees who have been motivated to return home and put in place programming. That is a great start! We are also dismayed at the lack of policy at the federal, state and local levels that would better the lives of these children and their families. In order to meet this year’s goal we will be offering tracks in the following three areas:

Track One:  Service & Practice in Programs and Systems
Track Two:  Community Advocacy
Track Three:  Promoting Public Policy

 

Registration is now open!
Join Us for CIP 2020 
 

The 2020 Call for Proposals is also now open. 
Learn More

Non-Profit Scarcity

Non-Profit Scarcity
Written by: Jenna Panas 

The Non-Profit Starvation Cycle as identified by Gregory and Howard[1], is a model that demonstrates that nonprofits are reluctant to spend funds on overhead rather than on direct services. This isn’t just the result of nonprofit stubbornness, but is an outgrowth of the expectation from the community, funders and stakeholders that nonprofit funds must be spent directly on the aims of the organization. Nonprofit money should be spent on delivering services – not on the infrastructure that makes that delivery possible. When organizations such as the Red Cross raise money in the wake of natural disasters, the expectation is that all funds go directly to the victims of the disaster, not to ensuring that the Red Cross continues to have the strength and infrastructure to immediately respond to emergencies as they arise. This expectation from the public creates a system where the Red Cross sometimes does not have the infrastructure in place for distribution and administration, creating service gaps in emergency services.

Research shows that organizations with a strong infrastructure are more successful than those without[2].Therefore, the lack of this spending on infrastructure creates a large barrier to success and continuity of an organization. Infrastructure spending is investment in the physical structures, development of human capital, and the processes and capabilities of an organization. This type of spending can include buying computers and equipment, repairing facilities, or spending on professional development for staff.

As the starvation cycle becomes more understood by funders and nonprofit leadership, they have become more willing to spend on development and physical structures as part of their infrastructure. However, we still see nonprofits being reluctant to spend on professional development for staff. Spending on staff professional development, or the development of human capital is a key piece of infrastructure spending. In today’s market it is estimated that 51% of the American workforce are either actively looking for new jobs or are watching for new opportunities[3]. In this environment, turnover of staff leads to decreased productivity, loss of historical information, loss of expertise, and an increase in hiring and training costs. As staff value and are engaged in jobs that invest in them and accelerate their career – one solution to this issue is to invest in staff through training. In addition, only 12% of workers believe that their company does a good job of onboarding – allowing them to understand what is expected of them in their work[4]. In order for companies to increase productivity, lower absenteeism, and lower turnover, they must work to engage their staff. Without this type of infrastructure spending, non-profits are unable to gain traction in staff capacity.

However, investment in staff training and onboarding is often the first line item to get cut in times of financial stress. Rather than considering low cost options such as online training, or sharing cost of training development with other organizations, or specifically seeking funds to cover training development costs, non-profit organizations fail to see the benefit and cut the expense.

Impact Instruction seeks to solve this issue for non-profits by offering online training, cost sharing, and cooperative agreements. We hope to increase nonprofit capacity and infrastructure by helping agencies develop their staff and in so doing reducing turnover and increasing productivity.

Read more about the benefits of Impact Instruction here.


[1] Gregory & Howard, The Non-Profit Starvation Cycle, 2009.

[2] Gregory & Howard, The Non-Profit Starvation Cycle, 2009.

[3] Gallup, “State of the American Workforce,” 2017, 6.

[4] Gallup, “State of the American Workforce,” 2017, 64.

Arizona's Children and the State of the State

Arizona's Children and the State of the State
Deborah Mabignani

For our country to thrive, we need for our children to be healthy and to receive the support they need to grow and eventually contribute to society. To accomplish this, it is important to know how kids are currently doing, where things are improving and where more work is needed. Towards this end, the Annie E. Casey Foundation released the 30th edition of the Kids Count Data Book which examines child well-being using both national and state data on four domains: economic well-being, education, health, family and community. The report ranks Arizona 46th overall for child well-being. Looking at the various domains and specific indicators in the report, Arizona has improved in many areas; yet challenges remain. For the sake of brevity, this summary will address the critical areas of economic well-being and health found in the report.

Nationally, 21 percent of children live in poverty with wide variation between states. The Kids Count Data Book ranks Arizona 43rd in the nation for economic well-being with one in four children living in poverty (1 per cent increase between 2010 and 2015). Two positive economic indicators, both nationally and for Arizona, were reductions in the number of children likely to grow up in families burdened by high housing costs and the percentage of children whose parents lack secure employment. Between 2010 and 2015, Arizona saw a 9 percentage point reduction on the first indicator - 43 percent in 2010 to 34 percent in 2015 - and a 5 percentage point reduction on the second indicator - from 35 percent in 2010 to 30 percent in 2015. The same trends were observed nationwide.

One area of concern that has been ongoing is economic disparities related to race and parental employment. The report states that nationwide, 47 percent of American Indian and 45 percent of African American children are likely to not have at least one parent who has full-time, year-round work, compared to 23 percent of white and 21 percent of Asian/Pacific Islander children. These statistics are important for Arizona as we are ranked 3rd in the country for largest Native American population with 296,529 Native American residents. These disparities are also reflected in the child welfare system where both African American and Native American children are overrepresented. Nationally, thirty-three percent of children in the child welfare system are African American although they represent only fifteen percent of the child population. Native American children represent 2.1 percent of children in the child welfare system although they represent only .9 percent of the child population.

Economic indicators intersect with all areas of well-being for children. For example, in the domain of education, the report finds that children growing up in low-income families, when compared to their wealthier peers, are less likely to attend pre-school and are more likely to not be proficient in fourth grade reading scores. In addition, the readiness gap between children in poverty and their wealthier peers grows as they get older, with 30 percent of children raised in poverty not graduating from high school.

Regarding children’s health, the report concluded that nationally, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and the Affordable Care Act (ACA), combined with the expansion of Medicaid in many states, reduced the number of children without health insurance from 8 percent to 5 percent. In 2013, then Governor Jan Brewer led Arizona in approving Medicaid expansion such that Arizona exactly mirrors the national statistics. This reflects a 36-49% improvement in health coverage for children as reported over five years. An additional benefit attributed to the ACA is the reduction in teen births nationally from 34 per 1,000 in 2010, to 19 per 1,000 in 2017. Similarly, in Arizona, teen births decreased from 42 per 1,000 in 2010 to 26 per 1,000 in 2015, only slightly higher than the national average of 22 per 1,000.

These statistics, and others included in the Kids Count Data Book, provide insight into how children are doing in our state and nationally. They are important because as William Paul Thurston once said, “Mathematics is not about numbers…it is about understanding”. Statistics are important for this reason; they inform us about what is happening in the world around us and lead to a more fulsome understanding. Policymakers, researchers, and decision-makers can use these statistics in their efforts to create more effective policies to address the needs of children and families in our state and country. At the end of the day, when our children do better, our future is brighter.

 Arizona Children Infographic Arizona State University Center for Child Well-Being

School Supply Assistance

With “back to school” already beginning in Arizona, and other states soon following, the purchase of new school supplies are at the top of parents’ minds. US News reports that parents will spend an average of $674 on school supplies this year, up from $630 last year. With 20.4% of Arizona’s children living below the poverty line where can families turn when purchasing school supplies is an impossibility?

The Kids in Need Foundation is a national organization dedicated to supporting poverty stricken children through classroom support. They do not provide direct support to individual families; however, they can provide a wealth of resources for families in need.

Locally, the Salvation Army, Adelante Healthcare, UFCW99, and the Boys and Girls Club, are hosting various assistance programs for school supplies this month. 

For an even more extensive list of organizations providing assistance, ABC15 has compiled a comprehensive list covering all of Arizona, and even more can be found on the A Day in the Life of a Mom blog. Additionally, websites like Eventbrite allow you to search keywords, like “free school supplies” in a specific city or region, with various local events featured.

If you are interested in helping a family in need, you can find a list of back to school drives here. The Salvation Army has teamed up with Fry’s amongst others, through the end of July, to collect donations for families.  More information on the Salvation Army’s drive can be found here. Additionally, your local school, church, and community resource centers can provide further information on areas locally accepting or providing donations.

The Impact of Child Separation

Written by:  Julia Hernandez 

On Friday, July 12, 2019 the House Committee on Oversight and Reform convened a hearing on the conditions of immigrant detention facilities at the U.S-Mexico border. The hearing included testimony from Members of Congress who recently toured facilities and confirmed reports of children being held in abhorrent conditions. Hundreds of children, predominantly from Central America, are being held for up to a month without adequate food, water, medical care, or sleeping arrangements in facilities designed to temporarily house dozens. Infants and toddlers are left in the care of children as young as seven or eight. At least seven children have died in U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CPB) custody in the past year. 

These children are being separated from their caregivers and detained in border facilities after their families, who are seeking asylum from violence and extreme poverty, surrender themselves to Customs and Border Protection. It is estimated that, currently, more than 2,000 children, some as young as 4 months old, are being held in detention without their caregivers.

This separation of children from caregivers and their detention are in themselves harmful to the children’s well-being. Abrupt separation from a primary caregiver and prolonged detention can result in depression, anxiety, behavior problems, and developmental delays among other concerns. Separation and detention are especially harmful for younger children as they are more dependent on their caregivers and may not yet have developed mechanisms that would help them cope with adverse experiences. In detention, young children are also denied the stimulation that they would otherwise get from interacting with a caregiver, stimulation that is needed to promote healthy brain development.

The conditions of the detention facilities exacerbate the harm detained children experience and are tantamount to child abuse. In fact, these conditions meet the legal definitions of child neglect in Arizona, California, and Texas, the three states with the largest number of immigrants in detention.

 Despite this, little is being done to address the harm being perpetrated on detained migrant children. Three weeks ago, Congress passed a $4.6 billion emergency aid package with funds to improve conditions in border facilities but the bill does not include stronger protections for migrant children and does not outline care standards for facilities that house children. The Trump administration has proposed an internal oversight system but a system in which the perpetrators of abuse oversee themselves is likely to yield few protections for children. 

State and county child welfare agencies, the entities that typically respond to alleged instances of child abuse, have yet to intervene. It is unclear if child welfare agencies have the jurisdiction to do so or if there is a way for them to intervene. In its current form, the child welfare system operates under the assumption that children have at least one adult who is routinely responsible for their care and well-being. Therefore, when child abuse occurs, there is a clear perpetrator – the caregiver – who is held responsible. There is currently no framework, however, for addressing child abuse perpetrated by a government entity. When there is no single person responsible for the children’s care, who is held accountable when children are harmed? The individual CBP agents who oversee the children? The supervisors and directors of the facilities? The CPB Commissioner? The Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, which oversees CPB? Congress members who continue to fund border facilities? The presidential administration that designed the family separation and detention policies currently being implemented?

This diffusion of responsibility makes intervention difficult but not impossible. As we wait for elected and appointed officials to act, we can contact our state’s attorney general and ask that they join the coalition of attorneys filing an amicus brief calling for immediate intervention in the detention camps. We can contact our representatives to demand immediate Congressional action. We can donate to one of the non-profit organizations listed below that help children and families detained in border facilities. 

The Florence Project

Freedom for Immigrants

Kids In Need of Defense (KIND)

Raices

Action is always preferable to inaction, in any form.  Social sharing, notifying representatives or highlighting those non-profits that help detainees, can help bring light to an ever-increasing crisis at our border. 

The Benefits of Online Training

Written by: Jenna Panas 

When we think about online learning we typically think about a webinar where the presenter drones on about their PowerPoint presentation while we check our email, surf the internet, and do anything but pay attention to the information that we are ostensibly learning. Is it any wonder then that online learning for professional development is perceived as a short-cut, a less than approach when compared to the rigors of having to attend trainings in person.

However, this doesn’t have to be the case. Just as in person training can be dull and uninspiring, depending on the abilities of the trainer, online training is heavily dependent on good design. The internet is a visual medium – online training that has compelling infographics, learning stories, and photos is more appealing to a learner. Those designing trainings must emphasize finding or creating graphics that support the learning objectives, and utilize text to emphasis points. Rather than a physical instructor being the primary vehicle for transmission of information, graphics do the heavy lifting for good online learning.

Training that has interaction for the learner built in – whether that is clicking on pictures, answering questions, or interacting with the learning environment – creates a stimulating environment that keeps learners engaged. Rather than being able to passively sit through a video that auto plays or a webinar in the background, by creating an environment that the learner needs to click through and engage with, learners will stay with the training for the entire time.

The overall organization of the training is also important to the learner. Content and activities should relate and build on each other. Information should move sequentially without extraneous information included.  A good learning management system or website that provides simple navigation and organization of materials will also increase the ability of learner’s to access a course and subsequently increase their satisfaction with the experience. That learning management system also allows for the incorporations of multiple elements: visual learning, videos, audio instruction, learner interactions and learner assessments is ideal. This structure allows for multiple engagements with a learner which in turn creates a better opportunity for the learner to absorb the material.

Online training is wonderful for all the reasons we are already familiar with – you don’t have to travel, it is accessible anytime, but by using good design, online training can also deliver outcomes superior to in person training.

10 Tips for Pool Safety

Arizona State University, ASU, #1Innovation, Pool Safety, Preventing Child drownings, how to stay safe in the pool, child drowning statistics, preventing kids from drowning, drowning deaths, pool deaths, swimming, learning to swim With temperatures rising and schools letting out for summer break, the urge to dive into the pool is intensifying. With the relaxation of poolside fun, comes the dangers of sunburn, dehydration and sadly drownings. According to the Drowning Prevention Coalition of Arizona, the leading cause of unintentional death in children 1-4 are drownings.  Here are 10 tips to keep you and your children safe in and around water. We have also compiled a Pool Safety Guide in English and in Spanish to help your little swimmers stay safe this summer! 

Swapping Out Detention with Meditation

Educators and parents across the nation are taking notice of the “mindfulness” wave rushing over academic institutions.

 What is mindfulness?

Mindful.org defines mindfulness as “the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us.”

Something as simple as noticing your breathing can be a challenging task in today’s society. The practice of mindfulness allows for an escape from the distracting, stressful, fast-moving world around us.

Mindfulness allows for a reprieve from outside trauma, an increase in social-emotional development, and improves problem-solving skills. As much as all these benefits aid adults they can also be beneficial to school-aged children.

Robert W. Coleman Elementary, in Baltimore, Maryland, saw mindfulness as a way to empower and support their students. At Coleman Elementary when students misbehave in class or the school yard, they are not sent detention or the principal’s office, they are sent to the school’s meditation room.

The meditation room is lovingly referred to as the “Mindful Moment Room.” Here students take a deep breath and are encouraged to talk about what led to their dismissal from the classroom. The staff members in the room then instruct the students to close their eyes and inhales and exhale deeply for a few moments until they are calm enough to return back to class.

Not only has meditation replaced detention, but it has also become an integral part of Robert W. Coleman Elementary school day. Each day starts and ends with a 15 minute guided mediation. And, although the implementation of mindfulness in the class room hasn’t removed hard ship or stress from children’s lives, it does provide a tool for coping with such difficulties.  

Principal Carillian Thompson has noticed a “huge difference,” in his students. Including a dramatic change in suspension.

“We’ve had zero suspensions,” Thompson said.

Thompson believe that by teaching students to transform negative energy into positive energy it gives them a better opportunity to grow from their mistakes. When students at Coleman get into fights or disrupt class and are sent to the “Mindful Moment room” they are directed in breathing exercises, stretching and concentration. By isolating these students with their own thoughts and feelings they become more susceptible to change, rather than brewing about having been punished in detention.

The program coordinator for Robert W. Coleman, Kirk Philips said “you wouldn’t think that little kids would meditate in silence,” but “they did it, and it was beautiful.”

Research: Social-emotional well-being among youth living in out-of-home care

The ASU Center for Child Well-Being is excited to announce their article Social-emotional well-being among youth living in out-of-home-care has been published in Elsevier.   Dr. Judy Krysik, Director of the ASU Center for Child Well-Being, and Dr. Cara Kelly, Researcher at the Center for Child Well-Being authored this article with Dr. Elizabeth K. Anthony, Associate Professor, ASU School of Social Work, who is also listed as the corresponding author of this research publication.  

Children of Incarcerated Parent's National Conference Partners with Renaissance Phoenix Downtown Hotel for 2nd Year

Attend the National Conference for Incarcerated Parents at the Renaissance Phoenix Downtown

 

Return attendees to the Children of Incarcerated Parent's National Conference will be pleased to learn the ASU Center for Child Well-Being has partnered once again with the Renaissance Phoenix Downtown Hotel to act as host for CIP 2019.

Based on our own experiences, as well as, all of the positive feedback from last year's conference attendees, it was a natural choice to return!

Registration for the conference is now open, and CIP has reserved a block of hotels with a $199/night rate.

Further details regarding the conference can be found below:

   

American Academy of Pediatrics Updates Policy on Spanking

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), released an update today to its policy calling on parents to end spanking as a form of discipline.  The ASU Center for Child Well-Being supports this position based on multiple studies showing that hitting children increases their risks for physical aggression. We are pleased that how we as a society respond to children is changing in response to new information, similar to how we learn and adapt in other areas of our lives. There are many positive alternatives to spanking. Please, join us in advocating for an end to corporal punishment.  

The American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children (APSAC) has compiled suggestions on how everyone can work towards the prevention of child maltreatment and promote the well-being of children.  Their suggestions can be found here. 

 

Congratulations Dr. Kelly


Congratulations Dr. Cara Kelly

 

Congratulations to Cara Kelly on the successful defense of her dissertation on September 10th.
 The capstone of her Ph.D. Program examined the utility of Healthy Family Parenting Inventory(HFPI) to predict a family’s risk for future maltreatment.

Thanks for a successful 2017 National Title IV-E Roundtable Conference

May 30, 2017: Over 225 attendees, representing 35 states and 6 tribal nations, visited Phoenix, Arizona May 23rd through 25th to attend the 21st annual National Title IV-E Roundtable conference.

Attendees participated in four plenary sessions focused on: 1) Social Work Education & University Partnerships; 2) Research, Evaluation & Assessment; 3) Training & Workforce Development; and 4) Collaboration & Partnership. Twenty roundtable break-out sessions followed each plenary to allow participants to learn more about what state partners have had success with in each area, as well as to learn from challenges and opportunities. The afternoons of Day 1 & Day 2 provided skill-building opportunities with two national Title IV-E experts, Don Schmid and Carl Valentine, followed by opportunities for state & federal region action planning.

Read more here

This year a special emphasis was made to invite and encourage states to bring their system partners. Thirty percent of attendees represented state/local or tribal child welfare; twenty-one percent represented programs supporting prospective social workers; twenty-one percent represented staff of agencies provide direct service to children and families; eleven percent represented state/local or tribal juvenile justice, court programs, or child & family attorneys; and seventeen percent represented other fields.

Don Schmid was honored at an evening reception and presented with the Center's annual award, Champion for Child Well-Being, and had the opportunity to meet one of the recipients of his endowed educational scholarship for Native American social work students, which has been in place at ASU's School of Social Work since 2004.

Next year's National Title IV-E Roundtable conference will be held in Portland Oregon.

Building demand for a Culture of #Children'sWellbeing

October 26-27, 2016: As a Network Partner of the Ashoka Changemakers Childwellbeing Initiative, we are so proud to have been included in the 2 day Build Event in Chicago to explore how to build demand for a culture of Children's Wellbeing.

Read more here

Representing ASU's Center for Child Well-Being (CCWB) is Ms. Karin Kline, MSW. Karin is a Program Manager at CCWB, responsible for developing strong relationships witht he state's child welfare training and administrative units. Her current work efforts involve supporting and advancing the training of new and existing child welfare front line worker, supervisors, and managers as well as child welfare system partners. Karin has over 30 years of professional experience in child welfare in Arizona. She has research interests in responding to child neglect and fatality review. She is recognized as an expert in litigation involving child welfare practice and is committed to contributing to the improvement of child welfare in any capacity.

Ashoka and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation have selected a cohort of 122 innovative leaders whose exemplary models promote Children's Wellbeing in the United States. 10 of these 122 Pioneers of Children's Wellbeing will represent their peers, receive funding from a pool of $48,000, and receive mentorship from Ashoka and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Pioneers have the opportunity to work with thought leaders, influencers, and one another to break down traditional divides, share leading practices, and align around needed cultural shifts to cultivate a culture of wellbeing for every child in the United States.

Arizona Ranks 49th in Health Benchmarks for Children

October 20, 2016: The 4th Annual Preventive Health Collaborative (PHC) Forum made the front page of the Phoenix New Times as their top story. Unfortunately, Arizona ranks 49th in children's health measures, but PHC has brought together amazing partners and speakers to address what we can do together to improve our ranking and improve the lives of children in Arizona. ASU's Center for Child Well-Being's Director, Dr. Judy Krysik was one of the featured speakers.

Read the full story

$1.4M grant to help child sex traffic victims

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Children, Youth and Families awarded the funding to Dominique Roe-Sepowitz (right) and Judy Krysik (left). Both are professors and researchers in the School of Social Work, part of the College of Public Programs at Arizona State University. The project will be a collaborative effort involving the ASU Office for Sex Trafficking Research Intervention, the ASU Center for Applied Behavioral Health Policy and the Arizona Department of Child Safety. 

Full Article

National Ethics Committee

Judy Krysik, associate professor and associate director in the School of Social Work, has been selected to serve on the National Ethics Committee of the National Association of Social Workers. Her term begins immediately and runs through June 2017.