On the Blog

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.

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. 

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

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!

Arizona State University, ASU, #1Innovation, Earth Day, Green, Sustainability, Zero Waste, Earth Day for Kids, Kids Books about the environment
PDF iconccwb_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!"  

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

 Arizona State University, ASU, #1Innovation, GettyChallenge, BetweenArtandQuarrantine, COVID19, Corona, StayHome, Getty Museum, Getty Museum Challenge, Getty


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. 

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.

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

Arizona state university, asu, #1 in innovation, be the solution, ccwb, cip, center for child well being

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

Sing Sing Midnight

Arizona state university, asu, #1 in innovation, be the solution, ccwb, cip, center for child well being

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

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.

Everyone Makes Mistakes: Living with My Daddy in Jail

Arizona state university, asu, #1 in innovation, be the solution, ccwb, cip, center for child well being

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.


Registration Is Now Open for CIP 2020!

Incarceration, Incarcerated Parents, #1Innovation, CIP2020


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 

Non-Profit Scarcity
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.
ASU logo no photo
Arizona's Children and the State of the State
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.
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.

The Impact of Child Separation
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.
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.

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.  

ASU Research- Social Emotional Well Being of Youth in Out of Home Care
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

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

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.