National Center for Child Welfare Excellence
NCCWE Weekly Update 6/11/2015

Connections for Success
Research has shown that number one indicator of success for youth in foster care is a positive relationship with a caring adult. Mentoring programs for older youth in foster care and foster care alumni build connections that can support the transition into adulthood. This video demonstrates the importance of mentoring on not only vulnerable youth, but also the benefits on the mentors themselves. This short five-minute video can be used to build community awareness about the importance of the mentoring relationship and promote mentor/resource family recruitment efforts A longer ten-minute video can be used as part of training for child welfare students and/or staff to promote the development of mentoring initiatives for foster youth.

These videos were developed through the Connections to Success project being led by the Child Protection Working Group as part of the US-Russia Social Expertise Exchange (SEE). This publication was developed with support from Eurasia Foundation.  The views and opinions expressed in this video do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SEE or Eurasia Foundation.

NCCWE Information Packet:
Emotional and Psychological Well-Being of Children in Foster Care By Shoshana Indyk, NCCWE

Child well-being has come to the forefront of issues surrounding foster care and out-of-home placement. Children in foster care are more vulnerable to maladaptive development given their exposure to high risk environments prior to placement, as well as the process of out-of-home placement itself. Children and youth in foster care may have been exposed to neglect, abuse, poverty, homelessness, and maltreatment, prior to placement in the system. Furthermore, foster care placement and home instability, compounded by the potential lack of a consistent caregiver, can lead to an interruption in proper development .

Despite the overwhelming empirical evidence, which demonstrates the clinically significant mental health problems that foster care children face, suitable mental health programming and requirements for this population is often overlooked. Moreover, the limited legal statues and policies that focus on emotional and psychological well-being of children in foster care are often left unenforced and less examined.

Access to Opportunities for Transitioning Youth
The journey from adolescence to adulthood can be a challenging time for any young person. For older youth in foster care transitioning to independence, this journey can be especially difficult. Youth in care may lack the support networks and healthy relationships helpful during this time of transition, and many youth encounter barriers to accessing basic resources such as housing, health care, and postsecondary education and employment opportunities. The good news is that there are programs and policies that can help.

A policy brief developed by the American Youth Policy Forum (AYPF) presents several recommendations for State and Federal policymakers, service providers, researchers, and others related to:
  • Increasing investments
  • Highlighting postsecondary options
  • Systems coordination
  • Developing professional capacity
  • Engaging youth in decision-making
  • Expanding the conversation from "transitioning out of foster care" to "transitioning to opportunities" by including stakeholders from the child welfare, education, court, housing, workforce, and other related systems

Creating Access to Opportunities for Youth Transitioning From Foster Care, by E. Russ and G. Fryar, is available on the AYPF website at 

Nomination Open for Adoption Excellence Awards
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Children's Bureau established the Adoption Excellence Awards in 1997 to honor States, local agencies, private organizations, courts, businesses, individuals, and families who have made significant contributions to the successful adoption of children from foster care. The awards highlight leadership and innovation in the commitment toward rebuilding the lives of children in foster care and those who are waiting for adoption.
Nominations are now being accepted for the 2015 Adoption Excellence Awards, and all nominations must be received by COB Friday, July 31, 2015. Awards will be presented in the following categories:
  • Family Contributions 
  • Individuals/Professionals 
  • Business Contributions/Initiatives 
  • Media/Social Media/Public Awareness of Adoption From Foster Care 
  • Child Welfare/Judicial Systemic Change

Anyone may nominate one or more candidates, and self-nominations are welcomed. Nominations will be reviewed and scored by a panel of recognized experts in the adoption field, including members from Federal and State agencies, and multiple awards may be given in each category. A description of the award categories, eligibility and selection criteria, nomination forms, and a list of previous years' winners are available on the Children's Bureau website at

Issue Brief on Immigration and Child Welfare
A new resource from Child Welfare Information Gateway explores child welfare's work with immigrant children and families and examines current issues related to immigration and child welfare. Immigrant families often face a number of stresses in addition to the everyday challenges of family life. Many families are not able to migrate together, and these transnational families may deal with long periods of separation. Language barriers can make it difficult for parents to find a job and access services and for children to excel in their studies. Families who have fled dangerous or violent situations in their home countries may also face trauma-related issues.

This issue brief gives a quick overview of the history of child welfare and immigration, provides current statistics and data related to immigrant families involved with child welfare, and addresses relevant policies and legislation affecting immigrant families and child welfare service delivery. The brief also offers information and strategies for working with immigrant families as well as providing culturally competent and trauma-informed practice. Resources for professionals, immigrant families, and immigrant youth are also included.

Access Immigration and Child Welfare on the information Gateway website at

CFSR Factsheet for Tribes
The Children's Bureau developed a series of factsheets to help specific groups better understand the Child and Family Services Reviews (CFSRs), with one highlighting issues that are pertinent to Tribal child welfare officials. It provides background information on the CFSRs, the Indian Child Welfare Act, and the overlap of the two. The factsheet also describes findings related to Tribal child welfare from the CFSRs and how Tribal partners can be involved in the CFSR process.

Children's Bureau Child and Family Services Reviews Fact Sheet for Tribal Child Welfare Officials
 is available at
, and the suite of factsheets is available on the Children's Bureau website at
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Gerald P. Mallon, DSW, LCSW
Julia Lathrop Professor of Child Welfare
Executive Director
National Center for Child Welfare Excellence
Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College
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