3Introductions Split into groups One person introduces each member of the group, their role at OCS, and all the different ways that members are involved with the prevention of child abuse and neglect.Introduction Activity:Split into pairsHave each member of a pair introduce the other. 1. Name 2. Role 3. How they are involved with the prevention of child abuse and neglectChart how participants are involved in prevention.Training Points:You can play a significant role in child abuse prevention through the life of the case from intake to case closureIn Initial Assessments (IA) , we open approximately 1 out of 10 cases for ongoing Family Services. In the other 9 out of 10 cases that we close, we often still link/ connect family to services and resources in the community (referrals)This IS considered child abuse prevention! Good job!This training will educate you on how you can strengthen families using the protective factors framework. Just like how you have learned to identify and treat child maltreatment, there is also evidence based research about how to prevent child maltreatment. The training will help you feel more comfortable, confident, and proud of your role in the prevention of child abuse and neglect in IA.In Family Services, while the case is open, you are also involved more concretely in the prevention of child abuse and neglect (relate safety plans and case plans to child abuse prevention).This training will help you structure your thinking about how this work is related to the lifelong health and safety of the family (subsequently the key to preventing “repeat maltreatment”)This training will also help FS workers feel more comfortable, confident, and proud of their role in the prevention of child abuse and maltreatment, especially beyond case closure. As child protection workers, we understandably emphasize our role in intervening after child abuse and neglect has occurred. Workers don’t always realize that having an active role in the prevention of child abuse has a significant impact on safe and healthy outcomes for children.If we work harder on strengthening families, children will grow up to be healthy adults and child maltreatment will be reduced. We all want that, right? Review the AgendaYesterday, staff from the Infant Learning Program and other professionals who work with children in your community completed a similar trainingSo the goal beyond today’s training is to connect with those professionals.Many professionals work to prevent child abuse and neglect in your community. How can we collaborate with them.Strengthening Families is a framework your community can use to work together to prevent child abuse and neglect.The bigger goal of this training is collaboration and real fundamental change so that communities are safer, healthier, and friendlier not only for families in need but for all of us.
4Strengthening Families Alaska A New Evidence-Based Child Maltreatment Prevention StrategyThe Child Welfare AcademyWelcome!Introduce self and express excitement about the opportunity to come to their community to talk about ways in which to partner with other professionals in the community and prevent child maltreatment. This is a special and unique project funded by the Department of Health and Social Services, who is committed to reducing the rates of child maltreatment by increasing families protective factors.We will go over the day’s agenda in a minute. In the meantime understand that this this training day is part of a larger effort to help your community prevent maltreatment. Yesterday, staff from the Infant Learning Program and other programs that work with families in your community attended a training similar to the one you will complete today. Tomorrow (or another third day) you and ILP staff will work to discuss ways in which you all can enhance your partnership to better serve families and children.How many of you already know the Strengthening Families Initiative that is taking hold all over Alaska? For those of you who don’t yet know about it, you’ll now learn and those who have, can share ways in which you have incorporated into your practices within your agencies.Presenter(s) background and/or experiences working in child welfare (human services). Emphasize your successes and challenges in your own child maltreatment prevention work.
5The Strengthening Families Initiative Developed by the Center for the Study of Social PolicyNational Expansion with the assistance of the National Alliance of Children’s Trust and Prevention FundsFunded by theDoris Duke Charitable FoundationTraining Points: What is Strengthening Families?In 2001, the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation approached the Center for the Study of Social Policy. The foundation wanted to fund a new and effective approach to child abuse and neglect prevention that would reach more children and families than ever.CSSP was charged with developing that approach.This was to be a big infusion of new money from the foundation for something that was to be highly impactful. Strengthening Families grew out of this relationship between DDCF and CSSP.DDCF wanted to the approach to be systematic, national, have an expansive reach affecting millions of children, positively impact children and families long before abuse or neglect took place, and also promoted the optimal development of ALL children – not just children in those familiesThe framework was built based on an exhaustive review of the research literature focused on child abuse prevention. It has some really solid evidence behind it.It identifies five protective factors that when present … and robust … in families helps prevent child abuse and neglect as well as supporting children’s optimal healthy growth and development.These five protective factors are important not just for families who we may consider in some way “at risk”. But, they are important for the healthy development of all families.Activity:Have trainees brainstorm about how the approach of helping all families would help the families we serve.Sample responses (reduce the number of intakes, link families to services more easily in IA, more support for FS cases, safer community for children in general, etc.)
6Just the facts… Research Questions With families, what already works? What family characteristics promote children’s healthy development and link directly to reducing the risk of child abuse and neglect?Training Points:Strengthening Families exploration of research asked two fundamental questions about families:What does the research tell us about what is RIGHT with families?What are the characteristics that promote children’s healthy development – and are linked directly to a reduction in child abuse and neglect?“Traditionally, research in the field of child welfare has focused on the presence of risk factors and the extent to which they precede abuse and neglect in a given family or context. While the counterbalancing concept of resilience has always been acknowledged—many children excel despite being exposed to significant risk—the study of what produces or promotes resilience has been less prominent. Until recently, both researchers and practitioners had a limited understanding of the characteristics that may build resilience and protect children and families who are considered “at-risk” of maltreatment. Emerging research, however, more directly assesses the role of interventions and strategies for building relationships with families that support the amelioration of risk through the promotion of these characteristics, here outlined as Protective Factors. This research was compiled by the Center for the Study of Social Policy at the inception of the Strengthening Families initiative in an effort to codify the characteristics of families and their children that can reduce the likelihood of child abuse and neglect, especially in families facing significant risk factors.”From…Allied for better outcomes: child welfare and early childhood august 2010; C E N T E R F O R T H E S T U D Y O F S O C I A L P O L I C Y6
7The Protective Factors Framework Parental ResilienceSocial ConnectionsKnowledge of Parenting and Child DevelopmentConcrete Support in Times of NeedSocial and Emotional DevelopmentTraining Points:A review of the research was specifically designed to find protective factors that correlate with a reduction in child maltreatment.Also through the research, it was found that these same protective factors create an environment for the optimal development of children.WHERE DOES PREVENTION FIT IN CHILD WELFARE?Child welfare systems become involved with families after an incident of maltreatment has occurred.However, other systems can offer the supports and resources that families need before abuse or neglect happen, keeping them out of the child welfare system in the first place.When child welfare systems support these preventive efforts, they help ensure that their clients are the families who most need their services.Partnerships among child- and family-serving systems allow families to get the customized, culturally appropriate supports they need to keep their families strong and support optimal child development.Parental Resilience: the capacity to cope with all types of challenges Social Connections: positive relationships with friends, family members, neighbors, and others who can provide concrete and emotional support to parents Knowledge of Parenting and Child Development: accurate information about raising children and appropriate expectations for their behavior Concrete Support in Times of Need: financial security and access to informal and formal supports Social and Emotional Competence of Children: the ability of children to interact positively and articulate their feelingsWe will talk about these protective factors in more detail in a moment… But first, SO WHAT?7
9Targeted special needs programs Children’s Mental Health Early Care & EducationDomestic ViolencePhysical HealthSafety planningPrimary healthcareEducationScreeningShelterHealth promotion activitiesCounselingFamilies & ProtectiveFactorsTargeted special needs programsScreening and assessmentEarly intervention servicesMental Health ConsultationCounselingChildren’sMental HealthTraining Points:In fact, when you think about it, any service to families and children has a potential to help build protective factors for the family. Strengthening Families supports a longer term positive, supportive, and collaborative relationship among providers. When we are all working together to build protective factors in families and in our communities, we are all working together to prevent child abuse and neglect in our community. This is our method. Together we can feel confident that the method is effective and proud we are working together to implement it.Child welfare systems are not alone in their mission to improve outcomes for children and their families. Early care and education, family support, home visiting, and other sectors have overlapping goals with child welfare systems and can serve as powerful partners in this work. In many cases, agencies in these fields build Protective Factors with broad populations of young children and families, engaging them without the stigma often associated with child welfare involvement. These systems can partner with child welfare agencies to serve children and families who have experienced maltreatment. They can also identify and respond to signs of stress in families before they result in maltreatment, connecting them to child welfare and other resources when necessary. Just as child welfare agencies should engage early childhood systems, family support organizations, and community entities as resources in their work, these systems have an obligation to reach out to the child welfare system and build partnerships to support all families.Activity:Handout “Johnson Initial Assessment.” Have them read the first section “Record Review.” Ask them to imagine all the different professional people involved with the family from the beginning of the child’s life DOB 5/25/08, before OCS opened the case on Connect these providers and this case to the training points below:On the slide is a version of how some states are thinking about the role of ALL parts of the system in building protective factors with families.Services shown on the “petals” are some but not all of the services for young children in any systemThe protective factors approach does not replace services that are central to existing provision systemsProtective factors provide a framework for:Commonality of practice across all of those working with children and familiesA framework for a prevention partnership that can bring new resources and capacities to all child and family serving sectorsA concrete definition for what “family support” isA common framework to measure progress—not only in addressing family needs but building family strengthsParent/ child activitiesHome visitsAssessmentSafety PlngSubstance Abuse trtmtSupport GrpsGroup activitiesParent Ed.Home visiting programsFamily Resource CentersChild Welfare
10Real Results:Systems at state and national level are incorporating child abuse prevention goals and strategies across multiple disciplines to allow better collaboration.Local programs and parent leaders are using the same framework to strengthen local programs and local community approaches to supporting families with young children.Training Points:This is not just Alaska, but a nationwide effort.Other state’s and national programs are having increasing success in implementing Strengthening Families in the ways we have talked about today.We can make a fundamental shift in how approach preventing child abuse and neglect in our community.We can make a real difference in helping our communities become safer, healthier, friendlier places for families in need.With the support of programs and people throughout your community, Strengthening Families is a hopeful, realistic way to think about reducing case loads through preventing child abuse and neglect in your community.
11Well-being Protective Capacities Centerfor theStudyofSocialPolicyProtective Factorsare based on building resiliency rather than reducing riskPermanenceWell-beingProtective FactorsParental resilienceSocial connectionsKnowledge of parenting and child developmentConcrete support in times of needSocial and emotional competence of childrenProtective CapacitiesIntellectual skillsEmotional skillsPhysical care skills Motivations to protectSocial connectionsResources such as income, employment or housingTraining Points:OCS uses the Protective Capacities to assess and intervene when a child is unsafe.Protective factors help us understand how to target our referrals before children become unsafe.Protective factors help us strengthen our case planning process in FS to strengthen the long term permanency and well being of children and families.Subsequently, protective factors can strengthen our assessments and interventions with family.Information collected for the six questions and from subsequent visits can be used not only for safety assessment but for other purposes. For example, an initial assessment summary will have information for our decision making process. Through a referral, this same information could help other providers understand how to connect to the family. The concepts of protective factors help us better articulate to other providers what the family needs. Especially since many of these same providers are expected or will be expected to use the same Strengthening Families language. (just like we trained ILP and other providers yesterday).Handout Revised six questions here:Review “Revised Six Questions” now. Point out that with a few minor changes, OCS has been asking workers to gather information about Protective Factors (point out overlap and changes). Of course it makes sense to gather this information. In fact, as we talk we can deepen understanding about how understanding protective factors deepens our understanding about how the family functions in IA. However, even more exciting is that the SF approach helps us to understand what to do with that new information.Activity.Ask trainees about cases in Initial assessments where we have made referrals (not for case planning).Praise referrals. Without going into too much detail about the definitions of protective factors (covered in detail in next slides), link information gathering and referral to some of the easier to understand fundamentals of protective factors.Make sure trainees understand that this is not more work or separate work, rather protective factors are meant to help you focus the intent of the referral and make it easier to communicate to the family and other providers.Go through a similar discussion about referrals in family services.While protective capacities are part of an assessment process unique to child protection, the intention of protective factors is to establish a common language for all people involved with families.SafetyProtectiveCapacitiesare concrete and identifiable behaviors, emotions, social connections and resources necessary for insuring child safety. Source: Child Welfare Institute
12Initial Assessment Case Example Read Case Example to enhance discussion for the following slides that outline the 5 protective factors.As we go through the slides, we will use this Initial Assessment Case Example to think about how Protective Factors might help guide our work with the family.We will also use the example to help us think about how we or other agencies might have assisted the family sooner.Refer back to handout “Johnson Initial Assessment” Case ExampleUse the case example during the next slides to help the trainees brainstorm about how to use enhance our work with families :To refer before we open a case,To help us gather informationTo connect to supports when we intervene and then open a case
13Parental Resilience Training Points: Each Protective Factor (PF) has 2 slides – this first slide that simply shows a picture and names the PF can be used to engage the audience by asking questions, such as what they might think the PF is and how it is relevant to the families they work with, etc.For example, for this slide, ask the trainees to think about challenges and struggles that most families have sometimes have to cope with (examples: job loss, severe illness, substance abuse, etc.)How do trainees cope with challenges. The families we work with are the same, they are looking for these same ways to cope but they might not have the same advantages or the same resources.Parental resilience is the Protective Factor that helps parents in situations like this.You can’t prevent stress from happening to a family, but you want to impact how a family reacts to stress. This is the core of resilience.Parents all have resources that they can call upon; sometimes it’s faith, sometimes it’s humor.Sometimes a person doesn’t. The role of a person working to build this PF with parents is to bring it out of them.13
14Parental ResiliencePsychological health; parents feel supported and able to solve problems; can develop trusting relationships with others and reach out for helpParents who did not have positive childhood experiences or who are in troubling circumstances need extra support and trusting relationshipsWhat it is Resilience? = An ability to process negative eventsComponents of resilience include the following below. Ask the trainees if they have these. Trainees may have some or all. Even with a lot of resilience life can be very hard for us and we struggle, we make mistakes. Families we work with may have few of these or none. Imagine their struggle.People to talk toWillingness to talk about challengesA positive understanding of self (“people like me,” “I can handle tough situations.”)Ability to get to a constructive response to a negative eventParental psychology plays an important role in both the causes and prevention of child abuse and neglect. Parents who are emotionally resilient are able to maintain a positive attitude, creatively solve problems, and effectively rise to challenges in their lives—and they are less likely to abuse or neglect their children.Parents who have experienced violence or abuse and neglect themselves or who have other risk factors for becoming abusers need caring relationships to help them develop and maintain positive relationships with their children.Parents who know and trust staff are more likely to reveal problems such as domestic violence or feelings of frustration and ask for assistance.Activity:Either on their own or in groups have the trainees come up with some examples of how they might help parents they work with develop resilience.Ask for things that are already working and especially praise and emphasize any new ideas.Sample responses:OCS offices and other programs/ providers set aside space for parents, have a welcoming atmosphere throughout, and offer coffee and snacks.OCS staff and staff from other agencies are trained and expected to create trusting relationships with families. We all provide time and opportunities for these relationships to flourish.OCS and other programs hire dedicated family support workers whose job it is to build trusting relationships with parents and employ mental health consultants who are available to parents when they need them.OCS staff and staff from other agencies watch for early signs of child or family distress and respond with encouragement, support, and help in solving problems.14
15Social ConnectionsWhat are Social Connections and how are they relevant to the families we work with?Parents need social connections for a variety of reasons – emotional support and concrete resourcesSocial connections can be friends but also can include social communities like support groups, spiritual groups, clubs, teams, etc.Ask the trainees to think about their own social connections. Ask them to remember a time when they had few connections (just moved for example) and how lonely and painful that could be. Many of the families we work with feel that same pain but sometimes even more intensely and for much longer periods. Sometimes they have felt that way for their whole lives.We know that when parents feel isolated, having networks of family and friends can relieve stress, build knowledge about parenting, and provide critical supportParents with strong networks with parents with similar aspirations have children that do better in schoolMoving is stressful, as parents’ networks are disrupted, and new ones have to be built in the new placeResearch shows that social connections can have negative impacts-if the social norm within a group is negative towards parenting, a parent is more likely to have negative parenting practices.Parents need social connections with positive norms of parenting. This does not always happen with friends and family. For example, think of your local school. At school families have the opportunity to create a social group that is about the raising of young children.Although we don’t always think of it, child care operates in the same way. A a child care center, we also have the opportunity to create a social group that is about the raising of young children.Any child care center can have a role to play around setting the norms about parenting. Staff participation can help to inform the norms.15
16Social ConnectionsRelationships with extended family, friends, co-workers, other parents with children similar agesCommunity norms are developed through social connectionsMutual assistance networks: child care, emotional support, concrete helpTraining Points:Helping parents build constructive friendships and other positive connections can reduce their isolation, which is a consistent risk factor in child abuse and neglect.Isolation is a problem in particular for family members who are in crisis or need intensive help, such as victims of domestic violence.Social connections build parents’ “social capital,” their network of others in the community—family, friends, neighbors, churches, etc.—whom they can call on for help solving problems.Social connections also enable parents to develop and reinforce community norms about behavior. Norms against violence help reduce child abuse and neglect.Friendships lead to mutual assistance in obtaining resources that all families need from time to time, including transportation, respite child care, and other tangible assistance as well as emotional support.Activity:Either on their own or in groups have the trainees come up with some examples of how they might help parents they work with develop social connections.Ask for things that are already working and especially praise and emphasize any new ideas.Sample Responses:Potluck dinners with parents and childrenSports activities for parents (families)Parent education classes and workshopsHelping parents connect with organizations and resources outside the program (e.g., helping them find a church)Special outreach and activities for fathers, grandparents, and other extended family members16
17Knowledge of Parenting and Child Development How is knowledge of parenting and child development relevant to the families we work with?Ask the trainees to think about their own knowledge of child development. Where did the learn “how to parent”? Even with a lot of education, most of us rely on what we’ve learned from our own parents. None of our own parents were perfect, and even the best of them had challenges caring for you. Imagine those times when you didn’t feel cared for (could relate a not too personal story). Many of the parents we work with felt that same way as children. But even more intensely and for much longer periods. Perhaps even for most of their lives.“Being a parent is part natural and part learned.” It doesn’t matter how educated you are if you don’t develop the knowledge of how to deal with your child in your own settingThe CCE did a meta-analysis of parenting education programs and learned that parents really only absorb information when it is relevant to their child at that moment and when they can practice what they learn with their own child. The biggest issue with parenting education programs is attrition—most people don’t make it to the end of the program. Programs need to capture parents’ interest at the moment when the parent needs information and provide “just in time” information. Also, peer-to-peer programs appear to be less effective.What we’re not talking about is parenting education where a bunch of parents get together in a classroom with a teacher and learn about child development.Role of the early childhood education ECE (we will discuss programs like the Head Start and the Infant Learning Program in detail later in the training)_ professional can be crucial in providing this information. This person often has expertise and experience with many children. Parents respect the expertise of the provider.Much of the building of this PF cannot come from one particular curriculum or another – the kind of knowledge we are talking about is very personal and comes from the parent’s self-reflection.Discussing this PF with certain groups often brings up questions about cultural and community norms, often around punishment and hitting. The PFs are universal, but in certain contexts, addressing these cultural and community norms needs to be more explicit.17
18Knowledge of Parenting and Child Development Basic information about how children developBasic techniques of developmentally appropriate disciplineTraining Points:Parents who understand normal child development are less likely to be abusive and more likely to nurture their children’s healthy development. Observing other children helps parents understand their own children in context.Parents often need timely help from someone they trust in order to address children’s problem behaviors, such as biting or hitting, without resorting to harsh discipline techniques.People who model alternative discipline techniques, males who serve in nurturing roles, and programs with a norm of non-violence demonstrate alternatives for parents.Parents of children with developmental or behavior problems or special needs require support and coaching in their parenting roles to reduce their frustration and provide the help their children need.Activity:Either on their own or in groups have the trainees come up with some examples of how they might help parents they work with develop knowledge of parenting and child development.Ask for things that are already working and especially praise and emphasize any new ideas.Sample Responses:Informal daily interactions between parents and program staff, including coaching on issues such as biting, sharing toys, and bullyingParent education classes that use various approaches, including presenting information on developmental stages, teaching parents with children the same age in one group, etc.Observation space where parents can watch their child interact with others and learn new techniques from observing staffHome based individualized parent educationParenting discussion/ support groupsAlternatives to parenting behaviors experienced as a childHelp with challenging behaviors18
19Concrete Supports in Times of Need What are Concrete Supports and how are they relevant to the families we work with?Ask the trainees to think of a time when they were really in need and someone really helped them. Have them think of something really concrete, like a loan, or a car, or child care, or food, or medical help, etc. Ask them to remember how anxious they were for help, or how hard it was to ask, or how they feared other alternatives. Tell your own story. Ask others to share. Finally, ask them to remember how relieved they felt to get the concrete help.As with the other examples, the parents we work with might have these same feelings even more intensely and for much longer, if not all the time.Concrete supports can be tangible items like food, clothing, and shelter but can also include specific people that can dependably help in times of need.Example: One exemplary program had a mental health consultant on staff. At first no one used the consultant, so eventually he started going into the classroom and playing with the kids. Eventually, the parents saw him regularly interacting with the children and started not only using him for MH consultation with the kids, but also for themselves. Having a name, face, etc. in the environment made it ok to access these mental health supportsA key component of supporting parents in times of need with concrete resources is building networks of agencies in communities19
20Concrete Supports Response to a crisis: food, clothing, shelter Assistance with daily needs: health care, job opportunities, transportation, educationServices for parents in crisis: mental health, domestic violence, substance abuseSpecialized services for childrenTraining Points:Child neglect can be a consequence of family crisis (broadly defined), a parental condition such as substance abuse, or stresses associated with lack of resourcesThere are two aspects of this:Basic needs have to be met: food, clothing, shelter: Sometimes we get into the habit of using “low-income families” to mean “at-risk families.” Being low-income does not automatically put a family at risk. Stress leads to risk. That means when someone loses a home, we have to figure out how to reduce the stress of the situation to reduce the risk; e.g. community coming together to respond to a family crises, like losing a house, in a way that reduces the stressServices have to be present: mental health, substance abuse, and domestic violence services have to be available and accessible in times of crisis, and there have to be those people who can connect parents to those services.For example, how would you as an OCS worker connect people in crisis to services? How would Head Start Staff or a mental health counselor connect people in crisis to services? Not as a social service provider but instead as a portal to outside services. This is particularly relevant to those services that have a stigma attached to it. There also needs to be specialized services available and accessible for children who need them.Activity:Either on their own or in groups have the trainees come up with some examples of how they might help parents they work with develop concrete supports.Ask for things that are already working and especially praise and emphasize any new ideas.Sample Responses (OCS or other agencies both help with these things)Offering on-site food pantries and clothing closetsGiving referrals to specific individuals at service agencies (not just the agencies themselves) and transportation to those agencies, if neededProviding immediate assistance and support in the event of an eviction or other emergencySupporting the family throughout a crisisLinking family members to jobs, job training, transportation, and other means of economic securityServing as an access point for health care, child care subsidies, and other servicesInitiating contact or inviting conversation if staff suspect a family problem or emergency20
21Strengthening Families: Creating a New Normal The Strengthening Families Approach:Benefits ALL familiesBuilds on family strengths, buffers risk, and promotes better outcomesCan be implemented through small but significant changes in everyday actionsBuilds on and can become a part of existing programs, strategies, systems and community opportunitiesLeversStrategiesProtective FactorsResultsA New NormalCommunity programs and worker practice consistently:Facilitate friendships and mutual supportStrengthen parentingRespond to family crisesLink families to services and opportunitiesValue and support parentsFurther children’s social and emotional developmentObserve and respond to early warning signs of abuse and neglectCommunity and multi-system leaders act to build sustainable infrastructure through key levers for change:Parent PartnershipsPolicy/SystemsProfessional DevelopmentFamilies and communities build protective factors that also promote healthy outcomes:Parental resilienceSocial connectionsKnowledge of parenting and child developmentConcrete support in times of needSocial and emotional competence of childrenStrengthened familiesOptimal child developmentReduced child abuse & neglectFamilies and communities, service systems and organizations:Focus on building protective and promotive factors to reduce risk and create optimal outcomes for children, youth and familiesRecognize and support parents as decision makers and leadersValue the culture and unique assets of each familyAre mutually responsible for better outcomes for children, youth and families
22Social and Emotional Competence What is Social and Emotional Competence and how is it relevant to the families we work with?This is the child-focused PF. Many people, especially young parents, do not realize that their children have the capacity to connect emotionally with others. When this PF is present in families, parents are able to see their children as “little people”Child protection referrals to programs that focus parents and children on regulating child’s behavior most often prove to be most helpful to families (cite SF focus groups). Having the child coming home and being able to regulate their emotions made parents interact with their children differently, seeing them as “little people.” This is about the everyday ability of children to connect, but is particularly important for kids with challenging behaviors.Over and over again, both in research and anecdotally, we about hear children bringing home what they learn in school and in child care programs, saying things like, “Use your words, Mommy,” or “I think Daddy needs a time out.” Positive support of a child’s ability to manage their own mood and emotions in the classroom or (earlier the better) in child care, can have a positive effect in the home.Exemplary programs mostly did not kick children out. Parents whose children had been kicked out but were now in a program where they were there learning about emotional regulation, it really had a dramatic impact on the parent. Finally having a program treat the child not as a problem changed the way parent saw their child.Early childhood programs are positioned to help parents catch their children being good. The exemplary programs had structured opportunities for observation, and often center staff would expressly point out positive behavior to parents.22
23Social and Emotional Competence Normal development (like using language to express needs and feelings) creates more positive parent-child interactionsChallenging behaviors, traumatic experiences or development that is not on track require extra adult attentionA Surprise: What children learn in school or other programs goes home to their familiesTraining Points:The statistical concept of normal can be misleading. All children have challenging behaviors at times. Think of your own experience with children and think of a time a child had a really challenging behavior that you had to manage. Share your own story or invite others to share. Now think of our parents. As we have explored in other slides, imagine a parent who feels this same way but more intensely and more often.Children with challenging behaviors are at greater risk for abuse. Identifying and working with children early to keep their development on track helps keep them safe.Programs’ essential work of helping children develop socially and emotionally also has impact on the way parents and children interact. As children learn to verbalize their emotions rather than act them out, they are more able to tell parents how they feel, what they need, and how their parents’ actions make them feel. Parents can then be more responsive to their children’s needs and less likely to yell or hit.In particular, children who have experienced or witnessed violence need a safe environment, trained staff, and opportunities to develop normally.Children’s ability to articulate emotion and self-regulate impacts the parent-child relationship stronglyA positive parent-child relationship is so important, and having children with delays, like autism, challenges that relationship and requires extra attentionActivity:Either on their own or in groups have the trainees come up with some examples of how they might help parents they work with develop social and emotional competence.Ask for things that are already working and especially praise and emphasize any new ideas.Sample responses:Refer to programs that teach children social skills (such as sharing and being respectful of others) and emotional skills (such as expressing feelings).Refer to programs where staff are trained to notice possible signs of problems, and when they are concerned about a child, they respond quickly by asking another teacher or staff member to observe, talking with the parent, or bringing in a consultant.Programs offer art programs that allow children to express themselves in ways other than words, many of which include a take-home component that involves parents. Strategy: Engage nontraditional partners in collaborative efforts to support optimal development of the most vulnerable children. In many communities,there are formal and informal, public and private entities whose goals include promoting optimal child development, but whom are rarely tapped by child welfare agencies as partners. Engaging faith communities, libraries, community centers, and other nontraditional partners around shared goals can illuminate an array of resources to leverage the work of the child welfare system and mobilize a community of support around families with young children. Again, it is often the formal and informal neighborhood entities that are equipped to provide culturally-appropriate resources and services to local families.23
24Case Plan BrainstormUse Protective Factors to help you brainstorm about how to case plan with the Johnson Family. What kind of goals, objectives, and activities would link to building protective factors in the family? For PCA: How do protective factors support enhancing protective capacities?Use the Johnson case example to brainstorm about possible goals, objectives, activities, and supports in the community.
25Small but significant changes in everyday practices can produce huge results in preventing child abuse and neglect for young children – and helping families stay strong even under stressTraining Point:The CSSP research found that, “small but significant changes in early childhood practice can produce huge results in preventing child abuse and neglect for the youngest children”. Again, this is good for ALL the families you see – not more work – just being more intentional about the work you already do with families.Activity:Now that we have brainstormed about ways to help parents enhance protective factors, what are some common themes? What common themes are developing around small changes you and other professionals in your community could reasonably make? Chart responses.Training Points to support charting and discussion:These changes are often inexpensive and do not require hiring additional staff. For example, every early childhood program, whether it is a large, multi-site center with a large budget or a family child care home can make changes that have a significant impact on families and children (and that make their day-to-day practice easier).How does OCS help with this? Possible responses: Advocate. Educate. Encourage. Praise. Broker with providers who connect with the SF concepts.It’s about bringing intentionality to the work that providers do every day with parents.Again, although what we learned in the initial research phase of SF was about ECE programs, the last 5 years have taught us that the lessons about Protective Factors and strategies are applicable to many other systems that help children and familiesIt is easy to reach out to an easy parent, hard to do with a hard parent. Intentionality takes skills that providers use with easy parents and transferring them to the harder parents, who are the ones who often most need this support25
26Strengthening Families Program and Early Childhood Interventions Infants, Toddlers, PreschoolersVulnerability/ InterventionsLaws and policyTraining Points:The Strengthening Families Approach can support all families that you work with and reduce the number of times we might see a family or do additional initial assessments.At the same time, we recognize that infants, toddlers, and preschoolers, are often more vulnerable to abuse and neglect.Subsequently, we need to understand why and how child abuse intervention strategies are often targeted toward young children.We also need to understand the laws and policies that guide our interventions with young children.
27ALASKAIn October of 2010, 49% of children with a substantiated allegation of maltreatment were between birth and five years of ageTraining Points:Statistically, young children are more vulnerable to abuse and neglect.Activity:Why are young children are more vulnerable to abuse and neglect?Possible responses below. However, not necessary to cover all of these. Begin to focus discussion toward transition to early brain development and relationships with caregivers.Infant’s characteristics that contribute to their vulnerability and their ability to self protect.Demanding, often with interrupted sleep patternsEgocentric, demand a lot but give little backCrying and screaming can distress parentsSome are premature, colicky, or have medical conditions that require special care that is time consuming and difficult for parentsCannot protect themselves physicallyCannot report abuse or neglectRapid brain and body development makes infant very susceptible to effects of malnutritionSoft skull and muscles do not adequately protect head and body from injuryNeck muscles are not strong enough to withstand even a mild shakingPhysical injury can interfere with physical exploration of the environment leading to possible delays in cognitive developmentAbuse and neglect can interfere with attachment of infant to caregiver leading to possible lifelong emotional and personality problemsToddler’s characteristics that contribute to their vulnerability and their ability to self protect.Demanding and egocentricDesire for independence can be expressed as frustration, stubbornness, obstinacy, and “temper tantrums” (“the terrible twos”)“Temper tantrums” can distress primary caregiver, can be misperceived as sign of inadequate parentingVery limited ability to report abuse or neglectSince not in school, often socially isolatedToilet training can be one of the most stressful tasks for children and primary caregiverAbuse and neglect can interfere with attachment of a toddler to caregiver leading to possible lifelong emotional and personality problems
28EARLY YEARS MATTER!90% of brain development takes places before the age of 3Early brain development determines continued developmentJack P. Shonkoff, M.S., Center on the Developing Child. Presentation 1/18/07Training Points:The ongoing interaction between early experience and genetics affects the architecture of the maturing brain and the function of the immune systemAs it emerges, the quality of that architecture establishes either a sturdy or a fragile foundation for all the learning, behavior, and health that followThe early years of life matter because early damage—whether caused by prenatal injuries or personal rejection —can seriously compromise children's life prospects (Shonkoff & Phillips, 2000, 384).28
29Relationships with Caregiver Brain development requires healthy caregivingStress associated with abuse and neglect impairs brain developmentTraining Points:Nurturing and responsive interactions build healthy brain architecture that provides a strong foundation for learning, behavior, and health.When protective relationships are not provided, persistent stress results in the activation of physiological systems (e.g., elevated blood cortisol) that can disrupt brain architecture by impairing cell growth and interfering with the formation of health neural circuits.Jack P. Shonkoff, M.D., Center on the Developing Child. Presentation 1/18/07Babies brains are learning what to expect from the world, and whatever happens during the early years becomes a part of the brain’s hard wiring (might go into toxic stress). Through their relationships with caregivers and trusted adults who talk to, play with, and comfort them, the brain will build many connections. The key to healthy social and emotional development is positive and consistent early experiences with loving caregivers.29
30A majority of children entering foster care are under the age of 6 These children experience developmental delays at 4 -5 times the rate of other childrenAs many as 90% experience serious or chronic health problemsTraining Points:“The toll extracted by maltreatment and the often inadequate response of the child welfare system to address impairments can resonate throughout a child’s life.According to the National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being, half of maltreated infants exhibit some form of cognitive delay.They are more likely to have deficits in IQ scores, language ability, and school performance than other children who have not been maltreated.Maltreated infants and toddlers are also more likely to have physical health difficulties such as greater neonatal problems,higher rates of failure to thrive, and dental disease.Disproportionate exposure to early trauma and other developmental risk factors can result in a variety of mental health disorders.Physical abuse impairs a young child’s social adjustment, including elevated levels of aggression that are apparent even in toddlers.”SF and PF are meant to help you organize your thinking around helping these children reach there full potential. Without focused, intentional, collaborative help among providers (OCS, ILP, and others) developmental delays will persist and even worsen. This risk is also an opportunity. SF is about capitalizing on all opportunities to help families.ActivityAsk trainees to think of their own cases with children under 6. Do they recognize the delays described in the slide? How can the PF help us focus our interventions toward helping the families of these children?These children may have fundamental and severe difficulties with friendships, school, independence, and self esteem.
32Best Practices for Children under 6 If…The key to healthy and social and emotional development is positive and consistent early experiences with loving caregiversAnd early brain development is supported by caregiving by trusted adults who can play with, talk to, and comfort a child.Then…How do we assure that the children we work with have these supports, connections, and attachments.What are best practices for the children we work with?Training Points (trainees may already understand these training points, so could pose as a review question, “Let’s review what we know about attachment. Why is the concept of attachment especially important at OCS?”)One of the biggest concerns for the children we work with is that their needs are met so that attachments can develop. Strengthening the child’s ability to form healthy attachments is a goal that we must consider for each and every child in care.We should not assume that all children in care have attachment disorders or problems. But we know that the circumstances that bring a child into care—trauma, abuse, neglect—may make it more difficult for that child to form healthy attachments.The nature of placement, with its inherent separation and loss, makes the task even more challenging. And finally, the child welfare system itself—often unable to assure stability or timely permanence—may increase the risk of children developing attachment problems. Thus, all children in care are at risk in the area of attachment. Our assessment and intervention with children in care must always consider how to strengthen attachment.It is important to remember as you delve deeper into your assessment of a family that insecure attachments sometimes carry of through generations. Insecurely attached children sometimes grow up to be parents that have limitations in their capacity to parent. These parents may have a limited ability to comfort their child, to teach their child, or to play with their child.A CPS worker must understand this dynamic to adequately assess families. Without a comprehensive and clear assessment of both the parents and child’s attachment histories, the CPS worker will have difficulty intervening adequately to help the family strengthen their capacity to attach.The OCS vision statement applies here. “Safe children, Strong Families” Strong families with strong attachments can support safe children. . Secure attachments are “the ties that bind” families together.This concept is fundamental to our work at OCS. It is also fundamental to the SF program. In the same way that secure attachments are the ties that bind families together, the concept of supporting families form healthier attachments help bind services and supports together.Activity:Either in groups or as whole class, have the trainees brainstorm about best practices to “assure that the children we work with have these supports, connections, and attachments. “Guide the brainstorming and discussion so the following training points are covered.Make wise placement decisions at the outset that promote long-term stability and healthy child-caregiver attachments (importance of stability and attachment, seek the least disruptive, most family-like setting))Maintain ties with birth parents and siblings through frequent quality visits (have comprehensive plan- consistent contact between the parent and child increase the possibility of reunification, promotes health parent-child attachment, and mediates the negative effects of removal);Respect the bonds children have forged in out-of-home care when making permanency decisions;Require screening to identify developmental delays and disorders; (importance of early identification for positive outcomes)Ensure mental health assessment when possible;Ensure the mental health and emotional needs of the parents(s) are assessed and appropriate services are provided-substance abuse, mental illness, family violence, low cognitive functioning, poverty; andCarefully consider the availability and quality of early care and education settings (these children should have highest quality care).
33Best Practices for Children under 6 If…Young children are more likely to have physical health problems than other children and many enter foster care with complex physical health needsThen…How do we assure the children we work with have their medical needs met?What are best practices for the children we work with?ActivityEither in groups or as whole class, have the trainees brainstorm about best practices to “how do we assure the children we work with have their medical needs met?Guide the brainstorming and discussion so the following training points are covered.Ensure gathering as much medical information from the birth parents as you can- chronic conditions, hospitalizations, past surgeries, medications, allergies, immunizations, behaviors and emotional health, developmental skills, substance exposure during pregnancy, birth weight, problems at delivery, infectious risks for the child, family health problems that could affect the child, newborn screening results;Ensure a comprehensive health assessment (EPSDT) within 30 days of placement (ask whether the child has lower than expected, height, weight, or head circumference measurements or obesity – these findings may suggest growth delays, poor nutrition, or poor general health)The EPSDT needs follow up!Handout 1: EPSDT Guidelines and Periodicity Schedule. Quickly review. Do children in their care follow this schedule. Why or why not?Ensure the child has been properly immunized;Ensure resource families are informed about how to care for a child with special health care needs;Ensure the child receives appropriate dental services.
34Best Practices for Children under 6 If…If a young child is not adequately supported at the time separation, then a separation can be traumatic for a child. To reduce the impact of separation on a young child, the child needs to maintain healthy contact with caregivers.Then…How do we assure the young children who have been separated from caregivers maintain healthy family contact with those caregivers?What are best practices for the children we work with?ActivityLink what we know about early child development to best practices for the children we work with both in the home and in out of home placement.Either in groups or as whole class, have the trainees brainstorm about best practices to “how do we assure the young children who have been separated from caregivers maintain healthy family contact with those caregivers?”Contact between parents and young children must be:Frequent (multiple times a week)Long enough to allow a range of experiences for the parent and child (normal parent-child relationships develop during common daily activities- feeding, dressing, etc.;Consistent;Connected to daily activities;In the least restrictive, most home-like setting; andConducive to meaningful parent-child interaction.
35Best Practices for Children under 6 If…If a young child is not adequately supported at the time separation, then a separation can be traumatic for a child. To reduce the impact of separation on a young child, the child needs to maintain healthy contact with caregivers.Then…How do we assure the young children who have been separated from caregivers maintain healthy family contact with caregivers?What are best practices for the children we work with?ActivityLink what we know about early child development to best practices for the children we work with both in the home and in out of home placement.Either in groups or as whole class, have the trainees brainstorm about best practices to “how do we assure the young children who have been separated from caregivers maintain healthy family contact with those caregivers?”Contact between parents and young children must be:Frequent (multiple times a week)Long enough to allow a range of experiences for the parent and child (normal parent-child relationships develop during common daily activities- feeding, dressing, etc.;Consistent;Connected to daily activities;In the least restrictive, most home-like setting; andConducive to meaningful parent-child interaction.
36CAPTA/IDEA Part CCAPTA (Child Abuse Prevention Treatment Act) requires infants and toddlers be evaluated for eligibility for early intervention servicesAlaska Early Intervention/ Infant Learning Program (ILP)Training Points:Researchers have known for some time that children, especially those under the age of 3, who have been abused or neglected are at greater risk for developmental delays.Subsequently, in 2003, Congress acted on these findings and amended CAPTA.In Alaska, the state agency tasked with assessing and delivering early intervention services for children under 3 is the Alaska Early Intervention/ Infant Learning ProgramResearch has demonstrated that early intervention, specifically, early childhood education (ECE ) programs designed to promote children’s development by building protective factors in both children and their families, can help to protect vulnerable children from the consequences associated with the early experience of multiple risk factors (Barnett, 1995). Experimental studies of ECE interventions for children growing up in poverty provide ample short- and long-term evidence for the link between high-quality early education programs (Campbell, et al., 2002), including Head Start (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation, 2010) and Early Head Start (Love, et al., 2005), and improved child development. Empirical research of such programs includes evidence that: Child care quality may be a more powerful predictor of child outcomes than characteristics of the family and home environment, especially for low-income and minority children (Belsky, et al., 2007). Participation in high-quality ECE programs is associated with lower rates of special education placement in later years (Conyers, et al., 2003). Participation in a high-quality Pre-Kindergarten program has been linked to gains in cognitive test scores as well as improvement in social-emotional outcomes for all children (Gormley, et al., 2008). Exposure to high quality ECE programs that incorporate parent involvement and education into their program designs, such as the Chicago Parent-Child Centers, may reduce the occurrence of maltreatment rates for at-risk families (Reynolds & Robertson, 2003).
37What is the Alaska Early Intervention/ Infant Learning Program (ILP)? They help you understand a child's developmentThey help you find services you need for a childTraining Points:“Early intervention is a partnership with families who may need services for their infants or toddlers at risk or with developmental delays and/or disabilities. Early Intervention may:Help you find services you need for your childHelp you understand your child's developmentEarly intervention/infant learning services are designed to help eligible infants and toddlers reach their fullest level of development and enhance the family's capacity to support and promote their infant or toddler's development.”Above from:
38Referring to Infant Learning Programs/ Federal and State Guidelines We are obligated by law to refer to ILP whenever a child under three has been abused or neglectedWithin 30 days of substantiated allegation of maltreatment but should happen as soon as possibleOther?In the above referral situations, parental consent is encouraged but not required.Training Points:If we know that a child under three has been abused or neglected we are obligated by law to refer to ILP for an initial screening of developmental delays.We need to refer within 30 days of substantiating maltreatment.However we don’t have to wait that long.Because we get behind on paperwork, we often know and understand that a child has been abused and neglected long before we can get to documenting that knowledge and understanding with a formal “substantiation.”When we know and understand that a child has been abused or neglected is when we should make a referral. Make the referral as soon as possible.The referrals should be active, with us coaching the family through the process so that they can participate and engage fully in the screening.At the same time, parents do not have to consent in order for us to refer to an initial screening. In fact, we are always obligated to refer to ILP, even if parents do not consent.ILP is obligated to act on the referral.Once they receive a referral, ILP is obligated to make an attempt to complete a screening with the parents.They will attempt a home visit, to engage the parents in a screening.ILP staff are trained to work with parents who feel resistant about the screening process.ILP staff are often able to engage and educate parents in the screening process even when parents are unwilling or uneducated about the process.Even though we can refer parents to ILP without consent, if we make efforts to collaborate with parents we of course increase the likelihood that they will complete a screening. Since parents can refuse to have their children screened, it is critical that the referral is active and collaborative.Both ILP and OCS staff should be trained to engage the parents in the screening process so that parents are more likely to follow through with a screening.Generally, if ILP and/ or OCS make an attempt to engage parents in the screening process, resistance by parents is not a roadblock to screening.Activity: What are roadblocks?Referrals happen after case is closed or no longer active.Parent’s address not updatedReferrals happen through ORCA database electronic system, not supported by a workerLack of good communication and collaboration among ILP and OCS the screening process.Of course, whenever we substantiate maltreatment and take custody of a child who is under three, we must make a referral to ILP. As with other services for children in custody, we are responsible to consent to screening and to follow recommendations as needed.In order to engage parents in the ILP screening process, it is helpful to be able to explain the process.Strategy: Ensure an understanding between and appreciation among early childhood and child welfare systems as partners in prevention of maltreatment and promotion of optimal development. ECE programs, as well as others that serve young children and their families, should function as early detectors of and responders to signs of stress that may precede abuse or neglect. They should be recognized as such by child welfare agencies. Rather than operating as two separate and independent sectors, child welfare and early childhood entities should build intentional collaboration around their shared goals of improving family functioning and promoting optimal development. Strategy: When a child under the age of six is involved in a child welfare case, include An ECE professional in family team meetings even if the child is not involved in an ECE program. With their primary focus on the optimal development of young children, ECE professionals can serve as expert resources in case planning, ensuring that the developmental needs of children are addressed, whether or not children are participating in an early education program. Strategy: Engage nontraditional partners in collaborative efforts to support optimal development of the most vulnerable children. In many communities,there are formal and informal, public and private entities whose goals include promoting optimal child development, but whom are rarely tapped by child welfare agencies as partners. Engaging faith communities, libraries, community centers, and other nontraditional partners around shared goals can illuminate an array of resources to leverage the work of the child welfare system and mobilize a community of support around families with young children. Again, it is often the formal and informal neighborhood entities that are equipped to provide culturally-appropriate resources and services to local families.
39Infant Learning Program Screening and Evaluation Any infant or toddler with a diagnosed or suspected development delay needs a screening and or evaluation to determine eligibility to be enrolled in a program.Screening - is a quick look at how a child s learning and growing.Evaluation - included developmental tests and evaluation by qualified professionals to determine a child's initial and continuing eligibility.Training Points:Any infant or toddler with a diagnosed or suspected development delay needs a screening and or evaluation to determine eligibility to be enrolled in a program.Screening - is a quick look at how a child’s learning and growing. Usually can take place in the child’ home.Evaluation - includes developmental tests and an evaluation by qualified professionals to determine a child's initial and continuing eligibility. The evaluation will determine the status of the infant or toddler in all of the developmental areas and;Will occur only with the parent’s written permission (or if the child is in custody, the social worker’s)Identify strengths and concernsDetermine eligibility for early intervention servicesUnless the child is in custody, parent’s have a choice to receive or refuse these services.
40Who is eligible for early intervention ILP services” Any child under the age of three years when:They show at least a 15% delay in one or more of these developmental areas:Moving (gross motor)Using Hands (fine motor)Thinking/Learning (cognitive)Understanding/Talking (communication/language)Getting along with others (social/emotional)Doing things for him/her self (adaptive)OR…Have a diagnosed condition that may lead to a significant delay orAre at risk for a developmental delay.Training Points:Children are eligible if they have a 15 percent delay in the above areas.Even if they are not evaluated as delayed, children who who have been maltreated or are in OCS custody are typically eligible for ILP services because they are considered “at risk for a developmental delay.”
41Referring Children in Foster Care Children should be referred to ILP screening as soon as possible after deemed necessaryIf the child is not in custody, the parents should stay involved in the screeningBoth parents and foster parents should be involved in an evaluation or recommended services.Training Points:When coming into custody, children under three should be referred to ILP services as soon as possible, if not already done.Parents should be involved in this initial screening process. They have knowledge of DD history and functioning and it helps maintain the attachment and involvement of the parent in the child’s growth despite them being in foster care.If at all possible, both parents and foster parents should be involved in any evaluation or services for the child. Both need to understand the need for services and be able to follow through with services while the child is in placement, and after the family is reunified.If reunification is achieved, parents will have to be engaged in any continuing ILP services.Strategy: When a child is reunified with his or her birth family after a stay in foster care, continuity of ECE should be ensured. Young children served by the child welfare system often experience a dual dislocation when a placement changes, affecting both their living situation and their educational setting. When a child is reunified with his or her birth family, continuity of ECE can offer stability and developmentally appropriate attention during a time of transition. Subsidies should be available to support a child’s continued involvement in the same ECE setting, and caseworkers should know how to obtain them.
42Making a referralHandout Referral FormHandout BrochureTraining Points:The ILP website has contact information for ILP staff across the state. Contact your local provider by phone to initiate a referral.Pass out referral form.ILP statewide is in the process of standardizing the referral process. Many offices use this form (handout).Handout 2: ILP Referral FormThe form was developed in collaboration with OCSHave the participants review and comment on the form. Some office use the form, some don’t. Can referrals happen over the phone. Even if you don’t use the form, the form can help you understand what ILP wants for basic referral information. The form can help you organize your thoughts.Handout 3: ILP BrochureHandout brochure. Review and comment on the referral.This brochure could help you during a home visit? How?Activity:Review the “parent brochure”For each of the ages and stages, consider what you might be able to observe during a home visit either with a parent in IA, or with Foster parent during FS.How could these considerations of “does your child…?” help you with completing an IA summary?How could these considerations help you consider safety threats?In FS if the child was in foster care how would these consideration help you conduct a quality case worker visit?How would these considerations help you refer the child to services.
43Services for children might include: Developmental screening and evaluationAn Individualized Family Services Plan (IFSP) to outline goals and services families want for their childrenInformation for families to better understand their child's developmental strengths and needsHome visits to help the family or caregivers guide their children in learning new skillsPhysical, occupation or speech therapy to help families support their child with daily activitiesSpecialized equipment and resources to promote developmentAssistance in getting other specialized services and care families needTraining Points:What services does early intervention include?Developmental screening and evaluationAn Individualized Family Services Plan (IFSP) to outline goals and services families want for their childrenInformation for families to better understand their child's developmental strengths and needsHome visits to help the family or caregivers guide their children in learning new skillsPhysical, occupation or speech therapy to help families support their child with daily activitiesSpecialized equipment and resources to promote developmentAssistance in getting other specialized services and care families needWhat is an Individual Family Service Plan - IFSP?Outlines the infant or toddler's strengths and present levels of functioningDescribes specific goals and outcomes desired by the parentDescribes specific early intervention services to the child and familyUsually goes for one year, but can be revised at any timeMust include the parent(s), family service coordinator and those involved in the evaluation
44ILP/ Protective Factors Parental ResilienceSocial ConnectionsKnowledge of Parenting and Child DevelopmentConcrete Support in Times of NeedSocial and Emotional DevelopmentNurturing and AttachmentActivity:Imagine that you are working with a family. The toddler in the home receives ILP services. Why would it be helpful to use the concepts of Strengthening Families and Protective Factors to work together with the family and ILP? Possible responses:Common language leads to collaboration for assessment and services.Strategies are based on research and are more likely to be effective.Promotes thinking about other community and natural supports. Who else can be on the team?Promotes working together with the family collaboratively with supportive home based strategies.Supports a longer term positive, supportive, and collaborative relationship among providers. We are all working together to prevent child abuse and neglect in this community. This is our method. We feel confident that the method is effective and proud we are working together to implement it.Yesterday, ILP workers in your community also received a training on Strengthening Families.You will get a chance to meet with them tomorrow (or later). We hope this same conversation continues tomorrow. In fact the goal is to develop memorandums of agreement. MOAs that support working together with providers to prevent child abuse and neglect in your communities.How would you and the ILP working together to enhance protective factors in the home? Guide discussion:Possible responses:ILP staff teach parents about social and emotional development. When parent support this development, then they also nurture, comfort, and play with their children. These activities supports attachment. Healthy attachments are crucial to the families we work with.You and ILP staff might get relatives, friend, neighbors involved to increase social connections and to develop people to count on to offer concrete support in times of need. In the meantime, OCS can help with concrete support.Knowledge of parenting and child development is enhanced through ILP visits. In a home where lack of knowledge of parenting is a safety threat, this focused effort gives an opportunity for families to successfully close a case.Progress is praised. Parents are respected. Parents feel more competent, even proud. All of this can lead to developing resilience. A positive understanding of self (“people like me,” “I can handle tough situations.”) Parents may begin to trust others.
45Case StudyHow was it determined that child under three eligible for referral?When was referral accomplished?How were the parents included in the referral?How were the parents (foster parents) included in the screening?If needed, how were the parents (foster parents) included in the evaluation and services?How were the services included in the case plan?How were the protective factors in the family supported?Activity: Trainees choose a real case to discuss. Case is open for services with a child under three. If the child doesn’t receive ILP services talk about why. Problem solve about how referral process could be improved. Continue to seek an example of a child who receives ILP services.Either in smaller groups or in the large group, have the participants answer the questions in slides.No case is perfect. Allow them to brainstorm about what they might do differently.Guide as a discussion in the larger group so that trainees apply the training points already covered to a real case.Guide the discussion with brainstorming about how to include ILP/ IFSP services in the OCS case plan.Guide them to understand that when safety threats are manifest in a home where there are children under three, ILP services are often necessary to help parents improve protective capacities in regard to care of that child. Consider safety threats:# 8 - Parents lack parenting knowledge, skills, or motivation necessary to assure a child’s safety# 9 – A child has exceptional needs that affect his/her safety which parents are not meeting; cannot or will not meet the child’ needs.Guide a discussion with brainstorming about how ILP staff could be involved in safety plans. Like other home visitors, while they engage the family in services, they could also ask questions to evaluate the safety of the child. They could report immediately to OCS if they had concerns about the safety of the children.
46What happens after age three in ILP? ILP hosts a meeting where transition plan is developedServices for children who continue to experience developmental delays beyond the age of three are identified and established.Training Points:ILP serves children under three but services continue through the school and other agencies. Referrals can also be made to the school and other agencies. Let’s talk about how that works.“At least 6 months before your child turns three, you will be involved in planning a move to the next service provider as ILP only serves children to age 3. In early intervention, this change is called transition. With a parent or guardian's consent, a transition plan meeting will occur at least 90 days before your child turns three. The transition plan will identify special education or other services your child may need.”Above from:
47Referring children after age three? Continue to refer childrenEngage parentsHead Start and other agencies that can continue to work with children in the home and outside the school setting.Strengthening Families Strategies (child care).Training Points:Although CAPTA guidelines do not require you to refer children older than three to screening for developmental delays, your agency and other agencies can continue to refer and connect children to services. Head Start staff are trained to make referrals and work with children with special needs. Early education providers like child care centers can be trained to make referrals and work with children with special needs.School districts will evaluate children after the age three and connect to school based services as needed and available in each community.
48Head Start What is Head Start? Services for 3-5 year olds Early Head StartBenefits for ChildrenBenefits for ParentsActivity: Workers have likely worked with Head Start Programs. Guide a discussion to facilitate a deeper understanding of the program through these training points (from Alaska Head Start Association website).“Head Start is a national program that promotes school readiness by enhancing the social and cognitive development of children through the provision of educational, health, nutritional, social and other services to enrolled children.The program engages parents in their children’s learning and helps them in making progress towards their educational, literacy and employment goals.Significant emphasis is placed on the involvement of parents in the administration of local Head Start programs.Over forty years of experience in delivering high quality early childhood services makes Head Start stand out as one of the most successful demonstration programs in the nation.The Head Start program provides comprehensive child development services to economically disadvantaged children and families, with special focus on helping preschoolers develop the early reading and math skills they need to be successful in school.The Early Head Start program was established to serve children from birth to three years of age in recognition of the mounting evidence that the earliest years of development are very important.”Benefits for ChildrenLearn to express thoughts and feelingsIncreased self-confidencePositive relationships with other childrenDevelop literacy and math skillsHealthy meals and snacksBenefits for FamiliesOpportunities for Parent involvementCommunity resource informationVolunteer and training opportunitiesLeadership Opportunities
49Head Start/ Protective Factors Parental ResilienceSocial ConnectionsKnowledge of Parenting and Child DevelopmentConcrete Support in Times of NeedSocial and Emotional DevelopmentNurturing and AttachmentActivity:Imagine you are working with a family with a child in Head Start. Just like with ILP services, wouldn’t the concepts of Strengthening Families and protective factors help you, Head Start, and the family work together? How?Possible responses below (same as ILP), but not necessary to cover them all. Cover enough so trainees make the connection that Strengthening Families and Protective Factors help us work with Head Start in the same way as ILP.Common language leads to collaboration for assessment and services.Strategies are based on research and are more likely to be effective.Promotes thinking about other community and natural supports. Who else can be on the team?Promotes working together with the family collaboratively with supportive home based strategies.Supports a longer term positive, supportive, and collaborative relationship among providers. We are all working together to prevent child abuse and neglect in this community. This is our method. We feel confident that the method is effective and proud we are working together to implement it.Even if we did not open a case and simply connected a child to Head Start in Initial Assessments, how would our knowledge of protective factors help us feel more confident that our referral made a difference? (see above for similar responses. Not necessary to cover them all.Also, Head Start works with families to develop protective factors in the same way as ILP. How are ILP services similar to Head Start Services?(Head Start has a similar service for each bullet point)Head Start staff teach parents about social and emotional developmentWhen parent support social and emotional development, then they also nurture, comfort, and play with their children. These activities supports attachment.You and Head Start staff might get relatives, friend, neighbors involved to increase social connections and to develop people to count on to offer concrete support in times of need. In the meantime, we can help with concrete support.Knowledge of parenting and child development is enhanced through Head Start visits. In a home where lack of knowledge of parenting is a safety threat, this focused effort gives an opportunity for families to successfully close a case.Progress is praised. Parents are respected. Parents feel more competent, even proud. All of this can lead to developing resilience. A positive understanding of self (“people like me,” “I can handle tough situations.”) Parents may begin to trust others.
50Hand out STRENGTHENING FAMILIES AND CHILD WELFARE SYSTEM LINKAGES: POLICY AND PROGRAM STRATEGIES Explain that the Center for Social Policy tracks progress of the implementation of SF across the country. Many states have made progress implementing SF throughout the life of the case. This handout outlines strategies that have been successful so far. Remember success with SF is linked by research to preventing child abuse. Have these states seen a reduction in child maltreatment? It may be too soon to tell, but we hope so.Activity: Trainees read each column of the hand out. Ask them if we have already thought of these, if they are different, if they are possible or not? If not possible, challenge them to say why not.
51Strengthening Families in Your Community! ActivitySo if we know the Strengthening Families approach works and now we know how it works and we know it works for any program that works with families, let’s put it all together and begin to make a plan.Keep in mind that you are meeting with ILP staff tomorrow, perhaps you have ideas to improve your collaboration with ILP through linking to PF?Are there other professionals that work with families that you and ILP should bring to the table? What should they do?Have two volunteers come up. Have another volunteer remain seated to record the activity (or you can do it). Have one of them chart plans for IA (the 90 percent IA’s that we close without opening to family services). Have the other chart plans for FS (the 10 percent we open for services).Encourage linkage to key training points from the day (protective factors).Help keep the plan realistic, specific, measurable, and timely.Each idea or task should be assigned to a responsible person.Two champions should be identified to lead follow up and continuation of the plan.Strategy: Consider risk and Protective Factors in all aspects of work with families of young children in child welfare. Assessments should include items designed to help caseworkers identify risk factors as well as Protective Factors, and case planning should be designed to reduce the former and build the latter. Practice models and tools can be structured around both determining and mitigating risk factors and finding and bolstering Protective Factors. Trainings for caseworkers and supervisors, as well as foster parents and mandated reporters, should include information about risk and Protective Factors and the dynamic relationship between the two. A variety of strategies to reduce risk and promote Protective Factors should be presented.Strategy: Shift the paradigm around child abuse and neglect reporting to allow and encourage reporters to connect parents experiencing stress to the supports and services they need before an incident of maltreatment occurs. Mandated reporters are often service providers in a position to recognize signs of stress that might precede abuse or neglect in a family. If these reporters can access knowledge about how that stress might be mitigated, whether by providing support personally or connecting families to community resources, an incident of maltreatment might be prevented. Child welfare departments can be excellent “consultants” about whether a child abuse/neglect referral is needed and what resources might be most useful to ameliorate family stress. This paradigm shift is marked by trust and the common goals of supporting early childhood development and strengthening families.51
52Resources Strengthening Families Center for the Study of Social Policy Center for the Study of Social PolicyStrengthening Families AlaskaFacebook too!Alaska Child Welfare Academy52
53When families do better- kids do better. THANK YOU!When families do better- kids do better.“Families don’t care about how much you know until they know how much you care.”Marian WrightEdelmanPlease complete an evaluation of the training!Handout – evaluation.53