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Presentation on theme: "Communities in Partnership to Protect Children: Advancing Permanency Outcomes by Incorporating Philosophy to Drive Systemic Change Presentation to the."— Presentation transcript:

1 Communities in Partnership to Protect Children: Advancing Permanency Outcomes by Incorporating Philosophy to Drive Systemic Change Presentation to the 2011 Children in Court Summit Achieving Brighter Futures for Our Youth Their Future is Our Future New Jersey Court Improvement Project Marcia M. Sturdivant, Ph.D. Deputy Director Allegheny County Department of Human Services Office of Children, Youth and Families May 3, 2011

2 About ACCYF ACCYF IS NOT A PERFECT CHILD WELFARE SYSTEM!
THE ONLY PERFECT CHILD WELFARE SYSTEM IS NO CHILD WELFARE SYSTEM!

3 Shifting the Paradigm: Changing Philosophy and Practice
Safety Measures – 1st and foremost Community Mistrust Placement Rates Quality Assurance Diversity and Inclusiveness

4 Hard Lessons, Big Pills, Denial
We have to accept things we don’t like to hear or believe, but a real commitment to improving practice requires a level of receptiveness that isn’t always comfortable. In the end, we will be better professionals and children and families will be better served. Unfortunately, some people will always want to feel comfortable; let’s start with the people who are willing to be challenged.

5 Facts About U.S. Child Welfare System of Care: Race, Class and Gender Matters
Ethnic minority children are more likely to be separated from their parents Ethnic minority children are more likely to receive higher levels of intervention strategies Ethnic minority children spend more time in foster care Ethnic minority children receive inferior services (Roberts, 2004)

6 Facts About U.S. Child Welfare System of Care: Race, Class and Gender Matters
Placement - 56% vs. 24% Length of time in placement - 62 months vs. 36 months Length of open case longer than 18 months - 64% vs. 31% When poverty is controlled minority children still have a 42% lower probability of leaving custody

7 Facts About U.S. Child Welfare System of Care: Race, Class and Gender Matters
Child welfare is largely a system addressing concerns of women parenting children. The view of the absentee father is prevalent in child welfare perception, philosophy and practice. Social challenges related to gender receive little attention in child welfare practice.

8 Public Perceptions and Public Policy Foundations of Disparity
The feminization of poverty Some governments alleviate the problem through public policies designed to remedy economic and social hardships U.S. has responded to the phenomenon with policies designed less to remedy inequities than to try to control behavior and demonstrate dominant attitudes about the relationship between home, family, and government (Geiger, 1995)

9 Public Perceptions and Public Policy Foundations of Disparity
The feminization of poverty Public policy is deeply rooted in stereotypical perceptions of poor, single and minority mothers. “There are a lot of…lies that male society tells about welfare mothers…If people are willing to believe these lies, it’s partly because they’re just special versions of the lies that society tells about all women” (Johnnie Tillman, 1972)

10 Economic Impact of Disparity
Child Welfare is a multi-billion dollar industry creating jobs for systems, but depletes communities of their foundational strengths, i.e. self-sufficient, government-free families. Inclusion in the child welfare system negatively effects individual employment, educational, social, and recreational opportunities and subsequently effects the economic viability of communities and ultimately the nation.

11 Current Child Welfare Practice and Philosophy
The history of the child welfare field is a history of paternalism (Andrew Turnell, 1998)

12 Current Child Welfare Practice and Philosophy
Paternalism is defined as: The process whereby the professional approaches the child protection service recipient with the attitude that it is the professional’s opinion that carries the most import in the interaction.

13 Current Child Welfare Practice and Philosophy
The professional evaluates the nature of the problem, the risk and the harm, and formulates the solutions required to resolve the matter. What the service recipient thinks is secondary.

14 Biogenic Theory Individual Biologically inherited predispositions

15 Ecological Systems Theory
Individual Microsystem Mesosystem Exosystem Macrosystem Chronosystem

16 Attribution theory and child welfare practice

17 The Influence of Probation Officers and Social Workers in Perpetuating Stereotypes
For all ethnic groups, children of color are more likely to be viewed as in need of rehabilitation, unreceptive to treatment, or in need of behavioral intervention: resulting in higher rates of detention, foster care and institutional placement (Roberts, 2004) Maltreated and neglected children from low S.E.S. groups are seen as sympathetic victims from dysfunctional families and communities and more likely to be removed from their communities by child welfare practitioners

18 Indirect Effects of Disparity on Child Welfare Recipients
Cultural Mistrust Psycho-Social Maladjustment Economic Impact

19 Child Welfare Practice: Historical Change in Philosophy
Child Centered Family Centered Integrated

20 Family Systems Theory Families are like mobiles. When one piece of the mobile moves, the whole mobile moves.

21 ACCYF Values and Beliefs
Families have strengths and can change. Strengths are what ultimately resolve concerns. Strengths are discovered through listening, noticing, and paying attention to people. Strengths are enhanced when they are acknowledged and encouraged.

22 Necessary Practice Change
1st – Paradigm shift: both philosophical and in practice Shift from a deficit based approach structured on “risk” and internalize a strength-based approach structured on the reality of strengths.

23 Differences : Traditional vs. Family/Community Empowerment Models
Strength Based Inclusive Encourages Family Honest/open Team Effort Creative Individualized Culturally Sensitive

24 ACCYF Initiatives Birth to 6 years Response ACCYF Foster Care Visits
Parent Advocacy Community Workshops Permanency Planning Conferences Quality Assurance (Case Practice Specialists) P.O.W.E.R. (D/A) Urban League of Pittsburgh Housing Traveler’s Aide / Medical Assistance Transportation Gwen’s Girls Mother to Son Parents at Risk of TPR Male Coalition Truancy Treatment (CES and YAP) Families United Celebration Career Motivation Celebration of Success D.A.D.S Family Group Decision Making Inua Ubuntu High Fidelity Wrap Transition Age Youth

25 ACCYF Programs Prevention Programs (27) Family Support Centers (32)
Foster Care (37) In-Home (8) In-Home (6) - Crisis Residential TX (9) Transportation

26 Permanency in Allegheny County
Background 14,890 children served by the Office of Children, Youth and Families in 2010 1,536 children experienced out-of-home placement during 2010 At any point in time, about 63% of youth in foster care are with kin.

27 Type of Primary Placement for First Entries, 2000-2009
2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 Total Count 1010 863 1090 1229 1159 1162 1167 916 905 861 Type of Primary Placement Congregate Care 22% 28% 26% 25% 27% 23% 21% Foster Care 41% 39% 40% 35% 33% 36% 38% Kinship Care 34% 29% 37% Independent Living 2% 1% No Primary Placement 3% This chart illustrates the percentage of youth experiencing each type of care as their primary placement type – or, the type of care in which they spend greater than half of their time in care. Early in the decade, more youth spent a majority of their time in foster care than in kinship care. This trends has shifted and now more youth spend a majority of their time with kin. Human Services Software Partners, (412) 27

28 Type of Primary Placement, by Age at Time of Entry, 2000-2009
The green bar represents the percentage of youth in kinship care, by the child’s age at their time of entry into care. Kinship care and foster care begin to drop off after age 12 when the use of congregate care increases. Human Services Software Partners, (412) 28

29 Length of Stay by Primary Care Type, 2000-2009
Youth Ages 0-12 at Entry Length of Stay Congregate Care Foster Care Kinship Care No Primary Placement Total Under 1 month 25% 28% 6% 2% 18% 1 to 2 months 22% 15% 19% 8% 17% 3 to 5 months 11% 9% 6 to 11 months 14% 16% 12 to 17 months 7% 18 to 35 months 21% 29% 24% 3 years or longer 10% 12% 30% 100% Not surprisingly, lengths of stay are longer for youth in kinship care. Most of the difference is that few youth in kinship care stay in care for less than one month. (This chart includes lengths of stay for children ages birth-12 because kinship care decreases after age 12, and lengths of stay for teenagers vary significantly from younger children.) Human Services Software Partners, (412) 29

30 Exit Destinations from First Spell, by Primary Placement Type, 2000-2009
Still in Care Return to Family Adoption PLC Non-Permanent Reach Majority Runaway Other Congregate Care 3% 64% 2% 0% 12% 11% 8% Foster Care 10% 60% 20% 1% 4% Kinship Care 13% 53% Independent Living 47% 15% 14% No Primary Placement 40% 7% 9% Total 58% 5% Overall, 62% of youth exit to family or kin. Non-adoptive exits from kinship care to family or kin are slightly higher at 63%, and account for nearly all PLCs. Another 13% exit to adoption. Human Services Software Partners, (412) 30

31 Reentries into Care after First Spell, by Primary Placement Type, 2000-2009
Congregate Care Foster Care Kinship Care Independent Living No Primary Placement Total First Entries 2561 3790 3675 151 185 Total Exits 2496 3424 3186 146 165 As percent of all entries 98% 90% 87% 97% 89% Total Reentries 1175 1007 915 33 70 As percent of all exits 47% 29% 23% 42% Reenter Within 1 Year 1005 718 713 27 58 39% 19% 18% 31% 40% 21% 22% 35% As percent of positive exits 32% 15% 25% Reentry rates for youth exiting from kinship care are comparable to those for youth who were in foster care. Both are significantly lower than reentry rates for youth exiting following stays in congregate care. Human Services Software Partners, (412) 31

32 Recommended Strategies
Open and constructive dialogue about the uncomfortable realty of the existence of race, class and gender biases in child welfare - individual and systemic Train and educate agency staff and stakeholders about institutional and structural racism and its impact on decision-making, policy and practice Comprehensive review conducted by community and system partners to ensure that policies, practices, programs and services are supportive of children and families of color, poor families and families often marginalized in social systems Employment of “Healers and Helpers” at all levels of leadership, staffing and contracts that reflect the cultural, spiritual, religious and racial backgrounds of the population served.

33 Recommended Strategies
Improve the capacity of communities to prevent child abuse and neglect while promoting social reform designed to improve the quality of life for parents and their children

34 Recommended Strategies (Federal) Anti-Poverty Policy Options
Policies to meet the general needs of the poor Categorical strategies of providing special financial assistance to single mothers so that they can stay at home with their children Universal young-child strategies under which cash benefits and policy supports are given to all families with young children


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