The Children's Bureau's information service, Child Welfare Information Gateway, offers a number of publications related to preventing child abuse, protecting children from the risk of abuse, and promoting healthy families. Listed below are several bulletins for professionals, factsheets for families, and issue briefs that cover research and evidence-based or evidence-informed practices for preventing maltreatment.
Child Maltreatment Prevention: Past, Present, and Future
Discusses the importance of prevention as a critical component of the nation’s child protection system and examines the history of child abuse prevention, the scope of the problem today, ways in which quality programs are identified and implemented, promising prevention strategies, and issues for future prevention efforts. It outlines programs and strategies that are proving beneficial in reducing the likelihood of child maltreatment, such as public awareness efforts, parent education, home visitation, and community prevention efforts.
Forensic Interviewing: A Primer for Child Welfare Professionals
Provides child welfare professionals with a brief overview of forensic interviewing so they can better understand how such interviews affect their practice with children and families. Forensic interviewing is a means of gathering information from a victim or witness for use in a legal setting, such as a court hearing and is a key component of many child protective services investigations.
Human Trafficking and Child Welfare: A Guide for Caseworkers
Due to their potentially unstable living situations, physical distance from friends and family, traumatic experiences, and emotional vulnerability, children involved with child welfare are at risk for being targeted by traffickers who are actively seeking victims to exploit. This bulletin explores how caseworkers can identify and support children who have been victimized as well as children that are at greater risk for future victimization. It provides background information about the issue, strategies caseworkers can use to identify and support victims and potential victims, and tools and resources that can assist caseworkers.
Human Trafficking and Child Welfare: A Guide for Child Welfare Agencies
Due to their potentially unstable living situations, physical distance from friends and family, traumatic experiences, and emotional vulnerability, children involved with child welfare are at risk for being targeted by traffickers who are actively seeking children to exploit. This bulletin is intended for child welfare agency leadership and explores how child welfare agencies can support children who are victims of human trafficking, as well as children who are at greater risk for future victimization. It provides background information about the issue, including its scope and relevant Federal legislation and initiatives, and strategies that agencies can implement to address the trafficking of children. State and local policy and program examples also are provided.
Supporting Brain Development in Traumatized Children and Youth
Summarizes the effects of early trauma on brain development and steps child welfare professionals can take to screen for developmental delays and identify the trauma-affected children and youth in their care. Looks at ways to access cross-sector, therapeutic, and evidence-based treatment to encourage healthy recovery for trauma-affected children and youth.
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La crianza de un niño que ha experimentado abuso o negligencia (Parenting a Child Who Has Experienced Abuse or Neglect)
Brinda ayuda para los padres (biológicos, de crianza y adoptivos) y otros proveedores de cuidado para que puedan entender los retos que conlleva criar un niño que ha experimentado maltrato y conozcan acerca de los recursos a su disposición.Intended to help parents (birth, foster, and adoptive) and other caregivers better understand the challenges of caring for a child who has experienced maltreatment and learn about the resources available for support.
Family Engagement: Partnering With Families to Improve Child Welfare Outcomes
Provides an overview of the foundational elements of the family engagement approach, followed by strategies and promising practices for implementing this approach at the case level, peer level, and systems level.
From Complaint to Resolution: Understanding the Child Welfare Grievance Process
Provides parents (birth, foster, and adoptive) and other caregivers with information about the best way to resolve their differences with a service provider or other child welfare professional. Since child welfare agency policies and procedures are State-specific, this factsheet presents information from a national perspective and points to additional resources about where to find information related to a particular State. The information and resources provided in this factsheet address the majority of complaints associated with the CPS system.
Intergenerational Patterns of Child Maltreatment: What the Evidence Shows
Explores what is currently known about intergenerational patterns of maltreatment, the limits of our current knowledge, implications of what we know and what we do not know (including promising prevention strategies), and areas for further research. This issue brief also describes theories to explain intergenerational maltreatment (IGM) and practical implications to IGM.
Major Federal Legislation Concerned With Child Protection, Child Welfare, and Adoption
Understanding Child Welfare and the Courts
Provides families involved with the child welfare system an overview of the court process. This factsheet answers frequently asked questions about parental rights and offers suggestions on how to prepare for and respond to court proceedings. It also includes information on filing an appeal, a glossary of court terms, and recommended resources.
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Developing a Trauma-Informed Child Welfare System
Discusses the steps that may be necessary to create a child welfare system that is more sensitive and responsive to trauma. Every child welfare system is different, and each State or county child welfare system will need to conduct its own systematic process of assessment and planning, in collaboration with key partners, to determine the best approach.
Immigration and Child Welfare
Addresses child welfare's work with immigrant children and families; examines current issues related to immigration and child welfare; provides examples of programs and promising practices; and points to resources for professionals, families, and youth. Cultural competency and trauma-informed practice are also discussed.
Understanding the Effects of Maltreatment on Brain Development
Provides basic information on brain development and the effects of abuse and neglect on that development. The information is designed to help professionals understand the emotional, mental, and behavioral impact of early abuse and neglect in children who come to the attention of the child welfare system.
What Is Child Welfare? A Guide for Disaster Preparedness and Response Professionals
Provides an overview of child welfare, describes how disaster preparedness and response (DPR) and child welfare professionals can support one another’s efforts when responding to the safety and well-being of children and families during all phases of disaster.
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Differential Response to Reports of Child Abuse and Neglect
Provides an overview of differential response (DR) in the United States and highlights lessons learned through research and implementation experiences. A growing number of child welfare agencies are employing DR in an effort to respond more flexibly to child abuse and neglect reports and to better meet individual family needs. In these systems, families with screened-in child maltreatment reports may receive either a traditional investigation or an alternative assessment response, depending on the type of allegation and other considerations.
Domestic Violence and the Child Welfare System
Discusses the extent of the overlap between domestic violence and child welfare, some of the effects of domestic violence on child witnesses, and the trend toward a more collaborative, communitywide response to the issue. It also features promising practices from States and local communities.
In-Home Services in Child Welfare
Provides an overview of child welfare in-home services and examines issues related to service delivery, funding, and program evaluation. The brief is designed to provide child welfare administrators, policymakers, and related professionals with information about the types of child welfare in-home services that are being used in the field and what the evidence shows about them.
Parental Substance Use and the Child Welfare System
Provides child welfare workers and related professionals with information on the intersection between substance use disorders and child maltreatment and describes strategies for prevention, intervention, and treatment, including examples of effective programs and practices. The bulletin also discusses the impact of parental substance use on children, child welfare laws related to parental substance use, service delivery challenges, systems change and collaboration, and innovative prevention and treatment approaches.
Parenting a Child Who Has Experienced Trauma
Discusses the nature of trauma, especially abuse or neglect, the effects of trauma on children and youth, and ways to help a child who has experienced trauma. Parents or foster parents who do not understand the effects of trauma may misinterpret their child’s behavior, and attempts to address troubling behavior may be ineffective or, in some cases, even harmful. By understanding trauma, parents and foster parents can help support a child’s healing, the parent-child relationship, and their family as a whole.
Protective Factors Approaches in Child Welfare
Provides an overview of protective factors approaches to the prevention and treatment of child abuse and neglect. It is designed to help policymakers, administrators, child welfare and related professionals, service providers, advocates, and other interested individuals understand the concepts of risk and protective factors in families and communities and learn ways in which building protective factors can help to lessen risks for child abuse and neglect.
What Is Child Welfare? A Guide for Behavioral Health/Mental Health Professionals
Provides an overview of child welfare, describes how behavioral health/mental health professionals and child welfare workers can support one another?s efforts, and lists resources for more information. Working together, behavioral health/mental health and child welfare professionals can make sure that children, youth, and families receive appropriate services that promote healthy functioning and well-being.
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Alternatives for Families: A Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (AF-CBT)
Describes the characteristics and benefits of AF-CBT, an evidence-supported intervention that targets (1) diverse individual child and caregiver characteristics related to conflict and intimidation in the home and (2) the family context in which aggression or abuse may occur. It was written primarily to help child welfare caseworkers and other professionals who work with at-risk families make more informed decisions about when to refer children and their parents and caregivers to AF-CBT programs. This information also may help parents, foster parents, and other caregivers understand what they and their children can gain from AF-CBT and what to expect during treatment.
Chronic Child Neglect
Discusses what we know about chronic child neglect and reviews ways to work with families experiencing chronic neglect, including critical elements of successful casework practice, examples of what agencies are doing, and ways agencies can integrate child welfare approaches to chronic neglect with prevention and early intervention efforts. Examples of promising interventions and programs are included.
How the Child Welfare System Works
Provides an overview of the purposes and functions of child welfare systems. It explains what happens when abuse or neglect are reported, how those reports are processed, and what happens to the adults and children who are involved in the child welfare system. A flowchart illustrates how cases may move through the child welfare system.
Long-Term Consequences of Child Abuse and Neglect
Explains the long-term physical, psychological, behavioral, and societal consequences of child abuse and neglect.
Parent Education to Strengthen Families and Reduce the Risk of Maltreatment
Provides an overview of research regarding some key characteristics and training strategies of successful parent education programs for strengthening families and preventing child maltreatment. Information about selected evidence-based and evidence-informed parent education programs, including a list of registries that evaluate programs, also is provided.
Parent-Child Interaction Therapy With At-Risk Families
Describes the characteristics and benefits of parent-child interaction therapy (PCIT), a family-centered treatment approach proven effective for abused and at-risk children ages 2 to 8 and their caregivers—birth parents, adoptive parents, or foster or kin caregivers. It was written primarily to help child welfare caseworkers and other professionals who work with at-risk families make more informed decisions about when to refer parents and caregivers, along with their children, to PCIT programs. This information may also help parents, foster parents, and other caregivers understand what they and their children can gain from PCIT and what to expect during treatment.
Parenting a Child Who Has Been Sexually Abused: A Guide for Foster and Adoptive Parents
Discusses how foster and adoptive parents can help children and adolescents who have experienced sexual abuse. It provides basic information about sexual abuse and links to other information so that parents can educate themselves about the topic. The factsheet suggests ways to establish guidelines for safety and privacy in the family, and it offers suggestions about when to seek professional help and where to find such help.
Parenting a Child Who Has Experienced Abuse or Neglect
Intended to help parents (birth, foster, and adoptive) and other caregivers better understand the challenges of caring for a child who has experienced maltreatment and learn about the resources available for support.
Preventing Child Abuse and Neglect
Provides information on how communities and individual citizens can strengthen families, protect children, and prevent child abuse and neglect.
What Is Child Abuse and Neglect? Recognizing the Signs and Symptoms
Outlines the legal definition of child abuse and neglect, the different types of abuse and neglect, and the signs and symptoms of abuse and neglect. Resources about the impact of trauma on well-being also are included in this factsheet.
What Is Child Welfare? A Guide for Health-Care Professionals
Provides health-care professionals—including pediatricians, family practice providers, hospital nurses, school nurses, and urgent care clinicians—with an overview of the field of child welfare and suggests ways that health-care professionals and child welfare workers can work together to promote better outcomes for children and families involved with child welfare, including children in foster care. Links to resources are also included.
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