An Analysis of the Kansas and Florida Privatization Initiatives April 2010

This report was prepared in response to a request from Page Walley, Casey Family Programs Managing Director for Strategic Consulting, for an analysis of the privatization efforts of Kansas and Florida. Kansas and Florida were chosen because they are the only two states that have privatized all child welfare services – other than investigations – statewide.

Following a review of the recent literature on child welfare privatization, including independent evaluations, government reports, and state assessments, nine interviews were conducted with private provider staff from Kansas and Florida directly involved with the privatization initiative
and a national consultant on privatization in the target states. The state’s perspective was primarily captured through interviews with current private providers who worked for Florida’s Department of Children and Families at the time of the transition to privatization, as well as information compiled during a March 2009 Casey Family Programs visit with Florida state leadership.

The report includes contextual information on privatization across the states, historical background on the Kansas and Florida initiatives, a summary of challenges and lessons learned during the transition process, the benefits of privatization, and performance and fiscal outcomes. Appendix A provides a table comparing the key components of the two privatization models.

Report from Chapin Hall: Midwest Evaluation of the Adult Functioning of Former Foster Youth

Chapin HallReport from Chapin Hall: Midwest Evaluation of the Adult Functioning of Former Foster Youth

Mark E. Courtney, Amy Dworsky, JoAnn S. Lee, Melissa Raap, Gretchen Ruth Cusick, Thomas Keller, Judy Havlicek, Alfred Perez, Sherri Terao, Noel Bost

The Midwest Evaluation of the Adult Functioning of Former Foster Youth (Midwest Study) is a prospective study that has been following a sample of young people from Iowa, Wisconsin, and Illinois as they transition out of foster care into adulthood. It is a collaborative effort involving Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago; Partners for Our Children at the University of Washington, Seattle; the University of Wisconsin Survey Center; and the public child welfare agencies in Illinois, Iowa, and Wisconsin.

The Midwest Study provides a comprehensive picture of how foster youth are faring during this transition since the Foster Care Independence Act of 1999 became law. Foster youth in Iowa, Wisconsin, and Illinois were eligible to participate in the study if they had entered care before their 16th birthday, were still in care at age 17, and had been removed from home for reasons other than delinquency. Baseline survey data were collected from 732 study participants when they were 17 or 18 years old. Study participants were re-interviewed at ages 19 (n = 603), 21 (n = 591), and 23 or 24 (n = 602). A fifth wave of survey data will be collected when study participants are 25 or 26 years old.

Because many of the questions Midwest Study participants were also asked as part of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, it is possible to make comparisons between this sample of former foster youth and a nationally representative sample of young people in the general population. These comparisons indicate that young people who have aged out of foster care are faring poorly as a group relative to their peers across a variety of domains.

The Midwest Study also presents a unique opportunity to compare the outcomes of young people from one state (i.e., Illinois) that allows foster youth to remain in care until their 21st birthday to the outcomes of young people from two other states (i.e., Iowa and Wisconsin) in which foster youth generally age out when they are 18 years old. The data suggest that extending foster care until age 21 may be associated with better outcomes, at least in some domains.

* Outcomes at Ages 23 and 24 (Full Report)
* Outcomes at Ages 23 and 24 (Executive Summary)
* Outcomes at Age 21 (Full Report)
* Outcomes at Age 21 (Executive Summary)
* Outcomes at Age 21 (Illinois)
* Outcomes at Age 21 (Iowa)
* Outcomes at Age 21 (Wisconsin)
* Outcomes at Age 19 (Full Report)
* Outcomes at Age 19 (Executive Summary)
* Outcomes at Age 19 (Illinois)
* Outcomes at Age 19 (Iowa)
* Outcomes at Age 19 (Wisconsin)
* Conditions of Youth Preparing to Leave State Care (Full Report)
* Conditions of Youth Preparing to Leave State Care (Executive Summary)
* Conditions of Youth Preparing to Leave State Care (Illinois)

Federal Adoption Tax Credit: Info for 2009 & 2010

For background and current status of the federal Adoption Tax Credit, download the attached Adoption Advocate newsletter issued by the National Council for Adoption.

Additionally, these sites are listed for your convenience:

Report: Sexual Victimization in Juvenile Facilities Reported by Youth, 2008-09 • NPREC Standards for Juvenile Facilities


U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Statistics has just released a report titled Sexual Victimization in Juvenile Facilities Reported by Youth, 2008-09, compiled by Allen J. Beck, Ph.D., Paige M. Harrison, and Paul Guerino, BJS Statisticians.

This report presents findings from the first National Survey of Youth in Custody (NSYC), representing approximately 26,550 adjudicated youth held nationwide in state operated and large locally or privately operated juvenile facilities. Overall, 91% of youth in these facilities were male; 9% were female. had rates between 25% and 30%; and 3 had rates between 20%
and 25%.

The Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003 (P.L. 108-79) (PREA) requires the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) to carry out a comprehensive statistical review and analysis of the incidents and effects of prison rape for each calendar year. This report fulfills the requirement under Sec. 4(c)(2)(B)(ii) of the Act to provide a list of juvenile correctional facilities according to the prevalence of sexual victimization.

Between June 2008 and April 2009, BJS completed the first National Survey of Youth in Custody (NSYC) of 166 state-owned or operated facilities and 29 locally or privately operated facilities. The survey, conducted by Westat (Rockville, MD), was restricted to juvenile confinement facilities that held adjudicated youth for at least 90 days. Facilities were excluded if fewer than 25% of the youth in the facility had been adjudicated, the facility held fewer than 10 adjudicated youth, or if the facility was locally or privately operated and held fewer than 105 youth. All state facilities holding 90 or more youth were included.

Download the report here: Sexual Victimization in Juvenile Facilities Reported by Youth, 2008-09

You can also download here the National Prison Rape Elimination Commission Standards for the Prevention, Detection, Response & Monitoring of Sexual Abuse in Juvenile Facilities.

Guidelines For Achieving Permanency In Child Protection Proceedings

yellowbook.pngA resource for anyone involved in child protection proceedings, this comprehensive manual walks the reader through every stage from preliminary hearing to post-termination review.

Each chapter includes:
• The purpose of that stage
• Key questions to consider
• A checklist of roles and responsibilities

Excerpts of pertinent state and federal law are included along with an appendix of State Court Administrative Office forms.

This publication was developed by representatives of the courts, Department of Human Services, Michigan Child Welfare Law Resource Center, Michigan Association of Court Appointed Special Advocates, Michigan Foster Care Review Board and Michigan Indian Legal Services.

To see the online version go to: Hard copies are still available for purchase. Go to for pricing and order information.

The Right Start in Michigan 2009 report

The Right Start in Michigan 2009 report, released today, finds that Michigan has improved in six of eight areas when it comes to maternal and infant well-being. It reports substantial reductions in births to teens, repeat births to teens and prenatal smoking.

Click here to view the report.

Report focuses on Michigan's zero-tolerance expulsion law

On June 24, 2009, the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan released a comprehensive report that examines the severe disciplinary policies and practices that push children permanently out of the classroom and into the criminal justice system. “Reclaiming Michigan's Throwaway Kids: Students Trapped in the School-to-Prison Pipeline documents and analyzes data from 40 Michigan school districts that shows how the frequent use of suspensions and expulsions contributes to our high drop-out rate and how these suspension practices hit African American students the hardest, putting them on a high-risk path to incarceration. During the 2006-2007 school year in the Ann Arbor School District, black students received 58% of all suspensions despite making up only 18 percent of the secondary school population.

This trend is reflected in school districts statewide. The study found that one significant contributor in Michigan's school-to-prison pipeline is the lack of due process for students in suspension and expulsion hearings. Unfortunately, due process policies and procedures to remove students from Michigan's public schools vary from district to district. To combat this problem, the ACLU recommends uniform statewide procedural protocols for the discipline of students that ensure students accused of misconduct have full and fair opportunities to explain their actions and otherwise defend themselves. In addition, Michigan's zero tolerance expulsion law, which is broader in scope than federal law requires, also contributes to the school-to-prison pipeline. Federal law requires that states receiving federal education funds must enact a law mandating one-year expulsions of students who posses firearms. However, Michigan's law goes a step further and requires the expulsion of students who possess a “dangerous weapon.

In many instances, well behaved, unsuspecting students have faced serious consequences for carrying items that do not necessarily reflect this definition.

To find a link to the full news release and report, click here.

Preparing Students for College and Work

childtrendslogoTwo new Child Trends briefs draw on research across the fields of college readiness, workplace readiness, and youth development to identify the skills and competencies high school students need to master for future success. The briefs also highlight strategies that high schools can use to help students develop these skills.

A Developmental Perspective on Workplace Readiness: Preparing High School Students for Success
This brief highlights specific competencies in the areas of social, cognitive, and psychological development that research has identified as necessary for a person to become a valued and skilled employee.  It also identifies strategies that high schools can use to help young adults develop these competencies.

A Developmental Perspective for High School Practitioners on College and Workplace Readiness
This brief identifies gaps in current high school curricula; suggests how high schools can modify curricula to help students attain the skills they need; and highlights practices that are particularly effective for students facing specific challenges.

Report: Elements of Promising Practice in Teen Fatherhood Programs

CTlogoClick on the title to download the full report:

Elements of Promising Practice in Teen Fatherhood Programs: Evidence-Based and Evidence-Informed Research Findings on What Works

Compiled by: Jacinta Bronte-Tinkew, Ph.D, Mary Burkhauser, M.A., Allison Metz, Ph.D.

The timing of the onset of fatherhood is a powerful predictor of the paternal role and is likely to determine men’s levels of involvement with their partners and children (Parke, 2001). Early entry into fatherhood is often viewed as a non-normative event and an accelerated role transition (McCluskey, Killarney, & Papini, 1983; Parke, 2000).

Teen fathers represent a particularly vulnerable group of males whose family backgrounds and life-stressors tend to differ from older men and men who do not become fathers during adolescence (Marsiglio, 1995; Pirog-Good, 1993). For many years, teen fathers were either overlooked in teen pregnancy or blamed for their role in teen pregnancy. However, interest in designing programs to reduce teen pregnancy as well as meet the needs of this vulnerable population increased alongside an interest in the development of fatherhood programs (Lowenthal & Lowenthal, 1997). The current review examines a number of programs for teen fathers that have been evaluated and that can begin to answer the following questions: What practices have been found to be successful in programs serving teen fathers? What matters? What really works? This review helps to begin answering these questions more definitively.

At the outset, however, it is important to note the limitations of this review. Research on “what works” in teen fatherhood programs is still in its earliest stages. To date, few teen fatherhood programs have been evaluated and even fewer have undergone rigorous (i.e., experimental) evaluations. Due to the qualitative nature of some of the evaluations as well as limitations such as small sample sizes, lack of comparison groups, inappropriate statistical analyses, and limited outcome measures, most of the programs included in this review have not been rated “model” programs. That said, there is still much to be learned from examining program practices across programs that have adhered to specific evaluation research criteria as are described below.

Racial Disproportionality and Disparity for African American Children and Families in Michigan's Child Welfare System

Click here to download the full report:Race Equity Review: Findings from a Qualitative Analysis of Racial Disproportionality and Disparity for African American Children and Families in Michigan's Child Welfare System

National data show that African American children and families are disproportionately represented in almost all child protective systems in the United States. Once involved with these systems, African American children are more likely to be removed from their homes, spend longer periods of time in out-of-home care, and oftentimes their families have less access to relevant and helpful social services.

In a courageous step to examine racial disproportionality and disparity, the State of Michigan's Department of Human Services (DHS) undertook to have their policies and protocols analyzed by a team of national experts, local leaders, and stakeholders. This team, led by the Center for the Study of Social Policy, designed and implemented a qualitative Race Equity Review (Review) to assess the institutional features of Michigan's child protective system that directly produce or contribute to racial disproportionality and disparity.

Throughout the course of the Review, the environment for child welfare practice in Michigan was and remains very challenging. The economic climate of the state is poor and has resulted in significantly reducing the resources available for many public services, including child welfare services. In addition, a national child advocacy group sued the state for failing to meet the needs of children in the foster care system. State leadership participated in discovery, depositions and negotiations during the Review and ultimately, this lawsuit reached a settlement agreement in July 2008. These two powerful forces placed the agency and child welfare services under tremendous pressure and have challenged morale of workers and the quality of practice. In this context, workers who come to work everyday with the intention of improving the conditions of children are asked to do so with fewer resources. Workers frequently sense that their efforts are not valued or appreciated by the community. Further many feel powerless and unable to impact the systemic issues that compromise their work.


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