Practice Notes

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Practice Notes was developed in collaboration between CASCW affiliates and public child welfare practitioners. They were intended as a reference for practitioners, linking research with best practices. Issues were published between 1997 and 2010.
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Now showing 1 - 20 of 30
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    Barriers to Traumatic Stress Screening in Child Welfare Settings (PN #28)
    (Center for Advanced Studies on Child Welfare (CASCW), School of Social Work, College of Education and Human Development, University of Minnesota, 2017) Tseng, A; Barry, K; Bray, C; LaLiBerte, T
    Many children entering the child welfare system have been exposed to traumatizing events or situations that can have profound adverse effects, including unstable behaviors, cognitive difficulties, problematic relationships, and mental health issues. Unfortunately, multiple factors hinder efforts to screen for traumatic stress in child welfare. It is paramount to identify these children so that they can receive appropriate interventions and services in a timely manner.
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    Screening for Traumatic Stress in Child Welfare (PN #27)
    (Center for Advanced Studies on Child Welfare (CASCW), School of Social Work, College of Education and Human Development, University of Minnesota, 2017) Tseng, A; Barry, K; Bray, C; LaLiberte, T
    Nearly 35 million children (0-17 years) in the United States have experienced one or more types of childhood trauma (NSCH, 2012). The child welfare system becomes involved in the care of approximately one million children — and, unfortunately, a large number of these children have suffered from maltreatment and/or other trauma (NSCH, 2012). Screening for traumatic stress can help identify these children and ensure that they receive appropriate interventions and services.
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    Supporting Recovery in Parents with Co-Occurring Disorders in Child Welfare (PN #26)
    (Center for Advanced Studies in Child Welfare (CASCW), School of Social Work, College of Education and Human Development, University of Minnesota, 2016) Ward, A; Barry, K; Laliberte, T; Meyer-Kalos, P
    Roughly 7.9 million adults have co-occurring mental and chemical health disorders in the United States (Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality, 2014). Only 7.4% of these individuals receive treatment for both conditions, and a staggering 55.8% receive no treatment at all (SAMHSA, 2010). Maintaining a recovery-oriented perspective in the child welfare process can help parents and their families struggling with co-occurring disorders (COD) connect to integrated treatment and build confidence in a longer-term process of recovery.
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    Resilience in Maltreated Children (PN #25)
    (Center for Advanced Studies in Child Welfare (CASCW), School of Social Work, College of Education and Human Development, University of Minnesota, 2015) Tseng, A; Barry, K; LaLiBerte, T
    Child maltreatment exemplifies one of the most harmful and stressful challenges to confront children today. Although the experience of abuse or neglect has a severe impact on most children, not all maltreated children are negatively affected to the same degree. Examining how and why certain maltreated children show resilience despite adverse conditions may lead to key insights into the complex processes that result in vastly different developmental outcomes.
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    Helping Maltreated Children Understand and Recognize Emotions (PN #24)
    (Center for Advanced Studies in Child Welfare (CASCW), School of Social Work, College of Education and Human Development, University of Minnesota, 2015)
    Over the past two decades, research has shown that maltreatment can disrupt a child’s ability to recognize and understand the emotions of others. These difficulties can lead to problems as children attempt to navigate their interpersonal relationships. Child welfare workers can better help children that have experienced abuse and neglect read emotional cues and build successful relationships if they are aware of how maltreatment can impact emotion-processing.
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    Children in “Newly Poor” Families: Coping with the Economic Crisis (PN #23)
    We are now experiencing one of the worst economic downturns since the Great Depression. How children cope within a family environment that has lost the confidence that comes with a steady income is not fully understood. Interviews with School Social Workers, “Homeless Liaisons,” and staff of community agencies provided this edition of Practice Notes with an outline of issues. The experiences they shared reminded all of us engaged in assuring the well-being of children how acute the suffering may be of a child whose expectation of a safe, comfortable, predictable world has been shattered when parents lose their homes, their jobs, and their roles as providers.
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    Practice Prompt: Recognizing Developmental Risk at an Early Age
    Special Practice Prompt: Recognizing Developmental Risk at an Early Age
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    Children in Immigrant and Refugee Families: Recognizing Developmental Risk at an Early Age
    Children in Immigrant and Refugee Families: Recognizing Developmental Risk at an Early Age
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    Supervision: The Key to Strengthening Practice in Child Welfare (PN #22)
    Supervisors play the pivotal role in assuring “Best Practices” for Child Welfare, at a time when “doing more with less” has moved the system into a crisis stage. At the same time, demands for accountability (as noted in Minnesota’s Social Services Information System) and effectiveness (as measured in the Children and Families Services Review) have sharpened the focus for Child Welfare practice. This is the context for this edition of Practice Notes.
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    Visiting Children in Foster Care: Messages from the Practice Field (PN #21)
    Recently, social workers’ visits with children in foster care have become a “hot topic.” Despite evidence showing a linkage between positive outcomes for children in foster care and visits from a social worker, the recent CFSR has disclosed uneven attention to visitation and a lack of standardization of practice among Minnesota counties. This edition of Practice Notes covers this topic; it was informed by the wisdom of experienced practitioners and an exploration of national initiatives.
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    Responding to Traumatic Events: Children in Life-Threatening Circumstances (PN #20)
    Trauma suffered by children has struck a deep chord within the Child Welfare system. In this edition of Practice Notes, we have acknowledged a few traumatic episodes faced by children, including the collapse of the I-35W bridge in Minnesota. We have attempted to understand the children’s experiences and the therapeutic responses to their condition.
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    Reinforcing the Importance of Attachment for Child Welfare Practice (PN #19)
    The relevance of attachment theory for the case planning and prevention tasks in Child Welfare underlines the importance of this edition of Practice Notes. This edition of “Practice Notes” intends to provide a pathway to grasping various dimensions of attachment: first, a bare-bones definition and then how this leads the practitioner to consider the impact of maltreatment and traumatic experiences; the role of foster parents; clues for referrals to a consultant; attachment considerations across cultures; and practice guidelines.
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    Trial Home Visits: Strengthening Reunification Practices (PN #18)
    The trial home visit is now a key strategy in assuring successful reunification. This edition of Practice Notes is intended to provide guidelines for strengthening practice in the volatile and crisis-ridden period of reunification, known as the “trial home visit.”
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    Double Jeopardy: Youth Involved in Dual Systems of Child Welfare and Juvenile Justice & Mental Health Screening (PN #17)
    This edition of Practice Notes is directed to the population of youngsters who are dually involved in the Child Welfare and Juvenile Justice systems. The mental health screening legislation enacted by the Minnesota legislature during the 2003 session directed the two systems to pursue mental health screening. The purpose was clear: early identification of mental health problems, through a screening process, could be a crucial response to the growing concern for the mental health of children in high-risk situations. What follows is an early report on patterns of responses and persistent challenges in Minnesota.
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    Referral for Disabilities: A New Responsibility for Child Protection (PN #16)
    Two significant laws were recently passed that require referral and screening of very young children to detect the need for disability and mental health services. This edition of Practice Notes will concentrate on early identification of children with developmental delays and disabilities. While these are distinct categories of children at-risk (disabilities, mental health, special needs), there is also considerable overlap. How we respond to duplication of services, strategies and case plans is yet to be understood.
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    The Fatherhood Factor in Permanency Planning (PN #15)
    This edition of Practice Notes is intended to reinforce the policy of providing permanency for children by strengthening the relationship between father and child (Minn. Stat. 260.181. Subd. 3). The identification and involvement of unmarried fathers who are not residing with their children has long been a challenge for social workers. However, considering the role of the father is an urgent matter for permanency decisions that must be made within a brief time span.
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    The Exploratory Interview of a Maltreatment Report: The First Encounter in a Child Protection System (PN #14)
    This edition of Practice Notes is concerned with the interface between gathering evidence of maltreatment, and at the same time, assessing family strengths. This dual responsibility is familiar territory for child protection workers and their associates. This “multi-tasking” requires an artful synthesis of intuition, experience, and a solid knowledge base of social work principles. This edition of Practice Notes is directed chiefly to front-line child protection workers.
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    Visitation: Through the Eyes of a Child (PN #13)
    An important message is worth repeating. Earlier Practice Notes dealt with general aspects of “Visitation.” We return to the topic, but with a special emphasis on two situations of separation and loss requiring specific attention: sibling separation and children with incarcerated mothers.
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    Family Group Decision Making: Incorporating Family Strengths, Concerns, and Resources in developing a Safety Plan (PN #12)
    Family Group Decision Making (FGDM) articulates a basic principle: the inherent strengths of families and their resources can be engaged to respond to the safety and well being of children. A striking aspect of FGDM is the enthusiasm of professionals as well as the reported high satisfaction of families engaged in this intervention. FGDM is far from a quick fix for vulnerable children in high risk families. But the efforts to mobilize an entire family to provide lasting and available resources across the lifespan of the child is forward looking and engenders a palpable sense of hope.
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    Mediation for Child Welfare (PN #11)
    The child protection system is a minefield of disputes. These are inevitable when the state intervenes in the intimate life of a family. We are thus drawn to mediation, a method which is centered in conflict resolution. According to Dr. Mark Umbreit, engaging the parent in an alliance with the child protection worker, rather than as an adversarial party, is the key to good social work practice, and mediation skills provide guidance. This edition of Practice Notes borrows elements from formal mediation models and intends to demonstrate how mediation skills might be incorporated in everyday practice.