Foster Care Aging Out - July 2023
* Promoting Readiness of Minors in Supplemental Security Income (PROMISE): Five-year Impacts and Other Findings
   Ankita Patnaik, Ph.D., Principal Researcher, Mathematica
* Wisconsin PROMISE: Building Lessons Learned into Wisconsin Workforce Programs and Partnerships
   Ellie Hartman, Ellie Hartman, Workforce Data Integration System Chief Evaluation Officer, Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development

  • PROMISE (Promoting Readiness of Minors in SSI) was a national random control demonstration ending in 2019 intended to improve the transition of SSI youth to adult employment and self-reliance. This demonstration offers lessons to child welfare agencies managing the problem of foster care aging out. The services provided to parents and children enrolled in SSI included intensive case management and employment services to families who volunteered. All sites experienced good short-term impacts but only WI and NYC had large impacts sustained over five years. What did WI and NYC do differently? We will have the program evaluator and the state operations manager from WI explain.

How Missouri side-tracked a certain ticking time bomb in child welfare. - July 2023

* Knowing Where to Focus
   Kristen Cox, Founder & CEO, Epiphany Associates / Jonathon Coneby, Director of Client Engagement, Epiphany Associates 

  • When Steve Corsi, former SIG member and past Secretary in WY and MO, arrived at his new job in Jefferson City, he learned that there was a backlog of 7583 child welfare alerts and reports for which no worker had been to visit. Alarmed, he called in the staff and immediately introduced a certain process reform he had used in WY and that at least four other SIG states have adopted to good effect (and have reported their results back to SIG). The process reform is called the Theory of Constraints (TOC). After eight months of initiating TOC for the backlog, Corsi had reduced it to 400 and two months after that to zero.

Child Welfare Meeting July 2023

Child Welfare Meeting November 2022

Enforcing Time Frames and Moving Cases - June 2022
​*. Enforcing Time Frames and Moving Cases
   Darcy Olsen, CEO, Gen Justice​
   Tim Keller, SVP and Legal Director, Gen Justice    

  • Family court judges are notorious for postponing and delaying decisions about children to their detriment.  Judges often ignore the requirements of ASFA’s fifteen of twenty- two months provision and in general tend to delay permanent placements or terminations.  Arizona just unanimously passed a bill which prohibits court continuances over 30 days absent extraordinary circumstances.  Are legislative mandates a positive way forward?

​Parental Drug Use and its Consequences​​ - June 2022
*  SIG Child Welfare Day
   Sarah Font, Pennsylvania State University
Parental Drug Use
   Nancy Young, Children and Family Futures

  • Drugs have been estimated to be the primary or contributing factor in three quarters of child welfare cases in New York City and other urban areas, and informal estimates are even higher.  Child welfare directors are reporting that the severity and effects of parental drug use are increasing.   Family drug courts can help motivate parents to recover, but they should be paired with known principles of treatment.  State child welfare agencies should be at the forefront of testimony about the effects of drugs on families and from their informed positions should be advocates in efforts to reduce the spread of legalization of soft and hard drugs.

Foster Care Recruitment and Kinship Care - June 2022
Foster Care Recruitment and Kinship Care
   Darcy Olsen, CEO, Gen Justice
   Tim Keller, SVP and Legal Director, Gen Justice

  • ​​The Call is an Arkansas church- based support group which helps recruit foster families from among its congregations in 51 counties.   What other solutions can help with this severe shortage, especially the lack of families who will take older or disturbed children?

Emphasizing Prevention-- And is there such a thing as prevention? - June 2022
* Prevention: From Upstream to Downstream
   Marie Cohen, Child Welfare Monitor

  • The world of children and parents within their family relationships is for the most part private.  What do we know about how to peer inside a family before neglect or abuse becomes evident so as to provide interventions and services that might help?   Nurse home visiting programs and Family Connects show evidence of positive impacts but they are voluntary and therefore limited in reach.   What else do we know and can Big Data point to families in need of preventative services?

Family First Act - June 2022
* The Family First Prevention Services Act
   Marie Cohen, Child Welfare Monitor

  • ​The provision allowing IV-E to be used for prevention will have only modest impact, while the restrictions on congregate care placements have put agencies in a vice.  Some highly troubled and traumatized children need the supervision and psychological help they can only get through temporary institutional care. 

Secretaries’ Roundtable Child Welfare - November 2021
* Revisiting Common Claims About Child Welfare
   Sarah Font, Pennsylvania State University
* The CALL
   Laurie Currier, The Call

  • Secretaries discuss all current issues in the child welfare system - -
  • • Foster care and adoption 
    • State policies related to child removal from home 
    • How cultural trends are affecting the business of state child welfare  operations 
    • Placement options and Family First and CAPTA 
  • Joining our discussion is Dr. Cassie Bevan who worked in the U.S. House of  Representatives for twenty years as a professional Republican staffer and later staff director on the Ways and Means Committee. During her tenure on Capitol Hill, Dr.  Bevan was the principal staffer on many domestic and international bills including:  the Adoption Tax Credit of 1996; the Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997; the  Foster Care Independence Act of 1999 and others.   John Mattingly introduced many child welfare innovations during his tenure under  Mayor Bloomberg including ChildStat. He introduced training and cooperation in  child welfare investigations with retired detectives from NYPD.  Sarah Font is the author of many books and articles including the recent It’s not  “Just poverty”: Educational, social, and economic functioning among young adults  exposed to childhood neglect, abuse, and poverty.  Lauri Currier is the director of The Call, a Christian church-based foster care non profit in Arkansas that helps recruit foster parents from the parishes. They operate  in 56 counties. 

A Critique of the Evolving Biden Philosophy and Political Practice - August 2021

* The New, Unconditional Child [Tax] Credit
   Doug Besharov, University of Maryland

* Total Economic and Social Resources - Poor Families with Children Poor Families - 2018

   Robert Rector, Senior Research Fellow, Heritage Foundation

  • Secretaries and their governors act as agents in the national political conversation and SIG Secretaries and Directors allocate over $200 billion annually that can be put to use promoting our objectives of work, healthy families and economic self-sufficiency.  This morning session with our best and most senior Washington thinkers is dedicated to understanding the philosophical and research basis for our own conservative views. We will review each of the important Biden initiatives on spending and policy to shed light on their deeper long -term consequences. How will the retreat from the idea of mutual obligation, e.g. work in exchange for benefits, affect individuals making life choices and the body politic? How will the explosion of new entitlements in all areas of the welfare state affect the responsibility of Americans to act as productive economic units and supportive family members? Our six panelists will each describe a topic followed by commentary and discussion among all the panel and our members. We will discuss what we can do as agency heads on our own with or without federal guidance.

Child Welfare New Developments - August 2021

* FFPSA and the IMD Issue

   Sean Hughes, Managing Partner of Governmental Relations at Social Change Partners

  • Naomi Riley is AEI’s child welfare expert and has been critical of aspects of Family First as enacted. Sean Hughes helped write and pass the Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008, and served as director of Congressional Affairs at the Child Welfare League of America.

Recruiting Foster Care Families - November 2020

* The Church and the Foster Care Crisis

   Bob J. Bruder-Mattson, President and CEO, FaithBridge Foster Care

Child Welfare - November 2018

Family First Prevention Services Act: Implementation Considerations

   Judge Jim Payne, PCG

  • This is a follow on session to our July half day on the Family First Preservation Act.  In addition to discussions about federal implementation, we will discuss how the regional offices are working with local jurisdictions, state and county to respond to questions and provide advice regarding Children’s Bureau directions.  

Child Welfare and New Family First Legislation - June 2018

Organizational Structure and the Family First Act of 2018
   Jim Payne, former Director, Indiana Department of Child Welfare and former Presiding Judge, Marion Superior Court Juvenile Division
Family First Prevention Services Act Opportunities
   Heather Baker, Public Consulting Group

  • The passage of the Family First Prevention Services Act is the most consequential change to IV-E in more than a decade, and restructures how the state must provide services.  Funds are newly available for prevention, limits are placed on congregate care, new options are made available related to substance abuse treatment, and changes to foster care licensing are some.  We will discuss the opportunities and challenges for agencies who are just now learning of the implications of these changes.

Child welfare and Theory of Constraints - June 2018 

Getting Big Results in Social Services
   Kristen Cox, Executive Director, Utah Office of Management and Budget

  • A year ago, Utah’s Kristen Cox described for SIG members how the strategic application of a management intervention, Theory of Constraints, is used across Utah to increase the supply and effectiveness of citizen services at a lower cost.  Since she made this presentation she has worked to improve child welfare with these remarkable results:

  1. Caseworker direct engagement with families up 30%

  2. Case resolution 19% earlier and 11% more consistently

  3. Capacity up 20% so that point-in-time cases carried by workers are 20% fewer

  4. Surveyed worker morale up

  • She will describe how all this was accomplished over a relatively short intervention period. 

Child Support - December 2017

Recent Trends in Child Support Enforcement​​

   Robert Doar, American Enterprise Institute 

  • Various priorities among states such as child welfare and opioids seem to be contributing to less agency emphasis on child support.  Beyond that, there is a debate about the right balance between enforcement of collections and encouraging work among parents delinquent in their obligations.  What are some of the options?

Developing a SIG Child Welfare Proposal for State Flexibility​ - July 2017

Child Welfare Financing​​
   Don Winstead, SIG Consultant

  • During his service as FL Deputy Secretary for Children and Families, Don Winstead led the negotiation for the statewide IV-E child welfare waiver.  Between 2001 and 2005 he served as the HHS deputy assistant secretary for policy and evaluation in human services. In that capacity he helped develop the Bush Administration’s legislative 2004 proposal which would have allowed states to move to an alternative system for foster care, receiving funds in the form of flexible grants so as to create innovative child welfare plans an emphasis on prevention and family support.
  • Don will describe current state of affairs and lead a discussion of an alternative which would allow SIG states more flexibility and control.  

Child Welfare -  November 2016 

Presentation: Doug Besharov
   Doug Besharov, University of Maryland School of Public Policy; and first director of the U.S. National Center on Child Abuse and Neglect
The Allegheny County Experience
   Marc Cherna, Director, Dept. Human Services, Allegheny County
Rethinking Consent Decrees
   John Bursch, Partner, Warner Norcross and Judd

  • Jim Payne will discuss the current state of affairs. Marc Cherna, the nationally recognized child welfare innovator from Allegheny County PA will discuss specific operational challenges and solutions.  Supreme Court litigant John Bursch will discuss proposed legislation which would curtail consent decrees which remain active for years and decades.

Advanced Analytics to Improve Child Welfare Practice and Outcomes
   Will Jones, Child Well Being Industry Consultant, SAS State and Local Government Practice

  • Rapid Safety Feedback uses predictive analytics to prioritize calls of suspected child abuse.  Predictive analytics in child protective services means assigning suspected abuse cases to different risk levels based on characteristics that have been found to be linked with child abuse. These risk levels can automatically revise as administrative data is updated. Administrative data may be as simple as school reports or could delve deeper into other information that the state holds: the parents’ welfare checks, new criminal offenses or changing marital status.

Marriage and Child Support - November 2016

* Are We Still Married? Family Structure and Family Policy in the Emerging Age of the Unformed Family      

   David Blankenhorn, President, Institute for American Values; and author of Fatherless America and The Future of Marriage  

  • From troubled family structures to the emerging age of the unformed family - - Ten trends that are influencing how public policy and human services programs must respond.        

Conference Materials: Child Welfare

**To view power point presentations and supporting materials, click on * bold, underlined title.

Secretaries' Innovation Group