Report Roundup for September 2006

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Child Welfare

Out of the Margins: A Report on Regional Listening Forums Highlighting the Experiences of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning Youth in Care
Lambda Legal and Child Welfare League of America (CWLA)

This compilation of the experiences of LGBTQ youth in care includes concrete solutions to the problems they face in foster care, juvenile justice and homeless/transitional living systems. The information was gathered during 13 listening forums attended by more than 500 people in 22 states, including social workers, service providers, administrators, caregivers and LGBTQ youth who are or were in care.

This fall, Lambda Legal and CWLA will offer a free toolkit to provide more information about LGBTQ issues, geared for everyone in child welfare, from foster parents and social workers to youth. In November, CWLA’s annual Finding Better Ways/Best Practices conference will be devoted to addressing the needs of LGBTQ youth and families involved in foster care system. Free. 176 pages. (202) 662-4292,


Ten Years of Leaving Foster Children Behind
Child Welfare League of America (CWLA)

Federal assistance for children in foster care has declined by 18 percent – or at least 50,000 children per year – since 1998, according to CWLA . A survey included in the report says nonprofit foster care agencies say they are struggling to make up the shortfall.

A key to the problem, the report says, involves the welfare reform of 1996, when Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) was replaced with Temporary Assistance to Needy Families. Children’s eligibility for federal foster care subsidies under Title IV-E of the Social Security Act is still based on whether the child was removed from a family that would have been eligible for the AFDC program as it existed on July 16 of that year. Free. 38 pages. (800) 407-6273,


Are Zero Tolerance Policies Effective in the Schools? An Evidentiary Review and Recommendations
American Psychological Association (APA)

The APA says schools are neither safer nor more effective in disciplining children than they were before zero tolerance policies started being implemented in the mid-1980s. The research also shows that while school violence is a serious issue, violence in schools is “not out of control.” The report says the policies, which typically impart severe punishments on youth regardless of the severity or context of the infraction – like bringing cough drops to school in violation of a no-drug policy – can increase bad behavior and lead to more dropouts.

Based on the study results, the APA adopted a resolution recommending ways to target discipline more effectively and eliminate such one-size-fits-all punishments. Free. 141 pages. (202) 336-5707,


More Adults This Year See Childhood Obesity As Major Problem in the U.S.
Wall Street Journal Online/Harris Interactive Health-Care Poll

Eighty-four percent of U.S. adults see childhood obesity as a “major problem,” up from 77 percent in 2005. The poll also finds that 81 percent of adults agree that parental inattention to children’s eating habits contributes to childhood obesity. Another 83 percent believe public schools should do more to limit access to unhealthy foods, and nearly nine in 10 say child obesity will lead to higher health care costs for all Americans. Free online. (877) 919-4765,

Mental Health

State Regulation of Residential Facilities for Children with Mental Illness
Mathematica Policy Research

Based on a 2003-04 survey of state officials, this analysis led to two major findings about the methods used by states to license and regulate residential facilities for children with mental illness.

First, states varied in the mix of regulation methods used. Typical methods included on-site inspections, documentation of staff qualifications and training, record reviews, resident interviews, critical-incident reports, standards for resident-to-staff ratios and educational levels of facility directors. Second, the oversight and regulatory environment for the facilities was complex, because several agencies, each with different missions and functions, were involved in licensing the facilities, reviewing complaints, funding services and conducting inspection visits. The report was funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Free. 76 pages. (609) 275-2350,


State of Philanthropy 2006: Creating Dialogue for Tomorrow’s Movements
National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy (NCRP)

The third in an NCRP series of biennial collections, State of Philanthropy 2006 aims to initiate conversations about creating progressive social change and increasing foundation accountability. It addresses new foundation strategies, the impact of federal budget constraints on nonprofits, accountability legislation and regulations, and emerging progressive movements. The report also promotes strengthening and redirecting foundation and nonprofit efforts to better meet the needs of disenfranchised people. $30. 108 pages. (202) 387-9177, ext. 20,


Positive Support: Mentoring and Depression Among High-Risk Youth
Public/Private Ventures(P/PV)

This report examines the potential benefits of matching high-risk youth with faith-based mentors. Drawing on surveys and interviews with youth who participated in the National Faith-Based Initiative, researchers found that mentored youth were less likely to show signs of depression than the youth who were not matched with mentors.

Mentoring was also related to a variety of other beneficial outcomes measured by the study, including better handling of conflict and fewer self-reported arrests. The report concludes by considering the challenges of implementing a mentoring program for high-risk youth and how those challenges might be overcome. The study was funded through an agreement between P/PV and the U.S. Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. Free. 49 pages. (215) 557-4411,

Sexual Behavior

New Teen Risk Behavior Uncovered
PIRE Chapel Hill Center

Nearly 650,000 U.S. teens – about two-thirds of them boys – have exchanged sex for drugs or money, according to this first-of-its-kind study on such behavior among youth. Researchers admit they aren’t sure how many of those events could be considered what is commonly thought of as prostitution, especially because the median number of times youth said they had exchanged sex was just one.

The study used data from a national longitudinal survey of 13,000 youth in seventh through 12th grades; nearly 4 percent said they had exchanged sex for drugs or money. Sex exchange also appeared to be related to other harmful behaviors and negative health outcomes, such as running away, depression, drug use and sexually transmitted infections. Free. (888) 846-PIRE.

Substance Abuse

Substance Use Treatment Need among Adolescents: 2003-2004
U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

Research suggests that numerous people with substance abuse problems may not receive treatment. This report draws on the National Survey on Drug Use and Health to examine treatment, treatment need and perceived unmet need among 12- to 17-year-olds.

The results are based on information obtained from 44,966 youth, of whom 2,857 (6.4 percent) were classified as needing alcohol treatment and 2,506 (5.6 percent) were classified as needing drug treatment. Only 7 percent of those classified as needing alcohol treatment received it, as did 9 percent of those needing treatment for drug use. Free. 4 pages. (240) 276-2130,


Reducing Gun Violence: Community Problem Solving in Atlanta
National Institute of Justice (NIJ)

The fifth report in NIJ’s Reducing Gun Violence series examines methods and lessons learned from “Project PACT,” a program implemented in Atlanta during the late 1990s to reduce juvenile gun violence. Atlanta PACT formed strategic partnerships with federal, state and local law enforcement and community-based groups to break the chain of illegal events leading up to juvenile gun violence. Some of the partnerships and strategies formed at that time are now part of Project Safe Neighborhoods. (See Evaluation Spotlight, page 26, for related story.) Free. 40 pages. (202) 307–5911,

Youth Workers

Recognition and Rewards for Youth Development Workers
National Youth Development Learning Network (NYDLN)

The latest edition to NYDLN’s Professional Development Series identifies some of the benefits of recognition and rewards programs, lessons from the field and steps to consider when creating such a program for youth workers.

The report says those programs can create an environment where innovation and risk-taking can be nurtured; energize staff, increase productivity, encourage hard work and develop loyalty to an agency or organization; nurture the staff, which in turn encourages them to nurture others; and provide a means for management to offer positive feedback to the staff and let staff know that they are not taken for granted. Free. 4 pages. (202) 347-2080,


Setting the Stage for a Youth Development Associate Credential: A National Review of Professional Credentials for the Out-of-School Time Workforce
National Institute on Out-of-School Time/Wellesley College

This report reviews efforts to create professional and career development systems – such as Boston’s Youth Development Associate Credential – in the youth work field. It provides evidence of how credentialing programs enhance the workforce, improve the quality of programs and produce positive outcomes for youth. It also reviews similar programs from the field of early child care and education that provide valuable lessons for youth work. Produced in partnership with Cornerstones for Kids. Free. 47 pages. (781) 283-2547,