Health Care for Adolescents and Young Adults Leaving Foster Care: Policy Options for Improving Access
Center for Adolescent Health & the Law/National Adolescent Health Information Center
This issue brief describes the health status of foster care alumni and the medical hurdles they face upon leaving the child welfare system. It also summarizes policy options to improve access to health care for former foster youth.
Meeting the health care needs of the more than 20,000 youth who age out of foster care each year is critical to their successful transition to adulthood, according to adolescent health experts. Providing health insurance coverage is paramount for ensuring their access to dental exams, family planning, mental health services and treatment for illness and injury.
While the option to extend Medicaid and coverage under the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) to former foster youth up to age 21 has been available to the states since July 2005, only 10 states have implemented the expansion. Free. 8 pages. (919) 968-8850, www.cahl.org/PDFs/FCIssueBrief.pdf.
Program Evaluation: A Synthesis of Lessons Learned by Child Neglect Demonstration Projects
Children’s Bureau, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
In 1996 and 1997, the Children’s Bureau funded 10 demonstration projects to implement and evaluate a wide range of prevention, intervention and treatment strategies for neglected children and their families. This report synthesizes the challenges, strategies and lessons learned in evaluating the five-year projects.
Common challenges included selecting instruments, establishing comparison groups, collecting data and analyzing the impact of individualized services. Among the helpful evaluation management strategies were detailed evaluation plans, sufficient evaluation budgets and project duration, strategies to address staff turnover, strong evaluation teams, and support and technical assistance. Information about key contacts, evaluation designs, instruments and outcomes on each of the programs can be found in the appendices. Free. 18 pages. (800) 394-3366, http://nccanch.acf.hhs.gov/pubs/focus/evaldemo/evaldemo.pdf.
State Standards and Capacity to Track Frequency of Caseworker Visits with Children in Foster Care
Office of the Inspector General (OIG), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Using a national survey, the OIG sought to determine (1) whether states have written standards regarding the frequency of caseworker visits with foster children, (2) whether states can provide statewide automated reports on the frequency of caseworker visits and (3) the frequency of caseworker visits documented by such reports.
Researchers found that while 43 states had written standards for at least monthly visits, only 20 could produce statewide visitation reports. Nineteen of those produced their reports using the Statewide Automated Child Welfare Information System (SACWIS), on which approximately $2.8 billion in federal and state funds has been spent since 1994.
Seven of the 20 statewide reports indicated, on average, that fewer than half of children in foster care were visited monthly in fiscal 2003. There are no federal requirements for how often children in foster care must be visited by caseworkers. Free. 41 pages. (202) 619-1343, http://oig.hhs.gov/oei/reports/oei-04-03-00350.pdf.
The 2005 Children’s Defense Fund Action Council Nonpartisan Congressional Scorecard
Children’s Defense Fund Action Council
The scorecard details voting records on issues before the House and Senate that had the potential to postitively or negatively affect the well-being of children, including cutting Medicaid, setting budget priorities and reducing child poverty.
Thirty senators and 167 House members received scores of zero for their votes on selected bills, while 23 senators and 90 House members scored 100 percent. The top five pro-child congressional delegations were from Massachusetts, Vermont, Rhode Island, Hawaii and North Dakota. The bottom five were from Kentucky, Alaska, Oklahoma, Wyoming and Idaho. Free. 51 pages. (202) 628-8787, www.cdfactioncouncil.org/scorecard2005.pdf.
Poll of Popular Technology Usage: Hearing Loss Symptoms Reported in High School Age Students and Adults
American Speech-Language-Hearing-Association (ASHA)
More than half of high school youth surveyed had experienced at least one symptom of hearing loss, such as saying “what” or “huh” during a normal conversation. More than eight in 10 said they used a cell phone; 62 percent said they used a walkman or portable CD player and 61 percent used an IPod or other MP3 player.
While 41 percent of teens were likely to use such products for long periods (one to four-plus hours) and at high volumes, 53 percent expressed concern about hearing loss. However, nearly six in 10 teens said they were not likely to cut down on the time they use such high-tech devices, and 31 percent said they were not likely to turn down the volume. At least half of the parents surveyed said they had spoken to their children about the possibility of hearing loss. But teens said television, school and teen magazines would deliver that message more effectively. Free. 25 pages. (800) 638-8255, www.asha.org/NR/rdonlyres/10B67FA1-002C-4C7B-BA0B-1C0A3AF98A63/0/zogby_survey2006.pdf.
National Evaluation of Reclaiming Futures
Reclaiming Futures is making a difference in the lives of youth who struggle with drugs, alcohol and crime, according to this evaluation update, the latest in a series of biannual surveys that monitor the project’s effectiveness. The $21 million initiative of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation combines system reform, treatment improvement and community engagement to help teens in the justice system get off drugs and alcohol.
Across all 10 pilot communities taking part in the demonstration project, measurements on 12 of 13 indexes that cover areas such as resource management, data sharing and family involvement showed significant improvement from 2003 to 2005. Strong and sustained increases were evident in the use of screening and assessments, effectiveness of treatment, and ease of client access to services and treatment. Free online. (503) 725-8911, www.reclaimingfutures.org/evaluation_results.asp.
People, Place and Possibilities: Integrating Mentoring and After-School
The Forum for Youth Investment (FYI)
Decades of research has confirmed that adults play a crucial role in the lives and development of youth, according to this policy commentary. But the critical next step – the development of relationships between youth and adults – is largely forsaken, FYI suggests.
The integration of mentoring and after-school programming ensures that youth are provided with essential adult supports and strengthens the work of both fields, the authors say. The report includes case studies of creative models, the latest research on youth-adult relationships, updates on advocacy in the mentoring and after-school fields, and sources of funding for integration. Free. 8 pages. (202) 207-3333, www.forumfyi.org/Files/ostpc11.pdf.
Helping Youth Succeed Through Out-of-School Time Programs
American Youth Policy Forum
The product of over two years of site visits, interviews and research, this report presents evidence that “out-of-school time (OST) programs are critical to boosting the life opportunities for young people, particularly disadvantaged youth.”
Among the findings: A correlation exists between frequent OST attendance and positive school-related outcomes; high-quality OST programs are supportive contexts for youth development and offer opportunities for skill development; older youth will participate if programs are designed for their age group and offer high-interest activities; and the quality of OST programs depends largely on the quality of the staff and leaders.
The report shares the findings of its literature review, explores emerging practices and concludes with recommendations for policymakers and practitioners. Free. 60 pages. (202) 775-9731, www.aypf.org/publications/HelpingYouthOST2006.pdf.
The Next Generation Youth Work Coalition Bulletin
The National Human Services Assembly
The inaugural issue of The Next Generation Youth Work Coalition Bulletin includes an interview with front-line youth worker and Talking Circles facilitator Vanessa Varko; descriptions of four promising on-the-ground practices; summaries of notable projects, studies and events; and suggestions on ways to learn from other fields.
The coalition serves as a locus of collaboration in the youth work field on such issues as standards and competencies, professional development and training resources, and research and evaluation systems. Free. 6 pages. (202) 347-2080, www.nassembly.org/nydic/staffing/profdevelopment/documents/NexGenBulletinFebruary2006.pdf.