Wrapping up 2018

In 2018 NFPN News Notes had posts on the opioid epidemic, trauma-informed care, engaging fathers, reunification, kinship care, and the Family First Prevention Services Act.

If I had to choose one topic that I believe will have the most impact for the future, it would be the Family First Act.  It’s not just the act itself that will have an impact.  The Administration for Children and Families (ACF) is using the legislation as a springboard to reshape the child welfare system.

ACF has issued guidance (not mandates) on topics affecting the child welfare system, including legal representation, father involvement, and, most importantly, primary prevention.  In the past ACF has largely focused on foster care and adoption, occasionally mentioning prevention.  Now, their top priority is to “reshape child welfare to focus on proactively strengthening families through primary prevention of child maltreatment.”  In other words, a child welfare system should keep families safe, healthy, and together whenever possible before remedial efforts become necessary. The result is that the child welfare system partners with community service providers to meet the needs of families before families enter the public child welfare system.

It’s also important to note that while ACF says the public child welfare system may provide funding for primary prevention, it would not be involved in providing the services. Community services will be voluntary and open to everyone in the community.

To view the ACF memo on Primary Prevention visit https://www.acf.hhs.gov/cb/resource/im1805

Here are links to other guidance provided by ACF:                                                           Legal Representation  https://www.acf.hhs.gov/cb/resource/im1702                 Father Involvement     https://www.acf.hhs.gov/ofa/resource/acf-acf-im-18-01-integrating-approaches-that-prioritize-and-enhance-father-engagement

ACF does mandate how to implement the Family First Act. A key component of the Act is a clearinghouse to review and approve Evidence-Based Practice programs that will constitute the services to families.  ACF has released its initial criteria for reviewing services and programs and a list of the first 10 programs that will be reviewed.  You can find the information here: https://www.cwla.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/ACYF-CB-PI-18-09-Attachment-C-Clearinghouse-Initial-Criteria.pdf    Instructions to states for implementing Family First are available here: https://www.cwla.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/ACYF-CB-PI-18-09-State-FFPSA-Prevention-PI.pdf

There is a lot of reading involved in this post but it’s important to understand the perspective of the federal government with regard to helping families.  It will have a tremendous impact on families and the workforce for years to come!

Speaking of the workforce, thank you for selflessly helping families year in and year out.  NFPN salutes you!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Posted by Priscilla Martens, Executive Director


Are You Providing Trauma-Informed Care?

The federal government and many state governments mandate trauma-informed care in their contracts and grants.  But the definition is often sketchy leaving agencies to struggle with implementation.  So how do you know if you’re providing trauma-informed care?

Give credit to the Missouri Trauma Roundtable for developing a framework for trauma-informed care.  The model has a continuum to help agencies identify where they are and where they want to be, beginning with trauma aware and moving to trauma sensitive and then trauma responsive.  Indicators, resources, and training are provided for each step.

You can find the Missouri framework here: https://dmh.mo.gov/trauma/MO%20Model%20Working%20Document%20february%202015.pdf

Training is critically important to providing trauma-informed care.  The Missouri model frequently lists as resources the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) publications that provide a wealth of information at no cost.  For example, in the SAMHSA Trauma Informed Care in Behavioral Health Services document, there are 7 strategies to build resilience:

  • Help clients reestablish personal and social connections
  • Encourage the client to take action in addressing his own needs and in helping others
  • Encourage stability and predictability in the daily routine
  • Nurture a positive view of personal, social, and cultural resources
  • Help clients gain perspective
  • Help maintain a hopeful outlook
  • Encourage participation in peer-support, 12-step, and other mutual-help programs

To review the complete document visit https://store.samhsa.gov/product/TIP-57-Trauma-Informed-Care-in-Behavioral-Health-Services/SMA14-4816

Another organization, The Campaign for Trauma-Informed Policy and Practice has published a brief on the relationship between trauma and opioid addiction.  A research study found that 80% of patients seeking treatment for opioid addiction had at least one form of childhood trauma, with almost two-thirds having reported witnessing violence in childhood. Sexual abuse and parental separation (for women) and physical and emotional abuse (for men) appear to be particularly highly correlated with opioid abuse.

The Campaign recommends prevention and treatment as part of a comprehensive plan to address opioid addiction.  Effective prevention interventions listed include home visiting, Positive Parenting Program (Triple P), and Parent Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT).

In terms of treatment, the Campaign recommends Seeking Safety as the most evidence-based model for people with both trauma and addiction and it is also the lowest-cost model.  Seeking Safety provides education and coping skills, can be delivered by both peers and professionals, and can be used with individuals or groups.

To view the full brief on trauma and opioid addiction visit http://ctipp.org/News-And-Resources/ArticleID/13/Policy-Brief-on-ACEs-and-Opioid-Addiction

For information on a trauma assessment instrument, visit the Preserving Families Blog at https://preservingfamiliesblog.wordpress.com/

Posted by Priscilla Martens, NFPN Executive Director


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