The Grantee Connection // June 2021

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The Grantee Connection - Sharing Knowledge, Building Evidence

June 2021 | Issue 8

The Grantee Connection is a quarterly digest featuring new and noteworthy products, information, and lessons learned from select Children's Bureau discretionary grants to inform research, capacity building, and practice and program improvement efforts.

Featured Grantees

Building Capacity of Child Welfare and Mental Health Professionals

Project Description: The National Adoption Competency Mental Health Training Initiative (NTI) provides state-of-the-art, standardized, web-based trainings to build the capacity of child welfare and mental health professionals in all States, Tribes, and territories to effectively support children, youth, and their foster, adoptive, and guardianship families.

NTI Webinar

Project Highlight: In part one of the Transfer of Learning Tuesdays webinar series, learn from two NTI host sites, the Texas Alliance of Child and Family Services and the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, on how they successfully integrated the NTI training knowledge and skills into their professional development array. Presenters share their stories of how NTI has enhanced day-to-day practice, emphasizing collaboration and shared language between child welfare and mental health professionals.

Learn More: Register for upcoming webinars in the Transfer of Learning Tuesdays series for additional discussions, strategies, tools, and resources for improving outcomes for adoptive, foster, kinship, and guardianship families.

Photo provided by NTI 

Assessing Systems to Support Adoption and Guardianship Families

Project Description: The National Quality Improvement Center for Adoption and Guardianship Support and Preservation (QIC-AG) is a 5-year project working with eight partner sites to implement evidence-based interventions or develop and test promising practices to achieve long-term, stable permanence in adoptive and guardianship homes for waiting children, as well as children and families after adoption or guardianship has been finalized.

QIC-AG Permanency Continuum

Project Highlight: To better support today’s adoption and guardianship families, it is important to understand service availability as well as service delivery systems that attend to these families. The QIC-AG developed an assessment tool to help sites consider key factors when determining the need for change. Check out the related webinar and accompanying materials to learn more about this tool and how it can be used to help better understand the strengths and limitations of your system and inform transformation.

Learn More: Following 5 years of implementation and evaluation, view the seven implementation manuals for each of the seven QIC-AG interventions. Each manual provides a structured process to determine if an intervention is right for your site and support the intervention with integrity. They also contain practical considerations for implementation as well as lessons learned from the pilot sites.

Photo provided by QIC-AG

Building a Resilient Child Welfare Workforce

Project Description: The National Child Welfare Workforce Institute (NCWWI) is a 5-year cooperative agreement awarded to build the capacity of child welfare professionals and improve the organizations that recruit, train, supervise, manage, and retain them.

NCWWI Webinar

Project Highlight: NCWWI is hosting a discussion series that addresses how child welfare leaders have supported their workforces in building resiliency during the pandemic. During the sessions, NCWWI speaks to colleagues in the field doing this work and then breaks into peer-led small groups to discuss how to incorporate the strategies at other organizations. The recordings, PowerPoint, and key takeaways from the first two sessions—"Providing Operational Workforce Supports" and "Leveraging Key Partnerships"—are available now.

Learn More: Read Critical Workforce Needs to learn about child welfare workforce needs beyond the pandemic. In this report, NCWWI compiled 12 years' worth of data to identify common themes and the critical needs of the workforce across both public and Tribal child welfare programs.

Photo provided by NCWWI

Grantee Blog:

Minority Professional Leadership Development Action Research Project Spotlight: Cultivating Roots in Racially and Culturally Diverse Families

Monique Jackson

The AdoptUSKids Minority Professional Leadership Development (MPLD) program was designed for emerging minority leaders working in direct service in the child welfare field. The structured program includes hands-on experience, exposure to national experts, and mentorship opportunities. Fellows have the opportunity to design and implement an action research project.

Monique Jackson, an adoption supervisor in Michigan and a graduate of the 2021 MPLD cohort, examined the experiences of families in which adoptive parents are of a different race and/or culture from their adopted children, sometimes referred to as a “transracial adoption” or “transcultural adoption," and the staff that provide services to them. While African-American children are 18 percent of the population in Michigan, they are 33 percent of its foster care population. There is also a lack of African-American foster/adoptive resource families, and many children are adopted by families who are different races or cultures than them. Monique’s action research project sought to better equip families who adopt children of different racial or cultural backgrounds by providing training to parents and staff to build their knowledge of important factors and resources.

This training was designed using the results of a literature review and the development of cultural enrichment standards. Feedback from a pretraining survey of 18 foster and adoptive parents who revealed that two-thirds of them (67 percent) received no training prior to having a child of a different race or culture placed with them, and only 28 percent reported feeling very comfortable speaking with their caseworker on topics related to race, culture, and ethnicity. However, most parent respondents (83 percent) reported that they believed the agency had given them the skills needed to parent a child of a different background.

Feedback from the staff training revealed that their knowledge grew regarding the impact that laws and policies have on African-American citizens, information needed for non-African-American resource parents to raise African-American children , and opportunities and methods to celebrate and engage with African-American culture. To ensure children’s racial, cultural, and ethnic identities are nurtured by parents who adopt, Monique recommends that agencies develop policies, provide trainings, and facilitate parental utilization of cultural-enrichment standards.

To learn more, watch Monique’s full presentation on her project on the MPLD YouTube channel and read an interview with Monique about why she chose this topic, the data-collection process, next steps for this work, and more.

Applications for the next MPLD cohort are being accepted through June 21, 2021. Learn more about the program criteria and how to apply.

Resources From

Child Welfare Information Gateway

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Parenting in Racially and Culturally Diverse Adoptive Families

Read the publication.

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Episode 13: "Collaborating Between Child Welfare and Mental Health"

Listen to the podcast.

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Well-Being of the Workforce

Visit the webpage.

Grantee News & Updates

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