2018 CWLA Conference

In April, PAFCAF Policy Director Megan Branham attended the Child Welfare League of America (CWLA) national conference in Washington, DC.

During the meeting Megan met with colleagues from across the country while also finding time for a visit to the Capitol where she had the chance to meet with Congressman Joe Wilson as well as staff from the offices of Senators Graham and Scott to share work of PAFCAF and our members.

During the meetings Megan reiterated the need for members of Congress to support and fund a continuum of child welfare services with the passage of the Family First Prevention Services Act (FFPSA) -- we will provide a bit more insight on FFPSA a little later in this update.

Following are a few takeaways we thought were important to share:

In many ways, South Carolina is doing it right. It's clear we have a strong network of providers that are making a difference in the lives of children in foster care. With that being said, the passage of the FFPSA in February will without a doubt change the child welfare system as we know it.

Now, that's not to say that change will be for the worse. But there are many variables: funding still has to be provided by Congress, guidance will have to be issued by Health and Human Services and states will have to decide how to implement.

What can you do?

Educate yourself on the provisions of the new law. This presentation from Congress provides some valuable information about the Family First Prevention Services Act.

Also make sure you're signed up for our newsletters as PAFCAF will continue to keep you updated about any upcoming meetings and trainings that will help shape implantation in South Carolina.

Funding

States are getting creative in supporting permanency for children through Social Security Income and other financing opportunities. In Delaware, the Office of the Child Advocate and Department of Services for Children, Youth and Their Families are working together to ensure children have access to needed services and appropriate representation in court. You can learn more by clicking here and here.

Research

Moving forward research will be a critical component for the work we are doing in child welfare systems throughout the country.

More research is needed to determine what evidence-based or promising practices work best with the populations we serve. While there is emerging work in this area, additional work is needed to ensure programs are achieving positive outcomes. That means incorporating a child-well-being framework into child welfare work.

The Children's Hospital in Wisconsin is exploring ways to do that and their presentation can be found here.

Professional Development

On-going professional development is necessary to stay up-to-date on the latest research and best practices within our constantly changing and evolving continuum of care.

As we know, challenges and needs of youth served are ever changing and there are free online trainings to help providers meet those needs.

Each week PAFCAF provides a Training Update to our members, make sure to stay tuned for updates and links to important trainings happening in South Carolina and around the country. You can sign up to make sure you're receiving our training newsletter on our website.

Trauma Informed Care

And last, but certainly not least, self-care has to be a priority for our frontline workers. It's critical to devote time and attention to preventing secondary trauma of staff working with youth. A true trauma-informed organization should include assessments that determine how staff are affected by secondary trauma.

We encourage you to check out PAFCAF's resource page for more resources like the Children's Hospital at NYU's guide to identifying secondary trauma.

We hope you will take some time to review these resources and tools and for information about CWLA, the conference and the national discussions feel free to reach out to Megan Branham with questions or comments.