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Bryan Samuels, Commissioner of the Administration on Children, Youth and Families (ACYF)"Of the 6 million reports made to child protective services in 2009, just under 18% involved cases of suspected physical abuse. Yet, it is wrong to assume that these are the only children that come into contact with the child welfare system having experienced violence. Although children generally come to the attention of child welfare as a result of a particular incident or issue, many have experienced multiple types of maltreatment. Many come from homes marked by domestic abuse, and from neighborhoods scarred by violence. When children are victims of repeated maltreatment or ongoing exposure to violence, the negative impacts multiply, with adverse consequences on functioning and well-being. What may have kept them safe in the context of ongoing trauma, behaviors such as running away or becoming aggressive, may be inappropriate, disruptive, or dangerous in settings like a classroom or a foster home. Over time, social-emotional, behavioral, and mental health suffer, leading to the negative outcomes so frequently associated with children who have been involved with child welfare.

However, it is possible to stem the harmful effects of maltreatment and exposure to violence. There are a number of evidence-based interventions that mitigate the symptoms of trauma, address how children understand and cope with negative experiences, and prevent and treat mental health disorders. Child welfare providers can partner with schools, courts, and communities to develop trauma-informed systems and deliver these effective interventions to the children who need them most. Successful child welfare work helps children who have been maltreated or exposed to violence understand their thoughts, feelings, and actions as normal in light of their experiences and teaches new ways of acting, reacting and relating, preparing them to thrive as adults. "

Resource

Child Welfare Trauma Training Toolkit - National Child Traumatic Stress Network (2008)
This toolkit provides basic knowledge, skills, and values about working with children who are in the child welfare system and who have experienced traumatic stress. Topics include children's safety, permanency, and well-being and are explained through case analysis.

Child Welfare Services for Families Experiencing Family Violence
Training Participant Manual - Children's Bureau (2003)

This manual offers considerations and alternate protocols for Child Protective Service caseworkers developed from the practices of various agencies involved in child maltreatment and domestic violence. Contents include background information, basics of domestic violence, modifying child protective practices, enhancing caseworker safety and support, and building collaborative responses with families.

Safe Start Center Tip Sheet for Child Welfare Staff working with children exposed to trauma and violence

Connect: Supporting Children Exposed to Domestic Violence–in–Service Training for Resource Families, a Trainer's Guide & Tools
Family Violence Prevention Fund
Connect is a three hour curriculum, Power Point presentation and related tools intended for use in child welfare settings with caregivers with all levels of experience in caring for children who have been exposed to domestic violence. It is designed as a basic training on the dynamics of domestic violence, the impact of exposure on children, and strategies for supporting children who have been exposed to violence.

National Indian Child Welfare Association
Resources for Indian families and communities about Indian children including child abuse and neglect, exposure to violence, prevention resources, state fact sheets highlighting tribal contacts and resources, training curriculum for Indian child welfare workers, and public service announcements about children’s exposure to abuse and neglect, substance abuse, and prevention efforts.

Improving Child Welfare Outcomes Through Systems of Care
Building the Infrastructure

A Guide for Communities - National Technical Assistance and Evaluation Center for Systems of Care (2007)
This guide is organized into nine parts that correspond to the fundamental components of the infrastructure needed to support systems of care: planning, governance, system management, coordination of services and service array, communication, policy, finance, continuous quality improvement, and human resources and staff development. Contents include examples from the field, worksheets that correspond to the nine systems of care infrastructure components to assist the decision-making, and additional resources.

Strengthening Families and Communities: 2011 Resource Guide
Child Welfare Information Gateway (2011)

The Resource Guide provides resources for service providers in their work with parents, caregivers, and their children to strengthen families and prevent child abuse and neglect. It focuses on the five protective factors which have been proven to reduce the risk of abuse, and includes tip sheets for parents and caregivers.

Biography of Bryan Samuels, Commissioner of the Administration on Children, Youth and Families (ACYF)

Mr. Samuels has spent his career formulating service delivery innovations and streamlining operations in large government organizations on behalf of children, youth, and families. As Chief of Staff for Chicago Public Schools (CPS), Mr. Samuels played a leadership role in managing the day-to-day operations of the third largest school system in the nation with 420,000 students, 623 schools, 44,000 employees, and a $5 billion budget. Prior to this role, from 2003 to 2007, Samuels served as the Director of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS). While Director, he moved aggressively to implement comprehensive assessments of all children entering care, redesigned transitional and independent living programs to prepare youth for transitioning to adulthood, created a child location unit to track all runaway youth, and introduced evidence-based services to address the impact of trauma and exposure to violence on children in state care.


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