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The Imprint staff reports


Governor Shakes Up Guam’s Child Protection Services, Citing ‘Emergency’
Guam’s governor has placed the territory’s child protective system under a state of emergency. Photo: Facebook

Guam Gov. Lou Leno Guerrero has ordered a shakeup of the island territory’s Child Protective Services in the wake of a data review that pointed to systemic problems that have led to a failure to identify and root out “serious and significant instances of child abuse, maltreatment, and neglect,” according to news reports.


Biden Takes Steps to Ease Food Insecurity Pronto
Illustration by Christine Ongjoco.

Moving swiftly to address a growing hunger crisis, the Biden administration on Friday announced several new efforts to put more for on the tables of Americans who’ve been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.


New York City Releases Long-Delayed Plan to Help Youth, Young Adults

Youth and young adults who are having a rough time overcoming the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic are targeted for help under a set of long-awaited initiatives announced this week by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. 

Youth Services Insider


Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte Plucks Child Welfare Nominee from Kentucky
Adam Meier, who was nominated to lead Montana’s Department of Public Health and Human Services.

Montana’s new Republican governor, Greg Gianforte, has named a new leader to run the state’s largest agency, the Department of Public Health and Human Services, which among other things oversees child welfare and family services.

Youth Services Insider


New Strategy Chief Named at Prevent Child Abuse America

Jennifer Jones will be the new chief strategy officer for Prevent Child Abuse America, leaving her position as director of the Change in Mind Institute at the Alliance for Strong Families and Communities.

Youth Services Insider


Casey Family Programs Honors Contributions to Children’s Well-being
Autumn Adams, winner of the Casey Excellence Kinship Caregiver Award. Photo courtesy of Casey Family Programs

Casey Family Programs, a Seattle-based grant maker and one of the largest players in philanthropy in child welfare, made its annual Casey Excellence for Children Awards and Jim Casey Building Communities of Hope Award, which collectively honor leaders and standouts from every aspect of the system. 

Youth Services Insider


L.A. Kings Sport CalHOPE Logo on Helmet, Face Off for Youth in Crisis Amid Pandemic

The Los Angeles Kings hockey club is sticking up for the Southern California community’s mental health this season as coronavirus precautions drag toward their 12th month.

Starting with Thursday’s season opener against the Minnesota Wild at the Staples Center and going coast to coast through all home and away games, fans will see the words “California Hope” emblazoned on each side of players’ helmets.


State, L.A. Agree on Plan to Improve Conditions of Juvenile Detention

More than two years after the California Department of Justice launched an investigation into deficient and inhumane conditions in Los Angeles County’s juvenile detention facilities, the county and its school district settled on plans to clean up the problems over the next four years.


Poll Seeks Input From Foster and Kinship Families About Pandemic Impacts

As we approach one year of living with the coronavirus pandemic, we want to hear from foster and kinship families about how the global health crisis has transformed their lives.

Our editorial team has designed a short, anonymous survey for caregivers of youth currently in foster care.

Youth Services Insider


Doris Duke Charitable Foundation Names Sam Gill as New CEO
Sam Gill, CEO of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation

The Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, a significant grantmaker in the field of child well-being and other areas, will have a new leader this spring.  


Trump Finalizes 11th-hour Rule Change Allowing Religious and Sex-Based Discrimination

Among the many ways Donald Trump is seeking to leave a lasting imprint on the government in the final days of a beleaguered presidency, the administration this week erased Obama-era rules that prohibited publicly funded, faith-based social service providers from discriminating on the basis of factors such as sexual orientation or religion.


Report Ranks New York State Counties by Family and Child Well-Being

From the teeming high-rise tenements of New York City’s Bronx County to the sparsely populated hamlets of rural Yates County, before the pandemic, more than 800,000 of the Empire State’s children were living in poverty and over 900,000 households were struggling to keep a roof over their heads, according to a new report.


Pediatricians Group Deems Trump’s Border Policy of Family Separation ‘Torture’

The influential American Academy of Pediatrics has added to growing pressure on the incoming Biden administration to reverse the practice of separating children from their asylum-seeking parents at the Mexican border set by President Donald Trump, concurring with other prominent groups that the practice amounted to torture under international standards.


Live on Imprint at 2 p.m. EST: Federal Town Hall: New Funding and Support for Older Foster Youth
Click here at 2 p.m. EST to watch the town hall on coronavirus relief supports for older foster youth, featuring federal officials Lynn Johnson and Jerry Milner


Bill Would Raise Age of Criminal Responsibility to 18 in Texas
State Rep. Harold Dutton (D) has introduced a bill that would include 17-year-olds in the juvenile justice system.

Texas is one of the last states to treat all 17-year-olds as adults in the eyes of the law.

pop tart


A Pop Tart Tribute to Human Rights

In late December, the nonprofit iFoster hosted its inaugural Great iFoster Bake Off, a national Zoom-hosted competition where foster youth and caregivers teamed up to decorate holiday houses made out of Pop Tarts.


Diverse Organizations Urge California Lawmakers to Prioritize Children in Budget
California Gov. Gavin Newsom is preparing his 2021-22 budget.

As California Gov. Gavin Newsom prepares to unveil his 2021-22 budget proposal later this week, more than 1,000 organizations have urged policymakers to make children — especially the reopening of public schools — the state’s “all-hands-on-deck” spending priority.


Study Finds ‘Devastating’ Pandemic-Era Effects on Former Foster Youth

The first few months of the coronavirus pandemic took a significant toll on the well-being of former foster youth, according to a new survey that researchers said points to the need to address those effects in the medium and long term. 

Youth Services Insider
foster youth


National Foster Youth Institute Names New Director
Rebecca Louve Yao, new executive director of the National Foster Youth Institute

The National Foster Youth Institute has chosen one of its own to assume the organization’s helm. The board of the 6-year-old nonprofit announced Monday that Rebecca Louve Yao, herself a former foster youth, will become executive director on Jan.


Top Stories of 2020: How Kids and Families were Impacted by Coronavirus

As COVID-19 began what would be an unrelenting spread of hardship in America, The Imprint spoke with the CEO of a major child welfare service provider in Washington state, one of the first places hit hard in the pandemic. 


Top Stories of 2020: Trouble in Residential Care

Congress approved legislation in 2018 that will reduce federal spending on group homes and institutions. Since that law was signed, several investigative stories in our pages and others around the country have exposed the shortcomings that prompted it. 


Top Stories of 2020: A Decade of Extended Foster Care

In 2010, California approved legislation that would extend foster care until age 21 for youth who otherwise would be forced out on their own at 18. The state, home to more than 50,000 foster youth, was among the first to offer a longer runway into adulthood. 


Top Stories of 2020: Latonia Rolbiecki vs. Chisago County

In March of 2016, Latonia Rolbiecki’s grandson was born at Fairview Hospital in Wyoming, Minnesota, his body riddled with the effects of his mother’s drug and alcohol abuse. The child was immediately placed into a foster home by the Chisago County Health and Human Services Department. 


Punitive Youth Justice Still Ignores Science in America, Report Says

Although the population of youth locked up in America plunged by two-thirds between 2000 and 2018, the country stubbornly continues to lead the world with its rate of 60 per 100,000, according to a new report.


Youth Sound Off: Best Reads of 2020

The year 2020 is almost over and what a year it has been! Several issues and events sparked major outrage and discussions about how those issues affect those who have experienced foster care, homelessness and juvenile incarceration around the world.


Top Stories of 2020: The Abolition Movement in Child Welfare

The killing of George Floyd, and the summer of protests that followed this tragedy, spurred new conversations about the appropriate role of law enforcement. Child welfare systems, which lack the lethal force component of law enforcement but do police communities with the ability to break up families, got no amnesty from the discussion. 


Top Stories of 2020: Drug Testing and Child Welfare

Two stories The Imprint covered in 2020 reflect the growing concern over how much influence drug testing has on child welfare system involvement. 

Lead Read: Texas legislators wanted to know why Taylor County’s child protective services was taking children into foster care at a rate far above the state average.

first birthday family first


Top Stories of 2020: Family First’s First Year

The Family First Prevention Services Act, the most consequential rewrite of federal child welfare policy in decades, was signed into law in 2018 and took effect at the end of 2019, making 2020 the first full year of effect.



Top Stories of 2020: ACES Questioned

California is ramping up a $140 million plan to screen many of the state’s children for adverse childhood experiences, often referred to as ACES. The idea was borne of a landmark study from the 1990s that traced several negative life outcomes in adulthood to trauma endured in childhood. But

Safe Families Children New York Illinois Anderson


Top Stories of 2020: Safe Families Expansion Draws Fire

David Anderson founded the Chicago-based Safe Families as a faith-based alternative to the child welfare system, designed to provide needed respite for parents in crisis. According to its website, Safe Families’ hosting model is “a positive alternative to the State child welfare system,” noting, “the voluntary and non-coercive nature of Safe Families is a hallmark of the program.”


Top Stories of 2020: California’s Juvenile Justice Revolution

America’s most populous state has put itself on a path to hand over all youth incarceration to local government, and its largest city is pondering a complete reimagining of what juvenile justice means. 

Youth Services Insider


‘Year Up’ Sets The Standard on Workforce Development

A gold standard study has found Year Up to have perhaps the strongest evidence to date in connecting youth and young adults to the workforce, perhaps setting the stage for increased investment in the model around the country. 


Foster Youth Film Channel Launches on IndieFlix Streaming Channel
Participants in Kids in the Spotlight film a scene. Photo courtesy of KITS

Los Angeles County is home to some of the most famous, glamorous people in the world. It’s also home to thousands of foster youth, some of the most traumatized, least visible of all.

Youth Services Insider


California Youth Connection Board Selects Staffer as Its New Director
Janay Eustace

California Youth Connection, one of the most respected foster youth advocacy organizations in the nation, has a new director after a six-month search. Turns out, the answer was in the office the whole time.

Youth Services Insider


Allegheny County Child Welfare Chief Marc Cherna to Retire

One of the most respected county human services directors in the country is calling it quits after a quarter-century of service to the children and families of Pennsylvania’s Allegheny County.

When Marc Cherna first came to work in Pittsburgh, Allegheny County’s child welfare system was floundering.


Washington State to Pay $2 Million to Settle Foster Care Case

Washington state this week agreed to pay $2 million to settle a case that alleged negligence in a foster care placement in which a girl claimed the state ignored her complaint of sexual abuse at the home for years.


Washington State Severs Ties With Residential Care Services Provider Sequel


Judge Formally Ends Oversight of 1985 Juvenile Justice Suit Against Washington, D.C.
The New Beginnings Youth Development Center, which replaced the infamous Oak Hill youth prison in 2009.

It only took 35 years, but the District of Columbia is now out from under a juvenile justice lawsuit that spanned seven mayoral administrations and generations of lawyers.

Youth Services Insider


Two New States Win Federal Approval of Family Preservation Plans

Two more states have joined the roster of states that can now use the federal child welfare entitlement to support services for families whose kids might otherwise be taken away and fall into the foster care system.


Settlement Expands Rights of Homeless and Runaway Youth in New York City
Illustration by Christine Ongjoco

A federal judge has greenlighted a class-action settlement that expands the right of homeless or runaway youth in New York City to access essential programs and services, including group home beds, mental health services and a chance to appeal expulsions they consider unfair.



Los Angeles Shares Model for Fighting Sex Trafficking of Minors

In 1996, about 1,000 delegates from 130 nations gathered in Stockholm to finally get serious about a global effort to curb a problem to which it had long turned a blind eye: the commercial sexual exploitation of children.



Engagement With Remote Learning Alarmingly Low Among New York City Disadvantaged Youth

Amid a fresh wave of coronavirus infections washing over New York City — a development that has reversed the city’s halting efforts to slowly ease more students back into the classroom — comes a new report finding that thousands of students “failed to connect” at all with remote learning opportunities last spring.


U.S. Justice Department: Discrimination Settlement a ‘Landmark’ Moment for Disabled Parents

Massachusetts must stop its yearslong practice of using “unsupported stereotypes” to justify taking away the children of parents with disabilities, under a settlement that the U.S. Justice Department said should serve as a warning to other states.

Youth Services Insider


Decision Backing Conversion Therapy Inches Controversy Closer to U.S. Supreme Court

A federal appellate court last week struck down local bans in Florida on psychotherapy aimed at changing the sexual identity or orientation of minors.

The ruling increases the odds of the “conversion therapy” issue ending up in the U.S.

Youth Services Insider


Criminal Justice: Bill Would Establish Parental Diversion Program in Federal Courts
Rep. Pramila Jayapaul (D-Washington) and Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) introduced federal legislation that would allow federal judges to sentence parents and caregivers to probation with a range of services instead of prison time.
Youth Services Insider


Ohio Still Shortchanging Relative Caregivers Despite Court Order, Complaint Charges

Three years after a federal appeals court ordered Ohio to pay those who assume custody of relatives the same amount it pays licensed foster parents, the Buckeye State continues to severely shortchange kinship caregivers, according to a lawsuit seeking to enforce the order.

Youth Services Insider


New Jersey Sending Coronavirus Relief Checks to Older Foster Youth
Illustration by Christine Ongjoco

Congress hasn’t been able to get together on a new coronavirus relief package for months, but at least some money from a previous one is on the way to nearly 1,200 transition-age foster youth in the state of New Jersey.

Youth Services Insider


Juvenile Justice System Groups Picked for Training in Positive Youth Development

A leading philanthropy this week announced the next group of organizations to receive training aimed at encouraging juvenile justice professionals to embrace and spread the principles of positive youth development.

In the view of the reformers, frontline staff should be less concerned with sternly enforcing rules to keep kids in line and more about building on the strengths and assets that they and their families bring to the table.


Federal Settlement Protects Disabled Young Detainees’ Right to Special Education Services

For more than a decade, hundreds of disabled students locked up in a large Georgia jail have not been getting the special education services they’re entitled to under federal law, but that may soon start to change.


COVID-19 Prevention Measures Lacking in California Youth Prisons

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Federal Oversight May Return to Horizon Juvenile Center in the Bronx
Starting in Octobe 2018, New York City stopped using Rikers Island’s jails to detain juveniles, instead using the Horizon Juvenile Center in the Bronx (pictured).

Limited federal oversight looks likely to return to New York City’s Horizon Juvenile Center, a move that comes a few months after the city phased responsibility for some kids at the center out of the hands of its Department of Correction.


Pandemic Made Existing Challenges Worse for LGBTQ Foster Youth, Report Says

A new report highlights the ways that the coronavirus pandemic has heightened the risk for LGBTQ youth in foster care. It then recommends steps that child welfare agencies, states and the federal government can take to curtail those risks.

juvenile justice youth raise the age new york justice cuomo lancman acs


Federal Court Monitor: Violence Still Rampant in New York City Jails, Detention Centers
Starting in Octobe 2018, New York City stopped using Rikers Island’s jails to detain juveniles, instead using the Horizon Juvenile Center in the Bronx (pictured).

New York City has utterly failed to reduce the rate of “unnecessary and excessive use of force” against people who are locked up in city jails and youth detention, according to a court-appointed monitor’s latest six-month report to a federal judge.


Connecticut Uses Coronavirus Relief to Provide Foster Parent Back Pay
Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont (D). Photo courtesy of governor’s office

Foster parents in Connecticut will receive a retroactive $100-a-month pay bump after the governor and the state child welfare agency decided to peel off about $1.1 million in federal COVID-19 relief funds for that purpose.


Building Resilience: Group Pushes for Looser Neglect Laws, More Child Autonomy

Child neglect laws are far too broad in many states and should be changed to make it easy, safe and legal for parents to decide when their children can benefit from appropriate parental independence, according to a group that contends today’s “helicopter” parenting style is bad for children and society.


Grant Aims to Reduce Youth Homelessness in New York’s Snow Belt
Photo: Giving Compass

With winter bearing down on Buffalo and the rest of the Great Lakes Snow Belt, a preseason flurry of good news has fallen for homeless youth in western New York state.Almost

Youth Services Insider


Mississippi Child Welfare Agency Gets New Leader

Andrea Sanders, credited with cleaning up the Mississippi Department of Human Services in the wake of a scandal earlier this year, is Republican Gov. Tate Reeves’ choice to head the state’s Department of Child Protection Services.

Youth Services Insider


New York City’s New Human Services Chief Has Deep Roots in Child Welfare

New York City’s newly named official in charge of health and human services comes with professional experience that neither of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s recent appointees for the position has had: deep roots in child welfare issues.


Federal Judge Rejects Trump Food Stamp Rule

A federal judge on Sunday threw out a Trump Administration proposal that would have cut food stamps to 700,000 Americans, including many foster youths aging out of care, at the end of the coronavirus emergency, which has put millions out of work.


Kids Accounting for Greater Share of COVID-19 Cases
Diagram image of coronavirus. Image:

Children accounted for a rising share of all American COVID-19 cases as some U.S. schools gingerly welcomed students back to the classroom this summer and fall, according to a new report by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children’s Hospital Association. 


PPE Shortage was Child Welfare Workers’ Biggest Need in Early Weeks of Pandemic

Adding to the growing wave of research emerging from the early days of the novel coronavirus, the results of a survey of professionals in justice and child welfare agencies show that, like health care workers, they faced a harrowing shortage of masks, gloves and other personal protective equipment.

Arizona flag and gavel. Photo:


Arizona Tentatively Settles Major Federal Foster Care Lawsuit

Children in Arizona’s foster care system are in line for better access to a range of health care services and living situations after a federal judge on Wednesday tentatively approved a settlement with the state in a 5-year-old case that seems to have already forced major changes in the system. 

Children's Movement


Children’s Movement Pushes Newsom on Children’s Health

The Medi-Cal program is failing children, and the state must urgently make managed health care plans accountable, a large coalition of youth advocacy groups said Tuesday in a letter to the Administration of California Gov.

Youth Services Insider


Washington State Gets Federal OK on Foster Care Prevention Plan

The U.S. Children’s Bureau on Friday greenlighted Washington state’s plan to spend federal funds to provide services to families whose children might otherwise be taken away and placed in foster care.


First 5 LA Issues Progress Report on Early Childhood in Los Angeles

Groups interested in understanding the current state of early childhood in Los Angeles County now have access to a new and vast amount of data they can mine to make informed decisions about how best to design and deliver social programs.


Harvard Report: Amid Pandemic, Little Financial Slack Left for Households With Kids

As Washington worked this week to craft the latest, long-promised and long-delayed coronavirus relief package, the Harvard School of Public Health and its partners have released a report painting a dire picture of how American households with children are faring financially amid the health and economic crises.


Riverside Families Seek Reimbursement for Illegal Juvenile Jail Fees

The families of children in Riverside County juvenile detention went to court Monday seeking reimbursement of millions of dollars in fees their lawyers say were illegally charged. 

The Western Center on Law & Poverty and the National Center for Youth Law, representing the locked-up youths’ families, filed an amended complaint in their existing lawsuit against the county, charging that although Riverside stopped collecting the administrative fees in April, that was not sufficient.


New Study Confirms Risk of Prenatal Cannabis Use

A new study on mothers’ use of marijuana during pregnancy found links to a small increase in the child’s risk of developing a range of problems, including psychopathology, low birth weight and sleep problems.

Youth Services Insider


Ohio Senate Seeks Ban on Life Without Parole for Juveniles

Ohio made a strong move Wednesday toward becoming the 24th state to ban sentences of life without parole for crimes committed when the defendant was a juvenile.

The handful or two of people already serving such sentences in Ohio, and a number of others serving de facto life sentences, could be eligible for parole if the bill is passed by the Ohio House and signed into law.


L.A. County, Foster Advocates Reach Settlement of 18-Year-Old Mental Health Court Case

After 17 years of operating under a consent decree, Los Angeles County has reached an agreement to extricate itself from a long-running federal lawsuit that sought to address gaps in mental health care services for children in foster care in California.


Foster Youth and Alumni Speak Up for Special Groups Among Them

Foster youth often feel misunderstood and marginalized by society as a whole. Within the larger foster youth community, however, certain groups must deal with even more stress. Those groups, and how to help them build fulfilling lives, are the subjects of the latest set of policy recommendations by the National Foster Care Youth and Alumni Policy Council.



‘The Forgotten Students’: Report Calls on Congress to Help Hard-hit Foster Youth on Campus

The COVID-19 pandemic is threatening to crush the college dreams of thousands of people who will soon be aging out of foster care, and Congress must take urgent steps to avoid these devastating outcomes, according to a report being released this week.

Youth Services Insider


Missouri Tigers Football Players Tackle Foster Care Prevention
Missouri’s football team will help Care Portal steer support to families in crisis. Photo courtesy of Athlon Sports

This weekend’s football season opener against the Alabama Crimson Tide hasn’t been the only thing on the minds of the Missouri Tigers of late.

Youth Services Insider


U.S. Appeals Court: Retaining Unfounded Abuse Reports in Database Is Justified

A federal appellate court ruled late last week that Los Angeles County did not violate a man’s due process and privacy rights when it retained a closely held record of unfounded allegations of child sexual abuse against him – without providing him notice or an opportunity to challenge the allegations.



Study Shows Why Quality Legal Representation is Key in Parent/Child Reunions

Last year, New York researchers determined that when parents have a child in foster care and are represented by teams of lawyers working in tandem with social workers and parent advocates, they were reunited with their child about four months sooner than those who were represented by a solo practitioner.

Youth Services Insider


National Center for Youth Law Hires New Deputy Director

The National Center for Youth Law is bringing in a longtime fighter for child, youth and community justice as the Oakland, California-based organization’s second in command.

Shakti Belway, a graduate of Stanford University’s law school like the center’s director, Jesse Hahnel, brings with her deep experience in community law, litigation, direct representation, policy development, legislative reform and strategic mobilization.


Reckoning on Equity Necessary After Coronavirus, Report Says

The devastation that the coronavirus has piled on communities that have long suffered under the weight of racism and poverty – along with the fallout from a national uprising against police brutality – has also given rise to an opportunity for historic change in Los Angeles County and beyond, according to a new research report.

Youth Services Insider


Residential Care Giant Devereux Hires ex-U.S. Attorney General Lynch to Audit Child Safety Practices
President Barack Obama announces his nominee for Attorney General, Loretta E. Lynch, to succeed Eric Holder, in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Saturday, Nov. 8, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

One of the nation’s largest residential care providers announced last week it has hired former U.S.


Youth-Oriented Drug-Fighting Grants Up for Grabs in California

When California voters easily approved the adult recreational use of cannabis in 2016, there were what might be called high hopes for the tax revenue, then projected to one day total $1 billion annually.


California Issues Guidelines for School-Based Special Education

Aiming to bring some clarity to kids who need in-person, school-based services amid the coronavirus pandemic, as well as to anxious parents and staff, California health officials issued rules and guidelines last month for how that might be done safely.


Georgia Dissolves Child Abuse and Neglect Registry

Georgia will no longer maintain its child abuse registry, which launched four years ago to help investigators quickly identify and locate substantiated cases and keep tabs on the scale of the problem. 


Children’s Defense Fund Announces Historic Leadership Change
Marian Wright Edelman, founder of the Children’s Defense Fund, is retiring later this year and will become President Emerita

One of America’s most prominent child welfare groups, the Children’s Defense Fund, is saying goodbye to co-founder and longtime leader Marian Wright Edelman, and welcoming a new CEO at this crucial time in history.

Youth Services Insider


Pilot Programs Aim to Boost Future Parents’ Sense of Responsibility

Eight states are developing pilot programs to educate young expecting parents about their  responsibilities, including how to manage their finances, emotions and relationships.

The grant money for the programs will come from the federal Office of Child Support Enforcement, part of the Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Children and Families.

Youth Services Insider


Bill Would Strengthen Oral Health Coverage for U.S. Foster Youth

Foster youth would benefit from stronger access to dental health coverage under a bipartisan bill recently introduced in Congress.  

Foster youth already are entitled to dental coverage through Medicaid, but according to bill author Rep.


Youth Recommendations Target Race Bias in Foster Care in Oregon

As protests against police violence against Black people played out this summer in Portland, some current and former foster youth in Oregon – disproportionately people of color – were thinking of how they might rid the foster care system of systemic racial bias.


L.A. Homeless Youth Numbers Jump 19% Compared with 2019 – Before The Pandemic

Months before coronavirus appeared, youth homelessness in greater Los Angeles soared almost 19% from the previous annual point-in-time survey, according to results released Thursday, as regional efforts to house this vulnerable population failed to keep pace with the growing need.


New Rule Puts Some Head Start Agencies Under Pressure to Improve

The federal government is hoping to improve the quality of local Head Start agencies’ programs by refining how it determines when grantees are falling short and must be thrown into competition for ongoing funding.


Social Worker’s Death Due to COVID Prompts Union Calls for Additional Measures
Social worker Ronda Felder died from the coronavirus, causing a call to action to protect other social workers.

The death of a San Diego County social worker has led her colleagues to call on the county to do more to protect them from the coronavirus, which they say the woman caught in the field.


Florida Student Researchers to Dig Deep in Juvenile Justice Data

In exchange for helping Florida’s Department of Juvenile Justice research and develop its next wave of innovations through internships and employment opportunities, some students from the historically Black Bethune-Cookman University will get an inside track for careers at the department.

Youth Services Insider


Two National Child Welfare-Focused Organizations Announce Merger

Two significant organizations in the fields of social, health and human services have agreed in principle to a merger early next year. 

The boards of the Milwaukee-based Alliance for Strong Families and Communities and the New York City-based Council on Accreditation announced Tuesday that they had signed a nonbinding letter of intent to combine forces if due diligence, now underway, doesn’t surface any unforeseen issues. 


Wisconsin Juvenile Justice Plan Hits New Snag

Wisconsin’s plans to overhaul its juvenile justice system by building new lockups closer to juvenile offenders’ families and communities suffered a new blow this week when the state’s two largest counties declined millions of dollars in state funds for construction.


House Democratic Report Rips Waiver Allowing LGBTQ Discrimination

Two significant developments occurred this week that have the potential to shape the limits of how far faith-based, publicly funded child welfare agencies can go in selectively choosing what foster or adoptive parents they are willing to work with.

Youth Services Insider


Penn State Develops Algorithm to Assess Substance Abuse Risk in Homeless Youth

Researchers think they’ve come up with a cutting-edge way to predict the likelihood of a given homeless youth running into trouble with substance abuse – and to devise individualized rehab strategies for those who nevertheless develop a disorder.


Bill Would Dial Back Prices for Phone Calls, Canteen Items in Jails, Juvenile Lockups

It’s not cheap to keep people in California’s county-run jails and juvenile lockups.

So the law allows sheriffs to run commissary stores inside and to charge the residents to make outside phone calls, then tap the profits “primarily” to pay for programs and services that benefit the incarcerated people. 


Most States Require Some Youth To Be on Sex Offender Registries

Forty-two states permit some youth to be included on their sex-offender registry, even though research shows that only small fractions of juvenile sex offenders recidivate as adults, according to the Juvenile Law Center.


Religious Discrimination Case Moves Forward in South Carolina

A Catholic mother’s lawsuit alleging bedrock religious discrimination by South Carolina’s largest child-placement agency with the blessing of state and federal officials may proceed, a federal judge ruled this week, rejecting calls to throw out her case.

Youth Services Insider


Congressional Watchdog Says Feds Should Be More Proactive on Kinship Care

Relative caregivers are parenting 2.7 million American children in kinship care. This group of caregivers often goes without critical support that is available, sometimes to the detriment of their own well-being, according to a new audit by the congressional watchdog agency.


Bay Area DA Calls for Closure of Juvenile Hall, Investing in Community Alternatives

Less than a week after joining dozens of other prosecutors, corrections officials and probation chiefs in signing an open letter calling for the closure of all youth prisons, one California district attorney took her first official step toward doing just that in her own county.

Youth Services Insider
Friends Mentoring


National Youth Mentoring Model Faces Rigorous Final Test
Los Angeles Friend Marquis spending one-on-one time at the playground with his youths. Photo: Friends of the Children—Los Angeles

A federal grant will allow for the completion of a major study on the effect of long-term professional mentoring on at-risk youth. 

Youth Services Insider
Dave Thomas, founder of Wendy's and The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption. Photo: The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption


Michigan Latest State to Target Adoption of Older Foster Youth
Wendy’s Founder Dave Thomas. Photo courtesy of the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption

Statistics show that the longer kids are in foster care, the harder it is to place them permanently in a loving home.

Kansas DCF


Federal Audit Slams Kansas Child Welfare System

Federal auditors recently faulted Kansas’ Department for Children and Families for allowing residents of its foster care group homes to be chronically exposed to potentially hazardous conditions, even though the state regularly inspected the facilities.

Youth Services Insider


Point Source Youth to Expand Footprint in Fight Against Youth Homelessness
Larry Cohen Point Source Youth Third Annual Symposium to End Youth Homelessness. Photo courtesy of the organization

Point Source Youth, a nonprofit that helps local partners in 30 communities fight to prevent youth homelessness, is preparing to meet a key organizational goal by expanding its work into 20 more communities across the country.

Montgomery child welfare bill new york


Bill Prioritizes Placing Incarcerated Parents Close to Children

The 80,000 children of New York state whose parents are locked up in distant state correctional institutions might have an easier time visiting mom or dad under a bill sitting on Gov.


Family Enrichment Centers Show Early Promise in New York City, Evaluation Reports

New York City’s child welfare agency launched a bold small experiment in 2018: Three new community rooms deep in the city’s most under-resourced neighborhoods would offer comfy, staffed spaces for families to seek no-strings-attached advice and support, computer access, meeting space or children’s playtime, all at no cost.


Missouri Child Welfare Overhaul Includes Kinship Diversion, Access to Birth Documents

Missouri has made it easier for an adult relative to temporarily look after the children of kin without legally removing them into foster care.

That’s one of several substantive changes to the state’s child welfare system that Gov.


Arizona Child Welfare Investigators Fired for ‘Professional Kidnapper’ T-Shirts

Several county workers investigating allegations of abuse and neglect in some of Arizona’s most struggling communities were reportedly fired last month, after they wore bright pink T-shirts to work declaring themselves a “professional kidnapper.”

Youth Services Insider


Federal Grant to Fund Behavioral Health Services for At-risk Youth

A federal grant of up $12 million will allow Kentucky to provide comprehensive behavioral health and social services for almost 1,500 children and youth in the state’s child welfare system.

The four-year grant of up to $3 million a year is intended to improve long-term outcomes for youth through age 21.


Advocates Propose New Deal-style Assistance for Transitional Foster Youth

California lawmakers may have helped older foster youth from some of the immediate ravages of the coronavirus pandemic in the state’s recently passed budget, but the San Francisco-based Youth Law Center says it’s time to look forward and start planning now for long-term recovery strategies.


New York City Adoption Agency You Gotta Believe Hires New Leader

You Gotta Believe, a pioneer in the field of finding permanent families for young adults, teens and pre-teens in foster care, has a new leader, allowing the former director, Mary Keane, to return to her first love, program work, after three years at the helm of the nonprofit agency.

Youth Services Insider


Bar Association Report: Funding Shifts Greatly Affect Legal Counsel for Kids, Parents

Research has shown that quality legal representation on behalf of all parties in the child welfare system improves the outcome for children and families alike. But until now, little research has been conducted on just how funding affects the ability to provide quality legal services.

Youth Services Insider


CHAMPS Report Finds States Struggling with Foster Parent Recruitment

The recruitment and retention of foster parents — a critical but often overlooked aspect of development for children in foster care — has never been easy, and the coronavirus pandemic has made it perhaps harder than ever, according to a new report from CHAMPS, a national policy campaign that focuses on promoting high-quality foster parenting.

Kansas DCF


Lawsuit: Kansas Agrees to Ambitious Foster Care Reforms

Kansas has agreed to a slate of dramatic changes to its child welfare system aimed at ending housing and mental health failures that destabilize youth in foster care.

Child advocates who brought the civil rights lawsuit in 2018 said it was past time to end what they called “state-sanctioned homelessness.”

Youth Services Insider


What Works to Fight Youth Homelessness? We Don’t Know Much, Review Finds

A comprehensive new review of programs and practices aimed at tackling youth homelessness did not identify a silver bullet but rather suggested some promising areas for further study — and a crying need for more and better evidence of what works.

Fair Futures New York City foster youth foster care ron richter oped


Funding Increased, Not Cut, For New York City Foster Youth Mentor Program

New York City child welfare advocates are cheering a budget agreement that spares deep funding cuts from a program providing mentors for thousands of foster youth.

The program, known as Fair Futures, was slated for significant cuts last week, when the city adopted an $88 billion budget that was deeply constrained by the economic fallout from the coronavirus.

Youth Services Insider


Foundation Puts $12.5 Million Up to End Black Youth Criminalization in Oakland

Akonadi Foundation, an Oakland-based family grant maker, has announced a five-year, $12.5 million effort to end the criminalization of Black youth and other youth of color in Oakland.

Akonadi, which has been focused on fighting structural racism for two decades, selected 11 local grassroots organizations to receive funding for various projects under the project’s umbrella name of All in for Oakland.


UPDATED: North Carolina Get-Tough Bill on Drug Exposed Newborns Passes, But Vetoed by Governor

Last week, the North Carolina legislature sent a bill to Gov. Roy Cooper (D) that would make it easier and faster to put babies born exposed to drugs and alcohol on a path to adoption, cutting off efforts to return them to their parents.

Youth Services Insider


Iowa Law to Test the Benefit of Early Legal Help in Child Welfare Cases

Iowa aims to find out if giving families in crisis early access to lawyers would improve outcomes, rather than being assigned a public defender only after a child is removed and enters the foster care system. 

Youth Services Insider


New Director, New Directions for Family Focused Treatment Association

Consonant with its expanded approach to developing, promoting and supporting children in the child welfare system, the recently renamed Family Focused Treatment Association has hired its first executive director to lead the nonprofit’s transition to tackling a broader mandate under a new, landmark federal law.

Youth Services Insider


International Study Recommends Phase-Out of Institutions for Children

A major new review of the effects of raising children in institutions — and the effects of getting those children into family-based care — concludes that institutionalization should be phased out.

Youth Services Insider


In a First, Parent Successfully Appeals Michigan Judge’s Removal of Child to Foster Care

A Michigan parent on Thursday became the state’s first to successfully appeal a judge’s decision to remove a child into foster care, a ruling that the family’s advocates hailed as “an important first step” toward ensuring that judges don’t put families through the trauma of separation without showing sufficient cause.

Youth Services Insider


CarePortal Aims to Connect Churches with Families Caught in COVID-19 Crisis

A new online portal will help children and families in crisis because of the COVID-19 pandemic more easily get help from local churches.

When human services agencies who enroll on the CarePortal hear from someone who needs help, they can log on to the portal and post the relevant information about that need, and churches in the immediate area with the ability to help can do so.


Youth Services Workers Implore De Blasio to Restore Summer Programs

Hoping to capitalize on mounting political pressure to defund the New York Police Department, nearly 2,000 of New York City’s youth services workers are calling on Mayor Bill de Blasio to reverse his plan to cut $175 million from the city’s youth-oriented summer programs, which serve more than 175,000 youth.


Los Angeles Drops Need for Court Appearance for Uncontested Adoptions During Court Closures

Hundreds of uncontested adoptions in Los Angeles County have been hung up at the final stage since the coronavirus slowed in-person court appearances to a crawl, but that’s about to change.

Youth Services Insider


Pioneer in Juvenile Justice Retiring in Vermont

 Ken Schatz, who as commissioner of the Vermont Department for Children and Families pushed for the shut down of the state’s only remaining juvenile prison, is retiring at the end of the month after serving in the post since 2014 and will be replaced by Deputy Commissioner Sean Brown.

Youth Services Insider


Anti-Poverty Grants Fund Platforms for Youth Voices

Advocates for the poor have long argued that most Americans’ assumptions about people who live in poverty are mostly wrong. If only, they say, Americans could see the world from the point of view of those who experience it every day, they might gain a more truer and more sympathetic understanding of the complex issues involved.


Progress Reported on LGBTQ Inclusion by Child Welfare Agencies

The number of child welfare agencies working to create a more welcoming experience for thousands of LGBTQ foster youth took a big jump in the past year, according to a report released Thursday by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation. 


Democrats Seek Answers From Justice Department on Juvenile Detainees Amid Virus Crisis

A group of Democratic senators wants to know what, if anything, the Trump administration has done to help state and local juvenile justice agencies comply with basic standards of care for youth locked up amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Youth Services Insider


Congressional Internship for Foster Youth Forced to Go Remote

The coronavirus pandemic has affected seemingly everything, and the 20th annual congressional summer internship program for former foster youth is no exception.

For the first time in the history of the Foster Youth Internship Program, familiarly known as FYI, participants in the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute’s program will take place not in Washington, D.C.,


Survey Underway on Foster Youth Experience During Coronavirus

Foster care researchers in San Francisco are surveying as many current and recent American foster youth as they can to find out what they need and want in the age of the coronavirus and beyond. 


Immigrant Rights Group Issues Guidance on Family Reunification Process Amid Coronavirus

COVID-19 has complicated the process of reuniting immigrant families with their children when a parent with an ongoing child welfare case is either in ICE custody in the U.S. or has been deported.


ARCHIVED: Coronavirus, Child Welfare and Juvenile Justice, A Running Thread

This thread includes all of The Imprint’s stories and articles on the coronavirus and its impact on children, youth and families published between March 13 and April 10.

For our continuing coverage of the pandemic and how it is changing child welfare and juvenile justice, visit: