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New ACYF Projects Promote Integrated Approach in Child Welfare

Photo of a Hispanic boy.While most of the world celebrated the beginning of the new year on the first of January, 2013 began for the Administration on Children, Youth, and Families (ACYF) in October of 2012. With the beginning of the fiscal year, ACYF kicked off a new round of grants, cooperative agreements, and demonstration projects to promote social and emotional well-being, along with safety and permanency, for children and youth who come to the attention of the child welfare system.

More than $46 million in fiscal year 2012 funds (ACYF disburses discretionary funds at the end of the fiscal year) went to states, universities, and nonprofit organizations around the country to test innovative approaches to improving outcomes for children who are in or at risk of entering foster care and their families.

Many of these projects focus on better identifying and treating trauma, including maltreatment and exposure to violence. They emphasize increased access to trauma and mental health screening, comprehensive and functional assessment, and evidence-based psychosocial interventions to improve well-being outcomes. Lasting two to five years, each project aims to meaningfully address some of the unique challenges faced by children, youth, and families involved with child welfare, ranging from barriers to school stability to ongoing and unmet trauma needs.

Additionally, nine states were granted the ability to use some of their federal child welfare funds flexibly to carry out child abuse and neglect demonstration projects. Over the next five years, these nine states will work to transform the way they deliver child welfare services with the goal of dramatically improving outcomes for children and families. Several states will work with children and families in need to prevent foster care placement; others will target children and youth in foster care and their families to support a quick and successful move to reunification, guardianship, or adoption. Just like many of ACYF’s grantees, most of these states will also pay particular attention to indicators of child and family well-being as they carry out their demonstration projects.

The goal of all of these grants, cooperative agreements, and demonstration projects is to better integrate the promotion of social and emotional well-being with efforts to ensure that children and youth are safe and living in nurturing, supportive families. Click here to learn more about ACYF’s aim to weave well-being throughout its work, along with details about each of the projects approved in fiscal year 2012.

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