- The Risk and Prevention of Maltreatment of Children with Disabilities
Child abuse and neglect can affect any child, but children with disabilities are at greater risk of maltreatment than children without disabilities. This bulletin for professionals by the Child Welfare Information Gateway, describes the scope of the problem, risk factors, and strategies for prevention. It is divided into two sections, Background and Research and Promising Practices. The first section examines the problem in terms of the statistics and research and highlights what might be happening with the families you serve. The second section offers tips to identify and assess abuse and neglect in children with disabilities, respond collaboratively, and locate training resources. (March 2012)
- Older Youth with Disabilities in Foster Care
This brief, by The Center for Advanced Studies in Child Welfare, highlights the experiences of older youth with disabilities in Minnesota and their intersection with the child welfare system. The findings and recommendations are based on the dissertation research of Katharine Hill, PhD, Assistant Professor at the University of St. Thomas School of Social Work and Consulting Researcher with the Center for Advanced Studies in Child Welfare. (2012)
- Youth with Disabilities in the Foster Care System: Barriers to Success and Proposed Policy Solution
Youth with disabilities who are also in the foster care system are one of the most vulnerable populations in the United States. The purpose of this report from The National Council on Disability (NCD) is to provide policymakers, primarily at the federal and state levels, with information about youth with disabilities in foster care, so that policymakers can begin to understand the characteristics of this population; the challenges they face; how they fare with regard to safety, permanency, self-determination and self-sufficiency, enhanced quality of life, and community integration; and, how the complex array of existing programs and services could be better designed to improve these outcomes. This report sheds light on the poor outcomes of youth with disabilities in foster care, especially with regard to education, employment, and other indicators of well-being. While the federal investment in the multiple systems with which these youth come in contact is significant, the disconnectedness and lack of coordination across programs and agencies call into question the effectiveness of government efforts. The report therefore describes various policy recommendations for federal and state policymakers. (2008)
- Interviewing Children with Disabilities
This resource from the Northern California Training Academy provides a definition of developmental disability and addresses the following topics: Primary areas of disrupted communication; adaptations for communication difficulties; considerations for differences in communication; tips for working with deaf or hard of hearing children; and, tips for working with blind or visually impaired children. (2008)
- Foster Children and the IDEA: The Fox Guarding the Henhouse
This article from Florida Coastal School of Law examines the challenges that face foster children in education generally, and more specifically the challenges faced by children in foster care who have disabilities that affect them educationally. (2008)
- Youth in Foster Care with Disabilities
The following publications from Portland State University Regional Research Institute address issues concerning young people with disabilities who are in foster care:
- Forgotten Children: A Case for Action for Children with Disabilities
Children's Rights and United Cerebral Palsy conducted a comprehensive review of the literature, and issues this report, which indicates that at least one-third of the children and youth in American foster care systems today may have disabilities. The report also identifies several promising approaches for states. (2006)
- Impact: Feature Issue on Children with Disabilities in the Child Welfare System
When children with disabilities and their families become involved with the child welfare system – with child protective services and/or permanency services – there is often a steep learning curve for the system as to how to best serve them. As complex as the needs are of any child removed from his or her family because of abuse or neglect, or because the family is unable to continue caring for the child, the needs of children with disabilities are even more complicated because they involve multiple systems – the disability services and child welfare services systems. These two systems don’t necessarily communicate with each other in a way that supports their work on behalf of children with disabilities who have been removed from their family home or who are at risk for such removal, and they may not have adequate access to expertise in one another’s areas of focus. This Impact issue examines the presence and needs of children with disabilities who are in the child welfare system, barriers to be addressed by the two systems and those who work in them, and strategies for moving forward in better meeting the needs of such children and their families. Published by the Institute on Community Integration. (2005/06)
- How Social Workers Help: Children with Disabilities in the Child Welfare System
Work with highly vulnerable populations such as children with disabilities requires specially trained and cared-for social workers. This article from Social Work Today is written for professions to better understand the needs of this population. This article is divided into six sections: Children with Disabilities in the Child Welfare System, Special Needs, Special Training, Death and Dying, Nontraditional Techniques, and Caring for the Caregivers.
- SSI Spotlight On SSI Benefits For Disabled Or Blind Youth In Foster Care
This section of the U.S. Social Security Administration website addresses the question, “Is there a way to apply for SSI (supplemental security income) before my anticipated release from foster care?” and lists the requirements for a disabled youth transitioning out of foster care to file an SSI application. (2013)
Resources from the States
Passage from Youth to Adulthood
A partnership between the Advocacy Center for Persons with Disabilities and Florida’s Children First, Inc., has produced this guide to services and information for Florida youth with disabilities who are transitioning from foster care to independent living. Passage From Youth to Adulthood provides practical information on the legal rights of students with disabilities as they transition to adulthood.
Serving Children with Disabilities in the Child Welfare System: Barriers and Strategies
There are a number of barriers to providing services to children and youth with disabilities in the child welfare system. This article by Elizabeth Lightfoot and Traci LaLiberte from University of Minnesota describes three that have the greatest impact: the need for greater disability competence on the part of child welfare service providers, the need to overcome systemic barriers, and the need for increased empirical knowledge. While there is limited research into best practices for serving children with disabilities and their families who are involved in the child welfare system, there are some important positive strategies that are being successfully used in a number of locations to address these barriers; this article presents three such strategies.
- New Jersey:
Special Education and Foster Care
This issue of the Children's Legal Bulletin looks at the educational rights of children in foster care with disabilities in New Jersey. It is posted on the Kidlaw website from the Association for Children of New Jersey's Children's Legal Resource Center. (Spring 2002)
- New York:
Child Abuse and Children with Disabilities
The New York State Office of Children and Family Services has developed a website for child welfare staff and others who work with children with disabilities who have been maltreated. The focus of the website is the Interviewing Strategies section, which incorporates general information, reference articles, points to consider, and video and audio clips to help professionals who interview children with different types of disabilities. Information on associated medical concerns and a listing of common jargon used in the field are also available.
Special Needs Resource Directory
The Center for Infants and Children with Special Needs at Cincinnati Children's offers resources and information to those interested in becoming a foster parent to a child with special health care needs.
Oregon Developmental Disability Services
The Oregon Department of Human Services, Seniors and People with Disabilities offers 24-hour out of home services for children with developmental disabilities who can no longer continue to live in their family's home. The various service sites are located in the communities throughout the state and are operated under contracts with state or county government.
Dependent Youth Aging Out of Foster Care in Pennsylvania: A Judicial Guide
This publication from the Juvenile Law Center provides the juvenile court with guidelines to help ensure that young people aging out of the foster care system will have access to the housing, health care, and educational/vocational opportunities they need to age out of care as self-sufficient, healthy, and productive adults. An overview of the laws and regulations that apply to older foster youth is included. Special sections discuss the rights and needs of youth with disabilities and youth with children. (2003)
Caring Communities for Children in Foster Care
This project is directed through the Parent Educational Advocacy Training Center (PEATC) of Virginia, funded by the Maternal Child Health Bureau Integrated Services Initiative with the American Academy of Pediatrics. In collaboration with Fairfax County, VA, Child Welfare Agencies, the Caring Communities project has been developing strategies and identifying "best practices" to increase comprehensive health care services for children in foster care.
- National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities
NICHCY is a national information and referral center providing information on disabilities and disability-related issues for families, educators, and other professionals. The Center's special focus is children and youth (birth to age 22). Services include personal responses to questions, publications, referrals, database and library searches, and materials in Spanish.
- National Center for Learning Disabilities
The National Center for Learning Disabilities works to ensure that the nation’s 15 million children, adolescents, and adults with learning disabilities have every opportunity to succeed in school, work, and life. This website offers a variety of resources, including guides, checklists, a screening tool, podcasts, newsletters, and more.