Healthy Development of Youth While in Foster Care Essay

a) Statement of the problem you are addressing

Healthy development of youth while in foster care is one of the primary concerns of the Child Welfare System because children, who have been neglected and suffered from abuse of their biological parents or caregivers. Children are the most vulnerable population because they are in the course of their formation. Their personality is under-developed, their knowledge about the world are very limited, they are dependent on adults. This is why they are vulnerable to the abuse from the part of adults, who exercise their authority as parents and may slip to abuse of children, violation of their rights or neglect. At the same time, there are parentless children, who have lost their biological parents or their parents were deprived of their parental rights because of the child neglect or abuse. As a result, children deprived of the parental care need foster care, but foster care raises new challenges since children have adapt to the life in the new environment with new people, who actually replace parents for them.

The foster care system in the United States provides safety, well-being, and protection for millions of children and youth entering the system as wards under the governmental custody and remains with foster families or family orphanages until they leave them at the age of 18 or are adopted. According to National Foster Youth Institute (2017), more than 250,000 children enter the foster care system in the United States a year.

The critical point here is that the system promises children a better life, an ocean of care, love, attention, safe and lovely families. However, sometimes, these words have no meaning. Get a foster placement right, and the effects on a child can be nothing short of miraculous, but when it goes wrong, the results can easily reinforce prior placement breakdowns, disrupt friendships in a new school and exacerbate emotional, behavioral and relationship problems (Michelson & Banerjea, 2016). More and more youth is prone to be a victim of sexual assault, maltreatment, and murder. In 2012, there were approximately 679,000 instances of confirmed child maltreatment from the over 3 million reports generated (NFYI, 2017).

Children are supposed to be placed in foster care because the maltreatment they face in their families that is severe, chronic, or unlikely to stop (Wildeman & Waldfogel, 2014). However, what should social workers do when the same cases happen within foster families? The lack of investigation and appropriate services lead to neglect of a foster child and unfavorable consequences for life, mental health, and future of a kid. The Child Welfare System has a plethora of foster care workers and counselors who endorse their commitment to youth by being engaged in their lives. Due to a vast amount of caseloads, social workers fail to fulfill their duties toward foster children, which lead to neglect, abuse, and even death within foster families.

Therefore, foster care has to be healthy and effective for the youth because its primary goal is to help children grow up in the healthy, positive environment, to reveal their full potential and to succeed in their life as they grow up. The primary task of foster care is to help children to uncover their potential and to find their way of life, to be healthy and happy as children. They have to come prepared to the adult life and the effectiveness of foster care defines the extent to which maltreated children come prepared to the adult life. Children, who have suffered from maltreatment from the part of their biological parents, need foster care that can help them to recover from their traumatic experience and turn back on the track of the healthy development in terms of their psychological development, social relations and academic success.

b) Statement of relevance of the problem to one or more Grand Challenges

The problem of the development of healthy youth while in foster care confronts several grand challenges. First, children in foster care need special care and attention because they have to recover from maltreatment they have experienced in the past. The psychological recovery of children after maltreatment is one of the major challenges to foster care.

Moreover, some children need to recover physical health because child abuse often involves the physical abuse and injuries, while in the most severe cases children may suffer disabilities. This is why the physical recovery may also be needed to address to contribute to the healthy development of children in foster care.

Another grand challenge of the healthy development of children in foster care is the development of education programs to help children to enhance their academic performance which is helpful for their recovery. Maltreated and neglected children often suffer from the backwardness in their academic development and they need to catch up with their peers in terms of their education and personal development as well.

The effective socialization of children in foster care is another grand challenge care givers have to address. The development of foster care requires the effective socialization of children because the negative experience of children evokes the problem of the traumatic experience that disrupts their social ties and develops the negative social experience. As a rule, neglected children and children, who have suffered from maltreatment, have substantial problems with socialization. They experience the elevated anxiety level. They have low trust level that prevents them from building up positive relations with other children and adults. They fail to develop effective social relations and suffer from social isolation. The restoration of the positive social experience and the effective socialization of children in foster care is one of the major challenges for foster care.

Finally, children in foster care face the problem of the development of new family relations. Foster families are different from biological parents of children. This is why they have to adapt to the life in the new family. At the same time, new families should take the full responsibility for children and provide them with care and attention they need. Foster care is even more challenging than conventional parental care because foster parents have to adapt to children, while children have to adapt to their foster parents. This process is different from conventional children-parents relations because children in foster care do not grow up with their foster parents from their birth. Instead, they have to adapt to the life with their foster parent and such adaptation is one of the greatest challenges because the failure of children to adapt to the life with foster parents can cause even greater psychological stress and problems than maltreatment or neglect they have already suffered in their past. To overcome these challenges, foster care needs effective and complex programs that can help care givers to facilitate the development of children and make their life happier and to lead the life other children lead.

c) Statement of your proposed solution to the problem

The innovation UMATTER focuses on useful training and advocacy for foster care workers.  UMATTER will create a curriculum to maintain the Child Welfare System liable. The significance of the innovation is addressing the issue and altering the entire strategic plan in social work. By not doing so, foster care workers may harbor feelings of impuissance. As a result, fatigue may form the inadequate perspective of the case and impede their commitment and ability to sort out the situation of foster youth rationally.

Through comprehensive reform campaigns, Children Rights (CR) is pushing states to provide caseworkers with an essential foundation of robust training programs, manageable caseloads, well-functioning computer systems, and resources to help kids and families (Children Rights, 2014). UMATTER is a vital solution regarding social workers and foster children. One cannot expect to take a child out of his/her home, put in a new shelter, and forget about a child hoping he/she will thrive. This is where the social workers come in as they can provide supports and services, but a social worker can only access existing resources in a community (NFYI, 2017).

UMATTER’s central policy is to receive grants to lobby legislators to impose policies so that foster care workers will not obtain more than fifteen of the caseload. BASW’s 2012 State of Social Work survey revealed that 85% of social workers had experienced notable cuts to services in the previous 12 months, with 77% concerned about unmanageable caseloads (Hardy, 2015). Due to such policy, they will be able to meet the needs of the youth while in foster care. Additionally, UMATTER will provide a comparative analysis of how the rate of diminished caseloads springs the safety and well-being of foster care children.

d) Explanation of why you selected that particular solution, including potential major barriers and facilitators to implement the solution and how it is the best solution for the chosen problem considering the setting or context (e.g., external environment, organization, or agency) in which implementation will occur

2. Proposed strategy to facilitate implementation of the solution

The Expert Recommendations for Implementing Change (ERIC) in Table 15.1 of Brownson et al (2nd edition) to compile your implementation strategy. Make certain you explain why you selected the particular implementation strategy you did

The strategy is to create a practice wheel of assessments for child welfare workers. Young people can tell the difference between an overworked, poorly trained caseworker, and someone who is adequately supported by a child welfare system (Children Rights, 2014). It comprises:

  • involving professionals to acknowledge the need for appropriate emotional assistance;
  • uniting child welfare leaders to make systemic transformations within agencies;
  • teaming with useful educational programs about traumatic stress to assist professionals in preparing these situations;
  • providing STS’s knowledge and practice in the curriculum within higher education;
  • assessing foster care workers annually for mental stability;
  • merging the outcomes of the assessments into a self-care plan regarding physical, emotional, and psychological support;
  • launching and controlling the interventions;
  • evaluating the efficacy of the innovational program according to the established timeline.

The interventions will be designed not only for the crisis but ongoing purposes. Early recognition of mental health difficulties and timely evidence-based interventions can go a long way toward alleviating poor outcomes in late childhood and adolescence (Michelson & Banerjea, 2016). Therefore, the wheel will help to enhance the lives of foster care workers to reduce caseloads, stress, and stigma of neglect and inadequate services.

Foster care professionals often face caseloads, which lead to terrible outcomes for foster children. As a result, social workers are prone to get psychological trauma and stress. The lack of support for child protection workers is a serious issue across the country (Children Rights, 2014). Thus UMATTER’s initial mission is to create a 501c3 organization designed within the Department of Social Services to provide appropriate training and in-depth assessment for child welfare workers. Often when workers are spread too thin, they fail to link kids with permanent families, children are not visited, they are put in inappropriate homes and the risk of abuse and neglect increases (Children Rights, 2014).

Admittedly, training and bound between social workers and foster children should be the number one priority; thus they need to have a limited amount of cases and pay close attention to children in foster families. In other words, the mission of the organization is to implement and toughen partnership to guarantee the healthy development of youth, strengthen their family’s bond, and support a sound environment while in foster care. Personal attributes of foster like tolerance, persistence, flexibility, and kindness are linked with more stable placements; older and more experienced foster parents also tend to provide more stability (Michelson & Banerjea, 2016).

3. Logic model linking problem to solution with implementation of the changes

The logic model linking the problem of the healthy development of youth in foster care with the implementation of the proposed changes involves several key steps. The logical model involves the process components and outcome components. The process components consist of inputs, which include resources needed for the training of foster care and foster workers to obtain the proper training and to enhance their professional skills and improve their performance. The allocation of financial resources is essential to fund the training program and to provide foster care givers with the proper funding of the training program and to build up the long run strategy of the enhancement of foster care in terms of UMATTERS.

The next process component is strategies and activities needed to implement the proposed solution. UMATTERS will need the development of the management team that will run the program. Also, the program should develop training courses and recruit educators to provide the proper training for foster care givers. The program should also enroll care givers that means the promotion of UMATTERS and enrollment of foster care givers and foster professionals to obtain the proper training and to improve their performance in the delivery of care for children. Also, the implementation of the program will involve monitoring and control activities performed by control officers, who monitor and control the implementation of the training program and its effectiveness. If they identify any problems in the implementation of the program, they start developing recommendations to improve the program and the management team has to elaborate on possible solutions to resolve problems that may emerge in the course of the implementation of UMATTERS.

Outputs comprise the final process component. Outputs include the active enrollment of foster care professionals and care givers into UMATTERS. They have to undergo training and develop new skills as well as to learn new strategies to work with children. They have to learn effective approaches to the enhancement of their performance and to reach strategic goals of UMATTERS.

The outcome components of the logic model include short term outcomes, intermediate outcomes, long term outcomes, and achievement of the program goals. Short term outcomes involve the enrollment of foster professionals and care givers into the training program and UMATTERS activities. The intermediate outcomes include the steady increase of the professional level due to the mass enrollment of foster care givers and professionals into UMATTERS. The long term outcomes include the elevation of the quality of foster care due to the increase of professionalism and development of advanced strategies of foster care which care givers and foster professionals use in the course of their work with children. Ultimately, the implementation of UMATTERS and achievement of positive long term outcomes should lead to the attainment of the ultimate goal of UMATTERS, the healthy development of youth in foster care which includes the rehabilitation of children, their psychological and physical recovery after maltreatment, their successful socialization and reintegration into their communities and peer groups along with the overall improvement of the quality of foster care to make them successful and happy in childhood and to make them come prepared to the adult life.

The proposed plan for implementing and sustaining the solution to the problem is appropriate to the solution and the solution is appropriate to the problem. The implementation of UMATTERS will ultimately lead to the healthy development of youth in foster care because care givers and foster professionals will elevate their professional level and increase their preparedness to work with children and to provide them with care and attention they need. Foster care givers and foster professionals will also adapt advanced strategies of foster care that will maximize the effectiveness of their care for children and contribute to the healthy development of children in foster care.

4. Describe the procedure (stages of EPIS or another implementation framework and steps in each stage) and timeline for implementation. Make sure that you include a Gantt Chart that shows the stages, steps in each stage, and time frame (according to your best estimation). Describe steps needed to be performed at each stage of implementation

EPIS Framework for UMATTER program.

Name of the phase Barriers Facilitators
Exploration phase Lack of research and studies in the sphere of improvement of foster care Dependence of sociopolitical factors Public concerns may influence the situation and call the government to implement the necessary change  
Preparation phase Lack of information about factors, which influence the decision to adopt a child A big number of digital resources, which can be useful in bringing information about the advantages of adoption to the wide publicity. A significant number of training and study materials, which can improve the quality of work, performed by foster care
Implementation phase Information-related challenges, lack of quality communication between different members of the team   Techniques and methods, aiming to improve the quality of communication inside and outside the organization. Effective leadership can make the process of implementation much easier. Well-planned and well-explained plan for change and innovation
Sustainment phase Termination of funding of the UMATTER project. Positive results of research can attract additional funding and help broaden the program. Additional educational programs can enhance positive effect from UMATTER.

5. The measures of process and outcomes of implementation.

The measurement of process and outcomes of implementation will include the use of quantitative and qualitative data. First of all, the quantitative data will include the data of foster professionals and foster care givers enrolled in UMATTERS programs. The number of foster professionals and care givers will show the scope of the implementation of the program. The statistics of children in foster care and their assessment of their quality of life will reveal the effectiveness of UMATTERS. To measure and assess the effectiveness of UMATTERS, children and foster care givers will participate in the survey that will measure their level of satisfaction with the quality of life of children, their social interaction, psychological condition, physical health, and other issues. The survey will involve both care givers and children and results of the survey will show whether the quality of life of children and their development has improved compared to children, whose care givers were not enrolled in UMATTERS. To conduct suhc comparison, the control group of care givers and children in foster care will be enrolled in the study which consists of care givers that did not take part in UMATTERS programs. The difference in the quality of life and development of children in foster care of foster care givers enrolled in UMATTERS and not enrolled in UMATTERS will show whether UMATTERS is effective or not and whether any changes to the program are needed.

Furthermore, the measurement of process and outcomes implementation will also include the analysis of the academic performance of children and their overall cognitive development. The measurement will include the assessment of their academic performance and its comparison to the academic performance of other children, who are not in foster care but, instead, grow up in regular families. The comparison of their academic performance will show whether UMATTERS is successful or not. The criteria of success for UMATTERS are the similar academic level or higher academic level of development of children in foster care compared to children that grow up in conventional families with their parents. The assessment of cognitive development will include the comparison of the cognitive development level of children in foster care to children in conventional families. The measurement includes psychological and cognitive tests that reveal the level of cognitive development of children in foster care compared to children in conventional families. The expected outcome of UMATTERS is the healthy development of children in foster care that means that their quality of life, psychological condition, socialization, academic achievements and overall social relations are similar to their peers from conventional families.

6. The plan for monitoring implementation process and outcomes

The critical evaluation approach of ensuring the healthy development of foster youth is evidence-based prevention services. Producing evidence and offering consultation in this area are essential parts of work as academics and clinicians in child and adolescent mental health services (Michelson & Banerjea, 2016). One of the most effective and crucial components lies in research tools, which collect and analyze data. It would be impossible to put in hand all necessary information and outcomes without instruments.

All social workers are required to complete UMATTER personal and professional assessment and personal interview, questionnaires and psychological test. The questionnaires will determine the potential risk for traumatic stress. The control groups will help to detect the real points of social work’s hazards. This method will assist in evaluating the practical training and overall program. 

Results will vary from level one, two, and three, where the level three is being the largest area of stress. The outcomes will define the level of required services, timeline, and type (one on one or group/peer counseling) along with frequency. Secondary trauma stress (STS) can be in the form of post-traumatic stress disorder and a negative self-concept. Figley (1995) defines STS as an observable reaction to working with the traumatized and mirrors the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, rather than the source of trauma emanating from an event directly; it comes to us indirectly.

Online modules for foster care workers can assist in performing self-assessments of pretests for STS or stress that will increase the rigor of the evaluation regarding the mental condition of clients. Both personally and professionally aspects are occasionally resulted in foster care workers perceiving flashbacks, detachment from main duties and services, missed red flags while making safety and well-being assessments, or overall stress and fright of a foster kid dying on their caseload. Thus all staff in UMATTER support services will have a caseload reduction and bi-monthly counseling assisting in the prevention of stressors and other circumstances. The research instruments will provide the organizations and the participants with a wide range of opportunities, observation, skills, and positive or negative bonds within the groups.

Moreover, education can play a significant role here. That is, the cooperation and interaction with colleges and universities are rather crucial for the successful implementation of the program UMATTER. In other words, Bachelor and Master Degrees of Social Work programs have to rely on STS curriculum. Education is deemed as an essential influence on favorable outcomes. Social workers and foster parents should do their utmost to raise academic expectations and encourage school participation, engagement and attainment (Michelson & Banerjea, 2016). Therefore, it will boost and promote recruiting of future child welfare workers through various partnerships with higher educational, social work programs.

Aside from the positive side of the innovation, there are some biases, which might not help child welfare workers within UMATTER. For example, the Local Department of Children Services can refuse to cooperate with UMATTER due to the ambiguity of the issue. Social workers are coming under strain as workloads increase, in both adult and children’s services, while local authority funding cuts continue to bite (Hardy, 2015). On the same page, some social workers will refuse to team with services due to stigma even if they have dealt with terrible cases in foster care’s maltreatment. It might prevent from obtaining adequate data during the survey and implementation plan. Simply put, these challenges might be the largest obstacle to define the magnitude of the problem, dependent variables, and the lack of adequate funding to sustain staff.

Data collection and instruments are of importance. However, there is one thing which plays a significant role in the implementation plan, i.e., the measure of the program’s effectiveness. This is where the reliability and validity take place. Reliability is responsible for producing the stable and efficient outcomes while validity is an instrument measuring what it needs to be regulated.

To be precise, suitability includes the evaluation of an organization’s effectiveness and efficacy every three or four months to portray the value of the innovation and implementation plan along with the ways to improve desirable outcomes. This section directly connects to potential biases, because the program is unlikely to be very successful in the beginning due to the lack of evidence, and the stigma of foster care workers. However, if UMATTER is verified and assessed rigorously every three months, then it will pull in more attention at the local, federal, and global level. 

References

Aarons GA. (2004). Mental health provider attitudes toward adoption of evidence-based practice: The Evidence-Based Practice Attitude Scale (EBPAS) Mental Health Services Research.  6(2):61–74. 

Aarons GA. (2005). Measuring provider attitudes toward evidence-based practice: Consideration of organizational context and individual differences. Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Clinics of North America. ;14(2):255–271. 

Aarons GA.  (2006). Transformational and transactional leadership: Association with attitudes toward evidence-based practice. Psychiatric Services.;57(8):1162–1169. 

Aarons, GA, Michael Hurlburt, M   McCue,  Sarah Horwitz (Jan 2011). Advancing a Conceptual Model of Evidence-Based Practice Implementation in Public Service Sectors Adm Policy Ment Health  38(1): 4–23.

Aarons, G. A., Cafri, G., Lugo, L., & Sawitzky, A. (in press). Expanding the domains of attitudes towards evidence-based practice: The evidence-based practice attitude scale-50 (EBPAS-50). Administration and Policy in Mental Health and Mental Health Services Research.

Aarons GA, Palinkas LA. (2007). Implementation of evidence-based practice in child welfare: Service provider perspectives. Administration and Policy in Mental Health & Mental Health Services Research. ;34:411–419. 

Adoption Assistance and Child Welfare Act. (1980). Public law 96-272.

Crea TM, Crampton DS, Abramson-Madden A, Usher CL. (2008). Variability in the implementation of Team Decisionmaking (TDM): Scope and compliance with the family to family practice model. Children and Youth Services Review.;30(11):1221–1232.

Damanpour F.  (1991). Organizational innovation: A meta-analysis of effects of determinants and moderators. Academy of Management Journal.; 34(3):555–590.

Davies HTO, Nutley SM. (2008).Learning more about how research-based knowledge gets used: Guidance in the development of new empirical research. New York, NY: William T. Grant Foundation.

Fixsen DL, Naoon SF, Blase KA, Friedman RM, Wallace F. (2005).Implementation research: A synthesis of the literature. Tampa: University of South Florida, Louis de la Parte Florida Mental Health Institute, the National Implementation Research Network.

Greenhalgh T, Robert G, Macfarlane F, Bate P, Kyriakidou O. (2004). Diffusion of innovations in service organizations: systematic review and recommendations. Milbank Quarterly. 82(4):581–629.

Leykum LK, Pugh JA, Lanham HJ, Harmon J, McDaniel RR., Jr (2009). Implementation research design: Integrating participatory action research into randomized controlled trials. Implementation Science. ;4(69):1–8

Simpson DD. (2002). A conceptual framework for transferring research to practice. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment.  22(4), 171–182.

Sobo EJ, Bowman C, Aarons GA, Asch S, Gifford AL. (2008). Enhancing organizational change and improvement prospects: Lessons from an HIV testing intervention for veterans. Human Organization. ;67:443–453.

 “51 Useful Aging Out of Foster Care Statistics | Social Race Media.” (2017). National Foster Youth Institute (NFYI). Retrieved from https://www.nfyi.org/51-useful-aging-out-of-foster-care-statistics-social-race-media

“For Overwhelmed Caseworkers, Protecting Kids Can Be a Struggle.” (2014). Child Rights. Retrieved from https://www.childrensrights.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Fall-2013-newsletter-PDF.pdf

Figley, C. R. (1995). Compassion Fatigue: Coping With Secondary Traumatic Stress Disorder In Those Who Treat The Traumatized (Psychosocial Stress Series). London: Routledge.

Hardy, R. (2015). How can high social work caseloads be tackled? The Guardian [Online]. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/social-care-network/2015/jan/21/how-can-high-social-work-caseloads-be-tackled

Michelson, D. & Banerjea, P. (2016). How social workers and carers can make foster placements more stable. The Guardian [Online]. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/social-care-network/2016/mar/17/foster-placements-stability-children-care-social-work

Wildeman, C. & Waldfogel, J. (2014). Somebody’s Children or Nobody’s Children? How the Sociological Perspective Could Enliven Research on Foster Care. Annu Rev Sociol., 40:599–618. doi:  10.1146/annurev-soc-071913-043358

Sharing is caring!

The terms offer and acceptance. (2016, May 17). Retrieved from

[Accessed: August 11, 2020]

"The terms offer and acceptance." freeessays.club, 17 May 2016.

[Accessed: August 11, 2020]

freeessays.club (2016) The terms offer and acceptance [Online].
Available at:

[Accessed: August 11, 2020]

"The terms offer and acceptance." freeessays.club, 17 May 2016

[Accessed: August 11, 2020]

"The terms offer and acceptance." freeessays.club, 17 May 2016

[Accessed: August 11, 2020]

"The terms offer and acceptance." freeessays.club, 17 May 2016

[Accessed: August 11, 2020]

"The terms offer and acceptance." freeessays.club, 17 May 2016

[Accessed: August 11, 2020]