Commission on Children in Foster Care
May 21, 2012
Justice Bobbe Bridge, (ret.) Washington State Supreme Court, Commission Co-Chair
Mr. Mike Canfield, Co-Chair, Foster Parents Association of Washington
Ms. Jeannie Kee, Foster Youth Alumni Representative
Ms. Joanne Moore, Washington State Office of Public Defense
Rep. Mary Helen Roberts, Washington State House of Representatives
Judge Kitty-Ann van Doorninck, Superior Court Judges’ Association
Ms. Carrie Wayno, Attorney General’s Office
Members not present:
Asst. Secretary Denise Revels Robinson; Mr. Jim Bamberger; Ms. Beth Canfield; Mr. Ryan Cummings;
Ms. Chorisia Folkman; Senator James Hargrove; Mr. Ron Hertel, Ms. Barbara James.
Ms. Hathaway Burden, Center for Children & Youth Justice (CCYJ); Ms. Laurie Lippold, Children’s Home Society of Washington; Dr. Carl McCurley, Washington State Center for Court Research (WSCCR);
Ms. Bernice Morehead, DSHS Children’s Administration; Ms. Janet Skreen, Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC); Mr. Scott Steuby, DSHS Children’s Administration.
Ms. Courtney Millan, CCFC Intern, CCYJ
Ms. Susan Peterson, AOC
Staff not present:
Mr. Michael Curtis, Executive Director
Call to Order and Welcome:
Justice Bridge called the meeting to order and welcomed Commission members and guests.
Approval of March 19, 2012 Meeting Minutes
Justice Bridge presented the March 19, 2012, meeting minutes. Ms. Janet Skreen proposed the following amendment:
· Jeannie Kee is listed in both “Members present” and “Members not present” sections. Ms. Kee should only be listed in the “Members present” section.
A motion to approve the March 19, 2012, meeting minutes as amended was approved unanimously.
DSHS/Children’s Administration Updates
Update on the Program Improvement Plan
Ms. Bernice Morehead and Mr. Scott Steuby, of DSHS/CA (substituting for Asst. Secretary Revels Robinson, Ms. Deborah Purce, and Ms. Jan Hoppler), gave an update on the Program Improvement Plan (PIP).
Ms. Morehead said their first-quarter plan was accepted at the federal level, and they are moving toward implementation and evaluation in their second quarter. Mr. Steuby said they have realized they are lacking services and cultural competence in rural areas, and they are striving for culturally appropriate services. They have also been asked how they are engaging the tribes. They are looking to address how they can better involve the tribes or at least involve a representative from the tribe or an expert on the tribe that is aware of the issues/nuances of a case.
Another focus of the PIP is how to integrate different programs and principles—such as culturally appropriate services with safety frameworks, and solution-based casework. The Feds wanted more information on family team decision making, and evidence that the safety framework was being applied on a consistent basis.
Looking at consistency is one of the themes the PIP is focused on—consistency of services, how services are offered, engagement of services, similar case filings, etc. Ms. Morehead said it is important that we ask, how do we integrate everything we do? She has begun to supervise the development of measures for domestic violence, disproportionality and fatherhood. During the meetings and within policy, she is looking to see where she can integrate these issues so that is becomes commonplace.
Mr. Steuby added the question, how are we developing measurable dynamic? Justice Bridge said now is the time we need to develop baseline data to see if different outcomes are resulting from these changes; Mr. Steuby and Ms. Morehead agreed.
Rep. Roberts asked about addressing the tension between keeping children safe vs. keeping victims victimized (i.e. punishing the parent, or taking their child away). Ms. Morehead and Mr. Steuby said that their protocol works with communities, and they engage families and assess whether or not it is necessary to act now. Justice Bridge asked if they are taking advantage of these protocol groups. Mr. Steuby said that staff needs to be more aware of protocol. He said they have come a long way, but there is still more room for improvement.
Ms. Wayno discussed the importance of availability of services. Mr. Canfield looked at the issue from the foster parents’ point of view and mentioned the difference between long-term foster care and adoption. The initiative side of the PIP says that foster care is not a permanent plan. The deadline to finalize initiatives and send to Asst. Secretary Revels Robinson for approval is this week.
Justice Bridge thanked Mr. Steuby and Ms. Morehead for the update. They will be back again at the September meeting to give the Commission another update.
CIP Funding – Cross System Prevalence Data
Dr. Carl McCurley, Manager of the Washington State Center for Court Research (WSCCR), gave background on the CIP funding saying that it was through an alliance with the federal Court Improvement Program (CIP), now managed by Janet Skreen, which allowed them to hire full-time staff Matt Orme for producing the Timeliness of Dependency Case Processing Report.
Dr. McCurley distributed a handout showing some of the data, and explained it. The top of the handout showed the Percentage of Delinquency of Offenders Who Ever had Accepted CA Referral, by Court (filed in 2009). The bottom of the handout showed Youth with CA Accepted Referral and Other System Involvement, by Age (youth born in Washington in 1992 or 1993), and the data was divided by CA accepted referral, status petition, & delinquency referral; CA accepted referral & status petition; and CA accepted referral & delinquency referral. Members discussed the data, and he answered their questions and explained other data that can be accessed as well.
Dr. McCurley further explained that, thanks to the support of the MacArthur Foundation, deeper analysis has been produced. He pointed out that a large amount of the dependency analysis is currently coming out of the general fund. He also suggested that it is appropriate to look at the possibility of funding it through federal CIP money as well.
Ms. Skreen also informed the Commission that the CIP just received approval letters for funding of all three of their grants. Their three grants include: the Training grant (which funds the Court Improvement Training Academy [CITA]), the Data grant (which funds Dr. McCurley analysis) and the Basic grant (which funds the Reasonable Efforts Symposia, the Children’s Justice Conference, and CIP staff). Ms. Skreen said she is also working with Tim Jaasko-Fisher on how to fund the two-day dependency training for courts in late October or early November, as well as how to support the Tribal State Consortium.
Dependency Best Practices Workgroup
Ms. Joanne Moore began by discussing the Workgroup’s March 31st meeting. During the meeting, the group set deadlines and created a list of 78 best practices/services. The deadline for rough drafts of each topic is June 1. They plan to create a website where courts can go and find out how a practice works and where it is currently being implemented. The site will also be tracked and continually updated as services and practices change.
Some of the topics that the Dependency Best Practices Workgroup will report on are:
· Children’s services
· Evaluations of all types (including psychological, psychiatric, parenting assessments)
· Mental health services
· Best practices services identified by DSHS
· Parent mentoring
· Judicial proceedings
· Oversight collaboration (including the Spokane team approach)
· Court communication
· Case Management (dependency and termination cases in court, including attorney representation of children, early paternity testing, early identification of ICWA kids, and early identification of relatives)
· Data (using it to make decisions)
Each best practice must contain at least one of seven identified principles. Some of the identified principles include: collaboration, systems thinking and principle driven. For each best practice, there will be one page, which includes a description of the practice, cost of the practice, description of where it is in the state, and level of impact. The Commission will also be asked to critique the report.
Ms. Jeannie Kee discussed the Normalcy Workgroup. The Workgroup is co-chaired by Ms. Jeannie Kee and Mr. Rick Butt, Program Manager for Independent Living Programs. Workgroup members include youth from Passion to Action and the Mockingbird society, and representatives from the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, Division of Licensed Resources, King County Superior Court and foster parents.
At the last meeting, Workgroup members discussed their personal experiences and identified what makes a child normal, what are the policies, and what are myths. Then they went over the five tasks of the Workgroup, which include:
1. To identify and clarify myths from potential limitations and/or barriers for a “normal” experience in care.
2. To create a “normal life” experience checklist, that they can submit to Children’s Administration (CA)
3. To create recommendations for the development of a normalcy policy.
4. To create a recommendation that CA develop a “normalcy” workshop to be included in their adolescent track training, and hopefully help create the curriculum.
5. To present to the Commission potential strategies that, by using a prudent parent standard, will enable caregivers the ability to make decisions for child/youth in their care.
One issue that foster youth are concerned about is overnight stays; therefore, this topic will be given additional attention. The Workgroup also plans to look at the San Diego model that Rick Butt worked on, which looks at community collaboration. This model is a shared responsibility idea for liability issues, and it takes pressure off of foster parents. They are talking about driver’s education as well, and Greg Williamson is looking at different states’ models.
Ms. Kee said the Workgroup’s last meeting was very successful, and it was helpful for the foster youth and foster parent representative to hear the others’ experiences and opinions. The Workgroup’s next meeting is in June.
Proposal for Project with the Gender and Justice Commission
Justice Bridge gave members a recap of the proposal for the project with the Gender and Justice Commission and said it is likely they will have money to go forward with this project. The Gender and Justice Commission, with grants from the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) and as a sub-grantee themselves, has given grants to a number of projects in the past.
One of these projects was a protocol project, called the Child Maltreatment Domestic Violence Protocol Project. It took place in approximately 2003 when a Greenbook Conference took place. The Greenbook is a compilation of best practices published in the early 2000’s, dealing with the conflict between case workers and domestic violence advocates. The goal was that conversations between these groups could be replicated around the state, and ultimately a protocol be developed asking, “How can we develop a ‘victim-centered’ approach to cases which involve child welfare and domestic violence?”
This approach was attempted around Washington State for two years, which included two summits. Around 2006, they received the signatories to do the statewide protocol; however, by that point funding was limited.
Since that time, they have continued to look at how they could push forward. Chief Justice Barbara Madsen, who chairs the Gender and Justice Commission, loved the project and its positive outcomes. She has also been looking for an opportunity for all the Supreme Court commissions to work together on projects where problems and solutions intersect in case types and the various mandates of the commissions.
Justice Bridge suggested they try testing out this idea to see who would participate. She said that one obstacle in the past was that CA was not necessarily at the table in every jurisdiction, and they would have to set a protocol. She also suggested that Commission members ask others around the state what they think of the idea.
Justice Bridge will send members the project information before the next Commission meeting in September.
Ms. Hathaway Burden, Project Coordinator, Center for Children & Youth Justice (CCYJ), gave an update on the Quality Improvement Center (QIC) project.
Ms. Burden said they currently have 116 actively-engaged lawyers, and they just completed three, two-day trainings. Fifty-five of the 60 treatment attorneys had their “initial dosing” of training and are ready to move forward. The trainings were well received and took place in the Tri-cities, Tukwila, and Olympia.
Since the project is running in both Washington and Georgia, for evaluation and logistical purposes they decided the joint training team would be best. They used the same people for the trainings in both Washington and Georgia. The training team included: a project initiator; a psychologist from Washington State who did a portion of the training on brain development and adolescent decision-making; Tim Jaasko-Fisher, Court Improvement Training Academy (CITA); and Melissa Carter, Emory Law School.
She said the trainings are done and they are now putting the protocols in place for data collection. One of the protocols is that all the jurisdictions have to complete a basic survey. It will be a good baseline for what is going on in child’s representation in Washington. Ms. Burden also said they are getting good support from the counties.
Ms. Wayno asked what outcomes will measure this, and Ms. Burden said this comes from many different sources, including AOC data (Dr. McCurley is working on the data), family data, what attorneys report, and the surveys they fill out (which includes a lot of questions).
Ms. Skreen asked about what happens if the kids find out who is getting training and who is not.
Ms. Burden said she has not come across this yet, but they have had some Judges who want to know who is being trained and some who do not wish to know.
Ms. Burden said everyone involved is excited about the support QIC is receiving and excited to see what the results of the study will bring. She will keep the Commission updated on the progress of the project.
Decision-Maker Summit Report
Ms. Courtney Millan gave an update on the Decision Makers Summit Report. She said there has been progress on the report, and several entities have completed their portions of the recommendations.
Justice Bridge pointed out that this will be Ms. Millan’s last report to the Commission as her internship will be ending, and a new intern will be taking her place. Justice Bridge thanked her for all of her great work for the Commission.
Rep. Roberts asked about the life expectancy of the report, and what happens if priorities change? Justice Bridge said she would ask the new intern to provide a narrative of how far we have come and what still needs to be accomplished.
Creating a Foster Care Transitions Workgroup
This is still pending, and Justice Bridge and Mr. Canfield gave some background about this topic.
Rep. Roberts mentioned some ideas are being kicked around in an extended foster care effort that may be co-chaired by her and Asst. Secretary Revels Robinson. Ms. Kee said the youth at Mockingbird will be also focused on this issue at the Youth and Alumni Leadership Summit in June. She said transition is a big focus this year, and they are especially concerned about transitions for youth not enrolled in education programs: those focused on vocational school or employment, and the disabled. Rep. Roberts said the extended foster care effort’s focus is more on the youth continuing in education, so the Mockingbird youth seem to be right on target as to what’s still needed.
This topic will be put back on the September Commission meeting agenda.
Discuss Recommendations for PAC Member
Justice Bridge asked all members to send their recommendations, as to where we should be advertising for the parent advocate member to Ms. Millan by next Friday. Justice Bridge would like to start advertising by June.
Comments on the Education Checklist
Ms. Skreen suggested adding a category for older youth (those approaching age 17), at the bottom of the checklist—asking: has the court made sure that the 17-year-old’s .5 staffing been done? She will add that category to the checklist.
Tribal State Consortium Project
Justice Bridge and Ms. Skreen gave members some background information about the Tribal State Consortium Project. Justice Bridge explained that Judge Patricia Clark, King County Superior Court, and Justice Theresa Pouley, Tulalip Tribal Court, attended a conference last summer regarding tribal state court interjurisdictional activities. Justice Bridge was also there and heard some of the discussion. These models were taking place in California, Iowa, Wisconsin, and possibly Minnesota. They both thought this would be a great idea and followed up with Chief Justice Madsen last October. A plan has now been put in place to make this happen.
Ms. Skreen handed out a draft copy of the mission goals and values of this project. She said she looked at what some of the other states that Justice Bridge mentioned are doing, and found an initiative called “Walking on Common Ground” which both she and the other judges liked. She created a draft based on it, and they are looking at adopting it. However, they will not adopt it until a consortium can be created and until they make sure everyone agrees with it.
Justice Bridge said the idea is that it will be a partnership, advancing Chief Justice Madsen’s notion that commissions ought to work together, and it will be a consortium between the Commission on Children in Foster Care, the Gender and Justice Commission, and the Minority and Justice Commission. Ms. Skreen said the three main areas of emphasis are domestic violence (relying on the expertise of the Gender and Justice Commission), services for Native children and families (which will come out of the Commission on Children in Foster Care), and overrepresentation of Native American youth (which will come out of the Minority and Justice Commission). They hope to get their federal partners involved in this as well, since federal law impacts the reservations.
Justice Bridge asked Commission members to fill out the survey (provided by Ms. Skreen in the meeting materials) and return it to Ms. Millan by the day after Memorial Day, May 29. Ms. Millan will also email an electronic copy of the survey to all Commission members.
Ms. Skreen said she will also be doing what she can to help provide funding for this project. In addition, Justice Bridge asked members to come to the September meeting prepared to talk more about the Tribal State Consortium Project.
Other New Business
Rep. Roberts brought up the topic of trafficking youth in the sex trade. She commented that youth in foster care are being found to be vulnerable, and she asked what the Commission might be able to do to help with preventing it. Justice Bridge said there are some prevention efforts going on. Justice Bridge will do a presentation to the Commission at the September meeting about the project CCYJ is currently working on called Project Respect.
Next Two Meetings
The next meeting will be at the Youth and Alumni Leadership Summit on June 27, 2012, from 12:00-3:00 p.m. at the 2100 Building in Seattle. Justice Bridge reminded members if they cannot attend to send someone else in their place because it is very important each Commission member be represented at the Summit. She also reminded members that they should be receiving information to review prior to the Summit, and asked them to come prepared with questions for the youth.
Ms. Peterson pointed out that the agenda said the next quarterly meeting is September 19. The correct meeting date is September 24, at the Temple of Justice, Chief Justice’s Reception Room.
There being no further business, Justice Bridge adjourned the meeting.
Susan Peterson, AOC
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