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Child Welfare Issues Colloquies
Attendance at NARCCW colloquies is by invitation. Small groups of ten to twelve participants are selected for each policy symposium based upon knowledge of the subject, practical experience, research or academic expertise, or program and policy development history.
Risk Assessment
The risk assessment colloquy was held March 25-26, 2002. Research regarding the reliability and validity of various risk assessment models was reviewed and discussed. Risk assessment requirements throughout the life of a variety of typical child welfare cases were identified. Best methods for collecting and utilizing risk data were discussed. The discussions, conclusions and recommendations from this colloquy informed a paper on child welfare risk assessment policy..
Transracial/Transcultural Adoption
An important issue in current adoption practice is the conflict between upholding the civil rights of potential adoptive parents and the developmental rights of children. Questions include: Is it in a child's best interest to attempt to "select" caregivers who best meet his/her developmental needs? Are environmental and psychological continuity important developmental needs of adoptive children? Are racially and culturally "blind" adoptive family assessments a civil right for potential adoptive parents?

If moral conflicts of interests exist, how do we proceed to solve the ethical dilemmas? The Multi-Ethnic Placement Act/Inter-Ethnic Placement Act (MEPA/IEPA) was conceived to expedite permanence for children in temporary care. Their implementation has generated policy and practice dilemmas, which must be resolved. (Date to be announced)
Child Welfare Professionalization
Many systemic obstructions plague attempts to professionalize child welfare including low pay, lack of proper infrastructures for supervision, high caseloads prohibiting proper interventions and other antagonistic bureaucratic structures. But perhaps the most significant problem is our lack of commitment to proper education and training of child welfare caseworkers.

Child welfare is the most difficult field of practice within the social work profession, requiring the highest levels of specialized social work knowledge and skill. Inadequate education and training and lack of experience can result in tragedy for families and children, including the destruction of families and child death. Notwithstanding this reality, our society has not recognized the need, supported the development of, nor demanded the resources for the professionalization of child welfare. What are the social and political dynamics behind this apotheosis of neglect? A clear delineation of the problems, desired reformation, and emendation strategies are the goals of this colloquy. (Date to be announced)
Confidentiality in Child Welfare
The concept of confidentially is an essential element of child welfare practice, both morally and practically. Casework would be impossible without it, and it’s an obvious moral obligation. Still, there are ethical situations that require we transcend this usual imperative. Under what circumstances can we, or must we, disregard the usual confidentiality imperative? How can we evaluate and arrive at an appropriate response to such moral dilemmas? What are the moral obligations for disclosure? The colloquy will attempt to identify relevant legal and ethical issues and develop child welfare policies for this important issue. (Date to be announced)
Proper Role and Responsibility of Public Child Welfare in Today's Changing Service Delivery Environment
Over the last decade, the children services environment has changed dramatically with the advent of increased privatization, managed care, interdisciplinary collaboration, the adoption of the child advocacy center model, and the general devolution of child welfare responsibility to local political organizations. Within this profusion of actors, the respective roles and responsibilities of collaborating service delivery organizations are not always clearly defined. Within this confusion, public children services responsibility and authority may be inappropriately usurped or abdicated. Clarity of roles and responsibility, including proper delegation within collaborative networks is essential for effective and efficient, well-articulated and well-integrated service delivery.

This colloquy will explore the changing environment of child welfare service delivery, and will attempt to identify the public child service system's proper roles and responsibilities. (Date to be announced)
Sexual Abuse
Research clearly indicates that the dynamics of child sexual abuse differ dramatically from those of child physical abuse and neglect. How should our case goals and interventions reflect these differences? For example, much of the literature contends that permanent separation of the perpetrator and the child is necessary to protect the child. This is contrary to child welfare goals of family preservation and reunification. This symposium will look at the practice controversies and dilemmas in an attempt to identify if, and where, sexual abuse practice and policy must diverge from general child welfare objectives. (Date to be announced)
Domestic Violence and Child Welfare
Social workers within the fields of domestic violence and child welfare often work with the same clients and families. The two fields of practice often have differing opinions regarding the psychological foundations, etiology, and prognosis for perpetrators and victims of intrafamilial violence. They also often differ on the identified clients within a family, and proper treatment strategies.

This colloquy will attempt to identify common ground as well as philosophical and practice differences, and develop child welfare policy regarding fundamental domestic violence issues, including guidelines for collaboration. (Date to be announced)

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