Child Welfare Watch News Digest - December 19, 2013

Here's a roundup of this week's news affecting low-income children, youth and their families:

In New York Magazine, Mara Gay wrote about the city's Administration for Children's Services (ACS) new strategy for finding good homes for foster kids -- through Facebook. Borrowing a tactic used by the Red Cross to reconnect refugees with their relatives, ACS began experimenting with Facebook to find long lost relatives of foster kids. The experiment is small so far, but this model has the potential to change the way the agency handles finding families for foster children. Read more here.

In an effort to address the language disparity between low-income children and their peers, Providence, Rhode Island is testing out Providence Talks, a new intervention designed to measure parents’ communication with their children. Based on data collected from a ‘pedometer for words,’ parents will receive coaching on how and when they might speak with their child more often. The model aims to address the socioeconomic vocabulary gap between low-income children and their peers before children begin school. Read more about the program here.

The U.S. Senate Finance Committee approved a bipartisan package of legislation to improve child welfare in America. The Supporting At-Risk Children Act includes provisions to strengthen and renew adoption incentive and foster care policies, combat child sex trafficking, and improve the collection of child support payments from non-custodial parents living overseas. A full summary of the legislation is available here.

The New England Journal of Medicine highlighted a Cuomo Administration initiative that invests in supportive housing for homeless and unstably housed Medicaid recipients. Research has shown that supportive housing can lead to improved health, decreased hospital use and reduced healthcare spending. This program recognizes the benefits of a coordinated approach, and aims to break down some of the barriers between the two sectors. Read the full article here.

Due to the holidays, the Child Welfare Watch News Digest will be on hiatus until January.  Happy Holidays!