The Neglected Brain, Part 1

By Stacey Solie

Danielle Goodwin, 36, was born in Great Falls, Montana to a pair of drug-addicted parents. She never met her biological father. Her mother married another man shortly after Danielle was born and had three more children before he died of a drug overdose. She then married one of Danielle’s father’s friends, and had another child. When they split up, Danielle's mother married another one of his friends, had another baby. All in all, Danielle can count six stepfathers...

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Domestic Violence, Developing Brains, and the Lifespan New Knowledge from Neuroscience

By Lynn Hecht Schafran

The author suggests that, before reading this article, you go to and watch First Impressions: Exposure to Violence and a Child's Developing Brain (15 minutes) featuring Dr. Bruce Perry, senior fellow of the Child Trauma Academy in Houston, Texas, and Dr. Linda Chamberlain, founding director, Alaska Family Violence Prevention Project...

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The Invisible Achievement Gap

Education Outcomes of Students in Foster Care in California’s Public Schools

This study was conducted under the auspices of the Center for the Future of Teaching
and Learning at WestEd, which is dedicated to improving teacher-development policy
and practice. For more than a decade, the Center has been steadfast in the pursuit of its
mission to ensure that every student in California’s elementary and secondary schools has a
well‑prepared, effective, and caring teacher. WestEd, a research, development, and service
agency, works with education and other communities to promote excellence, achieve equity,
and improve learning for children, youth, and adults.


The Impact of Early Life Trauma on Health and Disease

A list of publications from the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACT) Study, plus pending articles. Continuing research will show the biomedical, emotional and economic consequences in medical care of abusive childhood experiences, on average a half-century earlier.

The relationship of adverse childhood experiences to adult medical disease, psychiatric disorders and sexual behavior: implications for healthcare. Chapter Eight written by Vincent J. Felitti and Robert F. Anda of The Impact of Early Life Trauma on Health and Disease: The Hidden Epidemic,



Sunday, April 8, 2012, from:

A Critical Look At The Foster Care System:
How Widespread a Problem?

One of the most comprehensive surveys of abuse in foster care was conducted in conjunction with a Baltimore lawsuit. Trudy Festinger, head of the Department of Research at the New York University School of Social Work, determined that over 28 per cent of the children in state care had been abused while in the system.

Reviewed cases depicted "a pattern of physical, sexual and emotional abuses" inflicted upon children in the custody of the Baltimore Department.

Cases reviewed as the trial progressed revealed children who had suffered continuous sexual and physical abuse or neglect in foster homes known to be inadequate by the Department. Cases included that of sexual abuse of young girls by their foster fathers, and that of a young girl who contracted gonorrhea of the throat as a result of sexual abuse in an unlicenced foster home.[1]

In Louisiana, a study conducted in conjunction with a civil suit found that 21 percent of abuse or neglect cases involved foster homes.[2]  (more...)

Sunday, April 8, 2012, from:

A Critical Look At The Foster Care System:
Incentives to Foster Parents

While there are many dedicated people willing to open their homes and hearts to children in distress, it can not be denied that financial gain is among a number of significant incentives leading some to become foster parents.

As the number of licensed foster homes has dropped to a low of 100,000 for the nations' estimated 500,000 foster care children, so has the quality of foster care homes unquestionably diminished over the years.

Judge Judy Sheindlin, supervising judge for the Manhattan Family Court, describes the foster parent typically found today in the New York City foster care system:

The typical foster parent I see is a single woman who has several biological children of her own.  She is supported by welfare or social security disability. She is a high school dropout whose own kids are marginally functioning. She does not have the ability to help them with their schoolwork, and she has little hope for a brighter economic or social future.[1]

A 1989 study conducted by the Child Welfare League of America found many foster parents in California to be similarly qualified.  (more...)


Thursday, November 11, 2011

Posted on November 10, 2011 at Philanthropy News Digest

Youth in Foster Care, Juvenile Justice Systems Struggle After Age 18, Report Finds

Youth in foster care and on probation in Los Angeles County are faring poorly under the current system and face severe challenges in education, employment, health, mental health, and earnings potential, a study funded by the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation finds.

Led by Dennis P. Culhane, a professor of social policy at the University of Pennsylvania, the study, Young Adult Outcomes of Youth Exiting Dependent or Delinquent Care in Los Angeles County (125 pages, PDF), examined youth in foster care or on probation in L.A. County in 2002 or 2004 and linked them to records of public service usage from 2005 to 2009 across seven county departments and two state agencies. The report found that "crossover" youth — those who were involved in both the foster care and juvenile justice systems — averaged almost three times the per-person cost in terms of public service dollars as youth only in foster care. According to the foundation, the study underscores the importance of a new state policy that allows young adults to remain in foster care until age 21; foster care benefits for California youth currently expire at 18.

(Read the full article.)

Monday August 29, 2011

A Better Start: Clearing Up Credit Records for California Foster Children

Published by the California Office of Privacy Protection

Children make attractive targets for identity thieves, because the crime is usually not discovered for many years, giving thieves years of unobserved use of the stolen identities. Foster children may be particularly vulnerable – the children and their sensitive information pass through many hands. And a newly emancipated foster child usually faces the daunting task of dealing with the results of the crime alone, without a family safety net to help. (more...)


Wednesday June 1, 2011

From the Brookings Institute

CCF Briefs | Number 43


Adoption from Foster Care: Aiding Children While Saving Public Money



Children & Families, U.S. Economy, U.S. Poverty

Nicholas Zill, independent consultant

The Brookings Institution

May 2011 —

In the current era of massive deficits, federal, state and local government agencies are seeking ways to lower expenditures and still maintain essential services. Child welfare programs represent an area where significant savings could be achieved while actually improving the life circumstances of the young people affected. The way this could be accomplished is by increasing the number of children and youth who are adopted out of foster care. Findings from a recent national survey of child health provide new evidence that adoption can save the public money while improving the life prospects of youngsters who have been maltreated in their early years.

Download the full report