Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs) -- the general term for the range of adverse effects associated with prenatal alcohol and drug exposure -- is estimated to affect 400,000 newborns annually in the United States.
This article presents information on the effects, legislation and current efforts on prenatal alcohol exposure and the child welfare system. There is a special focus on the current needs and potential solutions for child welfare social workers, children and their families.
Roxana Torrico Meruvia, MSW
In federal fiscal year 2012, approximately 23,396 young people transitioned out of foster care (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2013) and faced the obstacles of adulthood – tight job markets, low wages, elevated tuition rates, and a lack of affordable housing – with limited, if any supports (Torrico Meruvia, 2013). Unlike their peers who may have family to rely on, life’s challenges can make older foster youths’ transition into adulthood a daunting and difficult one. Therefore, it is not surprising that former foster youth experience poor educational outcomes, high rates of unemployment, poverty, health issues, single parenthood, and homelessness (Courtney & Heuring, 2005; Torrico Meruvia, 2013).
In the last decade, the U.S. immigrant population has dramatically increased. In 2011, there were an estimated 40 million immigrants in the U.S.; 11 million of these individuals were undocumented (Pew Research Center, 2013). Children living in immigrant families now represent the fastest growing segment of the child population. In fact, it is estimated that one in four children and youth have an immigrant parent or are immigrants themselves (Capps & Passel, 2004; Torrico, 2010; NASW, 2013).
These standards were developed to broadly define the scope of services that child welfare social workers shall provide; that administrators should support; and that children, youths, and families should expect. They are designed to enhance awareness of the skills, knowledge, values, methods, and sensitivities social workers need to work effectively within the child welfare system.
Chris Herman, MSW, LICSW
Though case management has been integral to social work since the
founding of the social work profession, the practice of case management
has changed greatly over the past century. NASW's standards for social
work case management revised in 2013, reflect this evolving context and
reinforce the social work profession's leadership role in case
management. The practice perspective includes case examples illustrating
how the revised standards may be applied with a variety of client
populations across practice settings.
Sharon Issurdatt Dietsche, LICSW, LCSW-C
Many adults struggle in their parental roles and with the tremendous responsibility that raising children encompasses. Their outlook as caretakers can perpetually shift. Feeling competent and well-suited in the role of being a parent can vacillate to feeling overwhelmed and defeated by children’s responses and behaviors. This fluctuation is often a normal transferal in parenthood. Because parents are frequently exhausted by the commitments of upholding a household and maintaining employment among other crucial obligations, they may not seek the emotional or educational guidance they need to support their relationship with their children.