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Children, Youth, & Families

ASPE produces a range of policy research to promote child development, early childhood care and education, child welfare, positive youth development, and child and family well-being. 

Resources for Youth and Youth Programs This page features resources to help create, maintain, and strengthen effective youth programs. Included are youth facts, funding information, and tools to help you assess community assets, generate maps of local and federal resources, search for evidence-based youth programs, and keep up-to-date on the latest youth-related news. This page provides youth-focused resources and opportunities that inspire and empower young people to make a difference in their lives and in the world around them by improving their knowledge and leadership skills. 


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Substance Use, the Opioid Epidemic and the Child Welfare Caseloads: Methodological Details from a Mixed Methods Study

June 10, 2018
This brief describes the research methods used to produce the findings in Substance Use, the Opioid Epidemic, and Child Welfare Caseloads: A Mixed Methods Study. It is a part of a series of briefs that discuss different aspects and issues surrounding the relationship between substance use disorders and the child welfare system.

Predictive Analytics in Child Welfare: Considerations in Contracting Vendors for Predictive Analytics

May 28, 2018
An increasing number of child welfare agencies are considering using predictive analytics in their work. Typically they do so by contracting with a vendor to develop and maintain a predictive analytics model that is used by the agency to predict risk of a specified outcome.

State Practices in Treatment/Therapeutic Foster Care

April 22, 2018
Treatment foster care (TFC; sometimes known as therapeutic foster care) is a family-based placement option for children with serious emotional, behavioral, or medical needs who can be served in the community with intensive support. This report describes how TFC is implemented and supported by states.

Substance Use, the Opioid Epidemic and the Child Welfare System: Key Findings from a Mixed Methods Study

March 6, 2018
This study examined the relationship between parental substance misuse and child welfare caseloads, which began rising in 2012 after more than a decade of decline.

The Relationship between Substance Use Indicators and Child Welfare Caseloads

March 6, 2018
This research brief describes how select indicators associated with substance use prevalence relate to the changing trend in child welfare caseloads. It is part of a series describing findings of a mixed methods study undertaken to better understand how parental substance use relates to child welfare caseloads, which began rising in 2012 following years of sustained declines.

Title IV-E GAP Programs: A Work in Progress

February 5, 2018
The Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008 provided states with the option to operate guardianship assistance programs (GAP) as part of their child welfare permanency continuum under Title IV-E of the Social Security Act.  The first of these programs began operating in 2010, though some states had operated guardianship programs under title IV-E demonstration progr

Executive Summary and Screening Tools: Pretesting A Human Trafficking Screening Tool in the Child Welfare and Runaway and Homeless Youth Systems

December 7, 2017
This executive summary provides key takeaways from a longer report to a study that developed and pre-tested a Human Trafficking Screening Tool (HTST) with youth in runaway and homeless youth and child welfare settings. This document also includes both the full, 19-item HTST and a shorter, 6-question form of the tool.

Patterns of Foster Care Placement and Family Reunification Following Child Maltreatment Investigations

November 23, 2017
This research brief identifies characteristics of children and families who reunified with parents or family following the child’s stay in foster care, patterns regarding success or failure of reunification, as well as maltreatment re-reports among children reunified with their families.

Parental Incarceration and Children in Nonparental Care

November 23, 2017
This ASPE Research Brief describes the number and characteristics of children who in 2011 or 2012 lived with someone other than their parents and who had experienced the incarceration of a parent or guardian.

Psychotropic Medication Use among Children who Are Subjects of Child Protective Services Investigations: Does Court Oversight Matter?

November 23, 2017
This ASPE Research Brief examines the courts’ role in overseeing psychotropic medication prescriptions for children who were subjects of child maltreatment investigations.