SaintA was recently asked to review a paper entitled “Applying the Science of Child Development in Child Welfare Systems” published by the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University. Teri Zywicki, CEO; Ann Leinfelder Grove, Executive Vice President; and Denise Pilz, Vice President of Programs all offered feedback to lead author Steven D. Cohen, a Senior Fellow in both child development and social policy at Harvard University.
The 18-page paper is aimed at everyone with an interest in child welfare, including legislators and system leaders, attorneys and judges, front-line social workers, and parents. The paper seeks to answer the question:
How can we use insights from cutting-edge science to improve the well-being and long-term life prospects of the most vulnerable children in our society?
“In this report, we first draw on the Center’s extensive work to synthesize and translate relevant scientific knowledge, then examine how that knowledge might be applied to child welfare policy and practice,” explains Cohen.
Among other insights, SaintA brought to light the realness of secondary trauma and how it can affect social workers, parents and others involved in child welfare. The paper cites healthy relationships as one way to mitigate the pervasiveness of secondary trauma and also hints at another of SaintA’s 7 Essential Ingredients of Trauma Informed Care, caregiver capacity.
The science of the report draws primarily from the work of the National Scientific Council on the Developing Child. Other notable organizations who contributed to the paper include: Alliance for Strong Families and Communities; the Annie E. Casey Foundation; Center for the Study of Social Policy at Harvard; the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation; National Child Traumatic Stress Network; and New York City Family Court. Funding support came from a number of charitable organizations, including the Bezos Family Foundation and the Buffett Early Childhood Fund.
Read more or download the entire “Applying the Science of Child Development in Child Welfare Systems.”