Child Welfare’s Complicated Relationship with the Opioid Epidemic

Child welfare agencies across the country are seeing the impact of the current opioid epidemic. Reports from public officials, advocates, and those working in the field echo the same sentiment – the crisis is overwhelming. As opioid abuse continues to increase nationwide, the demand for foster care placements is also on the rise. This leads us to wonder what is the relationship, and what does it mean for families and future generations of children? 

In recognition of National Foster Care Month, this article will shed light on the connection between the opioid epidemic and child welfare and contribute to the ongoing dialogue on how policy and practice can better support those working with families entrenched in this devastating crisis.

How Do We Prepare for the Worst? The Story of the Disaster Recovery Case Management Standards

Mass Shootings are on the rise. Looking at the time period of 2000 to 2015, active shooter incidents have more than doubled in the second half of that period. The solution for this is hotly contested, with both sides digging their heels in the ground leaving us at a standstill and while it may offer us that inch of prevention we so desperately need, reeling communities are currently in need for pounds and pounds of cure. The purpose of COA’s Disaster Recovery Case Management standards is to support an organization’s ability to coordinate the necessary resources to help communities create a sustainable recovery. 

How to Engage Staff in the Accreditation Process

The accreditation process is most valuable when staff throughout the agency are engaged, but this isn't always easy. Harris County Protective Services for Children and Adults shares the fun, interactive methods they used to promote the culture of COA and gain staff buy-in. “We wanted to do something different and FUN that would appeal to our two majority generations in the agency identified from our annual staff survey: millennials and baby boomers.”

Workplace Volunteer Initiatives – Why They Matter in the Social Service Field

You may have heard of the terms corporate social responsibility or corporate philanthropy and thought they weren’t relevant to your organization. The first instinct might be “Our whole function is to create social impact driven by our mission. We don’t need to/have time for/have the energy for additional volunteer work”. You might be surprised to discover that there are still opportunities and interest at your organization to incorporate the essence of these ideas. After reading on, I hope you’ll find that there are various ways in which doing so can positively reverberate through your work environment, from boosting morale to encouraging closer work with the community you serve.

How to Combat the Effects of Adverse Childhood Experiences

April is child abuse prevention month, and there is no better time to raise awareness around the long-lasting effects of child abuse, neglect, and other types of childhood trauma. This article will explain Adverse Childhood Experiences, share relevant findings from the CDC-Kaiser Permanente Adverse Childhood Experiences Study (ACE Study), and explore how to put science into practice in order to mitigate and prevent the consequences of childhood adversity.  

My Journey as a COA Volunteer

Stan Capela shares some of his most memorable experiences over the last 22 years traveling around the country conducting COA Site Visits, "I have many more stories and these are just a few - they're easy to come by as a Peer Reviewer because the role is about interacting with people and observing inspiring teamwork. When I conduct an entrance meeting, I start by saying 'I know this is a lot of work, but we’ll get through it together.' I tell them that the Site Visit is an opportunity to invite people into their home and share their world, and that we are a family of helpers who have dedicated our lives to helping people in need. Going through the accreditation process is a chance to affirm what we do."

When in Doubt, Improvise

When you think of improvisation, Christopher Guest movies like Waiting for Guffman or television programs like Whose Line is it Anyway? might come to mind. But improv does more than inspire laughter. It teaches us to be mindful, adaptable and collaborative.

Applying the principles of improvisation to your work in human services isn’t about making it up as you go along – although, let’s face it, we all do that a little bit from time to time – it’s about fostering trust, respect and acceptance at your organization in order to galvanize your staff to be fearless, open and inventive. Let’s explore some elements of this mindset and discuss how it can influence your work.

The Story of a Standard: Updated Child & Youth Development Standards, An Ode to Afterschool

For Kimo Richardson, February is the perfect month to write about our release of updated standards for afterschool programs/services. Among the really important things we celebrate this month is love, and as COA's Director of Child and Youth Development Program Accreditation, Kimo loves the afterschool field! He's  spent more than 15 years in the field and continue to be inspired by the creative methods used by organizations and the commitment of staff to helping youth learn and thrive. In this article, Kimo tells the story of devloping the standards and explores the "big ideas" incorporated throughout the udpates.

Animal Assistance: A Cause for Paws?

The human-animal connection is nothing new. However, the increased awareness and utilization of animals offering aid and support brings up a lot of questions around definitions, legal protections, and associated benefits. This post will examine all of these areas and explore how this hot topic issue can impact social service providers in their everyday work with clients. 

How to Conduct a Risk Assessment

To say that the term risk assessment has many meanings is an incontrovertible understatement. My Google search of the phrase "what is a risk assessment" yielded more than 127 million results in an astonishing .88 seconds! From time to time at NRMC we ponder what the phrase means, and why it’s relevant-to the mission of the people and community-serving organizations we serve. Here's why risk assessment matters and how nonprofits evaluate their risks.

3 Ways Communities are Using Naloxone to Fight the Opioid Epidemic and Save Lives

The relentless pace of opioid overdose deaths has taken a toll on communities and left friends, family and neighbors of individuals struggling with opioid dependency feeling powerless.  As the country struggles to keep up with the relentless pace of opioid overdose deaths, local communities have galvanized to develop and promote innovative strategies to get naloxone into the hands of any potential life savers, looking at a greater range of first responders and beyond to play a role.