A Nursing Brief: Emerging Best Practice In Department of Children and Families Nursing
Anne Kiwanuka, Valerie Boyar, Monica Jensen
In 2012, more than 400,000 children in the United States were in the child welfare system because of abuse or neglect. These children are uniquely vulnerable and present multiple health challenges to child welfare and health professionals. According to the most recent Child and Family Services Reviews (CFSR) from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Children and Families' Children's Bureau (2010), none of the 50 states, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia were "in substantial conformity" in meeting the well-being outcome for the physical and mental health needs of the children in their care. To address this deficiency, Connecticut nurses caring for children involved with Department of Children and Families (DCF) collaborated to establish nursing standards of practice leading to improved health services for children in care and a mechanism to readily transfer health information. Post-implementation evaluation revealed improved quality of care and the availability of enhanced health information. These endeavors have led to the recognition that nurses working in DCF venues are members of an emerging professional nursing specialty: "nursing in child welfare."