Academic journal article Child Welfare

Preface

Academic journal article Child Welfare

Preface

Article excerpt

HIV/AIDS and Children, Youths, and Families: Lessons Learned is a special issue of Child Welfare intended as a resource to personnel within the child welfare field serving children and families whose lives are touched by HIV and AIDS. It is our hope that this special issue will add insight to and fuel discussion of the fight against AIDS, and help us all to better serve the children and adolescents that the current epidemic affects so tragically.

Early in the AIDS epidemic, the Child Welfare League of America (CWLA) recognized that the disease would have a devastating impact on children, adolescents, and families. In response, CWLA established a National Task Force on Children and HIV Infection. Since June 1986, the Task Force has provided leadership and compassionate guidance to CWLA, its staff, and its member agencies from across the country on policy issues, program designs, and best practices concerning children and families living with HIV/AIDS. The task force was recently renamed the National Task Force on HIV Infection in Children, Adolescents, and Families to better reflect two major concerns: (1) that the heterosexual spread of AIDS among adolescents calls for continued emphasis on this often forgotten population, and (2) that the whole family of a child or parent infected with the virus must be perceived as the focus of community support and help.

Since its inception, the Task Force's leadership and guidance have expanded to encompass all community-based services for families, including child day care, out-of-home care, and group residential care programs that serve children with HIV. In 1987, CWLA published Initial Guidelines on HIV Infection to help childand family-serving agencies develop responsive and updated policies and procedures. Between 1989 and 1991, additional publications continued to further assist these programs.

In 1989, responding to the need for training and support for permanency planning recruitment of foster and adoptive families for children living with AIDS, CWLA produced an awardwinning video, With Loving Arms, that has been used successfully throughout the country. CWLA's awareness that HIV prevention and education are the key to serving children, adolescents, and their families led it to offer information and services that have been used by thousands of social service agencies nationwide. …

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