Permanency in the News is a weekly email roundup of media stories on permanency in child welfare curated and distributed by Dr. Greg Manning. Below you will find this week’s edition.
Permanency Tip of the Week: Deal with the Mental / Physical Illness or Search for Permanency? YES
During the course of our work with youth in foster care, sometimes we come across individuals dealing with serious and potentially long-term mental/physical illness. The initial reaction might be to put the brakes on permanency efforts until we can help the youth “stabilize” their health condition. When families outside of foster care face a mental/physical health crisis, the first thing that is done is to rally the supports around the individual/family while concurrently addressing the mental/physical illness. When serving our youth in foster care, let us be sure to follow the Golden Rule – “Do onto others as we would have done to us.”
Permanency Story of the Week: Coronado Student Shares Powerful Story on ‘Steve Harvey Show’
KFYO – Lubbock, Texas – High school student Hector Montez discussed his difficult childhood on “The Steve Harvey Show” and how far he’s come with help from one special local teacher. Montez and his teacher, Thomas Walser, both appeared on the “Harvey’s Hero” segment of the show on Oct. 14 because of a viral video that thrust the pair into the national spotlight … But during their appearance on Steve Harvey’s show, Montez fought back tears when he shared something he’d never told his teacher. “I never told you because I don’t tell many people, but I was in foster care for 11 years, and a lot of people had given up on me, and I just wanted to thank you for never giving up on me,” Montez said, choking up. After the revelation, Walser gave Montez a big hug. “I ain’t never going to,” Walser said. It was a powerful moment that moved many to tears. Even Harvey appeared touched, commending Walser for being a good father figure to Montez … All this from a grateful student’s kind gesture to his teacher. Pay it forward, indeed.
Current Permanency Related Articles:
ACEs Connection – Joshunda Sanders – I became a professional reader long before I was a writer when I was living in homeless shelters, subsidized housing, and welfare hotels with my mother in New York City. Most of the middle class and affluent black folks I would come to know in the future would wince and give me a look I couldn’t read when I would tell the story that I outline in my new memoir, The Beautiful Darkness: A Handbook for Orphans. All some intolerant, ignorant bigots need is to continue to hear about the dysfunction of black families or the lie that we are all poor (living in inner cities) and broken and hopeless. But unfortunately, in my case, the dysfunction was just part of what I lived through as a kid…I had not grown up in a big family, it was just me and mom. And my mom had been broken by life long before me. Her own mother had died when she was a teenager in a mental institution. She went on to have five children but I was born after Jose was killed by a city bus when he was 12 years old — a turning point in her life that I believe triggered the worst parts of her bipolar and borderline personality illnesses … But here is the dream I hope becomes real. Maybe, just maybe, a little black girl who is between homes with her mom who struggles with depression will be searching for a roadmap for herself way from despair on a library bookshelf somewhere. This book is for her.
New Pittsburgh Courier via Public Source – A McDonald’s play area in Pittsburgh’s North Hills. Two boys are running around, hand-in-hand. Their mom, Meg McKivigan, is watching them from close by. The boys stop in front of another boy, and Eli, who is not quite four, asks, “Can me and my brother play with you?” “That’s not your brother,” the boy says, looking at an almost two-year-old Ezra and his brown skin. More than a year has lapsed since, but McKivigan often encounters people who don’t understand her family. McKivigan and her husband, Josh, are a white couple and parents to three adopted kids: Eli, who’s white, and twins Ezra and Naomi, who are black.
It seems like a logical, mutually beneficial solution. Placing kids with “forever families,” or in permanent homes is good, right? Much of the time, it is. But transracial adoptions call for careful, thoughtful navigation — and choosing to be “color blind,” or ignore that the child is of a different race, can be harmful. “Color blind implies that there is no difference, [but] there is a difference and it needs to be honored, recognized, and supported,” said Lorrie Deck of the Pennsylvania Statewide Adoption & Permanency Network.
ABA Journal – In the past, legislative efforts to improve the quality of elementary and secondary education generally overlooked the unique needs of children who are homeless or living in foster care. But that situation is changing under the Every Student Succeeds Act, which contains a number of provisions that seek to provide greater stability in school for children who come from those backgrounds. The ABA is working to guarantee that regulations being implemented under the act effectively meet the needs of those students.
World News Service – New proposed regulations will make it harder for American families to adopt children outside of the U.S., according to a group of U.S. adoption agencies protesting the rules. The State Department released proposed amendments to its inter-country adoption regulations in September and is accepting comments until Nov. 7.
Chicagonow.com – 30 Adoption Portraits in 30 Days, hosted by Portrait of an Adoption – By Josh Knoll – “My father is Israeli and my mother is Russian, so that makes me Vietnamese.” I wrote those words thirty-one years ago in my sixth grade autobiography. While those words make me laugh today, it nicely sums up the way I have always viewed my adoption – unique, funny, and worthy of conversation. I have never shied away from discussing an event that probably saved my life and has surrounded me with a loving family. I am proud to be adopted and love to advocate, speak, and write about adoption. It is something to be celebrated!
Whatever way I was brought into this world, I have never been embarrassed to talk about being adopted. I am a teacher now, and when I find out one of my students is adopted, I make sure that both the parents and the child know that I am as well. I openly encourage them to talk about it and to feel proud. It has been such a huge blessing in my and my family’s lives, and I want every adopted child to feel the way I do. I would not trade my life story for anything in the world. It has made me who I am today.
Dr. John DeGarmo – It seems that as I grow older, I become more and more appreciative and more grateful for all the blessings in my life. I imagine that is simply a progression of age, and simply shows that I am getting older. Yet, it is during this month of Thanksgiving in our home where I feel particularly grateful for my life as a foster parent the past 14 years.
It has long been a tradition in our home on Thanksgiving Day, as we sit down at the table, for each of us to state what we have been thankful for each year. From the youngest to the oldest, it is always interesting to hear what others might say. Sometimes it can be sad, while other times it can be amusing. Most often, it is inspiring. As you can imagine, our house is quite full with children, and with visitors, from across the globe, when my Australian born wife’s side of the family comes for a visit. With that in mind, I wanted to share with you why I am grateful, in no particular order, mind you, for being a foster parent …