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: Permanency with Only Part of the Family ~ Not True Permanency?
What happens when we find youth permanency with one side of a family only to discover that there is a serious divide with the other side of the family? This is where it is critically important to distinguish between permanent relationships and placement. Just because we connect a youth with a person, does not mean that they need to live with or have significant in-person contact with that person.
In order to help bridge the divide, the professionals often need to take the lead to ensure that any and all contact will be safe and in the best interests of the child. Another key aspect is to stress the point that no child can have too much love in their life. If we can combine these two aspects, the issues that created the divide can begin to take a back seat to the needs of the child.
Permanency Story of the Week: Keeping an Open Mind
AdoptUSKids – Nicole Hayward says her son was “everything we never knew we wanted.” The Haywards spotted the boy, who would become their son, on the AdoptUSKids website. Mark and Nicole Hayward had been married for 15 years when they became parents for the first time through adoption from foster care. As part of their search for their “perfect child,” Mark and Nicole registered their family on adoptuskids.org. They began a search for a girl, preferably no older than 12, who shared many of their interests, such as music, movies, and traveling.
But each time Nicole logged into the AdoptUSKids website to search for a child, the profile of Mathieu, a 14-year-old boy with a nice smile and a faux mohawk would pop up. “He just looked like a go-with-the-flow, fun kid,” Nicole said. “Reading his narrative, he sounded like he could be our son. He shared many of our interests, right down to a love of pizza and French fries!”
“People often ask us why we adopted older children. And we always tell them the same thing: Children need parents, regardless of their age. They give love, hugs, and kisses no matter how old they are.”
This learning brief explores the evolution of exemplary practice, along with the elements and conditions primarily responsible for its development, in a combined Family Finding/Family Group Decision-Making model implemented by a partnership between San Francisco Human Services Agency and Seneca Family of Agencies. Core themes were synthesized from a series of individual and dyad interviews with team members who carried out the project, lifting up what worked and was learned in the process. Key reflections and recommendations are formulated to provide the reader with ideas to accelerate and enhance their practice development and ultimately the installation and implementation of the desired practice.
National Resource Center for Diligent Recruitment – Washington State’s Office of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (ODHH) and Department of Social and Health Services Children’s Administration have collaborated to recruit more deaf foster families, and the child welfare system in Washington is now reaching a previously untapped pool of potential resource families.
I Was A Foster Kid – Dear Foster Parents – This is for you…. from a foster child’s perspective on how to make the first day easier. Someone asked me about this and I had written something similar a while ago. You can’t possibly imagine how “we” feel being bought to your home….so, please, never take it lightly. Little things matter and set the tone for things to come.
1). Smile; 2) Show the child around the place; 3) Have cookies or apple slices or something ready; 4) Invite the child to sit down at the table, have a snack, drink something. Then talk about rules; 5) Don’t bring up any other “parents” unless the child does; 6) Foster kids want to be treated just like everyone else; 7) If the child has anger issues, buy a lot of pillows; 8) Help foster children come out of their shell; 9) Give the child a couple days to figure things out; 10) Ask the child what you (new foster parents) can do to make it more comfortable or to help them feel better. This alone shows to them that you care about how they feel.
The Columbus Dispatch – She didn’t tell her parents for six months, until the pregnancy became impossible to hide. Their response only deepened the 17-year-old’s shame. “There was really no discussion,” Loretta Taus said. “I was sent to the DePaul home and dropped off with no support. I didn’t think I was worth anything.” Taus, now 61, wonders: Does the son she placed for adoption know what it was like then? Will he accept that she had no choice?
A new law that unsealed thousands of Ohio adoption files also pulled back the curtain on decades of social history. Successful reunions, many adoptees and birth parents are discovering, call for a careful understanding of the difference between past and present times…“It’s all about the right communication, at the right time, at the right pace.” Preparation, a supportive family and discussions with other adoptees put West on solid ground when she was ready to reach out…“I finally feel like I’m someone,” she said. “My daughter told me she loved me. That was probably the most beautiful thing I’ve ever heard.”
The Huffington Post – When I was about 12 years old, I was removed from my family and placed into the Tennessee child welfare system as a foster child. I had to pack all my belongings into trash bags and leave the home I knew behind. Roughly five years later, one week before my 18th birthday, I was adopted by my forever family. I was very, very fortunate. I went on to earn undergraduate and law degrees and found a career where I can work every day to help foster children and youth.
Here are six things foster children and youth want you to know: 1) Many of us could avoid foster care if the right help were provided to our parents. 2) Thankfully, most children don’t actually “grow up” in foster care anymore. 3) The system is a scary place for children. 4) Most foster parents are good people, but there aren’t enough of them. 5) Foster kids are good kids in a bad situation. 6) Adopting from foster care is not as hard as you would think.
In every state system, there are thousands of children and youth who haven’t received the help they need to be reunited with their family or find a new one through adoption. We can do better than this and we should.
Casey Family Programs’ 2016 signature report marks our foundation’s 50th anniversary and reflects on the continuing urgent need for a collective effort to safely reduce the need for foster care and build Communities of Hope for every child in America. We believe that, to create a better tomorrow, our nation must move beyond a “child rescue” mentality and see that the safety of our children is directly related to the strength of their families and the conditions of the communities in which they live.
This new report explores the promising approaches being developed today to keep children safe, make families strong and help communities become more supportive. This report also includes a look at a model that uses real-time data to protect the most at-risk children. It also describes how families are improving their life outcomes through the support of their communities and how new interventions are integrating the science of how abuse and neglect affect young minds and bodies.
Everyone has a role to play in hope. What will yours be?