Permanency Tip of the Week: What do you Mean by Permanency?
When we try to explain a new concept to someone, we usually try to start with something that they know and use that as a bridge to help them understand the new concept. What if the concept we are trying to explain is really different from anything they have ever experienced? This might be the case for some of our Youth when we begin to have conversations about Permanency. It is important remember that for some of our Youth, the concept of true Permanency may be a difficult one to fathom as they may not have experienced it much in their life. Try starting with ideas such as: teachers they have had, staff who have worked with them and toys that they have had as the bridges to the new concept of Permanency. This is also a great opportunity to normalize for the Youth their uncertainty and potential fear / anxiety about Permanency.
Permanency Success Story of the Week: Home and Heart
Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption – Douglas’ mother put him in the foster care system when he was 10 years old because she said she couldn’t care for him. After five years in the foster system, Douglas told his Wendy’s Wonderful Kids (WWK) recruiter that he wasn’t sure he wanted to be adopted. He was about to be placed in pre-adoptive home that had been arranged by a previous caseworker, but Douglas wasn’t feeling good about it. He told his WWK recruiter that the only person he could see being his family was a woman named Karen who worked at his group home. His WWK recruiter went to work. She connected with Karen, interviewed her and discussed that adoption is an unconditional commitment. Karen not only wanted to open her home, she had already opened her heart to Douglas and was very excited to learn that he felt the same way. Douglas was able to be placed in her home. The adoption was finalized and Douglas says it was all because his WWK recruiter listened to him.
Permanency Related Articles:
Youth Radio – When Noel Anaya was just a year old, he and his five brothers and sisters were placed in the California foster care system. He has spent nearly all of his life in that system and has just turned 21. In California, that’s the age when people in foster care “age out” of the system and lose the benefits the system provides. That process becomes official at a final court hearing. Anaya, along with Youth Radio, got rare permission to record the proceeding, where he read a letter he wrote about his experience in the foster care system.
Fostering Media Connections – Today, we – Daniel Heimpel, Kim Hansel and John Kelly – are happy to report that FMC has acquired Fostering Families Today and Adoption Today, two award-winning magazines founded by Richard Fischer in 1998. Both magazines are mailed directly to the homes of foster and adoptive parents around the country and provides those parents with the information that helps them better understand the unique needs of the children in their care and guides their parenting journey.
Richard passed away on Thanksgiving Day last year after a long battle with cancer. His desire was to continue supporting families nationwide through these two publications, and FMC was eager to partner with him on mapping out a future for them. We were hoping that he would have been with us at the outset of this new chapter. But in his honor, we will continue to publish and take both magazines to new levels.
With Fostering Media Connections’ strong reporting staff, we plan to inject new coverage into the pages of Adoption Today and Fostering Families Today. In addition, we will move the stories that have been important to so many foster and adoptive families from the pages of the magazines to our news site, The Chronicle of Social Change, when appropriate.
The Fix.com – There you are, a stranger in someone else’s family, with a hollowed out gut that aches and churns relentlessly…How far of a leap are drugs? There is no universally accepted cause of drug addiction, but if there was one, it would include relief from physical, mental and emotional pain. Foster youth are ripped from their families and positioned into state care due to neglect or abuse; those two words—neglect, abuse—hold a vast and terrifying array of emotional and physical realities. Realities that, by definition, must be addressed…The National Institute of Mental Health study on foster youth and drug and alcohol use summarizes the study in part by stating that foster youth may not be more at risk of drug or alcohol use, but they are more at risk of drug and alcohol addiction. Youths with conduct disorder and/or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) were found to have the “highest risk for substance use and disorder.”
ACF – US Dept. of HHS – We’re very pleased to announce that the Administration for Children and Families, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the Administration for Community Living and the Offices of the Assistant Secretary for Health and the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation at HHS have developed a Guide to Trauma-Informed Human Services. The Guide is intended to provide an introduction to the topic of trauma, a discussion of why understanding and addressing trauma is important for human services programs, and a “road map” to find relevant resources.
Everything You Ever Wanted By Jillian Lauren – Book Review
Adoption.com – This memoir by Jillian Lauren is a must-read for foster, adoptive, pre-adoptive, and special needs parents. My takeaway from Everything You Ever Wanted isn’t that with love, persistence, and a lot of help a special needs child can make giant leaps forward in his development (although there’s that too), but rather that the commitment to loving a child, no matter the outcome, is a journey that is worth every sacrifice, every tear, and every hurt a parent endures.
Jillian’s story is one that many of us in the adoption world can relate to. It is the story of a woman longing to be a mother with such intensity that every cell in her body cries out for what’s missing – a child, wherever he may be. It is a story of love, of commitment, of infertility, of a marriage tested by trials. And, more than anything, it is the story of what happens when things don’t turn out the way you planned.
Administration for Children and Families (ACF) – Newly released data show that youth aging out of foster care are faring well in some outcome measures but a significant number experience homelessness, early parenthood and lack of medical insurance. By age 21, young people surveyed reported positive gains in many protective factors, yet there is evidence that current and former foster youth continue to face challenges that can be barriers to adult independence… The data points to the challenges that youth face when they exit foster care without the ongoing support of a permanent family. States can use the survey data as additional information to help inform transition planning practices, service provision and extended foster care policies.
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Take care and keep up the Permanency work – Our children, youth, young adults, families and communities are depending on it!