Permanency Tip of the Week: Healing in the Family or the Office or Both?
Mental health services can play an important role in helping to facilitate the process of our youth in foster care healing from their histories of abuse, neglect and trauma. It is critically important however, that we strongly value and emphasize the healing that can only occur in the context of loving, supportive and trauma informed relationships within their permanent family. Unless the trauma informed mental health services are integrated into and supportive of the family, then the extent of our youth’s healing is likely to be significantly limited.
Permanency Story of the Week: After Growing Up in Foster Care, Young Man Adopted as Adult
The saying goes that you can’t choose your parents. But last month, Tyrone Burns Smith did the next best thing. At 26, he had the family he loved legally adopt him. “Some people think that, by the time you reach a certain age, it doesn’t matter anymore,” he says. “But I want them to be my family forever. I want their last name. I want my children to have their last name.”… Among the congratulations and the good-natured jokes about the Smith’s new baby boy, Tyrone posed for photos with his newly official mother and father. In them, he holds a big handwritten sign: “I waited 8,030 days — 22 years — to be adopted,” it says, counting the days since he entered foster care at age 4. “Today is my day.”
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The Press Enterprise – The Rancho Damacitas cottages in the Temecula area have been helping foster children since 1983 – but recent efforts will help emancipated foster youth while they attend school or enter the workforce. “The state covers tuition, but you can’t go to college if you don’t have transportation, food and a place to live,” said Cal Winslow, CEO of Rancho Damacitas Children & Family Services. The organization, which recently received a Community Impact Grant from The Community Foundation, also runs six family-style cottages in the Temecula area that house 36 foster children ages 6-18.
What makes the foster homes at Rancho Damacitas special, Winslow said, is that the organization uses a “home parent” philosophy that endeavors to give the foster children the experience of living with a family. Every home has a couple who live there, functioning as parents and giving the home continuity. “Always remember that these kids, no matter how difficult they may seem, have some tremendous possibilities within them,” Winslow said. “It’s hard to get to that sometimes, but that’s why we need to not give up.”
Conrad H Hilton Foundation – Foster youth between the ages of 15 and 21 are particularly vulnerable, as they transition into adulthood and age out of the foster care system. Typically, they have few supportive adults in their lives and limited access to college and career options. Despite these barriers, they are resilient and can make the transition if given the opportunity. We work with partners to help transition-age foster youth find their path to success.
The MAKERS Team – Another day another endorsement for Olympic gold-medalist Simone Biles. But, while her endorsement list keeps on growing, few companies and organizations can compete with the most recent one. Aside from being her first post-Olympics deal, Mattress Firm also hits closest to home. And for Biles, who has been selective when it comes to endorsement deals, Mattress Firm is particularly important because of the company’s efforts to help those in the foster care system.
“I know what it’s like to only have the clothes that are in your pack,” Biles told ESPNW, adding, “I want other foster kids to know that they are not alone and they can feel like they can do anything.”
Juvenile Justice Information Exchange – Girls’ involvement in the juvenile justice system is growing disproportionately at a time when arrest rates for boys are declining. And yet, girls’ behavior has not changed; rather, our response to their behavior has changed. This is especially true for girls in the child welfare system.
Much has been written recently about the “pathways” that lead youth, especially girls of color, from histories of childhood abuse and/or neglect to involvement with the juvenile justice system. We are starting to better understand the ways in which childhood exposure to trauma can lead to survival strategies and behaviors that are criminalized, while child welfare system involvement can exacerbate underlying trauma and result in law enforcement contact for youth who otherwise would have had none.
Adopt US Kids – Most of our “outstanding caseworker” submissions come from families. But we recently received this passionate and detailed submission from a “colleague, former supervisor, and fan” of North Carolina caseworker Tracey Bullock. She wrote: “Tracey is an outstanding caseworker and a true pillar of advocacy and inspiration to those around her and in our community. She only works with teens and exemplifies what a caseworker should be by being honest and providing accurate information to them regarding their foster care journey…“Tracey advocates relentlessly for resources and services for her teens and ensures they have opportunities and experiences that will help them in a successful transition from foster care. She doesn’t hesitate to be there for them on special occasions—school plays, sports events, proms, and graduations—to make sure they have at least one person in the audience to support them.”
National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN) – September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month and on September 10th we observe World Suicide Prevention Day. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, suicide was the tenth leading cause of death for all ages in 2014 and was the second leading cause of death for those ages 10-24. Suicide is a global phenomenon that affects all regions of the world. According to the World Health Organization in 2012, over 800,000 people die due to suicide every year and it is the second leading cause of death among 15-29 year-olds worldwide.
The National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN) is proud to observe Suicide Prevention Month and World Suicide Prevention Day, and offers the resources listed below to help educate families and communities, mental health and victim services professionals, and policy makers about the profound impact suicide has on men, women, and children.