Permanency Tip of the Week: Cognitive Challenges ~ Processing Grief and Loss
Some of the Youth that we serve are dealing with additional cognitive related challenges such as Autism or other Neurological conditions. When you encounter this situation, it is important to adjust your grief and loss interventions, NOT abandon them all together. Work to determine the child’s level of cognitive, emotional and relational development and use interventions appropriate to that level. This may lead you to use exercises and books designed for younger children. Whenever you hear people in a Youth’s life say about grief and loss that “he / she won’t get it” or “he / she isn’t affected by it”, these children need even more of your support and guidance to go through the grief and loss process.
Permanency Story of the Week: George and Tony: Brothers Separated in Care Protect Their Bond
One of the most difficult things for youth in foster care — after being taken away from their home — is also losing connection with their siblings. It isn’t unusual for brothers and sisters to be separated and sent to different homes and that was the case with George and Tony, two brothers, just a few years apart in age. There were ten kids in their family and no way for one family member or foster care placement to take them all. George and Tony were each placed with one other sibling and, until they were teenagers, saw each other once a month…
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Self-care is an imperative for the ethical practice of social work and other helping professions. From A (awareness) to Z (ZZZZ–Sleep), the editors and contributors use a simple A-to-Z framework to outline strategies to help you build a self-care plan with specific goals and ways to reach them realistically. Questions for reflection and additional resource lists help you to dig deeper in your self-care journey. Just as the ABCs are essential building blocks for a young child’s learning, you can use the ABCs in The A-to-Z Self-Care Handbook for Social Workers and Other Helping Professionals to build your way to a happy, healthy, ethical life as a helping professional. Includes a self-care planning form to help you set goals and formulate strategies.
Every year, one of Youth Services Insider’s favorite assignments is poring over the policy recommendations of the 12 young people selected for the Foster Youth Internship Program (FYI), a program operated by the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute. Each participant interns for a member of Congress and produces one proposal on how to improve child welfare policy. This year’s collection, “Powerful Voices,” did not disappoint.
These young people have all spent time in foster care, and have now spent time in politics, leaving with at least some sense of how the sausage is made. Each year, without fail, we find at least one “How has this not been done yet” proposal within the words of this report. Another cool thing about the collection of these 12 proposals: each year, it seems, a strong theme or two really emerge among the ideas. Two years ago, it was youth empowerment and mental health services timelines. Last year, it was the quality of foster care for older youth and data collection on adoption.
Social work can be so taxing in part because it so often means being on the front lines of overwhelmingly large problems that exist on a society-wide scale: substance abuse, mental illness, unemployment, poverty, and housing discrimination, to name a few.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, social work is one of the fastest growing fields in the U.S., though the number of social workers is still outpaced by the demand for their services in some places. The state of Texas had even resorted to lowering the education requirements for caseworkers—no longer requiring them to have college degrees—to meet this demand.
Judith Schagrin is the assistant director for children’s services for Baltimore County, Maryland. She oversees the county’s foster care and adoptions program, which includes the approval process for foster parents and making sure that children don’t linger in the foster-care system. I spoke with Schagrin about how she’s stayed motivated for more than 30 years in the same field, the challenges facing the foster-care system, and what families have stuck with her the most. The interview that follows has been lightly edited for length and clarity.
For most of the 20th century, adoptions were largely “closed,” meaning birth parents placed their child with an adoption agency and had no further contact unless the child sought them out later in life. However, statistics show that a shift occurred in the 1990s when adoption practitioners started to recognize the benefits of “open” adoptions, or adoptions in which adoptive families have ongoing interactions with the birth family. Now, University of Missouri communication researchers are studying the benefits and challenges of open adoptions. Their recent study shows that open adoption relationships in which communication is encouraged, can benefit the child and their adoptive parents.
A new study suggests Child Protective Services (CPS) caseworkers should use a more all-encompassing approach to improve how they respond to cases of chronic neglect. Researchers at the University at Buffalo discovered that neglect accounts for more than 70 percent of cases reported nationally to CPS.
Chronicle of Social Change – Kenyon Lee Whitman – Every year I try to host a Friendsgiving, a tradition I started in undergrad. While not all of the same people show up, the purpose of the evening remains; it is meant to be a space to be with those I chose to call my family. As someone who grew up in foster care, family is fluid. Family is chosen, family is a village. Family is not necessarily being bonded by blood, but being bonded by circumstance, having someone there when you need them the most.
The concept of a traditional nuclear family was especially difficult for me growing up. Growing up in a foster home with a black woman helped me to “pass” as non-foster – I could say she was my grandmother – but people’s entitled sense of curiosity would still force me to discuss why I didn’t live with at least one of my parents. So I lied, and eventually it got difficult to keep up…