Greetings Permanency Champions,
Permanency Tip of the Week: Keeping Youth Connected with their Community
As the school year ends for most students, we need to add to our “Things to Do List” the item of ensuring that our Youth stay connected with their community. These community-based connections can be from school, faith community, work, youth groups, after-school activities and sports among others. Be sure that your Youth have access to contact information to their friends from school so that they can stay connected with them. If your Youth is transitioning to another school in the Fall, start looking at ways to get them connected with the new school – especially through extra-curricular activities as well as through academic support opportunities if applicable. Please be sure that this summer is one of new and strengthened connections and not one of isolation.
Permanency Success Story of the Week: Georgia Couple Adopts 7 Siblings Who Spent Years in Foster Care
Jessaka Clark and her husband, Josh, met the seven siblings — Maria, Elizabet, Guillermo, Jason, Kristina, Katerin, James — in April 2016 after a case worker asked the couple if they would be interested in adopting them. “My husband Josh and I both knew that we wanted to adopt children. We had decided this before we even met each other,” Clark told Fox News in an email on Wednesday. “Josh has a heart for the thousands of children that don’t have parents and knew he wanted to bring some of them into his home.” Clark said her parents where the ones who inspired her to adopt. They spent several years as foster parents while she grew up in New York. She also has two adopted brothers…The Clarks hope their story will bring awareness to the need for adoption and foster parents in the United States. May also happens to be national Foster Care Month.
Permanency Related Articles:
Salon – The mother’s age. The parents’ history with drug or alcohol abuse. The young person’s experiences with child protective services. These are among the hundreds of factors that could be digitally analyzed to predict whether a child is at risk of being abused or neglected – and child welfare agencies in places like Pennsylvania, Florida and California have been exploring whether this “big data” can be harnessed to protect the most vulnerable kids. Child Welfare Information Gateway resource – Report: Improving Educational Well-Being Outcomes of Children
California Evidence Based Clearinghouse (CEBC) for Child Welfare – These programs are defined by the CEBC as programs, interventions, and practices that assist with the recruitment, selection, development, and support of a diverse, skilled, and effective child welfare workforce to improve staff practice and retention. Programs may address the recruitment, selection, and hiring of new child welfare staff and/or the education, training, supervision, support, retention and leadership development of new and ongoing child welfare staff. Programs may also address methods for assessing and improving the workplace environment to make it more supportive of effective child welfare practice. In addition, programs may involve components and elements designed to: 1) mitigate and reduce work-related stress and trauma, 2) improve worker satisfaction, and 3) increase staff retention.
People – For more than two decades, Mohamed Bzeek has quietly cared for children who are frequently neglected — terminally ill foster kids who often can’t see, hear or talk, and have little time left to experience love, hope and laughter. Since 1995, Bzeek, 62, of Azusa, California, has buried 10 severely disabled foster children, in addition to his wife, Dawn, who died two years ago after developing blood clots in her lungs.
Dawn, who was caring for foster children when she and Mohamed met, agreed with him after they married that they should devote themselves to enhancing the lives of the most vulnerable. After her death, “it only seemed natural to continue,” says Bzeek, who is now looking after a 6-year-old girl whom he can’t name due to privacy laws. Born deaf, blind and with microcephaly — a condition where the brain doesn’t develop properly, “the only way to communicate with her is by touch,” Bzeek tells PEOPLE, “and so I hold her. I want to know that somebody is here for her. Somebody loves her. She is not alone.”
Supporting Lifelong Families: Steps Child Welfare Agencies Can Take to Prevent Children from Re-entering Foster Care
Casey Family Programs – Nearly one in five children in foster care has been in care before. Each time a child comes in or out of care, families are fractured and re-fractured. Stable, nurturing families can bolster their resilience and lessen negative long-term effects — but these protective factors can’t be nurtured if children keep re-entering care.
This action plan, Supporting Lifelong Families: Steps Child Welfare Agencies Can Take to Prevent Children from Re-entering Foster Care, highlights the actions child welfare leaders can take now to begin addressing the re-entry problem.
JJIE News – Working with today’s generation of youth involved in the criminal justice system does not provide instant gratification for direct service workers. Today’s generation do not get up to volunteer a seat for the elderly. Today’s generation will curse out their parents, teachers and strangers just because they feel like doing so.
We can blame it on social media, lack of parenting and lack of community involvement in the village model. After all the blaming is done, however, how do we empower a community of professionals who give 100 percent of themselves to a population who are not always receptive? How do we empower professionals whose salary is often far below that of their peers due to being in the social service field?…
As an executive of programs that serve a majority of youth who are underserved, I recognize that it is key for every staff member to feel empowered, that their opinion matters and that their input aids program development and implementation. If we work to support our direct staff who hold community-based programs together for youthful offenders, we will in return have an opportunity to create a supportive environment for them and help create a cultural change among the youth.
Fresno Bee – More than half of young women in foster care in California will have been pregnant at least once by 19, a rate that is three times greater than for non-foster youths, according to the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy. Two thirds of the young women who become pregnant describe their pregnancy as unwanted and unplanned. While the rate of unintended pregnancy is at an all-time low nationally, young women in foster care aren’t making similar gains.
Not surprisingly, this leads to early childbearing. A University of Southern California study found that 35 percent of young women who were in foster care at the age of 18 gave birth by age 21. Again, that rate is more than double the rate of non-foster youths…
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Take care and keep up the Permanency work – Our children, youth, young adults, families and communities are depending on it!