In honor of the Thanksgiving Holiday, Permanency in the News will not published this week.
Please considering reaching out to support those in need, especially of a loving family. See you all next week.
Professional Trainer, Speaker and Consultant - Child Welfare, Juvenile Justice, Mental Health and Education
In honor of the Thanksgiving Holiday, Permanency in the News will not published this week.
Please considering reaching out to support those in need, especially of a loving family. See you all next week.
Ideally, we are working with youth and families who are approaching a prospective Adoption with a solid foundation of communication, support and skills. For our families, it can sometimes be puzzling and even frustrating when the youth seems to be either non-committal or beginning to back away from pursuing the Adoption. Sometimes for the Youth, it can also be puzzling and frustrating as to why they may be feeling this way. Whenever we pick up these sorts of signals, it is critical that we step in and provide both individual and collective support and guidance to help reduce a possible disruption in the process. The importance of building a bridge of validation and empathy among everyone involved needs to be the foundation of this work.
KCCI Des Moines, Iowa – Before the thrilling showdown between the Green Bay Packers and the Dallas Cowboys, Packers wide receiver Jordy Nelson officially welcomed another member to his family. Nelson and his wife, Emily, adopted their baby, Addy Jo, at the Bexar County Courthouse in San Antonio on Friday. Adda Jo had been with the Nelsons since March. Texas law requires a child to live with the adoptive parents for at least six months before an adoption can be finalized…
Adda Jo is the couple’s second adopted child. They adopted their son, Brooks, in February 2015. “After we had Royal, our biological child, we were unable to get pregnant again,” Nelson said in a 2016 video posted to YouTube by Jockey Being Family. “We just figured adoption was a great way for us to grow our family.” Jockey Being Family is a nonprofit organization that helps families with postadoption services by funding national and local adoption-related nonprofit organizations. Nelson is an ambassador for the organization.
Adoptions With Love – November is officially here, which means we can now look forward to another National Adoption Month and another #30daysoflove! As many of our readers know, National Adoption Month is a very special time of year for Adoptions With Love, and also for the many families out there that have been touched by adoption in some way…
Now, and each year forward, the U.S. Children’s Bureau sponsors National Adoption Month in efforts to spread adoption awareness, honor adoptive families, as well as bring to light the newborns and children who are still waiting for forever homes. Each year, National Adoption Month takes on a new theme. For National Adoption Month 2017, the initiative is called, “Teens Need Families, No Matter What…” act of adoption. We invite you to do the same…
Social Justice Solutions – There is nothing more complicated after a childhood of complex trauma than navigating relationships. Why? Complex trauma is relational.
We don’t have complex trauma without the failure of the primary relationships in our lives. And while the dissociation we use to stay alive is miraculous and amazing, it is also the nemesis of our adulthood. We can’t get our relationships to work because we only know extremes. Our inner parts which are created by dissociation are the source of our “all or nothing” thinking. And they make sure our relationships won’t be balanced … until we heal…
ACEs Connection – Post-traumatic growth is the recognition that however horrific our experiences, we as human beings have incredible ability to adapt, survive and integrate, to grow stronger… and then turn around and use that experience to help others…4 Factors Leading to Post-Traumatic Growth: 1) Brutally Honest Optimism; 2) Perception of Control Over Events; 3) Coping Style; 4) Strong Sense of Self
Monroe County Post – National Adoption Day has endeavored to raise our community’s awareness surrounding adoption. While adoption numbers nationwide have remained consistent since the late 1980s, there has been a shift, particularly in New York, increasing the number of children adopted from foster care.
Children in foster care have lost what most of us take for granted — a connection to loving and nurturing parents. The chaos created by substance abuse, unaddressed mental illness and/or physical violence have left these children without safe, permanent homes…By definition, to foster means “to bring up, raise or rear,” but to adopt means “to choose or take as one’s own child.” Foster connotes something temporary, but to adopt connotes something permanent. To adopt a child is to take him from the uncertainty of not knowing where or in what conditions he will live tomorrow, to a place in a forever family. That love covers it all. A child’s age is not an impediment to adoption; we have finalized the adoptions of children on the eve of their 21st birthday to mere newborns…
Sentinel Source – Once an adoption is finalized, the lasting commitment to be a family extends not only until a child is grown and leaves the house, but for the rest of their lives. Because it is such a lasting relationship, adoptive parents should prepare by taking time to think through the transition period and how best to help a child arriving from adverse circumstances. Additional information is available through Information Gateway resource: Preventing Disruption/Dissolution.
Seeking Permanency through Adoption is a group effort whose workload must be shared by all who are involved. When a couple is seeking Adoption, it is important to assess both whose idea was it to start this journey and the level of commitment of the two people. One of the two might be more invested in Adoption than the other. If this is the case, it is critically important that some solid adoption competent couples counseling be provided to help the couple find a unified position in response to the Adoption. If this unified position is not created prior to the Adoption, the chances of the Adoption and/or the couple’s relationship being severely disrupted down the road increases significantly. This is an example of where prevention can go a long way in securing Permanency for everyone!
30 Adoption Portraits in 30 Days – Chicago Now – When we first brought home twins, family friends Liz and Keith (parents to triplets) shared this nugget of wisdom: now, you will see or meet multiples everywhere. Thus far, this has not been an exaggeration in the least…The same concept of “they’re everywhere” seems to apply to fellow families created by adoption, too. People whose lives have been shaped by adoption in some way are now suddenly crossing our paths in droves – friends from graduate school who adopted (and who, like us, are conspicuous adoptive parents) have given us advice, a work friend who is an adult adoptee has shared the wisdom of her experience.
We no longer live in a world where adoption is treated as some hush-hush family secret; in fact, openness is touted by professionals as best for all involved, removing some mystery. Entertainment news stories regularly feature celebrity adoptions…I know, in the deepest places in my heart, that I am their Mommy and that Daddy is Daddy; they know with whom they belong. Certainly, adoption isn’t uncommon, nor is it only discussed in hushed tones behind closed doors. For some curious strangers, is our normal simply not normal enough?
Children’s Aid Society of Alabama – I worked at a residential facility for 2 ½ years engaging with young people in the foster care system, who felt forgotten by family and had little to no plans for the future. I often reflected on my own life, remembering how difficult it was for me as a teenager to navigate life, even with both my parents present; I couldn’t fathom how difficult it must be for the young people I provided services to. They would tell me, “no one cares about me, why should I care about myself.” I spent countless hours convincing young people that they mattered and were important. But, they need someone consistent in their lives telling them these things. That’s when I found something called “The Permanency Pact”. It’s a free tool created by Foster Club to encourage life-long connections between a foster youth and a supportive adult. It’s a sense of hope for a young person who may not have strong connections…
WCTI – News Channel 12 – Greensboro NC – Children’s Home Society of North Carolina is announcing an expansion of a statewide program to find permanent homes for older children in foster care during National Adoption Month. Children’s Home Society will also be providing the expanded child-focused recruitment program at no cost to county social services agencies across North Carolina. This is done in partnership with the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, Wendy’s Wonderful Kids and the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Division of Social Services…
“Expanding the Wendy’s Wonderful Kids program and using its child-focused recruitment model means more children like Nick will leave foster care faster and find safe, loving and permanent families,” Rebecca Starnes, Vice President of Children’s Home Society of North Carolina, said…””The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption is driven by a single goal — finding a loving and permanent family for every child waiting to be adopted from foster care,” Rita Soronen, President and CEO of the Foundation, said. “We have a successful and growing relationship with Children’s Home Society of North Carolina, who shares our core value of assuring a home for every child in need.”
Forbes – Changing systems in our society is complex, difficult and overwhelming work that is practically impossible for a foundation to achieve on its own. There are a number of examples of movements that are pushing for systems change in various aspects of our society, including: The foster care system, which in recent years has seen the national conversation shift to reflect a growing interest in revamping the nation’s child welfare system to focus more on prevention and less on out-of-home placement. Casey Family Programs has been a lead funder in this effort…For more insight on how philanthropy and systems change interact with each other, download a free copy of the field scan, The Role of Philanthropy in Systems Change.
Chronicle of Social Change – The number of U.S. children in foster care has been on the rise since 2012, and most experts agree that the upward trend will continue. But what about the number of homes available to take these children? The Chronicle of Social Change, has recently completed a state-by-state research to determine whether this increase in foster youth has been met with a proportional increase in foster homes…This report is strictly an attempt to gauge the trends in foster home capacity at a time when the number of foster youth in the country has increased. Two separate issues of greater importance that readers should consider: 1) States that have seen their capacity compromised by a rising number of foster youth would be smart to assess whether they could keep more youth safely at home. 2) Quality should not be compromised to address problems with quantity. The Senate Finance Committee recently released a report in which it expressed concern about state monitoring and quality control in foster care, particularly in regard to private providers.
One of the famous lines from the movie “When Harry Met Sally” is when the woman in the diner comments that “I’ll have what she’s having.” Sometimes our Youth in out of home care have the opposite reaction when the topic of Permanency is brought up. They may express that they want nothing to do with Permanency. This could be due in part to a pattern of chronic, unrelenting and unresolved losses and interpersonal trauma. Before we push the topic of Permanency for Youth in this type of situation, let’s be sure that we help them begin to grieve some of their losses and find people, places and things that help them to feel safe in the face of trauma.
Social Justice Solutions – Family Care Network – Tara Brown started fostering as a young single mom because she had a dream about helping children in the foster care system. Her story is beautiful, wonderful and nothing short of miraculous. At first glance, Tara might seem to some as an ordinary woman, but you’ll quickly find that she is far from ordinary, and has made a world of difference to one child, her newly adopted son…
Tara’s journey towards fostering and adoption began when she was working at a group home. Her heart broke for the kids in care and she knew she wanted to help children in the foster care system in some deeper way someday…Adoption wasn’t in Tara’s mind when she first took in Squish. When he was placed with her, he was a tiny six-week old baby who doctors initially thought was blind, and suffering from a lot of other health and attachment deficiencies. As she nurtured her foster son, advocated for him, fought hard for his health and well-being, she began to see signs of attachment developing. Motherhood instincts kicked in, and Tara realized that as attachment grew, Squish’s health problems improved and he began to truly thrive. Tara shared that despite her fears, “I didn’t resist the attachment bonds with Squish, but fully entered into it knowing that it was the best thing for his health and development…”
Now they are family forever, and Tara has felt affirmed by her community through the journey that her new son has been worth the fight. Tara feels that she did not just rescue her son, but that their journey and struggles have shown her that there is joy and strength found in community, and that there is goodness in this world.
Child Welfare Information Gateway and AdoptUSKids provide powerful stories about youth in need of Adoption along with a wide range of information, guidance, videos, podcasts and other resources for professionals, families and agencies.
Psychology Today – Research shows development of resilience begins with our earliest relationships…Ways of being together are laid down in our minds and bodies the early weeks, months, and years of life. They become part of us; part of our DNA. Our earliest relationships sculpt our nervous system and the way our body responds to stress. The moment-to-moment mismatch and repair of early infancy is the material of which our self, with our own skin—our own border—is made. Survival of disruption, together with the joy of repair, creates trust, an essential ingredient of intimacy.
Adverse Childhood Experiences can be understood as developmental derailment of the healthy process of mismatch and repair. Prolonged lapse between mismatch and repair occurs when a parent is preoccupied with depression, substance use, marital conflict, or domestic violence. Absent mismatch occurs with an anxious intrusive parent. Unrepaired mismatch occurs in the setting of abuse and neglect…The word “trauma” can itself be traumatizing. As we move forward with this work, I wonder if we might aim to build not “trauma-informed” communities, but, taking the lead from Bessel van der Kolk’s presentation of mother and baby, simply “connected communities.” Parents and babies are an excellent place to start.
Pettinga – 3BL Media – Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption – Every five years the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption measures the attitudes of Americans and their feelings and thoughts about foster care adoption. This year the survey was completed by Nielsen on behalf of the Foundation and there were some surprising trends.
One of the main take-aways from this year’s study is that many families who adopt already have children, debunking a long-standing opinion that only families who can’t have biological children adopt. There’s also a growing sentiment in the United States that every child is adoptable.
The Anderson family of Celina, Ohio is a great example of a family with children, growing through adoption. The Andersons have eight children, four of whom were adopted from foster care. They shared that they are so grateful for the blessing of adoption, and encourage everyone to be a voice for the voiceless. And we’re grateful for families like them who support foster care adoption! #ItsWorthIt
Quality Improvement Center for Workforce Development – Staff turnover in child welfare agencies is typically up to six times the national average turnover rate across all industries. High turnover is just one example of costly workforce issues that can negatively impact vulnerable children. The Quality Improvement Center for Workforce Development (QIC-WD) at the University of Nebraska- Lincoln (UNL) will partner with eight sites to strengthen their workforce…
Over the next four years the QIC-WD will work with the selected sites to address and study potential solutions to their specific workforce issues. A review of the literature, benchmarking survey of current workforce trends, and implementation and evaluation tools will be developed and shared as part of the project. The QIC-WD is committed to using the best available research from a variety of fields to identify strategies to strengthen the workforce of its partner sites.
“Ultimately, a stronger workforce with less turnover and more supportive organizational environments should improve the outcomes of the vulnerable families and children served by the child welfare system,” according to Dr. Graef. The QIC-WD expects that this project will result in evidence-supported workforce strategies applicable to other public and Tribal child welfare agencies and an improved understanding of the connection between the child welfare workforce and outcomes for children and families.
PR Web – Calo Programs, innovators in healing the effects of early life trauma in young people, is partnering with three of the nation’s leading authorities on attachment, trauma and adoption: the American Adoption Congress (AAC), the Attachment & Trauma Network (ATN) and the Association for Training on Trauma and Attachment in Children (ATTACh). Together they are launching a first-of-its-kind mobile campaign to increase awareness, compassion and understanding of the lifelong impact of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), and to share a hope for healing. The purpose of this five-city bus tour is to raise awareness of how ACEs impact the development of 1 in 4 children in the U.S., and how these often-overlooked experiences can adversely impact development, in a physical, mental and emotional way.
A commonly held belief is that once we cross a bridge, it’s easier to cross it a 2nd time. Applying this belief to the practice of securing Permanency for our Youth in out of home care can be particularly challenging. Many of our Youth have already lost their original source of Permanency in terms of the family that they came into this world in and struggle to belief that they will ever find Permanency. For our Youth who have again lost Permanency while under our care, including removal from their parent(s) a 2nd time or an Adoption that disrupts, this ability to hope and believe in Permanency becomes even more difficult. In these unfortunate situations, we need to provide even more support to guide them through this return to the grief and loss process. This will help increase the chances that our Youth will be willing and able to partner with us in another attempt at crossing the bridge to lasting Permanency.
Dr. John DeGarmo – Guest Blog by Whitney Gilliard – “When it is dark I will always crack the door so there is light. When you feel alone, I will show you a picture of your son and remind you that you will never be alone again. When you feel unloved, look at me and you’ll know without a doubt that you are loved. When you feel weak, I’ll show you a picture of the strongest people I have ever met- you. I was just thinking of how fantastic you are and wanted to tell you. Hope you are having a fabulous day sweetie.”- Love mom.
That was the text my foster mother, whom I now call mom, sent me one evening. I starred that that message long and hard and flashbacks came through of the times I was in foster care…My foster parents had to answer to questions that belonged to the people who placed me on this earth. They had to deal with pain that they didn’t create. They allowed their life to be messy because to them, I was worth it. After numerous times of not letting go, and not giving up on me. I found myself walking across the stage of my high school graduation, holding a diploma I would have never thought would be mine. A few years later, in the delivery room, there they stood holding my son as proud grandparents. The cycle of abuse and generations of pain have finally ended. All because a couple refused to give up on me…
Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption – Child abuse is among the most difficult subjects imaginable to discuss. Just thinking about the abuse, maltreatment or neglect of children too young or too powerless to defend themselves can be emotionally wrenching. Older youth can become deeply troubled by the recognition that they were abandoned or maltreated simply because of who they are. The reality of child abuse forces us to confront the disturbing notion that the very adults charged with the safety and care of their children have done just the opposite…But these children don’t need to wait for some idealized notion of family – they simply need loving individuals in their lives who are willing to meet the challenges of parenting and to make a lifetime commitment to caring for and nurturing them. Families are as unique and diverse as the children in care and we should embrace, support and celebrate those who step forward to adopt.
If you are an individual or couple who has ever considered adoption, I encourage you to learn more about foster care adoption and whether you might make a good fit for a child’s needs. The rewards – for you and for a child in need of a loving home – will last a lifetime, and build a legacy of family for generations to come.
Washington Post – Among the thousands of families filling out financial aid applications and struggling to save for tuition, there are grandparents such as Bursch facing the same financial responsibilities but with limited resources. Their second run at parenting arrives as their earning potential winds down and retirement kicks in with a fixed income never meant to cover the cost of college. Every stitch of their clothing, all of their meals and day-to-day expenses have been her responsibility since 2003, when drug use by her daughter and son-in-law prompted the police to remove the children from their home.
Whole Child Initiative – Gabi Garcia – Helping children slow down and develop mindful awareness of what their bodies are telling them is a foundation for building self-regulation. What is self-regulation? Simply put, self-regulation is the process of monitoring and recognizing when stimulation is too much, and then doing something about it. However, this is not always a simple or straightforward process, and for children who have experienced trauma (and whose nervous system creates the sense that it needs to be on high alert), this becomes even more challenging.
Children may be doing something in response to stimulation, but it may not be helping them to get their actual needs met. A hungry child may be cranky or grumpy, a tired child may become squirmy and unfocused, a nervous child may feel their belly tighten or have shortness of breath. In some cases, children can become overwhelmed by the physical sensations they are experiencing without understanding what is happening or what to do.
The Pew Charitable Trust – Policymakers want to improve outcomes for children and youth but often struggle with how best to allocate limited resources. In recent years, many have turned to evidence-based policymaking—the systematic use of high-quality research in decision-making—to help address this challenge. Extensive analysis, for example, has demonstrated that some interventions achieve outcomes that benefit children and youth—such as reducing child abuse and juvenile recidivism rates. But policymakers need access to these findings to identify, fund and sustain these proven programs…
How can states better engage in evidence-based policymaking? To help other states expand their evidence-based policymaking over the long term, the Results First report identified several approaches that states, in addition to Ohio and Florida, have adopted.
First, states can increase their commitment to using evidence and data to guide decisions…Second, states can invest in strengthening the infrastructure needed to make their agencies’ data systems compatible and enable staff to conduct analyses that identify cost-effective programming…Finally, states can expand their staff capacity to identify and implement programs shown to be effective.
With the growing data on how to build a better future for children and youth, policymakers can expand their engagement in evidence-based policy-making by strategically investing in public programs proved to deliver strong returns on taxpayer dollars.