Permanency in the News Blog – Week of 03/10/14
Stories of the Week:
“I ask all my kids to memorize my number, so they’ll always have a way to reach me if they need to.” Jan Watford has cradled newborns who are in the throes of meth withdrawal. She’s told angry teens she doesn’t blame them for trying to push her away — again and again. Every child she advocates for as a guardian ad litem might as well be flesh and blood. “I would go to the ends of the earth to make sure they are receiving what they need and more,” Jan says.
Jan has worked with more than 21 children during her seven years as a volunteer in Florida’s guardian ad litem program, where she also serves as a peer mentor for new volunteers. This past spring, she won a prestigious Jefferson Award, the nation’s highest honor for community service, after being named the Tallahassee Democrat newspaper’s Volunteer of the Year.
Kansas City, MO – Tom Prudden jotted the name in his notebook almost as an afterthought. “Uncle Tony.” Though the goal in Charlie’s case always was adoption, his chances were slipping away. Many kids who linger in the foster system into their teens “age out” without ever being adopted. When they turn 18, they find themselves on their own without family or much support. If they have developmental delays and disabilities, they can land in group homes.
Current Permanency related articles:
The California State Legislature is off and running in the second year of its two-year session. To date, a total of 64 child welfare related bills have been introduced, according to Children Now, which has developed a comprehensive list. These bills address a wide range of issues, including child abuse reporting (AB 790), health and education records (AB 1828), benefits for relative caregivers (AB 1882), dual jurisdiction youth (AB 2607) and sibling visitation (SB 1099), among many other topics.
According to the 2014 legislative calendar, Each bill will be heard in its respective policy committee before being heard in its fiscal committee and voted on by the first house by May 30th. Those who make this far will move onto the second house and repeat the process of being heard in policy and fiscal committees, with a deadline of August 31st. The last day for the Governor to sign or veto bills September 30, 2014.
The National Resource Center for Adoption (NRCA) recently released this issue of their newsletter which includes articles that highlight the importance of relationships. This issue features articles that focus on educational outcomes, supports, and programs in place to help adopted and guardianship-placed youth in post-secondary education; the importance of valuing biological familial relationships for youth in care, including maintaining and strengthening sibling relationships; the importance of relationships among Native Americans and its impact on their view of permanency; and exploring adoption and guardianship with relative caregivers. It also includes a review of current research and lists additional resources that may be of interest.
Child Trends has just recently released a new Family Finding research brief entitled, “Voices from the Field: Stakeholder Perspectives on Family Finding.” Bob Friend and Kevin Campbell, along with a variety of other professionals in the field, including judges, guardians ad litem and family finding specialists, were interviewed to determine the importance of finding and engaging lifelong supports for children and youth, as well as common barriers to forming and building permanent connections.
Look here for a number of other Child Trends Family Finding Research Briefs
New Funding in Obama Budget Proposal to Reduce Psychotropic Drug Use among Foster Children
Last week, President Obama released his proposed budget for federal fiscal year 2014-15 and it included $50 million for a special project that would address the overutilization of psychotropic medication among youth in foster care. This is an issue that the National Center for Youth Law, based in Oakland, has been working to address.
New Resources Available to Help Foster Youth Enroll in Medi-Cal to Age 26
Children Now, has launched a youth-friendly website to inform foster youth and their allies about the Medi-Cal extension to age 26. The website includes an informational flyer geared towards youth, a fact sheet, and a document with contact information for individual counties. To request training on the new policy, contact Jessica Haspel or Fatima Morales of Children Now
For those interested in reading federal guidance on this policy, you can refer to a recently released Frequently Asked Questions document by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The California Youth Connection and National Youth Network also recently created an educational video about this policy, funded by the Walter S. Johnson Foundation.