Permanency Tip of the Week: Does Anything but Material Things Motivate my Youth / Child?
One of the challenges that many of our Youth face is that their minds operate in “survival mode” because many of them have experienced significant periods of social, emotional and physical neglect early and often in their life. From this experience, the Youth may appear to be very “materialistic” in that their actions and motivations appear to be focused solely on getting as much stuff as they can. This presents a genuine challenges for people, especially caregivers, who are trying to form loving attachments with them. Instead of seeing this as a character flaw, try to consider it as a message to you about how profound their experience of neglect has been and how critical it is for them to begin to experience unconditional care and acceptance.
Permanency Success Story of the Week: How Discovering That I Was Adopted Has Made Me A Better Mother
Huffington Post – On January 5th of last year, I discovered that I was adopted. The experience was soul-crushing and devastating. The people I thought were my parents for nearly 33 years of my life weren’t blood relatives at all. It turned out, that the only person I knew for sure was related to me was my newborn son — the little being I brought into this world just three months prior to my own new rebirth…I had to rediscover who I was while also defining my identity as a mother. Do I breastfeed or not? Do I try to find out who my birth parents are? Is sleep training going to work for my child? Was I loved by my birth parents at all? Am I still Cuban and Argentine? All of these thoughts flooded in, which caused a major case of anxiety, depression, and lack of sleep (not that you get any of that with a newborn anyway).
The healing process took nearly a year and I can’t say that I stay in a constant state of peace, but just like the motherhood—my emotions go in waves. What I know for sure is that I’m loved and have family by my side. I feel like I can overcome any storm that comes and having that strength makes me the best mother I can be.
Permanency Related Articles:
Juvenile Justice Information Exchange – Dual status youth (also referred to as “crossover youth” or “multi-system youth”) refers to youth who come into contact with both the child welfare and juvenile justice systems, though they do not have to be concurrently involved. This section of the website provides information on a number of issues related to serving these Youth including: 1) What are the Pathways to Dual Involvement; 2) How prevalent are Dual-Status Youth? 3) Disparities; 4) Challenges experienced by Dual-Status Youth.
Chronicle of Social Change – Recently, I was interviewed by a bright-eyed, earnest high school student. She interviewed me for an assignment that required her to get the perspective of a foster child. I obliged, and here’s a snippet of that conversation:
HS Student: What age where you when you entered foster care? Me: Fourteen. I didn’t know anything about it upon entry.
HS Student: What were your thoughts at the time when you entered the system? Me: I was for sure scared because I thought some relatives would’ve been called. They weren’t. Once I entered my first foster home, I was very nervous and didn’t know what to do, how to be. I mean, I’m invading someone else’s home and I was deeply ashamed for the reasons why I was put in that position in the first place. I remember just thinking, stay quiet, speak when spoken to, keep to yourself and throw yourself into school. School was my escape from life…
Chronicle of Social Change – Recently, I was interviewed by a bright-eyed, earnest high school student. She interviewed me for an assignment that required her to get the perspective of a foster child. I obliged, and here’s a snippet of the 2nd part of that conversation:
HS Student: Are you still affected by your time in foster care, even to this day? Me: Yes and I must point out, I’m more affected by the events that led me into foster care. You know, the abuse and failure in parenting and protection. I refuse to blame everything on foster care but yes, my time in the system certainly caused further damage in some ways…
HS Student: How can someone like me help foster kids? Me: Educate yourself. Read books like my memoir, then seek out information, which is what you’re doing now. Asking questions then sharing the answers to people I would never reach otherwise, kids at your school, raising awareness. I mean, I don’t have access to them but you do and you’re planting seeds there. You’re transferring information through a story. That’s great and I think necessary. Another way is through the Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) program, where you act as the child’s voice in their court hearings. I think you have to be 18 though, to do that.
National Center for Youth Law News – NCYL recently kicked off a 50-state study to identify state laws and regulations that either help or hinder placement of foster teens in safe, supportive homes before they age-out of the foster care system. Teens that are still in foster care through adolescence face grim prospects. Foster youth are often cut off from government services when they turn 18 or 21. These teens often end up returning to the same homes they were removed from without proper services, or can end up homeless or incarcerated. While some aspects of federal and state law promote safe reunification with families, adoption, or legal guardianship, others serve as barriers.
National Institute for Permanent Family Connectedness (NIPFC) has produced a number of short articles that articulate essential elements of the Family Finding process. This article is authored by Mike Mertz, who cites and invokes effective narrative practices to improve and deepen engagement. More specifically, Mike speaks to the identification and utilization of “Intentional Strengths” as a foundational piece of the engagement and relationship building process. This article speaks to the differentiation between the identification of internal strengths and intentional strengths, and identifies the additional benefits of determining the intentional aspects of strengths while providing guidance as to process of enriching strengths discussions.
In summary, the research has taught us that conducting Family Finding simply to find someone to place a young person with is not an effective strategy and may be a misuse of the intervention. Family Finding recognizes the moral and social obligation to involve healthy and caring family members in the lives of those who may or have entered the system, as well as the mounting evidence which declares that we recognize family as the experts who are best equipped to solve their problems.
Daily Mail – UK – Abuse accelerates the physical growth and maturity of children, a new study warns. Scientists say that young girls who are emotionally and physically abused hit puberty eight to 12 months earlier than their non-abused peers. Sexual abuse in particular forces children to physically mature at a faster rate. Premature physical development such as this has been linked to breast and ovarian cancers due to the increased exposure to the hormone estrogen over a longer period of time. Additionally, early puberty is seen as a potential contributor to increased rates of depression, substance abuse, sexual risk taking…
The researchers for the current study believe they were able to accurately rule out other variables that may have aided in accelerated puberty. They believe the findings add to the current body of work highlighting the role of stress in puberty, and hope it will lead to increased preventative care and psychosocial aid to young women facing the effects of early maturation.