Permanency Tip of the Week: Why Do We Feel Like We are not Making a Difference in Her Life?
When we begin to doubt it we are making a difference in the lives of the Youth, we have to trust in the fact that we can and are in fact making a profound difference. Due to the challenges that many of our Youth have experienced prior to them entering our lives, showing the results we long for in a timely manner is often difficult. If we engage our Youth with sincerity, passion, commitment and the appropriate level of skill, we can and do help them move towards Permanency. Let’s remember to be patient with ourselves, our partners and most especially with our Youth and trust that Permanency can and will be found for everyone.
Permanency Success Story of the Week: “Making a lifetime commitment to a teen isn’t something we decided, it was something that we just did,”
Reflects Chester Jackson, an adoptive father of three teens. “This whole ‘permanent homes for teens’ thing kind of found me!” he jokes. Chester received a call from his college buddy Pat O’Brien nearly 23 years ago inviting him to be part of You Gotta Believe – a new adoption initiative he was leading. Incredibly, Chester would learn on the job that he had been informally adopted himself. He’s said that the revelation of his own adoptee status work greatly impacts his work with older children who are waiting for families.
On the job, Chester met Robert who was 15 years old and had spent most of his life in foster care. “We always had a connection,” says Chester. “He was on my caseload”. Robert was nearly adopted by a relative at one point. Chester was struck by the fact that so many people were intimidated by Robert’s size and age that they wouldn’t even take the time to get to know him. “That’s when I started thinking… how about us? My wife Karin will tell you that it was all my idea, but she’s really the star. She welcomed Robert with open arms and didn’t look back”. Karin was pregnant when they first discussed the idea of becoming family with Robert. Brandon was born and then Robert moved in…The Jackson children are all grown now and the landscape is full of grandchildren and even a great-grandchild. Chester proudly reflects that adoption has not only been his life’s work, it is also his life.
Permanency Related Articles:
2 Minute Medicine – As many as 3% of children in the United States live in kinship care arrangements with caregivers who are relatives but not the biological parents of the child. A growing body of evidence suggests that children who cannot live with their biological parents fare better, overall, when living with extended family than with nonrelated foster parents… This policy statement reviews both the strengths and vulnerabilities of kinship families and suggests strategies for pediatricians to use to address the needs of individual patients and families. Strategies are also outlined for community, state, and federal advocacy on behalf of these children and their families.
PsyPost – Children who have been in the U.S. foster care system are at a significantly higher risk of mental and physical health problems – ranging from learning disabilities, developmental delays and depression to behavioral issues, asthma and obesity – than children who haven’t been in foster care, according to a University of California, Irvine sociologist… “This work makes an important contribution to the research community by showing for the first time that foster care children are in considerably worse health than other children. Our findings also present serious implications for pediatricians by suggesting that foster care placement is a risk factor for health problems in childhood.”
Fond du Lac Reporter – Wisconsin Three friends were outside Disney World when their dream hit them. They wanted to run a foster care agency, drawing from their understanding and experience as social workers, child welfare advocates and foster parents. As a result, Pillar & Vine was born nearly three years ago. “We always talked about, from all these different perspectives, how things should be if we could wave our magic wand,” said Damian Lonnee, the executive director of Pillar & Vine…Changes the trio wanted to see in the industry focused around working with the biological parents, appropriate matching and supporting foster parents…Foster parenting isn’t for everybody, but everybody can do something to help foster kids, whether it’s collecting supplies for them or mentoring them, Lonnee said.
National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges – The majority of youth who develop a pattern of delinquent behaviors and experience subsequent juvenile court involvement have faced both serious adversities and traumatic experiences. Research continues to show that most youth who are detained in juvenile detention centers have been exposed to both community and family violence and many have been threatened with, or been the direct target of, such violence. Studies also demonstrate that youth who have multiple exposures to violence or victimization are at higher risk for mental health problems, behavioral problems, substance abuse, and delinquent behaviors.
National Research Center on Hispanic Children & Families – As communities become more culturally and linguistically diverse, community-based service organizations (CBOs) are called to do more to reduce disparities in access and use of important social services. An important strategy is developing cultural competency—behaviors, attitudes, and policies that enable CBOs to work effectively in cross-cultural situations. This resource guide identifies easily accessible resources on cultural competency that CBOs can use to become more responsive to the needs of their targeted populations, and to help attract funds to support their important work.
Growing Up Black in White by Kevin D. Hofmann is a moving and sometimes humorous look into the life of one man with a fascinating past. Born into the racially-charged Detroit of 1967 to a white mother and a black father, the author was placed into foster care and then adopted by a white minister and his wife, the parents of three biological children. Hofmann’s memoir reveals the racial tensions, the difficulties of feeling neither black nor white, his family’s loving support, and his struggles to define and embrace his own identity as he grew to be a man. This is a story of hope and promise, and how we are able to define ourselves not through the racism and judgments of a challenging society, but through our own sense of self-respect and personal identity.
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