Greetings Permanency Champions,
Permanency Tip of the Week: Talking the Talk is Easy, Walking the Walk is Hard
When we say that we are committed to Permanency for ALL youth, it sounds like something that everyone can agree on. The challenge comes when securing Permanency for a Youth we are serving forces us to challenge our own thoughts, beliefs, biases and / or long-standing professional practices. When we find that internal tension / conflict, let’s be sure that we have the courage to pause, take a step back and reflect on the internal changes that we need to consider making to help facilitate that life changing opportunity of Permanency.
Permanency Success Story of the Week: Letting the 13-year-old Drive
Alejandro was not quite 14 when we met him, but, in many ways, he’d already lived a life well beyond those years. His small, somewhat delicate hands, with chewed nails and a firm grip, spoke volumes to me even before he said hello. His shyness was nearly debilitating—something you could see in his chocolate brown eyes if you simply took a moment to look into them instead of at him. He lacked any sort of self-esteem, especially outside the home or beyond his small circle of “support,” which included only his younger sister Rosanna, age seven, his social worker of seven years, a lawyer, and their judge, who knew them only by reports and folders…In seven short years we’ve seen Alejandro grow in confidence and communication, at home and at school. Watching him throw his cap into the air at his high school graduation is a proud memory that will be frozen in my mind and heart forever. And now, our much more determined and centered son who no longer lives in fear of looking toward the future, just took his entry exam to join the U.S. Air Force. But having to say goodbye is another story altogether.
Permanency Related Articles:
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 research brief provides a high-level review of re-entry data, a summary of post-permanency programs and services, and recommendations for how to improve services for youth and families as they exit care. Its purpose is to draw attention to the issue of post-permanency, which focuses on the family, and shift attention away from re-entry, which focuses on the system.
This webinar will present strategies to help healthcare professionals to identify and appropriately assist trafficked persons with victim-centered, trauma-informed care and services. Presenters will examine a 2017 survey report from the Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking (CAST) that found that more than half of labor and sex trafficking survivors surveyed had accessed healthcare at least once while being trafficked.
Chronicle of Social Change – While some will argue about whether racial disproportionality is a function of poverty or implicit racial bias, there should be a shared sense of urgency around the disparities that occur after youth are placed in the child welfare system’s custody. Children of color are less likely to return home to their families, more likely to age out of care, and are disproportionately placed in congregate care facilities.
Lancaster Online – The U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday passed a bill proposed by local lawmaker Lloyd Smucker that would make it easier to place foster children in the homes of relatives. Smucker introduced the Reducing Barriers for Relative Foster Parents Act with Rep. Terri Sewell, a four-term Democrat from Alabama. The law, if passed by the Senate, will help states identify ways to expedite foster placement of children with family members.
Child Focus and North American Council on Adoptable Children (NACAC) – Every year, more and more children in foster care find permanent homes with relatives when they cannot return to live with their parents. Most children will find permanent homes through relative adoption, which continued to increased throughout the decade…In some states, the number of children receiving adoption assistance has surpassed the number of children receiving foster care maintenance payments. The increasing shift to permanency with relatives for children who cannot return home requires thoughtful responses by child welfare practitioners, policymakers, and researchers…Expanded availability of subsidized guardianship further reinforces the need for kinship families to understand that adoption is not only possible, but in some cases preferable and more legally secure than guardianship. This issue brief draws attention to the unique needs of children who are adopted by relatives.
Juvenile Justice Information Exchange (JJIE) – Juvenile justice reform cannot happen without child welfare as an engaged partner. Research has demonstrated that as many as two-thirds of youth involved in the juvenile justice system have a maltreatment background. If we know that children involved in the child welfare system are at greater risk of truancy, behavior disorders, mental health disorders and delinquency, shouldn’t we address those issues in their early years and work towards prevention and building resiliency rather than managing them later in life when the problems are compounded?
I ask my child welfare colleagues across the country to get inspired and involved in tackling the issue of delinquency prevention. Child welfare agencies are in a vital position to impact whether abused and neglected children will enter or progress through the juvenile justice system. Developing a partnership with juvenile justice is necessary and logical. Our systems already intersect in many ways. Working together can combat the effects of trauma and result in rewarding outcomes for the youth we serve…Child welfare leaders need to come to the table in juvenile justice reform work. If through these efforts one youth returns home or avoids the legal system, it was worth it! It takes one conversation with juvenile justice leadership and a decision that the work can’t wait. Children can’t wait.
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- Take care and keep up the Permanency work – Our children, youth, young adults, families and communities are depending on it!