Greetings Permanency Champions,
Permanency Tip of the Week: Back to School – What do We Need to Learn this Year?
As children head back to school, it is a great time for us as the adults in the life of children in foster care / juvenile justice to take inventory of what it is we need to learn to better serve them. A powerful message that I heard recently is that when I am faced with a critical decision or task, how can I apply the following three principles: Patience, Persistence and Humility. Opportunities to apply this message to our work in Permanency has been clear and challenging for me – just the way I like it. Now, what do you need to learn?
Permanency Success Story of the Week: Boy Has The BEST Reaction To Being Adopted After 832 Days In Foster Care
On the day he was adopted, the look on 3-year-old Michael Brown’s face truly said it all. Michael was placed with his third foster family, Tara Montgomery and her two daughters, on Feb. 14, 2015. He was 18 months old at the time. When the original plan for him to reunite with his biological mom fell through, her rights were severed, which meant Montgomery could adopt him. She told The Huffington Post she wasn’t initially considering adoption, but Michael changed her plans.
“As a single parent, I was not looking to adopt, just to help kids during transition,” she said. “But that changed with Michael. It felt like he was a part of our family right from the start.” On Dec. 20, 2016, Montgomery officially adopted Michael in Phoenix. He had spent 832 days in foster care…As for Michael’s newfound internet fame, Montgomery is grateful that her son is bringing awareness to adoption. “If this can inspire just one person to make a difference in the life of a child, we are happy.”
Permanency Related Articles:
Creating A Family – Getting your child to sleep and keeping them there is a huge issues for all parents, but is especially tricky for adoptive parents. How can they build attachment while also getting a good night sleep? Host Dawn Davenport, Executive Director of Creating a Family, the national infertility & adoption education and support nonprofit, interviews Beth Friedberg, a LCSW and Associate Director of the Modern Family Center at Spence-Chapin Services to Families & Children, and a panel of 3 moms who have helped their adopted children through sleep struggles.
Juvenile Justice Information Exchange – It’s not every day that people working on health collaborate closely with people who think about how to reform the juvenile justice system. I was recently part of a research project that did just that. I’m a public health researcher. Recently, my organization, Human Impact Partners, researched and wrote a report looking at how youth arrest can have a lifelong harmful impact for a person. Our report, Reducing Youth Arrests Keeps Kids Healthy and Successful, found that having a youth arrest would: 1) Increase anxiety, stress and other mental health issues; 2) Increase the risk of injury and premature mortality; 3) Increase labeling as “delinquent,” stigmatization and risk of further re-arrest due to labeling; 4) Lower opportunity due to higher rates of dropout and unemployment — all of which have well-established ties to long-term health…
For both our organizations, some of the main recommendations were to stop criminalizing adolescent behavior, train professionals to de-escalate problem behavior before an arrest is necessary and to divert youth away from the juvenile system pre-arrest. This would lead to better health and opportunity outcomes for youth, as well as less involvement in the juvenile system…
TED Talk – Moshe Szyf is a pioneer in the field of epigenetics, the study of how living things reprogram their genome in response to social factors like stress and lack of food. His research suggests that biochemical signals passed from mothers to offspring tell the child what kind of world they’re going to live in, changing the expression of genes. “DNA isn’t just a sequence of letters; it’s not just a script.” Szyf says. “DNA is a dynamic movie in which our experiences are being written.”
Omaha World Herald – As a social worker and adoptive parent, I am often asked about the foster care system, foster kids and adoption. Is “The System” as terrible as what people hear about in the news? I invariably start my answer with, “It’s complicated.”
I strongly believe that prevention is paramount to the safety, health and well-being of every child. In a perfect world, abuse and neglect wouldn’t exist, and there would be no need for foster care or child welfare systems. But we don’t live in a perfect world, so we must begin with the reality that some families need help…
Even if a perfect foster care system could be created, it would still be traumatic for the children and families who go through it. There is no painless way of separating children from their families. Foster kids and their families find themselves involuntarily flung into a system that expects them to change, even when it is often the system that needs to change to better meet their needs. At times, some professionals experience burnout and “toxic stress” that impairs their ability to empathize and numbs them to the painful process that kids and families are experiencing…
Adoptive Parents – The first day of school is right around the corner. You and your child have been stocking up on school supplies, spending your final days off with old friends, and getting ready to meet new ones this fall. Perhaps your child has been practicing the ABCs, the 123s, and mastering the art of writing his or her name. Maybe your little one has picked out the coolest lunchbox to impress classmates the first day.
There are many preparations that come with the back-to-school season. If you are an adoptive parent, this time is also a great opportunity for you to think about adoption and school, and prepare for the ways in which your child’s adoption story might come into play throughout the school year.
School is often a child’s first real encounter with people outside of family and friends. For an adopted child, school may also be the first time he or she is asked questions about adoption, or asked to share information about his or her family with others outside it. To help your child navigate these conversations at school, and to help your child feel confident in his or her adoption story, Adoptions With Love recommends the following tips: 1. Speak openly, positively, and regularly about adoption in your home. 2. Prepare your child for questions about adoption. 3. Consider talking to school faculty about adoption. 4. Get involved…
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Take care and keep up the Permanency work – Our children, youth, young adults, families and communities are depending on it!