Permanency Tip of the Week: First Open Bed Versus the Permanency Bed
In our work in Child Welfare we often face the competing mandates of getting children placed in family homes as quickly as possible and ensuring that children secure Permanency as soon as possible. When we face this dilemma, let us find the courage and fortitude to take a step back and think if we move too fast and the placement fails to provide Permanency for the child (Children do not fail placements), how much additional trauma and loss will this child experience? This should play a significant role in the collaborative decision-making process.
Permanency Success Story of the Week: With Every Child, We Learned and Grew
AdoptUSKids – Jamie and Josh Procknow opened their homes and their lives to 20 children in foster care—and their families. “We believe children carry the love that we pour into them long after they leave our home.” In a span of less than 10 years, Jamie and Josh Procknow fostered more than 20 children. Today, they are the parents of 8, who range in age from 9 to 26, and Jamie is working as a foster parent recruiter. Jamie talked with us about her approach to parenting and her work finding families for children in care…I talk with a lot of people who want to help children but are afraid and maybe overwhelmed by the statistics. But every person has a role to play—whether it is being a foster parent, providing respite care, volunteering with Big Brothers/Big Sisters, or being on the support team for a family who is fostering. It’s just a matter of finding the right path.
Permanency Related Articles:
The British Journal of Social Work – It is well known that in cases in which abused children have died, social workers and other professionals did not relate to them effectively—the phenomenon now known as the ‘invisible child’. Much less well understood is how often and why such invisibility occurs where there has not been a major inquiry or scandal and this paper draws on research which observed day-to-day encounters between social workers, children and families. In most of the practice, children were seen and related to but, in a small number of home visits, social workers were not child-focused…The powerful impact of unbearable levels of complexity and anxiety on social workers requires much greater recognition. Sociological, psycho-dynamic and systemic theories are drawn upon to establish how workers need to be helped to think clearly about children and relate to them in the close, intimate ways that are required to keep them safe.
Ad Council – New public service advertisements (PSAs) launched today by the Children’s Bureau at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Administration for Children and Families (ACF) in partnership with the Ad Council, AdoptUSKids and KBS, highlight the importance of adopting teens from foster care and emphasize that adoptive and potential adoptive parents do not have to be a perfect parent in order to adopt youth from foster care. Information Gateway resource: Adopting Children from Foster Care.
1812 Columbus (OH) – The foster care system in the United States may be ready for a major overhaul. Consider this idea– maybe foster kids should be legally separated from their biological parents faster, in order for that child to have a chance at being adopted sooner. Dublin mom Dee Marks has adopted two children from foster care, and raised the idea after I asked her what could be done to improve the system. It’s a controversial idea, because the goal of foster care is to eventually reunite families; about half of the kids in foster care do eventually go back to their parents. But if biological parents cannot meet the requirements necessary to get their children back, then the children can end up stuck in foster care for years on end. Dee’s idea is that each case should be analyzed individually, rather than be forced to abide by streamlined protocols. “Maybe the way to fix the system is to only take it from the child’s perspective. What is right for the child– not what is right for the foster care system or the biological parents.”
Brookings Center on Children and Families – Young people leaving foster care face a number of disadvantages, ranging from low levels of education and employment, a high prevalence of mental health disorders, involvement in the juvenile justice, and high teen pregnancy rates. Significant efforts are made by policymakers at all levels to improve educational, social and economic outcomes for this at-risk group, but with mixed results. Research suggests that healthy and supportive relationships improve life chances for foster youth. But so far there have been relatively few attempts to build these insights into programs and practice.
In 2011, the Administration for Children and Families, Children’s Bureau, funded four projects in different parts of the United States. Each provided services to help foster youths build and use relational skills in order to develop healthy and safe connections with others, and so improve their outcomes, including emotional well-being, permanency, occupational attainment, and educational attainment. Even though preliminary findings from the project revealed mixed results, some projects found promising outcomes (i.e., increasing levels of connectedness reported by youths, increasing career readiness, and occupational attainment) that could be evaluated using more rigorous research methods.
We explore the steep challenges of both implementing and evaluating relationship-based interventions in child welfare. We also present implications and recommendations for practitioners and researchers interested in increasing relational capacities for foster youths.
Social Justice Solutions – Despite the common strong association between grief and death, grief is a reaction to a significant loss, and not just to a death. This means that we can have a grief reaction to any major change in our life, even positive ones. For example, someone excited about moving to a new job or promotion may still grieve for aspects of their old job. Gains will always also be accompanied by losses of some sort.
Grief reactions are perfectly normal responses to loss and change. They are part of our way of adapting to new circumstances. The impact can range from minor and insignificant to devastatingly major. When our reaction is at this latter end of the spectrum, we will often talk of a trauma – a psychological or spiritual wound, parallel with the physical wounds or traumas the medical profession deals with. A traumatic loss is therefore one that harms us in some way, unlike the type of grief that, although painful, exhausting and frightening, is actually a positive process of healing…
So, the important lesson to be learned from this is that grief and trauma will continue to be extremely painful and challenging, but they will also offer opportunities for personal growth if we are sufficiently aware of this and sufficiently sensitive to capitalize on those opportunities – and, again, I emphasize: when the time is right.
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Take care and keep up the Permanency work – Our children, youth, young adults, families and communities are depending on it!