Greetings Permanency Champions,
Permanency Tip of the Week: Letting Them Take a Break
While on my own mental health break, I thought about whether we allow our Youth in foster care the opportunity to truly “take a break.” In looking at a normal week for our Youth, it likely is filled with appointments (some of their own, some of the other youth they live with) along with school, therapy, visits, chores and errands. All of those are important; however, let us also ensure that we make time for them to truly take a break and relax. The reality of their lives will still be there when they get back. Even better would be if someone who is truly important in their life, took the break WITH them.
Permanency Success Story of the Week: 18-Year-Old Adopted After Spending More Than a Decade in Foster Care
Inside Edition – It took more than a decade for this California teen to find a permanent family, but 18-year-old Carson Petersen couldn’t stop smiling when his adoption was finalized last month. “It’s been very life-changing,” Petersen, of Fresno, told InsideEdition.com. Carson was first placed in the foster care system when he was 3 years old, after his mother took her own life. In the decade that followed, he bounced between the care of his biological father, foster care and homelessness. Last month, his adoption with his parents Tex and Renee Petersen was finalized after living in their care as a foster child for the last three years.
“Through all the stuff I put them through, they never gave up on me,” Carson said. They always wanted me to be a part of them and they always called me their son. I let them in my heart because I know they’re not going to hurt me like other families would.”…
“Why have any more kids when there are so many in the world who need a fair shot?” he said. “We need to do something for these kids. They didn’t ask for any of this. They didn’t ask to live in a trash bag and to go home to home to home. “Carson said he always held onto hope, even when things seemed hopeless.
Permanency Related Articles:
Philanthropy Roundtable – Launched in 2002, Safe Families for Children has served almost 20,000 children in 27 different states. Over 90 percent of the children hosted through the program have been successfully reunited with their biological families; for kids who enter foster care, that number is only slightly more than half. And Safe Families costs around $10 a day per child served (private money that is evenly drawn from individual donors and foundations like the Schulze Family Foundation and Morgridge Family Foundation). Foster care costs five times that much, almost all of which comes from tax dollars.
Santa Cruz (CA) Patch – Titled “Lost Childhoods,” the exhibit documents the stories and struggles of young adults aging out of foster care, and will serve as a catalyst for dialogue and action. The exhibit was created in conjunction with the Foster Youth Museum and MAH’s Creative Community Committee (C3), a group of over 100 local foster youth, artists and advocates.
“‘Lost Childhoods’ is a powerful testament to the journey of our foster youth as they transition to adulthood. The exhibit honors the voices and stories of foster youth and sheds an emotional and artistic light on their struggles and triumphs,” said Ellen Timberlake, interim Human Services Director for the County of Santa Cruz…
The exhibit begins July 7 and runs through December 31. Partially funded by the National Endowment for the Arts and the California Arts Council, the exhibit includes personal belongings, photographs, art installations and community action workshops at the MAH and throughout the county. Current and former foster youth will serve as docents. See Lost Childhoods for more, including hours and location.
Signs of Safety – Family Finding and the Signs of Safety are sister approaches. Both equip child protection agencies to: Undertake all its practice with a rigorous focus on child safety matched by practice, policy, procedures and organization that enable practitioners to do everything humanly possible to put the parents, children and everyone naturally connected to the children at the center of the assessment, decision-making and give them every opportunity to come up with their solutions before the professionals offer/impose ours. This is a complete revolution for child protection services because it transforms the field’s default setting of paternalism — where professionals act as if they are the experts in what is wrong and what needs to happen in the child/young person’s life…
Signs of Safety and Family Finding have been created by communities of professionals who are fully alive to this despair and are working hopefully and rigorously to offer a grounded vision of how to do professional child protection work differently in practice and organization…Revolutions require allies and are always grounded in communities of action, hence we (Kevin Campbell and Andrew Turnell) have, and will continue to, bring together our two approaches and communities. This work is inspiring, worth failing at and worth dedicating your life to. This is about fully involving vulnerable young people in how we provide them with a better present and future and giving everyone naturally connected to these children every opportunity to provide good care for them.
US News – Mounting research on potential biological dangers of toxic stress is prompting a new public health approach to identifying and treating the effects of poverty, neglect, abuse and other adversity. While some in the medical community dispute that research, pediatricians, mental health specialists, educators and community leaders are increasingly adopting what is called “trauma-informed” care.
Children’s Bureau Express (CBX) – This month’s CBX spotlight features articles about how having an involved father can lead to better outcomes for children, how responsible fatherhood programs can benefit from fathers’ accounts of the challenges of co-parenting, how community-based organizations can address challenges to fathers and their children and provide solutions in their fatherhood programs, and a three-part web series that explores partnerships between child welfare agencies and community fatherhood organizations that work toward engaging fathers and paternal-side family members.
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Take care and keep up the Permanency work – Our children, youth, young adults, families and communities are depending on it!