Greetings Permanency Champions,
Permanency Tip of the Week: I Don’t Care vs I Don’t Want to be Cared For
One of the biggest challenges we face in our search for Permanency for our Youth is successfully navigating the barrier many of our Youth build to try and prevent themselves from being hurt and/or abandoned again. This barrier can be expressed when our Youth verbally and/or behaviorally respond to the outpouring of love, care and support with “I don’t care.” It is important that we honor and validate this thought and feeling from a perspective of compassion and empathy. This perspective can help us see this as a potential protective measure versus an oppositional-defiant measure. Responding in this manner can further help to increase the chances that our Youth’s barrier will slowly be lowered, and Permanency is established.
Permanency Success Story of the Week: Forever, No Matter What
Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption – The day a state car pulled into our driveway with a scared, but precious 5-year-old boy, I knew I had discovered one of my reasons for being on the planet. Loving a child who has been wounded is one of the most sacred trusts I have even been given. As our son’s case continued, I was subpoenaed to testify. That day at the courthouse, I gave his birth mom his school picture; she responded by asking me if we would adopt him. As we talked, she told me that she had grown up in foster care and had “no idea how to do this.” We went on to adopt our son several months later, but her words were often on my mind.
Knowing her story made us begin to think about the many girls who age out of the system each year and have “no idea how to” … have enduring relationships, hold down a job, pay their bills, maintain their vehicles, etc. One day I shared with a friend my newly discovered passion for these girls and how we, as a society, needed to do something to help. What I soon learned was that this friend was a friend of a Wendy’s Wonderful Kids adoption recruiter…We adopted Karissa to change her life, but she has changed ours in so many indescribable ways.
Permanency Related Articles:
Youth Law – Promoting Permanency for Teens: A 50 State Review of Law and Policy explores the diversity of state policies and practices for teens in foster care in two potentially competing areas: teens’ need for a permanent connection to a family (either their birth family, or an adoptive or guardian family), and teens’ developmental and practical needs in transitioning to legal adulthood, independence, and self-sufficiency…
Specifically, the authors of this report recommend that states should: 1. Require a robust and ongoing search for relatives and other meaningful adults who will care for the teen. 2. Require parental visitation at least once a week, with emphasis on the importance of daily visitation and contact for all teens for whom reunification is a primary permanency goal. 3. Require monthly permanency planning and family finding services that include the teen and the teen’s chosen representatives’ input and participation. 4. Remove financial and service barriers to permanency for teens. 5. Require ongoing, active, and documented searches for teens who are missing from care, using dedicated personnel.
This study was funded by the Annie E. Casey Foundation.
Youth Today – Michelle Guymon is a hero in the world of child sex trafficking prevention. Seven years ago, she had no idea Los Angeles County had a child sex trafficking problem. Now, Guymon is director of the Child Trafficking Unit for the Los Angeles County Probation Department and is part of the group that aims to make LA’s efforts to combat child sex trafficking a model for the nation.
Her connection to child trafficking began in November 2010. She was the director of Camp Scudder, one of the two girls’ camps in the probation system. Guymon also served on the Interagency Council on Child Abuse and Neglect (ICAN) committee, which — as the name suggests — looked at various types of child abuse within the county. At a committee meeting, an FBI agent gave a presentation on human trafficking worldwide, and domestic sex trafficking of minors. She was startled by the domestic part of the presentation.
Today, child sexual exploitation is a significant problem nationally. According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, one in six of the 18,500 children reported as having run away from home in 2016 were “likely sex trafficking victims.” The organization defines sex trafficking victims as young people under 17 years old — boys and girls — who are “exploited through commercial sex.” Of these, “86 percent were in the care of social services when they went missing,” NCMEC says…“We’re not looking at you like you’ve done something wrong. … You have a safe place to come to. We want to help you.”
Children’s Bureau Express – Reunification, when appropriate to the best interests of the child, is the preferred outcome for youth in out-of-home care. Foster parents can play a vital role in helping that outcome come to fruition. The American Bar Association Center for Children and the Law interviewed several foster families who were recommended by state and tribal child welfare agencies. With the information and insights gleaned from these interviews, the Center for Children and the Law released a short reunification support tip sheet for resource families that centers on the following themes: 1) Respect birth parents and be compassionate; 2) Encourage visitation and regular contact; 3) Communicate with the family regularly; 4) Remember that safe reunification is best for the children.
Committee for Children’s long-standing history of protecting children from sexual abuse is the origin and soul of our nearly 40-year-old organization. Our goal for this site is to help families know what to say and do to protect kids from predators. In fact, research shows that talking to your kids about sexual abuse, touching, and private body parts can help keep them safe. We understand that child sexual abuse is scary, but talking about it shouldn’t be, so we’re giving you some tips for beginning the conversation, along with strategies and resources to use if your child brings it up…Download our conversation guide to use when speaking with your kids.
KVC Health Systems – Every year, nearly 30,000 young adults “age out” of foster care without the life skills and support network to help them become independent, successful adults. Eighty-four percent of these youth want to go to college, yet 51% don’t complete high school. Just 2% of youth emerging from foster care earn a degree of any kind after high school.
KVC Health Systems envisions a welcoming, healthy, supportive campus designed specifically for these youth, one that provides an educational environment that teaches vocational and life skills. As a national child welfare and behavioral health organization, KVC has worked for nearly five years to establish the nation’s first college campus designed specifically to support youth transitioning from foster care. The campus, recently named the Riverbend Center Supporting Higher Education, aims to be a new national model, representing a unique infrastructure of specialized services and supports, tailored to seamlessly support older youth from foster care into high-demand careers paying sustainable wages. Riverbend expects to begin welcoming students as early as November 2018 to prepare for classes in 2019…
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Take care and keep up the Permanency work – Our children, youth, young adults, families and communities are depending on it!