Greetings Permanency Champions,
Permanency Tip of the Week: Dealing with Adversity Over and Over Again
Parenting and working with children can often feel light Bill Murray’s experience in Groundhog Day. Just when we felt that we “solved” a problem, it often will reappear and sometimes be even more challenging. In serving and caring for our Youth with out of home care experience, this pattern can pose a serious risk to the chances of Permanency being developed and sustained. When we are parenting, or are serving families, it is important to front load the existence of this phenomenon, normalize it, and practice healthy responses. When these challenges involved tough issues like aggression, defiance and sexualized behavior, the risk to Permanency can skyrocket. This is when support for everyone is most critical to help normalize it, without condoning it and develop collaborative and creative solutions.
Permanency Success Story of the Week: What It’s Like to Have a Mother by Lorraine
You Gotta Believe – Although me and my mom, have had our ups and downs, some lows and some highs, I will always love her and know she will always love me. Having my mom, is having someone to still love me even though I’ve said multiple times I was done being her child. Having a mother is having someone provide for me in a time of need, even though most times I’m probably being a brat and don’t deserve a thing.
Having a mother, means having someone to call in a time of helplessness, and when I feel I can’t breathe because of all my frustrations. She’s a call a way and ready to listen and provide me with assistance. Having my mother is, when I need a place to sleep at night to get away from the stress I often deal with, a safe haven of peace. Having my mother is having her still love me even after me hurting her. She stays strong and still has love in her heart to share with me.
Having my mother is knowing that she’ll always be by my side no matter what we may go through.
Permanency Related Articles:
Chronicle of Social Change – Child welfare is a grueling field. Catastrophic forces ignored by society – poverty, mental illness, addiction, homelessness, domestic violence – work together to transform problems into crises. When those crises hit, children are caught in the crossfire. Suddenly, society looks to the child welfare community to fix problems it has allowed to fester for years. The magnitude of this responsibility, along with the futility of trying to solve structural problems with few resources, understandably creates feelings of hopelessness among many who do this work.
Yet what keeps me going are the stories of hope that can be found everywhere – when I choose to search for them. I spent last week at Camp Michigania, one of the most beautiful hamlets on earth, nestled in Northern Michigan. My week there was my respite from the real world, a chance to reflect, relax and disconnect. It was an opportunity for me to remember how to pay attention to the small moments that happen each day which bring me so much joy. But my week at camp unexpectedly reminded me why I do child welfare work, because I was surrounded by truly remarkable individuals and families. I met a school social worker who felt like she needed to do more to help families, so she adopted a child out of foster care. Yet in our conversations, she passionately argued that poor families needed more assistance to keep kids out of foster care…
So it is up to us to search for these stories in our everyday lives. Pay attention. Talk to strangers. Ask questions. Listen. When you find them, you will receive a tremendous gift. You will be left with a powerful sense of hope reminding you that a cadre of people – social justice warriors – surround you and are fighting every day to make the world a kinder and more just place. This is what gives me hope.
Healthland – Time – Child maltreatment has been called the tobacco industry of mental health. Much the way smoking directly causes or triggers predispositions for physical disease, early abuse may contribute to virtually all types of mental illness. Now, in the largest study yet to use brain scans to show the effects of child abuse, researchers have found specific changes in key regions in and around the hippocampus in the brains of young adults who were maltreated or neglected in childhood. These changes may leave victims more vulnerable to depression, addiction and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), the study suggests…
The aftermath of that trauma could be seen in their brain scans, whether or not the young adults had developed diagnosable disorders. Regardless of their mental health status, formerly maltreated youth showed reductions in volume of about 6% on average in two parts of the hippocampus, and 4% reductions in regions called the subiculum and presubiculum, compared with people who had not been abused…The findings also help elucidate a possible pathway from maltreatment to PTSD, depression and addiction. The subiculum is uniquely positioned to affect all of these conditions. Receiving output from the hippocampus, it helps determine both behavioral and biochemical responses to stress…
With nearly 4 million children evaluated for child abuse or neglect in the U.S. every year — a problem that costs the U.S. $124 billion in lost productivity and health, child welfare and criminal justice costs — child maltreatment isn’t something we can afford to ignore. Even among the most resilient survivors, the aftereffects of abuse may linger. Not only are such children at later risk for mental illness, but because of the way trauma affects the stress system, they are also more vulnerable to developing chronic diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure, heart attack and stroke.
We can do better for our kids.
Annie E Casey Foundation – Washington’s Pierce County has taken bold strides to revamp its approach to juvenile probation, which is the most common sentence in our nation’s juvenile justice system. The county, which is home to Tacoma, is featured in a new report, Transforming Juvenile Probation, from the Annie E. Casey Foundation. The publication describes how jurisdictions can get probation right by leveraging knowledge of adolescent behavior and using interventions that consistently reduce delinquency.
In 2014, Pierce County was one of two Juvenile Detention Alternative Initiative (JDAI™) sites nationwide that received a probation transformation grant from the Casey Foundation. Since then, county leaders and probation staff have worked to cultivate new and constructive ties with local families and community organizations. The county has also created ambitious programs tailored to youth with serious delinquency histories and upgraded diversion and light-touch probation options for youth assessed as having a lower risk for rearrest…Beyond these new programs, Pierce County has changed its approach to probation in other significant ways, including: 1) Creating Community Partnerships for Positive Youth Development; .2) Intensifying the Focus on Family; 3) Improving Diversion
“Probation has become much more than just supervision,” says juvenile court administrator TJ Bohl. “We are evolving into a more Positive Youth Justice model that promotes behavior change, skill acquisition and healthy relationships.”
Child Welfare League of America (CWLA) – CWLA Press is pleased to announce the publication of Happy Papas, a lyrical read-aloud by renowned children’s book author Kathleen T. Pelley that pays tribute to the joys of fatherhood in the animal and human kingdoms. Happy Papas is the follow-up book to Pelley’s award-winning Happy Mamas(CWLA Press, 2016).
Charming illustrations by Mariya Prytula depict all the activities that bring joy to human and animal fathers and their babies over the course of a day: tumbling, imagining, playing, teaching, and more. But as the moon blooms and the fireflies flicker, what makes these papas happiest by far is simply spending time with, loving, and nurturing their little ones. Join these Happy Papas and their babies in ocean, jungle, savanna, sky, and beyond, and see how universal a father’s love can be.
Dr. John DeGarmo – Difficult to place…These three words identified me, within my foster records, as a baby girl who would be hard to place due to my ambiguous ethnicity and questionable beginnings. My social worker, in England, listed the names of the potential adoptive parents who had looked me over with a “negative reaction.” There didn’t seem to be any surprise that I had been met with this kind of response. My earliest history had marked me as an unwanted child.
I was the product of an affair. Neither my birth mother nor my birth father wanted to raise me. I was secreted away into foster care and marked, labeled, and tagged as lesser than other babies born into loving homes with parents who adored and embraced them. I had been categorized as one of “those children” who—through no fault of my own—was marginalized because of the decisions and actions of my parents, along with the judgments of strangers. My parents had left me as an orphan, and the stigma associated with that title disfigured my sense of self-worth…I understand that there are real and urgent reasons why children are removed and placed into foster care. I also know that one parent cannot adequately look after 500,000 children. It takes a village. And, I just want to wake that village up because we are powerful in numbers. America’s orphans need us not to slumber while they suffer.
It seems to me that, during these very fragile and confusing times in the life of a foster child, we might do a better job at reminding them of their worth and of their innocence. We might expand upon our own compassion and empathy to give foster kids what they really need: unconditional love. Because when a person feels seen and heard—without judgment—they feel valued. And, that goes a long way in building a stronger sense of self-worth for children and youth in foster care. These kids have never been difficult to place—society just hasn’t taken the time to stop, listen, lean in, and find them.
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Take care and keep up the Permanency work – Our children, youth, young adults, families, and communities are depending on it!