Permanency Tip of the Week: Uniqueness of Every Permanency Journey
Every Permanency journey is unique, and we need to acknowledge that no matter our life experience (ex. Adopted a child, facilitated an Adoption, reconnected with a family member, etc.), no one involved has been through it with this specific set of variables in place (i.e., people, place, time, and age). Avoid using phrases like (“I understand …”, “I know what you mean”, and “I’ve been through that as well”) in order that you avoid shutting down a potentially important conversation by discounting the person’s individual experience of the journey. Past experiences, whether they are positive or negative, can help inform us about what some aspect of the journey may be like; however, let us be open to the all the possibilities and honor that this journey has its own uniqueness.
Permanency Success Story of the Week: James’ Story
Fostering Great Ideas – James is a regular kid in a tough situation. Due to various circumstances, James and his 3 siblings have been living in foster care in 3 separate placements. Adding to the upheaval, Mom’s custody rights were recently terminated. James: removed, without mom, uncertain. BUT this story has hope: 1) James gets a mentor! 2) James gets to visit his sister and brothers! 3) James gets a new foster family! 4) James gets to take a vacation!…The future already seems brighter for this kid. Fostering Great Ideas: bringing hope to children in care.
Permanency Related Articles:
The Atlantic – Lincoln High School in Walla Walla, Washington, is the subject of a new documentary. Teachers there receive training in how to interact with children who have suffered trauma. When Kelsey Sisavath enrolled as a freshman at Lincoln Alternative High School in Walla Walla, Washington, in the fall of 2012, her mother was struggling with drug addiction. Kelsey herself was using meth. The multiple traumas in her life included a sexual assault by a stranger at age 12. She was angry, depressed, and suicidal. Her traumatized brain had little room to focus on school. Today, much has changed in Kelsey’s life. She graduated from Lincoln this spring with a 4.0 GPA while also taking classes at a community college. She is articulate, confident, and happy. Kelsey believes Lincoln changed her life.
A deeper understanding of Kelsey’s journey could offer answers to critical questions about how to help millions of traumatized children—particularly those growing up in poverty—succeed in school and beyond…In the years immediately following Lincoln’s adoption of trauma-informed practices, the school saw a fivefold increase in graduation rates, a threefold increase in students headed to college, 75 percent fewer fights, and 90 percent fewer suspensions.
AARP Bulletin – It’s a quiet crisis that most Americans rarely think about: Thousands of teenagers are living without parents. Every year about 20,000 of these teens become too old for foster care and are released — turned loose without the stability of a permanent family. Their future chances aren’t bright. In one assessment by the National Council for Adoption, nearly 40 percent of those former foster children had spent some time homeless, 60 percent of the young men had been convicted of a crime, and only 48 percent were employed.
But there is hope for a growing number of foster-care teenagers. Many older people in their empty-nest years are stepping up to take in and even adopt kids who are considered too old by others. And some child advocacy groups such as iFoster in California are targeting teenagers for special help before they are released from state care. Amy Gill, 62, of Toledo, Ohio, had raised three biological children and was already a foster parent when she met her future husband, Richard, who had raised twins of his own. They fostered some children together and then began adopting children from foster care — primarily teenagers. “Teenage years can be a challenging stage, but we enjoy it,” Gill says. “We have a knack for it…”
Youth Today – Early on, many youth in foster care develop a certain resourcefulness that allows them to navigate thorny situations and push through layers of bureaucracy. But almost inevitably, youth in care struggle as they leave high school, enroll in community college, trade school or university and make their way toward graduation.
“These foster kids are brilliant and resilient, but they’re not getting the support they need,” said Michelle Francois Traiman, who heads up the Foster Youth Education Initiative at the National Center for Youth Law in Oakland, Calif. At nearly every step of that journey, the data is bleak — and often so poorly tracked that exact numbers are elusive. It’s likely that only 50 percent of such youth complete high school by age 18, according to a summary of foster-care education research published by the National Working Group on Foster Care and Education. Estimates of what proportion finish college with a bachelor’s degree range wildly, from 1 to 11 percent, because the tracking of students in foster care in higher education has been inconsistent and, in some cases, nonexistent…
Confessions of an Adoptive Parent – Often over the last several years, we’ve been asked if adoption and foster care is really worth it. Granted, this question usually comes from people outside of the journey, who are peering into our lives wondering. But our answer is pretty solid. YES! Here’s why…I’m telling you that our life is beautiful, yes. Because it is! But it’s also been really, reeeeeeally hard over the past few years. We have a child who can’t live at home because he can’t keep himself or others safe…
Last night, as I tucked my sons into bed, and was closing their drapes, I peered out of their window to see a gorgeous sunset. We haven’t seen the sun for days. It’s been raining here for the past week. But I realized that even with the clouds and rain, the sun has been there the entire time. The beauty of it was momentarily covered by clouds and storms. But it never left. And consider this truth: No storm lasts forever. Eventually the clouds move on and the sun begins to shine again. It will always happen. The sun is the only thing that’s consistent.
What makes me say with no hesitation, that this is beautiful, in-spite of the hard moments, is knowing the sun is always shining, clouds covering it, or not!
Juvenile and Family Court Journal – This paper discusses how biological and psychological literature on the developmental differences between juveniles and adults may affect juvenile judges in their “dual role” as retributive and rehabilitative decision‐makers in juvenile cases, specifically focusing on sentencing. Particularly, it discusses potential influences of this research on adolescent development regarding four factors known to be integral in juvenile judge decision‐making: legal factors, characteristics of juvenile offenders, and individual structural and social contexts in which judges’ decisions are made. To conclude, implications and recommendations stemming from this discussion are considered.
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