Greetings Permanency Champions!
Permanency Tip of the Week: Survival Mode for Our Youth – What is Happening Inside Our Youth?
In order to respond to the repeated experiencing Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), a child must try to make sense of and somehow survive this overwhelming and threatening environment. This includes experiences such as abuse neglect, loss, trauma, lack of physical/emotional safety, and abandonment leading to the brain being overloaded with stress activation hormones like cortisol and adrenaline. This phenomenon results in extreme emotional and behavioral states, disorganized/disoriented attachment styles, concrete and reactive thinking states and the experiencing of almost chronic internal terror. This state of being was once functional when the threats in our Youth’s life were real. The problem now is that although hopefully most if not all of these threats have been mitigated, the brain is hardwired into functioning in this chronic crisis state. Next week we will address relationship-based intervention strategies designed to help re-wire the brains of our Youth.
Permanency Success Story of the Week:
Indy Star – Indiana Adoption Program – Scarlet couldn’t sleep. At 11 p.m., the 17-year-old vacuumed her bedroom. She carefully picked out her clothes for the next day — a long-sleeved white shirt, black-and-white dress, tights and shiny black boots. Her wish was finally being granted. After 4,057 days in foster care, Scarlet was going to be adopted.
“This is the opportunity that I have been waiting for so long,” she told IndyStar. “And now it’s just, it’s finally here.” The Indiana teen had been in and out of the foster care system since she was a toddler. Her removal from her biological parents’ care became permanent in 2008 when she was 6 years old. Since then, Scarlet has lived in 36 different placements.
A year and a half ago, Scarlet was living in a group home in Indianapolis. Then she met Mike and Patty last year. The Indiana couple, like many prospective adoptive parents, were looking to adopt a young child. They already had three older children. But then Mike and Patty connected with Scarlet during a meet-and-greet adoption event…At first, it was difficult for Scarlet to believe the situation would last. She’d been hurt so many times before. “You’re not going to go anywhere,” Patty continually reassured Scarlet. The teen gradually became more comfortable and secure in her parents’ love…
When Scarlet cried after the hearing, her parents were there. Scarlet pressed her tear-streaked face to her mother’s shoulder. Then to her father’s. That dream Scarlet had of a family — people she could go home to every day, who would be there for birthdays, holidays, when she graduates high school and when she graduates college?
It came true.
Permanency Related Articles:
The Chronicle of Social Change – WitnessLA – On Tuesday, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors is slated to consider two motions to improve permanency and food security among transition-age foster youth…
The first motion calls for the development of a plan to increase permanent placements for foster youth and dual-status kids involved in both the child welfare and probation systems, so that “they are not emancipating out of the system without a stable adult in their life.” In California, foster youth can choose to leave foster care at age 18, or they can remain under the care of the child welfare system until age 21. Foster kids, who rarely have the same circle of familial support as their peers outside the foster care system, need all the help they can get with the process of entering adulthood. Many youth who are “emancipated” from the L.A. County Department of Children and Family Services …A recent national study by the Annie E. Casey Foundation found that more than half of foster youth age out of the system without reconnecting with a single family member.
According to Chapin Hall’s California Youth Transitions to Adulthood Study, one in five respondents reported eating less than they should. One in six survey participants reported that they or someone in their household had to skip meals because they couldn’t afford to eat. Nearly one in four respondents said they had to skip meals for an entire day nearly every month…Next Tuesday’s motion seeks to direct DCFS and Probation to screen foster youth at every placement change (including supervised independent living placements, transitional housing and youth who experience housing instability) and help them apply for CalFresh. The motion also directs county departments to ensure that every youth exiting foster care is given a CalFresh application during their 90-day transition period.
Urban.org – Over the past several decades, the knowledge base on how to improve public safety and outcomes for youth has expanded substantially, yet probation officers that work with these young people lack guidance on how this research can inform their work. This report, entitled Bridging Research and Practice in Juvenile Probation: Rethinking Strategies to Promote Long-term Change, offers practical tips for frontline juvenile probation officers to align their practice with research on successful strategies for reducing recidivism and improving outcomes for youth, their families, and the communities in which they live. The report describes five core practice areas: 1) Screening, assessment, and structured decision-making; 2) Case planning; 3) Matching services and promoting positive youth development; 4) Structuring supervision to promote long-term behavior change; 5) Incentivizing success and implementing graduated responses.
Boston Globe – Childhood Trauma is already known for following us into our adult lives — and even to the grave. Research has shown that children with profound stress are more at risk of developing autoimmune diseases, obesity, mental health disorders, and heart disease.
But now, a preliminary study from Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health and the University of British Columbia suggests that abused children literally carry their darkest experiences with them in their DNA. Researchers gathered sperm samples from 34 adult men, some of whom were abused as children, and examined the chemical markings on their genome. These markings basically turn certain genes on, off, up or down — a process known as epigenetics — and are believed to affect the way our bodies and minds work.
“A lot of people ask, ‘How does child abuse get under the skin?’” said Andrea Lynne Roberts, one of the study’s authors and a research scientist in the Harvard public health school’s Department of Environmental Health. “We’ve learned that children who are abused have physical and mental health issues during their whole life. Epigenetics, or these marks on DNA, is one hypothesis for how that happens…”
Huffington Post – Western Michigan University – College students often decamp from their universities during the summer to intern, study abroad or just get a break from dining hall food. But for Kayla Mayes, it’s a time to buckle down. Her first semester at Western Michigan University, Mayes barely earned a 1.7 grade-point average. A class on the health effects of drug use felt overwhelming — “I wasn’t used to such long lectures,” she said — and pre-algebra was a struggle too. But good grades in reading and writing classes helped her finish the year with a 2.6 GPA and now she is hoping to lift it higher…
After that, she’d head back to the dorm, which stays open year-round for students like her. Later in the week, she might pop over to an office across the sprawling campus to chat with the employee who makes sure her financial aid is on track, or to see the coaches she visits regularly for help with coursework and other advice. This support is available to Mayes because she’s part of a select group of Western Michigan students known as the Seita Scholars. Her primary qualification for the program: being in foster care.
The Children’s Partnership & Robert F. Kennedy National Resource Center for Juvenile Justice – Our NEW roadmap outlines useful policies, practices, tools, and frameworks supporting jurisdictions improve outcomes for youth with dual status. Our new report documents findings compiled at out April 2018 national convening, Developing a Trauma-Informed Roadmap to Prevent Juvenile Justice Involvement of Child Welfare Youth: A Moral and Fiscal Imperative, that brought together federal, state, and local leaders to identify solutions and opportunities to support the healthy development of youth in our child welfare system who have had contact with or are at-risk of entering the juvenile justice system. Our recommendations not only highlight the challenges we are facing, as evidenced by the findings but also offer valuable insights for what more can be done to improve the experiences of youth with dual status. In promoting collaboration, innovation, and a culture shift, these recommendations seek to create a more responsive and equitable approach to support the healthy development of youth with dual status.
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