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Greetings Permanency Champions,
Permanency Tip of the Week: Permanency/Adoption Readiness – Dealing with the Good Times
When we are pursuing Permanency for our Youth, we can sometimes be blinded by the experience of nothing but good times between the Youth and the family. We need to be aware of the potential for a “Honeymoon Period” to mask some unresolved issues/concerns. It is great that the Youth and family are able to experience good times with each other as this shows the upside potential for the relationship; however, we need to be open and honest that no relationship will be 100% good times. It is critically important that we prepare for and predict the occurrence of some bad times and help the Youth and family practice how they will respond. One of the strongest predictors of the long-term potential of a relationship is how the people involved handle the rough and tough times. Let’s be sure our Youth and families are prepared.
Permanency Success Story of the Week: Whitley’s Long Journey Home: How an Abused Iowa Teen Finally Found Her Family Through Adoption
Des Moines Register – Whittley Marquez told Emily Summers to stay away from her the first time they met. Whittley was a second-grader at Franklin Elementary School in Muscatine and had already attempted suicide once. Emily was six years older than Whittley. She volunteered for a mentoring program for younger students and planned to tutor Whittley in math. But Whittley refused any kindnesses
Family members “used to tell me I was worthless,” Whittley said of her childhood environment. “I always felt like I shouldn’t be alive, that I didn’t deserve to be in this world. I couldn’t process that someone wanted to really help me or care about me.”
Whittley’s effort to push Emily away was a failure. Emily and her husband, inspirational speaker Chris Norton, adopted Whittley on Dec. 11. The adoption was unusual: Whittley is 19 and an adult. Her new parents are only six years her elder. But this has been a match more than a dozen years in the making…
Permanency Related Articles:
KOCO News 5 (Oklahoma City, OK) — It’s an amazing gift for area foster children on Christmas Eve. Circle of Care and the Avedis Foundation are building homes specifically for sibling sets in foster care. “Your sibling relationship is your closest bond and the bond is the longest you’ll have in your life,” said Keith Howard, President and CEO of Oklahoma United Methodist Circle of Care.
Imagine being separated from your brother or sister. That’s the reality for many children in Oklahoma. “We’re adding another trauma into their lives when we can’t keep them together,” Howard said… “A lot of families just don’t have the space or the resources to take those kids in,” Howard said.
A solution: homes built to keep siblings together. “We began the plan of determining how we would build eight homes around the state with the specific focus on bringing in sibling groups,” Howard said. It’s a solution Howard knows all too well. “I know what it means to keep siblings together,” Howard said. “As a dad, I’m an adoptive dad of a sibling group of four as well as having two biological daughters.” …
Robert F. Kennedy National Resource Center for Juvenile Justice – A new bulletin, entitled Studying Drivers of Risk and Needs Assessment Instrument Implementation in Juvenile Justice, describes Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) supported research findings on factors that promote effective implementation of risk and needs assessment instruments in the juvenile justice system. This valuable publication provides guidance on effectively implementing risk and needs assessments and highlights intentional steps and considerations that contribute to long-term, high-quality sustainability of this best practice. Quality implementation has been shown to reduce reliance on formal system involvement and decrease recidivism.
CBS 13 – Sacramento / Woodland, CA — While thousands of families across the country are enjoying Christmas dinner and time together, for hundreds of thousands of children in the foster care system, that picture of family time might only be a dream. Renee and Gary Hemsley have two biological daughters and four foster children, Brooklyn, Eliana, Brandon, and Aiden, who have special needs. The parents fostered eight children before fostering and adopting the four they have now. All were exposed to drugs or alcohol while in their mothers’ womb. Eliana was not even expected to live.
But Renee, who was a foster child herself, says she was determined to give them a better chance at life. She says being a foster mom has changed her, and that originally, she was an anxious mom. “…I’ve learned to adjust and grow with each of my children and learn how to accommodate and love unconditionally,” she said.
That is why she is paying it forward and paving the way for other foster and adoptive families with her nonprofit Hope’s Anchor. She hopes to provide those families with much-needed supplies and support. The nonprofit originally started in Renee’s garage. It quickly grew to an office space downtown. With so many donations this year, they are having to expand to another industrial space nearby… If you would like to learn more about becoming a resource family in Yolo County, check out their website.
Children’s Data Network – The California State Los Angeles School of Criminalistics and Criminal Justice, in collaboration in the Children’s Data Network (CDN) at the USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work, conducted a retrospective analysis of the timing and degree of previous involvement with the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) for a recent cohort of Probation youth. The goal of this study was to examine the proportion of youth with intensive Probation involvement who had also touched the child protection system at an earlier point in their lives but were not necessarily known to both systems simultaneously. It was designed to identify possible touch points when prevention-oriented family support and strengthening could have helped to resolve family problems at an earlier stage, potentially preventing later entry into the juvenile justice system.
The results indicate that among youth involved in the juvenile justice system, the prevalence of past child protection involvement may be even higher than previously realized. Four out of five Los Angeles County Probation youth had received at least one referral for suspected maltreatment, with many experiencing their first referral early in childhood. Prevalence of referred and substantiated maltreatment, case opening, and foster care placement was significantly higher among Female (vs. male) youth exiting Probation and Black (vs. Latino and white) youth exiting Probation….
Friends of Children (Massachusetts) – Each FOCUS youth participant is embraced by a team of three volunteers who become their personal coaches and advisors as they navigate young adulthood. Team members and young people commit to each other for three years. IT WORKS. HERE’S WHY.
FOCUS Affiliate staff matches the youth participant and the Team Anchor. The young person then selects their own Team Coaches from a pool of volunteers. The Team Anchor and Coaches form a unified team to walk alongside the young person, supporting them at every turn. Community Circles embrace the teams, providing additional resources, skills, and experiences to the youth participant. The National FOCUS Initiative selects and supports FOCUS Affiliates and builds awareness and partnerships nationally…
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Take care and keep up the Permanency work – Our children, youth, young adults, families, and communities are depending on it!