Greetings Permanency Champions,
Permanency Tip of the Week: Permanency/Adoption Readiness – Address the Doubts/Concerns Early
For some Youth and families, particularly those that have been seeking to adopt/find permanency for a long time, they might be so eager to reach the finish line that they overlook concerns with the Youth/family and/or themselves. This may continue up until the child enters the home and reality sets in for both parties. It is critically important that we validate the strong feelings that the Youth/family often have about Adoption/Permanency while at the same time providing them with the space to have and voice doubts/concerns about the other party, the process, and even themselves. When we establish these open and active lines of communication, we can then begin to resolve these doubts/concerns before they become crises. This greatly enhances the potential for the relationship to truly become loving, unconditional, and lifelong.
Permanency Success Story of the Week: ‘I Really Want a Mom’: 24-Year-Old Asks Former School Resource Officer to Adopt Her
Indy Star (IN) – Shay Roberson quickly typed the words into her phone. She knew she would never be able to say them out loud. “Can you think about adopting me one day?” she asked via text. “I really want a mom.” The Indiana native’s early dream of reuniting with her biological family had faded long before she aged out of the foster care system. Now, at 24 years old, Shay wondered if she might have another chance at a family.
Shay sent the text to Ginnie Wing, her former school resource officer. Wing, now the police chief of Brownsburg Community School Corp., was already Shay’s safe place, her emotional support system and the person she never wanted to let down…Shay and two of her sisters entered the child welfare system in 2005, when Shay was 11 years old. Their mother was addicted to crack cocaine, Shay said…
A relative adopted Shay’s siblings, but not her. She lived in nearly a dozen foster care placements in 10 years. Shay’s relationships with school officials represented the only constant in her life. A group of teachers, counselors and others supported her in and out of the classroom. They made signs and cheered during her basketball games. They attended her poetry club gatherings…
Walking to the metro station, Shay sent Wing the text asking to be adopted. “Sorry, I was driving,” Wing replied a short time later. “You know I would in a heartbeat.” Wing told IndyStar she hadn’t realized adult adoption was an option. A judge approved the adoption April 20. Shay Roberson became Shay Roberson-Wing…Matt Wing called Shay “an absolute inspiration.” “Where she came from and where she’s at now is amazing,” he said. “And I think she didn’t let her circumstances define her. She defined herself. And kind of beat the odds.”
Permanency Related Articles:
Robert Latham, Esq. – Christopher O’Donnell and Nathaniel Lash at the Tampa Bay Times recently published an outstanding investigative piece on the harmful number of placement changes some kids experience while in foster care…
For those of us working in the system, placement instability isn’t news (many professionals are numb to it). But it is news for the rest of the world, whose picture of foster care is based on the heartstrings marketing of charitable agencies or the five o’clock stories of deaths and abuses seen in the news. The daily pains and indignities of foster care are rarely discussed by a public who doesn’t have the information or language to talk about them. I was so happy for the Times article because it gave people a new idea: many foster kids move around a lot and that’s a bad thing.
This blog has a different audience, though. The readers here know about the system, often from deep in the weeds, handling cases or overseeing agencies and programs. We have seen placements disrupt both in 30-person staffings and via unexpected text messages that our client’s been kicked out of a home we thought would last — if not forever, at least for a week. We need no emotional priming on this topic. Short of telling a child he can’t go home, the hardest thing we sometimes have to say to them is they “can’t stay there anymore.”
It’s awful. Hold on to that feeling for these next parts. I want to show you placement instability from a thousand miles up, where the people look like ants. I want to multiply that gut-wrench feeling by 17,000 to break through the numbness and help you remember that this is not okay…
PsychCentral – Becoming a foster parent is not a decision to take lightly. It’s true that some foster kids come with destructive behaviors, aggression, and just generally bad habits. There’s a reason they came into care, and it’s often because of neglectful parenting, which leaves the kids with missing social and behavioral skills. So when thinking about becoming a parent to these kiddos, it IS important to take into consideration how their behaviors might impact the lives of you and your family members. When you make the choice to become a foster parent and choose to let the first foster child into your home, it’s important to remember that you made that choice and not the child…
None of this is their fault. They didn’t ask for any of this. And every single thing you do for them, you do it because you CHOSE to. Because you wanted to make a difference in the world…Foster kids should be allowed to act as normal and ungrateful and impulsive as every other kid on the planet does. Teach them to show appreciation for what they have, but don’t teach them that they don’t deserve the rights of a normal child.
Give them more than what’s required. Do more for them than the bare minimum. Love them with so much vigor that they’ll understand what relationships should look like when they go home.
Office of U.S. Senator Marco Rubio – U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) today introduced the State Flexibility for Family First Transitions Act, legislation to extend waivers for states receiving Title IV-E of the Social Security Act, the entitlement that pays for foster care and adoption, to allow for greater funding and flexibility for foster care and child welfare recipients beyond the current federal baseline. Set to expire in September 2019, the legislation would extend the Title IV-E waiver by two years, which would allow states to receive an extension up until the full implementation of the Family First Act. It would also require that states verify to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) how they intend to use the extension to transition to the programs supported by the Family First Act.
Chronicle of Social Change – Developed by Advanced Trauma Solutions (ATS) and copyrighted by the University of Connecticut, Trauma Affect Regulation: Guide for Education and Therapy (TARGET) is a strength-based, psycho-educational intervention. TARGET is being implemented by the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) along with several existing adoption support and preservation providers. Illinois is providing TARGET to children and youth who, at the time of adoption or guardianship, had characteristics or exhibited behaviors that put them at increased risk for post-permanency instability also termed discontinuity.
Senator Maggie Hassan – President Trump this week signed into law a bipartisan bill cosponsored by Senator Maggie Hassan that will help survivors of child abuse. The legislation reauthorizes the Victims of Child Abuse Act (VOCAA), which provides funding for Children’s Advocacy Centers that support victims of child abuse and help law enforcement hold perpetrators accountable.
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Take care and keep up the Permanency work – Our children, youth, young adults, families, and communities are depending on it!