Happy 5th Anniversary to Permanency in the News!!!!!
Permanency Tip of the Week: Persevering in Pursuit of Permanency
In the course of our work supporting our Youth in their pursuit of Permanency, both we and our Youth may at times become frustrated, disappointed, disillusioned, angry, hopeless and want to give up. It is at these times that we must step back, gather ourselves, and rededicate our efforts to supporting our Youth in the most critical aspect of their healing process – access to strong, steady, and healthy relationships starting with our relationship with them. While our relationship might not be the ultimate Permanency they need, it can be a profoundly important and critical first step. When we validate and empathize with them about the challenges of seeking Permanency, this can be a powerful source of support at a most critical time for our Youth. Just like the North Carolina State basketball coach – Jim Valvano said as he neared the end of his battle with cancer “Never give up … don’t ever give up!!!”
Permanency Success Story of the Week: The Sum of All Parts: Finding Myself Through Search and Reunion
Child Welfare Information Gateway – National Foster Care Month – I am Robert, but I once had another name. As an infant, I was held and loved by two women, one who would give me up and another who raised me and loved me more than life itself. I suppose I should consider myself blessed to have been loved by two mothers when most of us get only one, and some get none. My mother wanted her parents to adopt me and raise me in secret as her brother. When they refused, my adoption was arranged before I was born. When that day arrived, my mother refused to give me up and I was placed in foster care. Six months later, my closed adoption was completed by the Children’s Home Society of New Jersey and all my records sealed. My adoptive father was a physician and my adoptive mother a Holocaust survivor. I learned the value of healing from my father and unyielding strength from my mother. They loved me unconditionally.
Fifty-two years later, I searched for my birth mother. I found her grave in Bellaire, TX. She died at the young age of 43. The search gave me the story of my birth and adoption. Eighteen years later, through a DNA test, I found my birth father who had also passed away. This led me to discover a brother that I never knew; however, he died 14 months before I found him. His family tells me I could be his twin in resemblance, avocations, and character. Finding a grave at the end of a search is painful, but it inspired the discovery of my authentic self. At 67, I am the sum of them all and my own life experiences. The greatest gift they gave me was the meaning of my life. After receiving my master’s degree in psychology, I developed therapeutic interventions specifically designed for adoptees and developed a trauma-informed parenting method. I have found many birth parents for other adoptees and mediated their reunions. My destiny is to give what I can never receive, and that’s alright with me.
Permanency Related Articles:
Good morning America (GMA) – What happens when someone you barely know steps up for you? What happens when that person pushes you to reach your full potential? Incredible things. This is the story of Robert Hurley and Amy Krusemark. Hurley is about to graduate as the valedictorian of his class and is deciding between Yale and Stanford — he’s received a full ride to both schools.
Rewind about three years. Amy knew Robert as her “very quiet, withdrawn” student in the freshman year geometry class she was teaching at Boca Ciega High School in Gulfport, Florida. But one day, she found out Robert had been living in a group home. “The state doesn’t want kids in group homes for long periods of time, so they were going to force me to move somewhere else,” he said. “The only people they could find to take me in were very far from my high school. I didn’t want to start over again for the third or fourth time.”…After finding out he found out that he was no longer able to stay in the group home, Hurley told “GMA” that his teacher, Amy Krusemark “saved me so I didn’t have to start again.”
Krusemark told “GMA” she had a history of foster parenting and felt comfortable stepping up for Robert. She shares custody of her daughter with her ex-husband and she and her boyfriend live with Robert. “We’re really a regular family,” she said. “Vacations, card games, sibling rivalry — all of it.” As it turns out, being a valedictorian is a family affair. Krusemark…
Washington, DC – U.S. Senators Gary Peters (D-MI) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) today reintroduced bipartisan legislation to help states identify and meet the needs of children who come into contact with both the child welfare and juvenile justice systems, also known as dual status youth. The Childhood Outcomes Need New Efficient Community Teams (CONNECT) Act would authorize competitive grants to improve data collection on dual status youth and encourage better cooperation between state agencies overseeing juvenile justice and child welfare programs. Grassley co-chairs the Senate Caucus on Foster Youth, and Senator Peters is a member of the Caucus.
“We cannot allow bureaucratic red tape to prevent the juvenile justice and child welfare systems from providing at-risk youth the services they need,” said Senator Peters. “This bipartisan legislation would help our civil servants collect the information necessary to design tailor-made programs to help these children. By gaining a better understanding of the hardships dual status children have had to endure, we can do more to ensure that they have the opportunity to lead happy, productive lives…”
The CONNECT Act authorizes grants administered by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to help state juvenile justice and child welfare agencies collect data on dual status youths to foster a better understanding of their unique circumstances and improve coordination in the delivery of services to at-risk children…
University of Buffalo – School of Social Work – Whether you are a student or a professional working in the field, self-care matters! As a student going through an MSW (or other clinical) program, you are expected to balance your coursework, internships, work responsibilities, and home life. As a professional, you face many of these same expectations and challenges. Self-care is a practice that will help you limit the stresses and strains that you are bound to encounter in your academic and professional career and cope with those that do arise.
Self-care is an essential social work survival skill. Self-care refers to activities and practices that we can engage in on a regular basis to reduce stress and maintain and enhance our short- and longer-term health and well-being. Self-care is necessary for your effectiveness and success in honoring your professional and personal commitments…Self-care is not simply about limiting or addressing professional stressors. It is also about enhancing your overall well-being. There are common aims to almost all self-care efforts…
Juvenile Justice Information Exchange (JJIE) – Christina Young remembers the day the cops came for her at school. She was 15 years old — a sophomore at Murry Bergtraum High School for Business in lower Manhattan. She and four of her friends were sitting together at a table in the school’s large and chaotic cafeteria. It was lunchtime but they weren’t eating. They didn’t like eating lunch at school. They didn’t have a reason why really; they just didn’t like to. Instead they used the time to hang out and listen to music on her friends iPod.
She was playing with that iPod when the School Resource Officers walked in. The officers weren’t an uncommon presence in the cafeteria, she remembers. “Someone in that cafeteria was always doing something that you weren’t supposed to do,” Young said. When they showed up, the students went on high alert wondering who the officers were coming for this time. But that day, Young didn’t have to wonder. When they walked in, she knew it was for her… “I didn’t know that I could actually be arrested for not returning to a foster home,” said Young…
But for now, after a ruling in New York State Court of Appeals, this practice is going to stop. On May 7, judges from the First Judicial Department ruled that child welfare systems around the state can’t ask law enforcement to arrest runaway foster youth as a way to return them to their placements…In their ruling, the judges wrote that they do not believe that the family courts and child welfare workers were acting with malicious intent. But they wrote that they could not uphold the practice because there was no specific law that gave the family courts the authority to issue warrants for what they called “protective arrests” of runaway foster youth…
“The stigma that attaches to youth who have been arrested can jeopardize their opportunity to be discharged from foster care and return home permanently,” the brief reads. It emphasized the importance of addressing the reasons why the juvenile runs away. Some feel unwanted or even endangered in their placement, they wrote. Some miss their homes. In many cases they go back to their communities and visit friends and family.
Child Trends – Nationally, over 47,600 older youth ages 14 to 17 entered foster care in federal fiscal year (FY) 2017—a rate of 2.8 per 1,000 youth in the general population. Although fewer older youth entered the child welfare system than in prior years, their experiences in foster care warrant attention because adolescence is a period of major brain development in which youth learn the decision-making and coping skills needed to become healthy and productive adults. Normal adolescent development involves increased risk-taking and self-discovery, but a lack of (or disconnection from) parents and supportive adults who could help them navigate this turbulent period may make it harder for older youth in care to successfully transition into adulthood.
Although the total number of children under age 18 in foster care has increased in recent years, the number of older youth in foster care has continuously dropped over the past decade. This trend is largely driven by a decrease in the number and rate of older youth coming into care (as opposed to an increase in the number or rate of older youth leaving care). Since FY 2007, there has been a 31 percent decrease in the rate of youth ages 14 to 17 entering foster care.
Older youth have vastly different experiences than other age groups once they enter foster care. They are more likely to experience placement instability, with 40 percent having four or more placements during their most recent stay in foster care, compared to only 15 percent of children under age 14. Increased placement instability can be explained in part by older youth’s longer stays in foster care…
Aging out is associated with negative outcomes—including early pregnancy, dropping out of high school, and homelessness—which are not only detrimental to the individual, but costly to society. These adverse outcomes and the associated financial burden on society could be avoided with improved policy and practice. More research is needed to understand the driving forces and nuances related to older youth’s decreased entry rates. For example, a greater understanding of regional trends could inform cross-jurisdictional learning and spur further progress in regions that have not yet seen significant decreases in the entry rates of older youth. Although fewer older youth are entering foster care, practice and policy changes could improve the likelihood that they will successfully transition to adulthood. Available services must be strengthened and expanded to support older youth in foster care during this critical period of development and opportunity.
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