Permanency Tip of the Week: What Motivates Our Youth in Foster Care? – Part 4
As the people serving our Youth in care, it is our mandate to initiate and sustain the effort of bridging the gap between Our Youth’s being motivated to SURVIVE and our hope that Our Youth will be motivated to THRIVE. This process can be done in three steps: 1) Assist them in satisfying their motivation of needing to SURVIVE; 2) Assist them to transition this motivation from needing to SURVIVE into Wanting to THRIVE; 3) Repeat, repeat, and repeat. The specific work required, and time spent within these steps will vary based on a case by case basis. You can also reasonably expect that there will be steps backward/relapses from THRIVING back into SURVIVING. When this happens, pause and go back to step 1 with care and compassion.
Permanency Success Story of the Week: Don’t Wait for a Perfect Time. Because Teens Need Families Now
AdoptUSKids – James Owen’s experiences growing up inspire him to help teens in foster care today. It was one of the most chaotic weeks of James and Melody Owen’s life. James, a recreational pilot, had a midair collision with a drone while flying; Melody was in the midst of a serious health scare; and their teenage son hit a wrong-way driver, totaling his car. There was one bright spot: It was also the week that James and Melody got their license to be foster parents…
James and Melody had started investigating adopting from foster care nearly two years earlier. The four children they had by birth were getting older, and James says that he felt called by God to adopt teens from foster care. “I was abused as a child. I should have been in foster care…A few months later, while volunteering with the Civil Air Patrol’s cadet program, James was giving a mini-flight lesson to a brother and sister, Christian and Cheyenne. During the course of the lesson, he realized that the teens were in foster care.
“I thought, this is crazy! I know these kids, and we’re looking to adopt teens. I called our cadet commander, and it turned out that Christian and Cheyenne’s social worker was the woman who did our PRIDE training!” James said…On February 20, 2019, James and Melody adopted Christian and Cheyenne. It was 10 days before Christian’s 18th birthday. The teens had spent 1,667 days of their lives in foster care. James is now working to inspire other families to foster and adopt. He’s gotten comfortable sharing his own childhood story and talks with groups about adopting from foster care. “I tell everyone I can: There’s no perfect time, and there’s no perfect parent. If we wait for a perfect time in our life, it will never happen. And the problem is that these kids—especially teenagers—need permanent families now.”
Permanency Related Articles:
Bush Foundation Magazine – Amelia Franck Meyer
(BF’15) is transforming the child welfare system
by healing trauma and putting families first. From working in individual group homes to leading regional agencies, her entire working life has been dedicated to improving the well-being of children in foster care. As her leadership journey has evolved, so has the scope of her ambition. Her goal now is nothing less than a total reinvention of the American child welfare system, which she believes will in turn positively impact societal challenges ranging from incarceration to homelessness to health care. In Meyer’s view, mitigating and healing childhood trauma is the first critical step to transforming the world…
.Montclair State University – Groundbreaking research has been completed by a Montclair State University faculty member that hopes to provide a road map for when parents should disclose their children’s adoption statuses. The study, published in the Journal of Family Issues, is the first research in the United States showing adults who discovered they were adopted after the age of 3 – known as “late discovery adoptees” – reported greater emotional distress and overall lower life satisfaction, with increased levels of distress being reported the older a respondent discovered he or she was adopted. The findings contradict decades of previous recommendations as to when adoption status should be disclosed, with past studies advising parents a range of options from waiting until after childhood or to disclose the status between the ages of 4-13…The participants shared in their narrative accounts that the betrayal they felt was a significant factor. Our findings really emphasize how secrecy and lies in adoption become corrosive to those involved.”
University of California – As tens of thousands of University of California students cross the stage in graduation ceremonies this weekend, they will have much to celebrate in terms of goals accomplished, effort invested, the knowledge gained. But this special moment will carry even greater significance for about 350 members of the Class of 2019 who were formerly in the foster care system. These students have transcended monumental odds to achieve their college diplomas. “If I could have told my 14-year-old self where I would be now, I don’t think I would have believed it,” said UC Irvine graduate Monica Mary Xu English, who has just completed a degree in philosophy. “I thought I was doomed…”
Helping her beat the odds was a UC Irvine program called Foster Youth Resilience in Education (FYRE), which provides practical, social and academic services to students who were current or former foster youth. “During those years [in foster care], I was going through a lot of shame,” English said. That changed at FYRE. “I felt really accepted. Just being around other people who had gone through similar things — it was like, ‘if they can do it, I can do it.’ We can do it together.”
Though they go by different names, programs to serve current and former foster youth exist at every UC campus, providing dedicated services — and surrogate family — to a population that is among the most vulnerable on campus. The staff who run these programs provide a warm welcome when students first arrive on campus, and are still there, cheering them on, when graduation season rolls around…
Child Trends – Since it was first implemented in 1995—and especially after all states began reporting in 2000—the federal Adoption and Foster Care Analysis Reporting System (AFCARS) has provided policymakers, practitioners, and researchers with valuable information about children and youth in foster care. Nevertheless, its relatively limited range of data elements and inconsistencies in reporting across states leave many important questions unanswered. In 2016, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) published a final rule revising the AFCARS regulations (“2016 Final Rule”), standardizing reporting requirements, and adding new data elements. While the rule would greatly enhance the system’s utility, HHS recently published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“2019 NPRM”) to rescind many of the new requirements. Below, we highlight some of the data elements introduced in the 2016 Final Rule—and unchanged in HHS’ most recent proposal—that will improve stakeholders’ ability to monitor outcomes, modify policies, and ultimately improve services for children and their families…
Along with new or expanded reporting requirements in AFCARS, the proposed rule more clearly defines the reporting population for AFCARS (i.e., children for whom states must report data). The revised reporting population would comprise all children for whom the child welfare agency has responsibility for care and placement, including youth in extended foster care beyond age 18…The proposed changes are not yet final, and HHS is currently seeking comments on the proposed rule, which will inform the Final Rule. The improved data will enhance stakeholders’ ability to address the needs of children in foster care by providing a better understanding of their characteristics and experiences in foster care.
Tennessean – We store all of our thoughts, emotions and traumas in our bodies, predominantly in our shoulders and hips, which is why those areas are so tight all of the time. When we practice yoga, we access those uncomfortable traumas through movement and mindfulness. And in trauma-informed yoga, we sit with that discomfort and those painful memories, taking the time to process each one as they arise. Because once they are processed, once we have paid proper attention to them, we start to heal, turning that trauma from easily triggered to no longer bubbling up.
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