Permanency Tip of the Week: Connections, Relationships, Permanency, and THEN Permanent Placement (hopefully) – Part 2 – Connections
The first step in creating and sustaining healthy connections is asking the right questions to the right people in the right setting using the right words. That may seem like a lot of things to ‘get right’; however, these represent the basic fundamentals of positive human relationships. One of the most important people to ask questions of is the Youth themselves! [Here is a list of great questions from the folks at Family Finding and Signs of Safety.] This may sound obvious; however, it happens far too often. Once the Youth realizes that their life is being planned without them, the chances of them trusting us and those whom we seek to connect them can drop significantly. As people are identified, it is important to both ask these same questions of them and to explore with them what kind of a relationship they think they want to have/can have with the Youth and not whether or not the Youth can come live with them now. The establishment of connections can be a powerful initial source of healing both for the Youth, those with whom they become connected, and the community as a whole. The questions asked in this part need to continue to be asked throughout our work with the Youth as new connections are always possible.
Next week, we will discuss the development and sustainment of relationships from some/all of the connections.
Permanency Success Story of the Week: In a Program Called “30 Days to Family®,” Why One Case That Extended Past the 30-Day Mark Exemplifies What This Program Is About
Kinnect Ohio – With backing from the Ohio Attorney General’s office from 2017-2019, the 30 Days to Family® Ohio program has gotten a lot of attention lately. 30 Days to Family® Ohio is an impactful program that helps children find loving homes with kin in the shortest time possible. We begin service within 24 hours of a child entering care, and work diligently toward daily milestones until the child has found a safe and loving home with kin—all with the goal that no child remains in care for longer than 30 days. But with a toddler named Joey, things didn’t go as planned…
Early on, two or three relatives indicated interest in providing a home for Joey. But none of them worked out. Sara turned over every possible stone—some multiple times!—to find placement for Joey. But the case hit the 30-day mark without identifying any placements or back-up placements. The leadership team considered concluding the case as “unsuccessful.” Sara had worked the model exactly as it was designed, and sometimes it just doesn’t work out. But Sara was determined that Joey would not grow up in care…Sara and Kathy worked quickly to resolve every barrier that remained between Joey and his new home. Sara conducted a thorough home study, arranged for a crib to be delivered to Kathy’s home, supported the family to complete benefits paperwork for Joey, and referred Joey to Ohio’s Help Me Grow program for additional support. Sealing the deal, several kin committed to supporting Joey and Kathy with childcare and respite care.
Many factors had to align to prevent this two-year-old child from remaining in foster care today. But in the end, what really made the difference for Joey was the opportunity for his family to come together and figure out a way to care for him.
Permanency Related Articles:
Child Trends – Over the past two decades, child welfare agencies have strived to identify and engage relatives with whom children can be placed or maintain close family connections during their time in foster care. Many agencies have implemented relative search and engagement interventions, often referred to as family finding.
Prior to the Upfront Family Finding (UFF) pilot, Los Angeles County’s Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) focused its family finding efforts on children in care for long periods of time. With the UFF pilot, which started in October 2016, two local offices (Glendora and Santa Fe Springs) conducted family finding when children were first removed from their home, assigning cases to specialized workers who were part of the Permanency Partners Program (P3). P3 workers served children not initially placed with relatives, but the importance of family finding was emphasized to all staff in the pilot offices. The evaluation of the pilot sought to understand whether UFF resulted in more children placed with relatives, more stable relative placements, and more timely reunifications of children with their parents.
From Place to Place – The short film features six Montana youth who recently aged out of foster care and the challenges they face.
California Child Welfare Co-Investment Partnership – For child welfare stakeholders, the concept that children and their families come into our systems bearing the burden of traumatic experiences associated with neglect and abuse is not new. What has evolved over the last couple of decades is the science of ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences) and understanding of the long-term physical and behavioral health consequences and high societal costs. A landmark study, and the many since that have supported the initial results, have led to a growing consensus on the need for policies and practices to prevent, intervene, and promote healing.
KVUE (Austin, TX) – For Patrick Edmond, he didn’t think he would be able to parent a child that wasn’t his own. “When I divorced the first time, it was just a big void, a big loss,” said Edmond. He’s twice divorced and has two biological sons. But he only gets to see them occasionally. “That’s something you can’t get over,” said Edmond. But then he met his now-adopted son, Alex. “I found out I needed him just as much as he needed me,” said Edmond.
He became his foster dad in 2009 and adopted him on National Adoption Day in 2014. “It was almost therapeutic in a sense – especially when I got divorced, I really feel like this is my calling,” said Edmond. So, he fostered again, this time welcoming Thomas into his home in November. Both Alex and Thomas have special needs, but Edmond says that didn’t deter him.
Both teens graduated from Manor High School this month. Graduation day was a special moment for Edmond. “It was great,” he said. Father’s Day will be a little more special after watching these two young men, walk the stage, showing you’re never too old to be a parent again. “Been absolutely fulfilling — it’s been a big part of my life,” said Edmond.
ACES Connection – The power of personal stories from witnesses and committee members fueled the July 11 hearing on childhood trauma in the House Oversight and Reform Committee* throughout the nearly four hours of often emotional and searing testimony and member questions and statements (Click here for 3:47 hour video). The hearing was organized into a formulaic two-panel structure—testimony from survivors followed by statements from experts—but personal experiences relayed by witnesses (including the “experts”) and the Members of Congress blurred the lines of traditional roles…
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