Permanency Tip of the Week: Connections, Relationships, Permanency, and THEN Permanent Placement (hopefully) – Part 4 – Permanency
In our Permanency work, some individuals will progress from being a connection to being in relationship with our Youth, some of them may become a form of Permanency for our Youth. National Institute for Permanent Family Connectedness (NIPFC) provides an excellent expanded definition of Permanency: “A state of permanent belonging, which includes knowledge of personal history and identity, as well as a range of involved and supportive adults rather than just one legal resource.” This definition provides a context for a wide range of people to be included in this category, especially those who are willing and able to support the Youth but are not able to offer placement. The manner in which we engage potential sources of Permanency is critical. We must be open, honoring, and respectful towards all the potential sources of Permanency. It is also crucial that we do not fall into the trap of finding that “one source of Permanency” for our Youth. Rather, the process of securing Permanency for our Youth must never stop.
Next week, we will discuss the development and sustainment of Permanent Placements from some/all of the Permanency.
Permanency Success Story of the Week: Couple Keeps 6 Siblings Together Through Adoption – There’s Lots of Love and Chaos’
Good Morning America – A Michigan family is now a party of 10 after opening their hearts to six siblings in need of a home. Over the last six years, Gabrielle and Shannon Fessenden have adopted Jordan, 15, Jay, 10, Myah, 9, Jericho, 5, Briella 4 and Mason, 2. The brothers and sisters join the Fessendens’ biological children, Scott, 11 and Giana, 8.
“It’s never quiet. There’s lots of love and chaos,” Gabrielle Fassenden told “Good Morning America.” “There’s always scampering feet, laughing and giggling running. Our family’s hashtag is #theresneveradullmoment.” Fessenden said she and her husband always wanted to adopt. A few years ago, they browsed the Michigan Adoption Resource Exchange’s website, where prospective adoptive parents can see photos of children whose parental rights were terminated. Fessenden said she came across Jordan, Jay and Myah’s pictures. The three siblings were about to be separated if they didn’t find a home in the coming week.
“I printed it out and showed Shannon and I thought surely he’d say, ‘You’re out of your mind.’ [Instead] he said, ‘Absolutely. Those are our kids,'” Fessenden recalled…
Permanency Related Articles:
Parents – Reunited and it feels so good! Four-year-old Hannah and 3-year-old Dawson were besties at the orphanage in China where they had spent most of their lives. But the pair went their separate ways about a year ago when Hannah was adopted by the Sykes family from Texas and Dawson was left behind.
It was while they were going through the adoption process that Sharon Sykes first noticed the same little boy in nearly every shot of Hannah that had been forwarded to her by their agency. “Every photo I got of Hannah when she wasn’t alone had him in it and him holding her hand,” Sharon wrote on Facebook. And when she and her husband went to China to pick up Hannah, they got to see that bond in person and knew they had to do something.
So Sharon posted a picture of Dawson on Facebook in hopes that she could find someone to adopt him. And in less than 24 hours, she did—Chris and Amy Clary, who just happen to live five minutes away—what are the chances? And so last week—11 months after saying goodbye—the best friends were finally brought back together when Dawson arrived at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. This 17-second video clip of their reunion that Sharon posted to Facebook will melt your heart!…
Medium.Com – The National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine (the Academies) today released its latest report, The Promise of Adolescence: Realizing Opportunity for All Youth, containing comprehensive developmental science and a call to action to assess and reform our systems that work with adolescents…The report reviews the latest neuroscience and socio-behavioral science in language for non-scientists and offers thoughtful recommendations to reform systems that work with adolescents — health, education, child welfare, and justice.
We generally understand early childhood as a period of remarkable brain development and accept the critical need for investment in our youngest children to set the stage for a healthy life; today’s report provides evidence that extensive brain development also occurs during adolescence. This has serious consequences for future life stages. Harmful environmental factors can have tragic lifetime consequences; but, with proper environmental supports influencing the adolescent brain, young people can flourish. The vital opportunity to influence future development creates a real sense of urgency for our systems that serve adolescents to “get it right…”
The report emphasizes the exciting opportunities for growth during this stage of life rather than focusing on adolescence as a period of risk-taking and poor decision making, as has been characteristic in the past. As the report states, “although adolescence is often thought of as a time of turmoil and risk…it is more accurately viewed as a developmental period rich with opportunity for youth to learn and grow. Adolescence thus forms a critical bridge between childhood and adulthood and is a window of opportunity for positive, life-shaping development…”
The Chronicle of Social Change – Earlier this year, we reported on the case made by current and former foster youths to use existing authority at the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to connect youth aging out of care with housing supports. The Chronicle of Social Change has learned that, after a thorough review of the policy by HUD’s general counsel, the agency is set this week to approve this and notify thousands of public housing authorities…
“I truly believe that in order to improve outcomes for our youth, our people who make the decisions have to be willing and able to listen to the population they are serving,” said Jamole Callahan, one of the former foster youths who helped campaign for the policy. “This solution … was a simple fix. This is another step towards ending youth homelessness.”
The plan was pitched to HUD by Fostering Stable Housing Opportunities (FSHO) Coalition, whose members met in early March with HUD Secretary Ben Carson to lay out a plan for a $20 million voucher program. Under that plan, HUD would use an existing pot of money – a federal rental assistance account – to pay for the vouchers…Advocates for the plan are still pursuing federal legislation to codify it into law. The FSHO Act would guarantee a housing voucher starting from emancipation through age 25 for any youth aging out of foster care who could demonstrate the need for a subsidy. The bill is co-sponsored by Reps. Mike Turner (R-Ohio) and Karen Bass (D-Calif.).
Barren County, KY (WBKO) – An initiative based out of Barren County to decrease the number of kids entering the foster care system is already making an impact. “Bridge” is a new collaboration of agencies and organizations across Barren County to get the right resources to struggling families, so it doesn’t escalate to the point where social services needs to step in. The area’s family court judge says so far, they’ve helped 10 families. They’re also identifying resources the area still needs…
“A child experiences trauma every time they’re removed from their home,” Pence said. “They have adjustments to make that are difficult. So, if we can avoid a child experiencing that trauma, then that’s what we want to do.”
CompTIA – Last year, the Family First Prevention Services Act (FFPSA) became law, introducing the biggest changes to how child welfare is financed since the establishment of Title IV-E entitlements in the 1980s. We have asked members of the Human Services Information Technology Advisory Group (HSITAG) what advice they might give to agencies in terms of getting their technology right in response to those recent changes.
The key components of a successful FFPSA effort are: 1) Data, data, data: Without reliable data (in case management, provider management, financial management, etc.…), efforts will fail; 2) Accuracy and timeliness: Avoid duplication and ensure that your data is clean and up to date to drive actionable insights; 3) Usability is key: Documentation and ease of use in supporting federal claims will support securing appropriate funding levels; 4) Be proactive: Leveraging data for proactive intervention will be essential to successful implementations;…
As agencies grapple with the challenges of implementing FFPSA, HSITAG members are a great group to stay in touch with as members talk with stakeholders to identify the best support technology can provide to such implementations.
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Take care and keep up the Permanency work – Our children, youth, young adults, families, and communities are depending on it!