Permanency Tip of the Week: When Are They Going to Act Their Age?
One of the many impacts of early life trauma can be a disruption in the usual synchronicity between our Youth’s chronological age and developmental age. This disruption can have profound effects on our Youth’s social, emotional, and behavioral functioning in nearly every life domain. We often see these effects resulting in our Youth acting at a developmental level that is significantly younger than their chronological age. One of the most important approaches that we must implement is to first view this discrepancy as a “trauma response.” When we take this first critical step, we can then select from the most appropriate trauma informed care for our youth AND ourselves. This often will result in us responding to our Youth with an emphasis on helping them to feel emotionally safe. As their level of emotional safety increases, we should start seeing the discrepancy between their developmental and chronological ages begin to diminish.
Permanency Success Story of the Week: 15+ Heartwarming Pictures of Children Who Were Just Adopted
Thinking Humanity – According to Together We Rise (TWR), every day, 1,200 kids enter foster care in the United States, a life that is often filled with stigma and uncertainty. To combat this, TWR brings together volunteers to help kids in foster care and to encourage families to adopt; two years ago, they started to post pictures of newly adopted kids to Facebook and Instagram. The response was tremendous.
“We’ve had thousands of people reach out to us and either say they are considering being a foster parent or adopting because of the photos,” TWR told Bored Panda. “Every day we have people reaching out to us wanting to learn more about the adoption process or what they can do to help. We even inspired thousands of professional photographers who wanted to donate their services to families adopting. With an overwhelming amount of inquiries we posted an application for any interested photographers and in the first day we had over 5000 professionals sign up.”
Permanency Related Articles:
ABC 15 – Tempe, AZ – Some may qualify for free tuition at Arizona’s public universities and community colleges but for many young people who spent time in foster care, life’s challenges can get in the way of a degree. ASU is rolling out a new online tool, designed to change that.
Walking the halls of ASU did not always feel possible for sophomore Jesus Ledezma and senior Brittany Skaggs. “I didn’t really have any parental guidance to help me with college,” said Ledezma. Both spent time in foster care and say the path to higher education was complicated and full of road blocks.
“With all of those changes they’re experiencing, sometimes there’s changes in the supportive adults in their lives,” said Kalah Villagrana, the EMPOWER project’s co-investigator. “They may not have as many connections to adults that can help walk them through that process of applying to post-secondary education…”
That is where the EMPOWER program from ASU comes in. “Basically any adult who has a supportive relationship with a youth in care can participate in this program,” said Jeanne Hanrahan, director of community outreach and university college at ASU. The self-paced course, two years in the making, is free and easy to use. It has six different modules touching on everything from trauma and the unique challenges those in foster care face, to college application help, scholarships and filing for financial aid through the FAFSA. More than 200 people enrolled in just the first couple of weeks…
Mockingbird Family Society – is an innovative foster care delivery model that creates an extended family community designed to support, develop and retain quality foster families that can meet the challenging and complex needs of children and youth experiencing foster care. MOCKINGBIRD FAMILYTM provides a framework and opportunity for communities to come together in support of its young people. Foster families are valued and retained; youth thrive and communities strengthen their support around children and families that keep us connected… When foster families are developed and brought into a supportive community like MOCKINGBIRD FAMILYTM, social workers are more able to focus on successful reunifications with family and loved ones and other meaningful permanency options for our young people.
Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption (DTFA) – The list is a way of recognizing organizations that are leading the way in making adoption a supported option for every working parent. The list compares financial reimbursement and paid leave offered to employees who adopt, based on a survey of organizations across the United States. The 2019 list reveals an increased investment in adoption benefits. On average, employers that completed the survey offer $9,362 in financial reimbursement, which is up 1.2% from 2018. The average amount of paid leave was 7.4 weeks, up 1.3% as well…
The Foundation also ranks employers by size, industry, best paid leave and foster care benefits. Additionally, a new impact list recognizes organizations with more than 1,000 employees that provide the largest overall financial benefits for adoption and have the capacity to reach the greatest number of people. Target Corporation ranked first on the 2019 impact list.
Hometown Focus – Who would have thought that prenatal and childhood trauma could lead to teen and adult depression, obesity, smoking, heart disease, cancer and other ailments throughout life? Study after study has demonstrated just that. Such trauma can take many forms. Imagine life as a child beset by a home with a mentally ill parent, domestic violence, parental divorce or separation, substance abuse, or incarceration; physical, emotional, or sexual abuse; or physical and emotional neglect…
Called Adverse Childhood Experiences or ACEs, these traumas were found to produce changes in the development of the brain, leading to lifelong impacts and often inducing a flight-fight-freeze array of responses to triggers or reminders of the trauma…There is another form of trauma that was not in the original study called historical trauma. While this form affects many people, it is most often associated with given cultures such as American Indians and African Americans…
The good news is that people can bounce back from such traumas by building resilience. There are many ways to recover, adapt, and adjust, but the most significant factor in doing so has been identified as having a relationship with a competent, caring and trustworthy adult. The earlier the intervention, the better. Healthy relationships matter!
A Fostered Life – Back when we were in the process of becoming licensed to be foster parents, we were focused on the checklist of things we needed to do to prepare. Smoke detectors in every bedroom? Check. Medicines locked up and alcohol out of reach? Check and check. Crib slats the correct distance apart? Yes. Mattress thick enough? Yes. The list went on. And on. And on.
Now, nearly six years and many children and family systems later, I realize that there are a few things that are not part of the required preparation for becoming a foster parent—but should be. I shared about them in this video, but if you prefer to read rather than watch, here they are: 1) LISTEN TO, READ, AND WATCH RESOURCES THAT AMPLIFY THE VOICES OF FORMER FOSTER YOUTH (FFY) AND ADOPTEES. 2) BEFRIEND FOSTER PARENTS AND OFFER THEM SUPPORT. 3) STUDY POSITIVE PARENTING PRACTICES AND LEARN ABOUT TRAUMA-INFORMED PARENTING…
If you are in the process of becoming a foster parent, or you’re just thinking about it, it’s not likely that anyone will tell you to do these things. However, I can tell you from experience that these suggestions are as important as checking the batteries in those smoke detectors and finding the right size lock boxes for your medicines!
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