Permanency Tip of the Week: What’s There to be Happy about in the New Year?
When Our Youth are presented with a new opportunity that we feel should be happy, exciting, and positive for them, it is important for us to realize that this may not be the way our Youth inwardly experience and/or outwardly react to these opportunities. When you have experienced repeated losses and rejections, one of the most effective short-term solutions is to reject new opportunities. This rejection can serve as protection from further loss and rejection. However, it can also prevent them from establishing new connections and greater Permanency. When we see this situation developing, let us first validate our Youth’s need and right to protect themselves. This validation can strengthen our connection with them which can lead our Youth to be more open to exploring the new opportunity WITH us, instead of feeling that they would have to do it alone.
Permanency Success Story of the Week: It’s a Miracle Being Adopted: Ariana’s Story
Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption’s Wendy’s Wonderful Kids program – When Ariana was five years old, she had to be removed from her birth mother’s house after enduring years of abuse. “I had nightmares every single day. It was just really scary for me living there,” she shared. “I thought, ‘Where am I going to live? Who is going to take care of me? How am I going to make friends?’”
Sadly, Ariana’s experience is not unique. Far too many children are entering foster care because of abuse and neglect and many are not returning to their birth families because it is simply not safe. For more than five years, Ariana bounced between foster homes, longing for a permanent home. That dream came true in 2014 when she was adopted by Chris and Joanna McIntyre with support from the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption and her Wendy’s Wonderful Kids recruiter, Chelsea.
“I am so thankful for Chelsea,” said Ariana. “She feels like part of my family.” After Ariana moved in with the McIntyre’s, Chelsea visited the family every month, helping Chris and Joanna navigate the adoption process. “We jumped from no kids straight into parenting a 10-year-old. It was a huge change,” says Joanna. “Chelsea was an awesome support.” Now, Chris and Joanna can’t imagine their lives any other way. They have since adopted five more children from foster care: Adam, Conor, Gabe, Matthew, and Winter…
Permanency Related Articles:
Canadian Broadcasting Company (CBC) News – The Yukon government and the Council of Yukon First Nations say they are working together on a new program that aims to reunite children in foster care with their families or, at the very least, their culture.
The initiative, called Honouring Connections, has the Yukon government work with the First Nation of the child in care to develop a cultural connection plan for that child. Youth who can’t be reconnected with their immediate or extended family will still be connected to their community and culture. The initiative, launched in January, is also aimed at reducing the number of Indigenous children in care. As of October, 83 percent of children in care were Indigenous.
“We will continue to work toward a goal of enabling 14 Yukon First Nations to participate in the process to keep children and youth in their home communities and out of our care system,” said Pauline Frost, Yukon’s health minister. Peter Johnston, Council of Yukon First Nations grand chief, said this program will have an impact on how the youth grow up.
“The more that children have the opportunity to know who they are and where they’ve come from … the more that they grow up with that responsibility, that accountability to the world.”
Los Angeles Times – The Daily Pilot – Christian, 22, a former foster youth, is a recipient of a U.S. Housing and Urban Development housing assistance initiative launched this year that provides vouchers to help provide stable housing for young adults aging out of foster care. Giggling with excitement, Christian, a 22-year-old former foster youth, showed off his new apartment in Tustin on Thursday.
“I couldn’t believe it was my place,” Christian said. “It’s my place, my decision. I don’t have to listen to other people’s rules. This Christmas, he has his own home for the first time since he was 9 years old. The Orange County native has been homeless for the last three years, since aging out of the foster care system at 18. Shortly after, Christian suffered a traumatic brain injury when he was hit by a car and was in a coma for six months. After waking up, the young man slept at a Santa Ana homeless shelter called the Link for nearly a year. He asked we not use his last name out of concern his background will harm job prospects.
Christian moved into a one-bedroom apartment last week thanks to a new federal program that aims to prevent foster youth from 18 to 24 years old from falling into homelessness. The Santa Ana Housing Authority, in partnership with the Orange County Social Services Agency, secured vouchers that provide rent support for Christian and 14 other former foster kids under the Foster Youth to Independence program, an initiative of the Housing and Urban Development department…
Sarasota (FL) Magazine – Mimi Graham has spent her life fighting for kids. She began her career in the late 1970s as a Head Start administrator before moving into the world of academia to study child development and advocate for public policies that improve the health of mothers and children. Today, she’s the director of Florida State University’s Center for Prevention & Early Intervention Policy, a position in which she advises government agencies and nonprofits all around the state, including Sarasota. Her unsettling research documents the damage that trauma and toxic stress do to young children’s brains—and how it can haunt them for the rest of their lives.
1) “Trauma” is a word we’re hearing a lot these days. How do you define it?; 2) How do those things affect a young child’s brain?; 3) How deep are these effects?; 4) What about when kids enter school?; 5) How do active shooter drills in schools affect kids?; 6) One solution you’ve worked on are “baby courts.” What are those?
Honolulu Star-Advertiser – Joe O’Connell grew up in Waimea as a foster child, a ward of a notoriously overwhelmed child welfare system that often produces angry, bitter and struggling adults. Not only did O’Connell refuse to let that happen but he has devoted his life to improving the system. He became a foster parent at age 25, taking in some of the most troubled and unwanted kids, and he would eventually lead a campaign to improve the system on the Big Island.
Now 30, the foster parent with seven kids in his Hilo home also works in the child welfare business as East Hawaii supervisor for Parents Inc., a service contractor for the state Child Welfare Services. At 8 years old, O’Connell and his sister ended up in the system after their dad committed suicide and their mom went to jail. They first were put under guardianship of their grandparents, but seven years later they fell to foster care after the grandparents became too old to deal with the rambunctious teens…
For someone who aged out of foster care, became a foster parent and also works in the business, O’Connell has a unique and well-informed perspective of the system and its flaws…O’Connell said the state really doesn’t spend enough money on foster care. One way or the other, the state is going to pay. If not on foster care, he said, it will go to lawsuits defending its shortcoming, or for the kids going back into the system or to the criminal justice system to pay for crimes committed. “You’re going to spend it anyways. Why not spend it on the right side?”
Bismarck (ND) Tribune – Nearly half of all youth referred to North Dakota’s juvenile court since March have involvement with child welfare. One new program aims to reduce that number. North Dakota’s Supreme Court and Department of Human Services have a memorandum of understanding to share information related to children involved in the juvenile justice and child welfare systems. The program is called the Dual Status Youth Initiative, and it aims to prevent youths’ further involvement in the juvenile justice system and to better serve their families.
The initiative rolled out in January after the Robert F. Kennedy National Resource Center for Juvenile Justice gave recommendations in mid-2018 to a group of North Dakota court, corrections, and human services officials. The recommendations came after a yearlong study as the group looked at how to better serve children in both the child welfare and juvenile justice systems…
Youth involved in both systems at once, along with their parents, must meet with court and child welfare representatives to find ways to “interrupt the path” by mapping out a plan based on the youth’s needs and strengths, Skjod said. A Village Family Service Center counselor is available to act as a facilitator for the “family-centered engagement meetings” in 16 North Dakota counties…
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