Topics include: Etch A Sketch Kids?, Visiting with Children & Youth of All Ages, Catching Up To Success, Story of Unadoption, Respecting the Permanency Process, Best Practice Inquiry: Traumatized Children.
Chris Chmielewski doesn’t understand how his life got to this point. The 34-year-old Mount Carmel native – with a self-described Kermit the Frog voice and a forever age 15 way of looking at the world – is the owner, editor and creator of Foster Focus Magazine – the only monthly foster care magazine in the country. And tomorrow, he’s being honored by the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute (CCAI) as an Angel in Adoption in Washington, D.C. Chmielewski, a former foster youth himself, has positioned Foster Focus through his hard work as a top resource for foster care news and information in the nation, according to a media release from CCAI.
Elijah Evans easily and effortlessly tells the story of his early life — life before he found a home and a feeling for what the word “family” meant. “I’m not uncomfortable sharing it because it was negative and positive.” The story of Evans’ early life has a happy ending and he says he shares it to give other kids who have been abused and who are waiting for families the same hope. He now has his own organization, No Use For Abuse, which he hopes to organize as a nonprofit and to expand his outreach to include scholarships for high school graduates in foster care. Evans’ outreach hasn’t gone unnoticed. On Oct. 9, he’ll be recognized for his work helping children in foster care during the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute’s annual Angels in Adoption awards gala in Washington, D.C.
NCTSN – DSM-5: Trauma and Stress Related Disorders in Children and Adolescents
October 16, 2013 (10:00 am PT)
The National Center for Child Traumatic Stress is thrilled to host the webinar, Diagnostic and Statistical Manual-V: Trauma and Stress Related Disorders in Children and Adolescents, with experts Drs. Pynoos and Zeanah discussing the changes forthcoming in DSM-V.
Stay tuned for future announcements regarding additional webinars and resources addressing the new DSM-5!
Presenters: Robert Pynoos, MD, MPH, UCLA–Duke University National Center for Child Traumatic Stress; Charles Zeanah, MD, Tulane University Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
The recent Reuter’s investigative report that aired on NBC detailing the “underground network” that exists as adopted children are privately “re-homed” is understandably creating an outcry from the media and public alike. Such seemingly horrific and callous irresponsibility by these adoptive parents begs the question of “Why would these parents do this?”
Adoptive families are familiar with the view of the general public that somehow, our families are “different,” and the implication is often “not as good”. The reality is that some of our families are different, but not in the way the public perceives us to be. We are not different in our dreams or aspirations for our children, or why we wanted to parent, or how much we love them. However, some of us are different because we added children to our families who have experienced extensive trauma and/or abuse, have suffered incalculable losses, and may have been exposed to any number of toxic substances pre- and post-natally. How many of us adopt traumatized children with attachment challenges? No one has definitively quantified it, but estimates vary from 15-45% of all children adopted through foster care or internationally will need intensive therapeutic services.
Los Angeles County’s Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) is at a crossroads. While the number of children coming into the system steadily climbs, the number of suitable homes where they can be placed continues to dwindle.
A bill was introduced yesterday that would establish a new State Department bureau, with a Senate-confirmed leader, to handle international child welfare issues, including the increasingly thorny issue of international adoptions. The Children in Families First (CHIFF) Act – introduced yesterday by U.S. Sens. Mary Landrieu (D-La.), Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) – would establish the Bureau of Vulnerable Children and Family Security at the U.S. Department of State. “There is no substitute for a permanent, loving family,” said Landrieu. “And while our foreign policy has done much to keep children alive and healthy, it has not prioritized this basic human right.”
Cris Beam, the author of the book To The End of June: The Intimate Life of American Foster Care, has spent years researching foster care in America and is a foster parent herself. She says that all too often, these bewildered children will act out in various ways that can scare off ill-prepared foster parents who might otherwise adopt. “They are a meter of our social problems,” Beam says. “[But] not just a meter of how child welfare is failing or succeeding, they’re a meter of how we are failing or succeeding as a society.”
Of all the people saddened by the news that the little girl named Veronica was forced to leave her biological father and return to her adoptive parents, it had not occurred to the author that adult adoptees might be among those hardest hit.
September 26th was the first day of classes for students at the University of California, Los Angeles. For those who experienced foster care, the new semester comes with an enduring promise: a $3 million endowment to support their academic success. “I am hoping this gift will help kids at UCLA to be able to address some of their unmet financial needs,” said Jeanne Pritzker, whose Anthony and Jeanne Pritzker Family Foundation made the donation. The Pritzker Foster Youth Endowment will pay for essentials that are outside of the scope of UCLA’s already robust Guardian Scholars Program, which supports students who were – or are still – in the foster care system. Pritzker pointed to additional tutoring for students in accelerated classes, help with housing and offsetting the need of many to supplement heavy course loads with part-time employment.
Take care and keep up the Permanency work – Our children, youth, young adults, families and communities are depending on it!