Best wishes for a wonderful holiday season, end of 2013 and start of 2014. This edition of the Blog will cover the last 2 weeks of 2013 and a new Blog will come out the week of January 6th, 2014.
Powerful stories of Permanency to wrap up 2013:
1) The Curtis Family Story – Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption
Ronderik (RD) lived the first 14 ½ years of his life in the foster care system. I am his 13th and final home. I met him in April of 2012 when he was 14 ½ years old. He was working with Breun, an amazing WWK recruiter. After meeting them both at an adoption event for older kids, Breun showed me the video they’d created together to give me a glimpse of who he is. I’d already had the overwhelming feeling of knowing he was my son the moment I laid eyes on him, but after watching his video, I knew that we’d be a forever family. In his video, I learned he loved to draw, dreamt of going to Disney for his birthday, wanted a forever family, and was someone who never gave up on his dreams. Click here to read the rest of the story…
2) Jesse ate at a real family table for Thanksgiving
This was a different Thanksgiving for 16-year old “Jesse”. He was at a real family table. Jesse spent most of his life in foster care – a total of 28 families! There will be no more moves for Jesse thanks to the work of Mission Focused Solutions and the Destination Family Youth Permanency Program (Sierra Forever Families and Sacramento County DHHS).
Jesse’s County Board of Supervisors took leadership to implement our funding methodology. Jump ahead to Thanksgiving 2013. Jesse and many other former foster teens now have their forever families. The county is accruing large saving through the Destination Family Program and efforts are underway to expand the number of foster youth served.
3) Continuum of Permanency across systems > Love in a family home!
Los Angeles County Probation Department – I wanted to share this wonderful story about a girl named “Lori” that speaks to the continuum of permanency across systems. Her father’s whereabouts were unknown, and he had been villainized as a racist because Lori is 1/8th African American. The story is that he wanted nothing to do with the baby because of her race so he left the mother. Through our efforts to locate her parents in order to complete a Legal Guardianship with her mentor, we found him in Texas. Due to Mina completing her probation and the negative stigma the probation status was having on her, we terminated probation and made her a 300 ward so she could step down into a foster home. He and Lori were able to speak for the first time and it turned out that his sister, Lori’s paternal aunt, lived just a few miles from the Group Home where Lori resided for years! They (Lori, her aunt and cousin) met, hit it off, began regular visits and are now preparing to live together as a permanent family! This is why we do what we do! Thank you for the opportunity to share our stories.
The 7th Probation Adoption in the state of California finalized on December 12, 2013!! The other CA counties that have completed Probation adoptions in the delinquency court system are Yolo, San Luis Obispo, and Mendocino. They have each completed one adoption and Los Angeles is about to complete their fourth.
Permanency related articles:
By Daniel Heimpel, – Chronicle of Social Change – Any serious attempt to reduce child maltreatment, and its devastating effects on countless children who may or may not interface with child protective systems, requires a clear point of entry. On Nov. 12, child welfare researcher Emily Putnam-Hornstein, showed off the results of two years of work funded by the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation at a small convening at the University of Southern California, which, if given broad audience, should have long lasting, multi-sector policy implications.
The findings are startling. For babies born to teen moms who were victims of alleged abuse or neglect while they were children, 30.7 percent went on to be alleged victims of abuse themselves, while nearly 12 percent were victims of substantiated abuse or neglect. When accounting for mothers who had been victims of substantiated abuse or neglect the numbers shoot up further, with almost 40 percent of their children linked to reported maltreatment while 18 percent suffered substantiated maltreatment.
On October 23, 2013 over 300 professionals from around the state and nation came together during the one-day Blueprint conference to learn from each other and discuss a variety of methods for supporting support foster youth to access and succeed in post-secondary education and embark upon meaningful careers. To view copies of the workshop presentations and a video of the conference keynote speaker, Father Greg Boyle, please click here.
Also available is a video published by Fostering Media Connections featuring Teri Kook, Director of Child Welfare at the Stuart Foundation, who provided a picture of the trajectory that CA College Pathways has taken to date and where it is headed moving forward.
Young Minds Advocacy Project (YMAP) and the National Center for Youth Law (NCYL) released a report of foster youths’ access to mental health services in Alameda County, California. The report, funded by Alameda County Health and Human Services Agency, details the challenges faced by foster youth who cross county lines in getting adequate mental health care under Medi-Cal. This statewide challenge affects more than 12,000 young people. The report describes these children as “out-of-county” foster youth.
According to the report, “Out-of-county foster children … may wait months, or even years, for appropriate mental health treatment or be denied treatment altogether, despite federal and state laws that entitle all foster youth to adequate care. Data suggests that children sent out-of-county have greater needs and less access to most types of mental health care.”
NSCAW is the first national study that examines child and family well-being outcomes in detail. The study seeks to relate those outcomes to the experiences of children and families in the child welfare system and to family characteristics, community environment, and other factors. It provides knowledge to support service, program, and policy planning for the child welfare system.
NSCAW, No. 19: Risk of Long-term Foster Care found that longer periods in foster care are associated with a greater risk for remaining in foster care instead of achieving permanency, especially among older children. In particular, the report found that after 36 to 42 continuous months in foster care, a child’s chances of leaving care are low, with 77% of these children having foster care as their last known placement at the end of the study. Children 12 years or older were nearly certain to age out (turn 18 years old) before finding a permanent placement if they remained in care after 3 years.
The second report, National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being (NSCAW II) Wave 2 Child Permanency Report, shows that in the 18 months following an investigation of child abuse or neglect, almost half (47%) of children placed out of home reached permanency. Experiences varied by child age. For example, young children – birth to 2 years old -were more likely to be reunified with parents (81%) compared with 63% of children who were 6 to 10 years old.
Date/Location: July 20-23, 2014, Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort – Lake Buena Vista, FL
The Conference Committee of the Foster Family-based Treatment Association (FFTA) has issued a Call for Presentations for the FFTA 28th Annual Conference on Treatment Foster Care. The Conference Committee is interested in receiving proposals for new advanced-level workshops on topics that cover new strategies, interventions, models, and theories that can be used by experienced family-based treatment professionals who have clinical, management, administrative, research, evaluation, training, or supervision responsibilities.