Dr. Greg Manning’s – Permanency in the News – Week of 10/21/19
Permanency Tip of the Week: Listening to Understand Instead of React
One of Stephen R Covey’s powerful teachings is the importance of listening with the intent to understand instead of to react. Often when the Youth we serve engage us with verbal and behavioral aggression/defiance, we often fall into the trap of listening to their behavior with the intent to react instead of listening with the intent to try and understand what their unmet need is. In an application of last week’s tip, (discrepancy between chronological and developmental age), our Youth’s verbal and behavioral aggression/defiance in fact be an ask for our attention, some food, a hug, or maybe something as simple as a smile. Whenever we can press the pause button in response to our instinct to react, we could be fortunate enough to begin to understand what Our Youth is truly asking of us. When we can meet that need, we likely will see a lot less of the verbal and behavioral aggression/defiance since the discrepancy between chronological and developmental age will likely become smaller.
Permanency Success Story of the Week: Forever Family: Mother Adopts Five Children in Foster Care
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) – Seven Homes Inc – I was over the moon with excitement to write about this week’s Forever Family segment. Not just because adoption success stories are beautiful and full of promise, but also because I personally have been blessed enough to watch their story unfold over the last three years. I remember the first time I met the Ball family. They had just completed training and were eagerly awaiting and anticipating meeting this sibling set of five. I remember hearing the nervous excited energy in Teresa’s voice as she shared her fears and her anticipation of meeting these five blonde haired beautiful children. I remember the first time I saw them all together across the parking lot at an event. They carried multiple bags, tried desperately to organize the chaos while attempting to wrangle so many small children to a foster family event. Their eyes were adorned with dark, tired circles and their voices sounded weary but committed.
Months passed and we saw them struggle and navigate not just parenting five children under the age of 6, but the unique journey of parenting children from trauma. We saw them advocate for appointments and therapies to help these children grow and flourish. We heard their children slowly start to love and trust them and finally say, “I love you mom and dad.”
We cheered the Ball family along because we knew what they were doing was exhausting and difficult, but also extraordinary and beautiful. We celebrated with them at their adoption party and came with gifts and cards filled with encouragement for this new family that was officially together. We sat in awe during this interview to hear their remarkable story of taking five small children and creating a cohesive family. A family where there was no more abuse and no more neglect. A home filled with unconditional love, not just from Teresa and Steve but their grown children as well…
Permanency Related Articles:
Chronicle of Social Change – Washington State DCYF – As a new leader in the child welfare space, I thought it would be worth my while to do some listening before I made any big changes. So, I went on a tour all over the state of Washington. I talked to caseworkers, foster parents, birth families, judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys and anyone else I could find who had an opinion. I got an earful…
If we can’t make the child reasonably safe, federal and state law require us to remove the child and place the child somewhere safe. These incredibly needy children who have experienced great trauma need a place to stay, sometimes temporarily, but sometimes forever. We’re dependent on the love and charity of the foster parent community to take these children into their homes and give them a safe and nurturing place. We adopted a framework from our Foster Parent Complaint and Concerns report to support foster parent/kin caregiver best practices.
Too often, we’re not so nurturing to the foster families. It’s rarely because of outright animus, and we fix those cases. Our caseworkers have too much to do, and they tend to prioritize emergencies. This sometimes means that returning a foster parent’s call, or notifying them of a court date change, takes a back seat. This doesn’t work, and we’re taking some steps to make the system work better…Our communication with foster parents needs to improve. We hope to expand our application portal to be a resource for current information about the legal system and information about the child, allowing our busy caseworkers to focus on emergencies and not be in the middle of routine transactions. This will take some time after we get the licensing portal up but should be a big help…
Juvenile Justice Information Exchange (JJIE) – Annie E Casey Foundation (AECF) – Nearly 25% of our population are teens and young adults in the most important developmental sprint of their lives. But rather than helping young people realize their great potential to become successful adults who contribute to our country’s future, too often we’re unwittingly cutting their progress off just before the finish line. The recent release of “The Promise of Adolescence: Realizing Opportunity for all Youth,” a comprehensive look at emerging adolescent science from the National Academies of Science, Medicine, and Engineering, shows this is especially true for young people of color who have been involved in foster care and juvenile justice systems…
The adolescent brain thrives on permanent relationships and new, positive experiences that pave the way for development of greater autonomy and secure identity. Our youth-serving systems, unfortunately, are not equipped to provide these things, let alone overcome the historical bias and racism that inhibit young people of color from achieving their dreams…
When we talk about people with promise, we mean someone has the quality of potential excellence. We usually mean someone specific, maybe someone we know. But what if the word promise automatically applied to every young person from 14 to 25? What if every professional working with youth and young adults understood that with guidance, education, and support, each of these young people, no matter their race, their circumstances or where they came from, literally has the built-in brain power to adapt, learn and thrive? The science is clear: The adolescent brain is perfectly designed to do its job of building to adulthood. Let’s get better at doing ours.
NPR – The link between vaping and severe lung problems is getting a lot of attention. But scientists say they’re also worried about vaping’s effect on teenage brains. “Unfortunately, the brain problems and challenges may be things that we see later on down the road,” says Nii Addy, associate professor of psychiatry and cellular and molecular physiology at Yale School of Medicine. Potential problems include attention disorders like ADHD, impulse control issues and susceptibility to substance abuse.
There’s no easy way to study precisely what nicotine is doing in a teenager’s brain. But research on young animals shows that nicotine can interfere with processes that are critical to memory, learning, focus, impulse control and brain development. “It’s unfortunate that a whole generation of teenagers are basically guinea pigs for the effects of nicotine in the brain,” says Frances Leslie, professor of pharmaceutical sciences at the University of California, Irvine.
Leslie says the problem is that nicotine mimics acetylcholine, an important chemical messenger in the brain. So, nicotine is able to fool brain cells that have something called a nicotinic receptor. Unfortunately, she says, “those parts of the brain that are actively maturing during adolescence are being actively controlled by nicotinic receptors.” Nicotine also acts on the brain’s dopamine system, which plays a role in desire, pleasure, reward and impulse control…
Center for Adoption Support and Education (CASE) – has developed two state-of-the-art, standardized, web-based trainings to build the capacity of child welfare and mental health professionals in all states, tribes, and territories to effectively support children, youth, and their foster, adoptive, and guardianship families.
NTI’s aligned trainings provide the skills, strategies, and tools professionals need to: 1) Support children to heal from trauma and loss. 2) Provide parents with the skills to parent more effectively. 3) Collaborate effectively with child welfare and mental health professionals. 4) Improve outcomes for permanency, child well-being, and family well-being and stability.
Medium.com – Dr. John DeGarmo – Foster Care Institute – To the surprise of many, 1 in 5 children in the United States between the ages of 12–18 has been bullied at some point while in school. Perhaps even more surprising is that over half of adolescents and teens have experienced cyberbullying or been bullied online. Bullying, in whatever form, can have profound effects upon young children. Indeed, children who have been bullied often experience anxiety and depression, as well as increased feelings of sadness and loneliness. Along with this, children who have been bullied may also experience changes in eating and sleeping habits. Frequent headaches and stomach aches are also signs that a child may be bullied…
If you are a parent and suspect your child is being bullied, it is imperative that you take this seriously. Sit down with your child and listen with a sympathetic and compassionate ear. Do not over-react, or for that matter, under-react, not taking it seriously enough. In no way should you blame him or give him cause to think he is at fault. Indeed, ask him when and where the bullying is occurring and who the bully is. Make sure your child has your phone numbers and let him know he can call you anytime he is being bullied and needs help…
Talk to him about bullying, and how he can report it to you and to others. Reassure the child that you will help him, and that he is safe in your home. Your support and your love is most important to him at this time, and your words of encouragement are also important. Remind him that he is important and that he is loved…No matter the form of bullying that your child is a victim of, it is important that you seek professional help and therapy if your child is struggling to overcome his depression.
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Take care and keep up the Permanency work – Our children, youth, young adults, families, and communities are depending on it!
Dr. Greg Manning