Permanency Tip of the Week: Leadership in the Permanency Process – Who’s in Charge?
As the President’s Day Holiday is coming up, it is good to look at the idea of who is truly in charge of the Permanency process. First and foremost, we need to remember that the Permanency we are seeking is entirely owned by the family and their community as they define it. Too often, we can fall into the trap of approaching this work from the mindset of us being a professional and the Permanency expert. When we operate from this perspective, it fundamentally pushes the family and their community to the sidelines of both the conversations and the work. This comes at great peril to both the quality and impact of our work. Ensuring that the family and their community start and remain in the leadership position, will help ensure that we approach this work from a place of cultural and professional humility.
Permanency Success Story of the Week: Teamwork Makes the Dream Work
Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption’s – Wendy’s Wonderful Kids – Adoption is choosing to love someone who you will teach how to love others unconditionally. My children are not biologically mine, but my heart doesn’t know the difference. I’ve always wanted to fill my home with children, and while we didn’t take the path that I originally thought, it’s taken us to an amazing place…
During our journey, we decided that we would be open to adopting more than one child. That’s when Elias and Niyah came into our lives. Just three and four years old at the time, they had spent three years of their young lives in foster care. We also met a woman who would change our adoption path for the better. Kenyata Wells, our Wendy’s Wonderful Kids recruiter, has helped us beyond what words could ever repay, from supporting us through each transition to being present at our adoption finalization…
If you are considering foster care adoption, follow your heart. I believe our adoption was heaven-sent and the most precious gift I’ve been given. Jamar and I always wanted to be parents, and we are so blessed that God found a way to help us find the children we were always meant to have.
It wasn’t all easy. In fact, most of it was hard. But it’s all been worth it to hear our little boy and girl say, “Mommy and Daddy, we want to stay with y’all forever because we love y’all.” At the end of the day, we all want what is best for each other. And as we say almost every day, “Teamwork makes the dream work! Team Broom!”
Permanency Related Articles:
In this groundbreaking book, therapist Resmaa Menakem examines the damage caused by racism in America from the perspective of trauma and body-centered psychology.
The body is where our instincts reside and where we fight, flee, or freeze, and it endures the trauma inflicted by the ills that plague society. Menakem argues this destruction will continue until Americans learn to heal the generational anguish of white supremacy, which is deeply embedded in all our bodies. Our collective agony doesn’t just affect African Americans. White Americans suffer their own secondary trauma as well. So do blue Americans—our police.
My Grandmother’s Hands is a call to action for all of us to recognize that racism is not about the head, but about the body, and introduces an alternative view of what we can do to grow beyond our entrenched racialized divide. Paves the way for a new, body-centered understanding of white supremacy—how it is literally in our blood and our nervous system. It offers a step-by-step healing process, in addition to incisive social commentary.
AdoptUS Kids – In this new article on our website, a foster care services supervisor and outreach specialist talks about how his agency has worked to understand and address the barriers facing Black families who want to foster and adopt.
More on this topic: 1) Child Welfare Information Gateway’s list of resources, including state and local examples of successful programs; 2) The North American Council on Adoptable Children’s article offers six tips for finding African American families for children; 3) AdoptUSKids guide, Working with African American Adoptive, Foster, and Kinship Families
Confessions of An Adoptive Parent – We know that children with a trauma history do not respond well to traditional parenting methods, especially when it comes to discipline. How then do you discipline and set boundaries with them when it’s necessary? The truth is, your child is going to make mistakes, they are going to become dysregulated, they will need discipline, and they are going to require you to set boundaries. This is a crucial part of parenting, regardless of your specific situation. Even though connection and trust-building are at the top of the list when you’re parenting children with a history of trauma, boundaries are a must.
Children, regardless the age, the history, or the personal struggles, need discipline. They need boundaries. However, your discipline, and boundaries, are going to look very different from those of traditional parents. As I already mentioned, traditional parenting methods (which most of us were raised with) simply do not work with children who have come from a past of neglect, abuse, drug and alcohol exposure, domestic violence exposure, or bounced from one home to another through foster care (to name a few).
So then, what does work? What can you do when your child is melting down and you’re not able to reason with them? What about those moments when they’re completely disrespectful or defiant? Here are some simple, yet proven, steps: 1) Listen; 2) Set limits; 3) Re-direct; 4) Connection Before Correction; 5) Safety First; 6) Stay calm and remain firm; 7) Pay attention to timing; 8) Allow Natural Consequences. This list is not exhaustive, but it is extremely helpful when it comes to your approach to your child, and instituting discipline and boundaries.
Chronicle of Social Change – A California senator introduced groundbreaking legislation this week to extend the state’s foster care system through age 25 – a bill that acknowledges the continued failure to prepare young people severed from families for life on their own. The early-stage Senate Bill 912 has few details yet available, and no price tag. But its lofty aim would make California the first state to expand such support and services to young adults well beyond the current age limit of 21.
“We ought to have a full-service support system and extend the age,” Beall said in an interview with The Chronicle of Social Change. “I know everyone’s going to criticize that because it’s going to cost money, but this is a group that needs services.” For far too long, when they turned 18, foster youth who had not been reunited with relatives or adopted were “emancipated” into lives of poverty, homelessness, and incarceration. A decade ago, calling it the state’s “moral obligation,” Beall co-authored legislation in California that drew on federal funds to help those young people through age 21 – the landmark Assembly Bill 12. California was among the first states to extend foster care beyond 18 after President George W. Bush signed the Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act, legislation which offered federal matching funds for such efforts…
Child Welfare Information Gateway – The National Child Abuse Prevention Month (NCAPM) website is now live! Check it out and get started planning your April activities. The Children’s Bureau’s Office on Child Abuse and Neglect will host a special NCAPM event on Tuesday, April 21, 2020, from 10:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The event will take place at the Department of Health and Human Services’ Humphrey Building, Conference Room 800, 200 Independence Avenue S.W., Washington, D.C. 20201. The event will feature the latest video in the Building Community, Building Hope film series, followed by an interactive panel discussion with federal, national, state, and local leaders. Finally, we will host “Office Hours” during which federal and national agencies will exhibit resources and information on their work related to child abuse prevention, as well as engage in discussion with attendees. Contact Sharon McKinley by March 21, 2020, if you’d like to attend the event.
Make sure to wear blue to promote National Child Abuse Prevention Month!
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Take care and keep up the Permanency work – Our children, youth, young adults, families, and communities are depending on it!