Permanency Tip of the Week: Why Do We Force Them to Choose? – Permanency is a Both/And instead of Either/Or
When our Youth secure a new source of Permanency, it should never have to come at the expense of being afforded the right to continue to receive some degree of Permanency from their Family of Origin. Too often, I hear of stories in which the providers and/or new family do not want the Youth to have anything to do with the Family of Origin because of issues in the past or maybe because they just do not want to have to “share” the Youth with anyone else. Whenever we leave a job or a relationship unless, for issues of danger or illegality, we are taught to “never burn bridges.” If that is true, then why do we sometimes force our Youth to “burn their bridges”? The hypocrisy in this situation is even more hideous since the bridge that the Youth is being forced to burn is the one that brought them into this world, and one that they will be biologically connected to forever. Let us take the initiative to support our Youth to determine the degree to which they experience Permanency from people in their life, especially their Family of Origin.
Permanency Success Story of the Week: Single Dad Adopts 11-Year-Old Boy from Foster Care after Biological, Adoptive Family Abandon Him
Love What Matters – “Anthony entered foster care at the young age of two and was adopted when he was four years old. He was the younger of two boys adopted by a family in Oklahoma. Six years after Anthony’s adoption was finalized and for reasons that still remain unclear, Anthony’s family drove him to a local hospital where he was admitted. His mother and father left to return to the family home and that was the last time he ever saw them. They never returned to collect the son who called them Mom and Dad for so many years. All the promises of a forever family were thrown out the window and this young boy was left alone, abandoned, frightened, and crushed emotionally. The worst part of all, he didn’t know when or if they were ever coming back for him because he was not in on the plan they orchestrated to abandon their child. Most people could not conceive that a parent could do this to a child, yet this was not their first time. You see, they did the exact same thing to their other adopted son a couple of years before, sadly enough.
When I began my journey in foster care, I had expected I would be caring for the children of parents who were not able to care for them. Never in my wildest dreams did I anticipate I would be parenting the child of two parents who had led lives that passed the extensive background check standards involved with parenting foster children, only just to abandon not one, but two of their children. The utter heartbreak Anthony and his brother must have endured after being failed twice by those who are supposed to love and support us the most, is overwhelming just to think about…
This one act of kindness has brought families and friends into our lives that we never even dreamt possible. To think I was ready to throw in the towel after fostering four children, but opening up my heart and mind to making a split-second decision to foster a child who seemingly no one wanted, opened my heart to sticking with it and caring for five more along the way. As my son and I prepare our home for other potential placements, we are filled with excitement and cannot wait to see what we think is possible, made possible through faith and love.”
Permanency Related Articles:
SHAQUILLE O’NEAL It’s no secret that I have suffered some losses lately. For better or worse, my pain and grief are public. But I understand the opportunity to face the pain, learn from it, and model behavior. I wouldn’t want it any other way. But there are hundreds of thousands of kids across the U.S. — 30,000 just in Los Angeles County – who struggle, suffer, and grieve every day, too often alone, usually unnoticed, and without much public understanding and support. They are foster kids.
Life has challenges and, as a kid, I faced my fair share. But there was someone in my life who, along with my parents, was always there for me. His name is Michael Parris, whom I affectionally call “Uncle Mike.” Mike was a police officer in my hometown of Newark, N.J. He was a mentor and role model, and it is hard for me to imagine what would have become of me without him.
But many of the 440,000 kids in our nation’s foster care system are not well supported. Neglected and abused, they are separated from their siblings and shuffled from family to family. Some will eventually return to their birth family or find a loving, committed foster or adoptive family. But a lot of them aren’t so lucky. Many foster kids struggle in school and suffer from low self-esteem and depression. Fewer than 4 percent earn a college degree. Many enter adulthood without the skills, confidence, and support they need to find their way in the world…
The Children’s Bureau (CB) | Children’s Bureau has approved Arkansas’s plan under the H.R.253 – Family First Prevention Services Act of 2017, which will enable the state to draw down federal funds for services aimed at preventing the use of foster care in certain child welfare cases. “This is a big step in the right direction for children and families in Arkansas. This plan is grounded in a commitment to prevent child abuse and neglect, and to strengthen families,” said Department of Human Services Secretary Cindy Gillespie, in a statement released by the state yesterday. “The plan represents a profound re-thinking of the way child welfare agencies serve children and families.”
The Family First Act, which was passed in 2018 and mostly took effect in October, allows states to use the Title IV-E entitlement for a list of evidence-based services for mental health, substance abuse or parenting. The change marks a significant expansion of IV-E, which was previously reserved for foster care and adoption costs. The law also limits federal funding for congregate care, meaning group homes and institutions. States can only get federal dollars for those congregate care placements for two weeks, although the law carves out some notable exceptions for pregnant or parenting teens, older youth in extended care, victims of sex trafficking and accredited residential treatment settings…
“This plan highlights the enormous progress DCFS has made in the care of our foster children and in reuniting families,” said Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R), in the statement. Arkansas is just the third agency to receive approval for prevention services under the law. Washington, D.C.’s plan was approved in late October, and Utah was approved in December.
Considering Adoption – Life tends to throw curveballs when you are least expecting it, and there may be no bigger surprise than finding out you have a child. Tracking down extended family members or unknown biological relatives is easier now than it has ever been. Family lineage websites such as 23andMe and Family Tree have made it possible to identify people in your family that you don’t know. The original intention of these sites was to build a historical family tree, but the technology has been put to use tracking down long-lost family members.
This has been felt significantly in the world of adoption. And it may now be something you are dealing with personally. Many birth parents choose to move on with their lives after adoption, and some birth fathers are unaware that they ever had a child in the first place. When you receive an email, phone call or knock on the door from someone saying they are your child, what are you supposed to do? Can anything be more jarring or unexpected?
This is a challenging situation. Here are some things to consider if you just learned that you have a child: 1) You’re Probably Feeling a Lot of Emotions; 2) Don’t Rush Things; 3) Talk to the Rest of Your Family; 4) A Relationship Might Be Possible;
There are a couple of paths this news could lead you down. It may be that your contact with your child is only a one-time event. After learning about the relationship, both parties could decide it’s best to keep living life how it was before. However, there is also a chance that you and your child could form a new relationship...Relationships develop naturally. This relationship is a truly unique one, and it will take time. It can become one of the more important things in your life with effort, patience, and care.
A Fostered Life – When I was in the process of becoming licensed as a foster parent back in 2013, we spent a lot of time talking about the baggage our kids would bring with them. Physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, neglect, witnessing domestic violence, food scarcity, being behind in school, and more forms of trauma were top of mind for my class of foster-parents-in-training. We listened to the case studies wide-eyed, nodding as we imagined how we were going to offer these poor children a safe place to heal.
Looking back, what we didn’t spend much time on was the importance of knowing our ourselves, particularly our own areas of emotional vulnerability…To put it simply: I did not know my triggers…No one told me about how this part of it would affect me. No one told me about the ways I would be triggered and tested by the daily, continuous chaos that often accompanies children with severe trauma-related behaviors, not to mention the anxiety around visits from social workers, calls from school, awkwardness with friends who don’t know how to respond to some of the things you’re going through, court hearings, visitation cancellations, the unknowns around the future, and more. Perhaps they hinted at it—surely we knew that foster parenting would be “hard.” But nothing we heard established realistic expectations for how things would be in our home.
So I’m telling you now. Because those of you who are planning to become foster parents need to know so you can be prepared. And those of you who are neck-deep in it right now need to know there is hope.
Everyone longs to belong, older kids in foster care are no exception! A family doesn’t end when you come of age. It’s a life-long need and desire. Older kids in foster care are resilient, caring, and worthy of belonging. Meet some in this video to learn more!