Permanency Tip of the Week: What is Wrong with My Youth? It’s Trauma AND (NOT OR) COVID-19
When we are faced with challenging and/or confusing situations, such as a child we serve/care for is struggling in a profound manner, we often will seek out answers. Many people ask, is this behavior caused by this reason OR that reason? Unfortunately, it rarely is as simple as Reason A or B. In today’s world, our Youth are facing the same COVID-19 challenges that all of us are facing; however, they often are forced to deal with it on a trauma-impacted platform. The impact of these two challenges cannot be separated into Trauma or COVID-19. Rather, we need to see their behavior challenges being impacted by Trauma AND COVID-19. Once we accurately perceive the platform on which our Youth are operating in today’s environment, we can then put into place a blending of evidence-informed trauma interventions with evidence-informed public health interventions. More about this next week…
Permanency Success Story of the Week: Jake’s Dream of a Permanent Home Comes True
NBC Turn to Ten (RI) – It’s pretty easy for a baby to get adopted. But when a teenager finds a permanent home, it’s remarkable. Well, it has finally happened for one of our Tuesday’s children, Jake, who NBC 10’s Patrice Wood and Adoption Rhode Island have been trying to help find a family for years.
Jake is barely able to contain his enthusiasm, heading to court, as he takes his final steps as a foster child. “It’s a lot of excitement, nervous wreck,” said Jake. After a childhood marked by countless placements and disruptions. “They get sick or injured and can’t take care of me. I’d really like to stay in one place,” said Jake Heart when he was previously featured. But always willing to do an interview with the hope that someone would want him…
Single mom Christine Hunt explained to the judge that Jake would be her second adoption– DJ is the first. “These boys are what I’m most proud of in my life,” she said. DJ and Jake were friends growing up in foster care and after Christine adopted DJ, Jake would come over for visits. But he didn’t want to leave. He would tell Christine: “I think of you as my mom and I think of DJ as my brother. I wish you could adopt me.” So, that’s exactly what she decided to do, a commitment sealed by Judge Cappello…
Permanency Related Articles:
Medium.com – Dr. John DeGarmo – “We are lacking consistency, routine, and an overall feeling of stability and security. These kids have had their whole world changed, and now it is being shaken up again,” said Jo Larson, a Minnesota foster parent. COVID-19, or the Coronavirus, has upended foster care and child welfare, leaving foster parents across the nation trying to find not only answers but resources and support. Well beyond the lack of groceries, baby wipes, diapers, and even toilet paper, foster parents are struggling. For many foster parents, the lack of supervision has been an especially challenging one. Many foster parents are employed full time, and work during the day, while the children placed in their home from foster care are either in school or at daycare…
To be sure, these are challenges that many parents from traditional families are also facing. Yet, for foster parents, the challenges are deeper than that. One of the responsibilities that foster parents face is transporting the children in their home to visitations with their birth parents and biological family members. Often times, visitations take place at child welfare offices, while other times, visitations may occur at public places, such as parks, restaurants, churches, and other public venues. Visitations are important as they help to maintain the relationship between both child and adult. Along with this, many foster parents have very strong relationships with the birth parents and during visitations, trust is built and children can grow and develop in a healthy fashion, as a result…
The National Foster Parent Association (NFPA) has been actively working to help foster parents across the nation. According to Executive Director Irene Clements, the NFPA has been “adding links to resources as we get links appropriate for children and families, we are taking calls and making referrals when possible.” Yet, many foster parents remain concerned, and confused, looking for answers and receiving little guidance. “No school, visits canceled, church canceled, and the children isolated from the friends they have made over the past 3 months,” said foster parent Jo Larson. “It isn’t anything physical, tangible, or able to be solved by throwing a dollar at it.”
Chronicle of Social Change – A new federal report has found nothing new: time in foster care is associated with negative circumstances later in life. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) just published findings from a fairly novel approach to assessing the impact of foster care experience as people move from young adulthood into middle age-dom.
A group of researchers within HHS used six years of responses to the National Survey of Family Growth to compare people who were “ever in foster care” to the general response group. They identified 25,966 respondents between age 18 and 44 who had been in care, and looked at a slate of health, education and workforce circumstances.
There is no causal connection made by this study, but the gist not surprising – time in foster care is associated with worse outcomes on key quality of life factors. The following are a few points that jumped out to Youth Services Insider: 1) Sex and Marriage; 2) School and Work; 3) Race.
Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University – As the world grapples with the fallout from COVID-19, the Center has again stepped up with an inspirational message of hope for those in the frontline of caring for children and families while others practice social distancing and work from the safety and comfort of their homes.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has the capacity to affect every person in the world — and how each individual responds can potentially affect everyone else. In addition to the efforts of courageous health care providers, first responders, and a wide range of workers providing other vital services, countless numbers of selfless individuals are leaping into action to meet the rapidly changing needs of people most affected by the economic, social, and health impacts of this crisis,” Director of the Centre, Dr. Jack Shonkoff said in a statement issued recently.
“We at the Center on the Developing Child especially wish to honor and support the extraordinary efforts of our colleagues across the early childhood community who are working tirelessly to assure the continuing availability of essential services while focusing public attention on the many challenges facing families with young children.”
While the challenges of COVID-19 are likely to be long term, at this early stage, two lessons are already clear, he said: 1) The immediate effects and long-term impacts of this rapidly changing situation will not be evenly distributed. The stresses of caregiving (for children as well as for adults at greater risk) are rising for everyone. 2) Acting on the best available and most credible scientific knowledge has never been more essential, yet science by itself does not have all the answers…
“The question is not whether we will get through the ordeal that lies ahead — because we will,” Dr. Shonkoff said. “The important questions are how well we can work together to protect all young children and their families and how much we will learn from this unprecedented challenge and make necessary changes for the future. Please remain connected, stay safe, and share your creative ideas so we can all learn from them,” he said in closing.
Generations United – The Older Americans Act – which includes a series of intergenerational provisions for which Generations United advocated – has been reauthorized through 2024. The intergenerational provisions include grants for multigenerational programs and increased opportunities to serve grandparents and other relatives raising children.
The reauthorization comes during the current COVID-19 health crisis, where older adults over the age of 60 and people with compromised immune systems are asked to isolate themselves and not have contact with children and young people. This isn’t possible for the 2.4 million grandparents who have primary responsibility for raising their grandchildren. Like our first responders, grandparents and other relative caregivers are the first line of defense for the children in their care, keeping them safely with family and out of foster care. These grandfamilies – older and younger members alike – can’t take a break from each other.
We are pleased that the reauthorization of the Older Americans Act supports grandfamilies by removing the 10% cap on using National Family Caregivers Support Program (NFCSP) funds to serve grandparents and other relatives raising children…The bill makes improvements to a multigenerational grants program and specifically highlights a preference for shared site programs such as co-located childcare and long-term care. It includes language that names key goals and components of intergenerational activities highlighted in Generations United’s report, All In Together: Creating Places Where Young and Old Thrive, supported by The Eisner Foundation…
Institute for Family Studies (IFS) – Over the next few months, we will hear a lot about how already vulnerable populations have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic. The New York Times reports on one family that is dependent on the meals provided by a local school for their six kids since the mother is disabled and doesn’t work, while the father’s carpentry business has fallen off in the crisis. She told the Times: “If we didn’t have this, I probably would have a mental breakdown with stress,” she said of the free meals at [the school]. “I’m not going to let my kids go hungry. If I have to just eat once a day, that’s what I have to do.” Kids who grow up in poverty generally have worse outcomes in life than those who don’t. The fact that these six kids are living with two parents who care for them enough to skip meals (in the mother’s case) in order to make sure the kids are fed is a sign that they will probably be okay.
But there is another group of kids at greater risk during times of crisis—those who have had involvement with the child welfare system. During the best of times, these children are by definition at risk. In the coming weeks, they will be facing long periods of time at home with parents who may have mental health disorders and substance abuse problems that will only be exacerbated by this crisis. Moreover, they won’t have adults at school to monitor their well-being or ensure they are being cared for and fed. The pandemic will also put a strain on foster families, likely decreasing the number of kids they can take in. And the outcomes for this group will likely be significantly worse…
During times of crisis as well as in normal times, we should consider how to best tailor our public policy solutions for all children’s needs. In order to thrive, low-income families may need financial assistance, but some of these families need different kinds of assistance and much higher levels of intervention to promote overall child well-being.
Please forward this blog, via email and/or social media, to other Permanency Champions and those that could use a healthy dose of Permanency.
If this Blog has been forwarded to you, please sign up to receive it directly by going to my website or emailing me: firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are interested in my keynote speaking, professional training or consulting services, please contact me through my website, call me: 949-683-0753 or email: email@example.com
Take care and keep up the Permanency work – Our children, youth, young adults, families, and communities are depending on it!