World Wide Wednesday, November 19, 2014

It’s World Wide Wednesday! Here’s what’s news in the world of foster care and adoption around the web:

World Wide Wednesday

  • The Potential Trauma of Family Tree Projects: Many adopted persons particularly in closed adoptions, cringe at the thought of creating a family tree that most students will have assigned to them in high school or college. The fear and discomfort from adoptees creating a family tree stems from not having access to their original birth certificate and not knowing their biological family history. Feelings of grief, abandonment, and loss are a few emotions that an adoptee can experience while trying to complete a family tree project.  Continue reading

  • Foster parents can help their students succeed in school: In order for a child in foster care to succeed in school, his foster parents must be leading the charge and blazing a path as his advocate, fighting for his every chance. In truth, it is likely that the foster student will have no other person fighting for him, as his caseworker’s work load is an overwhelming one, and his teachers may be too busy to reach out with information, or may not have the necessary information about the child that they need in order to meet his needs. Therefore, it is up to the foster parent to be proactive in the child’s life at school.
  • Foster Children and Celebrating Birthdays: Helping children in foster care enjoy and share memories while celebrating birthdays.
  • Fostering or Adopting? Two Critical Things Biological Children Need to Hear From YouOur biological daughter was 11 years old when we made the decision to add to our family through foster care adoption. To say that she was excited would be a gross understatement – she couldn’t wait to have a sister! At 11 years old she was extremely weary of being the only child. She had known for years that we couldn’t have any brothers or sisters. Adoption had always been an option we said we “might” do someday. So, by the time we asked her opinion of older child adoption through our state’s foster care system, she was our biggest supporter.

Have news you’d like to share? Please post in our comments!

World Wide Wednesday, November 12, 2014

It’s World Wide Wednesday! Here’s what’s news in the world of foster care and adoption around the web:

World Wide Wednesday

  • National Adoption Month Website: The Children’s Bureau, within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Children and Families, created the 2014 National Adoption Month website, created in partnership with AdoptUSKids.

    National Adoption Month (NAM) draws attention to the urgent need for permanent families for the more than 102,000 children and youth waiting for adoption in foster care. This year’s NAM theme, “Promoting and Supporting Sibling Connections,” emphasizes the critical role sibling relationships play in helping to promote permanency for children in care. The NAM website offers a variety of audience-specific resources.

    Professionals can find information to help them promote and support sibling connections, recruit adoptive families, and see examples of how other States are promoting permanency for siblings and youth. Adoptive parents can find information on adopting siblings from foster care, learn what permanency means, and view powerful videos from youth and other adoptive families. Adopted people can find information on openness in adoption and search and reunion. Birth parents can find information on kinship adoption/adoption by relatives, openness in adoption, and search and reunion. Youth can learn about how to get involved in their permanency plans, stay connected with adults and other teens through social media, find out about the benefits of being safe online, and more

  • New Law Passed:  H.R. 4980 Becomes LawOn September 29, 2014, President Obama signed the Preventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act. Among other things, this bipartisan legislation will:
    • Require states to better track children at risk of being victims of sex trafficking (including children who run away from foster care) and report any children who are victims of trafficking;
    • Require states to develop a process by which foster parents and other caregivers have permission to grant children and youth in care the opportunity to participate in the normal activities of childhood;
    • Limit the use of Another Planned Permanent Living Arrangement (APPLA) for children under 16;
    • Provide children 14 and up the opportunity to participate in their case planning process;
    • Fund Family Connections Grants for one more year;
    • Renew and enhance the Adoption Incentive program, creating a guardianship incentive and, over time, transitioning to an incentive system based on the rate of adoptions, rather than a baseline number; and,
    • Require states to spend 30% of the funds they save as a result of the Fostering Connections Act’s expansion of federal adoption assistance eligibility on post-adoption, post-guardianship, and other family support services.


  • Adoption at the Movies: Guides to recently released movies including Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, ReMoved, and The Book of Life.

Have news you’d like to share? Please post in our comments!

World Wide Wednesday, November 5, 2014

It’s World Wide Wednesday! Here’s what’s happening the world of foster care and adoption around the web:

World Wide Wednesday

  • The U.S. Departments of Education and Health and Human Services have partnered to develop resources and guidance to support educators, child welfare professionals, and others in their work to improve the education and well-being outcomes for students in foster care. A dedicated webpage, Students in Foster Care, has been launched on the Department of Education’s website. This new webpage provides information on relevant laws, guidance, and technical assistance materials on topics ranging from the roles and responsibilities of child welfare and education agencies in ensuring the school stability of students in foster care to postsecondary education supports.
  • 6 Foster Care Skills You Need to Know Before Becoming a Foster Parent: The following 6 statements describe the basic knowledge base of successful foster parents. Of course there is more to being a foster parent, but these 6 points are a great place to start.
  • Families adopting older children via public or intercountry adoption face a unique set of challenges, as do the agencies that seek to serve and support them. In the October 2014 issue of NCFA’s Adoption Advocate, former NCFA Legal Fellow Jamel Rowe collects and analyzes results from an older child adoption survey conducted in 2013 by Melissa Blauvelt and Rhonda Jarema. Participating adoptive families and adoption agencies identified several areas of concern, with a particular emphasis on pre-adoption preparation and post-adoption support.
  • Before You EXPLODE, Do This: A Simple Secret to Surviving the Tough Times in Foster Care and Adoption

    Have news you’d like to share? Please post in our comments!

Apply Today!

The Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute (CCAI) is accepting applications for the 2015 Foster Youth Internship (FYI) program.

Each summer, CCAI Foster Youth Interns spend 2 months in Washington, D.C. interning for a Member of Congress and writing a Congressional policy report. The internship is open to those who have graduated OR are currently enrolled in and have completed 4 semester of college/trade school, have spent at least 24 consecutive months AND/OR 36 total months in the foster care system AND have a desire to use their voice on Capitol Hill. Additionally, interns receive a weekly stipend and housing during their assignment. The application deadline for this life-changing internship is Friday, January 9, 2015.

For more information about the program and to access the application form visit

Youth Survey on Guardians ad Litem

Your help is needed!

Wisconsin citizen review panels are interested in learning more about Wisconsin Guardians Ad Litem, attorneys that assist children that enter the child welfare system. The panels recognize that one of the best sources of this information is you – youth and former youth who received services from a Wisconsin guardian ad litem (GAL) after you were placed into out-of-home care or foster care. The panels have developed a survey with questions about your personal experience as well as your general knowledge about the Wisconsin GAL system.

This is an anonymous survey. The survey will be open for your responses October 20, 2014 through November 14, 2014.  The following link will take you to the survey:

On the first page of the survey you will find a description of the survey, its purpose and the role of citizen review panels in Wisconsin. Citizen review panels were created under the Federal Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act, and their mission is to improve child protective services at the State and local levels. For more information about the panels, please check out the Department of Children & Families website.

If you have any questions, please contact Paula L. Brown, MSW, APSW, at or (608) 266-0579.

World Wide Wednesday, October 29, 2014

It’s World Wide Wednesday! Here’s what’s happening the world of foster care and adoption around the web:

World Wide Wednesday

  • 8 Phrases Foster and Adopted Children Need to Hear: We’ve all seen Tarzan – the orphaned child raised by apes who spends his whole childhood thinking he’s an ape only to discover that he’s a man. As the movie unfolds we watch him suffer loss, rejection, fear, friendship, hope and love. Through his ups and downs we feel the tension of being caught between a world in which you do not fit but feel you belong and a world in which you do belong but don’t fit. Continue reading
  • Mental Health Problems of the Children in Foster Care: Many children in the US foster care system have experienced trauma that can result in a diagnosable mental health disorder or symptoms that mimic one. This handout from Baylor College of Medicine, provides guidance to foster parents on how to prepare for doctor visits, recommends questions to ask the doctor, explains informed consent, and describes the steps the doctor will take in diagnosing and treating the child.
  • For teachers and school administrators: With another school year well underway, it is important for teachers and school administrators to understand the impact of trauma, abuse, neglect, and other risk factors in a child’s history that can affect his or her ability to learn and feel safe and connected in the classroom. In the September 2014 issue of NCFA’s Adoption Advocate, co-authors Casey Call, Karyn Purvis, Sheri R. Parris, and David Cross share the results from different schools employing Trust-Based Relationship Intervention® (TBRI®), and emphasize the power of safe, nurturing relationships in the classroom—particularly for children in from “hard places.”
  • Foster care homes needed for children of all ages: In Wisconsin, there were 137 children in foster care in Wood County in 2013; currently, in Portage County, 58 children are being served in 41 licensed foster homes. More than 5,100 foster homes in Wisconsin care for almost 8,000 foster children each year, according to the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families. “Given the quantity of families needing support services, our foster parents are at capacity,” said Danita Docka, the foster care coordinator for Portage County. Continue reading

    Have news you’d like to share? Please post in our comments!

New Training – Talking to Children About Adoption

Talking to Children About AdoptionEach child has a unique adoption story and a way of processing the emotions the come up when thinking about adoption. Some children ask questions early on while others seem to show little interest at all. Talking about adoption within your family can lay the foundation for children becoming comfortable with their own stories.

Presenter Jaclyn Skalnik will share talking points for families with children at different developmental stages, in various settings (school, in public, with extended family, etc.), how to address sensitive information, as well as helping children process having little to no information regarding their adoption. Topics will include: race and multi-racial families, abilities, birth histories, visiting birth-countries/cultures, blended families, and openness in adoption.

About the Trainer: Jaclyn Skalnik, founder of Adoption Wellness, is an adoption competent clinician as well as a transracial, internationally adopted person. Jaclyn earned a master’s degree in social work from the University of Wisconsin. She has assisted adoptive families throughout their adoption process for nearly two decades. She has presented at global conferences on matters concerning adoption and is passionate about counseling adopted persons and adoptive families seeking support. Jaclyn is a licensed and Certified Advanced Practice Social Worker (CAPSW), a trained Hague Accreditation reviewer for the Council on Accreditation, a member of the National Association of Social Workers, a World of Diversity trainer, adoptive family homeland journey social worker, and has facilitated international birth family searches and reunions. For more information, please visit

Talking to Children About Adoption
Wednesday, November 12, 2014
6-8 p.m.

$20/person or $80/agency group

Attend in person at the Coalition for Children, Youth & Families, 6682 W. Greenfield Avenue, Suite 310, Milwaukee, or attend via webinar

Register online, contact, or call 414-475-1246