The Changing Face of Connections

 

162424806So much has – and continues to – change about the way we connect with friends and family members. What used to be shared over phone calls, during in-person visits, or by letter is now posted on Facebook, revealed over Skype or Face Time, and sent via email. Social media has become commonplace for all of us, children and adults.

Furthermore, the world of social media changes every day. It seems as though upgrades, updates, new platforms, and other changes happen just as soon as we’ve mastered a particular site or platform. It’s no wonder that many foster parents find themselves confused and overwhelmed. From deciding which sites you could sign up for, to monitoring social media and Internet usage for the children in your care, there is a lot to learn. In this issue of Fostering Across Wisconsin, we will give you an overview of today’s most active social media sites, as well as tips on keeping yourself and children safe.

 

 

World Wide Wednesday, January 29, 2014

174337705It’s World Wide Wednesday! Here’s what’s happening the world of foster care and adoption around the web:

  • National Drug Facts Week: January 27-February 2, 2014
    National Drug Facts Week (NDFW) is a health observance week for teens, sponsored by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).  NDFW aims to shatter myths about drugs and drug abuse through community-based educational events and activities.  Visit the NDFW website to learn how to host or sponsor a NDFW event in your community and spread the word about NDFW through Facebook, Twitter, and your blog.  Encourage the youth with whom you work to take the National Drug IQ Challenge and to participate in Drug Facts Chat Day on January 28th to have their questions about drugs answered by experts.
  • What Teachers and Educators Can Do to Help Youth in Foster Care: A tipsheet to share with your child’s teachers – what educators can do to help youth in foster care.
  • New Relative Caregiver Guide posted to the Foster Care and Adoption Resource Center website. 

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

W.I.S.E. Up the World about Adoption Conference

You’d be amazed at the questions adopted children are asked about being adopted. For some children, it begins as early as age three: “Why don’t you look like your mom?” For others, it begins at school: “What happened to your real mother?” “Why did she give you away?” Friends, classmates – even well-meaning grown ups – make comments or ask questions that can be uncomfortable for adopted children.

On Saturday, March 8, OURS Through Adoption, with the support of Jockey Being Family and the Coalition for Children, Youth & Families, is presenting W.I.S.E. Up the World About Adoption Conference and you’re invited to attend.

Conference Details
Parents will participate in a workshop that will provide an in-depth analysis of what children understand, think, and feel about adoption as they grow. The common questions, fears, and concerns adopted children face will be addressed. You will also explore the dynamic between non-adopted peers, extended family, and even strangers.

In the meantime, the children have a workshop and activities of their own! The W.I.S.E. Up! program has spread across the county as children have embraced its simplicity and power to address the consistent challenge of explaining adoption and their adoption stories to peers, neighbors, and sometimes even strangers. Children will learn about the W.I.S.E. UP! tool and come away feeling empowered to handle questions and comments from others about adoption. The program helps children realize that they are not alone with this task. Not only will they learn the program, but they will also create Powerstix and role play various scenarios.

The W.I.S.E. UP! curriculum was created and provided by The Center for Adoption Education and Support.

About the Trainer

Oriana Carey is currently Executive Vice President at the Coalition for Children, Youth & Families and has a master’s degree in social work, a therapy license, and many years of experience in adoption and child welfare. She has previously managed mental health clinics and residential treatment centers for children. She helped the Coalition create the Foster Care and Adoption Resource Center in 2005 and has continued to manage the project.

 

Registration Details

Working with Birth Parents

When a child in foster care enters your home, you are prepared for many of their reactions and feelings. You know they may be scared, grieving, angry, and hurting. But as a foster parent, you are not caring for just that child alone – you likely also have a lot of interactions and conversations with that child’s birth parents, or other members of his family.

Like many skills in foster care and adoption, working with birth parents is one honed over time, with patience and a bit of guidance. Join us for an educational evening with a trainer who has been there, done that and wants to answer your questions. Learn new skills for engaging and communicating with birth family members who have come into your life through fostering children. This may also be an insightful training for those who have continued contact post adoption.

Peg Cadd is a trainer, mentor, and parent through foster care, adoption, and birth. She and her husband Rick have been foster parents for over 30 years. Their family includes 14 children (10 adopted from foster care) and eight grandchildren, and their experience includes fostering many different children-from medically fragile infants to teen moms and their babies. Peg believes in shared parenting and keeping contact with birth families. Peg also has had over 20 years in the early childhood field including Head Start. She firmly believes that, “if we work together as a team, we can make a difference in the lives of our children.”

$15/particiapant or $60/agency group
Attend via webinar from the comfort of your home or office, or join us at the Coalition office in Milwaukee
Click here to register
Questions? Contact us via email or call 414-475-1246

World Wide Wednesday – January 22, 2014

174337705It’s World Wide Wednesday! Here’s what’s happening the world of foster care and adoption around the web:

  • Webcast Series: Issues of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity and Expression: In this two part webcast series, recorded at Family Builders in Alameda County in California, Dr. Gary Mallon speaks with presenters who offer a variety of perspectives onIssues of sexual orientation and gender identity and expression. Family Builders is an LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning) affirming organization that works to provide permanent families for children and youth in the foster care system through a number of different programs and services, with a focus on permanency for older youth.  

    In the first webcast, a gay youth, the biological parent of a transgender child, and the LGBTQ Family Advocate for the Youth Acceptance Collaborative at Family Builders share their perspectives and experiences.

    In the second webcast, Dr. Mallon speaks with Jill Jacobs, the Executive Director of Family Builders, and Mia Buckner-Preston, Program Manager, Placement and Transition Services, Alameda County Social Services Agency.  The presenters discuss a Title IV-E waiver-funded project called the Youth Acceptance Collaborative, which is a partnership between Alameda County Social Services, Family Builders, and BAYC (Bay Area Youth Center). They focus on organizational issues and how this collaboration benefits the assessment and placement of LGBTQ youth in care. 

    To register and learn more, please click here.

  • Supporting Birth Mothers, Strengthening Families: Women who place a child for adoption often have many unmet needs, says a new national survey. On Your Feet Foundation provides insight into birth mothers’ emotional experiences and life after placement. See more here.

  •  Foster Care Video of the Week: Do you know what Sexting is? Most likely your child in foster care does. It is also likely that your child in foster care has participated in it in some fashion. It is considered today’s form of flirting. View the video here.

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

World Wide Wednesday – January 15, 2014

174337705It’s World Wide Wednesday! Here’s what’s happening the world of foster care and adoption around the web:

  • Facilitating an Adult Adoption as a Pathway to Permanence for Older Youth: Adult adoption is the legal process of adopting a person over the age of 18, which results in a legally recognized parent-child relationship.  This publication highlights the possibility of this pathway to permanence for older youth and young adults who have yet to establish permanent legal connections.  It provides an overview of the steps to facilitating an adult adoption and discusses common reasons for considering this option.  Additional resources are provided, along with a listing of State-specific statutes, information, and resources.  (You can also read our tip sheet, Adoption Has No Age Limits, for more information.)
  • The Child Welfare Information Gateway has published 14 tip sheets to help parents and caregivers with specific issues. Each easy-to-read factsheet focuses on concrete steps parents can take to care more effectively for their children and strengthen their family. Topics include: Keeping Your Family Strong, Helping Your Child Heal From Trauma, Parenting Your Child with Developmental Delays and Disabilities, Managing Your Finances, Managing Stress, Bonding With Your Baby, Dealing With Temper Tantrums, Parenting Your School-Age Child, Connecting With Your Teen, Teen Parents…You’re Not Alone, Ten Ways to Be a Better Dad, Raising Your Grandchildren, Military Families, How to Develop Strong Communities.
  • On January 21, NACAC project manager and internationally acclaimed speaker Kim Stevens will present “The Teen Years: Brain Development, Impact of Trauma on Growth, Strategies” at 7 pm central time (8 pm eastern, 6 pm mountain, and 5 pm pacific). Research is revealing that the typical youth brain is not capable of true adult functioning until 20+ years of age—information that has critical implications in terms of cause and effect understandings, critical thinking skills, and maturation. For youth who have experienced foster care and adoption, this developmental process can be significantly affected. This training explores the links between brain development and trauma recovery, identifying opportunities and effective strategies for parents and providers alike.
    If you cannot attend the live webinar, you can purchase access to a recorded version. We are happy to send certificates of attendance to those who need proof of training hours. Webinars are $15 for NACAC members, and $20 for non-members. The fee is intended for one individual or couple. Learn more about this and other webinars.
  • Any of this sound familiar? Your child’s teacher tells you that your son is having trouble sitting still in class…Every day, homework turns into a teary-eyed, hair-pulling, paper-tearing tug o’ war…Your teen is caught painting graffiti on the bathroom wall…You may be baffled by behaviors like these. And, you may wonder whether they could be linked to a learning disability (LD). Click here to read a brief overview of some behavioral red flags of learning disabilities. Remember: even when LD is linked to puzzling behaviors, it’s likely other factors contribute as well.

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

2013 JOCKEY HOME TO STAY VISIT SURVEY

We’d like to invite all families who received a Home to Stay visit or participated in a Home to Stay back pack party in 2013 to fill out a survey about the value and effectiveness of the Home to Stay™ program funded by Jockey Being Family®. 

For families receiving a visit in Southeastern Wisconsin* or Milwaukee County, please click here.    

For families receiving a visit in the remainder of state# please click here.  

Your participation is appreciated – thank you! 

*Southeastern Wisconsin includes the following counties: Jefferson, Kenosha, Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Walworth, Washington, and Waukesha. 

#The Post Adoption Resource Centers across Wisconsin include: Catholic Charities – Diocese of La Crosse, Catholic Charities – Diocese of Madison, and Family Services of Northeast Wisconsin.