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

World Wide Wednesday – October 22, 2014

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

World Wide Wednesday

World Wide Wednesday – October 15, 2014

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

World Wide Wednesday

World Wide Wednesday – October 8, 2014

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

World Wide Wednesday

  • Unconditional love from foster parents: Tiffany and Ryan McDonald didn’t plan to take in teenagers when they became foster parents eight years ago. After all, they were only in their mid-20s. But after going through the foster care classes, the first phone call the Ivins couple received was about 12-year-old Rochelle Lane and 13-year-old Rosalee Hafen. Tiffany initially said, “no.” Her own children were significantly younger and she worried the older girls might be a bad influence. However, after thinking about the girls’ background stories and the trials they were facing in foster care, the McDonalds called back and said they would take in Rochelle and Rosalee.  Continue reading
  • Transracial Adoption and Foster Care: Many children in foster care are placed at some point — either for foster care or adoption — with a family that is of a different race. The Child Welfare Information Gateway has compiled multiple resources on transracial foster care and adoption that can be helpful to agencies as well as to families. The Gateway Web page on cross-cultural issues in foster care provides resources on issues of race and culture in out-of-home care, including parenting tips to enhance child development. Another Gateway website section contains materials on supporting transracial and transcultural adoptive families, including state and local examples and a collection of articles and publications designed for use by families.
  • Factsheet for Caregivers on Supporting Children with Histories of Complex Trauma: The National Child Traumatic Stress Network Complex Trauma Collaborative Group has released a new fact sheet targeted specifically at caregivers. It provides information to help them recognize the signs of complex trauma, offers recommendations for what the caregiver can do to help a child heal, and shares tips for self-care.
  • She Thought Her Foster Parents Were Kicking Her Out: For 19-year-old Meredith, life has been anything but easy. Tragedy after tragedy has made her move from home to home, and left her without any family at all. When she was 19, a mentor invited her to live with her family for 6 months to help her get on her feet. As the six month mark approached, a family meeting was called.

    Meredith no doubt expected the worst. Given her past, and the heartache she’d had to endure, who could blame her? But the unexpected news they gave her completely changed her life. Watch the inspirational video.

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