World Wide Wednesday – February 10, 2016

iStock_000003621765_LargeIt’s World Wide Wednesday! Here’s what’s news in the world of foster care and adoption around the web:

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

Inclusion in this post does not imply an endorsement by the Coalition for Children, Youth & Families. The Coalition is not responsible for the content of these resources.

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Under the Umbrella: 7 Tips for Success as a Foster Parent

iStock_000065618451_Small.jpgFoster Parents muster a myriad of skills to care for the children in their home and ensure their journey through the foster care system is as smooth as possible. Below are 7 key skills the most successful foster parents employ on a daily basis.
  1. Patience: You may have heard the adage that “patience is a virtue;” well, for foster parents, patience is a way of life. As a foster parent, you will have many moments where your patience is tested. You will have to be patient during licensing, waiting for placements, court processes, and you will no doubt have your patience tested by the children who enter your home. Staying grounded in the mission to see a child through to permanence will help you cope during particular trying times.

    Check out this tip sheet if you are reaching your boiling point.

  2. Communication: Being a good communicator is vital to being a good foster parent. When you take placement of a child, you will have to communicate a lot of information to child’s worker, the treatment team, and even in court. However, what makes a great communicator is not just the ability to relay information to interested parties, it’s the ability to ask questions, seek assistance, and communicate your own needs.
  3. Understanding Trauma: Trauma and loss are cornerstones of foster care. The children who enter foster care experience trauma through abuse or neglect, and a series of losses they endure by being placed outside of their homes and biological families. Good foster parents understand the role that trauma is playing in the lives and behaviors of the children in their home. However, the best foster parents understand how trauma impacts their lives and the lives of their family members. Parenting a child with a history of trauma is in itself a traumatic experience for many foster parents and foster parents should be mindful of things like vicarious trauma and compassion fatigue that can lead to burn out.

    For more tips on trauma in children check out this tip sheet.

  4. Team Work: When it comes to caring for a child in foster care, there are many members of that child’s team. These team members often include birth family, social workers, therapists, and doctors, not to mention lawyers and judges. Although sometimes it may feel that some members of the team have competing interests, foster parents are most successful when they find meaningful ways to work with the team to meet the needs of the children in care. Mastering the above skills of patience and communication will help you work as a member of the team to shepherd a foster child to permanence, no matter what that looks like.

    For more tips on team work check out this tip sheet.

  5. Support Network: The journey of being a foster parent is not one you have to take on your own. Successful foster parents take the time to identify the people in their lives that can provide support throughout the process. This can include partners, neighbors, and friends, but it also can include other foster parents and even the child’s birth family.
  6. Self-Care: When you are caring for other people, particularly children, it is often easy to forget to care for yourself. Successful foster parents are dedicated and hardworking, but they also know that, to be most effective, they need take time for themselves. For ideas on how to take care of yourself please check out this tip sheet.
  7. The Ability to Let Go: It was mentioned earlier that loss is a cornerstone of the foster care experience. This is true for the children and birth families, but is also certainly true for foster parents, too. The primary goal for foster care is to reunify children with their birth families and, in Wisconsin, 60-70% of children who enter care are eventually reunified with their birth families. It’s important to understand this and keep this mind, and prepare yourself for losing a child that you have come to love and care for. Successful foster parents understand that, when a child reaches permanence, either through reunification or through adoption or guardianship, it’s a wonderful outcome for children worth celebrating.
    For more tips on reunification check out this tip sheet.
Please remember that the staff and Resource Specialists at the Coalition are always here for you, whether you need additional information and resources, support services, or just someone to talk to. You can email us at info@coalitionforcyf.org or give us a call at 414-475-1246 or 800-762-8063.

World Wide Wednesday – December 16, 2015

iStock_000003621765_LargeIt’s World Wide Wednesday! Here’s what’s news in the world of foster care and adoption around the web:

  • “The Love That Stayed” 
    The author fostered—and fell in love with—a little boy who was reunited with his birth family. Thirteen years later, she received an email that would turn her world upside down.
  • Part of bringing home a child from an institution or out-of-family care involves careful preparation.  When your new arrival has medical needs, the time to plan is before you travel!

    This week’s feature article, Top 5 Ways to Prepare for Bringing Home an Adoptive Child with Needs provides a checklist for families to consider and follow.

  • Illustration: We Never Outgrow the Need for Family – Children need love and encouragement throughout their lives.
  • “Of all the kids, they picked me!”
    At 15 years old, Crystalanne had given up on family. Until a couple in Texas spotted her profile on adoptuskids.org, and everything changed. Read her story.

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

Inclusion in this post does not imply an endorsement by the Coalition for Children, Youth & Families. The Coalition is not responsible for the content of these resources.

World Wide Wednesday, March 18, 2015

iStock_000003621765_LargeIt’s World Wide Wednesday! Here’s what’s news in the world of foster care and adoption around the web:

  • In Your Best Interest: A Teen’s Guide to the Child Welfare System in Wisconsin is a legal guide that helps youth navigate their way through the foster care system in Wisconsin. This guide explains the function of child protective services, introduces the people involved from social workers to lawyers and judges, describes permanency plan options and foster youth rights. The guide includes an introduction to going to court, as well as questions that a judge might ask during court.

  • The Storyboard Projectusing story to empower and educate foster and homeless youth transitioning into adulthood.
  • You Might be a Foster Parent if . . . The author of this article asked several foster parents to fill in the blank to the phrase “You might be a foster parent if . . .”

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

World Wide Wednesday, February 4, 2015

iStock_000003621765_LargeIt’s World Wide Wednesday! Here’s what’s news in the world of foster care and adoption around the web:

  •  Foster Care: Loving a Child that Might Leave.
  • New Resources for Prospective Parents with Disabilities Posted on AdoptUSKids Website. A new section on the AdoptUSKids website provides resources for prospective parents with disabilities and features the story of a Colorado woman who adopted four children and is an advocate for parents with disabilities. Visit this new section
  • 101 Ways to Get Involved in Foster Care. For lovers of lists who also have an interest in foster care, this is my “Ultimate List of Opportunities” to get involved in helping vulnerable children and families, Connie Hayek writes. They are separated by general categories, but as you no doubt will notice, there is some overlap. Some suggestions may not apply to your community or your life circumstances. The good news is that with 101 included, you are sure to find something that fits.
  • 20 Ways to Prevent Child Abuse. Unrealistic expectations of parenthood, differences between what we want and what we actually have, a strained relationship with our marriage partner, too much to do and too little time, financial problems, drug abuse, alcoholism, and a history of being abused as a child are examples of problems that can cause parents to take out anger and frustration on their children. Even very loving parents can lose control to the point of child abuse. Here are some actions you can take to help children and their parents.

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

World Wide Wednesday, January 7, 2015

iStock_000003621765_LargeIt’s World Wide Wednesday! Here’s what’s news in the world of foster care and adoption around the web:

  •  New Website: Advocates for Families First. This organization provides information, direct technical assistance, one-on-one and group education to developing or existing foster, adoptive or kinship family support, and advocacy organizations. Their mission is to build a unified national movement in support of kinship, foster, and adoptive families who care for children and youth, promote their healing, and help them thrive.
  • Trauma Informed Care: New Online Tool. The Georgetown University, National Technical Assistance Center for Children’s Mental Health  and others have recently completed a new free online tool entitled, Trauma Informed Care: Perspectives and Resources. The tool aims to support state and local decision-makers, administrators, providers, parents, and youth and family advocates to become more trauma informed. It includes video interviews, issue briefs, key resources and links that will be updated monthly to keep up with new developments in the field. This FREE tool is now live and available for your use.
  • PATHS Program Helps Transition to Adulthood after Foster Care. Nineteen-year-old Brianna Deprey, of Algoma, Wisconsin, is getting help on her way to independence thanks to a new federally funded four-county pilot program. When Deprey was growing up, her grandmother obtained court-ordered kinship custody due to problems with alcohol and substance abuse in her home. Now that she is a young adult, she has yet to find a stable home environment. (Continue reading.)
  • Adoptive Parents Need to be Supported to Help Their Child Grieve for the Past. Children in the adoptive system will have suffered separation, loss and trauma. The child’s “journey” through this process is explained first to adopters and then to children, when they reach maturity, through court reports produced by social workers. The creation of a “life story” book with this information in can help the child understand what has happened to them, where they have lived, who has cared for them and the decisions that have happened in their lives. (Continue reading.)

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

World Wide Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Before we get to this week’s World Wide Wednesday post, we’d like to wish you all a Happy New Year!

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

World Wide Wednesday

  • Prevent Bullying. Research shows that parents and caregivers who spend at least 15 minutes a day talking with their child can build the foundation for a strong relationship and help prevent bullying. Now there’s a free app that can help. KnowBullying has simple conversation starters to begin a discussion with your child.
  • Adoption at the Movies. Interstellar.

  • Foster Parents Need More Support to Care for Vulnerable Children. When children are deemed at risk of abuse or neglect and are removed from the family home, they are placed in out-of-home care, either with foster parents, relatives or in residential facilities. The latter is the least preferred model and is often seen as a last resort. As the number of children in out-of-home care increases, it is concerning that the number of foster care families available to support them has not followed suit. Instead, every year, 14 percent of foster carers cease their caring roles. (Continue reading.)
  • New Site Features Child Welfare Resources. With the closing of the National Resource Center on Permanency and Family Connections on September 30, the Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College transitioned to a new organization providing training and resources on key issues in child welfare. The new National Center for Child Welfare Excellence website includes a number of toolkits, webcasts, and other resources related to foster care and permanency.

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