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Archive for the ‘adoption and foster care’ Category

Mental Health Professionals’ Attitudes and Expectations About Adoption and Adopted Children

April 16, 2014 Comments off

Mental Health Professionals’ Attitudes and Expectations About Adoption and Adopted Children
Source: National Council for Adoption

Many researchers have documented heavy use of clinical services by adoptees, but little is known about how much training mental health professionals actually receive about adoption, or their beliefs about adoption and adopted people. It is important to understand mental health professionals’ expectations for their adopted clients.

Previous research has shown that teachers treat students differently if they have high expectations for those students. In other studies, some adoptive parents have told us it was necessary to educate their child’s counselor about issues related to adoption. We have therefore investigated adoption-related expectations and training on adoption issues among mental health professionals. In this article, we will review some of the most current published information about the adjustment of adopted children, and present our own findings regarding clinicians’ beliefs and expectations for their adopted clients.

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UK — Beyond the adoption order: challenges, intervention, disruption

April 11, 2014 Comments off

Beyond the adoption order: challenges, intervention, disruption
Source: Department for Education

Research looking at adoption disruptions and how the adoption system can be improved.

Improving the Educational Well-being for Older Adopted and Guardianship-placed Youth

March 24, 2014 Comments off

Improving the Educational Well-being for Older Adopted and Guardianship-placed Youth (PDF)
Source: National Resource Center for Adoption

It has been five years since the former President, George W. Bush, signed into law the Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act (P.L. 110-351) on October 7, 2008. The law was enacted, in part, as a response to the number of children across the country, whom have lacked permanent homes and are over-represented in school dropout statistics/issues that harm their prospects to transition successfully into adulthood.

Permanency and education well-being are intrinsically connected. Youth placed in homes without the permanency afforded by adoption and guardianships, on average, moved to new foster care placements up to three times per year, with each move resulting in a change of school (Julianelle, 2008).

It is not unusual for high school youth residing in foster care to have changed schools 10 or more times. Since it takes time to recover academically after each school change, many children in foster care not only fail to recover, they actually lose ground (Yu et al., 2002). This largely explains the negative relationship found between placement instability and high school completion (Pecora, et al., 2005).

One study found that youth who had had one fewer placement change per year were almost twice as likely to graduate from high school (Pecora et al., 2003). Only between 54 (Benedetto, 2005) and 58 percent of former foster youth graduate from high school by age 19, compared to 87 percent of students in the general population (Courtney, 2009).

Those that do graduate from high school are less likely to attend college (Courtney, 2009), and those that do enroll in a post-secondary institution are less likely to graduate (Day et al., 2011). By age 19, only 18 percent of foster youth are pursuing a four year degree, compared to 62 percent of their peers (Center for the Study of Social Policy, 2009). By age 25, less than 3 percent of former foster youth had completed a bachelor’s degree or higher, compared to 24 percent of the general population (Center for the Study of Social Policy, 2009).

Cost of Adoption Update: 2012-2013

March 19, 2014 Comments off

Cost of Adoption Update: 2012-2013
Source: Adoptive Families Magazine

How much did it cost to adopt a child in 2012-2013? More than 1,100 families that adopted a child in 2013 or 2012 completed our survey on the cost of adoption (before adoption-related employee benefits or the adoption tax credit). We thank everyone who took the time to share their cost details!

  • Domestic adoptions, on average, cost less than international adoptions.
  • U.S. foster adoption is the least expensive adoption route, by a significant margin.
  • 78 percent of respondents who adopted from foster care receive an ongoing monthly subsidy. On average, these families reported receiving $707 per month.
  • For most adopters, the average total expenses were about $35,000.
  • 38 percent of domestic adopters had at least one “false start,” in which adoptive parents worked with one or more birthmothers before a match that succeeded. The majority (72%) of “false starts” cost less than $5,000.

See also: Timing of Adoption Update: 2012-2013

Aligning Federal Dollars with Better Outcomes for Children and Families

February 4, 2014 Comments off

Aligning Federal Dollars with Better Outcomes for Children and Families (PDF)
Source: National Urban League

This Guide Will:

  • Answer the question as to why Urban League affiliates should become involved in comprehensive child welfare finance reform.
  • Acquaint the reader with basic information pertaining to the child welfare system.
  • Provide guidance on how to become involved in engaging communities and policymakers to secure the well-being of children and families, prevent those circumstances that lead to the removal of children from their home, or secure a safe, permanent home for a child who cannot return to the care of their parents.

Diagnoses and Health Care Utilization of Children Who Are in Foster Care and Covered by Medicaid

December 19, 2013 Comments off

Diagnoses and Health Care Utilization of Children Who Are in Foster Care and Covered by Medicaid
Source: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

Examines mental illness or substance use disorders prevalence and the utilization of health services among foster care children who are covered by Medicaid. Reports trends across three age groups for use in determining the needs of foster children.

Caring for LGBTQ Children and Youth: A Guide for Child Welfare Providers

December 9, 2013 Comments off

Caring for LGBTQ Children and Youth: A Guide for Child Welfare Providers
Source: Human Rights Campaign

This booklet was developed to provide you with information about the care and support of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning children and youth. Chances are you picked up this guide because you believe, just as Bryan Samuels, the former commissioner of the U.S. Administration on Children, Youth and Families said, “every child and youth who is unable to live with his or her parents is entitled to a safe, loving and affirming foster care placement, irrespective of the young person’s sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.” Unfortunately, we know LGBTQ youth are disproportionately represented in the child welfare system and often face discrimination and mistreatment in out-of-home care.

This guide includes information on terminology and several basic, but key, tips on how to best support and care for LGBTQ children and youth. We’ve also provided some data from the Human Rights Campaign’s study of more than 10,000 LGBTQ youth as a glimpse into their experiences. Also, you will find resources and helpful websites for more information to competently serve all children and youth in your care, including those who may identify as or be perceived as LGBTQ.

Online Resources for State Child Welfare Law and Policy

December 3, 2013 Comments off

Online Resources for State Child Welfare Law and Policy
Source: Child Welfare Information Gateway

This publication provides web addresses for State statutes that are accessible online and lists the parts of the code for each State and territory that contains the laws addressing child protection, adoption, child welfare, legal guardianship, and services for youth. It also provides web addresses for States’ regulation and policy sites, State court rules, Tribal codes, and judicial resources. Information for each State and territory can be accessed on the State Statutes Search page.

Preparing Children and Youth for Adoption or Other Family Permanency

November 27, 2013 Comments off

Preparing Children and Youth for Adoption or Other Family Permanency
Source: Child Welfare Information Gateway

This bulletin discusses services for children and youth in foster care to address their readiness and preparation for adoption and other permanent relationships. It focuses on ways that child welfare workers and other adults can help to prepare those children and youth whose goal is adoption; however, much of the information on preparation is also applicable to children and youth with other permanency goals. The bulletin examines what has previously been considered adequate preparation as well as current practices and those in development to more effectively ensure that children and youth are better prepared for permanent family relationships, including both legal and relational permanency (permanent relationships with caring adults).

Using Social Media in Child Welfare

November 26, 2013 Comments off

Using Social Media in Child Welfare
Source: Child Welfare Information Gateway

Using social media techniques and innovations in child welfare practice is a relatively new approach for the field. While using social media as a practice tool offers opportunities to enhance, improve, and make work with children and families more effective, it also presents new challenges for the field.

These pages offer information and resources on how to capture opportunities to help improve outcomes and build supports for children and families using social media as a communication tool.

Court Jurisdiction and Venue for Adoption Petitions

November 21, 2013 Comments off

Court Jurisdiction and Venue for Adoption Petitions
Source: Child Welfare Information Gateway

This factsheet reviews State statutes designating the appropriate jurisdiction and venue for adoption proceedings. Jurisdiction refers to the type of court that has the authority to hear adoption cases; venue refers to the geographic location of the court. Summaries of laws for all States and U.S. territories are included.

Data Brief Highlights Recent Demographic Trends in Foster Care

November 13, 2013 Comments off

Data Brief Highlights Recent Demographic Trends in Foster Care
Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Over the last decade, the U.S. foster care population has undergone a substantial reduction in size and experienced a shift in its racial and ethnic composition. Using data from the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS), this data brief summarizes those changes and provides new detail that identifies the geographic areas most responsible for these national trends.

NACAC State Adoption Fact Sheets

November 12, 2013 Comments off

State Adoption Fact Sheets
Source: North American Council on Adoptable Children

Fosteringconnections.org and NACAC produced the following adoption fact sheets to help inform adoption community members and adoption advocates. The fact sheets, derived mostly from 2010 AFCARS data, have information about the number of waiting children, the length of time children spend in care, the race of waiting and adopted children, types of exits from foster care, Title IV-E payments, and more.

A Changing World: Shaping Best Practices Through Understanding of The New Realities of Intercountry Adoption

November 4, 2013 Comments off

A Changing World: Shaping Best Practices Through Understanding of The New Realities of Intercountry Adoption
Source: Donaldson Adoption Institute

The Donaldson Adoption Institute (DAI) today released a new study showing that a growing number of the girls and boys being adopted internationally today are not the infants of adoption’s recent past but, instead, are older children with sometimes-serious special needs. As a result of this reality, the study recommends that best practices be created and implemented to help all of their families to succeed and, for those with severe problems, to prevent the kind of distress that leads desperate parents to seek radical solutions like “re-homing” their adopted children.

The 176-page report, titled “A Changing World,” represents the most extensive independent research to date into intercountry adoption, including the regulatory framework/treaty called the Hague Convention on the Protection of Children and Cooperation in Respect of Inter-Country Adoption. The study – conducted over the past two years by scholars at Tufts University and DAI – included surveys of 1,500 adoptive parents and adoption professionals in “receiving” countries and countries of origin, as well as interviews with senior policymakers in 19 nations. Its key findings include:

  • Implementation of the Hague Convention has resulted in an increase in legal, safe and appropriate adoptions.
  • There is greater transparency and consistency in the international adoption process, as well as an increased focus on the best interests of and protections for children who need families.
  • More children are remaining institutionalized for longer periods, thereby incurring greater psychic and developmental harm and diminishing their prospects of ever moving into a permanent family.
  • Many countries of origin, including the largest ones such as China, are increasingly allowing intercountry adoption primarily or exclusively of children who have special needs.
  • Though many parents surveyed chose intercountry adoption to avoid children’s families of origin, a fast-growing number changed their minds – fueling a trend toward international open adoptions.

When Child Welfare Works: A Working Paper

November 1, 2013 Comments off

When Child Welfare Works: A Working Paper
Source: Annie E. Casey Foundation

Research and analysis, combined with lessons learned from public systems, have led to widespread recognition that the federal child welfare financing system needs to support best practices to ensure that all children have the opportunity to grow up in strong families. This paper outlines a policy framework and recommendations to encourage best practices in four areas: permanence and well-being; quality family foster care; a capable, supported child welfare workforce; and, better access to services.

Adopting as a Single Parent

October 29, 2013 Comments off

Adopting as a Single Parent
Source: Child Welfare Information Gateway

This factsheet discusses some of the main issues to consider when making the decision to adopt as a single person. Topics covered include considerations that might affect the decision to adopt, such as support, finances, employment; the different types of adoption, including adoption from foster care, through intercountry adoption, and through private domestic adoption; working with an adoption agency; completing the adoption and making the adjustment in your home life; and bonding with your new child.

Position Statement On Quality Foster Care Services Continuum for Deaf Children

October 11, 2013 Comments off

Position Statement On Quality Foster Care Services Continuum for Deaf Children
Source: National Association of the Deaf

The purpose of this Position Statement is to underscore the importance and need for quality foster care services for children who are deaf. This includes effective communication, awareness of cultural issues, and best practices in the delivery of foster care services to this unique population.
The National Association of the Deaf (NAD) recognizes that foster care placement is an essential service for children who are abused and neglected. Foster care for deaf children entails a comprehensive approach that addresses their physical, cognitive, socio-emotional, cultural, language and communication needs within a supportive family setting until the family can be reunited or adoption can occur.

Like most children, deaf children who are abused, abandoned or removed from their families or caregivers may experience deep emotional scarring, uncontrollable anger, trust issues and attachment disorders. Compassionate, accessible and highly specialized services are needed for children who are deaf and for those who may also have other disabilities such as visual impairment or blindness, cognitive disabilities, learning disabilities, autism spectrum disorders, emotional disturbances, physical disabilities or a combination of several disabilities.

The NAD firmly believes that foster care providers and professionals must understand the language and cultural issues of these children in order to effectively address their unique needs. Such understanding is necessary to identify whether or not children who are deaf may be suffering from chronic depression, feelings of despair and hopelessness, suicide tendencies, and attraction to gangs, drugs, or other criminal activity that may result in homelessness, juvenile detention, jail, or prison (Vernon, 2010).

Brief: Education Records of Children in Foster Care

October 10, 2013 Comments off

Brief: Education Records of Children in Foster Care
Source: State Policy Advocacy and Reform Center

Authored by the Legal Center for Foster Care & Education, this brief describes the barriers to educational success that children in foster care often face, and how a new amendment to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) makes it easier for child welfare agencies to collaborate with schools to eliminate these barriers for children in foster care.

Until recently, FERPA posed some obstacles to child welfare agencies attempting to access students’ education records, track the educational outcomes of children in foster care, and intervene in a timely manner to improve these outcomes.

A new amendment to FERPA, the Uninterrupted Scholars Act (USA), has greatly expanded and simplified access to education records for child welfare staff. The amendment, effective January 14, 2013, permits schools to release a child’s education records to an agency caseworker, other representative of a state or local child welfare organization, or a tribal organization when the agency or organization is legally responsible for the care and protection of the student and has the right to have access to a student’s case plan.

This brief provides greater detail on how the new FERPA amendment improves the ability of child welfare agencies to collaborate with schools to improve educational outcomes for children in foster care. It provides examples of steps that state child welfare agencies and schools have already taken to implement it, as well as a list of considerations stakeholders should contemplate when implementing the law in their own jurisdictions.

The Role of Social Media in Adoption

October 4, 2013 Comments off

The Role of Social Media in Adoption
Source: National Council for Adoption

Smartphones and social media are revolutionizing the ways in which social workers, clients, and prospective parents connect and communicate with one another. Texting, Facebook, Twitter, Skype, and YouTube are just some of the outlets changing how expectant parents learn about the option of adoption and seek support. Adoption professionals, too, are striving to find ways to accommodate changes in technology, information exchange, and communication while maintaining high professional and ethical standards.

Constant communication and the rise of social media have many implications for those seeking information about adoption. Finding the right balance between online or phone contact and traditional face-to-face interactions is important for social workers and adoption service providers, who must maintain client confidentiality, ensure a professional relationship at all times, and utilize the new resources available in order to reach out to, educate, and support clients.

Recent Demographic Trends in Foster Care

September 25, 2013 Comments off

Recent Demographic Trends in Foster Care (PDF)
Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Over the last decade, the U.S. foster care population has undergone a substantial reduction in size and experienced a shift in its racial and ethnic composition. Using data from the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS), this data brief summarizes those changes and provides new detail that identifies the geographic areas most responsible for these national trends.

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