We had an AWESOME time at the Mobile County Dream Council Meeting this Saturday! There was a record number of over 60 youth in attendance! 

 

For more information about Dream Council Meetings, please contact Lazette Wright at 205-943-5356 or lwright@childrensaid.org




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Below is another installment for our series, Reflections From the Heart, which highlights art, poetry and other artistic and written expressions from youth in foster care and emancipated youth in our state, Alabama. 

Below you will find art created by one of our youth.

  Both pieces are currently untitled. 

**If you are a youth or young adult currently in foster care or emancipated from foster care, please submit your creations to ewatkins@childrensaid.org **


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Every wondered what Dream Council actually is?  Well here is a break down with all of he answers to your questions!  We are focusing our Dream Council meetings to now target specific counties around the surround areas where we will be visiting to help make it more accessible! 
 
Do you know a foster youth who is in a foster home in the area we will be visiting?  They are invited too!  SHARE SHARE SHARE! 
This is beneficial to ALL youth ages 14-20 in Alabama.
 
Older than 20?  We accept alumni as well!  More info to come on that soon!
 
#ConnectingTheDots #NormalizingFosterCare  #ILConnect
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Our September Dream Council meeting in Mobile, AL is quickly approaching and we are SO excited! 
 
                            Don’t forget the meeting is
                         Saturday September 16, 2017
                                     from 10a- 2pm

 Southern counties we are looking for you to be there!  Escambia, Baldwin, Washington, Covington, Geneva, Coffee, Pike, Crenshaw, Butler, Houston, Henry, Barbour, Bullock County and more, we are talking to YOU! 

United Methodist Children’s Home, St. Mary’s, Chrysalis, Pathways, we are talking to YOU!!!!

Bring your IL youth to this Dream Council meeting for a great time, good food and great information! 

It is worth it!

#ConnectingTheDots #NormalizingFosterCare

DON’T FORGET to RSVP at lwright@childrensaid.org
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When Should a Child Be Taken from His Parents

What should you do if child-protective services comes to your house?
You will hear a knock on the door, often late at night. You don’t have to open it, but if you don’t the caseworker outside may come back with the police. The caseworker will tell you you’re being investigated for abusing or neglecting your children. She will tell you to wake them up and tell them to take clothes off so she can check their bodies for bruises and marks. She will interview you and your kids separately, so you can’t hear what she’s asking them or what they’re saying. She opens your fridge and your cabinets, checking to see if you have food, and what kind of food. She looks around for unsafe conditions, for dirt, for mess, for bugs or rats. She takes notes. You must be as calm and deferential as possible. However disrespectful and invasive she is, whatever awful things she accuses you of, you must remember that child protection has the power to remove your kids at any time if it believes them to be in danger. You can tell her the charges are not true, but she’s required to investigate them anyway. If you get angry, your anger may be taken as a sign of mental instability, especially if the caseworker herself feels threatened. She has to consider the possibility that you may be hurting your kids, that you may even kill one of them. You may never find out who reported you. If your child has been hurt, his teacher or doctor may have called the state child-abuse hotline, not wanting to assume, as she might in a richer neighborhood, that it was an accident. But it could also have been a neighbor who heard yelling, or an ex-boyfriend who wants to get back at you, or someone who thinks you drink too much or simply doesn’t like you. People know that a call to the hotline is an easy way to blow up your life. If the caseworker believes your kids are in imminent danger, she may take them. You may not be allowed to say goodbye. It is terrifying for them to be taken from their home by a stranger, but this experience has repercussions far beyond the terror of that night. Your children may hear accusations against you—you’re using drugs, your apartment is filthy, you fail to get them to school, you hit them—and even if they don’t believe these things they will remember. And, after your children see that you are powerless to protect them, this will permanently change things between you. Whatever happens later—whether the kids come back the next week, or in six months, or don’t come back at all—that moment can never be undone.  Read more on this story in the New Yorker by Clicking Here.
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Child Welfare Ideas from the Experts #7: A Federal Foster Care Bill of Rights

The Chronicle‘s Take

Is there a federal bill of rights other than the actual Bill of Rights? The notion of one for patients came close to passing in 2001 before dying on the vine, a victim of intense lobbying by the insurance industry.
State-run child welfare systems are hardly the lobbying entity that insurance is, but you might see some significant pushback if a foster care bill of rights had real teeth. And by teeth, we mean youth could sue for violation of those rights, states could be fiscally penalized by the feds for violating them, or both.
If a Federal Foster Care Bill of Rights lacked such teeth, it would not be worth having. The only thing worse than nothing being done about a problem is giving the impression that something has been done when it hasn’t. Establishing a bill of rights no state was really living up to might serve as cover for failed promises.
So in our opinion, the enforcement would have to go past Love’s suggestion of an agency-established monitor. It is too easy for that to become a rubber stamp situation without real monitoring of state fidelity. There would have to be real and articulated consequences for a state who was found by HHS or by a court to have violated the child’s federally established rights. To read more on this story by John Kelly Click Here.
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Why did the 238,230 children leave care in 2014?

Why did the 238,230 children leave care in 2014?
  • 51% Reunification with Parent(s) or Primary Caretaker(s)
  • 7% Living with other Relative(s)
  • 21% Adoption.
  • 9% Emancipation.
  • 9% Guardianship.
  • 2% Transfer to Another Agency.
  • 0% (1,138) Runaway.
  • 0% (326) Death.

Statistics via Foster Care. 

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n Case You Missed It: NY Times and DPA: Foster Care as Punishment: The New Reality of ‘Jane Crow’

New York Times

Foster Care as Punishment: The New Reality of ‘Jane Crow,’ By: STEPHANIE CLIFFORD and JESSICA SILVER-GREENBERG, July 21, 2017
Maisha Joefield thought she was getting by pretty well as a young single mother in Brooklyn, splurging on her daughter, Deja, even though money was tight. When Deja was a baby, she bought her Luvs instead of generic diapers when she could. When her daughter got a little older, Ms. Joefield outfitted the bedroom in their apartment with a princess bed for Deja, while she slept on a pullout couch.
She had family around, too. Though she had broken up with Deja’s father, they spent holidays and vacations together for Deja’s sake. Ms. Joefield’s grandmother lived across the street, and Deja knew she could always go to her great-grandmother’s apartment in an emergency.
One night, exhausted, Ms. Joefield put Deja to bed, and plopped into a bath with her headphones on.
“By the time I come out, I’m looking, I don’t see my child,” said Ms. Joefield, who began frantically searching the building. Deja, who was 5, had indeed headed for the grandmother’s house when she couldn’t find her mother, but the next thing Ms. Joefield knew, it was a police matter.
“I’m thinking, I’ll explain to them what happened, and I’ll get my child,” Ms. Joefield said.
For most parents, this scenario might be a panic-inducing, but hardly insurmountable, hiccup in the long trial of raising a child. Yet for Ms. Joefield and women in her circumstances — living in poor neighborhoods, with few child care options — the consequences can be severe. Police officers removed Deja from her apartment and the Administration for Children’s Services placed her in foster care. Police charged Ms. Joefield with endangering the welfare of a child. To read more Click Here.
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How many kids are in the foster care system?

Many of America’s child welfare systems are badly broken — and children can suffer serious harm as a result. Some will be separated from their siblings. Others will be bounced from one foster care placement to another, never knowing when their lives will be uprooted next. Too many will be further abused in systems that are supposed to protect them. And instead of being safely reunified with their families — or moved quickly into adoptive homes — many will languish for years in foster homes or institutions.
On any given day, there are nearly 428,000 children in foster care in the United States.
On average, children remain in state care for nearly two years and six percent of children in foster care have languished there for five or more years.
Despite the common perception that the majority of children in foster care are very young, the average age of kids in care is nearly 9.
While most children in foster care live in family settings, a substantial minority — 14 percent — live in institutions or group homes.
In 2015, more than 20,000 young people aged out of foster care without permanent families. Research has shown that those who leave care without being linked to forever families have a higher likelihood than youth in the general population to experience homelessness, unemployment and incarceration as adults.

Via http://www.childrensrights.org
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Arc of Dreams: from foster care to the courtroom

Sioux Falls, SD The Arc of Dreams Sculpture will span the Big Sioux River between 6th and 8th street in downtown Sioux Falls.
This project is designed to recognize the people who made their dream come true and inspire others to dream big right here in Sioux Falls.
Like the story of Sioux Falls attorney Kasey Olivier, a former foster child who is now working to inspire the next generation of girls to dream big.
“I knew that to be successful you had to go to college and I ended up here at Augustana,” Olivier told a group of young girls.
For Olivier, just getting to college was a big achievement.
“When I was younger I wanted to be successful, but to me I didn't know what success meant,” she said. “At that point in time I was 18-years-old and success really meant not having to live pay check to pay check or wondering if I was going to have to go to the food shelf again to eat or wondering if I was going to have heat that month.”
Olivier grew up in the foster care system.
“I think it’s extremely lonely growing up in foster care because it’s hard to relate to other people when you're going through that situation,” Olivier said.

To read more on this story posted by KSFY Click Here.

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