Meet the Staff........Synethia Davis


Synethia Davis is the Independent Youth Consultant at Children’s Aid Society. She was in care from the age of 3-21 and aged out in 2011. As a kid and teenager, she was one to NEVER listen to authority. She was “supposed” to be one of the failures but I refused to be. In 2011, she joined the United States Army. Since aging out of foster care, she received an Associate Degree in biology and currently a junior at UAB working on a degree in criminal justice. One of Synethia’s favorite quotes is “Never let another person say you can never make it or that you will never be something in life. Let discouraging words be your motivation for success, because if I can do it you anybody can”.  To contact Synethia Davis email her at sdavis@childrensaid.org.

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Success Stories-David Ahlgren – Family Man and Organic Farmer

David Ahlgren – Family Man and Organic Farmer

If David Ahlgren hadn’t actually lived through it, you might suspect his life was the script for a movie. Raised on the island of Guam along with seven siblings, David was put into foster care at the age of 13 after his mother’s death. Among the dozens of placements he endured was over a year in a juvenile jail cell – not because he had committed any crime but because there were no other foster placements available. After he wrote letters to numerous U.S. government officials, he was abruptly sent to a foster home in Oklahoma. What did he know about Oklahoma? Only the few things he had learned from googling it online. And yet today at 30 he, his wife and two small children are growing a variety of organic, sustainable crops on 120 acres of land in rural Oklahoma. The boy from a tiny island has become a success story in Oklahoma. How did that happen?

Foster Care 2 Success played a large role, says David. Four years of scholarship money helped him get through the University of Central Oklahoma where he majored in Business Administration. “Thanks to the scholarship, I was able to not have a job other than getting through college,” he says. David was also one of the first two students to be brought to Washington by FC2S for a summer internship; in his case, in the office of Senator Mary Landrieu. “It opened my eyes to issues surrounding foster care,” he says. “You see the problem but you don’t see the many people who care about improving the system. It was like a coin flipped over. I saw that there are so many people standing firm fighting for my brothers and sisters in foster care.”

By: FC2S Staff
 
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AFAPA Scholarship DEADLINE


The Alabama Foster and Adoptive Parents Association would like to announce that they are accepting applications for the AFAPA scholarships.  Please advise any adopted or foster youth who are seniors in high school and planning to attend college or a vocational school and any adopted or foster youth 22 years old and younger and currently enrolled in college or vocational school to apply.  The scholarship application and instructions can be found at www.afapa.org and must be submitted to:
                Mary Smith
                Post Office Box 16
                Titus, Alabama 36080
                No later than Tuesday, March 31, 2015
  
               
 
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Is being resilient a decision?

James, a former foster youth who holds a master’s degree in social work, parallels his life with that of a half-brother who was in and out of jail, on drugs and involved in gang-related activities.
“It just makes me think,” said James, “we came from the same environment, but what was the transformative change that catapulted us to go on different trajectories?”
Unlike his half-brother, James chose to stay in foster care. He felt that this sometimes horrific route was better than an even worse home environment. Resiliency, to James, was a conscious decision.
So, what does it mean to be resilient? To have grit? There are books describing it, movies written about it, songs sung about it. I recently came across an article entitled “The Grit Factor” in the October 2014 issue of Golf Digest, of all places

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National Human Trafficking Resource Center

  Call 1-888-373-7888 for the National Human Trafficking Resource Center to report Trafficking. 
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The 28th Annual National Independent Living Conference "Growing Pains 2015" For Adults and Youth

 
 
Daniel’s mission is to provide quality services for youth and families. One way we do that is by helping professionals, clients, and their respective organizations establish and maintain effective Independent Living Programs. Now in its 28th year, Daniel’s National Independent Living Conference, Growing Pains, is a must-attend event for youth service professionals, independent living professionals, and youth aged 15 and up.

Growing Pains presenters include experts in the field of independent living who lead training sessions, workshops, panel discussions, and leadership and team building activities dedicated to the needs of youth who are currently in care. Each general session and workshop offers innovative ideas on how youth can adapt to life’s ever-changing situations and be properly guided to become competent, responsible, independent adults. For conference attendees seeking extra training, plan to attend pre-conference institutes one day prior to the general conference start.

The "Growing Pains" Conference is endorsed as the official conference of the National Independent Living Association (NILA).

To sign up for the conference CLICK HERE .

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Feed Your Mind:What you eat affects your mood

When she moved to a group home, she didn’t know what she would get to eat. She figured the house would have food similar to what she had been served in New York City public schools or at the city’s Children’s Center, where you go when you first enter the foster care system. Both places have fairly healthy food. She was shocked to see that the group home was full of unhealthy fare like cookies, chips, pastries, and sugary cereal. The meals prepared in the  house featured hot dogs, French fries, fried chicken, and ribs swimming in BBQ sauce. To read more CLICK HERE .
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2015 Networking Conference "BRIDGING THE GAP"



CAS in collaboration with the Alabama Department of Human Resources presents "Bridging The Gap" , an ILP conference for DHR workers and providers. County slot allotments have been sent to all County Directors.Make sure you complete the mileage form and the w9 tax form – the links can be found on the registration front page. If you have questions about the conference, please contact Nikki Freeman at 205-943-5356. If you have issues registering, please contact Nolan Goodman at 205-943-5344. We look forward to seeing you at this year’s conference. To register for the 2015 Networking Conference CLICK HERE.
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The Preventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act

The Preventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act
Throughout 2013, multiple members of Congress proposed multiple ways to improve foster care with their own individual bills. In an effort to work together, Congress agreed to make one new bill, combining parts of the old ones. H.R. 4980, sponsored by Representative Dave Camp, has several parts and many important new rules to help foster youth everywhere in the United States. Most importantly, these new rules were a result of conversations with foster youth.
Yep, you heard it: lawmakers heard your voice and are making improvements to the foster care system as a result.

Some important parts of the bill:

  • Youth Rights: States are required to provide any youth age 14 or older with a list of their rights, as well as a signed acknowledgement that the youth received the list.
  • Prudent Parenting: New requirements for “prudent parenting” standards (this means states will make plans to allow foster parents and group homes, instead of just caseworkers or agencies, to decide whether a youth can participate in age appropriate activities like sports or other extra curricular activities).
  • Normalcy: For older youth, the ability to participate in “normal”, age appropriate activities must be discussed at the youth’s case planning meetings; Congress has also given money to pay for these activities starting in 2020.
  • Case Planning: Starting at age 14, youth will be given the opportunity to become involved in the development of their case plan and transition plan; youth will also have the option to invite two people of their choice to attend planning meetings.
  • Preventing Long Term Foster Care: Discourages the use of Another Planned Permanent Living Arrangement (APPLA) as a permanency option for youth; requires states to provide more evidence to the court that aging out is the best option for older youth in care.
  • Documents when exiting care: Youth must be provided a copy of birth certificate, social security card, drivers license or state ID, health insurance and medical records.
  • Tracking Disrupted Adoptions: Requires states to track disrupted and dissolved adoptions and guardianships.
  • Sex Trafficking Prevention: Requires states to track the sexual exploitation of foster youth and youth who runaway and/or are missing from care; increases training requirements for those who work with youth to identify sex trafficking as it occurs.
  • Adoptions: Makes adoptions and guardianships easier for families revising incentives for those families.
Here is a link to the bills text

This bill could not have been possible without the support from both Democrat and Republican leaders in the House and Senate. To see who co-sponsored the bill click here.
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Walk a Mile: JJ's Story of Foster Care


JJ talks to Walk a Mile about being in foster care.

Walk A Mile In My Shoes is a 1 mile family-oriented walk that will be held in Oklahoma City Bricktown and Tulsa on Saturday, April 27, 2013 from 9 -11AM.

The purpose of the walk is to promote AWARENESS and RESPONSE to the crisis faced by Oklahoma's 9,000+ Foster Children due to the shortage of good foster homes and lack of community involvement.

Participants are asked to bring a suitcase to pull or carry during the walk - symbolic of the many moves Foster Children endure due to the shortage of foster homes. After the walk the suitcases may be donated to Oklahoma's Foster Children, who often have only a trash bag to use for their personal belongings.

Organizations that serve foster children and families will be present to provide information on ways the community can get involved through praying, volunteering, or becoming a foster or adoptive family.

This event is free, and open to everyone. Participation is free, but registration is required. To register please visit the Walk a Mile in My Shoes website at www.walkamilefostercareevent.com.
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