Welcome to News From Our Heart! This newsletter is published by Foster and Adoptive Family Services (FAFS). FAFS’ mission is to provide advocacy and enriching programs and services to empower families and youth to thrive. We hope that you will find this information to be both interesting and informative. To learn more about FAFS, please visit www.fafsonline.org. Have questions or comments? Contact Us
On March 26th, 2018, Jen Hart drove her SUV, with her family inside, off a cliff in Mendocino County, California. Jen and her wife Sarah were the adoptive mothers of two groups of siblings – Markis, Abigail and Hannah and Jermiah, Ciera and Devonte (Jermiah and Ciera were renamed “Jeremiah” and “Sierra” by the Harts). Although originally from Minnesota and living in Washington at the time of the incident, Jen and Sarah adopted all six children from Texas – even as Jermiah, Ciera and Devonte’s aunt was trying to work with that state to have them placed with her. The Minnesotan adoption agency responsible for them had a history of violations. As the Hart’s moved from Minnesota to Oregon to Washington, the tenuous nature of interstate adoptions between child welfare systems would become even clearer.
Their tragic story is easily one of the most horrific stories to come from our nation’s foster care system, but it has brought national attention to one major player in national child welfare system: the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC). Initially conceived of almost 60 years ago, the ICPC finds itself under scrutiny today as more accounts emerge of how this agreement sometimes works against the best interests of the children interstate adoption is supposed to serve. Continue reading
Technology is continuously changing the way we live our lives, whether it’s how we watch movies or the ways we form relationships. In this digital era, Dr. Rebecca Reeder has used one intriguing new service to discover a new, loving relationship – “He moved in officially September 3 but we started meeting the last week of July,” Reeder told First Coast News.
She’s speaking about her now-adopted son Nick, 15, a young man who, after spending seven years in foster care, has come to find his forever family with Dr. Reeder thanks to a new online matchmaking service known as Family-Match.
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transsexual and Questioning (LGBTQ) teens in the United States are three times more likely to live in foster care than their heterosexual counterparts, according to a newly released study.
The study, published in the medical journal Pediatrics, found that these teens are also three times as likely to have considered suicide.
According to a report from Reuters: “Roughly a third of teens living in foster care are LGBT(QI), the research found. Overall, 11 percent of the U.S. population is LGBT(QI), according to U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data.”
The report, based on a study of 600,000 students ages 10 to 18 in California, also found these youth suffer from higher substance abuse issues, perform worse in school and experience poorer mental health.
According to the study, teens revealing their sexuality to their families can result in harassment as well as homelessness.
“We need to start examining whether LGBTQ youth are more likely to be removed from their families of origin, or whether they are more likely to get ‘stuck’ in the system by not getting permanent placements, or both,” Stephen Wilson, a public policy faculty member at UCLA School of Law and author of the report, told The Daily Texan.
Many LGBTQI adults who understand the specific trauma and issues of these youth often foster and adopt. However, there has been a fight across the country to prevent these parents from adopting.
Most recently President Donald Trump’s administration granted a request from the governor of South Carolina to allow federally funded child welfare agencies to deny parents services based on religious beliefs.
To learn more about the South Carolina adoption fight, click here.
As the climate surrounding illegal immigration remains heated and unresolved, more and more immigrants are detained at the border or have their undocumented status discovered, resulting in arrest and possible deportation. In cases where these adults are parents, US born and non-native children are scattered, sometimes miles away from their families, sometimes in completely unfamiliar homes.
Such was the case for six-year-old Wilder Maldonado and his father when they turned themselves in after crossing the border, not realizing how strict border security had become. Wilder spent 7 months in a United States foster home until being reunited with his family in eastern El Salvador , according to a ProPublica article. But this reunification, like many others, was not an easy transition for the boy who had experienced certain physical comforts like his favorite – long, warm showers – that he may never have again.
Whether many people realize it or not, there is a book somewhere in their house – or their parent’s house – that holds in its pages their history. These books, commonly called photo albums, are often pulled out at embarrassing moments to remind them of a not-so-great haircut or unfortunate fashion choices.
But these books are also a reminder of something else – something much more important.
These children were – are- loved.
For foster kids who are often shuffled from home to home across the country, there are no records of how much they grew between 1st or 2nd grade, or what Halloween costume they wore as toddlers because there are often no photo albums that travel with them to serve as a reminder.
A recently released study shows that California foster youth who remain in care after they turn 18 are better educated, more likely to be employed and wealthier than their peers who exit the system at 18.
The study, conducted by Chaplin Hill at the University of Chicago, used data from the California Youth Transitions to Adulthood Study (CalYOUTH) to track more than 40,000 foster youth in California’s Child Welfare Services/Case Management System over five years.
According to the report, youth who remained in care increased the amount of money they had in their bank accounts by $404, decreased their odds of being homeless by 28 percent and reduced their chances of being arrested by 41 percent.