Author Archives: Frank Alvarez
Fostering Love on Sesame Street
For more than 50 years, Sesame Street has been the home of a very diverse population. From a childlike red monster, a friendly yellow bird and a green grouch to people of all ages, colors and occupations, the classic TV show makes a concerted effort to depict everyone being treated with compassion and respect. This year, there’s a new neighbor on Sesame Street – Elmo’s friend Karli, a Muppet who is also a foster child.Continue reading
FFPSA Update: National Licensing Standards Underway
A major milestone has been crossed in the implementation of the Family First Prevention Services Act (FFPSA). States have been informed of the model licensing standards for foster parents and they must begin developing nationally-compliant licensing regulations in their own child welfare systems.Continue reading
Crossing Lines: When Interstate Adoptions Go Wrong
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
The Future of Fostering: Foster Care Family Match
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.
Understanding Childhood Trauma: ACEs and Foster Children
Foster care may come with a stigma, especially for older youth. In the minds of many, foster children can be thought to be “too much to handle” or unruly. Whether this is because of special medical needs or certain behavioral issues, the lives of these children are consistently misunderstood. As child welfare professionals have come to learn, many of the stereotypical behaviors people believe are innate components of foster children are the result of the way these children have been treated. As they grow from toddlers to teenagers, the childhood trauma they’ve experienced can and often does affect their behaviors and needs.
Foster Children Experience Childhood Trauma
Foster children experience trauma far more often than others, and this trauma can shape not only their behavior but also their worldview. Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) occurs in foster children at very high rates – a grim testament to their experiences. To give context to – and promote understanding for – their situation, it is important to know how trauma functions for children in care and what states can do to prevent these traumas before they can happen.