Grandmothers’ roles are changing from beloved ancestors to authority figures with the recent rise in kinship care among Native American families.
For too many Native Americans, life’s prospects are grim. In 2014, The Washington Post reported that young Native American adults are twice as likely to die before they turn 24 than young adults of other ethnicities. Just as alarming, they also reported that Native American women are more likely to be assaulted and/or sexually abused than other women, and young Native Americans are three times as likely to commit suicide than their counterparts of other races. These devastating statistics can often be traced back to substance abuse.
For a foster child who cannot safely be reunited with his birth parents, and who will not be adopted by his foster parents, it is often a very long wait for permanency. Even if there is a relative, family friend or foster to adopt family willing and able to take him in, if they live in another state, bureaucracy can slow the process to a near halt, leaving the child unnecessarily waiting for his forever family.
In an attempt to lessen that wait, United States Senators. Kirsten Gillibrand, Al Franken and Gary Peters recently introduced the Modernizing the Interstate Placement of Children in Foster Care Act. This legislation would make it easier for child welfare agencies to place children in out-of-state homes by requiring all States to have a centralized database of children in foster care. Continue reading
Pairing the new with the experienced in foster parent mentoring programs has many benefits.
In the foster care community, mentors are commonly thought of as adult role models and companions for foster children and teens. However, other types of mentors are also in demand. Seasoned foster parents are increasingly being called upon to become mentors for their less experienced counterparts.
Foster parent mentoring programs are available throughout the United States. The purpose of these programs is twofold: to support and encourage new foster parents and to keep experienced foster parents engaged and active. Continue reading
The use of psychotropic medication on children in foster care is a widely debated topic. Some feel that foster children are medicated simply to make it easier for their foster parents, school officials and caseworkers to handle their behavior. Others feel that these vulnerable young people, having been victims of abuse and neglect at the hands of the people they love the most, need medication to help them cope with what they’ve experienced. No matter what your opinion is on the matter, there is little argument that the long-term effects of these drugs on young people needs to be carefully studied and the benefits and drawbacks carefully assessed. Continue reading