Welcome to the fourteenth edition! This newsletter is published by Foster and Adoptive Family Services (FAFS). FAFS’ mission is to provide support, training and advocacy to meet the special needs of foster, adoptive and kinship families, who provide safe, stable and nurturing homes for children in foster care. 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
Being in foster care is challenging enough. Imagine, in addition to having been removed from your home because of abuse and neglect, not feeling secure in what is supposed to be a safe haven. This feeling of vulnerability is a harsh reality for thousands of trans youth in care across the country. In California, efforts are being made to provide the necessary protection for transgender foster youth.
There are many misconceptions about gender identity. A common belief is that people who are transgender choose how they feel. This lack of understanding can correlate with how society, including foster families, treat children who identify as transgender in America. It can even be argued that the debate between adults regarding gender identity has removed the focus from providing quality care for foster children who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning or intersex (LGBTQI).
Nationally, the Foster Care Bill of Rights gives all children in care access to services regardless of race, religion, disability, sexual orientation or gender identity. However, there has been no specific law requiring child welfare agencies to provide supportive homes for children in care who identify as transgender. That is, until now. Continue reading
Adopting a child is a fantastic reason to celebrate. It’s the culmination of an often difficult journey – one fraught with uncertainty, insecurity and frustration for parent and child alike. And while adoption signifies the end of that journey, it also signifies the beginning of another, where coming to terms with a difficult past can be just as difficult as the past itself. Thanks to post-adoption services, you and your adopted child won’t have to go it alone.
Many of the challenges associated with fostering can linger long after you’ve adopted. Adopted children all across the nation can grapple with trust issues, attachment, identity formation, getting used to new family dynamics and maintaining birth family connections. Difficulties that result from earlier experiences may be fresh in their minds as well – effects of early childhood trauma and developmental delays, to name a few. Those looking to better understand common post-adoption problems can get help on this federal website. Continue reading
A large group of children in need of medical attention in the United States aren’t getting it, according to a newly released study. The report, issued by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), indicated that foster children who experience emotional and physical trauma are not being treated for it.
According to the report, anywhere between 30 to 80 percent of children come into foster care with at least one physical health issue, while up to 80 percent enter with a significant mental health need. The report also said that 46 percent to 60 percent of children younger than six years of age have a developmental disability that qualifies them for services.
These physical health issues range from the common, such as asthma, to the severe, such as cerebral palsy. Continue reading
Kinship care is more widespread now than ever, but the challenges facing kinship families are just as varied as they always were. With the rise in the number of extended family members caring for their relatives and close friends comes an increase in the amount of services needed to help these families succeed. It’s never easy helping a child overcome a history of abuse or neglect, but thanks to the new national focus on kinship care, no kinship family has to do it alone.
The focus on kinship care is the result of the Fostering Connections Act of 2011, which stressed the importance of maintaining family connections for children who’d endured abuse or neglect. Since its passage, thousands of American families who’d never asked to be involved in relative care found themselves on the receiving end of phone calls from Child Protective Services. Continue reading
Adolescence is tough. Young people are naturally trying to discover who they are and how they fit in. In this pivotal stage of life, acceptance is essential. Foster kids feel like they have been rejected by their families, and adding bullying to the equation can make an already difficult situation more challenging. It’s a rough world out there, and it’s important to ensure your foster child is prepared to handle the ever-growing trend of bullying when it arises. That’s why Foster and Adoptive Family Services (FAFS) is developing a new bullying prevention course for foster parents in New Jersey.
Bullying is a form of discrimination that impacts thousands of young people in the United States. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, 20% of students from grades 9-12 have experienced some form of bullying. For foster kids who have already endured abuse and neglect, this is an added stress. Continue reading