While most of her peers were worrying about earning a place on the soccer team, making new friends and passing the next algebra test, Kristine Gunningham was facing far bigger obstacles.
First, her parents separated. It was difficult for Kristine to come to terms with the idea that her mother and father might never be together again. But what happened next was still more traumatizing.
“Shortly after my parents separated my mom was diagnosed with colon cancer.” Kristine said.
Nothing could be more devastating for a 14-year-old girl. Continue reading
A recently released national study shows that former foster youth appear to have a higher risk of chronic health conditions above what is generally attributed to those in economic poverty. With a raised awareness of these foster care health issues, authors of the report hope policymakers will tailor programs to help these at-risk youth avoid chronic medical problems. For foster parents, acting now will likely help reduce future health problems in their foster children.
Foster care health issues are not a new topic. Coming from higher rates of poverty and experiencing abuse and neglect exacts a toll on the physical and mental well-being of foster children, various studies have shown. However, a new report has revealed that the damage doesn’t stop there.
Those kids who were raised in the foster care system will often carry their health issues with them into adulthood, more so than children who are not in foster care.
The study, published in the journal Pediatrics, investigated cardiovascular health of three groups of young adults: former foster care adults and non-foster care adults who came from both financially stable and financially unstable backgrounds. Continue reading
Many people considering adoption quickly find out that there are three avenues to do so: adoption from foster care, private domestic adoption and international adoption. We hear about international adoption in the news as it gains traction in celebrity circles, but we hear much less about adoption from foster care, where the need is much greater. Here’s why you should choose adopting from foster care over international adoption.
Americans adopted more than a quarter million children from countries other than the US over the last 15 years – what does this say about people’s perceptions of the US child welfare system?
At this very moment there are more than 1,000 foster children awaiting adoption in New Jersey and ten times that amount across the rest of the nation. When the need is so high here at home, why are Americans adopting children from other countries? A US Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) study suggests misconceptions about foster care are leaving potential adoptive parents looking elsewhere to expand their families.
According to the National Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) Association, there are approximately 1,900 children that become victims of abuse or neglect every day in the United States. 646,000 neglected and abused children end up in foster care each year. These staggeringly high numbers attest to the fact this issue is an increasing concern in the country. Each April, during National Child Abuse Prevention Month, the nation focuses on fighting the growing trend of child abuse.
In 1974, President Richard Nixon signed the first federal child protection legislation known as the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA). The first National Child Abuse Prevention week occurred in June of 1982, and the following year President Ronald Regan officially named April National Child Abuse Prevention Month. After 40 years, the CAPTA is going strong fighting for the rights of the many children that have suffered abuse.
Although the harsh reality of child abuse is brought to the forefront in April of every year, it will take communities to band together to constantly advocate for those whose voices have been taken away. To help bring awareness to this issue, the Protect Our Children Act evaluates current programs and prevention efforts and recommends an effective strategy to prevent child abuse and neglect fatalities throughout the nation.
To report abuse in your area, you can either contact your local child welfare agency, your law enforcement agency or your state’s child abuse reporting hotline. Each state has appointed professionals (e.g., social workers, physicians and child care providers) that are required by law to report child abuse. In Wyoming and New Jersey, every person is mandated to report abuse or neglect. In New Jersey, you can dial 1-877 NJ ABUSE (1-877-652-2873), and your report can be taken anonymously.
Every child has a right to feel safe enough to sleep at night – without the fear of being a victim of any form of abuse.
Get more insight on the types of abuse that exist and who it affects most on the Prevent Child Abuse America’s website.
Kinship is a method of care that emphasizes familial bonding and the preservation and strengthening of close relationships between caregivers and children in the child welfare system. There are varying types and degrees of kinship. This article will explain what kinship is and the benefits of becoming a licensed kinship caregiver.
What is Kinship: The Go-To Solution for Out-of-Home Placement
Most of us can agree that living in a close-knit family environment is a crucial stepping stone on the pathway to a strong future. With this logic in mind, child welfare organizations decided that if a child must be removed from her birth parents it would be best to keep her in the care of someone she knows. The decision led to an increase in the number of children and families involved in kinship care, where children are raised by relatives or close family friends when their birth parents are unwilling or unable to do so.
Studies suggest that the new focus on kinship care has worked well for children and their families. It is associated with a reduction in the number of out-of-home placements a child experiences, an increase in the likelihood of reunification with her birth parents and an increase in a child’s ability to maintain connections to her community, school and family – all hugely important parts of becoming a confident adult. Continue reading
Flood waters begin to rise into your home, and police lines are busy because first responders are out in the field during the hurricane. What are you and your family supposed to do while all this is happening? Where are you supposed to go? Who are you supposed to turn to? What do you do after it’s passed and pieces of your home and life are in rubble?
These are very real questions people ask in the face of disasters, both natural and man-made. That’s why organizations across the country offer Preparedness Courses. In NJ, Foster and Adoptive Family Services created the free Disaster Preparedness home correspondence and online courses for NJ licensed resource families.
The idea for the course started in March 2013.
“This was right after (Hurricane) Sandy,” trainer and course author Megan Ryan said. “There was a realization that there was a need.”
Disaster Preparedness Courses for Resource Parents : The Initial Courses
The first course in the four course series primarily focuses on what to do before an emergency. This includes things such as preparing an emergency kit, drafting a disaster plan and identifying your community’s plan. Continue reading