As I stated in Part One, America’s system for caring for foster children is in serious need of change. The system is based on archaic practices, often contrary to the best interest of children and contradictory to current science; and by and large, does more damage than benefit to children! But, I do believe there is the will and opportunity to improve our Child Welfare-Foster Care system, and here is how we should do it.
Tag: therapeutic foster care
“Foster Care” has come a long way over the past couple of centuries and is yet experiencing another significant transformation. Foster care in the USA has its origins in English Poor Law, which basically allowed an abandoned or orphaned child to be forced into indentured servitude until they became of age. Kids basically became slaves for the individuals housing them. The argument in favor of this practice was that this arrangement provided children with the “basic skills they needed to survive in life.” America’s first foster child was Benjamin Eaton, age 7, in the Jamestown Colony.
I find it rather fascinating that Treatment or Therapeutic Foster Care is finally coming into vogue in California; I mean, the state is 30+ years late to the party. Seriously.
Over the past four years, California has undertaken a colossal effort to “reform” the state’s foster care system. Much has been written about this initiative, so I won’t dive into the details. In essence, the Continuum of Care Reform (or CCR as it is referred to) will, theoretically at least, move thousands of youth from group homes/congregate care to family-based services; it will recast group homes as short-term residential treatment programs (STRTP) to prevent kids from being raised in group homes; it will make it easier for youth placed with relatives to receive appropriate services; and it will introduce new levels of provider accountability, all to ensure a faster, more efficient way to achieve permanency for foster children and youth. It sounds great, actually. And as a concept, it is great, but…
In full disclosure, by day I am a licensed therapist and work in a therapeutic foster care program; and by night I am an adoptive and foster parent. As a therapist, I have quoted evidence-based practices and suggested all sorts of strength-based and solution-focused interventions to foster parents, adoptive parents, bio-parents and, in moments of desperation, even to my wife. As a parent, I have also given the proverbial eye roll to the same advice when given to me.
I have often wondered how unbearable life would be without the skill, commitment, tenacity and hard work of Social Workers, position embedded in so many essential activities of our society. They work with children and seniors, the sick and impaired, victims and the exploited, the unemployed and those in recovery, schoolchildren, the dying and the mourning; in hospitals, in schools, in impoverished areas, in remote villages and our metropolitan areas.
When I was asked to write a blog [this being my first one ever] about why I work for the Family Care Network and try to “be the difference,” I was apprehensive, because the reason is very personal for me. It is something I have shared with very few people. Most of the people I work closely with at Family Care Network don’t know the reason for my commitment to this agency. Up until right now, I have chosen to share my story only with my closest friends and family. I guess I have been afraid of being judged; hopefully a very unrealistic fear. So, here’s my sto
I must really be getting old fast, because time is accelerating at warp speed. Seriously, 2014 can’t be coming to an end; the past year seems like a blur. It almost feels like we went from 2013 to 2015. Yes – 2015! Let’s say goodbye to another year. Be careful, in a nod and a wink it will be 2016.
As years go, 2014 was a good one. We started out in grand style, holding our Grand Opening in our new Administrative Headquarters and Conference Center. Nearly 500 people showed up to help us celebrate this accomplishment.
The classic Christmas song, “I’ll be Home for Christmas,” may be bring up sentimental images of Bing Crosby and falling snow, but for a foster child, the longing for “home” is very real. As foster parents, we often feel a lot of pressure to try to make the holidays as “normal” as possible for our families while also considering the needs of the traumatized child who is living with us. Here are a few practical ideas for foster families during the holidays:
Americans love to celebrate stuff; special months, special days, special events, special causes, holidays… just about anything can be and is celebrated. This is good; celebration heartens the sole. So, can I invite you to celebrate with me an invisible class of amazing people; a group of selfless, hard-working, passionate folks who are not really on our radar screens, surely not the medias’; individuals who make life-changing impact every day in the lives of hundreds of children–Foster Parents!