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Maintaining a Long Term Commitment to Children in Care: Factors that Influence the Continued Capacity of Foster Parents who are Raising Children with FAS/FAE.

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Presentation on theme: "Maintaining a Long Term Commitment to Children in Care: Factors that Influence the Continued Capacity of Foster Parents who are Raising Children with FAS/FAE."— Presentation transcript:

1 Maintaining a Long Term Commitment to Children in Care: Factors that Influence the Continued Capacity of Foster Parents who are Raising Children with FAS/FAE in Rural and Reserve Environments n Kathleen Jones, Ph.D., RSW n West Region Child and Family Services

2 West Region Child and Family Services –Keeseekowenin First Nations –Waywayseecappo First Nations –Gambler First Nations –Ebb and Flow First Nations –Rolling River First Nations –Crane River First Nations –Skownan First Nations –Pine Creek First Nations –Valley River First Nations

3 West Region Child and Family Services Assets of the Agency –Family Resource Centre in most communities –Community worker in each community –Block Funding formula –Most staff are aboriginal many community members –Most staff have BSW, some working on MSW –Support from Leadership –Commitment to creative practice among staff

4 West Region CFS- FASD Program West North Physical Mental Parents Community South East Social Emotional Professionals The child Support to Families -Family Centred Diagnostic Program (Diagnosis) -Parent Advocacy (Training) -Community Based Support Supports to Professionals -Consulting (Training) -Specialized Programming -Partnerships with community programs Supports to Children -Case planning support (Support to Families) -Referrals for diagnosis (Diagnosis) -Long term planning (Support to Families) Building a Healthy Community -Workshops (Training) -Reclaiming our Voices (Prevention) -Womens Lodge (Prevention)

5 The Gift of the Child with FASD Traditional teachings tell us that children with FASD are a special gift from the creator Each child comes into a family with their own special role in the family and the community. Children may be brought into the world to take on leadership roles. They may be entrusted with the responsibility to nurture and support others. They may be placed on Turtle Island to help the community struggle with imbalances due to addictions, poverty and difficult life circumstances. Our role, as caring community members, is to find, understand, and recognize the gifts in all of our children.

6 West Region Child and Family Services Goals of the FASD Program `Reduction of children born with FASD `Reduction of children coming into care `Increase the capacity of families and caregivers caring for children with FASD `Increase supports for children with FASD in the school and community `Increased support to children with FASD in and out of care Reduction of unplanned moves for children with FASD

7 Purpose of the Study n To explore all of the personal, relational, and situational factors that influence the capacity of foster parents to maintain a stable and nurturing environment for their foster children with FAS/FAE

8 Context to the Study a Children born with FAS/FAE experience a range of disabilities that compromise their intellectual, physical, social-emotional, and behavioural capacities. (Streissguth, 1992, Barth, 1991) a Children with FASD are 2.1 times more likely to face emotional/physical abuse early in life a Families living in rural environments have fewer professional services than families in urban environments (Trute, Adkins, & McDonald, 1994)

9 Context to the Study a 90% of all FAS/FAE children have had some involvement with child protection services by their 5th birthday (Jones, McClullough and Dewoody, 1992) a 80% of children with FAS/FAE are living in alternative care settings (foster care) (Stratton, Howe, Battaglia,1996) a Children with FASD stay in Foster homes longer, are the most likely to face multiple home placements and the least likely to be adopted a A Manitoba study showed that at least 20% of children with FAS/FAE in care have experienced more than 9 placements in their childhood.(Children and Youth Secretariat, 1998)

10 Context to the Study a 80% of children with FAS/FAE who enter the Child Welfare system do not return home. (Besharow and Boehler, 1994) a Living in a stable, nurturing home for over 72% of life is a universal protective factor in reducing poor outcomes in adults with FAS/FAE (Streissguth, Barr, Kogan, & Bookstein, 1997)

11 Study Methodology a A qualitative, multiple case study methodology an inquiring process of understanding a social or human problem based on building a complex, holistic picture, formed with words, reporting detailed views of informants and conducted in a naturalistic setting (Cresswell, 1994, pg. 1)

12 Study Methodology Collective Case Study Approach aIntensive interviews (4-6 hours) aField Notes aFile review of child file

13 Study Methodology- Subject Selection a Study of eight foster families representing 14 children with FAS/FAE ranging in age from bFostering for longer than 5 years bAll fostered for same FN-CFS agency b4 families living in rural environments b4 families living in reserve environments

14 The ecology of human development involves the scientific study of the progressive, mutual accommodation between an active, growing human being and the changing properties of the immediate settings in which the developing person lives, as this process is affected by the relations between these settings, and by the larger contexts in which the settings are embedded (Bronfenbrenner, 1979, pg 21) Employing an Ecological Framework

15 An Ecological Framework The Child The Family The School & Community The Child The Family The School & Community Child Welfare Supports

16 Domain One: The Complex Child My sister-in-law has children with FAS and its so visible. My kids seem so normal a Problems with Emotional Reciprocity AggressionHyperactivity StubbornSocial Skill Concerns Poor MemoryPhysical/Medical Needs Sleep disorders

17 Domain Two: Family Commitment a High level of stability in families amarriage strengthened achild/family focused aHigh reliance on family and friends a All saw relationship with child as exclusive a High level of commitment to culture among on reserve families a Gendered Parenting

18 Domain Three: The Community as Support a Generally low level of professional supports, preference for family support a Rural families saw community as a safe place to raise children a Reserve based families saw community as a place to maintain cultural connections

19 Domain Three: The School as Support a High level of frustration with schools a The ability to read seen as important indicator of academic success a Recognition of the role of the school as a community resource in rural/reserve areas a General need for supports targeted to teenagers- problems in school linked to delinquent behaviour

20 Domain Four: Child Welfare Support a Desire for workers that are committed to family (not always child specific focus) a Families appreciated the contact, wanted better working relationship with worker a Problems with philosophic underpinnings of foster care and fostering

21 Linking the Domains: An Ecological Approach a Families appeared to be able to support children in home but harder in community a Lack of early intervention/support led to problems in adolescence-Particularly for children living away from their culture a Children that had difficulty with emotional reciprocity/aggression appeared to be the highest risk as teens. a a Policies in community agencies often exascerbated problems for families

22 An Ecological Approach Community influences Poor emotional reciprocity Poor social skills Better social skills Strong emotional connections Parent as advocate Declining parental role Social network support Active parent involvement Few parental supports Actively attending school Healthy friends Early Intervention in school Early diagnosis Healthy lifestyle Drinking/ drug use Community influences Poor recreational supports School drop-out Vandalism No/Little support in school Poor community supports Cultural connections

23 Conclusions- Recommendations a Need to increase community supports to better accommodate the child and family a Increased involvement with First Nation community a Early intervention in schools a Targeted support for teenagers (rethink role of family) a Targeted support to children with difficulties showing emotions a Increased collaboration between CFS and families, CFS and community supports

24 Future Research a Study looking at the role of foster fathers in raising high need children a Study looking at subsets of children with FASD particularly children showing difficulty with emotional reciprocity a Comparing outcomes of children in urban areas or families that were not successful in keeping children

25 Future Information Kathy Jones, Ph.D. RSW West Region Child and Family Services Rolling River First Nations Erikson, Manitoba, Canada

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