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All Saints Church Foster Care Project 1 Session I Volunteer Leadership Training Supported in full with funds received from the Pasadena Tournament of Roses.

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Presentation on theme: "All Saints Church Foster Care Project 1 Session I Volunteer Leadership Training Supported in full with funds received from the Pasadena Tournament of Roses."— Presentation transcript:

1 All Saints Church Foster Care Project 1 Session I Volunteer Leadership Training Supported in full with funds received from the Pasadena Tournament of Roses ® Foundation.

2 The Foster Care System 2 How does the foster care system work? Who are the key stakeholders? What are most effective ways for volunteers to work with stakeholders?

3 3 All Saints Church Foster Care Project Leadership Training Part 1: Objectives  Deepen Point Person’s awareness of how the foster care system works.  Review and discuss foster care stakeholder’s roles and constraints to strengthen Point Person’s ability to work effectively with these stakeholders.  Build understanding of how Point Persons can help volunteers anticipate and respond more effectively to some typical foster youth behaviors. Share “better practices” for dealing with recurring challenges.

4 Foster Care In Los Angeles And California* 4 * Foster Care in California: Achievements and Challenges by Caroline Danielson and Helen Lee, Public Policy Institute, 2010;

5 Abuse Reports, Entry Rates And Declining Foster Care Population* 5  In the context of the state’s entire population of children, foster care placement is relatively rare (<5%).  Over half of children entering foster care for the first time leave to be reunified with their birth parents. * Foster Care in California: Achievements and Challenges by Caroline Danielson and Helen Lee, Public Policy Institute, 2010;  Children in in foster care declined from over 100,000 children in 2000 to about 60,000 in July 2009.  With about 10 million children under age 18 in California, this is equivalent to six of every 1,000 children in state care, compared to 10.9 of every 1,000 children in July 2000.

6 Placement Types And Durations* 6  Average time in system until reunification, adoption or guardianship is decreasing (25%-40%, 2000 – 2007). * Foster Care in California: Achievements and Challenges by Caroline Danielson and Helen Lee, Public Policy Institute, 2010;

7 Youth Aging Out Of Foster Care* 7 * The Fleecing of Foster Youth; How We Confiscate Their Assets and Undermine Their Financial Security; by Children’s Advocacy Institute, 2011.  Educational attainment. Although most foster youth express a desire to attend college, only about 3% earn four-year degrees.  Employment. By age 24, less than half of foster care alumni are employed — and they earn less than half, on average, than their peers with no history of foster care.  Housing/homelessness. By age 24, 37% of foster care alumni experienced homelessness or had “couch surfed.”  Health outcomes. Many experience chronic health problems as a result of the abuse and neglect they endured. Up to 85% of foster youth experience mental health issues.  Credit issues. Identity theft is a growing problem among foster youth — a problem that many do not discover until they exit care. When applying for a college loan, an apartment, or a car loan they discover that their credit has been destroyed.

8 The Foster Care System: Key Stakeholders And Roles DCFS - Dept. of Children’s & Family Services: Responsible for providing all mandated services and legally responsible for foster child’s welfare Children’s Court: Presiding Judge: Oversees placement, special treatment Foster Parent(s)-Kinship Care: Shelter, food, medical care, school attendance Therapist: Provides psychological counseling and support Foster Care Agency:* Provides social worker- additional care for needier youth Educational Rights Holder: Assures child receives legally required education DCFS Social Worker: Visits foster home; talks with child on regular basis to assure care delivery Attorney: Reports to court every 6 months School: Provides education FosterChild 8 Social worker, police Neighbor, teacher, family member,

9 The Foster Care System: Key Stakeholders and Roles DCFS - Dept. of Children’s & Family Services: Responsible for providing all mandated services and legally responsible for foster child’s welfare Children’s Court: Presiding Judge: Oversees placement, special treatment Therapist: P rovides psychological counseling and support Foster Care Agency:* Provides social worker- additional care for needier youth Educational Rights Holder: Assures child receives legally required education DCFS Social Worker: Visits foster home; talks with child on regular basis to assure care delivery Attorney: Reports to court every 6 months School: Provides education FosterChild 9 Social worker, police Neighbor, teacher, family member FCP-Single Events -Birthday Club -Shopping Spree -Angel Tree -Adopt a Child Abuse Case Worker FCP -5 Acres -Hillsides -My Friends Place - Maryvale Foster Parent(s)-Kinship Care : Shelter, food, medical care, school attendance

10 Trends For Foster Caregivers* 10 * Foster Care in California: Achievements and Challenges by Caroline Danielson and Helen Lee, Public Policy Institute, 2010;  Available foster families have significantly declined in past decade (“serious problem”, Children’s Court Judge)  Foster agencies grew significantly, but now are under much greater surveillance and financial pressure from government agencies

11 Example Foster Care Project Agency Partners: Five Acres 11  Mission  Five Acres is dedicated to empowering families raising children to become caring and productive adults by building on their strengths and those of their families and communities. Five Acres works to prevent child abuse and neglect, care for, treat and educate emotionally disturbed, abused and neglected children and their families in residential and outreach programs, and to strive for the highest standards of excellence by professionals and volunteers.  Foster Care Services:

12 Example Foster Care Project Agency Partners: Maryvale 12  Mission: Maryvale’s mission is to help each child achieve fulfillment, dignity, and self-esteem in an environment of stability, love, and respect.  Maryvale was founded in 1856 by the Daughters of Charity as the first orphanage for the growing city of Los Angeles. The Vincentian Core Values of respect, compassionate service, simplicity, advocacy for the poor and inventiveness to infinity form the foundation for the organization.  Youth, Services, Volunteer Roles  Girls between the ages of 6 to 17 years are placed at Maryvale  Senior Friends: to tutor and help with transition to independent living.

13 Example Foster Care Project Agency Partners: My Friend’s Place 13  Mission: My Friend's Place assists and inspires homeless youth to build self-sufficient lives.  Youth, Services: In collaboration with the leading social service providers and educational institutions in the region and over 500 volunteers, My Friend’s Place offers a free and comprehensive continuum of care that combines emergency necessities with therapeutic, health and education services through three program areas:  Safe Haven Program  Transformative Education Program  Health & Well Being Program  Volunteer Roles  Support in tutoring; special events; holiday events and gifts; bag lunches

14 How Does The Foster Care System Impact Youth And Those Working With Them? 14  What challenges does the system pose for those working with foster youth?  Point Persons  Volunteers  What value do volunteers bring?  Provide the only unpaid caring presence in the youth’s life  Helps youth feel more positive about life and other people

15 How Can Volunteers Help Most?-- “The Dos”? 15  Bring a “great” (loving) heart and open mind  Active listening: listen to what they want, not what you want them to hear.  Calm, non-judgmental and caring: accept the child and family where they are; believe in their best possibilities.  Be patient and calm; it may take a long time to connect emotionally.  Remain open to helping any child.  Be consistent and do what you say you will do.  Respect “boundaries” or roles established for volunteer and youth.  Hold realistic expectations about role.  Make promises you can keep.

16 What Doesn’t Help: “The Don’ts” 16  Understand basic rules: “what you should not do”  Do not put yourself or the child in jeopardy.  Understand legally what you can and can’t do  Remain very ethical; follow all rules; don’t help child circumvent rules to be liked by the child.  Don’t cause misunderstanding with inappropriate caring gestures or promises that you can’t keep.  Don’t give money or lavish gifts.  Don’t take child to your home without permission.  If involved with reunified youth, don’t get into case work elements directly with parents; must work directly with social worker.  Maintain caring but appropriate emotional boundaries.  Don’t take rebuffs personally.  Don’t fall in love so much, that when child has to move on, it becomes a traumatic situation.

17 Challenges For Foster Care Point Persons 17  How can we help prospective volunteers become engaged, responsible volunteer-participants in FCP programs?  What understandings – skills are required to work effectively with agencies and representatives?

18 18 Working With The Foster Care System: Understanding The Foster Youth

19 Questions For Reflection: Case Studies 19 1. What emotional challenges might the youth be facing? 2. What should a volunteer be sensitive to? 3. When should a volunteer consult with the Point Person, Agency or Social Worker about these behaviors?

20 What Leads To A Healthy Emotional Development In A Child? 20 * Extensive information about varied behaviors related to abuse and neglect available from Facts for Families, American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychology, http://www.aacap.org/cs/root/facts_for_families/facts_for_families Attachment -- affectionate and emotional ties between people that continues indefinitely over time, even when people are apart Develops in a cycle: - We feel a need; we express a need. - The need is met and we relax, until we feel the next need. Helps a child develop trust in others and become self-reliant. Trust -- the first essential building block in a child’s development Attachment and trust allow the child to develop a conscience, become independent, deal with stress, think logically, develop an ability for future relationships.

21 What Happens With Loss, Abuse And Neglect? When a child experiences situational loss—unplanned, out of her control, such as being separated from the birth family or moved from a foster home—she can have trouble trusting adults, become frightened easily, become confused. She can experience feelings of anger, frustration, depression or sadness and harmful behaviors. Abuse and neglect stop the growth of attachment and trust and thus affect all areas of human development. This affects the ability to trust, develop self-esteem and form relationships with others. This is true if the abuse is witnessed as well as experienced. Emotional needs: Adults committed to these children need to help them catch up developmentally and not trigger any additional loss or destruction of attachment.

22 How Does Abuse-Neglect Impact Foster Youth?* 22  Child Abuse and Neglect: Behaviors showing the hidden bruises*  Poor self image and low self esteem  Inability to trust or love  Anger  Passive, withdrawn or clingy behavior  Fear of entering new relationships, social isolation  Frequent sadness, anxiety, fears; poor concentration  Sleep problems: flashbacks and nightmares  Depression: hopelessness, inability to enjoy any activities  Red Flag Behaviors: require additional help-immediate attention  Rage, aggression, self destructive behavior, suicidal thoughts  Drug and alcohol abuse  Changes in sleeping or eating patterns * Extensive information about varied behaviors related to abuse and neglect available from Facts for Families, American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychology, http://www.aacap.org/cs/root/facts_for_families/facts_for_families

23 Case Study 1 23  Child is raised in home, low income, very young mother not able to parent well.  Taken from home early, age 5.  Assessment does not identify the trauma to child at 3-4 so no treatment is offered.  Moved among foster care homes—has up to 9 placements— because not acting age-appropriate, not what foster families expect of behavior.  Learns not to attach to anyone or trust anyone because they won’t be there when you need them.  Moved to treatment facility and learns how to function in society but does not ever move to trusting anyone.

24 Case Study 2 24  Child is born to mother using drugs who neglects her, sometimes for days.  Grandmother steps in and takes child out of home, raises her with older siblings.  She attaches to her grandmother but grandmother cannot sustain the larger family.  At 9, child is taken from Grandmother and put in DCFS care.  SW investigates and places child into emergency placement (any bed available).  Moved to a family with other foster children.  Wants to set own destiny and make own decisions.  Grades not good; makes a few “bad” choices, finds a job at 14.  Family is not able to “control” her, according to the SW.  Moved to facility for rest of high school; wants to be independent.

25 Case Study 3 25  Removed from home at 2.  In several foster care placements.  Adopted at 8.  At 12-13 (puberty) starts to act out the repressed abuse received at 4.  Regresses to the emotional level of abuse; had few skills to deal with it.  Adopted family cannot deal with acting out and returns child to the system.  Child receives treatment. By 16-17, too many bridges have been burned and child does not return to family; the family is not in touch.  Ages out with less support from the system than child who was not adopted.

26 Debrief Of Case Studies: Responsibilities Of Point Persons 26  Communicate role expectations clearly with agency  Establish clear behavioral expectations with agency/organization about FCP and volunteer roles  Communicate role expectations clearly with volunteers  Provide guidelines about activity roles and responsibilities  Share volunteer guidelines: dos and don’ts  Make sure they know who to call with questions (start with Point Person for all questions related to Agency)  Encourage sharing of “effective practices” among the volunteers  Empower all with a caring, problem solving presence

27 Resources For Understanding The Foster Care System And Agencies 27 Publications and References  Facts for Families, American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychology, www.aacap.org  Resource Directory: A Guide for Current and Emancipated Foster Youth, California Department of Social Services, www.fosteryouthhelp.ca.govwww.fosteryouthhelp.ca.gov  Education: California School Rights and Responsibilities, Public Counsel Law Center, Los Angeles, 2009-2010  Fleecing Foster Children, Children’s Advocacy Institute, First Star, USD Law School, 2011  Resources for Youth in Transition, Los Angeles County Counsel  Foster Care in California: Achievements and Challenges, Public Policy Institute, Caroline Danielson and Helen Lee, Public Policy Institute, 2010 Organizations with foster care resources: The Annie E. Casey Foundation (www.aecf.org), Casey Family Programs (www.casey.org), Casey Family Services (www.caseyfamilyservices.org) and Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Intiative (www.jimcaseyyouth.org)www.aecf.orgwww.casey.orgwww.caseyfamilyservices.orgwww.jimcaseyyouth.org

28 Leadership Training Part 1 Feedback 28  What was most helpful? (keep -- do more of)  What could be handled differently? (change or eliminate)


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