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Promoting school connections for youth in child welfare Ensuring Educational Stability, Continuity, & Success of Children in Foster Care A COLLABORATIVE.

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Presentation on theme: "Promoting school connections for youth in child welfare Ensuring Educational Stability, Continuity, & Success of Children in Foster Care A COLLABORATIVE."— Presentation transcript:

1 Promoting school connections for youth in child welfare Ensuring Educational Stability, Continuity, & Success of Children in Foster Care A COLLABORATIVE APPROACH

2 Why DCF is here today. Trauma impacts the lives of many children…whether they are in state custody or not. How can our two systems collaborate to support traumatized youth in school and in our local communities?

3 Today’s Presentation 1. Intro Activity 2. School Challenges for youth in DCF care 3. Grief and Loss 4. Attachment and Trauma 5. Behaviors and Diagnoses 6. What To Do 7. Keeping local kids local

4 ACTIVITY What is your favorite food? What is your favorite room in your house? Who is your favorite person? What is your favorite article of clothing? What is your favorite object or material possession?

5 VERMONT’S GOAL: To improve educational stability and academic outcomes for youth in foster care. Reduce student trauma through stability.

6 School Challenges for Youth in Foster Care Frequent changes in home and school placements. Lack of collaboration and coordination among partners. Trauma – its impact on relationship skills and learning.

7 The importance of Educational Stability Vermont youth in foster care are likely to experience 3-7 school placement changes. Higher #’s for older youth. (Data collection incomplete.) Every time a student changes schools they lose approximately 4-6 months of educational progress. High school students who changed schools even once were less than half as likely to graduate /2

8 Foster Care Alumni Studies: Education Outcomes 70% of former foster youth express a desire to attend college Students in foster care General student population ^ Casey Northwest Alumni Study Workshop P_Education Advocacy.ppt

9 GRIEF AND LOSS

10 GRIEVING PATHWAY LOSS Physical Health Significant others Self esteem Shock/Denial Bargaining

11 GRIEVING PATHWAYS con’t Acting out Behaviors Withdrawn behaviors Acting out behaviors Understanding the Loss Developing Coping Skills Managing the Loss

12 ATTACHMENT CYCLE Child has need Signals discomfort Caregiver meets need Child signals comfort Attachment is strengthened

13 ATTACHMENT ACTIVITY Need 2 volunteers to read Baby Matt and Baby Susan Left side of audience is Baby Matt Right side of audience is Baby Susan

14 TRAUMA – EPISODIC AND CHRONIC Overwhelming experience(s) Results in vulnerability and loss of control Interferes with relationships Trauma impacts ability to regulate their emotions. Children exposed to trauma spend energy on survival instead of developmental mastery. Herman, J. (1992). Trauma and Recovery. New York: Basic Books.

15 Trauma impacts the lives of many children…whether they are in state custody or not.

16 Consistency, structure, routine and nurturing promotes healthy brain development. Trauma impacts brain development

17 Behaviors We See Impulsive behaviors Cutting in line Pushing, shoving peers Inappropriate Language Property destruction Disturbing/disrupting the classroom Not making academic progress due to behaviors Difficulty with transitions Eat and sleep issues Difficult peer relationships Class clown at times Totally withdrawn at times

18 Diagnoses Kids Receive Learning disabilities Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Oppositional Defiant Disorder Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Autism spectrum (high functioning) Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Reactive Attachment Disorder Grieving

19 Foster Youth and Special Education 50-85% of Vermont youth in foster care are in some form of special education. (anecdotal, data not in) Many VT DCF youth are being educated in alternative settings. Both CA and MN stats show that youth in care are most likely on an IEPs with an Emotional Disturbance diagnosis.

20 Strategies to Help Youth Succeed in School Develop an understanding of trauma Help youth recognize their strengths Provide student with an educational advocate. Caregivers, mental health, DCF and teachers maintain regular contact share knowledge and resources.

21 Supporting Positive Behaviors in the classroom Preventative measures are critical Greet the child when they enter the room. Ask how their night and morning went. Schedule time with the identified advocate on a regular basis. Daily is ideal.

22 Recognize potential times of stress for students and plan. Test taking is often stressful. Plan for this. Transitions are often unsettling. Plan for this. Unstructured activities i.e. recess, art class, gym are challenging. Plan for this.

23 What can advocates do? Listen to the youth. Collaborate with each other. Help build a support network for the youth. Plan and set goals with the youth. Recognize when a youth is struggling. Know your role and refer youth to other supports when appropriate. Be a consistent presence in the youth’s life.

24 Self Advocacy Teach the youth to be his or her best support for what is important for a successful education experience. Help youth identify their strengths and challenges. Recommended that self-advocacy training begins in 7 th or 8 th grade.

25 Educational Stability for Youth in Care Educational Best Interest Determination form assists that child’s team with making the important decision about where the child should attend school (depending on where they live) and what their needs and strengths are. The MOU between DCF and AOE allows for a child to remain stable even when they do not reside in the same town as their home school.

26 Vermont Ed Stability Data

27 Enhancing Resiliency Stable connections, familiar environment, and predictability are key. If coping skills are more developed, a child is much more resilient. To heal, traumatized youth must feel safe in their bodies.

28 Local Families Keep Kids Local School personnel know their communities and families. You know who the children’s friends are. Help DCF make these connections for the children who are in need. Well respected and supported Caregivers are the best advocates for children and youth in care. KEEP LOCAL KIDS LOCAL

29 Joan Rock Resource Coordinator, Morrisville District


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