The Child Welfare Information Gateway has a new web page with resources to help professionals and parents support and promote normal childhood experience for youth in foster care. The page highlights the provision of the 2014 Strengthening Families Act that allows caregivers and foster parents to use a reasonable and prudent parent standard as they make decisions to allow young people to participate in age-appropriate activities that were too often off-limits for youth in care.
One of the most important things a caregiver of children and youth in foster care can do is to help them heal from trauma. If you can give the children in your home nurturance, structure, predictability, they have a chance of building good things inside themselves. We want to help you foster such an environment! Click here for a quick read that will explain some of the basics and give you tips by the author of “The Boy Who Was Raised as a Dog” and“Born to Love”, Dr. Bruce Perry.
Another important factor in bringing good outcomes for our children and youth is education. According to the National Working Group on Foster Care and Education’s October 2011 report, “Success in school can be a positive counterweight to the abuse, neglect, separation and impermanence experienced by children and youth in foster care. Click here for the entire report.
It Takes An `Ohana (ITAO) became a part of Family Programs Hawaii’s (FPH) in 2010, allowing ITAO to renew our concentration on our core mission with greater support and resources. Click here to check us out on Facebook.
The 10th Annual Ohana is Forever conference was held on July 15, 2016. It provided tools to guide youth and the adults who support them to rise above past adverse experiences and build a foundation for ensuring a happy future and a positive legacy. Follow link to access handouts and videos related to the event.
We are happy that almost all the bills we advocated for this year at the Hawaii State Legislator were passed and have been signed by the governor, thus they are now law! Follow link to learn more.
Family Programs Hawaii’s new program, Skills for Success, will be starting this February! This interactive, six consecutive week training program is for Youth ages 14-18 who are currently in foster care AND their resource caregivers. Upon completion, interested youth can be connected to career shadowing as well as receive a gift card. Resource caregivers will receive six training hours! Follow link for flyer with times and dates plus more information.
One of the most important things adults can do to help Foster Children and Youth develop into caring, competent, and confident adults is to incorporate these 4 vital Protective Factors* into their lives.
Relationships with caring and supportive people
Every foster youth needs at least one supportive adult who provides steadfast encouragement and guidance. This caring adult presence plays a crucial role in determining the Foster Youth’s success. This person may be a family member, older sibling, teacher, coach, or other caring adult.
A Sense of Hope & Purpose
These often come from religion/spiritual association, faith, and culture. Identifying with a particular group or culture can instill a sense of pride. Believing that God (or whatever spiritual deity they have been exposed to) loves them, is a reminder that with the presence of hope and faith, they are never alone and can persevere through anything. Supportive adults (ministers, resource caregivers, Sunday school teachers, coaches, judges, social workers, etc.) who say positive things such as “you are great”, “we love you,” and “God loves you” are powerful messages for a child who may not hear them anywhere else.
Work and Responsibilities
Foster Children and Youth given the opportunity to develop a strong work ethic, even in the face of adversity, have important tools to fall back on when things get tough. Youth given household responsibilities and/or are able to work outside of the home are more resilient because later in life they are able to persevere, even when things are difficult.
Opportunities to Participate in Meaningful Activities
Help instill a sense of self in Foster Children and Youth by encouraging them to be active in dance, music, art, student government, clubs on campus, sports teams, etc. These are all meaningful ways to develop a sense of identity. Learning new skills will lead to greater self-confidence, which will in turn help Children and Youth make good life choices.
*Protective Factors based on Emmy Werner’s Kauai Longitudinal Study. Download the guide for adults who support foster youth.