The ITAO Advisory Committee created the Kaukini Award in 2013 to honor DHS staff that goes above and beyond in accessibility, advocacy, commitment and dedication to bring about positive outcomes for children and families affected by child welfare. Follow link to see list of awardees!
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.
Attending their court hearings benefit both the foster youth and the court. Youth develop a sense of control over the process when they actively participate. They also have the opportunity to understand the process by seeing the court proceeding firsthand. The court learns more about the children than simply what is presented in reports. Follow link for more benefits and how to support a foster youth attending his or her hearings.
Follow link for tips from the Hawaii Foster Youth Coalition that can help foster children and youth handle the sadness they may experience during the holidays.
Teen Days are celebrations for youth that provide current and former foster youth an opportunity to hear inspiring, motivational stories that come from young adults who were once at-risk youth, meet other foster youth and learn about community resources that can help them as they begin planning a bright future. Many Teen Days also include a mock hearing to prepare youth for attending their court hearings and allows them to meet and talk with Family Court judges. Follow link for more information, dates, locations and times of the upcoming Teen Days.
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.