Children need love, care, and safety; they need families

The Greatest terror a child can have is that he is not loved, and rejection is the hell of fears...... And, with rejection comes anger, and with anger some kind of crime in revenge for the rejection, and with crime, guilt - and there is the story of humankind. John Steinbeck, East of Eden

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoption Act

Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoption Act!

The Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act (Fostering Connections) is a new federal law that includes important improvements for children and youth who are in foster care or are at risk of entering foster care. The act offers vulnerable children and youth meaningful family connections and important protections and support. Considered by many to be the most significant
and far-reaching child welfare legislation in more than a decade, the act became law on October 7 2008, when it was signed by President Bush after unanimously passing both the House and Senate.

Some of the strategies that have prove successful in finding and sustaining permanent homes for youth include:

• Using public awareness campaigns to dispel the myth that children and youth ages nine and older and those with special medical or behavioral health needs cannot be adopted or do not wish to achieve permanency.

• Using strategies that focus not just on raising general public awareness about the need to provide permanent homes and families for youth, but that focus on identifying supportive adults and relatives in the lives of individual youth, and recruiting and training these individuals as foster or adoptive parents, relative caregivers or resource families.

• Once youth have permanent families, either through reunification with their birth parents, through guardianship with extended family or by joining new families through adoption, ensuring that these families remain strong and supported through the creation and expansion of “post-permanency” services including family-to-family and youth-to-youth peer support and other concrete support services.

• Use of intensive family finding activities designed to reconnect children and youth with safe, permanent families by using techniques including internet search technology, genome analysis and file mining to locate biological family members for youth in the foster care system. Once identified, efforts can and should be made to establish or re-establish relationships between these family members and children and youth in foster care, with the goal finding a permanent home and family for the youth.

• Use of “non-legal” tools designed for, and with the input of, youth to formalize life long connections. An example of this is FosterClub’s Permanency Pact, which helps establish a formal, kin-like and lifelong relationship between a young person in foster care and a supportive adult.

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