Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Did you Know......

7 out of 10 children who age out of foster care will become
homeless, dead or in prison.

This says alot about how important it is to be part of a family.

Tonight I had the wonderful opportunity to attend a special dinner at the Provo DCFS.
Kathy Searle from the Adoption Exchange came and spoke to about 45 foster parents about how to adopt waiting children and gave us a little booklet of children in Utah they are hoping to find families for.

Kathy believes that every child deserves a family and every child is adoptable!
I agree with her 100%!

I went to the meeting with some questions.
I am pretty new to this so I am learning as I go along. Here are a few questions I had.
Do you have to be a licensed Foster Parent to adopt waiting children?
No. However most dcfs workers don't understand that so it is easier to just get licensed . (Let me interject here and state that I am not clear if this is Utah only...I will find out and get back to you on this.) There are also perks to being licensed. After working as a foster parent for 6 months the state will share you home study with other states waiting children that you may inquire about.

How do caseworkers decide on a family for a particular child?
What happens once a family is chosen?

They match strengths and needs. In Utah the caseworker take all the inquires and looks at the home studies and then decides on three to present to a committee of workers. They then decide together which family will be chosen. Once the family is chosen transitioning begins and depending upon the age of the child and situation it can be a faster transition or can even take up to a year for older kids. Every case is different.

As I learn more and have new questions answered I will share the information I receive.
If you have a specific question feel free to leave it in a comment to this post and I will see if I can get an answer. I am sure there are many questions I haven't thought to ask.

Towards the end of the presentation Kathy said this
I am paraphrasing here
Every child deserves a family who thinks they are wonderful, who would do anything for them.
Children deserve more than a family who is just "sticking it out!".

I think this is such an important point! Children deserve to be cherished, to be seen as a blessing not a burden or a hardship or a trail.
Every parent has a bad day once in a while where they feel frustrated with their child....or kids aren't getting along but there is a big difference between a "really bad day" and "not a good fit". Children need the right fit where they will be given all that they need to become who they are meant to become.

I will share more of what I learned in posts to come.
But can I just say how grateful I am to Kathy Searle for all she does for children and for those hoping to adopt!!! I first met Kathy as a class at LDS Family Services back in 2001 (if I am remembering right). She was teaching about trans racial adoption. She has adopted trans racially. I learned so much from her that day and my heart was touched. Years later as Ashanti came to our home those things Kathy spoke about came to my mind and I was so thankful I had gone to her class. I have seen her a few times since that first meeting and she is always advocating for children.
She is a super hero in my book!!!

Thank you Kathy for all the great information!!!!


Kirsten said...

I was there too! It was really great!! Glad I got to go! :)

Your blogstalker,

Anonymous said...

Brenda - My questions is 2 fold. Why do they not release information to prospective families inquiring about the child? I understand the need to wait until they receive your home study. But I don't want it to go any further until I know why the child is in foster care and if the situation would even be appropriate for my family. 2nd is why do case workers not respond to inquiries with a "We don't think your family would be a good fit but we will keep you in mind for other situations" So at least we don't continue to hold out hope for a situation that we are not even being considered for.

Adrienne Donner said...

Thank you for sharing and I look forward to hearing more. I second the questions left by poohterbug. I also want to know why they won't send your homestudy to other states sooner.

Kathy said...

Thank you for your kind words. I thought I will try to answer some of your questions.
Whether you have to be foster care licensed or not depends on the state. Some require it some do not.
As to why case workers won't give out information if you don't have a home study. It's basically a confidentiality issue. They only want to give private and personal information about children to families that can acutally be a viable option, without a current home study you can't be a viable option. Some of the information on these children is so personal they just don't want all of that floating around. Once you have a home study they should give you enough information for you to determine if you want to proceed in the process for that child. If you are selected as the placement option they should allow you to read the childs file before proceeding further.
As for case workers not getting back to you. This is one of my many pet peeves. That being said. These case workers do an impossible job. Their case loads are too high and the emotional toll personally and on their families is great. If you have made an inquiry follow up with the agency about 4 weeks later. They should be able to give the worker a little nudge or give you infomation that the case worker didn't have time to get to you. Please please please don't give up our waiting children are depending upon you. I look at it as a way to continue our journey with learning patience that helps us once the children actually do come into our homes. Hope this helps!!!