Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Foster Care Youth and Chosen Family

"Family isn't whose blood you carry,
it's who you love and who loves you"

~ Jackie Chan as Bob Ho from The Spy Next Door

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Stress Hormones Predict Trouble for Kids Left in Abusive Homes

Stress Hormones Predict Trouble for Kids Left in Abusive Homes'
Business Week, May 5, 2010.
Specific hormonal pattern tied to later psychological problems, researchers say...

Children who live with their parents after local child protective services agency enters their lives have worrying levels of a stress hormone compared to those who end up in foster care.

Researchers at the University of Delaware at Newark studied 339 children aged 3 months to 31 months, 155 of whom lived with their birth parents and 184 who landed in foster care, all after child protective services became involved with the families.

The researchers analyzed levels of the hormone cortisol in the children for two days, and found that those who remained with their parents had flatter slopes.

"A blunted pattern of cortisol production appears to confer risk for later psychiatric disorders, most especially psychopathy and substance abuse problems," study author Kristin Bernard and her colleagues wrote. "Although it is premature to suggest specific implications for neglected children, the findings are concerning."

The authors concluded that "foster care may have a regulating influence on children's cortisol among children who have experienced maltreatment."

The findings were published May 3 in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Youth-Centered Approach to Achieving Permanency

In 2005, the Children's Bureau funded nine demonstration projects through an Adoption Opportunities grant.

Interviews with youth shed light on their feelings about family and permanency:
  • The level of commitment an adult brings to the relationship with a youth is what constitutes family—not blood.
  • Permanency is a process of building trust, and finding a family is almost always worth the risk.
  • Permanency work is not just about finding a home but includes restoring family connections that have been lost. Sibling relationships have been significant to older youth in the project.
  • Youth are proud of their self-reliance and their ability to overcome adversity.

For more information about the Dumisha Jamaa Project, visit the National Resource Center for Adoption website.