Thursday, June 21, 2012

Measure Outcomes, Not Services




Source:

Bryan Samuels, Commissioner
Administration on Children, Youth and Families
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

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Living in Chaos is a High Risk Factor for Losing Parental Custody





Source cited in a presentatio by:Bryan Samuels, Commissioner
Administration on Children, Youth and Families
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Source of graph:
Simmel, C. (2010. Why do adolescents become involved in with the child welfare system? Exploring risk factors that affect young adolescents. School of Social Work, Rutgers University, New Brunswick NJ.

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Child Trauma and the Prefrontal Cortex



Source:

Bryan Samuels, Commissioner
Administration on Children, Youth and Families
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

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Trauma is the Norm for Youth in Systems



Source:
Bryan Samuels, Commissioner
Administration on Children, Youth and Families
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

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The Link Between Relationships and Resilience



Source:
Bryan Samuels, Commissioner
Administration on Children, Youth and Families
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services


* * *
Speaking as a former foster youth, another way to express this truth might be that:

  • Pain came into our lives through relationships
  • Healing can enter our lives that way, too
Lisa

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Safety, Permanence and Well-Being

Child welfare agencies are rated by the CSFR on how well they provide foster care youth with Safety, Permanency and Well-Being.

Currently, the federal government is thoughtfully considering: 

  • What exactly does "Well Being" look like? 
  •  How can it be measured?




Source:
Bryan Samuels
Commissioner, Administration on Children Youth and Families
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

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The Difference Between Physical And Emotional Safety



Tips for Foster Parents:

  • Limit stimulation - be patient and take a slower pace in introducing newness ("welcome to your new foster home, there are all the rules, now let's meet everybody in the household"), because this speed of incoming data can be cognitively understood, but is emotionally overwhelming.
  • Follow the lead of the child. 
  • Follow the pace of the child.
Tips for Caseworkers:
  • Be aware that Transition Points are emotional hot spots
  • The internal alarm goes off, signaling danger
  • Child welfare has a tendency to try to make moves as quick as possible -- this is not in the best interest of the child, in terms of making them feel safe
Goal:

  • To create a place of safety for the child / teenager
  • To avoid re-traumatizing the child through further abrupt disruption
  • To create a place of order, rather than chaos.
  • To create a sense of control, rather than instability.
  • To teach the child self-regulation.


Source:
Bryan Samuels, Commissioner
Administration on Children, Youth and Families
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

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Saturday, June 09, 2012

Why is Fear so Exhausting?


According to the National Institute for Trauma and Loss in Children:
  • Understanding the physiology of the fear response may help provide you with some insight about why youth exposed to trauma are often complaining of being tired or having little energy. This knowledge can be shared with parents, teachers and others who get frustrated with youth’s behavior that appears to be driven by lack of care or motivation. Instead, we can explain that there is a real physical response happening following acute and chronic exposure to scary experiences.
  • Fear is first detected in the brain’s sensory cortexes, something we see, hear or smell. It is then filtered through the thalamus, which sends a signal to the amygdala. This is what many call the “smoke detector” of our brain, which causes you to freeze before you’re even aware of the threat.
  • The nervous system then releases chemicals such as cortisol, which in turn helps glucose to be released in our bodies getting us ready to fight or flee. The cortisol also helps to speed up our breathing and heart rate, which pumps oxygen into our muscles.
  • Our brain then floods with opiods that mask any pain we might feel at the moment. It won’t be felt until hours or days later when the opiods wear off.
  • Once the fear is past, the autonomic nervous system swings into action and calms our bodies. It often overshoots because of the intense stress it is trying to balance. This often leaves us feeling extremely exhausted and with little energy.

Friday, June 01, 2012

Social and Emotional Well-Being of Foster Care Youth

The purpose of this Information Memorandum is to explain the Administration on Children, Youth and Families priority to promote social and emotional well-being for children and youth receiving child welfare services, and to encourage child welfare agencies to focus on improving the emotional and social-emotional outcomes for children who have experienced abuse and/or neglect.

Helping Children Transition Into Adoption

Even after foster care children and teens are connected with a forever family, they often still experience loss and the aftermath of trauma.

This resource was designed to recognize and support the experiences of young people.

What You Might Not Know About Young Homeless Mothers

Did you know that young mothers who are homeless differ from the older homeless population?

Young Mothers Who Are Homeless:
  • Are exposed to homelessness 10 years earlier than their older counterparts.
  • Are pregnant and parenting approximately 3 years earlier than older homeless mothers.
  • Are nearly 3 times more likely to have spent time in foster care.
  • Have limited support networks.
(Medeiros and Vaulton, 2010)

Learn more by reading: Developing a Trauma-Informed Approach to Serving Young Homeless Families.