May is National Foster Care Month, a time to recognize that we each can play a part in enhancing the lives of children and youth in foster care.
May's special issue highlights a higher education program for transitioning youth, a tool for evaluating youth connectedness, and other information about foster care.
The Obama administration remains committed to improving the lives of children in foster care and the futures of youth who may leave foster care without a permanent family.
Keeping youth connected to their families, friends, and community is vital to their overall health and well-being and helps to minimize trauma. Having a permanent connection to at least one or more supportive adult, such as a mentor, coach, teacher, or family friend, helps youth build self-esteem and develop social skills and relationships.
Provides information about the Children's Bureau's Family Connections grantees, which include programs focused on family finding. Family finding grants were awarded in 2012 and 2009.
Represent: The Voice of Youth in Care, 111, 2013
Provides youths' perspectives on who they consider family, from blood relatives to people they trust. This magazine is also designed to offer supportive adults useful insights into youths' concerns.
National Clearinghouse on Families and Youth, U.S. Family and Youth Services Bureau
The Exchange, 2012
Describes several programs that focus on ways to achieve and improve permanent connections for runaway and homeless youth.
In Hear Me Now: Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute's 2012 Foster Youth Internship Report
Provides research, recommendations, and personal insight into the importance of a permanent, caring adult in the life of a foster youth. This policy paper was written by a young adult who spent time in the U.S. foster care system.
Bodner & Knapp
CW360o: A Comprehensive Look at a Prevalent Child Welfare Issue, 2011
Summarizes a poll of 79 young people in foster care that explored how the Internet is being used to locate and reconnect family members who have been separated through foster care. Findings indicate 74 percent of the participants had used the Internet to search for a family member, and many reported restarting lost relationships and strengthening others.
The Potential Contribution of Mentor Programs to Relational Permanency for Youth Aging Out of Foster Care
Child Welfare, 90(3), 2011
Discusses the role and effectiveness of mentor programs in permanency efforts for youth in care. The pros and cons of mentor programs and the characteristics of programs that are more or less effective for achieving specific goals are examined, and implications for child welfare practice and policy are explored.
FLUX: Life After Foster Care
Ecke & Stenslie (2010)
Foster Care Alumni of America
Designed to assist adolescents transitioning from foster care to adulthood and written by more than 100 adult alumni of foster care. The book discusses developing support systems, as well as key considerations for expanding social networks.
Adoption Resources of Wisconsin (2010)
Describes data mining and its benefits for children. Data mining is an intense review of a child's file that helps identify significant events and significant adults in a child's life that could potentially be adoptive resources or other important long-term permanent resources.
The Connection, Summer 2009
Discusses the importance of permanency for youth in foster care. The article describes the benefits of licensing foster families to simultaneously foster and adopt, utilizing concurrent planning, creating a connectedness map to identify adults connected to the child, and retaining cultural connections. Permanency-related tips are provided for court-appointed special advocate and guardian ad litem volunteers.
Adoption Resources of Wisconsin, Foster Care and Adoption Resource Center (2008)
Explains how life books can be used to provide youth in foster and adoptive youth with personal connections to their past. The role of foster and adoptive parents in the creation of life books is stressed, and topics that should be considered for inclusion in a life book are suggested.
Merkel-Holguin, Tinworth, Horner, & Wilmot
Protecting Children, 23(1), 2007
Discusses the family group conferencing (FGC) process as an effective approach to creating permanency for youth in foster care. The article provides a case example, research on FGC and youth, and issues communities can consider in implementing FGC.
Fresno County Department of Children and Family Services, California Permanency for Youth Project Initiative (2006)
In Finding Permanency for Youth: Resource Handbook
Offers a list of what permanent connections mean to a group of current and former youth in foster care and probation youth polled in California.