Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Taking a Quick Break from working on my powerpoint...

to say that I really love doing what I do most days. The presentation I am working on is how to transition families from wanting an infant to considering a teenager. Or, how to find families willing to take teenagers. It's the only way we are going to solve the horrible problem we have in our society.

The Dave Thomas Foundation reports that in 2007, over 20,000 kids aged out of foster care. And yet, in one study, only 4 of 19 families were willing to take a child over 5 years old. So agencies are spinning their wheels working with families who want kids that don't often exist -- or who exist in such small numbers that the competition for them is near impossible.

I'm not saying everyone can adopt a teenager. But I am saying that to welcome a new family on board and encourage them with the possibilities of younger children can be deceptive we aren't really careful. I always make a point in training to emphasize the kind of kids that are out there.

I'm excited about the presentation. Shifting paradigms is very hard for anyone, but explaining how to shift someone's is one of my favorite things. I just wish there were more hours in the day....

7 comments:

K....mom said...

I think that teens would have a better chance at being adopted if we had more teen foster homes. We have fostered for 11 years and would never consider adopting..and yet we're adopting 2 of our teens this year. I know of 2 other foster/adopt homes that adopted youngers that are now looking at adopting teens. I think building a connection takes some of the scary out of it. That and once you raise a younger child dealing with not-yet-known-issues, it makes it a little less scary to adopt a teen with all their issues out there and just blowin in the wind :)

Robin said...

We are changing from a private agency that contracts with CPS to working directly with CPS. We had to attend the orientation training that everyone initially interested goes to. The CPS trainer flat out said, "If you put on your application that you are only interested in ages 0-3, I will not look at your application. We have to meet the need. We are not an adoption agency. There are plenty of agencies there, but we are trying to find families for the kids we have, not find a child for you." It shocked a lot of people. I wonder how many applications she got?

Process said...

I don't want to minimize your work in any way, but why aren't we looking for solutions other than adoption for teens?

Even though I agree that the best possible placement for most teens is with a family, the simple fact is that that is not going to happen for the majority of teens in the system.

What other solutions do you think might work for teens?

Angela :-) said...

I second that. LOL

Angela :-)

Claudia said...

Good question, Process. In my presentation I talk about "out of the box thinking" ... and the need for kids to have one "permanent parent" -- someone who has claimed the child for life. This doesn't have to be an adoptive placement -- it can be in many forms, but the key is the commitment on the part of the adult...

mentors, foster parents, even social workers, former group home people -- it doesn't have to be an adoptive placement -- but the kids have to have someone that makes that commitment to them especially during the ups and downs of early adulthood.

J. said...

we shifted paradigms and it is one of the best choices we ever made. We never did want under 2's but we were going to just foster, adopting was a great choice and now we want to do it again.

choose joy said...

We are in the process of updating our homestudy (for the fifth time). In the past we have adopted high risk and special needs infants both from foster care and through private agency. This adoption is through gov't foster care (in BC). We are wanting to adopt an older child or sibling group. But our oldest is only 10. How do we know if we're ready for teens, having never parented one? We love the idea of teens, probably because we've never had one, right?!?! Your thoughts are greatly appreciated! If you have time (which I know you don't) you could email ichoosejoy1@gmail with your response. (Wish I could hear you in person!) Blessings, Jennifer