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Fifteen Foster-Care, Adoption, Child-Welfare Things That Caught My Eye

1. The Daily Signal: Better Foster Care Systems Would Cut ‘Economic Inequity,’ Child Welfare Veteran Says

The nation would reduce “economic inequity” and “race inequity” if the federal government focused more on helping foster care children find a permanent family and create a life where they don’t rely on the government, a former health and human services official in the Trump administration says.

“We would move kids so they’re not spending two decades in our [foster care] system,” said Lynn Johnson, who served as assistant secretary for family support in the Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Children and Families from September 2018 through this past January. 

I’m grateful to the Daily Signal for covering this event put on by the National Review Institute and the American Enterprise Institute last week. You can watch it here: 

2. Wired: Adoption Moved to Facebook and a War Began

The anti-adoption movement lives in Facebook groups and on blogs with names like the Wounded Adoptee, Changing the Adoption Narrative, and Adopted Ball of Hate, and it is comprised of people who wouldn’t have found each other elsewhere: older women who, as “unwed mothers” in the 1950s and ’60s, were forced to give babies up for adoption; women whose churches still pressure them to give up children born outside of marriage; adoptees who want to overturn laws in 40 states that deny them unrestricted access to their original birth certificates.

. . .

When we spoke in June, Erin said she had mostly stopped following anti-adoption groups on Facebook. But the activists were on her mind as she navigated a chaotic custody case born out of unverified Facebook threads. In a vacuum of oversight, the anti-adoption groups seemed to be the only ones tracking, however imperfectly, the adoption industry. More than once when we spoke that day, she said, almost wistfully, “I would be really curious to hear what they would say about this.”

3. NBC News: Data show growing backlog of unaccompanied migrant children in Border Patrol custody

President Joe Biden was briefed about the spike in unaccompanied migrant children Tuesday at the White House, where he was told that this year’s surge could top the record of 76,000 unaccompanied children who crossed the border in 2019. Asked whether there was a crisis, he told reporters, “We’ll be able to handle it, God willing.”

4. When The Home Is The Hazard: Pandemic Responses Must Address Housing Conditions

Public health guidelines that ask people to stay home assume that homes offer sanctuary. Yet for too many families, more time at home means increased risk of danger.

6. ‘These children are not forgotten’: 150 missing Tennessee kids recovered in operation, TBI says

Operation Volunteer Strong” launched on Jan. 4 after 240 missing children were identified in the state. A series of “two-week blitzes” in East Tennessee, Middle Tennessee and West Tennessee led to the recovery of 150 of those children, the TBI said in a news release. 

. . .

Most of the children recovered will receive support from the state’s DCS, including possible placement into foster homes, group homes or other specialized care, the release said.

7. Aging out of child welfare is lonely, isolating, say young adults

8. Melissa S. Kearney and Phillip B. Levine: We Expect 300,000 Fewer Births Than Usual This Year

Some of this decline might be temporary. Couples who postponed having a baby in 2020 may try again in a future year, and some of the “missing” Covid births will happen later. But many are likely never to occur. The longer and more persistent the crisis, and the deeper and more sustained the income losses that result from it, the more likely it is that many of the missing Covid births will be lost forever.

This will have serious implications for individuals, families and society. Some women and couples will have fewer children than they hoped, and some kids will grow up without the younger sibling they would have had otherwise. This could contribute to what some have referred to as America’s loneliness epidemic.

9.  Saw this coming and understand their reasoning — have worked with Nate Bult and others there over the years — but this is deeply disappointing to many Christians who were hoping that someone with as many resources would use their social capital to fight for religious liberty, too.

NBC News: National evangelical adoption agency will work with gay couples across U.S.

“These days, families look a lot different than they did when we started. And Bethany is committed to welcoming and serving all of them,” Nathan Bult, Bethany’s senior vice president of public and government affairs, said in an email. “For us to carry out our mission, we are building a broad coalition of people – finding families and resources for children in the greatest need. The people we serve deserve to know they are worthy of being safe, loved, and connected. The need is great, so we are taking an ‘all hands on deck’ approach.”

10. Norman Hartnell: Children’s welfare must be at the heart of family legal cases

11. The Irish Times: Family law system endangers women and children, report warns

In a hard-hitting report, the group, which includes Barnardos, Safe Ireland, Women’s Aid, the ISPCC and the Daughters of Charity, says abusive parents are routinely granted unsupervised access to children; mothers’ concerns about child abuse are minimised; and custody arrangements which “escalate” domestic violence are ordered by the courts.

12. Arizona Central: Families for thousands of foster children go without state stipend as DCS switches computer systems

13. Seattle Times: They’re raising grandkids with little help, and during a pandemic. Can’t we lend them a hand?

Last March, in an effort to increase licensed kinship caregivers in the state, DCYF revised a decades-old list of crimes disqualifying someone from becoming licensed and accessing additional resources. The most heinous crimes such as molestation and murder remain.

Another barrier could vanish soon. The Legislature is considering a bill to create a “child-specific” license, meaning a kinship caregiver would only be licensed with DCYF for their own related children, and not be required to take placements of other kids as licensed foster parents would. Most important, it would allow them to access nearly the same level of resources as foster parents, without undergoing a complex licensing process.

14. Indigenous youth involved in the youth criminal-justice and child-welfare systems receive support from government of Canada

The IYJP will conduct individual casework with Indigenous youth with both youth criminal justice and child welfare involvement. With the goal of reducing recidivism and the overrepresentation of Indigenous peoples in the youth and mainstream criminal justice systems, this work will promote healing, reparation and reintegration of Indigenous youth offenders. Funding for this project will help reduce or eliminate custody for Indigenous youth, reduce time spent in the youth criminal justice system, and prevent youth from moving to the adult system.

16. Indianapolis Star: Once homeless, this former foster youth is advocating for change within Indiana DCS

“There’s a stereotype that you did something wrong to be in foster care, so then you start to feel like something’s wrong with you, or you get moved around a lot,” she said, “not understanding as a child it has nothing to do with you.”

. . .

Since stepping into programming, Rodriguez has become an advocate for older foster youth at the local and state levels. She was a VOICES 2020 Youth Summit Leadership Fellow, which gave her the opportunity to lead and participate in conversations with practitioners and policymakers to find solutions to issues facing youth, like homelessness, mental health, juvenile justice, foster care and educational and economic inequities.

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