Tag Archive: foster care

It’s tax time and if you finalized the adoption of a child(ren) last year, you are entitled to a one-time tax credit. Families who adopted special needs kids (as in a U.S. foster child who receives adoption subsidy or adoption assistance program benefits (which can include a monthly payment, Medicaid, or reimbursement of nonrecurring expenses) can receive the full adoption credit of $13,400 per child.

For more details, see below:

For adoptions finalized in 2015, there is a federal adoption tax credit of up to $13,400 per child.

Source: NACAC | Adoption Tax Credit

Dr. John DeGarmo and his wife have fostered over 45 children and even adopted three. Like foster parents all over the country, they experience a loss each time one of their “children” move on but continue to open their hearts anyway.

What an inspiring article!

There are other children out there, right now, who need a home and need a family. There is a child out there right now who needs us to love him. There is a child out there right now who needs YOU to love him.

Source: What I Wish Others Knew About How Foster Parents Grieve | Dr. John DeGarmo

Simple truths about foster kids and ways you can help.

“…what if instead, on your first day back to school nobody cared enough to take a photo of you? What if you’d grown up with hardly any moments that were even photo worthy?”

Source: Foster Kids: Our Inconvenient Truth | Lola Reed

I received an email from the Los Angeles Opportunity Youth Collaborative regarding paid summer internships. Priority is given to current and former foster youth.

See below:

1. Summer 2015 Los Angeles County Arts Internship Program

107 nonprofit arts organizations are hiring 134 current college students for 10 week paid internships this summer from June – August. Please share this list with former foster youth currently in college, your staff and community partners.
· Attached please find the list of available opportunities listed in alphabetical order by organization as well as important program information for students interested in applying to the program. The list will be posted on the website on March 30, 2015, so former foster youth have an opportunity to apply to jobs a few weeks before the general college population. We encourage interested students to apply immediately to all of the internships of interest to them. Beginning March 30, the updated list and any program announcements may be found at http://lacountyarts.org/internship.html. The online list will be updated weekly as positions are filled through mid-May.

· Daveion Thompson, a former foster youth currently in college who participated in the program a few summers ago, is featured in this short video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tKXn56pXJbs – he gives a great overview of what the program has meant for his career.

· For more information, please see the attachments: “Internship + Flyer+ 2015,” Internship_infostudents 2015,” and “2015+Los+ Angeles+County+Arts+Internships+3.16.2015.” Or, please feel free to call or email Anji Gaspar-Milanoic, Professional Development Programs Manager at P: (213) 202-3981; E: amilanovic@arts.lacounty.gov.

Congressional Foster Youth Shadow Experience 2015 in our Nation’s Capitol

Announcing the 2015 Congressional Foster Youth Shadow Experience Washington, DC – May 18-21, 2015

Are you a young person between the ages 18-24, who has experience in the foster care system (specifics below) and a passion to affect change and gain leadership skills?
If so, we invite you to let us know you’re interested in being a part of the 2015 class of the Congressional Foster Youth Shadow Experience in our nation’s capital!
Call for Interest Forms is open until March 27, 2015 for Congressional Shadow Experience 2015!

What? The Shadow Experience is an all-expenses paid opportunity for young people with personal experience in the foster care system to spend time with their Congressional representative, as well as White House officials, in Washington, D.C.

When? The dates of associated travel and events are Monday, May 18th through Thursday, May 21st, 2015.

Why? Participating in the Shadow Experience allows youth and policymakers to meet and learn from one another. Young people in and from foster care will be able to speak to and learn about Congress and the White House while gaining a “hands-on” understanding about how the U.S. government operates on a daily basis. Members of Congress are able to listen to the stories of young people and gain a well-rounded understanding of the experiences of youth in foster care, which will help them as they pursue policies that impact all youth in the foster care system.

Additionally, youth are invited to participate in many activities with policymakers including committee hearings, press events, and meetings. Congressional Shadow Day on May 20 offers young people and Congressional Members the opportunity to work together to improve the foster care system for the benefit of those that are or may have been system involved.

Who? Eligibility: Individuals who are eligible to participate meet the following criteria:

Will be 18-24 years old on May 20th, 2015
Spent time in an out-of-home placement (foster care, group home, kinship home, etc.)

Have a willingness to play a leadership role for youth and alumni of foster care

How? Selection Process

The Shadow Experience Interest Form Deadline is March 27, 2015. Forms received by that deadline will be the first considered for placements in the Shadow Experience Program.

Selections are made primarily based on each participant’s congressional member interest and availability. Some participants will be matched to congressional members that represent districts where the participant has spent time in foster care.

The Shadow Experience team will begin making selections April 1st and will continue to make selections throughout the month of April. You will be contacted, whether or not you are selected, prior to May 1st. Some selections could be made after May 1st, depending on congressional member availability.

Please Note: Completing the interest form does not guarantee selection to attend the Young Leaders Training Academy/Congressional Foster Youth Shadow Day.

Before the Shadow Day on May 20, all participants will attend a mandatory two-day Young Leaders Training Academy (May 18 & 19) to prepare for their meetings with policymakers. This training will include an overview of federal foster care policy, practice in strategic sharing, and team building.

The Interest Form for Shadow Experience 2015 is available here: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/10NrYm-yQ0EmvhRzCZBEuMKBAzPvprXSCYzxJKqqb7EM/viewform

The National Foster Youth Institute (NFYI), along with our partner organizations, is proud to sponsor this annual event which brings young people from across the country to Washington D.C. for an all-expenses paid experience.

Please contact info@nfyi.org with any questions.

3. Happy Trails for Kids is a summer camp program for youth in foster care (see attachment):

Happy Trails is hiring camp counselors for the 2015 summer camp sessions. They are looking for motivated, energetic, qualified camp counselors who work well with children and are team players. The core programming of Happy Trails centers around a week-long overnight summer camp. **Preference for former foster youth applicants.

· Application deadline: Friday, April 17 2015

· Interviews: Saturday, May 2nd and Sunday, May 3rd

· Mandatory Training:

o Staff Training: Saturday, May 16th

o Junior Counselor Training: Saturday, May 23rd

o All Staff-All Day Training: Sunday, June 7, 2015

· Camp Session 1: June 21-June 26 (Sunday-Friday)

· Camp Session 2: June 28-July 3rd (Sunday-Friday)

· Attached please find position descriptions and application packets-“2015 Happy Trails-Counselor +and + Floater+Application+Packet+Clean”

o Please complete all forms and return to September Sucher, Happy Trails Camp Director via (E) September@happytrailsforkids.org or via fax: 1-888-741-5297

o If you have any questions, please feel free to contact September at (310) 650-5943.

§ Applications will be considered on a first received/first considered basis.

4. Your Place, Your Rules (see attachment):

Fostering Independence with Junior League of Los Angeles is hosting its next workshop” Your Place, Your Rules,” for young women between the ages of 16 and 21 who are, or were formerly in, foster care. Having your own place is one of the most exciting parts about becoming an adult. You finally have the freedom to do what you want, but that comes with a lot of responsibility, like paying bills and signing contracts. Come learn about the basics of independent living at an informative and fun workshop with tons of tips.

· When: Wednesday, April 1st from6 to 8:30 pm

· Where: Alliance for Children’s Rights-3333 Wilshire Blvd Suite 550 Los Angeles, CA 90010

· RSVP: Stephanie Lopez (P) 213. 368.10.10 (E): s.lopez@kids-alliance.org

5. ManifestWorks Application:

ManifestWorks is now accepting applications for its next cycle of workshops. Enrollment is now open. ManifestWorks is a job skills program with an emphasis on pursuing entry-level work in the entertainment business.

To apply: Go to: http://www.manifestworks.org/manifest-works and fill out the application. After your application is received, you will receive instructions about scheduling your Consultation Interview.

This workshop is for foster youth, employers and foster parents.

CWI/SCFFAA will be hosting its fourth workshop in the “Optimizing Employment Outcomes for Foster Youth” series.

via How Foster Youth Benefit Their Employers 

Though this article was posted in 2011, it is worth re-posting now. Also, it’s nice to know that Black Hollywood is equally invested in adoption and foster care. We need more stories like this.

Despite having over 10 major motion pictures and prime time television shows—including ABC’s Castle—under belt, Tamala Jones is quick to point out that it’s not always about money but what one does with their income that matters most. Hearing about her grandmother’s feat of raising over 100 foster children through the years has inspired the accomplished actress to follow in her noble footsteps.

via Tamala Jones on ABC’s Castle, Adoption & Foster Care-Black Enterprise.

Nine years later? Really? Adoption is not a refundable process and yet, people do it.

My guess is that the boy’s current behaviors are not new. And even if they are escalating, that is no reason to give him back. And where is back? Where is this child supposed to go? Presumably, he was adopted (as an infant by the Coxes), because his birth family was unable to care for him. Now, his family, the only one he knows, is abandoning him during his time of need.

Though the article mentions the availability of post adoption services in the Coxes area, no one knows if they took advantage of those resources. Sadly, it’s too late for this family, but hopefully other adoptive families in crisis will seek help.

In the Los Angeles area, contact PAS – Post Adoption Services at (800) 735-4984. “Adoption is a life-long process and as such, the needs of children and their families do not end when an adoption is finalized. The Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) Adoption Division is a resource for ongoing information and services related to adoption. DCFS Adoptions Division created a specialized unit to provide services and support to adoption triad members (adoptive parent, adoptee, birthparent) after adoption finalization occurs. The Post Adoption Services (PAS) Unit has grown over the years to meet the ongoing needs of individuals who have participated in an adoption through Los Angeles County DCFS.” (http://dcfs.co.la.ca.us/adoptions/postadoption.html)

“Adoption is certainly about gain, but it’s also about loss, at its core,” says Jeanne Howard, policy and research director at the Donaldson Institute and director of the Center for Adoption Studies at the Illinois State University School of Social Work. “So for this child to then have a second loss is the potential for him to have a pretty profound wound.”

via Will Couple Be Jailed for Returning Adopted Son After Nine Years? | Parenting – Yahoo Shine.

The decision to have an open or closed adoption is very tricky for adoptive parents. Opting for a closed adoption means that your child will have no contact with his birth parents or siblings. This has its advantages when the child is from another part of the world, a different state or if the birth family is transient. The downside is that a closed adoption can lead to feelings of loneliness and isolation – huge emotions for children and teens. For those who are open to sharing photographs or birthday parties with their child’s biological families, the child may gain a sense of place. This, however, may not be enough and he may want to meet them. What to do? There is no right or wrong answer. Each family dynamic is unique and the adoptive parents must base their decision on what is best for their child at that moment. And even when you think you know best, life may intervene to unite siblings, as was the case in Washington, D.C. in February.

Sisters, separated for 17 years, find each other at high school track meet

via Sisters, Separated 17 Years Ago, Find Each Other – Message Place – GoDuBois Message Forum.

Thanks to a sleuthing social worker, I am in possession of an early photo of my son. Methinks he is three, maybe, two months old. I am grateful to have it, as it is the oldest record I have of his newborn eyes, nose and hands.

Older foster children and those who age out of the system typically are not in possession of baby pictures, report cards or teeth rescued by the tooth fairy. Sometimes the foster parent is too busy with day-to-day stuff or the child’s stay in their home is brief or in the roulette of multiple moves, personal belongings get lost. Either way, the lack of such meaningful items leaves a hole in his or her-story. Pictures, I might add, are proof positive that a child wasn’t born at age 7.

Luckily an adoptive mom and photographer got the memo and sent photo announcements of her newborn 12 year old son. Though he came into her family’s life with nary a picture, she has made sure that going forward, his milestones will be well documented.

“Here’s my sweet not so little newborn! His name is Latrell and weighs 112 lbs.,” his mom Kelli Higgins proudly announced on Facebook, where the boy’s simple wish created an online sensation.

via "But I have promises to keep…" | eyan-j: marfmellow: Adoptive mom’s ‘newborn’….

The silencing of the county

The phone calls will stop if I return the Resource Family Home Profile.

I don’t know why it is taking me so long to complete less than half a page. I have no desire to be a foster parent. Being a foster parent means remembering that the placement is temporary. Fostering means knowing that in a day or week or month the child(ren) in my care will leave for destinations unknown. Plus, I get attached too easily and don’t know how my son will respond to kids coming in and out of our home. And yet, the calls with tales of the 21-days old African American boy or six-weeks old baby boy in need of immediate shelter are tempting.

Sometimes I dreams about my next child and feel haunted by the calls. Is the universe trying to send me another precious gift to love and possibly adopt? Should I say “yes”, rather than pause before eeking out a pitiful “no”? After disconnecting the call, I feel bad. I think: may be I could put a crib in my room, make arrangements to take the baby to work with me or get an older child and skip the diaper/teething stages altogether. May be.

May be I am in the midst of the mommie jones matrix and my judgment is compromised. Not known for being especially practical, I do have moments of clarity. This is one of those moments, ’cause I don’t have space for another baby, extra money for daycare or additional time to do any more than I already do in the allotted hours of each day. Saved by prudence, I push my reluctance aside, write I do not wish to participate as a foster parent, seal the envelope and personally serve the postman.

Though my hand written explanation feels contrary to my mission of familial expansion, it is a necessary decision.



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