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2016 culture of foster care


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Culture of Foster Care

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2016 culture of foster care

  1. 1. Understanding the Culture of Foster Care Alumni of Care Together Improving Outcomes Now (ACTION) Ohio What does this picture tell you about the foster care experience?
  2. 2. Alumni of Care Together Improving Outcomes Now We bring together the voices of foster care youth, alumni and allies, to create lasting change and generate hope for current and former foster youth, based on access to resources, ally support and alumni expertise.
  3. 3. Transition to Young Adulthood for a young person growing up with their biological family
  4. 4. Challenges faced by a young person who “ages out” of foster care
  5. 5. Lack of Family Privilege
  6. 6. Point of Transition: Child and Adult Systems Disconnection Child Mental Health Mental Health Child Welfare Special Education Juvenile Justice Criminal Justice Food Stamps Workforce Housing
  7. 7. Life’s Transitions Do Not Happen Overnight
  8. 8. Foster Care Alumni of America’s “Culture of Foster Care” Postcard Project
  9. 9. Foster Care Alumni of America’s “Culture of Foster Care” Postcard Project Risk of Stigma
  10. 10. Anonymous confession: Write down the worst thing you ever did as a teenager. Case file exercise
  11. 11. Foster Care Alumni of America’s “Culture of Foster Care” Postcard Project “Reclaim and Reframe”
  12. 12. “Take Another Seat” If your chair has a post-it with a letter on it, you need to exchange places with another person who has the same letter as you.
  13. 13. Foster Care Alumni of America’s “Culture of Foster Care” Postcard Project Context of Behavior
  14. 14. Impact of Trauma ■ Fight or flight response ■ Freeze response: ‘Playing possum,’ feeling helpless ■ Disassociation: Flee the scene emotionally. Blame self afterward.
  15. 15. Aftershock of trauma ■ Am I safe yet? The world seems dangerous. ■ It’s hard to concentrate: Scattered, thoughts Distracted, unable to focus. Hard to sort out relevant details. ■ Hyper-vigilance: Body remains on alert. Restless, can’t relax, easily startled.
  16. 16. Triggers of sensory memories ■ Traumatic memories are stored differently Emotions, sensory details Difficult to communicate verbally ■ Sensory cues A familiar building, a shadow approaching from behind, a smell… ■ Brain is trying to process and heal - Flashbacks - Intrusive thoughts - Nightmares
  17. 17. Restorative Relationships
  18. 18. Capturing Positive Memories Foster Care Alumni of America’s “Culture of Foster Care” Postcard Project
  19. 19. Copyright Lisa Dickson Siblings as Survival Unit
  20. 20. Why we hate the Family Tree project
  21. 21. Copyright Lisa Dickson We define who our siblings are
  22. 22. Foster Care Alumni of America’s “Culture of Foster Care” Postcard Project Chosen family
  23. 23. Respect our boundaries Copyright Lisa Dickson
  24. 24. Copyright Lisa Dickson Normalcy matters
  25. 25. Blindfold activity Empower and inform us
  26. 26. Be aware of resources that can help us move forward
  27. 27. How the system defines permanency • Safe, enduring relationship • Lifelong connections • Legal rights • Social status • Provides for all levels of development • Sharing the same family history, culture, tradition, religion, language
  28. 28. How YOUTH define permanency • “Staying in one place” • “Not having to move” • “A feeling of connection” • “Like a permanent marker” (Indelible mark on your life)
  29. 29. Permanency Pact
  30. 30. The need for post-adoptive support
  31. 31. Copyright Grace Hilliard-Koshinsky, used with permission Support with post-adoptive conversations
  32. 32. Reconnecting with bio family • Forgiveness is important and healing • It is still okay to keep yourself safe • Forgiveness does not always mean reconciliation Forgiveness takes one person; reconciliation takes two. We are only responsible for our own choices.
  33. 33. Cognitive Dissonance of the Abuser/Enabler Cognitive dissonance: “I want to believe I am a good person. But I did this / let this happen.” Choices: • Denial: “What I did wasn’t wrong.” • Excuses: “The other person deserved it.” • Truth: Confess and take responsibility
  34. 34. Cognitive Dissonance of the Person Who Was Abused Cognitive dissonance: “This is my parent. I love my parent. How could someone I love do this to me?” Choices: • Denial: “What they did wasn’t wrong.” • Excuses: “I must have deserved it.” • Truth: “They should have protected me. I was and am worth being protected.”
  35. 35. Reconnecting with People from the Past • Am I emotionally ready for this? • Will this be helpful or cause me harm? • Am I taking baby steps? (email before phone calls; calls before visit in person) • When visiting, do I have a back-up plan, in case I need to leave early? • Have I planned time with supportive friends afterwards?
  36. 36. “When helping you is hurting me” Keeping YOUR boat afloat