Effective Strategies for Courtroom Advocacy on Drug Use and Parenting by Dr. Ron Abrahams and Nancy Rosenbloom

ABA's  SPRING 2019 CONFERENCES COLLECTION 

Parent defenders know the challenges of working with pregnant and parenting women who are involved with the child welfare system because of allegations that they use drugs. The child welfare system can seem stacked against these mothers, often removing their babies and imposing expectations and timeframes that can be difficult to meet before reunification can occur. This article recommends a harm reduction approach to advocating for parents accused of child neglect or abuse related to drug or alcohol use. Parent advocates can use this information to educate judges and child welfare agency professionals about harm reduction strategies, and how they can keep families together while promoting good health care and minimizing court and child welfare agency involvement in families' lives.

 

The Families in Recovery Program

Since its inception in Canada 15 years ago, more than 1,500 women, their babies and families have benefited from the Families in Recovery (FIR) rooming-in program founded by Dr. Abrahams. It is the first combined care maternity unit in North America. The program supports women and their newborns to stabilize and withdraw from substances with the goal of keeping mothers and babies together to improve their health. The fundamental underpinning of FIR is that it is an "apprehension free space" where authorities do not remove children from their parents, and where the staff encourage breastfeeding for mother and baby to bond while supports are put into place for their discharge together from the hospital where they gave birth back into the community. This model has been shown to be cost effective, along with improving health outcomes for both children and mothers. The lessons learned from this work toward ensuring a "healthy sustainable community" provide the basis for this article.

Read the full article<https://www.americanbar.org/groups/public_interest/child_law/resources/child_law_practiceonline/january---december-2019/effective-strategies-for-courtroom-advocacy-on-drug-use-and-pare/>

 

 

 

Published in Parents' Attorneys

In This Report on Helping Low-Income Workers Succeed, You'll Learn
Who are the most vulnerable workers and why? 
How work and work requirements have changed over time. 
What today and tomorrow's workers need to succeed. 
What efforts are underway to help workers build skills, careers and greater economic stability. 

https://www.aecf.org/resources/taking-action/?utm_source=The+Annie+E.+Casey+Foundation&utm_campaign=9f1704f8ec-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2019_08_28_02_45&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_cbe3aa8104-9f1704f8ec-82848813

On December 17, 2018, CANTASD (the National Child Abuse and Neglect Technical Assistance and Strategic Dissemination Center) hosted a Digital Dialogue with Natalia Aguirre, National Director of the Family Justice Center Alliance at the Alliance for HOPE International; and Stacy Phillips, Program Manager for the Justice Department’s Office for Victims of Crime. This dialogue focused on polyvictimization—when a single individual has multiple experiences with violence or abuse. This document summarizes the key concepts shared in conversation with 68 individuals from around the country who joined the call.

SETTING THE CONTEXT While there is no clear consensus around the definition of polyvictimization, the term describes the collective experiences of multiple types of violence, usually in multiple settings, and often at the hands of multiple perpetrators. According to the National Survey of Children’s Exposure to Violence, out of all the children surveyed, 38.7% have recorded at least one incident of victimization, either direct or indirect. Of those children, 10.9% reported 5 or more direct exposures to different types of violence and 1.4% reported 10 or more direct victimizations.

Read the full report: https://cantasd.acf.hhs.gov/wp-content/uploads/FTF-polyvictimization.pdf

Blog post written by Jerry MIlner, Acting Commissioner of the Children's Bureau, on what he has learned from listening to families involved with the child welfare system.

Rethinking Foster Care <https://rethinkingfostercare.blogspot.com/>

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Hope

<http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/RethinkingFosterCare/~3/841sRlcZFAc/hope.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email>

 

Posted: 20 Aug 2019 09:37 AM PDT

 

*Hope*

 

A few days ago, I walked into a room full of young adults who had spent time in our foster care system, including some who had emancipated after many years. Entering a room full of folks who have experienced our foster care system personally is a familiar situation for me, and it’s one of the greatest privileges and joys of my job.  I meet and speak with as many young people and parents with lived experience as possible.  In fact, this group was the second group of young people I had meet with that day.

 

In looking around the room, I realized that I knew nearly all of the young people in the room*.  I mean I* *really knew them - *Kayla, Joshua, Diego, David, Leroy, Scout, Lupe, Eric-lee and so many others.  I had met these people on multiple occasions. We had been in meetings together, attended the same events, and had lots of conversation.  I had heard their stories, been in photos together, and befriended many on social media (the only reason I stay on social media).  I even mentor one of these young people as best I can although, truth be told, he should be mentoring me.

 

I was struck by the reality that in two short years, these incredible young people have become an indispensable part of my world.  Their experiences and wisdom are now integrated into my experience and wisdom - an unexpected gift.

 

As always, the staff of the organization or agency holding the meetings I attend thanked me profusely for making the time to attend, to listen to the young people, to make them a priority in my busy schedule, and so on.

 

When this happens I always smile politely and say what a pleasure it is, but the response swirling in my head is, *really*?  You’re *really *thanking me for doing this?

 

If listening to and making an effort to understand the voices of those we purport to serve are not our priorities, what should our priorities be?

 

If we do not make time to meet with them and give them the respect of a system that has alternately aided and failed them, what should we make time for?

 

If we do not use the wisdom and words that people with lived experience share with us to guide our decisions and polices, then what should guide them?

 

In early August, the Children’s Bureau issued Information Memorandum 19-03 that calls on the field to solicit and use the voices of parents and youth who have experienced the child welfare system first-hand.  We provided specific recommendations on how it can be done and why we believe it is foundational to our work.

 

It will not happen unless we consciously cede space for it to happen and commit every day to ensure their voices are sought out and heard.

 

It may not always be easy or comfortable to give up our thinking that *we know best* and to share decision-making with those whose lives are so deeply affected by our work.

 

It may not comport with our crisis-driven work days to step back and listen.

 

But the value that their voices bring to our programs and services and, ultimately on the outcomes they experience, outweighs the effort and discomfort.

 

A couple of days after that meeting, I walked into another room - this time in Nashville, Tennessee. I was there for another meeting to co-present with a parent with lived experience (who I also feel I know quite well) and a young woman with lived foster care experience (who I look forward to becoming better acquainted with).  My colleague, David Kelly, moderated the panel.  Midway through the session, he asked the three of us a very simple question - *what gives you hope for the future of our child welfare system?*

 

My response was simple.

 

The advocacy and strength of the young adults I met with a few days ago give me hope.

 

Shrounda and Christina, the two remarkable women seated to my left, give me hope.

 

Sharing the stage with *them*rather than other bureaucrats like myself gives me hope.

 

Knowing that their resilience and tenacity were stronger than the difficulties they faced gives me hope.

 

Knowing that they and others like them have answers to our hardest questions gives me hope.

 

Knowing that they are leaders in reshaping child welfare in our country gives me hope.

 

*Hope* *is a powerful thing*.

The GrandFacts state fact sheets for grandfamilies include state-specific data and programs as well as information about public benefits, educational assistance, legal relationship options and state laws. Visit www.grandfamilies.org to find this and all GrandFacts state fact sheets.

Access the Generations United Fact Sheet.

Published in Children's Justice Act

FRIENDS Resource of the Month: April Edition

Meaningful Parent Leadership: Building Effective Parent/Practitioner Collaboration

Newly Revised Parent Leadership Guidebook is Available

Parent-Practitioner collaboration has many benefits for families and practitioners. For families, the benefits include opportunities to give input on the programs and services they receive, increasing their sense of personal achievement, and providing a model of leadership for their family and other families. For practitioners, the benefits are also significant. Parent-Practitioner collaboration can improve relationships between families and providers, as well as improve efforts to recruit and retain program participants.

Meaningful Parent Leadership: Building Effective Parent/Practitioner Collaboration is designed to provide guidance to Community-Based Child Abuse Prevention (CBCAP) State Lead Agencies (SLA), and parents as well as other child abuse prevention, family support, and child welfare programs and organizations.

The guidebook helps participants to explore personal beliefs and practices around sharing leadership with parents and will help both parents and practitioners move toward more authentic partnerships.

Visit the FRIENDS website to download the guidebook here.

 

FRIENDS National Center for Community-Based Child Abuse Prevention - A service of the Children's Bureau

Published in Children's Justice Act

U.S. Department of Education Announces Initiative to Address the Inappropriate Use of Restraint and Seclusion to Protect Children with Disabilities, Ensure Compliance with Federal Laws (Press release)

U.S. Department of Education - January 17, 2019

"This initiative will not only allow us to support children with disabilities, but will also provide technical assistance to help meet the professional learning needs of those within the system serving students," Secretary DeVos said. "The only way to ensure the success of all children with disabilities is to meet the needs of each child with a disability. This initiative furthers that important mission."

Also: Report: K-12 Education: Federal Data and Resources on Restraint and Seclusion: https://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-19-418T?utm_campaign=usgao_email&utm_content=topic_educa

https://www.ed.gov/news/press-releases/us-department-education-announces-initiative-address-inappropriate-use-restraint-and-seclusion-protect-children-disabilities-ensure-compliance-federal-laws

Protective Factors in Practice Vignettes - Test Your Knowledge!

The following scenarios illustrate how multiple protective factors support and strengthen families who are experiencing stress. These vignettes may be used during training for new family support workers, as a learning tool when working one-on-one with parents, or to stimulate discussion at a parent or community café.

Scenarios: https://www.childwelfare.gov/topics/preventing/preventionmonth/resources/protective-factors-in-practice/ 

Tuesday, 26 February 2019 15:42

States Eye Tech Tools In Opioid Fight

CivSource - February 19, 2019

States are looking for innovative ways to manage the opioid crisis. From data sharing to outreach programs, all options are on the table. Opioid overdoses were tied to about 50,000 U.S. deaths in 2017 and many newly elected governors put the issue at the center of their campaigns. Oracle has recently launched a new tool that is designed to help local officials share information about treatment resources with those who are in need.

https://civsourceonline.com/2019/02/19/states-eye-tech-tools-in-opioid-fight/

Published in Children's Justice Act

Study shows LGBTQ youth don't fare well in child welfare system

Q Notes - February 22, 2019

LGBTQ youth are more likely to end up in foster care or unstable housing and suffer negative outcomes, such as substance abuse or mental health issues, while living in the child welfare system, according to new research from The University of Texas at Austin.

Also: LGBTQ Youth in Unstable Housing and Foster Care: http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2019/02/07/peds.2017-4211

https://goqnotes.com/62407/study-shows-lgbtq-youth-dont-fare-well-in-child-welfare-system/

Published in LGBTQ Youth
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