July 2020
Think about what happens in a medical emergency. Who is there to make decisions in the event that you're unable to make decisions for yourself?

With COVID, this issue looms larger than ever for our grandfamilies and young adults who are exiting foster and kinship care. We know too many people who have been extremely sick or died due to COVID.

Thanks to Marquette Law School intern Alyssa Paulus, our families have a new resource to help them decide who they trust to make life and death decisions on their behalf, and whether they should establish a power of attorney for health care. We are so excited to make this free resource available -- please share it widely.

And keep watching for this great opportunity for foster teens from automotive educator Chaya Milchtein! She is offering scholarships for one of her award winning online courses in how to buy a car to current and former foster youth. This amazing offer comes with a financial contribution toward the purchase of the car for one lucky recipient.

Keep reading for lots of resources on effective advocacy, mental health training, and increasing cultural competency to better serve Native American children.

Susan Conwell, JD
Executive Director
Power of Attorney for Health Care
As a young person leaving foster care, you have so many decisions to make. Do you want to share an apartment? Continue your education? Get a job? Who has time to worry about health care?

Unfortunately, COVID-19 is a serious reminder for just how important it is to make decisions about health care. Having a Power of Attorney (POA) for health care will determine who gets to make life and death health care decisions for you in the event you are seriously ill and who can visit you in the hospital.
Jess is a 20–year–old UW-Milwaukee student who aged out of foster care. She lives near campus with her older foster sister. Jess had limited contact with her biological parents since she entered foster care when she was twelve. Four days after Jess was diagnosed with COVID-19, she was admitted into the hospital and put on a ventilator. Jess never filled out a POA for health care, so the hospital did not know that she would have chosen her older foster sister to make decisions. As her closest legal relatives, her biological parents were responsible for making all decisions related to her care. The hospital was unable to allow her foster sister to visit her. Her foster sister was unable to fulfill her wishes for treatment that they had already discussed together.
While no one ever expects something bad to happen, all kinds of unexpected events happen from car accidents to health emergencies. It is good to have a plan in place. If something happens to you and you are not able to make medical decisions for yourself due to incapacity, it is important to have someone you trust available and able to make these decisions for you. Discussing your wishes with your trusted person and asking them to be your health care agent ensures that medical decisions will represent your desires and best interests. Click below to find out how to establish a POA for health care.
Thanks to Marquette Law School intern Alyssa Paulus for putting together this new resource!
Automotive Class from Chaya--Scholarships for Foster Youth
The amazing automotive educator Chaya Milchtein is offering 2-3 scholarships for former and current foster youth to participate in her online course, Before Your First Car: A Virtual Car Ownership Class for Teens and Young Adults . If you are or know of a foster youth looking to buy their first car, email adam@kidsmatterinc.org for more information on the scholarship. Chaya will also provide a cash donation toward the purchase of the car to one lucky current or former foster youth who completes the course.

You can also sign up your teen or young adult for this course-- all of Chaya's classes are offered on a sliding fee scale!
Before Your First Car: A Virtual Car Ownership Class for Teens and Young Adults
Class Description - Ok, think about this: When you were of age to learn how to drive or get your first car, what car fundamentals did you learn? Did you pick up the information from a parent, the internet, and friends, or were you actually guided on how to be a responsible car owner?

Today, instead of hoping that your teen or young adult gets enough information to become responsible car owners, you can just sign them up for this class! This class is designed for young people who are just learning to drive, considering buying their first car, or just want to get all the fundamental car knowledge they didn’t have when they started driving.

This online class is held in a private Facebook group on Saturday, October 24 – Sunday the 25th at 2 pm EST. If over 50 people sign up, this class will be split into two sessions, with the second session beginning at 3:30 pm. Chaya will go live and discuss and teach. Participants will able to ask questions live. You’ll even be able to go back and re-watch the recorded class videos for up to a month from when the class is offered.  Click here for more information.
CASA Continuing Education Opportunities
Anti-Racism Practice for CASA Volunteers
CASA of Los Angeles compiled a great collection of resources for CASA volunteers looking to become stronger advocates. This compilation features resources on personal anti-racism work, child welfare and juvenile justice, resources for children and youth, resources for mentoring Black youth and more.
Advocating for Trafficked and High-Risk Child and Youth Victims
In this webinar from the National CASA/GAL Association, learn risks factors for commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC) and how to be an effective CASA/GAL advocate when working with victims of CSEC.
When: Thursday, July 23 at 1:00pm CT

Suicide Prevention-Question, Persuade, Refer
The signs of crisis are all around us. This training from RECAST MKE trains participants in recognition, intervention and referral to prevent suicide.
When: Monday July 27 from 10:00am-12:00pm

Youth Mental Health First Aid
This training from RECAST MKE is primarily designed for adults who regularly interact with young people. The course introduces common mental health challenges for youth, reviews typical adolescent development, and teaches a 5-step action plan for how to help young people in both crisis and non-crisis situations. Topics include anxiety, depression, substance use, disorders in which psychosis may occur, disruptive behavior disorders (including AD/HD), and eating disorders.
When: Friday, July 31 from 1:00pm-5:00pm CT

Kids Matter Book Club
Looking for a community to grow with? Join the Kids Matter book club--we're reading How to Be an Anti-Racist by Ibram X. Kendi and will discuss over Zoom on Monday, August 10th from 6 pm to 8 pm. Email volunteer@kidsmatterinc.org to join.
Helping Children Thrive Through Connection to Family and Cultural Identity
Both inside and outside the foster care system, American Indian and Alaska Native children are more likely to live in grandfamilies—families in which grandparents, other adult family members or close family friends are raising children with no parents in the home—than any other racial or ethnic group.

This toolkit is designed to give resources and tips to service providers, so we can better serve all American Indian and Alaska Native grandfamilies regardless of child welfare involvement. It will explore some unique strengths and challenges of Native grandfamilies, which service providers need to recognize in order to provide culturally appropriate supportive services. Explore Generation United's new toolkit, American Indian & Alaska Native Grandfamilies: Helping Children Thrive Through Connection to Family and Cultural Identity . 

Are you more of a podcast listener? Check out this 20 minute podcast of Generations United discussing the importance of passing down culture, tradition and information to future generations and how racial inequity impacts those efforts with grandparent Robyn Wind-Tiger. Listen here.
The Compassion Campaign
We're sending a big thank you to Anoushka and the Compassion Campaign for this generous donation of care packages for kids ages 5-9. Anoushka started a fundraiser to build care packages with hygiene items, art supplies, toys, and empowering handmade cards. Thanks again Anoushka--your packages will brighten the lives of kids in our community!