Volume I | February 17, 2021

The Good Stuff in Child Welfare
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Welcome to The Good Stuff in Child Welfare!
 
Our team at the Field Center for Children’s Policy, Practice, & Research recognizes that between the all too frequent and grim child welfare stories that make us teary-eyed, clenched-fisted, and faint-hearted, there are inspiring accomplishments and heartening endeavors taking place all over this country at every level of practice. To elevate and promote these encouraging stories, we are pleased to bring you this monthly newsletter emphasizing news stories only about “The Good Stuff” from the broad field of child welfare. In our inaugural issue, the stories we highlight from around the nation show us the variety of ways that positive impacts are possible for those whose lives are touched by the child welfare system. We hope this read gives you a few moments of hopefulness and a sense of possibility.
 
If there's something you'd like to see here, shoot us an email. Know someone who could use a little Good Stuff in Child Welfare? Send them a copy! We hope you love it as much as we do.
I’m a Former Foster Youth; How a Few Words From My Attorney Changed My Life
In this inspiring opinion piece, former foster youth Cristal reflects on receiving an acceptance letter from her dream school - San Diego State University. Cristal credits her attorney, who always supported her in difficult moments and encouraged her to pursue her big dreams, with giving her the ability to believe in herself. Cristal’s story shows us that words can go a long way, and that every interaction with youth in foster care is an opportunity to make a positive impact on their life through care and advocacy.

If You’ve Ever Wanted to Be a Foster Parent, ‘Now Is the Time to Get Involved’
Have you ever considered being a foster parent or wondered what you could do to support children in the foster care system? If you are at all interested but don’t know where to start, this article provides an overview of what it takes to become a foster parent, shares ideas for different ways to support youth, and directs readers to a slew of additional resources with information about both the foster care system and how you can get involved. The barriers can seem high, but “getting started is easier than you might think”!

Proposed Bill Would Provide Support To Foster Children In Public Schools
A new bill in Washington's State Legislature mandating an educational liaison for foster youth at every K-12 school advances to the House with unanimous bipartisan support from the Senate. This important bill was proposed by Senator T'wina Nobles (D-28), who shares her personal investment in this issue as she experienced foster care growing up. Advocates agree that establishing points of contacts at schools to coordinate resources, address educational barriers, and provide emotional support for young people experiencing foster care will promote increased in-person contact with students and ensure they are best set up for success.

2021 Casey Excellence for Children Awards
Casey Family Programs just announced the winners of their annual “Excellence for Children Awards” recognizing outstanding work, exceptional leadership and unwavering dedication to improving child and family well-being in the US. As the country faces the devastating effects of COVID-19 and the realities of racism and inequity, “these awards highlight the tireless efforts of individuals who are actively working toward a brighter and more hopeful future for children and families.” Award winners are selected in five categories: birth parents (Edward Casillas; Shrounda Selivanoff), alumni of foster care (Dr. Sharrica Miller), foster or adoptive parents (Debbie and Elliott Dorsey; Debbie Stolz), kinship caregivers (Autumn Adams) and community leaders (Tracey Quillen Carney; Joseph Ribsam, Jr.; The Hon. Bruce Manning; Caleb Reed; The Hon. Peter Sakai; Laurie Tochiki; Lisa Parrish). More information about each inspirational recipient is on the program's website.

Los Angeles County Expands Kinship Care Efforts
Last month, Los Angeles County approved the expansion of the Upfront Family Finding Pilot Project to all of their Department of Children and Family Services offices. This program has been successful in placing 60% of youth in foster care with their relatives – close to twice the national average. Research has shown that placing children with relatives reduces trauma and allows them to feel a sense of belonging. Check out this article to learn more about the great work LA County has been doing to preserve family relationships and improve the well-being of children in foster care.

Missouri Lawmakers Eye Incentives To Aid Foster Parents, Adoptions
This article highlights an important effort from Missouri House Speaker Rob Vescovo to improve the foster care system in his state. Driven by his personal experience in foster care, he is currently prioritizing two proposed bills that would provide financial tax incentives to foster parents. Like his colleague and bill sponsor Rep. Hannah Kelly who was a foster parent, it is inspiring to see people with direct experience run for public office and initiate much-needed legislation.

The Field Center team would like to thank the staff and students who brought this newsletter together. Specifically, we recognize our Spring 2021 students Chih McDermott, Sirui Chen, Daphne Chimbel, Jennifer Kwon, Jessi Nguyen, and Amanda Silberstein for providing readers with this uplifting content. Many thanks to our Program Manager Sarah Wasch for editing and our Administrative Coordinator Felicia Saunders for handling design and distribution. Special thanks to our Managing Faculty Director, Dr. Johanna Greeson for her idea to curate the “good news stories” happening in child welfare!