Category: healing

adoption, child, child welfare reform, foster care abuse, cps, domestic violence, education, family, foster care, foster child, healing, love, system failure
How to Bond With Your (Foster) Child

Top 10 Five Minute Bonding Activities

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These activities are not for every foster/adoptive parent or every foster/adoptive child. Only do what is comfortable for you and your foster/adopted child.
Keep in mind:

  • Child’s Age – Chronological and Emotional
  • Child’s History of Abuse and/or Neglect
  • Comfort Levels

Please note that I’m not promoting these activities as a way to create an instant bond between you and your child. Bonding is a process that takes time. These activities are ideas that will help start the process of bonding.

1. Brushing Hair

This can be a great and easy way to spend time with a child. It also involves a safe touch, which is so important to creating a loving bond.

2. Read a Story

Not only will you be increasing your bond by spending time together, you’ll be increasing the child’s vocabulary and other literary skills.

3. Sing Songs

We used to have a tradition of singing songs before tucking our daughter into bed, favorites included Old Macdonald, London Bridge, and many different Sunday School songs. Also try songs like “This Little Piggy” where each line of the song is sang as you tickle a toe, involves appropriate, safe touching with a child who may be fearful of touch due to past abuse.

4. Clapping Games and Rhymes

Remember the games played on elementary playgrounds? If not here are some web sites with words. Fun activity involving safe touch.

5. Bed Time Routine

A routine can include tucking in with a soft blanket, hugs and kisses, a short story, song, or prayer. Keep in mind the comfort level of all involved. If a history of sexual abuse exists or you don’t know the child’s history, protect yourself against allegations by having another adult with you at bed time.

6. Staring Contest

Maintain direct eye contact, the first person to look away or blink loses. A fun game for older children and a great way to have eye contact which helps build attachment. Be sure the child does not interpret this activity as threatening or intimidating and understands that it is a game.

7. Hand Games

More safe touching activities like Rock Paper Scissors, Bubble Gum Bubble Gum in a Dish, or Thumb Wrestling. Some of the above links will take you to pages filled with more game ideas.

8. Paint Finger and Toe Nails

More appropriate for girls – this is a sweet way to spend five minutes. Consider allowing the child to paint your nails.

9. Rocking

This is one bonding activity in which you must calculate emotional age, history, and comfort levels. My son was 12 when he came to us as a foster child, but he needed and welcomed being held and rocked. I spoke to his therapist before rocking him and had no trouble in doing so. He was extremely small for his age, which made rocking him easier. Be aware of sexual arousal with older children and activities that involve such closeness.

10. Lotioning

Applying lotion to a child’s hands and feet can also be part of a bedtime routine. Children of color will benefit from having lotion applied to their legs, arms, face, and back. Caution: Consider child’s sexual abuse history, age, and comfort level with this activity. Some abused children can misinterpret different kinds of touch. Be aware of sexual arousal. If you sense that any activity is upsetting to the child – stop. Document the incident, tell the therapist at your next meeting.

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child death, child welfare reform, foster care abuse, cps, domestic violence, education, family, foster care, General, government, healing, missing child, system failure
Register Your Case Against the Department of Social and Health Services
A lawsuit has been filed and is seeking class action status against the department alleging violations of constitutional rights. Nine Latina child care workers claim the state came into their homes and seized personal records in search of ‘phantom children’. The lawsuit also alleges discrimination against child care workers on the basis of ethnicity and language.

Register your Department of Social and Health Services Case

If you feel you qualify for damages or remedies that might be awarded in a possible class action or lawsuit, please click the link below to submit your complaint. By submitting this form, you are asking lawyers to contact you. You are under no obligation to accept their services. Lawyers are usually paid out of the proceeds of the settlement or verdict rendered.

Please click here for a free evaluation of your case
Columbia Legal Services – Joe Morrison
(Source: LawyersandSettlements.com)

“Its ALmost Tuesday” and its blogowner  is merely providing you with a link to register your Department of Social and Health Services case; we make no promises, form no opinions as to how your case may be evaluated; and we are not lawyers nor giving legal advice.
child welfare reform, foster care abuse, cps, family, foster care, government, healing, system failure
Foster Care Brain Damage — Settlements and Verdicts
Baltimore, MD: (Dec-13-07) A lawsuit was brought against the state by the mother of a 6-year-old, alleging violation of rights. The suit claimed that Brandon, the severely brain-damaged boy lives in a hospital bed in the front room of his Southwest Baltimore home, being fed through a tube and undergoing daily dialysis because of abuse he suffered in foster care in July 2004, when a teen-age girl with a history of violence allegedly slammed his head into cement steps. Records stated that Brandon’s case also included a civil rights claim against workers at the Baltimore City Department of Social Services, a division of the state DHR, for failing to protect his safety. As part of settlement reached, the state agreed to pay Brandon’s mother $1.5 million to resolve the litigation. The state settled his mother’s lawsuit for about $580,000 in cash and a lifetime annuity of $80,000 a year, indexed annually, which cost the state $908,000. Attorneys Joseph B. Espo and Andrew D. Freeman said that with reasonable certainty, it is the most the state has ever paid to compensate a single individual. [MD DAILY RECORD]
domestic violence, family, foster care, foster parent, healing, law, legal, missing child, murder, system failure
Schaefer: Trial by jury needed to remove child

Sunday, December 2, 2007
Last modified Thursday, November 29, 2007 9:03 AM EST

Schaefer: Trial by jury needed to remove child
By Tom Law

Source: The Toccoa Record

State Sen. Nancy Schaefer last week called for an overhaul of the state’s child protection services provided through the Department of Family and Children’s Services (DFCS).

Among the recommendations by Schaefer, who represents the 50th District which includes Stephens County, was that a jury trial be held when a child is taken from their parents.

Schaefer also called for the requirement of a warrant signed by a judge before removing a child from their parents, except in an emergency situation such as a medical crisis.

“The Department of Family and Children’s Service, known as the Department of Child Protective Services in other states, has become a protected empire built on taking children and separating families,”

Schaefer said in a lengthy e-mail…

“This is not to say there are not children who do need to be removed from wretched situations and need protection,”

Schaefer said.

“This report is concerned with the children and parents caught in legal kidnapping, ineffective policies and DFCS that does not remove a child or children when a child is enduring torment and abuse.”

Schaefer offered as an example an unnamed county in her district where she met with 37 families to discuss the “gestapo” tactics of the DFCS.

“I witnessed the deceitful conditions under which children were taken in the middle of the night, out of hospitals and off school busses,”

Schaefer said.

“Having worked with probably 300 cases statewide, I am convinced there is no responsibility and no accountability in the system.”

Among Schaefer’s conclusions:

  • Poor parents are targeted to lose their children because they do not have the wherewithal to hire lawyers and fight the system.

“Being poor does not mean you are not a good parent or that you do not love your child or that your child should be removed and placed with strangers,”

Schaefer said.

  • All parents are capable of making mistakes and that making a mistake does not mean children should be removed from the home.
  • Parenting classes, anger management classes, counseling referrals, therapy classes, etc. are demanded of parents with no compassion by the system while they are at work and while their children are separated from them.
  • Caseworkers and social workers are often guilty of fraud.
  • “They withhold evidence. They fabricate evidence and they seek to terminate parental rights. However, when charges are made against them, the charges are ignored,” Schaefer said.
  • Separation of families is a growing business because local governments have grown accustomed to having taxpayer dollars to balance their ever-expanding budgets.
  • DFCS and juvenile court can always hide behind a confidentiality clause in order to protect their decisions.
  • There are no financial resources and no real drive to unite a family and help keep them together.
  • The incentive for social workers to return children to their parents quickly after taking them has disappeared.
  • The policy manual for DFCS is considered the last word.“The manual is too long, too confusing, poorly written and doesn’t take the law into consideration,” Schaefer said.
  • Children removed from homes may not be safer in foster care.“Children of whom I am aware have been raped and impregnated in foster care and the head of a foster parents association in my district was recently arrested because of child molestation,” Schaefer said.
  • Grandparents are not often contacted by DFCS when children are removed from homes.“Grandparents who lose their grandchildren to strangers have lost their own flesh and blood. The children lose their family heritage, and grandparents lose all connections to their heirs,” Schaefer said.Schaefer is calling for an independent audit of DFCS to expose possible “corruption and fraud.”She also called for immediate change. “Every day that passes means more families and children are subject to being held hostage.”Schaefer said any financial incentives to separate families should end, and parents should be given their rights in writing.She also called for a required search for family members to be given the opportunity to adopt their own relatives, and when someone fabricates or presents false evidence, a hearing should be held with the right to discovery of all evidence.
  • child death, child welfare reform, foster care abuse, cps, domestic violence, education, family, foster care, government, healing, missing child, poetry, system failure
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    child, children, families, family, healing, love, medical, medication, safety
    Government Advisers: Don’t Use Cold Medicines in Children Under 6

    FDA Says Over-the-Counter Med Need Further Study

    Cold medicine

    Concentrated Tylenol Infants’ Drops Plus Cold & Cough, right, and Pedia Care Infant Drops Long-Acting Cough, left, is shown in a medicine cabinet of the home of Carol Uyeno in Palo Alto, Calif., Thursday, Oct. 11, 2007. Cold Drug makers voluntarily pulled cold medicines targeted for babies and toddlers off the market Thursday, leaving parents to find alternatives for hacking coughs and runny little noses just as fall sniffles get in full swing. The move represented a pre-emptive strike by over-the-counter drug manufacturers – a week before government advisers were to debate the medicines’ fate. But it doesn’t end concern about the safety of these remedies for youngsters.  (Paul Sakuma/AP Photo)

    WASHINGTON – Cold and cough medicines don’t work in children and shouldn’t be used in those younger than 6, federal health advisers recommended Friday.

    Video

    No More Kids Cold Medicine

    The over-the-counter medicines should be studied further, even after decades in which children have received billions of doses a year, the outside experts told the Food and Drug Administration. The FDA isn’t required to follow the advice of its panels of outside experts but does so most of the time.

    “The data that we have now is they don’t seem to work,” said Sean Hennessy, a University of Pennsylvania epidemiologist, one of the FDA experts gathered to examine the medicines sold to treat common cold symptoms. The recommendation applies to medicines containing one or more of the following ingredients: decongestants, expectorants, antihistamines and antitussives.

    The nonbinding recommendation is likely to lead to a shake up in how the medicines – which have long escaped much scrutiny – are labeled, marketed and used. Just how and how quickly wasn’t immediately clear.

    In two separate votes, the panelists said the medicines shouldn’t be used in children younger than 2 or in those younger than 6. A third vote, to recommend against use in children 6 to 11, failed.

    Earlier, the panelists voted unanimously to recommend the medicines be studied in children to determine whether they work. That recommendation would require the FDA to undertake a rule-making process to reclassify the medicines, since the ingredients they include are now generally recognized as safe and effective, which doesn’t require testing. The process could take years, even before any studies themselves get under way.

    Simply relabeling the medicines to state they shouldn’t be used in some age groups could be accomplished more quickly, FDA officials said.

    Indeed, the drug industry could further revise the labels on the medicines to caution against such use. The Thursday-Friday meeting came just a week after the industry pre-emptively moved to eliminate sales of the nonprescription drugs targeted at children under 2.

    Government Advisers: Don’t Use Cold Medicines in Children Under 6

    adoption, child death, child welfare reform, foster care abuse, children, cps, families, family, foster care, government, healing, love, medicaid fraud, psychiatry, psychotropic medications, safety, system failure, texas
    Child agency touts progress

    Foster kid adoption rate has improved in S.A. region, but much wor

    Web Posted: 10/03/2007 12:00 AM CDT

    Nancy Martinez
    Express-News Child Protective Services has in the past 21/2 years seen a higher turnover among caseworkers, taken on more cases, removed more children that it can place and seen a large gap in the number of black children in the system versus those in the community. Still, the state agency charged with keeping children safe sees itself as an improved department in the throes of heeding reforms required by the Legislature in 2005. That’s what about 75 child advocates who gathered Tuesday at a semi-annual child advocate meeting heard from CPS officials.

    “We’re making a lot of progress. We’re a different agency than we were before the reforms,” Sherry Gomez, the San Antonio region CPS director, told the audience of foster care workers, community organizations, law enforcement officials and political leaders. “But it’s going to take awhile to transition.”

    But Sen. Carlos Uresti, D-San Antonio, who publicly criticized CPS this year for not following new state laws aimed at protecting young children by requiring that a specialist review their cases, reached a different conclusion.

    “I don’t see the kind of improvement we need in the agency,” Uresti said during a phone interview Tuesday. “Status quo is not enough.”

    At the meeting, held at the University of the Incarnate Word with the theme “The Dawn of a New Day,” CPS officials spoke about what the department is doing right and characterized its weaknesses — turnover is the worst it’s ever been and there are more cases than ever — as “growing pains.”

    “CPS is a constant challenge. The system is overburdened, and we always need more reserves,” said Arabia Vargas, chairwoman of the Bexar County Child Welfare Board.

    Still, there were marked improvements since the passage of Senate Bill 6, which required expansive reforms in virtually every aspect of policy, practice and performance for the beleaguered agency.

    CPS touted its high foster child adoption rate: In fiscal 2007, 974 children in the San Antonio region were adopted, mostly by relatives. Last year, the region led the state with 651 adoptions, a vast improvement from the 316 in fiscal year 2004 and up from 625 in 2005.

    Also discussed were the “taking it to the streets” efforts, in which caseworkers became decentralized, working across the city, and CPS’ “family team meeting” efforts, in which extended family members work with CPS to craft a safety plan for children.

    Local CPS developments are reflective of what is happening across the state.

    On Sept. 1, in its fourth 180-day progress report, the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, the umbrella agency over CPS, reported to lawmakers that the department is becoming more accountable and working on its shortcomings.

    According to CPS, caseloads are also down for most caseworkers — from 27 average cases per day last year for San Antonio region caseworkers to 21 per day in fiscal year 2007, which ended Aug. 31. Statewide, the caseload decreased from 26 per day last year to 20 per day in 2007, according to CPS.

    But one of the department’s biggest challenges this past year has been placing foster children.

    Since April, 44 children in the San Antonio region have slept in CPS offices because there was nowhere else for them to stay.

    CPS officials say finding placements is a daily struggle because the rate at which children are being removed is greatly outpacing the rate at which foster parents will take them.

    CPS officials said the department is also striving to fix a problem of disproportional removals. Across the state and in San Antonio, more black children are taken from their parents. In the San Antonio region, 6 percent of children are black, but 15 percent of those in foster care are black, CPS reported.

    Training new staff has become a significant challenge, especially because caseworker turnover is getting worse.

    Despite the reforms, children are still dying of child abuse and neglect at an unprecedented rate.

    In fiscal year 2006, CPS identified 14 children who died of child abuse and neglect, the second-highest number since the department began keeping track.

    Death numbers for fiscal year 2007 are not yet available.

    “The report reflects the status quo,” Uresti said. “We need to continue to monitor this on a monthly basis and not let up on our primary goal of protecting our children.”


    nmartinez@express-news.net

    family, healing, poetry
    How Do We Forgive Our Fathers? By Dick Lourie

    How do we forgive our fathers?

    Maybe in a dream?

    Do we forgive our fathers for leaving us too often?

    Or forever?

    When we were little?

    Maybe for scarin’ us with unexpected rage…

    or makin’ us nervous because there seemed never to be any rage there at all.

    Do we forgive our fathers for marryin’ or not marryin’ our mothers?
    For divorcin’ or not divorcin’ our mothers?
    And shall we forgive them for their excesses of warmth or coldness?
    Shall we forgive them for pushing or leaning?
    For shutting doors, for speaking into walls
    or
    Never speaking
    or
    Never being silent?
    Do we forgive our fathers in our age or in theirs?
    Or in their deaths, saying it to them or not saying it?

    If we forgive our fathers what is left?

    family, healing, poetry
    How Do We Forgive Our Fathers? By Dick Lourie

    How do we forgive our fathers?

    Maybe in a dream?

    Do we forgive our fathers for leaving us too often?

    Or forever?

    When we were little?

    Maybe for scarin’ us with unexpected rage…

    or makin’ us nervous because there seemed never to be any rage there at all.

    Do we forgive our fathers for marryin’ or not marryin’ our mothers?
    For divorcin’ or not divorcin’ our mothers?
    And shall we forgive them for their excesses of warmth or coldness?
    Shall we forgive them for pushing or leaning?
    For shutting doors, for speaking into walls
    or
    Never speaking
    or
    Never being silent?
    Do we forgive our fathers in our age or in theirs?
    Or in their deaths, saying it to them or not saying it?

    If we forgive our fathers what is left?