Today's National Adoption Month post is aimed at foster youth. Although adoption is often presented as being about the best interests of the child, in reality the child or youth in foster care has very little say or input about their own permanency planning. Social workers, Guardian ad litems or CASA workers, judges and foster and prospective adoptive parents often appear to be talking about your permanency plans without actually asking you what you want or how permanency is going to impact your future.
If you are a case worker, foster parent, prospective adoptive parent, GAL or CASA, and you are reading this post, you should be aware of these resources and offer them to the youth you are working with.
If you are a youth and you are reading this post, these resources might be interesting and helpful to you and you could use these as a starting point for discussion with your social workers, GAL/CASA or others in your life.
Permanency is about YOU and your future, and that is why you need to know what all the things your social workers or other people in your life are saying when they talk about permanency and adoption.
Here are some resources for you, to help you understand more about permanency and adoption:
To start, here is a video of foster youth, parents and social workers sharing their experiences
Here is a video developed for the 2011 Summit on Youth Permanency on the Nebraska Children and Families Foundation website. The youth featured in this video talk about what permanency and family means for them.
The Children's Bureau's National Adoption Month website has a page of resources dedicated just for youth in foster care. Check out the resources on their page.
- Foster Club (check out their Transition Toolkit for youth transitioning out of foster care)
- A handbook for children and youth in foster care in New York, You Are Not Alone, has a lot of information that is helpful to youth in other states as well about their rights.
- Another handout that explains your legal rights is the Know Your Rights: Family Team Conferences by Legal Aid Society in New York.
- Youth Communication - a website that helps teens read, write and communicate their thoughts and ideas
- Want to influence policy? Check out the National Foster youth Advisory Council, the Congressional Caucus on Foster Youth and the Foster Youth Internship sponsored by the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute (CCAI)