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Center for Advanced Studies in Child Welfare

Center for Advanced Studies in Child Welfare

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The American Academy of Pediatrics as part of their Healthy Children series, has created a brochure for parents who have or are considering adopting a child internationally. Their brochure, "A Healthy Beginning" offers advice on things to consider prior to bringing the child to the U.S., what to expect in the first medical visit, a check list of information to bring to the first medical visit with their doctor and resources.

To download the brochure, click here.

The organization also has a lot of helpful resources about foster care and adoption. Click here for the website.

20130131_012913heartland01_33.jpg [Photo by Jennifer Simonson for MPR]

This morning as I was driving to work I heard a wonderful story by Sasha Aslanian on MPR about the Heartland Girl's Ranch. Heartland began as a group home for adolescent girls with behavioral issues and found over the years that more and more of the girls referred to them had a history of being exploited for sex trafficking.

Part of the therapeutic programming at Heartland Girl's Ranch includes equine therapy. Girls are matched with horses that they care for on a daily basis. They also have opportunities to learn how to ride and to participate in horse shows.

You can hear the story through the link below, or read the full story and listen on the MPR website.

For adopted youth - staying safe online

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Online social networking sites allow youth in foster care and adoption to connect with others who have shared their experiences. However negotiating social relationships - online ones included - can still be tricky. Youth can can be at risk, and for foster and adopted youth, issues such as who to trust, what to share, and understanding good boundaries in relationships all have online social networking implications as well in person-to-person interactions.

The National Adoption Month 2012 website by the Children's Bureau offers some great resources for youth to help them be safe while on social networking sites. Here are some great resources:

  • The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children offers an English and Spanish version of their NSTeens resource of videos and comics aimed to help tweens navigate the internet.
  • Social has a guide for safe and responsible social networking
  • Social Media Safety, created by the Wisconsin 4-H Youth Development, is a guide for youth
Resources for social workers, foster and adoptive parents and others working with foster and adopted youth:
  • The state of Oregon has created an "Internet Usage Greement for Youth In Care and Foster Parents" that might be a helfpul guide for other parents and caregivers.
  • Kids that have been adopted might use the internet to find birth family. This guide from the Child Welfare Information Gateway discusses using social media as a tool for finding birth family.
  • Dale Fitch from the University of Missouri wrote "Youth in Foster Care and Social Media: A Framework for Developing Privacy Guidelines" in the Journal of Technology in Human Services. For an article about Dr. Fitch, see this article in the Univesity of Missori News Bureau.
  • From the Foster Kids Own Story blog - Foster Care's Social Media Problem.

browse.jpegChildren and youth that have experienced foster care, institutionalization and/or adoption often face additional struggles in school. Adoption Learning Partners and the Joint Council on International Children's Services is co-sponsoring a webinar, Adoption and Classroom Success: Beyond The Basics. The webinar will be held live Wednesday, September 19, 2012 at 7:00PM Central time with a Q&A at 8:00PM. The cost of the webinar is $15.00

Presenter Heather T. Forbes will discuss how adoption experiences impact children in school.

From the webinar's description:

Circumstances prior to adoption often cause adopted children to experience school, among other things, in a different framework than other kids. Orphanage care, foster care or prenatal exposure are all events that can affect behavior as a child grows.

Heather will present tips and strategies on how to help your child be more successful at school, therefore easing some of the stress at home. Heather will cover:

  • How to smooth school-related transitions
  • Helping teachers understand what is driving a child's negative behaviors
  • How to increase your child's motivation to succeed at school

Forbes is the author of the popular Beyond Consequences, Logic and Control: A Love Based Approach to Helping Children with Severe Behaviors.

To register for the webinar, click here.

For more suggestions on how to help your adopted or fostered child prepare for and navigate school, you can also check out the fact sheets available from MN ADOPT.

Topics include:

  • Adoption-Competent School Assignments
  • Adoption-Friendly Curriculum
  • College Aid
  • Making IEPs User-Friendly
  • Planning for Postsecondary Education for Students with Disabilities
  • School Issues With the Youth or Teen with Attachment Issues: The Dog Ate My Homework
  • The Impact of Adoption at School: Elementary Age Youth
  • The Impact of Adoption at School: Junior and Senior High
  • The Impact of Adoption at School: Pre-K and Kindergarten

A while back I blogged about food issues among children that have experienced foster care, institutionalization and adoption. I was recently at a conference and saw this wonderful resource created by the SPOON Foundation called Adoption Nutrition: A Starter Guide for Foster and Adoptive Parents.

This guide provides helpful information and hints about common nutrient deficiencies adopted children may have, understanding feeding challenges and tips for transitioning your child's diet.

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You can request a copy of the booklet here. It's free! The website is full of information as well, so I recommend taking time to look through all the pages. This is a great resource for foster and adoptive parents, but also for adoption professionals and mental health specialists working with children and families that might be experiencing food and eating issues.

The University of Minnesota has some amazing scholars researching adoption. Here is a presentation by Megan Gunnar, Department Chair and Regents Professor at the Institute on Child Development here at the University of Minnesota, presenting a keynote address on the developing adolescent brains of post-institutionalized adopted children at the 2012 Rudd Adoption Conference, New Worlds of Adoption: Navigating the Teen Years.

For more presentations from this conference, visit the Rudd Adoption Research Program's YouTube page.

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MN Adopt is offering a training on August 6, 2012 on Working with the Mind-Body Connection: Understanding Stress and Trauma in Adopted and Foster Youth. The training will be presented by Lora Matz, LICSW.

From the description:

Increased levels of anxiety, depression and hopelessness are being seen in children from all socio-economic conditions, cultures and family life. Stress-related stomachaches and headaches in children of all ages are being reported as the number one health concern for children by physicians today. The principals and practices of Mind-Body skills are easily learned and empowering. Lora Matz offers Mind-Body skills that not only increase self-confidence, resilience and self-regulation but contribute to decreased disruptive behaviors often seen in children who have trauma histories. Participants will gain insight on how to talk to children of different ages about the stress response and how it impacts the body and emotions.

Lora Matz, LICSW is an internationally known health and wellness expert in the practices of Integrative Medicine. She currently serves as Clinical Education Specialist of Prairie Care and has a rich background as a psychotherapist, lecturer, writer and consultant in the areas of mind-body medicine and transpersonal development. Lora has many years of experience working with both children and adults in the areas of trauma and stress reduction strategies. She has served as Associate Director of the Center for Mind-Body Medicine in Washington D.C. and supervised the team who worked with the children who were on the school bus when the I-35W bridge collapsed. Addtionally, she has worked with adoptees and foster children as a foster mother, psychotherapist with both children and adults who have been adopted and their families. She also has worked as a psychotherapist and clinical supervisor with individuals struggling with issues related to failed adoptions.

For more information on this or other trainings, contact MN Adopt at: or

612-861-7112 (fax)
866-303-6276 (toll free)

Webinar on helping children with sexualized behaviors

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MN ADOPT is hosting a webinar on July 25, 2012 on Helping Children with Sexualized Behaviors: What Parents and Professionals Need to Know with Jane Seymour, MSW, LGSW.

From the training desciption:
This webinar will review the common myths and facts about children who are exhibiting sexualized behaviors. Participants will learn about the characteristics of healthy and unhealthy sexual behavior in children. The presenter also explores the influence of early traumas, such as domestic violence, sexual and physical abuse and how it manifests with children who display sexualized behaviors. Parents and professionals will learn specific strategies and interventions for working with and helping these children.

Jane Seymour, MSW, LGSW is a Clinical Specialist with the MN ADOPT HELP program at Minnesota Adoption Resource Network (MARN). MN ADOPT HELP provides a Warm Line for adoptive families and connects adoptive families with adoption competent therapists. Prior to her work with MARN, Jane provided individual and group therapy to children who had experienced intra-familial sexual abuse. She also provided in-home therapy, education, and skill building to adoptive and kinship families. Jane has previously worked with families involved with Child Welfare, and with youth in residential and day treatment settings.

For more information on this or other trainings, contact MN Adopt at: or

612-861-7112 (fax)
866-303-6276 (toll free)

MN ADOPT logo.jpg

MN Adopt is offering a training series, Beyond Consequences Training and Support - 8-part Series with Brenda Benning, MSW, LGSW.

This training series will provide insight into children's behaviors as well as hands-on skills to help parents work with children that have experienced traumatic histories. The series is based on the book "Beyond Consequences, Logic & Control" by Heather T. Forbes.

Dates begin Tuesday, July 10th. For more information on this or other trainings, contact MN Adopt at: or

612-861-7112 (fax)
866-303-6276 (toll free)

Dr. Hal Grotevant, formerly from the Department of Family Social Science at the University of Minnesota, and now Chair of the Rudd Adoption Research program at U-Mass/Amherst, was interviewed on WGBY about what adoption looks like during the adolescen tyears. He also discusses the upcoming conference on March 30, 2012.

You can view the interview below or here.

CW360-CEEDCover.gif Last week, the Center for Advanced Studies in Child Welfare published a special edition of CW360° on using a develomental approach to child welfare practice. The publication, created in collaboration with the Center for Early Education and Development (CEED), is an incredible resource for anyone working in the areas of adoption and permanency.

Understanding child development is integral to child welfare practice, in particular for children and youth that are involved in adoption and permanency. Foster care and adoption workers, as well as foster, adoptive, and kinship/relative caregivers must understand the impact of early experiences of abuse, neglect, trauma, stress, multiple placements and institutionalization have on a child's development and how that affects children and youth's permanency outcomes.

This special issue of CW360° includes perspectives from child welfare workers, foster parents, judges, researchers, and policy experts. Topics include: higlighting innovative programs for parents and children; what foster parents need to meet the developmental needs of children in their care; influencing public policy to include child development; current research; and collaboration among child welfare, education, public health, child development and mental health arenas.

For a copy of this issue of CW360°, click here.

For past issues of CW360° including special issues on:
2009 Permanency or Aging Out: Adolescents in the Child Welfare System and 2010 Promoting Placement Stability
visit our CW360° page at the Center for Advanced Studies in Child Welfare.