A weekly publication of 5/21/2013
|Did you know...
Nationwide there has been a 22% decrease in the number of children in foster care between 20012 – 2010.
In New Hampshire, there are approximately 900 children served in foster family care in a given year.
May is National Foster Care Month, a month set aside to acknowledge foster parents, family members, volunteers, mentors, policymakers, child welfare professionals, and other members of the community who help children and youth in foster care find permanent homes and connections.
The focus of this year's initiative is supporting youth in transition through creating meaningful connections, partnering with youth, advancing permanency options, and preparing youth for successful transitions to adulthood. During National Foster Care Month and all year, please think about ways we can work toward ensuring a bright future for the more than 400,000 children and youth in foster care. National Foster Care Month is a great time to celebrate all those who make a meaningful difference in their lives.
Throughout its 100-year history, the Children's Bureau - the first federal agency within the U.S. government—and in fact, the world—to focus exclusively on improving the lives of children and families - has worked to assist children and youth in foster care; engage youth in decisions that affect their lives; and support foster families, kinship caregivers, child welfare professionals, and others who help these children.
At the turn of the last century, conditions for children in America looked very different from today. More than 1 in 10 infants did not survive their first year. Many children left school to help support their families, often working in dangerous conditions. Orphans were crowded into large institutions, where they received little care or attention.
Lillian D. Wald, founder of the Henry Street Settlement in New York City, and her friend Florence Kelley are credited with conceiving the idea for a Federal agency to promote child health and welfare in 1903. Impressed with the idea, a friend of Wald’s wired President Theodore Roosevelt, who promptly invited the group to the White House to discuss it further. The journey to create the Children’s Bureau had begun.
Many years of nationwide campaigning by individuals and organizations followed. Eleven bills, eight originating in the House and three in the Senate, met with failure between 1906 and 1912. In 1909, President Roosevelt convened the first White House Conference on Children. This meeting brought together social workers, educators, juvenile court judges, labor leaders, and other men and women concerned with children’s well-being, who collectively endorsed the idea of a Federal Children’s Bureau.
In 1912, Congress passed the Act creating the Children’s Bureau and charged it “to investigate and report . . . upon all matters pertaining to the welfare of children and child life among all classes of our people.” President William Howard Taft signed the bill on April 9, 1912. The bill included an initial appropriation of $25,640.
- Before the creation of the Children's Bureau in 1912, child welfare and foster care were mainly in the hands of private and religious organizations.
- In 1919, the Children's Bureau published Minimum Standards of Child Welfare, which affirmed the importance of keeping children in their own homes whenever possible and, when that was impossible, providing a "home life" with foster families.
- In 1923, the Children's Bureau published Foster-Home Care for Dependent Children, an acknowledgment of the growing preference for foster family care over institutional care.
- During World War II, when more than 8,000 children were evacuated from Europe to the United States, the Children's Bureau oversaw their temporary placement in U.S. foster homes.
- The Children's Bureau published a draft list of "The Rights of Foster Parents" in the May 1970 issue of its journal Children. That same year, the Children's Bureau sponsored the National Conference of Foster Parents.
- In 1972, the Children's Bureau sponsored—and President Nixon proclaimed—National Action for Foster Children Week to raise awareness of the needs of children in foster care and recruit more foster parents. The following year, Children published "The Bill of Rights for Foster Children."
- In 1988, President Reagan issued the first presidential proclamation that established May as National Foster Care Month.
“There are few things more vital to the welfare of the Nation than accurate and dependable knowledge of the best methods of dealing with children...”
- President Theodore Roosevelt.
Tuesday, May 21, 10:00am – 11:00am, SB27 Executive Session- relative to monitoring by the department of education of programs for children with disabilities, LOB 207
Click here to see more events in New Hampshire!
Foster care and adoption services information in New Hampshire falls under the Department of Health and Human Services’ Division of Children, Youth and Families. The following is from their website.
The children in foster care come from family situations where they have experienced either neglect or sexual, emotional or physical abuse. They range in age from birth to age 18. Some of the youth are children in need of supervision or are delinquent youth. Domestic violence, substance abuse and mental illness may be a part of the family’s history. Children involved with foster care and adoption usually attend the local public school and most children need the opportunity to participate in normal childhood activities in the community.
Nationally, the number of children in care in March 2010—approximately 588,000—is, in fact, more than double the number of children in care in 1984 (US Department of Health and Human Services, 2001c). In New Hampshire, there are approximately 900 children served in foster family care in a given year.
What is Foster Care?
The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services Division for Children, Youth, & Families (DCYF) investigates allegations of child abuse and neglect. If the assessment indicates a child’s safety are at risk, DCYF petitions the court to have the child removed from their family and placed in a safe, caring, temporary environment. The child may move to a relative’s home or a foster home. There are several types of foster family care. Some are administered by the public agency, DCYF, while private child placing agencies administers others. Basic foster family care is called General Care, and there are also other types of care including Specialized, Emergency, Crisis and Independent Service Option.
Foster families provide homes for children whose families are unable or unwilling to care for them. Every effort is made to help the child remain with his or her family. Foster parents are asked to provide a supportive atmosphere while the biological parents, agency staff, and foster parents work on individual and family issues.
The temporary and complex nature of foster care places special demands on foster parents. They are asked to take someone else’s child into their home, care for the child, and treat the child as a member of their family. The Foster Care Program provides the necessary support and training to enable foster parents to provide daily care and supervision for the child in care.
What is Adoption?
Adoption is a lifelong commitment you make to a child and the legal status given to you as a parent to provide for the care, custody, safety and well-being of a child. Adoption offers children the highest level of permanency
The DCYF Adoption Program provides the following adoption support services and adoption search services. Pre and post adoption services for adoptive families includes support groups, information and referral services, administration of the Adoption Subsidy program, and training and home studies for NH adoptive families seeking to adopt children through DCYF. Adoption search services are available for persons who were adopted through DCYF, birth parents of persons adopted through DCYF, and siblings and other relatives of adopted persons when a court order is obtained for search services.
The Heart Gallery Project
The Heart Gallery is a project originally initiated by the New Mexico Department of Youth and Families as a way to recruit adoptive families for waiting children. DCYF partnered with Jordan’s Furniture and the Massachusetts Adoption Resource Exchange in creating the permanent New Hampshire Heart Gallery in the Jordan’s Furniture store in Nashua.
DCYF has partnered with the NH Professional Photographers Association and some individual volunteer photographers to take photos of Waiting Children. There are currently over 30 photographers who are volunteering their time and services for this project. A local printer provides the 20x24 photos needed for the gallery at a greatly reduced cost. In addition, each child receives either a framed 8x10 photo or a photo album of proofs.
Children participating in the Heart Gallery Project are legally free to be adopted. They are waiting to be matched with a family who will commit to them forever.
The permanent Heart Gallery created in collaboration with the Massachusetts Adoption Resource Exchange (MARE) remains displayed at Jordan’s Furniture in Nashua, NH. Heart Gallery pictures can also be seen at the DHHS Administrative Offices in Concord.
To learn more about becoming a foster care provider, please contact DCYF Foster Care and Adoption Services online or at (603) 271-4711.
New Hampshire Campaign Director
Every Child Matters Education Fund
You can help win the fight for our kids by making a tax-deductible donation to ECM in any amount at www.everychildmatters.org.
Every Child Matters is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization whose mission is to make children a national political priority. For more information, visit www.everychildmatters.org
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