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Greetings! We cover lots of important ground in this month’s newsletter. A profile of one special foster mother shows how love stays a part of children’s lives after reunification. Readers can learn about issues of concern for families during reunification, including the challenges posed by COVID-19. Spaulding gives kudos to a “Champion of the Community,” Gardner-White Furniture. We profile Katie Ward, Spaulding’s storyteller. We publish a message on the mission to end racism from Cristina Peixoto, President / CEO of Spaulding for Children. There's more, including links to a podcast from the team at QIC-AG, as well as numerous resources for kids this summer. To get the entire issue, please remember to click "View Entire Message" on your email browser.
Love Continues After Reunification
Her kids call Ms. Allen, “Aunty Mary.” She has adopted four and fostered more than 30 children through the years, including two teen girls who were reunited with their father.

Ms. Allen works side by side with birth parents – but always on the kids’ side – doing what is in their best interest. Yet, even after reunification, the connection with Aunty Mary does not stop.

“I’m here for all my kids,” Ms. Allen said. “They are always in my life.”


Click here or on the button below for the complete article.
Read More: Love Continues After Reunification
June Is Reunification Month
When a catastrophe happens, when a child is forced to be removed from his or her home, the State turns to agencies like Spaulding to temporarily take care of the safety and well-being of that child. From the moment a child walks in to our care, our main goal is to reunify the child and his family. When the child is returned with his or her family, this process is called reunification.
 
Spaulding’s goal is to reunite children with their families. Foster care serves as a temporary placement for a child while the parent(s) addresses the issues that led to the child’s out of home care. When a child is removed from the home, Spaulding communicates to parents their rights while the child is in foster care and they also communicate with foster (resource) families about their role, responsibilities and rights.


Click here or on the button below for the complete article.
 
Read More: June Is Reunification Month
Supporting Reunification
The Challenges for Moving Children Through Foster Care to a Successful Reunification
  • The child welfare system is child-focused, rather than family-focused. Expert guidance and dedicated resources can help families thrive.
     
  • Parenting classes are not designed for all types of learning. Parents, like other students, learn in many different ways. Many face additional challenges and need an individualized approach.
     
  • Lack of foster homes in communities where the children came from: This causes children to be disconnected from their schools, neighborhoods, and everything they were familiar with, creating more trauma.
     
  • Timely access to resources for children including educational and therapeutic services. If the children do not get needed services, they can fall behind on developing needed skills and coping strategies.
Click here or on the button below to learn more about Family Reunification.
 
Reunification Resources
Supporting Reunification 2
Family Preservation Principles
The National Family Preservation Network has outlined principles of Intensive Family Preservation Services. These services are designed to support families in which children are either at imminent risk of placement or have been placed outside their homes.

Click here or on the button below for the complete article.
Read More: Family Preservation Principles

For more information from the National Family Preservation Network, click here or on the button below.
 
Resources from Family Preservation Network
Healing During COVID-19
During these unusual times, brought by the COVID-19 pandemic, our weekly in-person family meetings had been suspended due to the inability to conduct visits.

The families have been meeting virtually for more than two months. Virtual meetings are not ideal, as kids and parents miss the hugs and personal time.

But, there was an upside to online meetings. Parents got to “see” where their child lived in foster care. A child could “take a tour” with his mom of his foster home and show off his room or introduce the family pet. This was a personal insight into their day to day life that birth parents did not have when visits were conducted at Spaulding offices.
 
Birth parents also got a better understanding of the foster family. Now, two families – birth family and foster family – have a better chance to work together in the future to support the child, during foster care and after reunification.

Working toward reunification, families meet at least once each week to support the connection and bond between parent and child. These supervised visits also serve as an assessment tool for foster care workers.
 
Thanks to some generous donors, we now have an ample supply of masks and in-person family visits are slated to resume this month. Details will be announced as soon as they are available.

 
Champion of the Community:

Gardner-White Gift Certificates 
Help a Reunited Family
Gardner-White Furniture recently named Spaulding as top prize winner of the Gardner-White Charituesday contest. The award includes two $500 gift certificates from the family-owned Michigan retailer, in business since 1912. 
 
Spaulding was pleased when two children recently left foster care and were reunified with their mother. Although happy to return home, they were in need of a dresser. Spaulding was happy to present them with one of the $500 gift certificates to purchase a beautiful dresser.
 
The adage, “It takes a village to raise a child,” reminds us how important each person and every organization are to our children’s future. Thank you to Gardner-White Furniture, a true champion of our community!
Spaulding Stands for Diversity, Equality, and Inclusion
Spaulding for Children honors diversity, equality and inclusion and recognizes the unique talents and abilities that each person brings to build strong communities. While current events shape our life and the lives of our children, we are the ones responsible for the messages they hear. 
Here are some resources to start a conversation with your child about race:

Books for Littles
 
An Idea on Facebook
 
Pretty Good Design
 
Embrace Race 
 
A Letter from Cristina Peixoto, 
President / CEO, Spaulding for Children
We acknowledge the hurt and grief that this country is experiencing right now and stand in solidarity with the African American community.
 
This pain belongs to all of us.
 
The brutal treatment of George Floyd reminds us that many families and communities have lost loved ones due to prejudice, inequality and systemic racism. The COVID pandemic has not fallen equally across society, and the disproportionality of minority families in the child welfare system tells us every day that racism is at every level of our society.
 
Spaulding for Children has a long history of working with children and families of color in the metro Detroit area. Just as Spaulding for Children believes that every child deserves a nurturing, stable and loving family, the agency holds firmly that all people should be treated equally and with upmost respect. We believe that the country’s strength comes from the diversity of its people. Therefore, it is with great sadness to see the brutality that was inflicted on George Floyd.  This type of brutality cannot be tolerated.  It is with heavy hearts that we have to explain these actions to the children that we serve while trying to make them feel safe in a world that currently feels very chaotic.
 
We will continue to reach out to families we serve, offering supports and resources as parents struggle with how to help children make sense of all that is happening in our communities.
 
It is imperative we all do our own anti-racism work. There is power in action and we need an unprecedented level of mobilization – start a conversation, join campaigns and advocacy groups. Racism is real, and we all need to be fighting to end it. We believe that change can happen, and we look forward to working with our families, board members, staff, and partners to be part of the solution.   
 
Cristina Peixoto
President/CEO
Katherine Ward
An Amazing Smile May Be Why Storyteller Seems So Familiar
You may have seen Katherine “Katie” Ward on Spaulding’s Facebook page. Every Monday evening, she reads books out loud as the star of “Storytime with Miss Katie.”

The time is special for children and adults who enjoy hearing a good story.
Click here to catch the program Mondays at 7 p.m.

Katie Ward soon will celebrate nearly 10 years as a professional serving in foster care and adoption. She has served more than three years with Spaulding for Children.

While in college Katie was headed to a criminal justice degree when she took a class in juvenile justice that changed the course of her life.

“I could not believe what these kids had gone through,” Katie said. “And I knew I needed to help.”


Click here or on the button below for the complete article.
 
Read More: Katie Ward, Storyteller
Ways to Keep Kids Engaged this Summer
Michigan Science Center brings wonders of the universe and live experiments directly into your living room. Log on to MiSci's ECHO Distance Learning Studio, Mondays through Fridays at 2:30 p.m.

While public libraries have been approved to re-open in Michigan. several public libraries are open online. And many have made their extensive collections of ebooks and movies available for download. Some also have special online programming and book groups for kids -- and grown-ups, too.


Click here or on the button below for the complete article.
 
Read More: Keep Kids Engaged this Summer
Most Grateful for You
and Your Continued Support
We would like to say "Thank you" to the volunteers and staff who donated their time and talents to make protective masks for children and adults. We have distributed the masks and are now helping families with other needs. We can always use your help as we provide for those working and learning from home.
 
Click Here to Help
New QIC-AG Podcast Released: Episode #4 

Allocate Resources to Engage Families
In Services and Suppor
ts
It is important for child welfare systems to link families to services prior to the attainment of permanence and to continue to offer supports and services after permanence has been achieved. Once permanence has been achieved, investment in low-cost outreach strategies can facilitate on-going support and connections with families. These strategies are designed to inform families of services and supports that can be accessed when a family identifies an immediate service need.
Today it is critical that we gather important information from families, use the knowledge we already have about adoption and trauma, and allocate resources to help them anticipate and address what they may face along their adoption journey.  From there, we must continue to implement thoughtful engagement and outreach strategies that facilitate on-going connections with these families.  When we do this, we are truly supporting families and helping them to be fully informed and welcomed to utilize and access the services they may need. 
 
Tune in for a conversation with QIC-AG Project Director Leslie Cohen, Vermont Implementation Manager, Christina Shuma, and host April Dinwoodie for a deeper understanding of how the work of the QIC-AG can be useful for members of the child welfare community as well as allied professionals, and parents. 


Click here for podcast.


Change a child's life, become a foster parent!


Click to learn more.

 

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