March is National Social Work Month in the United States. In honor of this, here is a brief look at the role of a social worker in child welfare.
Caseworker, adoption worker, case manager, licensing agent— social workers in the field of child welfare have various titles. Though the focuses of their jobs might be different, the role of the social worker remains the same: to “protect vulnerable children and help families in need of assistance” (Bureau of Labor Statistics and U.S. Department of Labor, n.d.).
Ah, Valentine’s day. When mushy sentiments and puppy love fill the air. The time of year middle schoolers think they have found their one true love…and have to post about it all over social media…multiple times a day…for weeks…
But seriously, Valentine’s Day is a time to celebrate love and relationships of all kinds. The day is a reminder that relationships don’t just happen; they require thought and effort and time. Love shows itself in tangible ways, whether it be a box of chocolates or a bouquet of flowers. It is a reminder that you have to intentionally put something into a relationship and love doesn’t just sit around doing nothing.
Every child wonders these things at some point. The questions are usually put to rest by their family’s consistent reassurance. For children in foster care, however, these questions may nag for a long time.
At the end of the day, foster care is about the children in care.
Or at least it is supposed to be.
Through the noise, rhetoric, media spotlights (and ignorance), opinions, horror stories, rose-glasses stories, and all the other noise about foster care comes the ReMoved videos. Each of the short films brings the narrative back to focus on the children in foster care. The storylines revolve around the child’s perspective and experiences, which are so often forgotten or overlooked.
The third and most recent film centers around a young boy, Kevi, who enters foster care. The story shows the emotions and struggles of a single mom trying to take care of her son, a foster family taking in a child, but mostly on the boy himself as he struggles to reconcile these two situations and the competing emotions that come with being a part of two worlds.
Full disclosure: It took me like 4 days to watch the whole video. I kept having to pause it because I was crying. I had been one of those little girls- foster sister to children in my home- and then watched those children leave. I cried because I had loved, they had left, but love is never wasted.
Are you a new foster family? Have you been a foster family for a while? Do you wonder why anyone would be a foster family when the child will leave? Check out the video.
Just a warning: you may need tissues…
No sponsored post here– just wanted to share a resource I found useful!
In honor of National Adoption Month and National Adoption Day, here is a blog post about an adoption hearing I attended for two of my siblings. I orginally posted this story in 2017, though I have updated it (after all, I have now attended a few more adoption hearings). The story still rings true and I hope it gives you an understanding of what “adoption day” is like for an adoptive family.
Have you ever been to a final adoption hearing?
An adoption day is full of paradoxical emotions. At least it is for me. I have been to mulitple adoption finalization hearings. At each one I got new siblings. The day my family officially adopted my brother and sister from foster care, I had two thoughts:
Though they are estimated to affect as many children as Autism (an estimated 1 in 20 U.S. school children), Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASDs) are not widely known. Every year nearly 40,000 babies are born each year in the U.S. with FASDs. FASDs are the only 100% preventable birth defects, yet even many parents are unaware of the impact prenatal exposure to alcohol can have on a child, let alone how to help a child with an FASD thrive in life.
Some Quick Facts:
So what are FASDs? Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders is the umbrella term for a collection of disorders caused by exposure to alcohol before birth. The effects vary from person to person, but often include cognitive problems, affecting memory, impulse control, and other important executive functions. FASDs can have some physical features, such as a small head or smooth ridge between the nose and top lip.
However, a study by the National Institue of Health estimates that only 17% of people with an FASD have abnormal facial features, which means the majority of people with an FASD live with an invisible disability. Many of the struggles people with FASDs face are not understood by the public because the disability is not seen. The effects are life-long, but with early intervention, love, and support, people with FASDs can have the chance to make their mark on the world.
People with FASD don’t get a say in whether or not they have an FASD. They also don’t get a say in whether or not you and I choose to recognize FASD and respond with understanding. But people with FASDs are working to raise awareness- such as RJ Formanek does with the Red Shoes Rock campaign.
With so many people affected by FASDs, isn’t it time we recognize it as well? There is no better time than now- September 9th is International FASD Awareness Day!
Share this or other articles about FASDs on social media!
Join RJ and thousands of others around the world in wearing red shoes!
Get to know someone in your life who has an FASD!
There are so many ways to offer support and raise awareness, but they all start with the same thing: you!