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AUGUST 2013 NEWSLETTER - ISSUE 113
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Welcome to the MFPA's new online newsletter.  Thank you for supporting our efforts to be paperless! If you want to receive a paper copy of this newsletter via USPS, please email the newsletter team.
In This Issue

New Muppet in Town!

Alex, a blue-haired, green-nosed muppet, has joined the Sesame Street family. Unlike the other muppets, but like about 3% of children in the United States, Alex has a parent in jail. Along with foster children, those who have a parent in jail or prison are among the most overlooked and most vulnerable.  Approximately 60% of inmates in state and federal prisons have one or more children under the age of eighteen. Many of these children are in foster care. Many more are in the care of an informal network of relatives and friends who want to avoid the child welfare system.

 
Children of incarcerated parents have difficult lives. They are frequently ashamed to tell their friends. Sometimes they don’t actually know their parent’s whereabouts because their relatives are also ashamed of the parent’s status and/or want to protect the child. One young man was told that his father was away in college—for years and years!

Kudos to Sesame Street, a tv show committed to teaching our children valuable life lessons, including acceptance and empathy.

Change that Attitude!

The 2013 National Foster Care Adoption Attitudes Survey was commissioned by the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption to better understand Americans’ attitudes about adoption. The Foundation partnered with Harris Interactive to survey more than 1,400 American adults online.
For the first time since 2002, the survey found that opinions of foster care adoption are more positive than private domestic infant adoption and international adoption. While the perception of foster care adoption has improved, Americans – even those who are considering foster care adoption – still have a negative impression of the process, the costs, and potential behavioral and medical issues with children in foster care.
In the United States, there are more than 100,000 children in the foster care system available for adoption and more than 26,000 age out of the foster care system every year without families. Understanding Americans’ perceptions about adoption is important to finding a safe, loving and permanent family for every child.
The Dave Thomas Foundation is addressing the myths and misperceptions that Americans have about foster care adoption, and by doing so,  more effectively moving children from foster care to the permanent and nurturing families they deserve.

Read the full article here.


A Happy Ending

The 1st in a 3-Part Story
by Alexandra Jacobs, MSW
Asst. Program Director/Foster Care and Adoptions
TLC Child and Family Services

It is a typical weekday morning, with lunches made, hair combed, homework tucked into backpacks, and two little girls sitting in the kitchen finishing their breakfast, chatting with their mother about what they will be doing that day at school as they wait to head out the door to catch the school bus.  In homes all over our communities, this kind of scene is normal and taken for granted.  But as foster parents and social workers know, this is a new experience for some children.
 
Liliana and Magdalena (not their real names) were born to an extremely dysfunctional family.  Liliana is the older, and when she was just three years old, she was taking care of her mother and her little sister, doing her best to make sure they all ate something every day.  Then their father was deported to Mexico and took Magdalena with him.  Liliana was alone with her mother and mentally ill grandfather until the County became aware of her situation and placed her in emergency foster care.  She was about to be matched with an adoptive family when her mother showed up one day to a visit with a two-year-old in her arms.  She had traveled to Mexico and brought Magdalena back, and the potential adoptive family was not able to take both girls.
 
To be continued next month…


New DC Hours
Beginning August 19th, the Distribution Center will be open during the following days and times:
  • Tuesday 11 - 2
  • Thursday 2 - 5
  • Saturday 10 - 2
The DC is located at 4280 Redwood Highway, Suite 8, San Rafael.
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Attachments

CFS Contact List
S
eneca Groups
Sept. Meet & Greet
True North Flyer

Calendar

Aug. 6: Post Adoptive Support Group, 5:30-7:30 PM, Seneca Center, 3100 Kerner Blvd, San Rafael, dinner/childcare provided with RSVP (required) to 264-0939 or email Seneca (see flyer in Attachments for details)
Aug. 7: Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health, 11:30-1:00 PM, sponsored by MAC, presented by Novato Youth Center, 30 North San Pedro Road, San Rafael, downstairs Conference Room
Aug. 13: Kinship Support Group, 5:30-7:30 PM, Seneca Center, 3100 Kerner Blvd, San Rafael, dinner/childcare provided with RSVP (required) to 264-0939 or email Seneca (see flyer in Attachments for details)
Aug. 17: True North - The Shocking Truth about "Yours, Mine and Ours!", 2-3 PM, 30 North San Pedro Road, San Rafael, downstairs Conference Room, RSVP (required) by August 9, to 507-9016 or email MAC (see flyer in Attachments for details)
Aug 20: Post Adoption Parenting Group, 5:30-7:30 PM, Seneca Center, 3100 Kerner Blvd, San Rafael, dinner/childcare provided with RSVP (required) to 264-0939 or email Seneca (see flyer in Attachments for details)
Aug. 27:  Pre/Newly Adopted Group, 5:30 - 7:30 PM, Seneca Center, 3100 Kerner Blvd, San Rafael, dinner/childcare provided with RSVP (required) to 264-0939 or email Seneca (see flyer in Attachments for details)
Aug. 29: MFPA Board Meeting, 9 AM - noon, 555 Northgate Drive, San Rafael, all MFPA members welcome!
Sept. 18: MFPA Meet & Eat, 6:30-8:30 PM, Connection Center, 3240 Kerner Blvd, San Rafael, RSVP for dinner and childcare to 507-0557 or email MFPA  (see flyer in Attachments for details)


Did You Know?

Words and phrases in this newsletter that are highlighted in blue and underlined are actually clickable links that will help you navigate to other places, either within the newsletter or to attached flyers, articles, even your own email provider!  For example, if you click on the word "email" in the Calendar section when its highlighted and underlined, a new email should open, oftentimes with the subject of the email already filled in!
Reasonable and Prudent Parent Standards
by Laura Estrada

This is a gentle reminder for caregivers and licensees of the Reasonable and Prudent Parent Standard as it applies to a licensed foster home and an approved relative and non-relative extended family home.
 
What is Reasonable and Prudent Parent Standards (RPPS)? RPPS is the standard characterized by careful and sensible parental decisions that maintain the foster child’s health, safety, and best interest. This standard supports the empowerment of the caregiver to exercise common sense and good judgment in assessing circumstances and events in which a foster child may participate. The standard also enables participation by a foster child in age-appropriate extracurricular, enrichment, and social activities in order to improve the normalcy of life in foster care.
 
A parent is often faced with the decision regarding his or her child’s participation in activities, as is a caregiver or licensee. However, oftentimes, a foster child has been prohibited from participating in typical childhood activities unless certain requirements were met. In applying the RPPS, a caregiver or licensee should consider the following questions.

  1. Do you have adequate information about the activity;
  2. Have you taken reasonable steps to determine the appropriateness of an activity;
  3. Have you taken into account any foreseeable risks; and asked yourself the following questions:
  • Does this activity seen reasonable? 
  • Is this activity age appropriate? A caregiver or licensee should consider the foster child’s maturity level, mental and physical health, and developmental level. "Age-appropriate" defines those activities or items that are generally accepted as suitable for children of the same chronological age or level of maturity. Age appropriateness is based on the development of cognitive, emotional, physical, and behavioral capacity that is typical for an age or age group.
  • Are there foreseeable hazards?
  • Is there anything based upon the foster child’s case history with the current caregiver or licensee (such as truancy or running away) to suggest that this activity would not be appropriate for the foster child?
  • Does this decision maintain the foster child’s health, safety and best interest?
  • Does this activity assist in normalizing life in foster care?       
When applying RPPS, if a caregiver or licensee has any questions or concerns, they may consult with the foster youth’s social worker or probation officer.
Can You Imagine?
by Barbara Sabido

Can you imagine providing foster care to over 100 children over the course of 20+ years?  Can you imagine cooking pots of homemade soup and opening your child- and toy-filled home to other foster parents every month for several years?  Can you imagine serving as a mentor and sounding board to dozens of foster and foster-to-adopt families?  

Neither can I.

The Marin Foster Parent Association and Children and Family Services is most grateful to Mimi Katz for
 her tireless dedication and for offering a warm and loving home to so many children for so many years.
Opportunities

Meet and Eats Start in September! Join your fellow Marin County foster parents for dinner and get your training hours at the same time.  Beth Hall, director of PACT will be presenting Courageous Conversations about Transracial Families, Race and Adoption on Wednesday, September 18, 6:30 to 8:30 PM at The Connection Center, 3240 Kerner Blvd., San Rafael.  See attached flyer for all the details.

Enrichment Funds Available - After School Enrichment Funds specifically for current foster youth are available for extracurricular activities, thanks to donations from Sleep Train.  If your foster youth would like to attend an after-school or weekend activity that promotes health, physical activity or learning please fill out our on-line After School Enrichment Funding Application located on our website’s program page, in the tutoring section.
NOTE OUR NEW MAILING ADDRESS
4280 REDWOOD HIGHWAY, SUITE 8
SAN RAFAEL, CA 94903
415-507-0557

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