Latinos In Foster Care Reach Historic High’s

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A historic number of Hispanic children are in the country’s foster care system, a dramatic change brought on by immigration and the assimilation of a growing Latino population into American society.

The record increase is in part also caused by families breaking apart by divorce or separations caused by incarcerations or deportations of one or both parents.

The startling phenomenon was documented by the child and youth welfare group that operates under the name The Chronicle of Social Change.

“The increase of Latino children in the child welfare system is likely due in part to a growing population of third generation Latino children, who are at greater risk of child welfare involvement than their first and second generation counterparts,” said researcher Alan Dettlaff of the University of Illinois, Chicago.

The best evidence of what has been happening to Hispanic children in foster care is in Los Angeles, where Latino children today make up 59 percent of the youth supervised by the county’s Department of Children and Family Services – up from 39 percent in 2000.

It is a particularly stunning development made even more glaring considering that although Hispanics make up only about half of the county’s population, they comprise about two thirds of the children in the county.

Researchers said that nationally there is a similar tragic finding of an unusually large number of Hispanic children in foster care.

In 1995, only 10 percent of Hispanic children in the country were in the foster home care system. By 2010, that figure had risen to 21.4 percent, startling considering that Latinos make up only 16 percent of the national total population.

A 2007 study by the Urban Institute found that children of second and third generation Latinos were more likely to end up in foster care than those of immigrant parents.

“Latino immigrant children, most of them Mexican, made up one percent of Texas’ foster care population, but seven percent of the total population,” that study reported.

“The children of immigrants (second generation) represented eight percent of the foster care population and accounted for 20 percent of the total child population in Texas.

“(But) by the third generation, Latino children had gone from a marked under representation to steep overrepresentation.”

Children born to Hispanic citizens made up 33 percent of the foster care population in Texas, the study found, even though they comprise only 22 percent of Texas’ overall child population.

Assimilation and acculturation into the American society, these reports have generally concluded, are not usually the panacea to these families staying together.

“Despite cross generational gains in economic integration, there are negative consequences to integration,” Dettlaff wrote in a 2009 study. “Drug abuse, bad parenting skills, recent history of arrest and high family stress, all those things are more likely in U.S.-born Latino families than foreign born families.”

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Girl Scout Helps Foster Teens Transition to a New Life

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Foster teens who are “aging out” of the system will receive care packages thanks to the efforts of a local teenage Girl Scout.

For my Girl Scout Gold Award project I have created New Beginning Care Packages for 18-year olds who are “aging out” of foster care.

When a teenager who is in foster care turns 18, they “age out” of the system — the state no longer supports them and they have to move from their foster home to a small apartment or college dorm with little to no help. When I learned of this, I decided to create care packages to help them with their transition from their foster home to their new life.

In total there are 400,000 kids in foster care in the United States. Every year more than 27,000 teenagers “age out” of foster care. “Aging out” of foster care is when the young adult turns 18 the state no longer supports them and they have to move out to a small apartment or college dorm with little to no help from family or other organizations.

Statistics show that 40 percent of foster youth who have aged out end up becoming homeless. Only 50 percent of the “aged out” foster youth have jobs. 75 percent of women and 33 percent of men receive some type of government benefits.

New Beginning Care Packages include items to help these teens set up their new homes. To help me reach my goal, I set up donation boxes in the elementary schools to collect items for the kits. I also held a cookie booth. The money I raised went towards buying items for the boxes. These kits will help the teenager’s transition into a new life be a little easier. Some of the items that donated are: new washcloths, hand towels, toothpaste, toothbrushes, soap, razors, shaving cream, soap holders, toothbrush holders, and scales.

I chose this project because I am at the same point in my life as these foster teenagers. I will be going to college in the fall and cannot imagine going through the process of visiting schools and applying to schools and many other things without the help of my family. I am hoping the care packages I make will help make these young adults new beginnings easier.

For more information please e-mail: newbeginningcarepackages@gmail.com

You can also visit my website: newbeginningcarepackages.weebly.com

Kayla Garcia is a senior at New Milford High School currently in the process of gaining her Girl Scout Gold Award.

Future for normalcy with Foster Care Kids.

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Former foster child Georgina Rodriguez is pursuing her associate’s degree at Hillsborough Community College and plans to continue her college education after that. This is possible, in part, because one of her six sets of foster parents broke the rules when she was in their care.

Rodriguez, now 21, was in the Florida dependency court system from age 6 to 18 due to an abusive home situation.

“Foster parents were not supposed to, but my foster parents in Plant City took me out on their boat,” Rodriguez said in a recent telephone conversation.

“I would go with them to their farm along with their biological kids. They showed me they really cared. I wasn’t singled out as a foster child. It made a difference,” Rodriguez said.

She still recalls the family outings as a breath of fresh air in a difficult time. They had a lasting impact and helped her as she grew.

“My Plant City foster parents still keep in touch today,” she said.

On April 11, a bill signed into state law changed the foster care rules so that those kinds of empowering excursions are no longer taboo.

The “Quality Parenting for Children in Foster Care Act,” SB 215, sponsored by Sen. Nancy Detert and Rep. Ben Albritton and signed into law by Gov. Rick Scott, intends to bring “normalcy” to the process of caring for foster children.

The language of SB 215, which takes effect July 1, acknowledges that children in foster care should “participate in life skills activities” that are “age-appropriate” and “increase their ability to live independently and become self-sufficient” when they age-out of the foster care system at 18.

For certain, “reasonable and prudent parenting standards” must be followed when a child is allowed to participate in “extracurricular, enrichment and social activities.”

But the law states that “foster parents, family foster homes, residential child-caring agencies or other authorized caregivers employing the reasonable and prudent parenting standard in their decision making shall not be held responsible under administrative rules or laws pertaining to state licensure … as a result of the actions of a child engaged in the approved age-appropriate activities.”

In other words, foster parents and guardians will be less encumbered when they work with foster kids.

Although potential risk must be weighed, a “caregiver is not liable for harm caused to a child who participates in an event approved by the caregiver,” the law says.

Alan Abramowitz, executive director of the Florida Guardian Ad Litem child advocacy program, remarked earlier that the bill, also known as the permission-to-parent bill, “needed to be passed so children in foster care can be like every other kid” by moving from school to school, playing school sports, using the phone or participating in school trips.

Under the old rules, such activities would have been permitted only with precautions like background checks. The purpose: satisfying liability concerns.

One young adult described not be allowed to join the traveling high school band.

As of February, 30,552 abused and neglected children were under Florida dependency court system supervision. That statistic comes from Marcia Hilty, 5th Judicial Circuit director for the Guardian Ad Litem (GAL) program, which represents 21,157 of those children statewide.

GAL assigns volunteers to act as advocates for the children. Those advocates may stay with a particular case, involving one or several children, for years, always seeking the best interests of their charges.

According to Hilty, the 5th Judicial Circuit (Citrus, Hernando, Lake, Marion and Sumter counties) has 1,667 involved in the court system — 1,426 of whom are represented by GAL.

Spruce Creek South resident Norman Abels, 75, a GAL volunteer for six years, praised the passage of SB 215.

“It will give us the ability to give these kids a more normal life,” he said. “Without normalcy there’s no outlet for the kids.”

Abels emphasized the importance of Voices for Children of North Central Florida, a 501(c)3 nonprofit community-based group that raises funds to aid children in foster care under GAL supervision.

Abramowitz reflected on the meaning of the newly passed law:

“Sleepovers, high school sports, driving, going to the beach and other regular activities we all take for granted are now permitted by the foster parent or caregiver just as any decision reasonable prudent parents make all the time,” he said.

“The red tape and obstacles have been removed so children in foster care can participate in regular activities as all other kids in our community.”

May is National Foster Care Awareness Month

May National

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Good morning Foster Care Kids Need Love Too Family! May is National Foster Care Awareness Month. Make sure you support! If you have any questions or concerns please don’t hesitate to reach out to us. “Drawing Success” for foster care youth of our nation. Please send cash donations at kontentofkharacter@yahoo.com via Paypal or the URL link:http://bit.ly/UbKYGz every child deserve a fighting chance for a future. Have a bless month.