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Welcome Holidays Memories

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Good morning family! As we approach the holidays it is known this is one of the most stressful times of the year. The most depressive and when the most suicides are committed. I hope this post reaches you well and that you can think of someone that does this for you or use it as a tool to do onto others. Tag someone that you can lean on or share the appreciation with them. Spread the love and enjoy the time you have. #FosterCare #Adoption #Donate #Donations #Charity #Support #Love #Repost #Awareness #Holidays #HappyHolidays #Thanksgiving #Christmas #Tag #likes4likes

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Introduction of Blaque Diamond (Changing Foster Children Lives)

Blaque Diamond   

is both an author and an advocate for children waiting to be reunified with their biological families. Through the character, Stacey F. in her children’s books, Diamond utilizes her social work background and personal experiences to give insight to what it’s like to parent, foster, and adopt through the child welfare system.  

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About the Author

In addition to writing children’s books, Blaque Diamond is an advocate for children waiting to be reunified with their biological families. Blaque Diamond has three biological children and has raised nine nieces and nephews, two of whom she was granted custody and three of whom she adopted from the NYC foster care system. Diamond has firsthand experience with both the foster care and adoption procedures as well as working in the social world field.

By using the character, Stacey F., Diamond utilizes her social work background and personal experience to give insight into what it’s like to parent, foster and adopt a child through the child welfare system. Diamond graduated from Morgan State University School of Social Work, where she earned her BSW and MSW degrees and was an all ­American Collegiate Scholar. She lives in Maryland with her children.

“Having experienced the joys of being a foster mother and adopting children and also knowing the legal side of the foster care/adoption, I wrote these books for both children and parents to easily understand.”

Thank you

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SHOWING WEDNESDAY LOVE

Happy Wednesday family! I hope you will truly enjoy this day you’re given. Cherish what is in front of you even if it is for a moment.

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Church hopes to match kids with foster families

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WAYNESBORO — Sonya Payne remembers her best birthday ever.

It was in 2010, the day she legally adopted her foster daughter Ariel Simone Payne, 16.

Ariel wasn’t the first child that Payne has fostered. In fact, Payne estimates that she’s legally fostered 40 children since 1993, and taken in over 70, even if only temporarily.

“That’s why we call her superwoman,” said Ariel’s adoptive sister Taimonique Payne, 15 and a half years old.

Payne decided to become a foster parent while working with battered women, and seeing the effect it had on both the women and children.

“It was too much,” Payne said. “I told my husband, we have to do something to help these kids.”

She read about her first foster child in the newspaper in 1993 and the rest is history.

Even with families like the Paynes, there are still local children in the foster care system that do not currently have homes and are at risk of aging out of the system, which severely affects their chances of success once they become adults, said Jennifer Eccles, foster parent and member of the mission team at First Baptist Church in Waynesboro. There are 163 kids in foster homes locally, but 14 that don’t have somewhere to call home.

That’s why the church decided to hold a summit about foster care, with a panel of foster care workers, parents and adopted teenagers, to inform the community about the need for more participation in the foster care system.

The summit was Sunday afternoon and about 25 people attended, Eccles said.

“The church feels very strongly that we have a calling to help these kids in our community,” said the mom of six. “They need families.”

One of the main focuses of the summit was on the need for care for older children and children with siblings, specifically, Eccles said. Removing the stigma that older children come with more problems is key.

“This is not about bad behavior,” Eccles said of why children end up in the foster care system. “It’s because of abuse or neglect.”

Both Ariel and Taimonique spoke about being adopted and what they would tell other foster parents if they could.

“Never give up on your adopted kids,” Taimonique said. They may have difficult behavior and difficulty adjusting, but never to give up.

For more information about foster parenting call Jennifer Edson or Heather Hudnall at Shenandoah Valley Social Services at 540-245-5800.

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It’s Time For All States To Be Serious About Foster Care Reform

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It’s disheartening that the state is still wrangling with implementing reforms to protect children in state custody.

I have been writing about the Olivia Y case since the original federal lawsuit was filed in 2004 on behalf of children in the state’s foster care system.

The original complaint detailed physical and psychological harm suffered by the children while known to, or in the custody of, the Department of Human Services Division of Family and Children’s Services. Citing the state’s own reports, the lawsuit alleged incidents of sexual abuse, unqualified employees, backlogged cases, shortages of safe foster homes and fiscal mismanagement, among other problems.

In 2008, the state entered into a federal settlement agreement, saying DHS would do, among other things: Hire more social workers and increase the number of visits the workers make to each foster child; increase its offerings of educational and therapeutic services for foster parents and children; better monitor children’s physical and mental health when they enter foster care; and establish a 24-hour hotline so people could report abuse, and increase reimbursement rates for foster parents.

The state has never been in compliance with the settlement agreement. Last week, the state admitted it.

Children in the foster care system often have been abused, neglected and victimized. Certainly, no one would want them to be further victimized by a system that is supposed to protect them.

It appears with last week’s admission by the state, and Gov. Phil Bryant’s vow to improve the foster care system, that the state is finally getting serious about the issue. Let’s hope that is the case.

Bryant has agreed to hire an executive director of the Department of Family and Children’s Services and waive state salary parameters for the director and for members of a senior management team. The state has also agreed to hire a national child welfare consulting group, the Public Catalyst Group, to conduct an organizational analysis of the state’s foster care system and recommend whether it should be a free-standing agency, how it should be structured and what the state needs to do to remedy all of its violations of the court-ordered reform plan. The group will also recommend qualified applicants from which the governor will select the agency’s director.

The governor has also agreed to call a special session of the Legislature, if necessary, to support the reorganization of the child welfare system and provide additional appropriations to act on the expert group’s recommendations, if the state agrees to adopt them, according to the updated agreement approved last week.

Bryant was right when he said the state can do better to protect children in the foster care system.

Contact Jimmie E. Gates at (601) 961-7212 or jgates@jackson.gannett.som. Follow @jgatesnews on Twitter.

500 Children Adopted During Holiday Season!

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TALLAHASSEE, FL—More than 500 children from Pensacola to Miami were adopted during dozens of November celebrations of National Adoption Month. “Our goal for children in foster care is to find a forever family who will love them, accept them and give them the home that they deserve,” said Department of Children and Families Secretary David Wilkins. “I am so proud of our agency and our partners who are always looking for a permanent home for our kids.” Florida’s Explore Adoption campaign takes place each November. A newly redesigned website at http://www.adoptflorida.org highlighted amazing children and sibling groups in foster care each day of the month with photos and videos. The children most in need of homes are teens, sibling groups and children with special needs whose biggest dream is to be part of a permanent, loving family. “I would like to thank all of our wonderful parents who adopted children this month, and throughout this year,” said Florida’s Chief Child Advocate Zack Gibson, Director of the Governor’s Office of Adoption and Child Protection. “National Adoption Month may be over, but our work is not finished. There are still about 750 children waiting for a family to call their own.” More than 500 adoptions have been reported from our community-based care partners across the state. All of the adoptions have not yet been reported, so the number may still increase. Last year, 3,250 children were adopted from Florida’s foster care system. That was the fifth year in a row that more than 3,000 children were adopted from foster care, bringing the total to more than 17,000. Additionally, over the past two years, Florida has significantly reduced the number of children in foster care available for adoption without an identified family. Florida’s children come into foster care through no fault of their own but because they were abused, neglected or abandoned. They come from varied backgrounds, circumstances, races and ethnicities. While some have specific medical, physical or emotional issues that require special care, many do not. Their entire life histories are shared with prospective adoptive parents. While private adoption can cost more than $30,000, adopting one of Florida’s children in foster care costs little or nothing. The benefits include a monthly adoption subsidy for the family, health benefits for the child, and free college tuition at a Florida public university, community college or vocational school. For more information about the “30 Days of Amazing Children: Explore Adoption!” initiative or general questions about adoption of foster children in Florida, please visit www.adoptflorida.org, please visit to send your donations at http://www.gofundme.com/fepxos  call 1-800-962-3678 (1-800-96-ADOPT), or check out our Twitter feed at @ExploreAdoption.