March is National Social Work month. As we come to the end of the month, we at Ark Homes would like to give thanks to all those who work in social work and, we’d like to share some information about them.
There is an array of various social work departments. Here at Ark Homes, we partake in foster & adoption social work. Social workers do much of the emotionally-taxing, yet necessary work that a lot of common people would not have the capacity or endurance to perform. Yes, social workers are very hard workers & I’m sure many people would say social workers deserve more than one month of recognition. Being one the fastest growing profession in America, social work is becoming more widely known to the masses. Social workers have five main responsibilities: Guiding families through the licensure process, training foster families, paperwork, post-placement support and services, and outreach families to support. This is in addition to the many other duties that they perform day to day. One of many qualities a person must have to become a social worker is not just the degree and experience but to have empathy. Many social workers decided to go into this field because they have either been in the shoes of the people they work with, or they have the capacity to empathize and understand the feelings of those involved with the foster care system. For some, their empathy is so strong that they must learn balance their own lives to help prevent burnout. It is called burnout fatigue; when social workers devote so much time and energy into taking care of their clients that it results in the expense of their health. Despite this point, somehow many social workers are seen as the bad guys; that they’re the ones who are looking to take people’s children away. This is very far from the truth. The main objective for social workers is to assist and encourage the reunification process for families to get the help they need and become a healthy unit.
Social workers play an important role in our society. It takes a lot of emotional labor to do their work and they deserve the appreciation & credit. Even though March is their appreciation month, it is no question that they are the type of people who deserve year-round appreciation. From foster care all the way to veteran affair services, social workers are always backing those who need support, and this is a characteristic that everyone can respect & appreciate.
From a cold winter we look forward to the brightness of spring in the month of March. We also observe and honor the ones who work for and with children, helping to pull them from their unfortunate obscurities, into a life of warmth.
Life in the foster system can be an incredibly traumatic experience for children. Various youths are taken from their home by no fault of their own. It is so tragic that these children are being reprimanded because of a home issue, more so, the tragedy of having their sibling(s) taken away is simply beyond devastating.
We would like to encourage families to consider the child’s sibling(s) when making future foster or adoption plans. Even with the Sibling Bill of Rights, we ask that you be proactive by mentioning your concern and interest in the child’s sibling(s) when speaking on your concern to foster or adopt. AB 743 states, “This bill would, instead, require the social worker, if siblings are not placed together, to explain why those efforts would be contrary to the safety or well-being of any of the siblings. The bill also would require the social worker to make diligent efforts to place siblings together in the same placement.”
From our research we found that siblings placed together experience a lower risk of failed placements, fewer moves, and many psychological benefits. Co-placement of siblings appears to stimulate a youth’s successful integration into foster family systems. Relationships between siblings support developmental needs such as belonging, security, self-esteem, rites of passage, and mentoring. Siblings placed together often feel more secure and can help each other adjust to their new family and community. Youth who are placed together in foster care tend to have healthier academic outcomes, lower rates of emotional and behavior problems, as well as a greater sense of be-longingness than separated siblings. Former foster youth reported that siblings provided them with a ready-made support group, an ally, someone to talk to if they had problems, and someone they could depend on. Siblings often stand as the last remaining connection and anchor of stability. A foster care alumnus shared:
“Sibling relationships are like no other. While I was able to fill the void my parents left me with through my adoptive parents, there’s not much that helps the pain of losing my siblings. They’re the only friends I ever had who truly knew me, and I will never be able to replace them.”
So why are children even separated in the first place? Many foster children throughout the country are separated from their siblings while they are in care due to the number space in homes and other concerns. Brothers and sisters separated from each other through foster care and adoption experience trauma, anger, and an extreme sense of loss. Research suggests that separating siblings may make it difficult for them to begin healing, make attachments, and develop healthy self-esteem. Truly, because of the affection they share, separated siblings often feel they have lost a part of themselves. The emotional pain experienced due to sibling separation can be overwhelming and devastating. The toll of these separations can make it more difficult to find long-term solutions. Children experience fear and panic when they are separated. Losing a sibling can cause children to feel like they have lost control over their own life. These feelings usually turn into rage as outbursts become common. An unfortunate & vicious cycle is set in motion where children can’t be reunited because of their behaviors which initially was never their fault. The inability to be reunited makes these behaviors worse. Lamentably, caseworkers determine it will be easier to find separate families rather than keep siblings together. Over time they grow up feeling like distant cousins. In some cases, they never see each other again.
“The group home that we went to forever changed our relationship. Nothing has been the same. I see them and it feels like I don’t even know them at all. I raised my little sister from infancy, and I see her now and she’s almost a stranger to me… At one point, I couldn’t even talk to any of them at all.”
Sadly, there is shortage of foster parents across the country. The lack of homes means it is rare to find long-term placements for more than one child. It can take weeks or even months before children can be reunited. Data on sibling separations is unsettling. According to the child welfare advocacy organization Adopt Us Kids, roughly 75 percent of children in foster care have at least one sibling that is also in care. Of these children, more than 65 percent will be separated at some point. We here at Ark Homes are aware to these statistics. We endeavor to improve and make a difference in the lives of foster & adoptive children. Furthermore, we understand that keeping siblings together can improve their foster journey and prevent a lifetime of longing and searching for not only lost brothers and sisters but the child’s sense of self and relation aptitude.
Portantino, Anthony. “AB-743 Foster Care: Sibling Placement.” California legislature, 2009-2010,https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=200920100AB743
“Keeping Siblings Together.” Adopt Us Kids,https://www.adoptuskids.org/meet-the-children/children-in-foster-care/about-the-children/keeping-siblings-together
“How Are Child Protection Agencies Promoting & Supporting Joint Sibling Placements & Adoptions?” Casey Family Programs, September 2020, https://www.casey.org/joint-sibling-placements/#:~:text=Approximately%20two%2Dthirds%20of%20children,their%20siblings%20while%20in%20care.
“Siblings Separation in Foster Care: An Impetus for Change.” Buckner International, April 2019,https://www.buckner.org/blog/sibling-separation-in-foster-care-an-impetus-for-change/
“Why Separate Siblings.” Children’s Servies Practice Notes, July 1997,https://practicenotes.org/vol2_no4/why_separate_siblings.htm
Smith, Leanna. “Stopping the Separation of Siblings.” Boys & Girls Aid, 4 Oct. 2021,www.boysandgirlsaid.org/stories/stoppingtheseparationofsiblings.
Child Welfare Information Gateway. (2019). Sibling issues in foster care and adoption.Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services,Administration for Children and Families, Children’s Bureau,https://www.childwelfare.gov/pubs/siblingissues/
Given the current situation, most of us are temporarily out of work and the kids are out of school. We understand that these are hard times for everyone, that is why we at Ark Homes Foster Family Agency have provided a list of online resources for families:
March is officially recognized as National Professional Social Worker Month. It is a time to shine a light on the huge role that social workers play in their contributions to society. We would like to thank all the hard working social workers out there that go out of their way to improve the lives of others, making the world a better place! Find out what you can do to honor social workers by visiting the National Association of Social Worker’s website.
As you may have heard, there is a new disease named the coronavirus 2019 disease that originated in China and is quickly spreading across the world. Although the media blows it out of proportion, it is always better to take precautionary measures to prevent contracting this disease. The following tips have been provided by the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention:
Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
Stay home when you are sick.
Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
Follow CDC’s recommendations for using a facemask.
CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.
Mark your calendars for this upcoming Wednesday January 29, 2020! We have partnered up with our local Mimi’s Cafe Restaurant to host a fundraiser, in which 20% of your Mimi’s purchase will be donated to our organization to help children in need. All you have to do is click on the flyer image below, print it, and show it to the server at the restaurant. This is a great way to support a good cause while enjoying a delicious meal, it’s a win-win situation! More details are provided on the flyer, if you have any questions please give us a call at 909-948-5747. This promotion is only valid at the Mimi’s Restaurant listed on the flyer, not valid in any other Mimi’s restaurant locations. Please help us out by spreading the word!
We hope you have a fantastic Christmas with all your loved ones and family members! May your day be filled with joy and laughter.
We wish you a Merry Christmas Eve and Christmas from Ark to your families!