FrameWorks

Social Media Tips, Rules and Considerations for Foster Parents

Dollarphotoclub_53246077.jpg

Foster parents often have many concerns about internet safety. You are probably wondering what programs are out there to help monitor social media and if you should set up house rules. We’ve found some resources for you and we hope you find them helpful. If you as a foster parent have any advice to share with other families, please send it to us.

It is important to work with the child(ren) in your care to set up rules and discuss how social media accounts will be monitored.  AdoptUSKids has a good article about teen social media use and what you can do to help them use social media. This article provides a list of questions to ask yourself about where you stand in regard to social media and has some conversation points for talking with teens. Here is the article: https://www.adoptuskids.org/about-us/news-and-announcements/story?k=social-media-teens

You might wonder, how do you set up social media rules and how to you monitor their account closely? Common Sense Media has created a useful worksheet for setting up family media agreements based on the age of the child(ren). This worksheet has the goals of staying safe, thinking first and staying balanced. Examples of a family media plan include agreeing to not give out private information, not setting up an account without permission, only sharing passwords with family and not filling out forms with personal information. Reminding kids to “think first” is an important part of this plan – kids needs to remember to be kind when they communicate online and to remember that the internet is public and information can spread fast and far.  To view this family plan to either use or create one of your own, visit the following link: https://www.commonsensemedia.org/sites/default/files/imce/educatefamilies_fma_all.pdf

Facebook offers advice on how to “Play it Safe.” Review the child’s privacy settings with them and show them the Activity Log feature that lets them review and manage what they’ve shared on Facebook. The Facebook advice page can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/safety/groups/parents/ Parents should also keep a close eye on the child(ren)’s friend list to see who they are friending and if they are appropriate. An article published by Missouri University states “if adolescents have few friends on Facebook, foster parents need to find out whether they have other, hidden online profiles or if they’re having problems making friends.”

Here are some more resources as you navigate social media and how it can work for your family and the kids in your care.

WV DHHR Policy on Social Media and the lives of foster/adoptive children:

Page 76 section 3, link.

3. It is the policy of the DHHR/BCF to encourage normalcy in the lives of foster/adoptive children. As such, it is acceptable to post photos of a foster/adoptive child(ren) in family or group setting (school, sports, sleepovers, parties, etc.) on social media. However, in any social media posting,(photographic or print) foster/adoptive parents are prohibited from releasing any information regarding: the fact that the children are in a foster/adoptive circumstance, the foster adoptive child(ren)’s previous custodians, geographic or demographic information that could jeopardize the foster child(ren)’s safety, or any other information that would breach the confidentiality provisions of West Virginia Code Section §49-5-101. These prohibitions continue even after any placement has ended. Furthermore, for the safety of the children, it is strongly advised that all such postings be made on private settings, to be seen by the foster/adoptive parent’s friend groups only and not posted publicly.

If you have any questions about social media use, we encourage you to have a conversation with your worker.   

What to Expect When You Contact Mission West Virginia to Learn More About Foster Care and/or Adoption in WV

Mission West Virginia’s FrameWorks program has been working with families for nearly 20 years as they navigate the certification process to become a foster and/or adoptive parent. Our FrameWorks program staff are very knowledgeable about foster care and adoption in West Virginia and several have even been through the certification process themselves.

call Mission West Virginia

You may have thought about becoming a foster parent or adopting in West Virginia but you aren’t sure where to start or what to expect if you contact an agency. We are here to provide assistance as you take the first steps in your foster/adoptive journey; we can answer any questions you might have and help you decide if foster care is a good choice for your family.  

So, what happens if you give us a call, or fill out our online information request form? You will be given the choice if you’d like to receive a an emailed copy of our information guide or if you would like a paper guide mailed to you. It’s important that you fill out the inquiry form completely so that we can reach you the best way and make sure we understand your interests. If you call, we can answer any questions you might have and if you fill out our online form, you can request a phone call if you’d like to speak with someone on our staff.

Our recruitment guide includes the steps to certification, questions to ask agencies when deciding which agency is right for your family, frequently asked questions, family stories and more. You will also receive a list of agencies that serve the county you live in, this list is important because the agency you choose will be the one that completes the certification process with you.

By requesting information or calling us to ask questions,  you aren’t signing up for anything, you are simply requesting more information.

WV Families Needed with bridge ad.jpg

The need for loving and supportive foster parents in West Virginia is dire. If you’ve been “on the fence” about opening your home and life to kids in foster care, now is a great time to learn more and start your journey. We look forward to hearing from you. If you prefer a phone conversation, call us at 866-CALL-MWV. If you would prefer to fill out our online inquiry form, click on the following link: Request Information About Foster Care and/or Adoption in WV

  You can also send us an email at fosteradopt(at)missionwv.org

5.29k Race/Walk in celebration of National Foster Care Month

529 logo.png

For the fourth consecutive year, we are grateful for the opportunity to partner with the WV State Treasurer’s Office to hold the Smart 5.29k Race/Walk to benefit children who have been adopted from foster care in West Virginia. Each year we look forward to this family friendly event in celebration of National Foster Care Month; an event that is great for serious runners as well as families and kids. 

The 5.29k Race/Walk raises funds for Smart 529 College Savings plan awards for children adopted from foster care. To date, more than $37,000 has been awarded in the form of Smart 529 plans since the event began in 2015.  National statistics show less than 3 percent of kids who grow up in the foster care system go on to obtain a college degree. When a child from foster care is adopted into a loving family, his/her fresh start can also include a brighter future through higher education. 

About the 2018 Race/Walk:

5.29k Race Walk Mission WV

The registration fee is $35 the day of the event and $30 online until May 17th. Learn more and register here: http://www.bit.ly/SMART529K

A Kids Fun Run will take place directly before the main race  for ages 12 and under.  Children age 17 and under may participate in either race for free.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Where: WV Power Park, Charleston

8:00 AM Check-in/Registration

8:45 AM Kids Fun Run

9:00 AM 5.29K race

*Packet Pickup Friday, May 18 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM at the Capitol Market, Charleston

About the 529 College Savings Awards:

529 Awards

All proceeds from the 5.29K registration, minus a $3.00 race fee, will be deposited into SMART529 College Savings Accounts. The accounts will be awarded through a selection process administered by Mission West Virginia. To qualify for the 529 College Savings plan awards, families must submit an application including an essay addressing the importance of higher education for foster and adopted youth. In order to be eligible children must be adopted from WV foster care and age 12 or under. Families and their agencies are also invited to an award luncheon at the Clay Center in November. This award ceremony features a presentation by Treasurer John Perdue and a presentation on college preparedness. Award recipients are also treated to an ice cream sundae bar and a Build-A-Bear project.

Who are "Waiting Children"

In West Virginia, there are more than 6,000 children in foster care and approximately 1,500 of these children are legally eligible for adoption and waiting for their forever family. What does this mean exactly?

Children are placed in foster care most likely because of abuse and/or neglect. Foster care is meant to be short term while the parent or parents work to make changes so that they can safely parent their child(ren). But sometimes, parents are not able to make these changes. When this is the case, they can voluntarily give up their parental rights or the court can take away those rights – the child then becomes “legally eligible” for adoption.  You might have heard of "TPR" - this stands for "termination of parental rights." That child or children if it is a sibling group, remains in foster care until they are placed with an adoptive family.

When we say that 1,500 children in West Virginia are legally eligible for adoption, we mean that parental rights have been severed (voluntarily or involuntarily) and that they have not yet been adopted.  Luckily, many of these children are placed with loving relatives or foster parents who will complete an adoption. Often, a child will be matched with the foster family they are living with if that family is interested in adoption. 

paper family

Other children may take a longer time to be matched with a family, often because they are older, part of a sibling group or simply because there are not enough adoptive families. Often, these children are listed on the Adoption Resource Network (ARN), the website for the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources.  On this site, you can see photos and read profiles of these children. Once you have completed certification to foster/adopt in WV, you can register on this site and inquire about these children. Once you've made an inquiry, the child's worker will receive your information and if your family seems like a good fit, they will contact your worker for further information.  Decisions about matching children and families often involve the child’s entire team, including workers and attorneys, as well as the family’s worker.   

What happens if you are matched with a child or sibling group on the ARN? Often, you will start having day visits with a child followed by weekend visits. If everything is going well, the child will be placed in your home. After the child has lived with you for 6 months or more, you can complete the paperwork to officially adopt. Once adoption is complete, the child’s new legal parent has the same responsibility for the child as if they were the biological parent.

Providing luggage for youth in foster care.

2018 Carry On Campaign graphic.jpg

The goal of the Carry - On Campaign is to eliminate garbage bags as an acceptable form of luggage for youth in foster care. No child should have to use a trash bag to transport their belongings, especially during a traumatic situation like being removed from their home.  This campaign accepts donations of new luggage and hygiene items and distributes them to local foster care agencies and families. It is especially comforting for a child to be given the essential items they need when they are placed with a foster family or  in a residential setting. 

This is an ongoing campaign because children are placed in care throughout the year.  Since its beginning in 2010, the Carry - On Campaign has received thousands of pieces of luggage and countless hygiene items, however, there are currently more than 6,000 children in foster care in West Virginia and there is a continual need for these items. 

luggage

After distributing Carry-on items a child protective services worker shared, "they had never really had NEW things like this before and to see the smiles those bags brought to their faces was awesome. It made their transition to the foster homes a lot easier as they could think about something else during the trip." If you would like to help make this transition easier for kids in your community, we can connect you with an agency nearby that serves kids in foster care, just give us a call (866-CALL-MWV) or email Kylee.  If you live near Putnam county, you can drop of a donation at our office in Hurricane, WV. 

Many civic groups, church congregations, sororities, businesses and individuals have held drives and asked their local contacts to donate to the campaign during a set time at a specified location. We can help you set up a drive in your community. This campaign makes a great service project and we are happy to work with you. 

Thank you to every person and organization that has donated to the Carry - On Campaign and created a positive difference in the lives of children in West Virginia's foster care system. 

To download the Carry - On flyer with a list of items we request, click on the button below.

Share Sunday's Child!

Church SC.jpg

Our goal at Mission West Virginia is to recruit both foster and adoptive parents.  With over 6,000 children in foster care in WV, there is constant need for parents to care for children in temporary foster care.  Children are removed from their parents and placed into foster due to abuse and neglect.  The drug epidemic especially is having a strong impact on the rising numbers of children in care.  

When families cannot safely be reunified, parents’ rights are terminated and children become eligible for adoption.  One of our jobs is to find loving adoptive families for these children.  We believe there is a family out there for every waiting child and could use your help finding them.  Once a month,  we feature a child who is eligible for adoption in Sunday’s Child, a column that features a photo and narrative description of a waiting child.   We are asking you to share Sunday’s Child with your congregation, either through PowerPoint, inserted in the bulletin or by putting the child on your church's prayer list.                                                      


If you are interested in sharing Sunday’s Child column at your church, please email Kylee Hassan or call 304-562-0273.   We are also available to speak to your congregation or to any smaller groups within the church.  There are many ways to help children in foster care in West Virginia and we are eager to speak with you about ways we can work together.   

WV Relatives As Parents Program (RAPP)

Depositphotos_91489202_xl-2015.jpg

The number of children who are living with grandparents or another relative caregiver has been increasing in recent years. These trends can be attributed to a number of factors, including increasing parental substance abuse, parent's incarceration and difficult economic circumstances. In addition, there are also situations that have long accounted for some care by relatives, this includes parent's death or serious disability, parental abuse or neglect and family or cultural preferences. 

The Relatives as Parents Program (RAPP) is a service provided by Mission West Virginia, in partnership with the WV Bureau of Senior Services and the Brookdale Foundation. RAPP provides support through a warm-line, hosts training opportunities and works with support groups for relatives who are raising their family member's children. You can learn more about the RAPP program by visiting our RAPP web page or by contacting Carolyn Suppa by clicking here: Email Carolyn

The West Virginia RAPP program has a private Facebook group that we encourage you to join. If you are a WV resident who has custody or is currently seeking custody of a family member's child, this group is a resource for you. Participants must agree to terms of use to ensure a safe and empowering environment. An experienced grandparent who is raising her grandchildren moderates the group. To find the support group, click here: WV RAPP Facebook Support Group

FrameWorks Resource Library

Our FrameWorks program offers a great resource for foster and adoptive families in West Virginia - our Resource Library! We have an abundant collection of books that cover a wide array of subjects that we especially chose for foster and adoptive families. Subjects include general foster and adoption care; kinship care; attachment and bonding; special needs; general parenting; transracial adoption and more. 

A variety of books and DVDs are available for loan through this library and a full listing can be found here: FRAMEWORKS RESOURCE LIBRARY

You can borrow 3 to 4 items at a time and they are due back 4 weeks after they are received. We will mail the materials to you with a pre-addressed and stamped mailed envelope to make returns easy. 

A few of the book options include:

What Works: How to Raise Amazing Kids in Spite of the Foster Care System

What Works: How to Raise Amazing Kids in Spite of the Foster Care System -
This book was written by Stacey Addison, a school teacher and mother of six children she adopted from foster care.  This book explains a system to help parents avoid making rash decisions based on emotions, and instead, maintain and enforce consistent expectations. 

Beneath the Mask: Understanding Adopted Teens

Beneath the MASK: Understanding Adopted Teens - This book explains how the key to successful therapy and healthy development is to help the adolescent discover and accept the person within.  It covers the six most common adoption "stuck-spots" and provides information about how therapy can help adoptive families learn and grow together. 

Loving attachments.jpg

Creating Loving Attachments: Parenting with PACE to Nurture Confidence and Security in the Troubled Child -  This book explains that a loving home is not always enough. Children who have experienced trauma need to be parented in a special way so they feel safe, secure and are able to build attachments that allow them to heal.  It covers PACE, four valuable elements of parenting that can help children feel confident and secure. 

Mom, Jason's breathing on me.jpg

Mom, Jason's Breathing on Me!: The Solution to Sibling Bickering - This book by Dr. Anthony Wolf offers a new strategy for coping with sibling bickering. Dr. Wolf presents three essential rules for dealing with sibling arguments and addresses a wide range of issues. This is a book about real children and what you can do to alleviate the strife between siblings. 

Books and DVDs can be requested by visiting our Resource Library page and filling out the online form, calling 866-CALL-MWV or by emailing fosteradopt(at)missionwv.org