This book is the first to provide strategies for effective advocacy and placement within the foster care and kinship care systems. It also takes a rare look at the dynamics of the foster and kinship relationship, not just among children and the agency workers and service providers who intervene on their behalf, but also between children and those who take in and care for them as permanency develops. Drawing on their experience interacting with and writing about the institution of foster care, Mitchell Rosenwald and Beth N. Riley have composed a unique text that helps practitioners, foster parents, and relative caregivers realize successful transitions for youth, especially considering the traumas these children may suffer both before and after placement. Advocating for a child's best interests must begin early and remain consistent throughout assignment and adjustment. For practitioners, Rosenwald and Riley emphasize the best techniques for assessing a family's capabilities and for guiding families through the challenges of foster care.
Part one details the steps potential foster parents and kinship caregivers must take, with the assistance of practitioners, to prepare themselves for placement. Part two describes tactics for successful advocacy within the court system, social service agencies, schools, and the medical and mental health establishments. Part three describes how to lobby for change at the agency and legislative levels, as well as within a given community. The authors illustrate recommendations through real-life scenarios and devote an entire chapter to brokering positive partnerships among practitioners, families, and other teams working to protect and transition children.
Mitchell Rosenwald is an associate professor of social work at Barry University and a longtime advocate for children and families. He volunteers as a Guardian ad Litem for Florida's youth in care and has worked in Child Protective Services in Maryland. His publications include a focus on issues relating to foster and kinship care. Beth N. Riley is the cofounder of BCFOCUS, a multiagency collaboration working with foster and adoptive families. She is the former director of a therapeutic foster care program and a field instructor. She has also worked as adjunct lecturer at Binghamton University, Syracuse University, and the University at Albany-SUNY.
Foreword Preface Acknowledgments Part I. Preparing for Advocacy 1. In the Beginning: Assessing Commitment and Family Resources 2. Knowing Limits: Finding the Right Match Between the Children in Care and the Foster Parents and Kinship Caregivers Part II. Advocacy with Service Providers 3. Advocating Within the Social Services System 4. Advocating Within the Family Court System 5. Advocating Within the School System 6. Advocating Within the Health and Mental Health Systems 7. Advocacy in Interdisciplinary Teams Part III. Advocacy for Change in Agency Policy, Law, and Communities 8. Advocating for Agency Policy Change 9. Advocating Legislatively 10. Advocating in Communities References Index