Inspirational Role Models for Children

Monday, November 29, 2010

When we are out doing our prevention activities, we often have the opportunity to speak to different groups, e.g. parents, youth, professionals, community members...anyone who will listen. While talking with groups, we always make a point to mention that it is a myth that all abused children become abusive adults. It makes us crazy to hear “children will parent as they are parented”. That’s not necessarily true at all. In fact most children, who are abused, do not grow up and become abusive later in life. Why? Well, it’s hard to know all of the factors associated with this statement, but we do know that one of the primary reasons is that many children who are growing up in less than ideal circumstances usually have at least one adult in their lives who is making a difference. Role models do not have to be sports stars or celebrities, even though that is who we primarily think of when we hear the term “role model”. Often the most important person in a child’s life is someone who knows the child, cares about them, and supports them in a nurturing and loving way. It’s someone to whom the child can look for guidance and appropriate responses to life’s problems. It can be a parent, teacher, neighbor, friend, uncle, grandparent…anyone who can offer that child a positive example of adult behavior. Children thrive on love and attention, and they look to us to teach them about making good choices and responding to adversity. Any of us can make that kind of impact on a child; we don’t have to be a celebrity…just a caring person who is willing to get involved and become that role model.

National Family Week

Monday, November 22, 2010

The family. We were a strange little band of characters trudging through life sharing diseases and toothpaste, coveting one another's desserts, hiding shampoo, borrowing money, locking each other out of our rooms, inflicting pain and kissing to heal it in the same instant, loving, laughing, defending, and trying to figure out the common thread that bound us all together. ~Erma Bombeck

Families come in many forms. Some work very well, and others not so well. We carry our history with us in our hearts. Whatever our history may be, it’s good to stop and consider the strength we have gained from our families.

National Family Week is an annual celebration observed during the week of Thanksgiving. It is a component of the Alliance for Children and Families’ civic engagement program.

National Family Week is designed to encourage Americans to celebrate strong families and advocate for policies that foster community connections.

To observe National Family Week, Alliance members host local events involving families, residents, area leaders, and policymakers. Typical observances include community forums, resource fairs, volunteer projects, seminars, and awards programs. Many members also use National Family Week as an opportunity to highlight their year-round civic engagement efforts. Others use the occasion to mobilize residents and community leaders in enacting changes that bolster the chances of success for children, families, and communities.

National Family Week was founded in 1968 by Sam Wiley, a former teacher and administrator from Indianapolis. The Alliance continues this tradition with support from the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

Today, National Family Week is celebrated throughout the country, not only by Alliance members, but also by numerous community organizations, schools, and universities.

This week, even in the rush of Thanksgiving gatherings, stop for a moment and appreciate your family. Gather your children around you and tell them how much they mean to you. Take time to do fun activities together.

Our most basic instinct is not for survival but for family. Most of us would give our own life for the survival of a family member, yet we lead our daily life too often as if we take our family for granted. ~Paul Pearshall

Celebrate National Adoption Month With Us!

Monday, November 15, 2010


On any given day, hundreds of children are waiting for a “Forever Family”. Children are available for adoption for a variety of reasons; many have suffered from abuse and/or neglect. No matter their age or their background, they all deserve a loving and safe environment.


Loving people from all walks of life and vocations can become adoptive parents. You must be at least 21 years of age and meet all applicable state and federal requirements, including providing positive references, passing local, state and national criminal history and child sex abuse registry checks and passing a physical exam. The first step toward adoption through The Villages is to contact us at 1.800.874.8660 or visit their website at

Foster Care Adoption Quick Facts

Foster care adoption is the adoption of a child from the U.S. foster care system who is legally available for adoption and whose birthparents’ rights have been permanently terminated by the court.

Children enter the public foster care system through no fault of their own, as a result of abuse (physical, sexually, emotional), neglect (physical, emotional, educational) or abandonment.

Today there are an estimated 423,773 children in foster care in the United States, and 114,556 of these children are legally and permanently separated from their birth family and waiting to be adopted.

Of the 114,556 children waiting for adoption, 30 percent are Black Non-Hispanic, 38 percent are White Non-Hispanic, 22 percent are Hispanic, 2 percent are American Indian/Alaskan Native, 6 percent two or more Races Non-Hispanic and 2 percent unable to determine. 53% are male and 47% female.

Although children waiting to be adopted from foster care range in age from birth to 18 years old, the average age of children waiting for an adoptive family is 8.

On average, these children have been in foster care more than three years, and wait another 14 months after parental rights are terminated to be adopted.

Last year, 69,947 children in foster care were legally freed for adoption; 57,466 were adopted.

Last year, 29,471 children turned age 18 and left the foster care system without an adoptive family.

State of Indiana data indicates that there are 1,279 waiting children. 41% or 524 children have an identified placement while the remaining 754 children (59%) are in need of a permanent home. For many of these children, foster care adoption is a viable route to a “Forever Family”.


Myth: It is too expensive to adopt from foster care.

Reality: While private domestic infant adoption and international adoption may vary in costs from thousands to tens of thousands of dollars, there is little or no cost to adopt from foster care.

Myth: The parents of the children adopted will resurface to claim their children.

Reality: Once parental rights have been terminated by the court, the parents have no further recourse for gaining custody of the children. The adoption is final.

Myth: The children in foster care are juvenile delinquents.

Reality: Children enter the foster care system through no fault of their own as a result of abuse, neglect or abandonment, and deserve every effort to find them a permanent loving family.

Myth: Single parents cannot adopt.

Reality: Single parents can, and do, adopt. Last year, of the children adopted from foster care, 31% were adopted by single parents

Foster Care Adoption Quick Facts statistics: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Children’s Bureau; Preliminary FY 2009 estimates, as of July 2010.

Foster Care Adoption Myths/Misperceptions: National Foster Care Adoption Attitudes Survey, commissioned by the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption and conducted by Harris Interactive, November 2007.


Premature Babies

Monday, November 8, 2010

We know that the sooner we can provide care to our children, the better. We also know that it can’t happen too soon…in fact as soon as we know we are expecting! Moms, dads, and babies need extra care during that important time between conception and birth to insure that the health of everyone involved is maintained. Taking extra care is always advised, but it may also help in preventing premature births, which are a grave health risk to babies.

Prematurity is defined as any pregnancy lasting less than 37 weeks, and unfortunately the rates of premature births has increased in the United States since the early 1980’s (although there has been a small decrease since 2008). Due to brain, lung, and neurological development, it is critical that as much as possible be done to insure a baby comes to full term. It may be critical for the health of the mother as well.

There can be several reasons as to why a baby is born prematurely, but we would like to mention some which may not be as commonly known, and which can be somewhat under the control of the parents-to-be.

1.Be certain to receive prenatal care. If there is a concern about how to pay for care, there are several clinics that provide very low cost prenatal exams.
2.Don’t smoke while you are pregnant, and beware of persistent second-hand smoke as well.
3.Eat nutritionally balanced meals
4.Reduce stress as much as possible
5.Being in a domestic violence situation also increases the risk of premature births
6.The use of alcohol or drugs
8.Working long hours while standing
9.If there is a short time period in between pregnancies (under 18 months).
10.Youth under 17 or women over 35 may also be more at risk

There are also many medical conditions which may contribute to premature births, and many times, it is due to something that is beyond the control of anyone. We urge you to research this issue further, and just understand the importance of self-care, for that surely will help you and your baby!

Some of the information in this blog was gleaned from the March of Dimes at

"The Myth of the Bad Kid"

Monday, November 1, 2010

Six-year-old Jimmy is having trouble in school. As a first grader, he already has a reputation among the teachers as a "bad kid." He spends most of his school day sitting in the corner or the principal's office. With 30 other children in his class, the teacher has little time for Jimmy. He isn't learning anything in the classroom, and he has trouble making friends.

We all have memories of the "bad kid" in our class - the child who was always in trouble and often alone. We tend to blame this kind of behavior on a lack of discipline or a bad home. We say the child was spoiled, abused, or "just trying to get attention." But these labels are often misguided. Many of these children suffer from serious emotional problems that are not the fault of their caregivers or themselves.

Myths about children's behavior make it easy to play the "blame game" instead of trying to help children like Jimmy. Often, in making assumptions, we "write off" some children. However, with understanding, attention and appropriate mental health services, many children can succeed- they can have friends, join in activities and grow up to lead productive lives. To help children with emotional problems realize their potential, we must first learn the facts about the "bad kid."

• Children do not misbehave or fail in school just to get attention. Behavior problems can be symptoms of emotional, behavioral or mental disorders, rather than merely attention-seeking devices. These children can succeed in school with understanding, attention and appropriate mental health services.
• Behavioral problems in children can be due to a combination of factors. Research shows that many factors contribute to children's emotional problems including genetics, trauma and stress. While these problems are sometimes due to poor parenting or abuse, parents and family are more often a child's greatest source of emotional support.
• Children's emotional, behavioral and mental disorders affect millions of American families. An estimated 14-20 percent of all children have some type of mental health problem. Jimmy and the many others mislabeled as "bad kids" can use the support of their communities.

For more information on children's emotional and behavioral problems, call the Center for
Mental Health Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, one of the Public Health Service agencies in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services at 1-800-789-2647.