With the majority of children entering the Foster Care System before the age of 2 years old there is a great need for foster parents, adoptive parents, teachers, clinicians and medical providers to have tools and resources. Recently I read a harrowing statistic that in the state of Texas there were 4,310 children removed from their parents before or at the age of one years old. Helping the tiniest of our people understand their story, hurt and incorporate emotional and physical wellness should be all of our priority. Recently Sesame Street announced that they were releasing a new resource connection for children who are or have been in foster care and the adults in their lives.
Gladney believes that every child deserves a loving and caring family. This resource page empowers families and community members through education and tools to provide for a child’s physical and emotional needs in a cohesive and developmentally appropriate way. The resource page is full of phenomenal tools – take a peek!
Here are a few of my favorites:
Understanding sensory needs and creating emotional and physical body awareness is incredibly important in children from hard places. The game Slow it Down creates an engaging calming platform for children. The game helps a child move into mindful awareness with attunement of all senses- as well as practicing deep breathing. This resource offers additional ideas to help with comfort and awareness with simple at home sensory tools.
The Feelings Basket is an interactive digital book utilized to normalize feelings. “Your big feelings are all normal,” she said. “And they’re a lot to carry around in your head and your heart.” This interactive story creates a dialogue of normalcy about children’s experience and feelings in their head and body. The story creates a natural progression into an activity where children can draw out what they may be feeling and process the feelings through coping strategies and awareness.
Pull out your Kleenex on this one. A Place for You is a video full of mantras that children and families can sing together. It’s a reminder that they are safe, valued, important, seen and welcome in the home. The video also creates a space for processing of why Karli could be upset and what it means for her to feel included and apart of the family. This video is great for all children to learn and receive relational empathy. The guide to creates ideas of how to write a song of safety and warmth for a child based off their history and emotional needs.
Children in Foster Care may have hard questions that families caring for them may not be sure quite sure how to answer in a developmentally appropriate way. The Talking about it Guide creates talking points in developmentally friendly ways to speak truth to the children in their care. Every conversation is different but this guide is helpful as a framework and language to families.
In the Provider Workshop: Building Trust Through Transitions, Adriana Molina shares her perspective as a kinship/foster care parent and Director of Project ABC in Los Angeles. She created the STAND with Me Guidelines to support children through transitions. The guide is designed to help support children in transitions which can be a huge challenge. Giving options and choices helps set the routine of what a child can expect and have control of. This model works off play, practice using their voice and have outcomes that feels safe and stable to them. This video and model is helpful to families, teachers and community health care providers.
Join me in sharing this resource so we can make sure all children know that they are safe and they belong.