Advocate News


02.19.2019

Posted in:

Advocacy Tip: Relational Permanency

Relational Permanency: Creating Authentic Relationships with Foster Children

 

Advocating for our CASA children in children’s court is one of our main duties as Court Appointed Special Advocates, but did you know that your role outside of the courtroom makes an even bigger impact on your CASA children?

Foster children are more likely to experience attachment disorders as a result of constant instability during their time in foster care. Disruptions like placement changes make it even more difficult to continue bonding with family, friends, and caregivers. How can we as Advocates help our foster children attach and bond? It is as simple as continuing to be the constant voice for our CASA children and maintaining as much normalcy as possible!

 

The Texas Youth Permanency Study (TYPS) recommends Advocates engage in the following actions based on their interviews with foster youth who have aged out:

 

1. Advocate for, and with, youth around relational permanence.

  • Help maintain connections with those the child identifies as safe and important in their lives.
  • Find ways for those who care about the child to stay involved.

2. Meaningfully include your youth's voice in all aspects of case planning.

  • Advocate for your CASA children by taking their thoughts and opinions back to all decision makers (judges, caseworkers, caregivers, etc).
  • Thoughtfully build plans around what the children say they want and need (if able).

3. Create an honest and authentic relationship with youth.

  • Be open and honest—our CASA kids hear and see a lot more than we think!
  • Be direct and specific; do not “beat around the bush."
  • Connect as often as possible with your CASA children in an authentic way. Be yourself and encourage them to do the same!

 

Committing yourself to the children on your cases, being supportive and honest, and showing up for them when others cannot or will not is essential for bonding and creating these authentic relationships. TYPS states that the youth interviewed shared that the most important indicator of future success and well-being after exiting care is having at least one person that the youth could feel supported, nurtured by, and committed to.

Advocating for lifelong relational permanence is another way a CASA Advocate can make a huge difference in their foster children’s future. CASA does not have to be the only person in a child’s life that they can form safe attachments to. Identifying and advocating for safe and trustworthy adults and caregivers is instrumental in ensuring our foster children develop long-term relationships that will help them attach, learn about the world around them, and create a safe, loving space in which they can flourish.

According to TYPS, both informal and formal relationships with safe adults create normalcy. Informal relationships include birth families (if available), teachers, friends, and romantic partners. Formal relationships involve foster caregivers, caseworkers, mental health professionals, and CASA volunteers. When all are involved in the best interest of the children, relational permanency and normalcy are restored. Through these relationships, our foster children are able to have the safety, education, and life skills they need to become successful adults.

 

Questions:

1. What is an example of a safe adult that forms an informal relationship with our CASA kids?

a. Caseworker
b. CASA Advocate
c. Teacher

2. Due to constant instability, foster children experience attachment disorders. This affects the way they _____ other people.

a. Bond to
b. Dislike
c. Play games with

3. True or False: Children and youth should not be involved in their case planning.

 

For more information visit: Texas Youth Permanency Study (UTYPS.org)

Please email responses to: training@casa-satx.org

Advocacy Tip: Relational Permanency