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Monday, August 1, 2016

Pursuing Permanency Series #4

What challenges might arise when trying to help a youth achieve permanency, and how can they be overcome? This post looks at how to prepare youth for permanency, whether that means helping them consider the benefits of options other than independent living, unpacking their hesitation about adoption or guardianship, or working to resolve trauma that might create challenges in achieving permanency. As the bulletin “Preparing Children and Youth for Adoption or Other Family Permanency” from the Children’s Bureau notes, “Assessment of children’s readiness for a new permanent family generally focuses on their behavior in foster care, with input from social workers and mental health professionals. Decisions are based on the assumption that children will accept new homes and families once they understand that it is unsafe for them to live at home.” It argues that this is insufficient and more needs to be done to prepare children and youth for “relational and/or legal permanency.”

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Tuesday, July 26, 2016

The Most Famous Lutherans

Early in July, I traveled to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to represent LSA at The 66th Convention of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS). As a lifelong member of the LCMS, one of LSA’s affiliate church bodies, I know that this church body has a steadfast commitment to their faith, their history, and the work of mercy professed that Christ calls us to. As I wandered the exhibit hall to find our booth, I felt both excited and disappointed to find that our booth sat right across from those who some consider to be the most famous Lutherans in the country – the Lutheran Church Charities K-9 Comfort Dogs. I was excited because, well, I would get to be around loving dogs for four days. But I was disappointed because it would make it much harder, nearly impossible, to get the attention of people near these Lutheran celebrities.

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Thursday, July 7, 2016

People Who Make the Experience

Last week marked my halfway point with LSA. My first month in DC has been, quite simply, a whirlwind. From jazz nights to weekend markets, from baseball games on warm nights to shady lunches by the Capitol, my time here has been moving unevenly, creeping along at some moments but mostly leaping forward in bounds. It’s been exhausting and wonderful. But it wasn’t until this last weekend, when I spent some time away from DC, that I understood what has been making my summer here so special.
I spent my holiday weekend in Houston (a city where the Fourth isn’t so much unique and glamorous as it is a slightly bigger show of Texas’ daily patriotism), and as I told my boyfriend story after story about LSA and DC, I realized a truth that applies to most great experiences: the people I’ve come to know here are what have made my summer so meaningful.
And so, reflecting on my first month in DC, I thought I would talk about a few of those people who have so positively impacted my time here.

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Thursday, July 7, 2016

Who Is (Not) My Neighbor?

The Sunday of Independence Day weekend, I woke up bright and early to attend a worship service at a new church in my neighborhood. On previous weekends, you could find me at what I would consider to be a “popular church”- a well-attended, multi-satellite, free donuts before church kind of congregation located in a theater. You can picture it, can’t you? I’d chosen this welcoming community for the past weeks because I enjoyed the company of a friend who went there. The only inconvenience about this arrangement was that the church was located quite far from where we were living to the point where we had to take a train and walk a significant distance to get there. I had been wanting to support a local congregation for some time, so when my friend went out of town for the weekend I decided to do so then. I spotted a local United Methodist Church one night while roaming the area and had decided that this would be my place.

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Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Unconditionally Committed to Children

How can we prepare youth aging out of child welfare to be happy, productive adults? Is it important to for youth to have a permanent, positive adult relationship as they age out of the foster care system? How can we help them establish and maintain these relationships? These and many other questions were raised by members at the June meeting of LSA’s second learning cohort with the Provider Exchange®. The cohort met in New York at The Children’s Village, a nonprofit organization that works with children and families, to discuss improving permanency outcomes – both formal and informal – for youth aging out of the child welfare system.

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