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Creating Early Permanency


Cherokee Nation does not have the cure but we do have some preventative medicine ... It is the policy of Cherokee Nation to locate and explore all relatives as the ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Creating Early Permanency

Creating Early Permanency
  • Early Permanency for Tribal Children That Can Be
    Utilized For Every Child

Historical Background
  • It has been estimated that more than ten million
    people inhabited North America when Columbus
  • These people were the ancestors of present-day
    Indian Tribes

Who Was Cherokee Nation in 1492?
Who Was Cherokee Nation? Cont
  • Treaties
  • Government
  • Living Conditions
  • Education
  • Trail of Tears
  • Oklahoma

Historical Background
  • The Indian population was reduced to an estimated
    100,000 people, in 1900, because of imported
    disease, slavery, forced relocation, and systemic
  • Survived federal policies of removal,
    assimilation, reorganization, and termination

Who is Cherokee Nation Today?
  • 266,055 Tribal Members
  • 331,680 CDIB Card Holders
  • 6,500 employees
  • Cherokee Nation
  • Cherokee Nation Enterprises
  • Cherokee Nation Industries
  • Cherokee Nation Business

Who is Cherokee Nation ICW?
  • Over 1,200 children in care on any given day
  • 1,100 notices per month
  • Programs 74 employees
  • Prevention
  • Child protection
  • Court and Permanency Services
  • Foster Care
  • Adoption
  • Hiring 23 more employees

Program History
  • Began foster care program in 1991
  • Began adoption program in 1992
  • Losing children
  • No Indian Homes Available for Placement

Current Adoption Program
  • Over 150 names on the waiting list before the
    first home was certified in 1992
  • Since 1992, we have certified over 1,050 families
  • Placed over 500 children
  • Currently have 250 available adoptive homes
  • Currently have over 150 prospective homes on the
    waiting list

What Does All This Have to Do with Permanency
Planning for Older Children?
AFCARS Estimates as of June 2006
  • Current Age of Children in Foster Care
  • 0-5 23.8
  • 6-10 39.3
  • 11-18 36.9
  • Age at Original Removal of Children Currently in
    Foster Care
  • 0-5 37.3
  • 6-10 55.6
  • 11-18 7.2

How Many Months Have Children Been Waiting in
Continuous Foster Care?
  • 36 to 59 months 21
  • 60 or more months 24
  • 45 of waiting children have been waiting for
    more than 3 years

How Old Were These Same Waiting Children When
They Were Removed From Their Parents or
  • Mean Years 5.1
  • Median Years 4.5
  • How Old Are They Now?
  • Mean Years 10.1
  • Median Years 10.9

As of June 2006-Adoption Numbers
  • How old where these children when they were
    adopted from the public foster care system?
  • Mean Years 6.9
  • Median Years 5.9

How Do We Stop This Or Can We?
  • Cherokee Nation does not have the cure but we do
    have some preventative medicine

Cherokee Nations Version Of True Concurrent
  • What is concurrent planning?
  • Who are the players?
  • What makes it work?

What is Concurrent Planning?
  • To plan simultaneously for two or more separate
  • A plan of action must always be developed for a
    child that has been removed from his home in a
    deprived court action. Concurrent planning must
    include two simultaneous goals. The first goal
    (with certain exceptions) is reunifying that
    particular child with the family of origin along
    with the steps necessary to accomplish that goal.
    The second goal of the same plan must also allow
    for the possibility that the child may never be
    returned to its family of origin. Therefore, the
    ideal plan must include a placement setting that
    will assist in the reunification plans yet
    willing to provide a permanent home if
    reunification is not feasible

Concurrent Planning
  • Why Do It?
  • Eliminates foster care drift
  • Children have fewer emotional problems
  • Early Permanency
  • Protection from Rejection

How to do this effectively
Concurrent Planning Tools
  • Adequate placement resources
  • Timing Goals
  • Family is always the first placement choice
  • Concurrent planning training for ALL placement
  • Intensive Up-Front work
  • Willingness to Take a Chance

Adequate Placement Resources
  • How Cherokee Nation identifies resources?
  • How do we develop them?
  • Foster care
  • Adoption
  • Fost-adopt

Adequate Placement Resources-Fost-Adopt
  • What is fost-adopt and how are these families
  • Fost-adopt is the primary tool used by Cherokee
    Nation to provide early permanency planning for a
    child. From the moment a child comes into the
    judicial system a part of the permanency plan or
    concurrent planning process must include a
    fost-adopt placement
  • A fost-adopt home is an adoptive home trained to
    provide foster care to a child who is not
    currently legally free for adoption knowing they
    will be utilized as a permanent adoptive
    placement if and when the legal barriers are

Adequate Placement Resources-Fost-Adopt-Cont
  • It is solely the decision of the potential
    fost-adopt family as to whether or not they are
    able to handle the repercussions of a particular
  • Training and full disclosure are the keys to
    successful fost-adopt placements

Adequate Placement Resources-Training- Legal Risk
  • The term legal risk implies that there is some
    possibility of loss in a judicial arena
  • The family must be emotionally prepared for
    possibility of loss
  • Re-unification is the primary goal
  • If appropriate family members come forward there
    is always the possibility that the judge may rule
    in favor of the familys request regardless of
    the length of time a child has been placed in
    non-relative Indian home
  • Families must outweigh the potential of great
    reward against the possibility of loss
  • Only the family can make that decision
  • Total commitment to the decision is vital

Timing Goals
  • Relatives must be found and ruled in or out
    within 60 days of removal
  • Potential permanent placement must be found and
    utilized within at least six months of removal

Family Is Always The First Placement Choice
  • It is the policy of Cherokee Nation to locate and
    explore all relatives as the first potential
    short and long-term placements for children
    entering into the system
  • Those relatives willing to accept permanent
    placement must go through the same process as a
    non-relative adoptive placement
  • Extended family will not be used if there is no
    one in that extended circle that is interested or
    willing to adopt the child in question
  • In the event that none of the family is found
    suitable, other Cherokee tribal members are
    sought for placement

Training for All Placement Resources
  • Adoptive couples that want placement of newborns
    face the greatest legal risk
  • Biological parents cannot sign consent until ten
    days after the birth of the child
  • Between the time the consent is signed and the
    adoption is finalized the biological parents can
    change their minds at any time for any reason and
    the child is returned to them
  • Adoptions may be overturned up to two years after
    finalization if the biological parents can prove
    to the judge some type of duress or coercion
    precipitated the voluntary relinquishment

Intensive Up-Front Work
  • PUNISHMENT The first six months
  • REWARD The rest of the life of the case

Willingness To Take A Chance
  • Win-Win Situation
  • Enormous Rewards for Child
  • Foster care by definition is a temporary service
    and as such it feels temporary, acts temporary
    and does not provide the all-inconclusive feeling
    of belonging that a child needs for healthy
  • With fost-adopt placements the children are more
    accepted as true family members since the other
    family members know that this child could become
    a permanent member of the family, thus, the child
    feels more included and more like a natural
    member of the family
  • Even if the child is returned home, the time he
    has spent in out of home placement was of a
    higher quality
  • More than likely he has not moved from home to
    home as the fost-adopt family that provides for
    him is more committed to creating permanency

Willingness To Take A Chance
  • Enormous Reward for the Family
  • Since the family receives the child within the
    first six months of placement, the child does not
    develop the emotional and behavioral problems
    inherent to long term foster care and multiple
  • These children do not develop the sense of
    rejection so common in the current system of
    foster care drift. Therefore, the likelihood of
    system developed emotional and behavioral
    problems are greatly reduced
  • Even if the child is returned to his birth home
    the fost-adopt family can be proud of the part
    they played in providing quality care to a child

  • Dont adoptive families sabotage reunification?
  • Dont you lose adoptive families when children
    are returned home?
  • Do adoptive families feel compelled to try
    fost-adopt to get placement?