Help Teens Find Family: Videos for Caseworkers

Posted January 18, 2017, By the Annie E. Casey Foundation

Blog helpteensfindfamily 2017

Child wel­fare case­work­ers know it can be hard to per­suade some teens in fos­ter care that they need fam­i­ly. But they do need fam­i­ly — not only when they are young, but lat­er, when they are adults. Teens and young adults need the emo­tion­al moor­ing pro­vid­ed by fam­i­ly rela­tion­ships to thrive.

In the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s three-minute video, Every Kid Needs a Fam­i­ly: A Mes­sage to Case­work­ers, young peo­ple who spent time in fos­ter care make a com­pelling argu­ment that case­work­ers need to per­sist in con­nect­ing teens with fam­i­ly — because every teen needs a family.

I thought I knew every­thing when I decid­ed to age out [of fos­ter care] at 18” with­out fam­i­ly rela­tion­ships, says Stephanie LaPlante from Spring­field, Mass­a­chu­setts. But then I real­ized I didn’t.” Says Jamole Calla­han of Colum­bus, Ohio: The most impor­tant thing I want case­work­ers to know is that every teen needs that chance for a for­ev­er family.”

A two-page dis­cus­sion guide is designed to accom­pa­ny the videos, spark con­ver­sa­tions about teens’ need for fam­i­ly and focus atten­tion on steps case­work­ers can take to talk with teens about family.

I hope agen­cies and train­ing depart­ments will make good use of these resources,” says Tracey Feild, direc­tor of Casey’s Child Wel­fare Strat­e­gy Group. It can be shown at train­ing events. It can be emailed to staff. It can even be used in one-one-one super­vi­sion sessions.”

A short­er, com­pan­ion video, Every Kid Needs a Fam­i­ly: Advice to My Younger Self, explores what the par­tic­i­pants say they wish they had known years ago about the impor­tance of family.

Casey’s goal is to help agency staff mem­bers under­stand that if teens insist they don’t need fam­i­ly, case­work­ers can per­se­vere and build or strength­en these teens’ fam­i­ly relationships.

Case­work­ers are a pow­er­ful influ­ence,” Feild says. Use your influ­ence to con­nect teens with family.”

Down­load the dis­cus­sion guide

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