Volume XXV | February 15, 2023

The Good Stuff in Child Welfare
Welcome to The Good Stuff in Child Welfare!
Our team at the Field Center for Children’s Policy, Practice, & Research recognizes that between the all too frequent and grim child welfare stories that make us teary-eyed, clenched-fisted, and faint-hearted, there are inspiring accomplishments and heartening endeavors taking place all over this country at every level of practice. To elevate and promote these encouraging stories, we are pleased to bring you this monthly newsletter emphasizing news stories only about “The Good Stuff” from the broad field of child welfare. This month, we highlight national and international stories that reinforce how everyone can get involved in creating better futures for young people. We hope this read gives you a few moments of hopefulness and a sense of possibility.
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New Website for NJ Kids in Foster Care Created by Those Who’ve Been There
The New Jersey Department of Children and Families Youth Council is a 25-person board that advises the department on policies and practices. These members are young adults with lived experiences with the Division of Child Protection and Permanency. The Youth Council recently re-launched the New Jersey Youth Resource Spot, a newly crafted and re-imagined website with a more straightforward approach designed by young people for young people. They aim to provide young people who have transitioned out of foster care or who are currently in foster care with resourceful information, including continuing education, scholarships, benefits, housing, financial literacy, insurance, and more.

Youth Transitioning out of Foster Care to See Increased Support
The San Diego County Board of Supervisors recently voted unanimously to accept recommendations from Child Welfare Services to increase funding to support foster youth for up to three years as they transition out of care. This decision will provide $2.7 million in state funding over the next three fiscal years for housing and wraparound services for young adults 18 to 25. From now on, each participating youth will receive $3,710 a month, a $900 increase compared to the current rate. Other bills extended the opportunity for foster youth to stay in the foster care system until age 21 and added housing assistance services. The Transitional Housing Program provides up to three cumulative years of support for foster youth from 18 to 25 years old. “This program keeps vulnerable young adults off the streets, in an environment where they can pursue higher education and become successful members of society,” said Kim Giardina, director of Child Welfare Services.

Licking Heights Hosts First Alum Basketball Game, Raises Money for Foster Care Charity
“Life is bigger than basketball” is a mantra that the Licking Heights boys basketball team believes. The boys’ basketball team and 35 alumni members recently hosted their first-ever Alumni Game and raised nearly $1,000 for children in foster care. The game bridged the gap between alumni and current students, while the proceeds from ticket sales and sponsorship went toward Stitched Together, a nonprofit that provides youth in foster care with backpacks filled with essential hygiene products, pajamas, and stuffed animals. Their efforts allowed players to engage with the community and learn about the importance of serving others.

Casey Family Programs Honors 10 People, One Foundation for Working to Improve Child and Family Well-Being
Last month, Casey Family Programs announced the 2023 Casey Excellence for Children Awards honorees. These awards recognized remarkable individuals around the nation who have dedicated themselves to improving outcomes for children and families engaged with the child welfare system. Awards were given in the categories of “Family and Alumni” and “Leadership.” Casey Family Programs is the nation’s largest operating foundation dedicated to safely reducing the need for foster care and building communities of hope for children and families. To view recipients and their stories, click here.

How Barry Keoghan Went from Foster Homes to His First Oscar Nomination
Irish Actor Barry Keoghan and his fans have been celebrating his first Oscar nomination since he was named a nominee for best actor in a supporting role. “The Banshees of Inisherin” star has been open about his experience growing up in the Irish foster care system. He shared on Ireland’s “The Late Late Show” that he lived in 13 different foster homes due to his mother’s drug use. After moving to multiple foster homes, Keoghan started living with his maternal grandmother when he was 10. Seeing an open casting call in a shop window at age 16 led to his first role, kickstarting his acting career. “What more can I lose?” he told himself. “The only way is forward.” Now, he's a contender for an Oscar at the 95th annual Academy Awards on March 12.

‘Community’ Project Helps Foster Children
Action/AmeriCorps volunteers in central Kansas worked with local organizations to create “We Care” bags for children initially entering foster care. The bags, full of hygiene products, a water bottle, and a blanket, were donated to Saint Francis Community Services to be given to children. The idea for the bags came from wanting to do something for Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and wanting a project that could include the whole community. VIA Director Linn Hogg said “When we all live in a spirit of community, great things happen.”

The Field Center team would like to thank the staff and students who brought this newsletter together. Specifically, we recognize our Spring 2023 students Richard Wren, Meghan Chasar and Em Brandon for their contributions in providing readers with this uplifting content. Many thanks to our Associate Director Sarah Wasch for editing and our Administrative Coordinator Felicia Saunders for handling design and distribution. Special thanks to our Managing Faculty Director, Dr. Johanna Greeson for her idea to curate the “good news stories” happening in child welfare!