Within the next few days and weeks, many students will be returning to the classroom for the first time after a year and a half of almost exclusively virtual learning. Combine those novel feelings with the usual “back to school” jitters, and these next weeks are a recipe for increased anxiety and nervousness. And it’s likely that parents, caregivers and/or guardians of school-age children everywhere are searching for answers as to how to get through this.
And, well, the truth is, there really isn’t a step-by-step guide on navigating this exact situation because this is new for all of us. Every single one of us is going through this for the first time, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t things we can do to try to make this as seamless as possible, all while recognizing our children’s real emotions about this very novel way of life.
While searching for information on how to prepare kids for school “post” pandemic, a link for PBS Kids Back to School came up and it seems that there is a multitude of helpful information to help make transition a little easier.
Going Back To School Post-Transition
This specific article gives us ten different ways to support your child as they go back to the classroom. Here are some highlights:
A similar article, How to Handle a Tough First Day of School talks about some similar tactics and if you’d like more tips as those shared above, it likely would be beneficial.
Beating Back-To-School Jitters and Coping with Back-To-School Anxiety
Above are two articles that really tackle the difficult stuff. Children’s mental health is just as potent as that of adults, and in a time like this, they are not immune to feeling big nerves. Here are some highlights:
Below is a video from PBS Kids Talk Series exploring Back to School! This video, included in a series of videos about Back to School, talks to actual kiddos about how they feel going back to school. We hope this little tidbit brings you some joy and that it helps get you in good spirits as school starts.
You got this, kid (and adult, too!)
Unless you’re closely involved in the foster care realm in some facet, you likely don’t understand it, BUT you probably think you do. Because before working with Children’s First, I also thought I did.
The media portrays foster care as a sanctuary for children with unfit parents, usually those that fall victim to the perpetual cycle of substance abuse, or those that are either victims or perpetrators of domestic violence. To the public, all children in foster care are scathed by a history of abuse and/or neglect at the hands of their parents and that therefore, every child in foster care is in need of a “new, loving home”.
That, however, is just not the reality of foster care.
The Department of Health and Human Services’ Children's Bureau has identified a list of risk factors that may hinder a parent and/or caregivers’ perceived ability to parent a child. These risk factors include things that are often out of an individual’s control and are, frankly, striking, like financial hardship or disability.
Many circumstances in which children are removed from their homes could be avoided, had there been some sort of resource or program that helped keep families together. As stated in the previous paragraph - the risk factors listed above are based on perceived inability of an individual to parent, without any regard to whether or not it infringes on the rights of the individuals themselves.
This knowledge isn’t commonplace and with the romanticization of the foster care system and adoption, and the results of it, in movies like The Blind Side, society’s judgement is certainly clouded as it pertains to the foster care system. Add in the ever growing presence of social media and bloggers that capitalize on foster and adoption in today’s society and things are muddied even more.
Reunification takes place far more often than one might think, especially as it compares to the way in which it is portrayed in the media and on social media. In fact, according to The Children’s Bureau, 55% of children in foster care left by way of reunification with their parents and/or family members. With over half of the children being reunited with the people in their families, one can only surmise that it is, indeed, a big part of foster care resolution.
Earlier in the month, Children First shared a post that addressed the #FosterToAdopt hashtag, especially as it compares to #FosterToReunify. The #FosterToAdopt hashtag is full of thousands of smiling faces, letter boards, and happy moments while the #FosterToReunify hashtag is, more or less, far more empty (but also not lacking in happy moments).
The narrative needs to shift to one that acknowledges that #FamiliesAreBetterTogether and that fostering with the intent to reunify is not only positively impacting the lives of the kids you serve, but also the families that are behind them.
As June comes to a close, so does #NationalReunificationMonth, but the movement toward shifting the perspective about reunification marches forward and we are proud to be just a small part of that.
With the arrival of June comes the beginning of #NationalReunificationMonth.
How fitting is it that we get to share our elation at one of our own, Audey Lee, being named a "Champion of Blueprint for Family First" by the Georgia Department of Family and Children Services for their work as a SafeCare Home Visitor!
Through their work at SafeCare, Audey has shown time and time again dedication to family preservation and reunification when at all possible. With Georgia's newest Blueprint for Family First initiative, it only makes sense that someone as devoted as Audey would be named a champion. Because of individuals like Audey, more children will be able to safely live and grow up at home - and we couldn't be more proud to have them on our team!
Below is the video that features Audey and their work at Children First. We hope you'll take the time to watch it!
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