SAFY Conference

We are excited to tell you about a conference being held by Specialized Alternatives for Families and Youth of South Carolina (SAFY of SC) on August 31st. The theme of the conference is “SAFY’s Clinical Innovations in Family Services”. Ryan Estes, SAFY’s Chief of Clinical Innovation and Technology, also serves as the National Family Preservation Network’s Board Vice Chair.

SAFY works with children and families to reach their full potential and increase the well-being of every community served. Driven by their Preserving Families and Securing Futures mission for over 35 years, SAFY has constructed a comprehensive blueprint of services allowing families to receive varying levels of care without the delays, confusion and stress associated with having multiple service providers. Their Model of Care includes community-centered support services, therapeutic foster care, and behavioral health services. This structure offers the tools needed to develop and maintain stable mental, physical, and emotional foundations to help families overcome the storm where they are – at home, at school, work, or in the community.

SAFY’s all-day conference will offer 5.25 CEUs over four timely training topics. Their goal is to increase awareness of SAFY, to deepen their partnerships with like-minded organizations and referring partners, and to provide top notch training relevant to their work. Because of this, the conference will be free of charge and it will target professionals working in the child welfare space. Participants will hear from guest speakers Dr. Ebony Speaks-Hall (President of Ohio ACLU and Professor at U of Cincinnati, ED), Ali Knight (CEO of FLY), Mit Joyner, (President of NASW) and myself.

During Session 1 “Creating Anti-Racist Practices in the Service Delivery of Families Involved with the Child Welfare System” participants will learn how to implement culturally responsive and anti-racist approaches to better the care of children and families in our child welfare system. Participants will learn how implicit and explicit bias exist in systems, and how the helping profession must be at the forefront to drive change.

During session 2, I will present “Leveraging Data to Create the Golden Thread of Assessing, Treatment Planning, and Service Delivery” in which participants will learn how to use the NCFAS to enhance the service mapping of youth and families involved in care. Using a data-driven lens, potential strategies for supporting families, strengthening family preservation work, and quantifying outcome-focused services will be addressed.

During session 3 “Centering the Voice of those with Lived Experience” participants will be exposed to increasing awareness and best practice strategies of engaging those with lived experience into the system. Lessons will be drawn from the juvenile justice system and how those most proximate to an issue are often best equipped at identifying solutions that will help improve the care for future foster care youth.

Lastly, during session 4 “The Ethical Need for Self-Care Practices for those Working in the Child Welfare Field” participants will be exposed to the need for a greater emphasis on self-care practice and shifting organizational cultures that support sustainable careers in the helping profession.

To register for this exciting learning opportunity, please click the link below:

We hope to “see” you there!

Posted by Michelle Reines, NFPN Executive Director

Help for Parents of Children with Special Needs

This month we have a guest author named Laura Pearson with Edutude. She is passionate about teaching the younger generation. Edutude was built to share resources on how to keep children engaged and in love with learning. 

Parental fatigue is more common among parents of children with special needs. It’s a result of the dual demands on their time as caregivers and all-around family managers. Gaining perspective is one way to recover from this condition, but it’s not uncommon to have trouble doing so.

The effects of parental fatigue are often not recognized, as they are often mistaken for other issues like depression, anxiety, or personality disorders. However, research suggests that at one point or another, most parents of children with special needs will experience exhaustion and mood disturbances due to this fatigue.

Everyone needs time for self-care, and that is especially true for parents of children with special needs. Understanding the signs that you may need help and the steps you can take to move forward are presented here as a place to get started. There are resources available that you may not be aware of, so check with your family physician or therapist for more information.

3 Signs You May Need Self-Care

Depression: Feeling down when something upsetting or stressful happens is normal, usually the feelings fade over time and you get on with life. But if it’s depression, the feelings don’t go away, even when things improve, and if it becomes serious, you should contact your physician or look for a therapist right away.

Burnout: Some signs you’re experiencing burnout can be seeing less of your family and friends, and feeling hopeless and helpless. Changes in eating habits and weight, and getting sick more often are signs you may be suffering burnout.

Decreased Relationship Satisfaction Signs: You may have just stopped arguing altogether, you prioritize your friends over your partner, you are no longer interested in intimacy, or you start picking fights. It’s possible to fix broken relationships, but it requires a desire to do so and an understanding that it will take some effort.

Self-Care Help

Hire Outside Help. You may be feeling like you’ve exhausted friends and family for help and so you’re trying to go it alone. You definitely need a break but you’re not sure that there’s someone suited to help your child with special needs. As Care.com notes, you may be eligible for Prescribed Pediatric Extended Care Centers. You can check with your doctor or local public health department to determine your eligibility. Or look for more mature sitters with experience and patience to care for your child on a part-time or as-needed basis. 

Start Your Own Business. By being your own boss, you can determine the number of hours or workload you’re able to handle. Work that you can perform while your child is at school, napping, or even when they’ve gone to bed for the evening can not only add to your income, but boost your self-esteem, confidence, and the feeling of being your own person. You’ll want to separate your personal finances from your business finances in order to reduce not only your anxiety but your paperwork and tax burden. This is done by structuring your business as a limited liability company. You can do this yourself online since it’s an easy and inexpensive process, saving you money in legal fees as well.

Go Back to School. There are few things that can make us feel as empowered than an education. Caregivers devote so much time to others that they don’t think going back to school is even an option. However, with the ability to take classes online with accredited universities and colleges, it’s possible to earn a degree from home at your own pace and schedule.

It is possible to take self-care too far to the extent where you’re allowing it to interfere with other activities, so be mindful of this, too. In the end, remember that taking care of yourself is the first step to taking care of others.

Written by Laura Pearson, Edutude

Posted by Michelle Reines, NFPN Executive Director

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