Monday, August 21, 2006

The rooster calls the sun

I am trying to remember who uses that example...I know I read it somewhere. It's fairly obvious what it is about. Every morning the rooster crows and the sun which was just begining to peek above the horizon comes the rest of the way up.

Good thing, huh?

You know, I hear that up north they have shorter days in the winter. Maybe we should send them some roosters?

Okay, it is silly, we know that the roosters don't make the sun come up, but we really do make this mistake ALL THE TIME. We do it quite a bit in foster care and adoption. The kids have so many troubles and we so very much want to find a way to help them. So we look for indicators of success. We find them and then we try to maximize the inidcators hoping for more success.

Probably if we do this with every indicator we find we are likely to stumble on a couple of actual causal agents.

I was just off reading a blog. Since this is 1) something the author wrote more than a year ago; and 2) something I am about to attack, I am going to keep it annonymous. I hope she prefers it this way.

The blog writer quotes a study reporting that the best predictor of success in adoptive placements is the number of moves while in foster care. My response to that information was, "Well...duh..."

The blog writer had the same response, but for a completely different interpretation. Her response was that this was important informaion, "for the social services system. Do NOT move the kids around!!!"

Say what?

So does she think that social workers are out there moving kids around from house to house for the hell of it? I mean, they have all that extra time on their hands, right? Silly social workers, don't they know moving is bad for the kids? If they just put them somewhere and left them there, everything would be better.

Wouldn't it be lovely if it were that simple?

Kids who have very few moves are the kids who are easiest to take care of. They are the kids with the fewest attachment problems. OF COURSE they are going to have the most succssful adoption placements.

In EVERYTHING past patterns are the best indicators of future patterns. And though that is true, you can't just make the past pattern be something different. High school GPA's are very good predictors of success in college, but that does not mean that it is a good idea to just give high school students higher grades.

What we need to do, and many people are trying to do, is to figure out why that pattern exists. What are the underlying problems? How can we address them? How can we support and train families so that they can handle these kids? Which kids really do need alternative (e.g. group home) care? How do we give these kids what they need?

Because everyone in the system wants to help them. Everyone knows that multiple moves hurt the kids. Disruption confirms for kids that they are unlovable. The kids need permanency, but we cannot give them permanency by simply deciding not to move them.

1 comment:

  1. You make a very good point here.

    We were told, during our PRIDE training that moves hurt kids, and when "Belinda" was busy melting down, we were worried about the damage we were going to cause to her psyche because she'd already been moved at least once or twice.

    And then I realized... The move was happening, not because we didn't want her, but because her behavior was so out of control we couldn't cope. It was then that we realized the move would probably be good for her as she'd end up in a more theraputic environment and perhaps she'd get the help we couldn't provide.


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