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Grantee Projects Homes for Black Children

Project: Family Ties (May 2008)

Homes for Black Children’s Project Family Ties recognizes familial connections.  This project serves to increase the opportunity for permanency through openness in adoption for 150 foster children in the metropolitan Detroit area.  The children who are identified for the project are age 11 and older, or are part of a sibling group and would like to maintain familial relationships.  The major project activities consist of six (6) components.  They are: recruitment, training, life enrichment, team approach, team decision making, youth mentorship/leadership and adoption placement.

Recruitment is delivered in a three pronged approach.  First, monthly community based initiatives occur to inform the public of the need for foster and adoptive parents to parent this target group.  Second, quarterly faith-based events with partner churches are held.  Third, child specific recruitment focuses on individual youth and/or sibling groups who do not have an identified permanency plan.  As a result of our multi-faceted approach to recruitment, we have experienced an increase in foster and adoptive homes for children between the ages of 9 to 17.

Training is one of the interventions used to prepare prospective resource families.  The training is specialized to provide detailed information on adoption, openness and the characteristics of the youth involved in this project.  Also, as a result of attending training sessions, more families have become willing to explore placement of older youth.  Evaluations indicate that the participants find the material to be insightful and assist them in their decision making regarding foster care and adoption. Support group training is also provided on a monthly basis.  A clothing exchange is an added feature to this training to provide additional support and resources to families participating in the program.

Life Enrichment Activities provide adoptive families, siblings, and birth families a means to interact on a face to face basis. This funding year we instituted our first annual family reunion. The family reunion was a picnic style family function.  It provided an opportunity for the adoption triad (birth family, adoptive family, and youth) to celebrate adoption, as well as acknowledge and support open adoption plans.  There were over one hundred (100) triad members and staff in attendance.  Many of the children appeared to have enjoyed the activities while spending time with their siblings.

The Drummers for Peace, a percussion orchestra, composed of adoptive, foster and community youth, perform quarterly at the faith-based initiatives and other agency adoption/foster care celebratory events.  The drummers meet monthly for practice, providing another opportunity for siblings to come together.

Team Decision Making (TDM) in the State of Michigan has transitioned from joint facilitation responsibility with private agencies to sole State responsibility.  The Project Staff have developed an alternative structured decision making format, the permanency planning circle, to ensure that youth empowerment and exploration of openness options continue.  A monthly permanency planning circle is held to discuss and develop specific permanency plans.  There has been an increase in the number of youth served through this intervention.

Homes for Black Children subscribes to a youth development approach. This approach recognizes the need to provide youth with a comprehensive adoption preparation and assessment process. This process provides youth with an opportunity to participate in decision making regarding their adoption preferences. Youth leaders, known as Youth Ambassadors, have actively participated through presentations in community recruitment and training events. 

Adoption placement has continued to be our major accomplishment to date. Fifty-two (52) youth have been placed through the project’s efforts.  Foster parents and relatives are adopting the greatest numbers of youth.  We continue to serve large sibling groups with many of them split between adoptive families.  Efforts have continued to focus on maintaining sibling relationships.  Focus groups were held with adoptive families.  Results indicate that families are upholding the openness contracts, however, terms may have changed as circumstances changed.

For more information, please contact:
Linda Lipscomb
Homes for Black Children
Resource Department
511 East Larned
Detroit, MI  48226
Phone:  313.961.4777

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