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Adoption & Foster Care

May 4, 2013|

A discussion with Mike Balter, the President/CEO of Boys & Girls Aid, an organization dedicated to finding safe homes and permanent families for children with neither, about their history and all of the great work they do. www.boysandgirlsaid.org

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Automatically Generated Transcript (may not be 100% accurate)

You're listening to -- scope of the series of interviews with people of interest in northwest Oregon and southwest Washington I'm your host -- -- if you follow the show and all you know that I am a fairly passionate about children's issues specifically homelessness Foster care adoption that sort of thing I have certain passion for it can't really tell you why I think it -- care for kids I don't think that's to a -- right so I have with me today a new guest in this field someone -- not -- on the show before gentleman from an organization called boys and girls -- And their goal is find safe homes and permanent families for children that don't have either of those things please welcome to the show the president and CEO of boys and girls and it might Alter how are you might. -- Absolutely absolutely. What do you think kicked off lets give our listeners a little bit of information about yourself and how he came to be with boys and girls -- You know -- I have had that same passion for children my whole life. Also. You know and it's one of those things that I think he just can't find yourself. And -- sure that I started with boys and girls paid in 1985. And that was there's Centennial year. There hundredth anniversaries. -- you get did you think you might also be the oldest organization I've had on the show hooked -- So -- yes or wanted to Wear the oldest fellow traders see an art and oral and were only an organ based organizations. And it was very interesting for me to come in Centennial year and hear about the history and the passion of the founders and this legacy in this state and how it's affected the state and I had never been at a job that's not a tirelessly keep it -- probably three to five years -- -- normal career path. For someone my age at -- time and I think you're 28 years while it's hard administered dynamic nature of the organizations. And the continuous. Effect and impact it has on people's lives and something that's engaged me. -- proportion of my life. Even president several times I came as -- as the president in 1985. And if you look at changed jobs about every three to cart years here right this. Just -- dynamic. Well -- I think it's a lot about the organization you would stick with it for that long I mean nobody you know used to be -- take our our parents generation they would you know stick with a company forever because that's just the way things worked but the job market slump or fluid these days. People do jump from job to job from -- career actually hear from someone that stuck with something over twenty years it's fairly rare to -- it speaks a lot about your satisfaction with the job. Absolutely. It and the in the sense that you're still having an effect and you know making a positive impact or those years is what's essential. That's what sport can -- it. So how did this organization get started all those years ago. Well you know it's dealing with some of the same issues you mentioned that you opened the show and -- 1985. -- continental rewrote it just ended at Portland. -- eternal place. City is growing quickly downtown Portland must be killed listen. -- a new business but I also can't people who had either taken the trainer whose families fell apart and with the business leaders much like they are today concerned about the quality environment done. How we're treating him. Families and children and there's -- -- the sisters. Abused neglected and abandoned children that need care. And someone needs to do that so they formed boys and girls agents people like glad -- Seems worse -- -- Bernal and -- A former college goes through congress boys and girls saying it's just simple message commission has really very similar rescue abuse and neglect or abandoned children provide for their care. Isn't that amazing that all those years ago they've been right in that -- kind of near the foundation of the city itself that. Those sorts of ideals were put in place right then that they're kind of the bedrock of the of the town. -- and I think that's what keeps on our rotation like boys and girls paid viable and strong is that that same spirit that same combination of business leadership and business. Demand in terms of results. And yet the compassion and that's. In the message. And strategies that are progressive are all part of our -- actually reverend lamb to you know health problems -- college and I think -- restricts first presbyterian church's front of those people is doing -- for the clintons. Should we cannot put children in institutions that that the norm Reynolds reform schools and orphanages and there's going to be a better way so he went. To the East Coast and found the children they decided new York and they were experimenting work. -- homes and Foster care and adoption. Basically saying let's get kids off the street and say it provides for their physical care and -- -- and families. As quickly as we can't because children. Shouldn't be raised -- and institutions. And institutions are good parents and we're kind of following that same theme that -- notion of finding permanent lifelong connections for children today. So how has that all morphed in a vault into where we are now isn't very much the same organization do you -- work on those same sorts of ideals or word has it changed as the world has changed. I think it's changed each probably. Thirty years -- cycles may be generational cycle. There is an area terrorist attempts to be most visible or most carry in the forefront for a number of -- I first came to court and -- -- -- it was known predominantly for adoption. There's a period in fifties and 60s50s. And secure boys and girls it was facing up to 300 children a year. Well and it option that is that began to change the need most of still there for other services and we were working -- almost runway -- been. Different parts. Of the state and parent was broken -- or damaged her risk we had. Some strategy that we're involved with and I think it's interesting to reduce adopted a twenty year goal which is this notion of finding a lifelong permanent. -- connection for young people. And it -- really took that historic notion of the tools we have are not from the cold we have so adoption this typical Foster care and Nicole. Shelter terrorists and -- those are all tools to get to this one. Very important goal. With permanent someone who you can count on throughout your license. Some to call you on your birthday if someone who helped you will learn how to -- a biker bar or the first car or how to get to college or how to plot performs. Get your first job that's -- children. Yeah you need that stability need Constance. Is so let's talk about the Foster care how does a child find himself in that situation. As opposed to just as opposed -- straight up adoption is that they're you know there there of these series turns are -- years. But I think it's hard to define exactly. How each of those categories operates unless you're you're within it. -- -- -- -- Use Alex as an example. Can't put the profile we gonna put a face on this notions of Foster care permanently so -- it began life cannot put a caring mother who made some poor decisions. And particularly with relationships -- compared relationship decisions. And -- wound up being neglected and abused and so the public agency department human services you know it could an investigation found that that was the case and removed LX and the first goal of the publication is always to return children were problems and they probably do that. 60% of the time they do and interventions that help the family kind of what allowed -- then. Children go back home but for Alex while -- care and it's an acting out there were multiple placements. Because you're so upset about leaving her family but in the meantime they did work with the mom and she went back home and that fell apart again so by the time over ten year period -- in and out of posture in and out of her mother's home. Until they decided -- mother was a resource anymore and so gonna time start -- fourteen delicate no meaningful relationships. Are. Sheer -- to count on. -- have lost hope really that white would be ever ever least able. And what's behind that school and are prepared to make good choices so I think that's the negative effects Foster care should be temporary. Should be a temporary strategy to stabilize then. Quickly move for a young person to more stable lifelong connections and and that's it's easier said than done so. They know at some point telescope this. Gone home and stayed home. And that camera could've survived and done well on Alex sort of done. As well as any children do today cabinet to challenge raising children today. On the other developed -- firm could decided that pellets mother was never ever really going to be able to provide the care she needed and terminate parental rights released Alex production an animated short cuts would have. Helped find delicate permanent damage through adoption that's a distinction. For adoption is illegal permanent relationship we then see biological parents aren't able or willing to provide security it's necessary. Yeah that's a distinction and prosecute the temporary situation and I think and we get to this question of -- helped. Think that's probably worth. You wouldn't lose what does that mean. It's certainly a term I've heard that. Well right and I think that's a distinction in others. These weren't young people access to Foster care packets so they can go back to their homes they can exit to a permanent stop this family. And and there are other less permanent must legal -- -- believable that last permanent. Alternatives there's guardianship serious I planned to do is. Basically long term Foster -- and the challenges -- knew exists we -- to nowhere. You -- it to yourself. Right it's it's a band aid you're really didn't put into you. He didn't kind of put a set aside like okay well least we got a -- -- ahead you didn't -- Good enough. Wait the best we can do at -- those -- the worst kind of outcomes. That's when you get this statistics those young people who leave Foster care without some type of a lifelong connections. To some and they can count on. So to the young people who have the statistics -- 7% of those boys -- come -- -- 80% of almost boys who become incarcerated. And 1% of the female reporter at least one pregnancy as a teenager. Page 21 only 30% or completed any college compared to 53% of the national average and 50% the issue will be imported most earning minimum wage -- -- -- -- As we stepped back because it probably in the eighty's and ninety's we were writing a lot of servicers to a lot of children. And we can really track outcomes so long because of -- -- confidentiality. And listen who we had a project out who we finding those permanent connections. For young people and we work. We're only doing that curved top 35% of young people came to us mostly through adoption and so we've read. Looked at all our servicers and achieve this notion of a permanent connections and everything we do. It's just joining us you're listening to an interest of the series of interviews with people of interest in northwest Oregon and southwest Washington I'm your host Ted Douglas. My guest today is Mike Bolter he's the president and CEO of boys and girls aid. In organization dedicated to -- safe homes and permanent families for children who have neither -- we've been talking about the kind of the definition between Foster care and adoption in the various Serb places where children. Who R&B you know these kind of -- environments and need to find a permanent place to be who where they can end up how they can end up there. But we have mentioned yet our Ivan -- -- bad host -- host. An admission that that that may is national Foster care awareness month -- talking about Foster care and its place in this process. If it's a steppingstone for a gathering for a -- stepping stone. Rather than a permanent solution so it's a steppingstone to getting so -- to adoption to permits to -- failing that -- -- be connected with for the rest of their lives that correct yeah so let's talk about it you know I have had a lot of people on on this program who have dealt with Foster -- -- who were supporters of Foster care part of that program and I know. That while certainly there can be. And they -- -- scenarios as there are with any kind of situation involving family and in -- families -- not that there are also -- agree more success stories. -- we talked about some of the success as you've had with Foster care. Sure you know and probably the most important -- -- they -- about trust here it's all about the relationship. And here there's hundreds of Foster parents out there are giving their alliance to children. Every days are both working for her being certified by the state of -- or private agencies and I think I just want to honor them at this time and lists. Opening their homes strangers just probably one of the most difficult things that people can -- this in this state there's all sorts of fear and anxiety about you know we have Foster parents are going to take young people who have passed the law violations -- -- on the street. Who has pretty challenging behaviors and act out. Might not on the surface be the most trustworthy individuals. Call or that cap -- people will be around. And and I think. That absence. Our goal here's. Adequate preparation. It's you know are we recruiting the right people with the right temperament and do today and enterprise open. Are -- providing enough training do we provide enough ongoing support if there's someone available to them 24 hours a day seven days a week that they can call. Because they're going through a difficult time. And also he indeed financial responsible to me doing little to stipend from the state -- and a number of its removed from federal or or state that didn't. That's little slight and only covers about 40% of what it actually cost to take your child. It's it's not a moneymaker. And so first I wanna say that you know prosecutors a wonderful. Tool -- Foster parents give their lives no bully. And I think with the right support it can't be could have current solution what. -- happens is when this support is not there when the caseloads are very high win. There isn't adequate training that training has sent to sustain it worry you every month cannot carry -- -- updated. Where you don't have someone should call any -- -- -- -- and they can get support. That's her Foster Carol breakdown. And then also when prosecutors seen as a more permanent solution in so we're Chris long term temporary. Is it and I think unfortunately much of our. Public systems now. Cross the country district have drifted into this challenge and that's our young people helped find themselves. At seventeen and eighteen -- prepared to. It was independently. And yet that's they're forced to do with no caseworker. You know financial support limited skills. And Melanie and count -- and that's where you get these horrible statistics. Right right I mean I was I was lucky enough to be raised in a family that you know my parents stayed together might -- -- -- dad passed away about eight years ago that. Until that point I can count on both of them for anything if I had even into my -- years of I had a problem financially or I needed to you know help move mean. For a needed help with just that -- -- to call my parents and they would be there. I've -- so very very lucky to have that if you don't have that if you don't have that backup system to feel truly alone. Has got to be just terrifying. What I think that's where you find you hear about the behaviors -- some of our young people right. And when you realize that much of that is acting out this here this -- This sense of lost a young people have dissented and justice. That you know as a child I now have to figure all the people out of my own an adult that's pretty consistently. Let me down. -- and you didn't ask me about how -- the success story yeah well let me tell you about Sarah of course there and -- rocks at each other people's real names. -- -- -- I think we got to that point -- it. Herron had. -- -- typical. Family of the first family's. I actually had. They're our rights terminated what she was six which was adopted. And that was going actually very well. And then the -- began to have difficulties and they divorced. When there was -- adult children and mom did pretty well Sarah until she can reach adolescence. And by this time mama also nominated had a difficult time sustaining any kind of healthy relationships -- those -- Back and forth fighting between mom and -- -- and Cherilus. Living with mom and her divorce was finalized and so generous for the most part. Kind of out of -- life because mom didn't want him yet but it's Serbia and act out. Mom -- and approached VHS and said -- the -- and so you know I can't manage this child's behavior and here was done removed from that home with her mom. And was -- one of our shelter homes and probably. Even. Eighteen months ago we wouldn't get an assessment with Sarah we would've it would have been -- nineteenth replacement short term placements. And we would have focused on serious behaviors. And what your mom was a viable. Part option for return or whether we needed to and it's -- other. Temporary plan because obviously we were going to be reserved for ninety days -- until. We've got ourselves in the same situation of being and other temporary placement because we've adopted this notion of permanency of long term relationships. We began to Eric -- different series of questions -- is the -- and human services caseworker. Which was you know -- series or any other family members are there any other relatives that are available and we found out that he had was still in the area. And after some work it's kind of that he still was interested in being a parent. Teixeira. And before finding some other alternative we told part of re engage. They had and of course -- what's curious she didn't want. On this was. Back to clear the challenges in their relationship. But through some mental health counseling that we could provide -- economic council that we can provide we got mom's agreement. We would try and there it's almost as an alternative. They had had a one bedroom apartment at the time he was. People employed. Pan -- it seemed very stable he quickly wouldn't. Because two bedroom apartment visits began to happen and there's not a Foster care can we believe we now have. Catch chased back took part in the services to -- looks like a viable long term permanent relationship. Which wasn't sure. Biological father. But her adoptive father who's still deeply interest in the oh deficit and I think that changed that you can see. World. You can change and how you think about it. We were in that short term. Temporary kind of mindset we would have couldn't continue to -- pass Sarah long. And there's a good chance because you're so -- Con man stood acting out so progressively that she would have gone to multiple short term placements. While well that's that's so cool I mean there's there it is there's there's finding that the permanence. In the hand in west -- her father also cool. There that's Sony so we're coming up on the in overtime I don't wanna make sure that we we cover how old people can help out you know -- has been. Maybe in Foster care month. Her culture awareness month what you can do to help out help this cause to help these kids find permanence find home then there will be last seen with connections -- last their whole lifetime. And also how and somebody if they're adjusted could become a Foster parents. Write what you know and that the simple Pinochet as polished. Again -- we have a great web site. Boys and girls -- dot org and what can girl okay to tell one word. And our numbers 503222. 96612. This -- the menu and punched and every resource -- us about. And I think there's. You know two pretty straightforward pathways to write off one has. If your interest there and adopting children adopting children who have stepped out of Foster care. We were very expensive about preparation and training program court. People who. Want to provide that lifelong connection to the child -- you know for the most are the children were working with -- Ages between. Haven't 21 and there's a lot of people look ankle in the wanna go on adopting or seventeen or encourage you over that seventeen carries fuels -- not going to be adapted well that's not true. They're young people who are. -- older adolescents who are saying -- -- -- I -- connection in the front of the camera just as much as. Someone else is of these young people of that age to really don't want anything more to do with family that's sort of looking for new. I took permanent relationships. That -- aren't necessarily look like a normal family. The other -- become a Foster parents and the same web site McCain number. The difference for us I think it's nice that the forest. We are recruit. Train and certify our own families who were carried primarily in. Small ball more than 10 o'clock companies in metro area and between -- your hopes we have much smaller -- -- efforts caseload in the purview of services. This forty to fifty cases in your particular process and the fifty. And we have that in the majority support and attention to both the young person. Across your family and then whatever fragments that -- to have biological program. We have both short and long term programs -- 21 explorer so -- and they we. Communications support. And then continuing education training every month. So I think we've we know how to do Foster care are great we've been doing it since 1985 and different. -- continuous improvement so we're always finding that a new way of doing it better. Right I think I think you're a real big key that you mentioned here is that. Setting up expectations. For everyone. When it comes to Foster care -- -- -- know this we sign up for and here aren't to great things and come -- here the struggle things that'll police and struggle is Sarah goes in with their eyes open. Think that's that's great. And they and it's great -- it is about matching its once you sign up every young person we get a call on you guess -- that you -- I -- temperament it's about. Capacity it's boy's or girl's older. Yeah it's adolescents younger children there's so it's too there's a lot of flexibility there. We we have -- free information sessions the first Tuesday of every month. So you know you get to our web site but it is not like it's -- wanted to adopt her. You lose every -- as an amount we're gonna have people here -- learning about how to help children. Fantastic. Well thank you so much for coming on the show and sharing all this information in this. They're look at thank you for taking the time and showing a little light. The needs of these children and the great service that Foster parents provide for these children. Absolutely gathered says it's a special person that opened up their home to to these kids who need it. It's really amazing -- well thank you to all those parents and then thank -- to yourself and boys and girls April -- -- that'll do it for this edition of mattress company Entercom communications public affairs program I've been your host Ted Douglas. They give a nonprofit or public affairs organization he would like to let others know about please email me and microscope @entercom.com. And their concerts of the heat. At least let met just up in the subject lines -- doesn't get snagged by my spam filter. Or indirectly to the station's website click on the community -- -- -- information there. Also be like here this program again to visit our podcast page matches scope PX dot com where you'll find this in the last couple months for the episodes. And please feel free to post -- your FaceBook you MySpace your blog or Twitter your Google+ what -- got. The -- get this information out to as many people as possible we'll think you again Mike thank you all so much for listening. This is ten masters --

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