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Parenting, Sibling, Foster Care & Adoption Support


 Links to More Resources


The Two Biggest Parenting Mistakes (PDF) - Dr. Thomas Phelan, of and 1-2-3 Magic, explains that the two biggest mistakes parents and teachers make in dealing with children are: Too Much Talking and Too Much Emotion. Talking is bad because it either doesn't work or takes you through the Talk-Persuade-Argue-Yell-Hit Syndrome.



Love, Magic and Mudpies at


Bridges4Kids Featured Resource: Love, Magic and Mudpies: Raising Your Kids to Feel Loved, Be Kind, and Make a Difference - In this delightful book by Bernie Siegel, MD, one of America's most beloved and best-selling authors shares new gems of his trademark wit, wisdom, and thoughtful advice with parents of all ages.



Bridges4Kids/Early On Review: The Eurps & Eurpsville - The EURPS are warm and whimsical alphabet letters with eyes, feet, personalities and phonics-based names. The characters appear in entertaining and educational children’s storybooks where together with Bipple, a human boy, they take children on magical educational adventures.



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Articles and Resources

How Parenting Styles Shape Our Children - Everybody is familiar with the concept of helicopter parents, so-called because they hover around their toddlers. But what happens when kids get a little older and helping them develop gets more complicated than simply to hover or not to hover?


Persuading Kids to Put a Lid on the Potty Talk - Your child thinks toilet humor is hilarious, and nothing you've tried can convince him otherwise. Here are some tips.


A Rise in Efforts to Spot Abuse in Youth Dating - She was 17 when she met her boyfriend, and 20 when she died at his hands. In between, Heather Norris tried several times to leave the relationship, which was fraught with control and abuse, before she was killed — stabbed, dismembered and discarded in trash bags. Her death in 2007 in Indianapolis is one of several stemming from abuse in teenage dating relationships that have spurred states and communities to search for new ways to impress on adolescents — and their parents and teachers — the warning signs of dangerous dating behavior and what actions are not acceptable or healthy.


New Study Shows Time Spent Online Important for Teen Development - Results from the most extensive U.S. study on teens and their use of digital media show that America’s youth are developing important social and technical skills online – often in ways adults do not understand or value.


Stacking the Deck for Family Holidays - It’s family holiday gatherings season. So, do you feel anticipation or anxiety? If you have a child with an autism spectrum disorder, you might feel a bit of both.

Expecting Longer Lives With Greater Risk, Reward - Longer lives brings new demands as first generation of kids With disabilities set to outlive their parents.


New Foster Care Law Seeks To Increase Stability - Bill provides incentives for adoption, requires 'reasonable efforts' to keep siblings together.

Western Michigan University Helps ex-Foster Kids with College; Program Provides Money and Support - Perhaps it should have been an odd feeling -- being delivered to your freshman year at college by a caseworker rather than parents. o matter, said Mike Baker. He had other things on his mind.

Speaking Slowly Helps Children Learn - The average adult speaks at a rate of almost 170 words per minute, but the average 5- to 7- year-old processes speech at a rate of only 120 words per minute. The gap between what a child hears and what he or she understands can appear to parents and teachers as inattention, confusion or outright defiance.

Saying what We'd Want to Say - My wife, Julie, and I lost a close friend recently. Bella died quickly and unexpectedly of a heart attack. It was a real shock. The kind that makes you look at your life and how you're living it. Bella and her husband, Mike, were very close. So much so that it's hard to imagine one without the other. Mike told us that he only regretted not being able to say goodbye.

Summer Safety Tips from Toys R Us


New School Year Brings New Class: Parenting - Sandwiched between lessons on counting calories and staving off disease, high school health teachers will offer hefty doses of parenting advice in the next school year. A new state law requires that parenting and paternity awareness be included in the high school health curriculum by 2008-09.


The Power of Apology - When's the last time you apologized to one of your kids? Of course, maybe you don't ever do anything that requires an apology. If so, you are a very rare person.


Get Real - Will next year be better for you and your kids with special needs? "Gosh, I hope so," I hear you say. Me too. I want things to get better every year. With two kids who have special needs, some years have been tough for our family. Recently, even with new challenges, things have been pretty darn good.


Surviving the Holiday Season - The holiday season, full of joy and cheer, is just around the corner. But for children with Autism Spectrum Disorders, the class parties, family get-togethers and other gatherings that so many of us look forward to at this time of year are fraught with scary social interactions and sensory overload.


Parenting Information Handouts - Dozens of handouts containing information on General Parenting Information, Specific Concerns/Problems, Discipline/Intervention Strategies, Injury Prevention, Parental Involvement in Education, and Children’s Development.


RAND Study Finds Adolescents Who Listen to a Great Deal of Music with Degrading Sexual Lyrics Have Sex Sooner - A RAND Corporation study issued today presents the strongest evidence yet that sexually degrading lyrics in music encourage adolescents to more quickly initiate sexual intercourse and other sexual activities.


Children of Yesterday, Today, are in Different Worlds - To the best of my recollection, the year before I turned 12, I was 11. My daughter, who turns 12 in October, is now eleventeen. There's a difference. Jenna is at an age where she seems to have all the answers. I don't remember being all-knowing until I was at least 14. And let it be known that none of her sophisticated knowledge was derived from her super-annoying parents. She got her hands on a fashion magazine geared toward teen girls.


Parenting: Sending Clear Signals - Communicating poorly seems so obviously wrong and annoying when someone does it to us -- and so innocent when we do it to others. Like my son, I’m in the habit of using my turn signals, but there have been plenty of times when I could have communicated my thoughts more clearly.


Edwatch by Julia Steiny: Education Policies That Bully Don't Attack Root of Problems - On a visit to my parents' home years ago, I took my twin boys to a nearby park because everything in my mother's house was begging to be broken. Along with the makeshift toys cobbled from the kitchen, I installed their rambunctious bodies in a large sandbox where they could make roads, hills and sundry destinations. Other women with kids came, and soon a little peer group was sharing toys and space.


Can Shyness in Children be Serious? (PDF) - In a very general sense you might say there are three kinds of childhood temperaments: aggressive, normal or anxious. Aggressive children have serious social skills problems, but, ironically, don’t seem to be able to appreciate this fact. “Normal” kids get along reasonably well with others and are easier to like.

First Day of School Success Tips - Most of us can remember some wonderful and terrible things about school. In many ways, the first day of class can set the tone for a whole school year. If you have a child with special needs, or one who is new to the school or district, you can help lay the groundwork for a successful year's launch with some basic preparations.


Parenting Teens and Young Adults with Disabilities - The passage from childhood to adulthood is a passage for families as well as individuals. As young people with disabilities move from their teen to adult years, they and their families experience many growing pains in common with all families at that stage of life. In addition, there are often milestones, questions, concerns, needs, and challenges unique to individuals with disabilities and their families. In this issue of Impact we explore strategies for families of teens and young adults with disabilities to consider in navigating the transition years with their young person, and share stories of those who are in the middle of it or have come out the other side.


Cheerleading for Parents - I've had a taste of acclaim a number of times in my life. The first time that stands out was riding on the bus to an "away" basketball game in junior high school. The cheerleaders were doing that "Bill, Bill, he's our man, if he can't do it, David can..." thing where they go through the names of everyone on the team.


Kids Count on Consistency - If you're a parent or a teacher, can your kids or students count on you? I mean, do you think about being consistent so they know what to expect? Kids who have Autism Spectrum Disorders, in particular, often benefit from guidance that's structured and consistent.


Becoming Bulletproof Parents - Ever been frustrated or embarrassed by something one of your kids said or did in public? The stares of strangers can feel like bullets. If your child has an Autism Spectrum Disorder, you may sometimes feel like you've been machine-gunned. Wouldn't it be great to have a way to deal with these situations that made you bulletproof? I found something that works sort of like a protective shield -- and it's basically a matter of perspective.

Taking Care of You - A while back, I wrote an article urging parents of kids with special needs to deal with stress by taking breaks and finding other ways to relax. Given that I've been burning the candle at both ends with a blowtorch recently, I thought it would be a good time to revisit the subject.


The Comfort of Limits - True or False? Self-esteem and creativity both are higher when kids can “do their own thing” without external limits imposed by adult power or authority. Believe it or not, this statement is false. Also included with this article is "Ask Dr. Phelan: Mealtime".


Where's the Manual? - If your child is diagnosed with a significant disability, disorder or condition, it's pretty common to start a frantic search for answers. Is there a cure? If there's no cure, where's the manual I can use to do exactly the right things to help my child make his life as good as it can possibly be?


Five Ways to Stop School Behavior Problems Even Before They Start - There are all sorts of reasons why children misbehave in school. By the time a student is reacting with violence, it's too late to institute a quick fix. Newspaper articles about children whose behavior problems have turned tragic often talk about missed opportunities and why nobody helped. Here are five ways to start dealing with problems or potential problems early, when there is still time to work with teachers and administrators to make school a tolerable place for your child.


Research Digest: Mothering the Mind and Soul: African American Mothers' Beliefs and Practices to Ensure Academic and Social Success for Their Daughters in High School - In this study by Barbara Morrow Williams, interviews with African American mothers of successful high school daughters show that mothers maintain intense interest and direct involvement in multiple aspects of their daughters' educational lives, but keep little contact with school officials. Specific suggestions for ensuring success are proposed.


AblePlay is a toy rating system and website that provides comprehensive information on toys for children with special needs so parents, special educators, therapist and others can make the best choices for the children in their lives with disabilities.


Good Parents: Warm AND Demanding - Research has taught us that good parents have two important qualities: They are WARM on the one hand, and they are DEMANDING on the other.


Being Who You Are - Lots of kids aren't happy being who they are.  Particularly if they have neurobiological conditions that make them tend to act different from other kids. Conditions like Asperger Syndrome, Higher Functioning Autism, Pervasive Developmental Disorder, Semantic-Pragmatic Disorder and others.


Effective Parenting & Building Your Child’s Self-Esteem - In a sense, affection is the “I like you” part of parenting. Affection is a self-esteem builder for kids because it represents a direct confirmation of the young person and it contributes to the social-competence part of the self-esteem equation. Praise is the “I like—or I am proud of—what you are doing” part of parenting.


What’s Your Parenting Style? - Promoting the self-discipline and self-esteem of one’s children often requires an emotional juggling act by parents. It is not easy to be firm and demanding one minute, then warm and affectionate the next. In addition, some adults naturally have personalities or temperaments that predispose them toward one parenting style or the other.


Getting Behavior in Shape at Home - Positive behavior support, often called PBS, is not just for schools. Parents can use the same ideas to create a better environment for the entire family.


Will Your Kids Be Of "Good Character"? - At some point parents wonder what kind of adult their child will grow up to be. Use this advice and beat the odds.


Benefits of the Dinner Table Ritual - The family dinner has long been an example of family togetherness. But recently, scientists have been coming up with compelling reasons - including a lowered risk of smoking, drinking and doing illicit drugs among teenagers - for families to pull up a chair around the table.


Talking To Kids: Kids With Special Needs - Tony has difficulty breathing and uses a nebulizer (say: neh-byoo-lie-zer), a treatment device that helps him to breathe easier. He often runs out of breath when playing sports during recess. Tony's teachers have mentioned that he has "special needs," which is why he can't run a lot during gym glass, can't always play outdoors, and has to go to the emergency department sometimes when his breathing gets bad. Tony has severe asthma, and when it flares up, it can be hard for him to breathe.


Talking To Kids: Anger - Have you ever lost your temper? Did you yell and scream or want to hit someone? Maybe your little brother got into your room and played with your toys without permission. Or maybe your teacher gave you too much homework. Or maybe a friend borrowed your favorite video game and then broke it. That made you angry!


Body Dysmorphic Disorder - To your dismay, your daughter has started to complain more and more about the appearance of her eyelids. She grudgingly compares them to those of her classmates. You frequently catch her standing before a mirror, scrutinizing their appearance. When you try to discuss your concerns, she becomes defensive. To make matters worse, you've observed her reading materials about cosmetic surgery.


Feedback For Mothers - We all want to make a difference. We all crave feedback. As Mothers' Day gets closer, I'm thinking about moms of kids with Asperger Syndrome and other Autism Spectrum Disorders who give a lot, but don't always get a lot of feedback from their kids. The way their kids' brains are wired sometimes makes it hard for them to express appreciation -- or let mom know how much impact she's having.


The Need to Prepare Children and Teens for Parenting - Widescale, early parenting education is long overdue in our schools and the need becomes more compelling each year. While the nation's overall crime rate fell 22 percent from 1993 to 1997, reports of child abuse and neglect grew by 8 percent and confirmed cases by 4 percent.


Mentors Help Other Parents Overcome Challenges - Mentor Tracy LeBel introduces her mentee Patty White, 24, as "my friend." Despite the 12-year age difference and the socioeconomic gap between the stay-at-home mom, LeBel, and the single working one, White, the moms bonded over parenting kids the same age. The two were paired through Children's Home Society's Healthy Start Parent Mentor Program for young moms. It's one of a handful of Seattle-area efforts to mentor parents and families who face challenges from social isolation, youth or poverty.


Teens’ Risk-taking All in Their Heads? - NIH study: Part of brain that inhibits risky behavior isn’t fully formed until age 25.


Comprehensive Parenting Information and Resources - A site that looks largely commercial, but which offers a rich list of links to parenting resources on the web, including specialty sites for parents of teens, sports parents, parents of infants and toddlers, and new parents.


Click here to see more articles and resources related to parenting.

Adoption Information & Resources  (Click here for Foster Care)



Adoption: Where Do I Start? - This fact sheet is a "gateway" to the many possible paths to building your family through adoption. It will help give you an understanding of the basic steps in any adoption process and guide you to resources at each step.

MyDNATest is now available at Walgreens. "It's the most accurate test on the market, and can save people hundreds if not thousands of dollars in lab fees."


DNA Diagnostics offers DNA testing for all stages of the adoption process, including relinquishment and potential reunification. They can verify paternity, maternity, siblingship, and granparentage as needed.


Adoption Glossaries, Definitions

Glossary of Terms - Definitions of words and terms used in connection with adoption and foster care, and adoptive and foster families.

Glossary of Terms - From the California Association of Adoption Agencies.

Special Needs Adoption FAQ - Part 1: What Prospective Adoptive Parents Need to Know - About 134,000 children are waiting to be adopted right now out of the half million US children in foster care. The rest will eventually be reunited with birth families or will "age out" of the system while waiting to be reunited.  Part 2: Eight frequently asked questions - Here is a special needs adoption FAQ, and some brief answers.  Part 3: Special Needs Adoption Advocacy Resources - This listing contains adoption-related resources with an emphasis on legal issues, advocacy, parent support, adoption links, and much more.


The Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute
The website of this non-profit organization provides a current and fairly comprehensive record of government policy. Because of its focus, it's not the best site for people who are just getting started in the adoption process. It is, however, a great place to become familiar with the latest in adoption research and practice. The bottom line: Great for education, but not for action.


The Adoption Guide
This site, though tricky to navigate, addresses an issue on everyone's mind in the wake of the recent case of the Internet adoption twins: adoption fraud. Here you'll find information on adoption laws in the U.S. and a link to the U.S. State Department's site on international adoption. You'll also learn how to report instances of fraud or wrongful adoption. A special tool allows you to search for complaints filed against specific agencies or adoption professionals.


Spaulding for Children - the National Resource Center for Special Needs Adoption. 16250 Northland Drive, Suite 120, Southfield, MI 48075.  248-443-0300 or 248-443-7080. Fax 248-443-7099.
Spaulding for Children finds permanent homes for children that have been in the foster care and adoption system the longest. It was one of the first agencies in the country that specialized in finding and training adoptive families for the placement of special needs children. Spaulding offers support and training for adoptive and foster parents.

North American Council on Adoptable Children (NACAC) maintains a listing of adoptive parent support groups and other sources of information about special needs adoption. Contact NACAC, 970 Raymond Avenue, Suite 106, St. Paul, MN 55114-1149. Phone: 651-644-3036; Fax: 651-644-9848; e-mail:; web site:

Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption - offers information and education including the excellent "A Child is Waiting: A Beginner's Guide to Adoption." 4288 W. Dublin-Granville Road, Dublin, OH 43017. Phone: 614-764-3009; Fax: 614-764--6707; website:  


Safety Issues

Fire Safety - Informative resource focused on fire safety for families and educators.


Home Hazards - Fun interactive resource that allows kids to get a visual understanding of hazards in the house.


Family Watch Dog - On this website you can enter your address and a map will pop up with your house as the small icon of a house.  Red, blue, and green dots are shown surrounding your entire neighborhood.  These dots represent different types of crimes.  When you click on these dots a picture of a person will appear with an address and the description of the crime he or she had committed. Another tool to help us keep our kids safe.

How to Keep Your Child Safe from Abduction - Just warning your children about "stranger danger" isn't enough anymore. Find out how to update the advice you give your kids to keep them safe.


Fact Sheet: All Terrain Vehicle Safety (PDF) - The season is here for outdoor recreation. This includes the use of All Terrain Vehicles (ATVs). Michigan is number four in the country for ATV sales and unfortunately is also number four in the nation for ATV related crashes and deaths having 600 crashes and 15 deaths in 2002 (2003 data not yet available.) ATV sales in Michigan are on the rise and have continued to increase by nearly 25% each year since 1999. Safety training for the youthful operators is mandated by law. Most are unaware of this requirement and also do not know where to get training. The Michigan ATV Association website is available at or call 888.223.5247.


The Following Might Save Your Home or Your Life: Fire Chief Sanders Reveals Most Common Causes of Household Fires - The most common causes of household fires and how to prevent them...


Worldwide SAFE KIDS Campaign - Promoting child safety to prevent unintentional injury.


When to Call the Doctor: 8 Symptoms You Shouldn't Ignore - Making the decision to call your pediatrician can sometimes be a tricky one, especially late at night. On one hand, you don't want to cry wolf -- bothering your doctor every time your child sneezes. On the other hand, you certainly don't want to miss any critical symptoms.


Flame Retardant Seen as Threat - Toxic chemicals used as flame retardants are rapidly building up in the bodies of people and wildlife around the world, approaching levels in American women and their babies that could harm developing brains, new research shows.


Michigan's Sex Offenders List -


Custody & Child Support


"I have a support group for Michigan custodial parents who are not receiving court ordered child support. Information can be found at The group is relatively new, but ultimately I hope to obtain non-profit status and offer financial assistance and free or reduced legal advice to our members. At the current time we offer emotional support and advice based on our own personal experiences." - Kathleen Cain

The Secret Sacrifice - To get help for their mentally ill children, some parents have to give them up.


Sibling Information & Articles


Autism, Asperger Syndrome and Siblings - During the past seven months, my wife and I have met an amazing group of people. In producing two videos about brothers and sisters of kids on the autism spectrum, we’ve conducted 57 interviews with siblings and parents. People were incredibly open about their lives.  About their hopes, fears, and challenges.  Most of all, about the ways they’ve found to make things better for their families.  We went into these videos looking for “best practices” about siblings that we could share with other families.  We got that and more.


Talking To Kids: Getting Along With Siblings - In a house with more than one kid, there are bound to be some problems. Brothers and sisters borrow stuff, and don't always return it in top condition. Younger kids sometimes feel like the older kids get to do whatever they want. Older brothers and sisters think that the baby of the family gets more attention. These are typical problems found throughout the ages, everywhere in the world.


Our Special Siblings: A Sister Explains - Often we as adults try to imagine what it must be like for our children who have a brother or sister with autism. We read books to help them, we send them to support groups, and we go out of our way to keep life as normal as possible for our kids. But hearing it from a child who has a brother with autism sheds an interesting light.


Parenting On The Go: When Siblings Battle


As Parents Age or Die, More People Are Assuming Care of Disabled Siblings - Back in 1996, Pat Carver of Falls Church was not her brother's keeper -- not yet.


Foster Care Support Information and Articles


Raising Kids Of Relatives Could Bring Federal Funds - A new federal law would steer monthly financial support to people who take in children their relatives have abused or neglected. The law is among the most sweeping reforms of the U.S. foster care system since President Bill Clinton overhauled federal law to streamline the adoption process in 1997. It also increases the rewards for placement of older children and gives states money to allow children to stay in foster care until age 21 instead of 18.

MI Foster Care Falls Short on Basics - The Michigan Department of Human Services failed to follow its own policies and to meet basic standards for care of foster children, according to court-appointed experts who reviewed hundreds of case files.


MI Suit Against State Foster Care Delivers Another Blow - State record keeping is so shoddy and investigations are so superficial that children in Michigan's foster care system face continuing danger of physical abuse, according to a report compiled as part of a class action against the Michigan Department of Human Services.

Legal Center for Foster Care and Education - A new collaboration between Casey Family Programs and the ABA Center on Children and the Law. The Center serves as a national technical assistance resource and information clearinghouse on legal and policy matters affecting the education of children and youth in the foster care system.

Michigan Foster Education Resource Network (MI-FERN)


New Report Shows 35,000 Fewer Abused and Neglected Children Eligible for Federal Foster Care Support in 2005, Increasing Burden on States - Thousands of foster children and the states responsible for them are losing the critical help they need from the federal government. In 1998, more than half of the children in foster care were eligible for federal support, but, by 2005, less than half were-an estimated 35,000 fewer eligible foster children. The number is projected to continue to decline by approximately 5,000 children each year, according to a new analysis released today by the Kids Are Waiting: Fix Foster Care Now campaign, led by The Pew Charitable Trusts. This decrease is due in part to an antiquated eligibility provision known as the "lookback".


Featured Website: Kids Are Waiting: Fix Foster Care Now - A national, nonpartisan campaign dedicated to ensuring that all children in foster care have the safe, permanent families they deserve by reforming the federal financing structure that governs our nation's foster care program.


MI Report Outlines Proposals for 'Aging' Foster Care Youth - A plan to provide Medicaid health care coverage and immediate access to job training to young people who "age out" of the foster care system at age 18 was unveiled Monday by the Department of Human Services.


Foster Youth Discuss Issues of Foster Care (PDF) - Fifteen Statements from the Youth Board; Today, more than half a million children in America live in foster care. This year alone, 20,000 of us will "age out" of foster care, typically at age 18.


American Bar Association Issues New Booklet Explaining How to Obtain Educational Services and Help for Foster Care Youth: Mythbusting: Breaking Down Confidentiality and Decision-Making Barriers to Meet the Education Needs of Children in Foster Care (PDF) - Ever struggle to gain access to education records? Are you ever unsure what education information can be shared, and with whom, when a child is in foster care? Ever tried to determine who in a child's life was responsible for making education decisions? This publication answers common questions by individuals involved with the child welfare system, including judges, children's attorneys, parents, foster parents, youth, caseworkers, and court appointed special advocates (CASAs). Use the publication online and benefit from the interactive functions, including links between sections and to additional outside resources or download and print a copy of the document to use offline.

MI Updated Fact Sheet Explains Education Training Vouchers (ETV) Available for Foster Care Youth - Michigan’s ETV Program has a new fact sheet and a new contact person. ETV provides $5000 per year for two years for foster care youth to attend school past high school/GED. Ann Rossi with Lutheran Social Services of Michigan, based in Jackson, is the new contact person. The new updated fact sheet explains the program and contains Ann’s contact information. Ann is interested in discussing the ETV program with anyone interested in learning about resources for children. You may also call the ETV Program toll free number at 877-660-6388.

NPR: States Underserve Disabled Foster Kids, Study Says - State foster-care systems neglect the needs of disabled children--and the foster parents who care for them--according to a national analysis of the child-welfare system. More than one-third of the more than 500,000 children in America's child-welfare system have disabilities, according to the report, the first of its kind. NPR's Rachel Jones reports. Click "Listen" to hear the audio from NPR's All Things Considered.

Michigan Chosen for NGA Foster Care Academy - In an effort to better transition foster care children to adulthood, senior state officials will participate in the National Governors Association's Best Practices Policy Academy on Youth Transitioning Out of Foster Care, Department of Human Services officials announced Wednesday.


Michigan Foster Education Resource Network 2005-2006 Student Guide to Higher Education (PDF) - This valuable resource guide contains information on high school classes, standardized tests, extra-curriculars, college prep, financial aid, creating a budget, student rights and responsibilities, online resources and institutions of higher ed.


Featured Project: Suitcases For Kids - This organization donates suitcases to foster children who move from home to home and usually carry their belongings in plastic garbage bags. They seek donations of suitcases, but will also accept large duffel bags and backpacks.


Youth In Transition Program Provides Financial Assistance to Foster Care Youth (a PowerPoint presentation from Michigan's Department of Human Services)


Coercive Restraint Therapies: A Dangerous Alternative Mental Health Intervention - Physicians caring for adopted or foster children should be aware of the use of coercive restraint therapy (CRT) practices by parents and mental health practitioners. CRT is defined as a mental health intervention involving physical restraint and is used in adoptive or foster families with the intention of increasing emotional attachment to parents. Coercive restraint therapy parenting (CRTP) is a set of child care practices adjuvant to CRT. CRT and CRTP have been associated with child deaths and poor growth.


MI Audit: Foster Care System Lacks Oversight -The Department of Human Services has not been providing the oversight needed in the foster care system, nor has it met federal goals for the system, said Auditor General Thomas McTavish in a sharply critical report released Wednesday.


Road Map for Learning: Improving Educational Outcomes in Foster Care - The book provides a modular framework for achieving collaboration across the federal, state, and local legal, educational, and child welfare systems. Emphasizing the needs of K–12 students, it contains resources for parents, caregivers, teachers, and child welfare professionals.

Education Needs to be a Priority for U.S. Foster Kids - Although foster children test far behind their peers, are more likely to drop out, repeat grades, be placed in special-ed classes, and be suspended or expelled, education has often been a low priority for child-welfare agencies, most of which are more concerned with a child's safety and placement. But, when kids age out of the system, college, a high-school diploma, or basic job skills can mean the difference between achieving self-sufficiency and returning to a cycle of disadvantage.


Featured Website: Children's Rights - The nation’s leading organization promoting and protecting the rights of abused and neglected children in failing foster care systems, using policy analysis, public education and the power of the courts.


U.S. District Court Finds Children Have a Right to Counsel in Dependency Cases (PDF) - The U.S. District Court, Northern District of Georgia Atlanta Division issued an order on February 8, 2005 in a class action lawsuit brought by Children's Rights, Inc. against the Georgia state child welfare agencies and officials regarding children in Georgia's foster care system. Among other things, plaintiffs allege the defendants have failed to provide adequate and effective legal representation for children in dependency proceedings. In its order the court stated that children in dependency cases have a constitutional right to counsel that may be violated by excessive caseloads. The question of the excessive nature of the caseloads will now go to trial. Thanks to the National Association of Counsel for Children for sharing this news.


Juvenile Law Center Leads Amicus Effort for Foster Youth in College - The Juvenile Law Center has taken the lead in advocating for state support for foster care youth enrolled in college by drafting an amicus brief to the Superior Court of Pennsylvania. The brief is on behalf of S.J., a college student petitioning for the legal right to remain in the foster care system while she earns her degree. KidsVoice, a child advocacy organization based in Pittsburgh, represents S.J.


MI LOCAL COMMENT: Let's All Help the Youth 'Aging Out' of Foster Care - Imagine this: It's your 19th birthday. Your few belongings are packed. The adults you have been living with say goodbye. The door shuts behind you; you are on your own - and very much alone. You have no job, no family and no idea how to handle your new independence. That scene is taking place all over the state for hundreds of young adults who must leave the foster care system and venture out on their own.


MI Kids Exiting Foster Care Lose Out on State's Help - Foster children in Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and 21 other states are benefiting because the Michigan Department of Human Services turned down more than $1.2 million offered by the federal government to help children aging out of foster care. "It's an outrage," said Sharon Peters, president of Michigan's Children, a nonprofit advocacy group.


Dependent Youth Aging Out of Foster Care: A Guide for Judges (PDF) - The Juvenile Law Center announces a new publication to guide judicial decision-making in cases involving older youth in foster care. This 8-page publication includes analysis of the Foster Care Independence Act, the Adoption and Safe Families Act, and special concerns affecting older foster children. It shows how judges, child welfare agencies and children's lawyers can ensure that youth have safe passage to adulthood by ensuring their access to education, physical and behavioral health care, housing, and other services. Includes checklists for ensuring comprehensive decision-making in these areas: Permanency; Independent Living Skills; Education and Vocational Training; Physical Health, Mental Health and Other Needs; Youth With Disabilities; and Discharge of Youth On or After Age 18.


MI Supreme Court Justices Suggest Juvenile Code Changes - In an effort to avoid heavy federal penalties to state trial courts, Michigan Supreme Court Chief Justice Maura Corrigan and Justice Elizabeth Weaver offered proposed technical amendments to the state's juvenile code concerning foster childcare at two committee meetings Tuesday. One revision would include the parent of the biological father as a child's relative in cases where the child does not have a legal father. The revision would be consistent with the definition used by the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families Act, making the grandparent eligible to receive aid if he or she is caring for and living with the child.


MI Thousands Stranded in Foster Care - Broken system leaves Michigan kids vulnerable. State foster care systems across the nation, including in Michigan, are crippled by inadequate funding, poorly trained case workers and a lack of good foster homes. The fallout includes children stranded in foster care for years and, in some cases, at risk of further abuse and neglect in foster homes that receive little state oversight, the report found.


NY Birth Parents Retaining a Voice in City Foster Model - Kristal Johnson nestled deep into the sofa between her mother and her foster mother and listened to the two women laugh about how she used to try playing one against the other. There was the time when Kristal, now a poised 18-year-old, skipped chores at the home of her foster mother, Janet Stevens, and was told that she could not go to a party her boyfriend was having.


MI Foster Care Needs Major Redo, Pew Panel Says - A nonpartisan report being released to Congress today makes sweeping recommendations to improve the lives of abused and neglected children by simplifying the nation's complex foster care system.


MI Foster Care System Fails Kids' Relatives - The Michigan Family Independence Agency and the state's courts are failing hundreds of children in foster care, partly because not enough is being done to find relatives of the kids who might make suitable parents, a report to the Michigan Supreme Court says.


MI Legislature Passes Bill Providing for Pilot Foster Parent Resource Centers


Foster Care Information from

Foster Parenting - Are you interested in becoming a Foster Parent? The Michigan FIA is looking for loving homes and committed individuals to provide care for foster children.

Foster Care Program - The Children's Foster Care Services Program provides placement and supervision of children who are the responsibility of the Department of Human Services (FIA).

Children's Placement & Payment Rates

Special Initiatives

Interstate Cooperation

Adult Community Placement - The Adult Community Placement Program provides assistance to individuals and families in locating and selecting licensed community care facilities for people who can no longer live independently.

Forms and Publications

Reports and Statistics


Health Questions & Answers


Medical Procedure Picture Story Books: Going To Get Blood Drawn and Going To The Doctors - Parents can download these e-books at no cost. HANS is currently developing a series of these stories including: Getting an X-Ray, Getting a cast, Getting an Intravenous drip, Visiting the ER Getting stitches, etc.


What's earwax? Why do I have a belly button? What's a burp? You asked and we answered! Check out the answers to all your health questions - click here.

Caring for an Infant


After the Bottle: Preventing Food Allergies - Preventing food allergies may be possible, especially if your child is at high risk of having a food allergy, including already having an allergy to another food or formula, having other family members with food allergies, or having other 'allergic' type conditions or family members with these conditions, such as eczema, allergic rhinitis (hayfever) and/or asthma.


Three No-Brainers For New Parents - As a new parent you'll be faced with many decisions. Some are more clear cut than others. Fortunately for you there are a few decisions that are real no-brainers.


Parent Tips


Bridges4kids Featured Book: An Intimate Understanding of America's Teenagers: Shaking Hands with Aliens by Bruce J. Gevirtzman - Alicia is so obsessed with being popular, she does things that would shock her parents, if they knew. Hector is aware the gang that wants him to join may be the death of him, but he will not decline. Sam was a baseball star, but can't play the sport he loves anymore because he is wracked from football injuries, a sport his father will not let him quit. These are just a few of the teenagers readers will "meet," in this candid book authored by a 34-year veteran high school teacher. Voted Teacher of the Year and Coach of the Year, Bruce Gevirtzman shares with us the results of his years spent talking with teenagers about topics from life and lust to depression and death. Revealing honest, poignant words shared in conversations, classroom talk, interviews, surveys, and journals, Gevirtzman takes us inside the minds of today's youths, and also contrasts them with teenagers of decades past. Also, read his article The iPod.


"Nose Buddies" - the ultimate behavior modifier for siblings
When my kids insisted on getting in each others face (we have 6 kids and ran out of separate corners to send them to...) I made them "nose buddies." The two in discord had to stand facing each other with only their noses touching for up to a minute...a very long minute. To this day all I have to do is mention "nose buddies" and the squabbling stops. Hint: the first time you use this method, you really have to stand over them so that it is just noses touching and no sly jabs to the ribs. You also have to tell them that they can't trash talk (except to say the other has stinky breath in hopes to get the offender to brush more often.) Once the rules were set it really did turn out to be THE behavior modifier in our house. - Joanne



AARP's Grandparents Section

  • GrandCare Toolkit: A thorough listing of health, financial, and safety resources for grandfamilies or relatives raising children.

  • Tips for Grandparents: Looking for a fun activity or vacation destination for yourself and your grandchild? We have some great ideas!

  • GrandCare Support Locator: Here's a searchable treasure trove of community resources to help grandparents and other relatives raising children, and to assist grandparents with visitation issues.

  • Benefits QuickLINK: Find out if you or the children you’re raising are eligible for key public and private benefits.

  • Guide to Public Benefits: Use this quick reference to find out about cash assistance, health, nutrition, and tax-credit programs designed to help grandfamilies.

Grandparents Raising Grandchildren


Grandparent Power! How Extended Family Can Enhance the Lives of Kids on the Autism Spectrum - If you're a grandparent of a child with a disability and you're close to the family and providing lots of support, bless your heart! You're probably already tuned in to what we're talking about here. If you're a grandparent who's been separated by distance or other factors and you'd like to be closer, here are some steps you can take to build bonds with your grandkids.

GIC Publication Outlines Benefits for Grandparent Caregivers: The AARP Foundation Grandparent Information Center (GIC) offers a publication to inform grandparent caregivers about public benefits that may be available to them and the grandchildren they are raising. Entitled Guide to Public Benefits for Grandfamilies, it presents information about cash assistance, health, nutrition and tax credit programs that could help these families make ends meet. It provides useful information for grandparents or other relatives raising grandchildren who live on limited, fixed incomes that make it difficult for them to care adequately for the children. The GIC also suggests that these grandparent caregivers go to to determine if they are eligible for cash assistance, health, food or home energy services. For more information, call 202/434-2218 or e-mail to


George’s Place - Autism swept him off to a secret world. Could his grandmother find a way to meet him halfway?


Sign up for AARP's Free Newsletter for Grandparents Raising Grandchildren - In this newsletter from the AARP Grandparent Information Center you'll get: Practical information to help you raise your grandchild, Resources and information, News about programs that support grandparents and their grandchildren, and Practical tips on how to deal with challenges such as legal and financial matters, education, housing, health, respite, child-rearing, grief, loss, and stress. The newsletter is sent through the U.S. Post Office (snail mail).


Grandparents: Nearby, Faraway, and Raising Grandchildren - Whether it’s “grandma,” “granny,” “nana,” “bubbe,” “abuela,” or “gramps,“ “pop-pop,” or “g-pa,” a grandparent can make a real difference in a child’s life. In all ethnicities, cultures, and walks of life, grandparents are the link to a family’s culture, history, and traditions. Children fortunate enough to have loving grandparents in their lives have a powerful emotional bond to nurture and sustain them.


Financial Planning


Letter of Intent - A lengthy but very important document that families and their loved ones fill out. Should be updated at least yearly.


Safe and Secure: Six Steps to Creating a Good Life for People with Disabilities - The authors of Safe and Secure: Six Steps to Creating a Good Life for People with Disabilities went to great lengths to make sure that parents are fully informed of the options and many steps involved in planning for the future of a loved one with disabilities. 


Special Needs Trust Administration Manual: A Guide for Trustees - The Special Needs Trust Administration Manual is an invaluable guide for anyone who is managing a Special Needs Trust for a person with disabilities.


Planning for the Future: Providing a Meaningful Life for a Child with a Disability After Your Death - The completely revised and greatly expanded 5th edition of Planning for the Future: Providing a Meaningful Life for a Child with a Disability After Your Death discusses all the steps that parents should take to assure a secure and happy life for their disabled son or daughter.


Free 'Life Planners' Newsletter: Planning for your disabled child's future is easier than you think. You can learn to write a Life Plan (also called a Letter of Intent) for your child or adult person with disabilities. Find out what a Life Plan is and subscribe to the free Life Planners newsletter.  Life Planners is a free newsletter for parents and caregivers of a disabled person. Get help planning for the future.  For the definition of a Life Planner, visit For the current newsletter, visit


Estate Planning Attorneys - Find Estate Planning Lawyers or Law Firms specializing in Estate Planning law. Cases including Trusts, Wills, Uniform Probate Code, Gift Tax, Dynasty Trust, Joint Tendency. Also, visit for a list of all types of resources, including some estate planning services.

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