HIGH STAKES: EFFECTS OF TRAUMA FOR ADOLESCENTS & YOUNG ADULTS

By Toni Heineman | May 19, 2015

Over the course of National Foster Care Month, I’ve written about the impact of trauma on healthy development in infants, toddlers, and school-age children, noting that the effects can occur in any or all domains of physical, cognitive, emotional, and social development.  I’ve also made the point that any caring adult in a child’s life…

INTO A WORLD OF RELATIONSHIPS: TRAUMA AMONG SCHOOL-AGE CHILDREN

By Toni Heineman | May 17, 2015

May is Foster Care and Mental Health Awareness month, and in the past couple weeks, I’ve written about the impact of trauma on infants and on young children, and how trauma that occurs in the context of relationships can only be healed within healthy relationships. At A Home Within, we start conversations with the community…

FIRST STEPS, GIANT LEAPS: TRAUMA AMONG TODDLERS AND YOUNG CHILDREN

By Toni Heineman | May 2, 2015

Last week, to kick off Foster Care and Mental Health Awareness month, I wrote about the impact of trauma on infants like Janelle, and how trauma that occurs in the context of relationships can only be healed through relationships. For each of the remaining weeks this month, I’ll offer perspectives on trauma and healing across…

STARTING AT THE BEGINNING: TRAUMA DURING INFANCY

By Toni Heineman | April 29, 2015

May 2015 is both Foster Care Month AND Mental Health Awareness Month. This spring we’ve seen a lot of attention to the mental health needs and well-being of foster youth, whether talking about ways to safely reduce the use of psychotropic medications (as I discussed in a previous post), or about the related need to…

NATIONAL SOCIAL WORK MONTH

By Toni Heineman | April 11, 2015

During the month of March we are invited to honor social workers, many of whom are the lynchpins of the foster care system—caseworkers. These are the people who have the day-to-day responsibility for ensuring the safety and well-being of children who have come to the attention of the child welfare system. Most children enter foster…

MEASURING A CHILD’S WORTH

By Toni Heineman | April 11, 2015

The news of the relationship between foster care and the sex trade has made its way to the Capitol. In recent testimony before the House Ways and Means Committee former foster child, Withelma “T” Ortiz Walker Pettigrew, cogently outlined the multiple ways in which the structure and function of the child welfare system create a smooth pathway from foster care to…

NEVER TALK TO STRANGERS

By Toni Heineman | April 11, 2015

“Never talk to strangers.” This important lesson in personal safety often involves a period of confusion and anxiety as young children try to understand who is a stranger and why it’s okay to talk to some strangers and not others. From the point of view of a child who has just been admonished not to talk to strangers, parents…

SEX FOR SALE

By Toni Heineman | April 11, 2015

People talk about the sex trade and sex trafficking. The problem is that it’s not sex that’s being sold—it’s people. Poor people. Young people. Poor young people. It should not surprise us that the most vulnerable among us are the most likely to fall prey to sex traffickers. Some of these are people who are so impoverished that they…

WHY WON’T SHE TELL ME WHAT SHE WANTS?

By Toni Heineman | April 11, 2015

This question came from a friend who had opened her home to a young woman I’ll call Anna, who was attending a summer program in her community. My friend wanted her guest to be comfortable; she wanted to make sure that some of Anna’s favorite foods were on hand, that she had the information she needed to navigate the…

CASEWORKERS MATTER

By Toni Heineman | April 11, 2015

For children who have to leave parents behind and enter foster care the caseworker is one person who can bring stability to their lives. As Alexus Colbert writes about her time in foster care, caseworkers who are can and do make an important difference for children whose lives are filled and uncertainty and loss. Alexus…