ADVERSE CHILDHOOD EXPERIENCES REVISITED

By Toni Heineman | April 11, 2015

Over the last twenty years we have been amassing evidence that negative experiences in early childhood have life long deleterious effects on physical and emotional health. Early maltreatment results in years of emotional pain, chronic illness, and, too often, premature death. As David Brooks reminds us the multiple lenses through which we have been able…

PROTECTING YOUNG PARENTS

By Toni Heineman | April 11, 2015

Many years ago I was asked to make a recommendation to the court about the fate of a toddler whose mother had been raised in foster care. Mother and daughter arrived at my office and immediately headed for a basket of toys. Sadly, the mother was more interested in playing with the toys herself than in helping or enjoying…

WHAT’S A MOTHER TO DO

By Toni Heineman | April 11, 2015

A pregnant woman undergoing methadone treatment may find herself in an extremely difficult position. According to a recent article in The Daily Beast confusion, uncertainty, and disagreement among professionals may put expectant women in danger of losing their infants to the foster care system if they are considered to be drug addicted because they are receiving methadone to manage opiate…

A WELL-KEPT SECRET

By Toni Heineman | April 11, 2015

Teenagers are interested in sex. Not only are they interested, but many of them are having sex. Some of them become parents as a result; in fact, seventy-one percent of young women in foster care will be pregnant before the age of twenty-one, many of them more than once. Yet, according to a recent article…

DAILY RX – RELEVANT HEALTH NEWS

By Toni Heineman | April 11, 2015

This interview first appeared on Daily RX – Relevant Health News on June 4th, 2012. To view the feature in its original location, click here to visit www.DailyRX.com. __________________________________________________________ It’s a staple of mental and emotional health that you must know how to build and maintain healthy relationships with others. But foster students lack this…

MOVING DAY

By Toni Heineman | April 11, 2015

Last Wednesday morning, the movers arrived at the office we had occupied for five years. By Friday afternoon, we were more-or-less settled into our new space. In all respects, the move from one end of San Francisco to the other went seamlessly—nothing was lost or broken; all of the furniture fit, as expected; and we…

A CLOSER LOOK AT “REALIGNMENT”

By Toni Heineman | April 11, 2015

Much in the child welfare system calls for swift action — children who are in dangerous or neglectful situations must be removed quickly. But other situations, such as the implementation of policies that will affect thousands of children for many years, call for deliberation and reflection. Angie Schwartz makes a compelling case for taking time…

THE DARKEST DAY

By Toni Heineman | April 11, 2015

The Winter Solstice marks the longest night of the year in the Northern Hemisphere—the day in which we enjoy the least amount of the sun’s light and warming rays. With darkness falling quickly, many are glad to be with family and friends who offer a different kind of light and warmth in anticipation of the…

WIDENING CRACKS

By Toni Heineman | April 11, 2015

Two articles crossed my desk recently that underscore the vulnerability of children in the foster care system. Individually, they each warrant attention; taken together they should prompt us to action. Preliminary research coming out of Purdue University suggests that adoptive mothers are vulnerable to depression following adoption. The fatigue, worry, and isolation that contribute to post-partum depression may…

SHARED JOYS

By Toni Heineman | April 11, 2015

We know that lasting relationships are vital for children to thrive, but sometimes we forget. Sometimes we think we can take shortcuts. We think that children need only a little of our time or that we can give them just enough to get by. Sometimes we forget that children need to be loved with every ounce of our hearts…