Anne Arundel County Foster Parents Association

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AACPS Fall 2020 to be virtual

  • Anne Arundel County Public Schools’ draft 2020 Reopening Plan is now online and can be accessed at www.aacps.org/fall2020. This is a living document and will be updated as changes to pandemic conditions and other developments warrant.

  • Students in first through 12th grades will all begin the school year on Tuesday, September 8, 2020, and not in the staggered fashion that has been employed in prior years.

  • AACPS will be supplying a backpack with supplies to every preK through 5th grade student before school starts in the fall. Please do not feel the need to purchase school supplies as the backpack will have everything your student will need as September 8th arrives and Virtual teaching and learning begins.

  • Chromebooks- In the effort to fully engage students in virtual learning this fall, AACPS will be issuing Chromebooks to every student. Although there will not be enough Chromebooks to start the school year, it is our goal to ensure that every student receives an AACPS Chromebook by the end of the first marking period. To enroll go: https://secure.aacps.org/webapps/SEFP/en-US/OSS/device.

  • Fall Virtual Schedules have been released:

  • The AACPS Superintendent Dr. George Arlotto hosts a weekly 2020 Reopening report that can be found using the following link: https://tinyurl.com/y6524ubm

  • For full details and updated information please go to https://www.aacps.org/virtuallearning.

HOw to help families & youth in care

You don’t have to work in child welfare or be a parent to help children in foster care. There are lots of ways to put your valuable abilities to work for raising awareness and advocating on behalf of waiting children.

  • Become a court-appointed special advocate (CASA)

  • Mentor a child in foster care

  • Become a respite care provider

  • Fundraise or donate supplies to foster care organizations

Resources during this times of crisis

Who to reach out?

Crisis Management Guide - what to do and who to call

Who's Who of Social Workers - a guide to understanding the many people who support you during your foster care journey

Maryland Resource Parent Ombudsman - she is here for us!

Tips on Virtual Visits - because this is new for all of us!

Meal Pick-up Services for AAC children, ages 2–18. Providing breakfast, lunch and dinner. There are no income or registration requirements.

SNAP Benefits- The SNAP Emergency Allotment is effective immediately for Maryland households with children who have temporarily lost access to free or reduced-price school meals due to pandemic-related school closures will be eligible for Pandemic-EBT benefits. Because Maryland public schools were closed to students effective March 16, 2020, approved households will be able to obtain retroactive benefits as a result. For more information contact AAC DSS.

summer is here! What to DO?

Summer camps

If you are looking for what to do with your kids now that e-learning is over the Anne Arundel County Department of Recreation and Parks is offering summer day camps in person or virtually for all ages throughout the County. Click on the Summer Camp Guide link below to check out their summer programs for kids.

Summer Camps Guide 2020

Note:

Sending kids to summer camp is a personal decision. When thinking about childcare options, you'll have to weigh the need for work with the health and safety of your family. Only you will know when the time is right and what situation is best for your child. Here is a link to the CDC regarding summer camps: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/schools-childcare/summer-camps.html

educational Resources

Going to camp might not be an option but there still are a ton of activities you can do at home with your kids. Check out the Anne Arundel County Public Library (https://aacpl.net/kids) and all they have to offer to keep kid busy all summer long.

Talking to kids about Racism

How can a parent help their child traverse these disturbing times?

Let the child's age and level of development guide you, experts say, but first, be sure that you are in the right frame of mind.

"A parent's first step is to take care of themselves, their mental health, their emotional health. Put their oxygen mask on first before they put the oxygen mask on their child," said Chicago pediatrician Dr. Nia Heard-Garris, who chairs the minority health, equity and inclusion committee of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)

"Vicarious trauma through screens is real, especially for marginalized communities who may have experienced similar actions first-hand," said Dr. Jenny Radesky, a developmental behavioral pediatrician who teaches at the University of Michigan.

The stress of watching traumatic events on television and smartphones "lingers within our bodies and minds," Radesky added. She suggests parents find ways to channel that energy with positive actions, such as deep breathing and re-grounding exercises, before playing with or talking to your kids.

"This doesn't mean letting go of the anger or anxiety, it just means organizing it better so you can think and act more clearly," she said.

Once a parent is fully available to be a calm, rational voice, "then you can parse out what's important to pass onto your child so that you're not oversharing information that may further traumatize them or make them feel insecure or unsafe," Heard-Garris said.

Watch the CNN/Sesame Street Town hall

Talking to kids about COVID-19

  • Explain that COVID-19 is a virus. It is so small it’s invisible, and it can make some people sick. But there are ways to protect ourselves and others (we can wash our hands with soap and water for 20 seconds, say hello in new ways such as waving from afar, sneeze or cough into the bend of our arm, stay indoors, and keep a safe distance of six feet from other people)

  • Ask children what they’ve heard about COVID-19. This will help you share only the information that they need right now. Answer simply and honestly and provide as much reassurance as you can, assuring them that you know how to keep your family safer.

  • Ask them how they feel. Let them know that their feelings are okay and that many other people everywhere are feeling those feelings, too. Use words to share your own feelings (anxious, worried, sad, and so on).

  • Be prepared to answer the same question more than once; repeating the same question may be how your child expresses concerns.

You Might Also:

  • Notice and focus on any kindness or cooperation you see around you, no matter how small. Point out that in every tough situation, there are always people helping.

  • Remind children that this situation (and the feelings we’re having) will not last forever, and that this experience can make him/her, and your whole family, stronger.

  • Remind children that this situation (and the feelings we’re having) will not last forever, and that this experience can make him/her, and your whole family, stronger.

And…

  • Be aware of your own feelings. It’s normal to feel helpless when you can’t protect your child from changing circumstances; keep in mind that children respond to and learn from your reactions.

  • It’s okay take a moment to think about how to respond before answering. It’s also okay to say you don’t know and that you can find out the answers together. It’s important to be honest with your child so you don’t tarnish their trust.

  • Listen to your child. Take the time to listen closely to what question they are asking. Remember, less information is best: they want their question answered, but giving them more information than they are ready for or can handle is overwhelming and may raise more unintended questions and fears.

  • Trust your instincts. You know your child best. Children of different ages will have different questions and needs, and a wide range of reactions is normal.

  • Respect children’s concerns. If they tell you they’re afraid of something, don’t dismiss their fears.

©/TM 2020 Sesame Workshop. All Rights Reserved.

Don’t be afraid to discuss the coronavirus.

Most children will have already heard about the virus or seen people wearing face masks, so parents shouldn’t avoid talking about it. Not talking about something can actually make kids worry more. Look at the conversation as an opportunity to convey the facts and set the emotional tone. “You take on the news and you’re the person who filters the news to your kid,” explains Janine Domingues, PhD, a child psychologist at the Child Mind Institute. Your goal is to help your children feel informed and get fact-based information that is likely more reassuring than whatever they’re hearing from their friends or on the news

Local Resources for foster parents:

The Blue Ribbon Project's Mission is the prevention of all forms of child abuse and provides critical support to victims of abuse and neglect. They also provide Mirah's Closet, which is a resource for Foster Parents to shop for clothing, toiletries, toys and books for all kids in care.

They provide support service to all Resource Families in the state of Maryland. Membership in the Association is open to all Resource Parents, a prospective resource parent, or a child welfare professional

CASA stands for Court Appointed Special Advocate. CASAs are specially trained volunteers who are appointed as “Officers of the Court” to an abused or neglected child. Their role is to make recommendations to the Court about what is in the child’s best interest.

Other Resources:

Want to help but don't know how? It is simple as small donation, your contribution will make an impact, whether you donate $5 or $500. Every little bit helps. Thank you for your support.

Sesame Workshop Launches Initiative to Support Children in Foster Care

Sesame Workshop, the non-profit educational organization behind Sesame Street, launched on May 2019 a new initiative to offer support to children, foster parents, and providers who serve foster families. The initiative features Karli, a young Sesame StreetMuppet in foster care, and her “for-now” parents, Dalia and Clem.

The initiative is part of the Sesame Street in Communities program, which provides free, easy-to-use resources for community providers and caregivers. The free, bilingual resources help caregivers and providers support children as they navigate the world of foster care, and they provide simple, approachable tools to help reassure children and help them feel safer.

https://sesamestreetincommunities.org/topics/foster-care/