Housing program gives homeless youth a boost

medium_bilde_0.jpgDetroit News— It was just a few months ago that LaKeisha Johnson and her small children slept in a car when they couldn't count on a relative or a friend to provide them with a place to stay.

On Thursday, Johnson, 24, showed off her new two-bedroom apartment at Oakman Place Apartments, part of a program to house young, homeless adults, as well as those who have aged out of the state's foster care system.

"This is beautiful," said Johnson, as she showed off the expansive ground floor apartment, fully furnished with new furniture. "It doesn't seem real."

The 24-unit, three-story complex on Oakman Boulevard near Woodrow Wilson includes gated parking and a washer and dryer in each apartment.

The $5.1 million development is the result of a partnership that includes Lutheran Child & Family Service of Michigan, Focus:HOPE and Michigan State Housing Development Authority MSHDA.

Robert G. Miles, president and CEO of Lutheran Child & Family Service of Michigan, said the Oakman Place program provides adequate housing and other support services for homeless youth and those who "age out of the welfare system."

"Very few of our own children make the transition into adulthood without ongoing support and supportive services," Miles said. "Through this development, we have become more sensitized to the number of families who are challenged to find adequate, safe and affordable housing."

Miles said Thursday he hopes the residents will "love each other, support each other and become a community."

Selecting the first families to live in Oakman Place was a difficult task for social worker Carolyn Rayford, the deputy regional director for Lutheran Child & Family Service.

Child Welfare In-Service Training: Jan-Aug 2012: FREE

MSU School of Social Work, in conjunction with the other six Michigan graduate Schools of Social Work and the support of the Michigan Department of Human Services, is pleased to announce FREE training opportunities to DHS Child Protective Services, Foster Care, and Adoption Workers and DHS-contracted private agencies’ foster care and adoption workers. The title of this collaborative project is Child Welfare In-Service Training.

Multiple human service, health, and education professionals who also serve the families involved with the child welfare system may find the workshops of interest; many of the workshop topics will have applicability beyond child welfare practice, thus a LIMITED number of FOR CHARGE spaces are available for interested professionals who work outside of DHS and the contracted private agencies. All courses offered are eligible for Social Work CECHs.

Early registration is encouraged. Registrations are nontransferable; if you register but are unable to attend, please contact the appropriate University at your earliest convenience so they might offer your unused space to someone else.

MSU SSW CE Spring 2012 Catalog available

The MSU School of Social Work Continuing Education Spring 2012 Catalog has been issued, featuring courses related to:

  • Adoption Certificate Program
  • Advocacy/Leadership/Social Justice
  • Aging
  • Children, Youth, & Families
  • Clinical Practice
  • Ethics
  • Mental Health
  • Pain Management
  • Online Programs
  • Supervision in Child & Family Services Certificate
  • School Social Work Competency Series

We would like to draw your attention to the April 26 session, "Helping the Judge Make the Right Decision: Effective Courtroom Testimony," which will be held in Grand Rapids, led by attorneys Joe Kozakiewicz and Delanie Pope of MSU's Chance at Childhood program.

Also of note, numerous experts from within MichFed member agencies are among the presenters of the 26 in-person course offerings:

Teens in Foster Care Face Elevated Risk of Becoming a Teen Parent

Teens in foster care face considerable individual and family challenges that place them at an elevated risk of becoming a teen parent. Child Trends has released a new research brief, Teen Parents in Foster Care: Risk Factors and Outcomes for Teens and Their Children, which reviews existing research literature on teens in foster care and examines analyses of primarily regional data to assess the extent to which teens in foster care are at risk of teen pregnancy and parenting. Existing studies suggest that teens in foster care have higher rates of teen pregnancy and parenthood than youth not in care. More than 160,000 of the children in foster care were over 12 years old in 2009.

On the basis of the research highlighted in this brief, Child Trends identifies several challenges to reducing rates of pregnancy and childbearing among teens in foster care and to preventing negative outcomes for these teen parents and their children. With this brief, we hope to increase understanding of this high-risk population; to inform strategies to reduce teen pregnancies in foster care and support teen parents in foster care and their children; and to identify issues that need further research.

This research was supported by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.

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