Disney Junior’s “Doc McStuffins” focuses on Adoption


CWLA is excited to announce that Disney Junior’s Peabody Award-winning animated series “Doc McStuffins” will feature an adoption storyline beginning FRIDAY, MARCH 4 (8:00-8:30 a.m. EST) on Disney Channel. The multi-episode story arc will showcase the McStuffins family as they experience the joys of adoption and also now must adjust to a new baby in the house. Geared toward kids age 2-7 and their families, the storylines will focus on a variety of emotions and situations young children can encounter when a new baby arrives in the family.

“Children’s shows can have a significant impact on how their young viewers understand the world, so it’s wonderful that Disney Junior is depicting adoption as a normative, positive way to form a family,” said Adam Pertman, episodes consultant and President and Founder of the National Center on Adoption and Permanency. “Even more than that, it’s heartening that the producers sought professional input in order to ‘get it right’ about the language, people and sensitivities involved.”

“Doc McStuffins” has been lauded globally for its imaginative storytelling about a young girl who aspires to be a doctor like her mom and runs a clinic for stuffed animals and toys. Through Doc and her toys, the series models good health practices while imparting to young viewers the importance of taking care of oneself and others.


Article: “I Have a Brand New Six Year Old” 


Every year, on their birthdays, I send an email to the person in the placement who called me for my kiddos.  Today is Warren’s birthday. Here is the letter I sent to Steve.

Dear Steve,

I woke up this morning to a brand new six year old! Can you believe it’s already been six years since that day you called me to tell me about this perfect little mensch who needed a family? Six years! It’s kind of surreal actually.

I remember going to the hospital the day you called me. He was only twelve hours old when the nurses wheeled him out to me for the first time. He was so scrawny and smooshed up and kind of looked a little like Popeye because he had this thing he did with one side of his face being scrunched up, but I knew, the moment I laid eyes on him, that he was a special little boy. I remember telling him “Hi! I’m your mommy, and we’re going to be good friends!”

Steve, you gave me my best friend, my whole heart, the absolute love of my life. Did you know that? Did you have any idea of the profound change you would be the catalyst for when you came to my name and telephone number on the placement list? I think about how I almost missed that call, and I get cold chills. But my aunt assures me that he was meant to be with us, and that nothing could have changed that.

This past six years has been an incredible roller coaster of emotion and exploration and change. I’ve watched this little guy go from seven pounds and three ounces and 21 inches long to now over fifty pounds and fully four feet tall. I’ve watched him learn to crawl then walk then run – he’s now even a black belt in taekwondo! He’s gone from crying and babbling to arguing like a seasoned lawyer (I blame his father for that since he studied for the Bar Exam with Warren listening to the lectures). Every new skill has brought a deep sense of pride to my heart as I see this little ball of energy growing into the wonderful little human he is.

Don’t get me wrong – it’s not all butterflies, rainbows and puppies. We most definitely have our moments of discord – the arguing, tattling, fighting, defiance, inattention, irritability and all around grouchiness, but we have way more funny, affectionate, sweet, silly, happy, goofy, loving and kind moments.

This year Warren started kindergarten, learned to read and do math (better than his mama sometimes), graduated from Tiger Cubs with his black belt, learned how to do the breast stroke and flips off the side of the pool, conquered his fear of soaring by going on the huge swing ride at the fair, picked blueberries, got a new sister through fostering, taught his brother how to make fart sounds with his armpit, got a new cousin when Mandy married Aaron, learned how to crack eggs perfectly, went as Batman for Halloween, got a new pet hedgehog, sang in the choir, planted some tomatoes, went to Disney, and learned that hamburgers come from cows. He also made me laugh out loud with his terrible knock knock jokes, started singing to his sister when she was upset so he could calm her down, protected his little brother from the bigger kids at the park, learned how to skateboard, ride a two wheeled bike, and how to make a basketball goal.

I can’t even begin to tell you how different I am as a person now because of him. I’ve had to learn patience and calm – two things that do not come naturally to me at all. I’ve learned to see the world from a much different perspective, and I’ve also learned just how dumb I am because there are some questions he’s asked that I just have no idea how to answer (by the way, who is teaching my kid such big words???!!!???)! My heart has grown exponentially from all the love he’s given me. I just cannot even imagine my life without this little guy in it!

Steve, I’m sure you had no idea all of this would happen when you made that call, but it did. You changed the trajectory of his life and of mine. I am forever grateful to you for the work you do – and for bringing this monkey into my life!

Thank you. There aren’t enough words in the human experience for me to describe how grateful I am – but I’ll start with thank you. Thank you. Thank you!

Happy birthday Warren Joshua! I am so happy to be your mommy!

Much love and many thanks,
Heather Rosenberg

Ask Dr. Holmes: Can ADHD Meds Cause Weak Bones?

I have heard something about medications for ADHD causing weak bones. Should we be concerned about this information?

The stimulant medicines, which are the medicines most commonly used to treat ADHD, have been studied for a long time due to concerns about possible effects on normal growth. The best evidence is that these medicines can cause small but measurable decreases in growth when used over long periods of time. In the past month, initial results of a research study have been released which indicate that the long term use of stimulants can increase the risk of decreased bone density. In theory, this could increase the risk of “weak bones” and osteoporosis.

It should be noted that these are the results of one study, and there are many questions that need to be considered as part of these concerns. It is certain that researchers will be looking very closely at this issue.

For children who are taking stimulant medicines, and who receive good benefit, this information should not cause people to stop using them. However, this initial information reminds us that there are always risks associated with the use of medicines, including risks that are currently unknown. Medicines can be helpful when used appropriately and for specific reasons, but they should not be used if the reasons or expectations for their use are unclear. In addition, it is important to make sure that non-medication options are being considered and tried as well.

Dr. William Holmes is the Medical Director at Cenpatico Behavioral Health and provides this column for the National Foster Parent Association on a biweekly basis.  To have your medical questions answered, please email the question to askdrholmes@nfpaonline.org.  

The Emotional Container in Real Life

In this podcast, Resource Parent Diane Lanni gives an example of how she remained calm and acted as an emotional container when her child grew agitated.  Her story shows how it is possible to understand behavior through a trauma lens, react in a way that gives a child what s/he needs, and then later teach skills so the child can ultimately manage his/her own emotions rather than forever relying on caregivers to be that emotional container.

Listen to this 3-1/2 minute podcast at:

See the NCTSN podcasts on iTunes at https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/resource-parent-curriculum/id956962744?mt=2

NCTSN_Black+White_jpgPodcasts are provided by National Child Traumatic Stress Network Learning Center who offer free online education.  We thank them!

Policy Change that Benefits Foster Parents

The New York State Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) has announced a new policy regarding the ability of foster parents to access the social security numbers of children placed in their homes for tax purposes. This policy resolves a long-standing problem that effectively blocked foster parents from claiming children as dependents for tax purposes – something federal regulations allow them to do. Foster parents could not claim children in their care without a social security number. Prior to this new policy, the interpretation of an agreement between OCFS and the Social Security Administration prevented these required numbers from being shared.

The policy, which was announced in an informational letter from the Strategic Planning and Policy Development Office at OCFS, is the result of continued advocacy by the Coalition and others. We are grateful to the leadership at OCFS for responding.

The procedure outlined in the informational letter is relatively straightforward. Foster parents must complete a simple one page form, which is submitted to their local department of social services or the Administration for Children’s Services (ACS). Guidelines that allow foster parents to obtain numbers largely mirror IRS policy.

Access to social security numbers is limited solely to the filing of income tax returns. Individuals who have already filed their tax returns may be able to file an amended return.

Congratulations to the Adoptive and Foster Parent Association of Georgia

The Adoptive and Foster Parent Association of Georgia recently held their annual training conference at Jekyll Island.  It was a rousing success with 913 in attendance.  Congratulations to the President of AFPAG, Verdell Daniels, and his very able and dedicated Board of Directors for a job well done.  Thanks also, to DFCS for their incredible support of AFPAG and the conference.

I remember three years ago when I was able to attend the conference.  The attendance was just a few over 100 attendees.  The association had gone through some hard times and was barely hanging on.  That did not stop Mr. Daniels, their newly elected president, and the Board of Directors from hosting the conference and providing an excellent experience for all attendees.

Then, last year, I had the honor of attending again.  The 2015 conference had over 400 attendees.  Again, an awesome conference and experience for all in attendance.

I talked to Mr. Daniels recently about the success of AFPAG over the past three years and he attributes it to many things, but the main two things are the strength and commitment of his Board of Directors and the working relationship they have developed with their state agency.  Mr. Daniels described the open communication and mutual respect they experience with their state agency leadership and others around the state and how much he and his Board of Directors appreciate these relationships and their support.  He also mentioned some sponsors who assist them financially to better enable them to offer a great conference experience.

Way to go, AFPAG!
Irene Clements, ED. NFPA