LEARNING TO PLAY
It might appear as if play is just for kids. Or it might feel as if certain types of people are wired for play and others are simply not. Dr. Karyn Purvis, author of The Connected Child and co-founder of the Institute of Child Development at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, TX regularly spoke to the power of play in connecting with the children in our care.
Play is more than just fun; it is critical to child development. “Play has shown to have many benefits for the brain because it not only engages children in activities that promote cognitive development (e.g., problem-solving, collaboration, mental flexibility, creativity) but it also removes barriers to cognitive development (e.g., fear, anxiety, stress). Likewise, play promotes development of a wide range of socio-emotional skills, such as self-regulation, listening, negotiating, independent thinking, taking other perspectives, persistence, and curiosity,” writes Sheri Parris, a Research Scientist with the Karyn Purvis Institute of Child Development at TCU. Children who are not given the opportunity to engage in play often miss developmental milestones.
But it is more than just a critical component in typical child development. Play is a tool for parents to help the children in their care. Dr. Purvis once said: “Play disarms fear, builds connectedness, and teaches social skills and competencies for life.” While it may seem like a simple idea, play is fundamental to forming trust-based relationships. Play permeates the therapuetic model Trust Based Relational Intervention (TBRI) through each of the three core principles: empowering, connecting, and correcting. For those of us who are parenting kids in care or children who joined our families through adoption, play is the “magic tool to connection.”
Understanding how our children play and how we play best is an important part of findings ways to engage with our children, especially for those who might think they are too mature or uncomfortable to be silly and play “well.” According to research by Dr. Stuart Brown, there are eight different types of play personalities: the joker, the kinesthete, the explorer, the competitor, the director, the collector, the artist/creator, and the storyteller. You can take this simple quiz to learn your play personality, but as is often true, you might be able to discover your play personality best by reading about the different types. Take time in the coming month to educate yourself about play and find ways to implement play in your family with intentionality. See if playful engagement helps your family connect.
HELPING MORE FAMILIES ADOPT
We know that for many, the financial expense of adoption can be difficult, and it is our desire to help remove the financial barriers families often face to adoption. CFLM supports Christian couples in the state of Georgia through our Adoption Assistance Grants. Historically, we have funded our grants through an annual fundraising campaign we have called Both Hands.
We have officially closed out our 2019 campaign, and we want to thank our donors and community for your support of our 2019 Both Hands Project! This year we had over 150 volunteers join us in working at the homes of 13 women in our local community. These women were overjoyed to receive help to finish projects and complete tasks that they, alone, were not equipped to do. We were able to transform their homes and create beautiful friendships. Thank you for playing such an important role in making that possible.
Through sponsorship, our volunteers helped us raise $85,926! Every dollar goes directly into our Adoption Assistance Grant Fund. Every penny will be given to Christian couples throughout the state of Georgia who are adopting. Children who are currently living without the love and protection of a family will be able to come home to their new family because of the money you gave! Thank you for providing for these families and ushering their children home.
Although our 2019 Both Hands Project has come to a close, you can still support adopting families with financial support. Over the years, the number of grant applications our ministry receives has grown exponentially. Our third quarter of grant applications recently closed with 15 grant applications received. A directed gift toward our Adoption Assistance Grant fund will go directly to helping more families with their adoption expenses in upcoming grant cycles. You can give online or simply write a check and indicate “Adoption Grant” when you give.
Foster Care News
HELPFUL INFORMATION FOR FOSTER FAMILIES
Part of our goal is to educate and equip families to care for the children in their homes, so we are always on the lookout for resources that we can share. We recently found an easy and FREE resource that may be helpful for your family.
As you know, the state requires each licensed foster parent to receive 15 continuing education credits each year. For some families working with certain licensing agencies, a new requirement has been added to receive one hour in the following four subjects: Bullying, Behavior Management, Trauma, and Internet Safety. Again, this is not a requirement for all Georgia foster families, so check with your caseworker to confirm if this addition applies to your family. Regardless, this resource is available to all licensed foster families, and it may be helpful to your family. The Georgia Center for Resources and Support offers an expansive list of online courses through their Virtual Certificate Training. Simply select the course and follow the listed instructions to receive access to the material and to receive the necessary CEU certificate.
POLICY CHANGES REGARDING VACCINATIONS
DFCS has recently updates their policy regarding required vaccinations. The new policies are as follows:
All children who are household members are required to be up-to-date on immunizations unless immunizations are contrary to the child’s health as documented by a licenses health care professional.
All household members who will be caregivers of infants (age 12 months and under) are required to have an up-to-date pertussis (whooping cough) vaccination unless the immunization is contrary to the individual’s health as documented by a licensed health care professional.
All household members who will be caregivers of infants (age 12 months and under) and children with special needs are required to have an up-to-date annual influenza vaccination unless the immunization is contrary to the individual’s health as documented by a licensed health care professional.