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News & Events for November 2003

November 01, 2003
Talon Awards

We knew we had some of the best... now others are also recognizing this. Congratulations to MSW Candidate Roxanne Grobbel who won a Talon Award, recognizing her contributions to FAU as a student leader, President of Acolyte, and wondeful member of our outstanding Class of 2004.

Congratulations, too, to Dr. Woody Hamlin for being nominated for a Talon Award for his leadership as a professor and MSW coodinator - truly a winner in our hearts.

We thank the FAU alumni for their sponsorship of the Talon Awards.

November 14, 2003
Graduate Studies Scholarship

Christine Smith $15,000 Graduate Studies Scholarship for students specializing in children and family issues.

Eligibility Requirements:
Good health, Good character, bachelor's degree or equivalent, superior record in previous academic work, (2) or more years of recent professional experience in the field of social work or a related field, propose a program of study specializing in children or family issues at the master's or doctoral level.

To obtain an application send a writen or email request to:
R. Kenneth Babb, Executive Director
The Educational Foundation, IOOF
P.O. Box 20455
Winston-Salem, NC 27101
email: rkbabb1@bellsouth.net (Please title the subject of email requests "Smith Scholarship")

November 17, 2003
FAU Foster Mom

Delray foster mom, a professor at FAU, finds her calling
By Shana gruskin
Staff Writer

November 14, 2003

A single mother and foster parent off and on for 14 years, Ellen Ryan knew the joys and pitfalls of fostering abused and neglected children.

So after settling in as a social work professor for Florida Atlantic University, Ryan of Delray Beach decided she was ready, once again, to care for little ones.

She knew that meant giving up some of her free time, now that her four other children are adults. But, she says, it's well worth it.

"I really have to say that even on a bad day, I guess I just was meant to do this. I really do enjoy the process," said Ryan, 55, about caring for an energetic 5-year-old boy and his shy 3-year-old sister.

Currently, there are 193 foster homes in Palm Beach County. Child & Family Connections, the private agency taking over foster care from the state Department of Children & Families, wants to add another 43 homes by the end of the year. It recently hired three other agencies to recruit, retain and support foster homes.

Of the 1,720 Palm Beach County children who have been taken from their parents because of abuse or neglect, about 600 are living in shelters, group homes or foster homes. The rest of the children live with relatives or friends.

While always a preference, keeping siblings together has become a priority for the county's transitioning child welfare system.

Living in a troubled home and being removed from parents is traumatic enough for children, said Keith Johnson, Palm Beach County program coordinator with Kids in Distress, a private agency responsible for recruiting foster homes in Boynton Beach, Delray Beach and Boca Raton.

"Oftentimes, the only thing the sibling groups have are each other," he said. "And if you have to split them up, they don't even have that. And that's pretty disheartening for children."

Johnson said Kids in Distress and the two other recruiting agencies, Camelot Community Care and The Children's Place at Home Safe, are focusing heavily on finding parents who will take in hard-to-place children: sibling groups, teens and teen mothers.

"They deserve a chance just like the other kids do," he said.

To give children that chance, Johnson said foster parents don't need to be rich, married or homeowners. They simply have to have enough room in their home so a child has his or her own bed and a place for his or her belongings. Children older than 1 cannot share a bedroom with an adult, and children 3 or older cannot share a room with a child of the opposite sex.

Most important, Johnson said, foster parents need to have space in their hearts.

"We're looking at somebody who is going to be able to provide a safe, loving, nurturing environment, to be tolerant to the behaviors of the children ... and be able to recognize and meet the needs of the children that are placed in their home."

Johnson said those behaviors can vary from bedwetting to defiance.

Ryan said she had to teach the 5-year-old boy that he could rely on her to take care of his needs and the needs of his little sister.

"He really wanted to see who was the authority and who was going to be in power," she said. "He also had some street wisdom for 5 years old, some language and kicking things."

But she said the pleasure she gets interacting with the children -- talking, reading, playing and snuggling with them -- far outweighs the day-to-day struggles.

A lot of people, she said, are scared off by the stories they hear about foster children.

"Sometimes if you just start it .. You rise to the challenge," she said. "A friend of mine said you have nothing to lose and everything to gain by trying it."

Foster parents have to understand early on that they may need to let go -- a child may be returned to a birth parent or adopted by another family, Ryan said.

"A lot of people say what's going to happen and I say, `I really don't know.' That's a little bit of a challenge, you have to be able to live in the moment."

While the foster parents emotionally support the children, Kids in Distress and the two other private agencies are there to support the foster parents, Johnson said.

"Whenever they're running into some difficulty or have a department worker or a case manager who doesn't return their call, or they feel what they've been told about a child doesn't seem accurate, they can call us," he said.

The goal, Johnson said, is to help the foster parents so they don't get burned out and prevent children from being bounced from one home to another.

"We want to make sure we don't move these kids, because every time you move them you damage them," he said.

If there's a problem between a foster parent and a child, Kids in Distress mediates, provides therapy or respite services.

Kids in Distress, which has been providing foster care services in Broward County for six years, has kept about 95 percent of the children placed in its foster homes stable until they are returned to their parents or adopted.

Shana Gruskin can be reached at sgruskin@sun-sentinel.com or 561-243-6537.

From November 16, 2003 South Florida Sun-Sentinel

November 21, 2003
Frank Brogan's Inauguration

Social Work Professors, Diane Alperin, Allan Barsky, Becky Walker, Pat
Rowland, and Ann Miller help celebrate Frank Brogan's inauguration as FAU President. Congratulations Pres. Brogan!

November 22, 2003
Accreditation Celebration

On Friday, November 22, FAU social work students, alumni, field instructors, faculty, and FAU administrators gathered at the Board of Trustees Room to celebrate the granting of accreditation of the MSW program by the Counsel on Social Work Education. FAU President Brogan, Dean Rosalyn Carter, FAU Provost Ken Jessell and SSW Director Michele Hawkins each congratulated everyone on the team effort that led to creation and implementation of the MSW program, something we are all proud of. President Brogan spoke of the passion that social workers bring to their work and the admiration he had for social workers who work on behalf of people in society who are too often disregarded or written off by others. Students displayed posters showing the work that they do with their field agencies. The celebration was topped off with lots of reminiscing about "old times" (even though it's not so long ago...), great food, wine, and music by one of our own students. Thanks to all who helped prepare for this moment.

For Photos, click here.

November 22, 2003
Quote of the Day - Jefferson

"I am certainly not an advocate for frequent changes in laws and constitutions. But laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind. As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths discovered and manners and opinions change, with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also to keep pace with the times. We might as well require a man to wear still the coat which fitted him when a boy as civilized society to remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors."

Taken from a letter from Thomas Jefferson to Samuel Kercheval, July 12, 1816

November 25, 2003
Social Work in London

Job Opportunity
The United Kingdon has great need for Social Workers. Jobs are available NOW for Undergraduate and Graduate students in Social Work. London Qualified Social Workers will find the job for you and assist you in finding a place to live. If you are interested in an opportunity to work in London please check out the web site and call for more information! International Social Work www.lqsw.com Telephone 1-727 3981205, 17273190902 or email info@lqsw.com Immediate Jobs available outside London. CD available SO284.

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