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Children and Youth Services Review Volume (issue): 23 (9-10) 2001 Free Sample Issue

Generations of Hope: An Intergenerational Model for Foster Care and Adoption

Guest Editors, Brenda Krause Eheart and David Hopping (University of Illinois)

 

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Generations of hope    675 -- 682
Brenda Krause Eheart, David Hopping

Generations of Hope
In May of 1994 a strikingly innovative foster/adoption program was launched in a small town in central Illinois . Utilizing housing on a converted Air Force base, Generations of Hope (then called Hope for the Children) established an intergenerational neighborhood composed of senior citizens, foster-adoptive families, and a small staff. The purpose of the program is to facilitate the adoptions of children who are seemingly trapped in the foster care system, and to support them throughout their childhood. Early in its evolution Hope set up a partnership with the University of Illinois , and now maintains a research and policy program in the Institute for Government and Public Affairs on the Urbana campus. This volume of CYSR features some of the research and reflections emerging from this initiative.

Generations of Hope
Hope meadows: In the service of an ideal 683 -- 690
David Hopping, Martha Bauman Power, Brenda Krause Eheart

The structure, capacity, and function of the Hope intergenerational model is examined: its structure around a core paradigm of mutual intergenerational support, its organizational capacity to arrest socio-emotional drift, and its main function, which is to buffer tensions and ensure that its non-traditional view of foster children prevails in a very traditional world of social service.
From despair to care: A journey of the old and the young at Hope Meadows 691 -- 718
Brenda Krause Eheart, Martha Bauman Power

Using interpretive ethnographic methods, we examine how living at Hope Meadows benefits both foster children and senior citizens. We (re)tell the stories of some of the residents focusing on the everyday and special signs of care that were given and received. It is these signs of care that serve as the foundation for meaningful relationships between the seniors and the children. We identify social capital and story telling as key elements that contribute to the construction and maintenance of this caring community. Through these mutual caring relationships, the old and the young help each other journey from despair to care.
Crisis in a foster home: The need for a caring community 719 -- 742
Martha Bauman Power, Brenda Krause Eheart

Using an interpretive ethnographic framework, we investigate how being in a caring community benefits foster children and their families during a time of crisis. Through (re)telling the stories of the untimely death of Carl Connor, a parent of four foster children, we examine the community of Hope Meadows as the site where the activities of caring occurred. Presenting care as a set of relational and moral practices, we describe how care is facilitated by the purpose, as well as the physical and social dimensions, of Hope Meadows. The stories of Carl Connor’s death provide a foundation for a gendered theory of moral community.
Between victim and victimizer: The narrow corporeal path of being a foster child 743 -- 759
Niranjan S. Karnik

Foster children in the U.S. welfare system exemplify an archetypal category of victim. Many of these children undergo a transformation from victim to victimizer. This process is rooted in experiences of the body that track in parallel with each child’s individual biography. By following in detail the case of one boy, Michael, and the narrative of his body, it is possible to see the ways that child welfare institutions and the formal protocols they create, act to push Michael’s body from the category of victim to that of victimizer. Institutional attempts to control and observe the bodies of foster children thus show elements of a Foucauldian universe that additionally constructs the bodies of young males as potential weapons.
Categories of control: Foster children and ADHD 761 -- 780
Niranjan S. Karnik

This paper explores the ways in which foster children and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) intersect as social and medical categories. Through the method of interpretive biography based on the official case file, this paper shows how the experiences of violence and ADHD become linked in the child’s life through the emotion of anger. In this way, it is possible to see how the power dynamics of the medical, educational and welfare systems lock the diagnosis with its embedded meanings into the child’s life. It is also possible to see how counter forces like a caring foster family can challenge medical and welfare authorities.
Building collective capacity: New challenges for management-focused evaluation 781 -- 804
David Hopping

A crucial dimension of the Generations of Hope program model is concerned with developing the capacity of a small community of neighbors to arrest and reverse the socio-emotional drift of children in State care. It is important to specify how this actually is accomplished so that evaluation can inform management decisions, but conventional formulations of process and outcome are not adequate to deal with the complexity involved. This paper introduces some new constructs and analytic techniques designed to track this complexity and model the subtler effects of a novel approach to programming.
Reflections 805 -- 810
Martha Bauman Power, Brenda Krause Eheart


Two key lessons learned over the seven years of Hope’s existence are examined—that foster and adopted children must be looked at through a different lens, and that vulnerable children, caught between bureaucratic systems and family systems, must be buffered and provided with hope.

What the best and wisest parent wants for his own child, that must the community want for all its children.

- John Dewey, 1902

see also

Fragile Families and Welfare Reform: Part I

Child Welfare Research for the 21st Century Volume 22:9-10
Guest Editor,
Jane Waldfogel (Columbia University)

Challenges Implementing and Evaluating Child Welfare Demonstration Projects, (Numbers 6 and 7) forthcoming
Guest Editor, Devon Brooks (University of Southern California)

Assessing and Managing Risk in Child Protective Services Volume 23:1
Guest Editors, Aron Shlonsky and Eileen Gambrill

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