Southern Region 2005 • Vol. 1 Our Kids Many kinds of threads weave the Muehlfeld family fabric The life that Art and Jannean ately felt like a perfect match. As time older siblings. Their trip was a suc- Muehlfeld have with their four chil- passed, there were some indications cess since the Muehlfelds met new dren includes two daughters through from the caseworkers that the girls “friends” who would soon become adoption, two sons from a previous would become available for adoption. family. marriage, several foster children who The Muehlfelds loved these girls and returned home and birth family grand- were prepared to make a lifetime In November, the Muehlfelds moved parents. All of these threads woven commitment to them. At that point, into their dream home, allowing each together with love, perseverance and they had been together for more than child their own bedroom. They moved respect create a unique and in the night before Thanksgiving beautiful family. and were overwhelmed by all they had to be thankful for. That had not always been the case. When Art and Jannean Before 2002 was over the were married, Jannean was Muehlfelds were honored to thrilled to become a new wife adopt Marissa and Holly in and a stepmother to two terrif- December. The adoption was ic boys, Eric and Greg. After even more special because mem- some time together they want- bers of the extended family ed to expand their family. They could also be present. The best considered many options and Christmas gift of all was not one prayed for guidance. Their under the tree, but a happy fami- prayers were answered in the ly wrapped up in one another. Art and Jannean Muehlfeld (center) have built a form of Dave Morris, a family family that includes their daughters by adoption, Later, family and friends met at friend who works for DCFS. sons by marriage, grandparents and birth famiy the Cornerstone Christian Church He explained that there were members to celebrate the “new kids in the area who needed Muehlfelds.” foster care resources, and that sometimes the foster care placements three years and all family members They’re not so new anymore, but they led to adoptions. were strongly attached to each other. still work hard to build family connec- tions. They now stay in contact with The Muehlfelds decided this was the Everything was building up momen- birth family through letters, pictures path to follow. The Muehlfelds began tum, and the stage was set to make and occasional visits. But there is no their fostering career with great 2002 an incredible year for memories. place like home. The Muehlfelds expectations and were happy when That summer the family took their claim a verse from a Dr. Suess book children in their care were returned to first plane ride, traveling to Las Vegas. called “My Nest is Best” as their fam- their birth families. In 1999, two little The stakes were unusually high. The ily theme song. “I Love My House! I girls named Marissa and Holly were Muehlfelds were taking Marissa and Love My Nest! In All the World, My placed in their home and it immedi- Holly to visit their grandparents and Nest is Best.” Our Kids • Regional 2 Volume 1 • 2005 Foster parent sees impact of Meth labs meth abuse and offers help endanger In more than 30 years of child wel- the user, the children, the families and children fare experience Larry Johnson, the communities. The Southern region is seeing an Director of Lutheran Social Services “As a new foster parent, and family increase in youth entering foster in Southern Illinois has never seen a member of a meth addict, I was over- care along with the rise in meth use drug problem escalate as quickly as whelmed. I had no training in foster and production. According to the methaphetamine or “meth.” As a care, didn’t know much about Partnership for a Drug-Free result, the number of children coming guardianship, court proceedings, the America, at least 20 percent of the into foster care has been rapidly many medical procedures, or how to meth labs seized in 2004 had chil- growing in Southern Illinois. deal with the psychological prob- dren present. Children can be lems,” said the aunt. harmed directly by coming into con- In a seven-month period placements tact with the drug and also indirect- at his agency skyrocketed from about Fortunately, there was help at an ly through accidents or violence 90 children in care to 160. Those upcoming meth awareness confer- connected with use of the drug. numbers became personal for an area ence. The well-intentioned relative foster parent now taking care of her was asked to join a committee made • Because meth can be absorbed sister’s two children after her arrest up of southern Illinois service through the skin, young children for operating a meth lab in their providers in law enforcement, med- can pick up the drug from touching home. ical and the human service fields. The surfaces or ingest it by putting group’s goal was to bring these agen- their fingers in their mouths. Methamphetmine is a toxic combina- cies together to begin the process of Toxic chemicals get into clothes, tion of anhydrous ammonia, pseu- implementing new strategies and food, utensils and floors, and they doepherine and lithium. Users are developing protocols that will help resist normal cleaning. attracted to the drug because of its communities deal with and combat cheap availability and euphoric the epidemic. The efforts centered on • Meth use can diminish the user’s effects. Methaphetamine affects more medical/environmental issues, crimi- appetite so that parents aren’t com- than just the users - it affects the nal justice, children/family concerns pelled to maintain food in the entire family unit. and treatment. house, leading to neglect. They can also fall into “crash sleeps” “On February 13 my sister was bust- Included in the mission was the cre- that could last for days, leaving ed for operating a meth lab in her ation of a coalition that would contin- children unsupervised. home. Unfortunately, her two chil- ue the process after the conference dren were also present. At the time was over. The Southern Illinois Meth • Increased sex drive is a symptom my family had strong suspicions that Awareness Coalition (SIMAC) will of meth use, which can expose she was involved with meth due to keep the momentum going. children to sexual activity or make her actions and appearance. We them vulnerable to sexual abuse. knew very little about the drug and its Four hundred and fifty people were impact on users,” said the relative trained at the conference held at John • According to the Office for caregiver, who wishes to remain A. Logan College. The conference Victims of Crime, 15 percent of anonymous. was very beneficial to the participants meth labs were discovered as a whose lives had been affected by result of a fire or explosion. On the midnight drive to the DCFS meth. The coalition still has more office to pick up the kids, she began work to do and more assistance to • Meth users can experience para- to realize how horrible it had to be for offer. For more information, contact noid periods that have led parents them. The entire family has learned Bill Blackman of the Illinois to harm their children following more than they ever cared to know Coalition for Community Services at meth-induced hallucinations. about meth, including its effects on (618) 658-7500. Volume 1 • 2005 Our Kids • Regional 3 Our Kids • Regional 4 Volume 1 • 2005 Southern Region Training Calendar FosterPRIDE In-Service Training Educational Advocacy All licensed foster parents and adoptive parents are welcome to attend (Two 3-hour sessions = 6 training hours) PRIDE In-Service Trainings to enhance their skills and meet yearly training requirements. It is mandatory for one foster parent in each family to attend this training in order to be re-licensed. Educational Advocacy is offered following Module 1 - Foundation for Meeting the Developmental Needs of Children at each FosterPRIDE/Adopt PRIDE training and many additional times. This Risk (four 3-hour sessions =12 hours) six hour course covers information foster parents need to know so that Module 2 - Using Discipline to Protect, Nurture and Meet Developmental they can advocate for their foster children’s educational rights and needs. Needs (three 3-hour sessions = 9 hours) Module 3 - Module 3 was combined with Module 4 EAST ST. LOUIS AREA Module 4 - The Sexual Development of Children and Responding to Child DCFS Fairview Heights Office April 5 & 12 (Tues) Sexual Abuse (three 3-hour sessions = 9 hours) 10251 Lincoln Trail, Ste. 3 6:30 p.m. - 9:30 p.m. Module 5 - Supporting Relationships Between Children and Their Families (three 3-hour sessions = 9 hours) May 7 & 14 (Sat) Module 6 - Working As A Professional Team Member (three 3-hour ses- 9:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. sions = 9 hours) Module 7 - Promoting Children’s Personal and Cultural Identities (two 3- June 8 & 15 (Wed) hour sessions = 6 hours) 6:30 p.m. - 9:30 p.m. Module 8 - Promoting Permanency Outcomes (three 3-hour sessions = 9 hours) MARION AREA Module 9 - Managing the Fostering Experience (two 3-hour sessions = 6 Carbondale Ramada Limited June 11 (Sat) hours) 801 N. Giant City Road 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. Module 10 - Understanding the Effects of Chemical Dependency on Children and Families (five 3-hour sessions = 15 hours) Please contact the college in your From the Lending area for an updated Library schedule of in-service trainings. Surviving Your Adolescents-How to Marion area 618-536-7751 Manage and Let Go of Your 13-18 Year E. St. Louis area 618-650-3213 Olds by Thomas W. Phelan Regional V First Conference Most parents agree that living with a March 31- April 3, 2005 teenager is no picnic. There are times “Building Bridges” Kalamazoo, Michigan when you must bite your tongue as they push toward independence. Or, if you Illinois Foster and Adoptive Parent Association is joining Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin for a conference designed for adoptive, sense there is trouble, there are times foster and kinship families. when you must take charge. This Contact Gladys Boyd at 773-720-0669 or Regina Boyd at 708-568- book/audio cassette gives parents the skills 6263. Conference brochure is available at www.ofcaonline.org. in a step-by-step approach that will help them learn to manage teenage risk-taking, National Foster Parent Association “Back to the Future” learn what is normal adolescent behavior 35th Annual Education Conference and much more. Orange County, California 4 credit hours. May 6 - 14, 2005 800-557-5238 or www.NFPAinc.org Consult your Lending Library Catalog to For more information or to coordinate transportation from Illinois, borrow, or contact the training program in contact Gladys Boyd at 708-748-8670. your area for more information.