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Our Kids


									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
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                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
                                                                               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.

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