We’re All in This Together: How Music and Singing Benefits Trauma-Affected Children

By Marc Bermann, Recruiter/Trainer
312.673.2755

With the summer months upon us and our thoughts turning to summer fun, it's important to revisit one of the simplest and most meaningful of human activities: music and singing.

Music is everywhere: on the radio, in movies and television shows, and as a backdrop when people shop or celebrate holidays and other milestones. Music is an integral part of cultures all over the world. Music can express emotions not otherwise easily communicated. It also provides a sense of community and belonging and can help unite divided people and sooth the stresses of everyday life.

Read more

November is National Adoption Awareness Month

by Marsha Raynes, Manager, Project Esther: The Chicago Jewish Adoption Network

November is National Adoption Awareness Month. For over two decades, this month has been designated as a time to shine a light on adoption and to bring attention to the number of children and youth in foster care waiting for permanent families. It is also a good opportunity to recognize the different options couples and individuals have to help build their families.

Read more

We're All in This Together: Six Phrases More Important Than 'I Love You'

by Marc Bermann, JCFS Foster Parent Recruiter and Support Specialist

1)  "I Appreciate You"......We often take friends and family for granted, especially when things are going well and we're not in a crisis. Where our children are concerned, both bio and foster, it's important to catch them doing something good and acknowledge how good we feel about that. Nothing makes children feel better than knowing they are appreciated by the people who are caring for them.

Read more

Become a Foster Parent and Help a Child with Special Needs

Jewish Child & Family Services works to find caring, qualified foster parents for Chicago-area children with special needs, supporting the families who welcome, love and guide these children…whether toward reunification with their families or adoption by new families.

Right now, the need for foster parents is greater than ever with nearly 400,000 children and youth who need stability, mentoring, love and care. There is no ideal profile of a foster parent--the demographics are broad and include single adults or coupled partners—and while the challenges are very real, the experience is also rewarding for both child and foster parent. But what exactly are "special needs" and what should a prospective foster parent know? The following are some frequently asked questions about parenting a child with special needs:

Read more

DCFS Cook County Permanency Enhancement Project Steering Committee

In August of 2014, Angelo Militello of the JCFS Skokie Office was asked to co-chair the DCFS Cook County Permanency Enhancement Project Steering Committee. This committee meets The Illinois Permanency Enhancement Project (PEP) began in 2007 as a partnership between IDCFS, the African American Family Commission, the IDCFS African American Advisory Council and Illinois State University, School of Social Work/Center for Adoption Studies. The goal of the initiative is to improve permanency outcomes and reduce racial disproportionality within the child welfare system, through local, community-driven solutions. Community “Action Teams” made up of child welfare service consumers, human service professionals, educators, judicial officers, and concerned citizens, meet on a monthly basis to develop programs, policies, and collaborative initiatives aimed at improving permanency outcomes for children.

Read more

Adoption and the Jewish Family

by Marsha Raynes, Director, Project Esther: The Jewish Adoption Network

November is National Adoption Month , intended to raise awareness of foster care adoption and a time to celebrate all families created through adoption.  Not that we have to wait for November – we can celebrate the diversity of Jewish families created through adoption throughout the year! 

Adoption is an honored way to create or add to a family.  Our Jewish text and traditions support this: As stated in the Talmud, “He who brings up a child is to be called its father, not he who gave birth” (Exodus Rabbah 46:5). “Whoever raises a child in his home, it is as if he had begotten him…Whoever teaches Torah to the son of his companion, Scripture considers it as if he begat him.” (Sanhedrin 19b)

Read more

The Importance Of Foster Parents

By Marc Bermann, Foster Parent Recruiter

There are approximately 20,000 children in foster care in the state of Illinois.

50% of them have chronic medical problems; 30% are victims of various forms of abuse and neglect. Many of them have significant issues of attachment and loss resulting from childhood trauma.

Prior to foster care, sometimes these children are removed from their home and taken into protective custody by the state.  They may be placed in a temporary shelter or substitute care with a relative. Biological parents can terminate their parental rights by choice or court mandate.

Read more