Thursday, February 28, 2013

Birmingham Adoption Orientation - March 5

We are having a free Adoption Orientation in the Birmingham area!

Tuesday, March 5
6 - 8pm
Children's Aid Society
2141 14th Avenue South
Birmingham, AL 35205
Driving Directions

This orientation is for those who would like to receive more information about adoption and also for those ready to begin the process. You are welcome to ask specific questions and take a look at pictures/biographies of some of the Alabama children who are available for adoption and currently awaiting forever families.

Currently, there are more than 280 children in foster care in Alabama who are awaiting a loving and caring adoptive home. Many have never felt the warmth and joy that comes from a forever family. Most have been placed in agency custody due to parental neglect or physical abuse. The good news is that the lives of these children can be brightened forever by just one person -YOU!

For more information, please contact Theresa Cook at or 205-943-5331.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Special Education Advocate Academy - March 9

The Special Education Advocate Academy is training for families of children with disabilities ages birth through 21 years of age with Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) or 504 plans. The Academy will provide information to help parents understand educational law, policy, and practice to ensure better educational outcomes for their school-age children with disabilities or special healthcare needs. Parents will develop an understanding of IDEA, the Alabama Code, the ADA, Section 504, and effective advocacy skills, to participate effectively in the educational process of their child.

When: Saturday March 9, 8:30am - 4:30 pm
Where: APEC 10520 US Highway 231, Wetumpka, AL 36092
Registration Deadline: Thursday March 7
Call 334-567-2252 or 866-532-7660 to register
Cost: Free / Lunch provided

Learn more at

Thursday, February 21, 2013

February 21, 1913: Children's Aid Society Begins

{image: CAS}

In the early 1900's, a group of prominent Birmingham citizens concerned about the welfare of children in our community met to discuss the need for an organization to care for dependent and neglected children in Jefferson County. With their leadership, Children’s Aid Society was incorporated on February 21, 1913.

Surviving and thriving… do we address basic needs, tend to crises and immediate challenges, and not lose sight of the greater purpose that brings us together to work for common good? These are issues with which we struggle as we have dealt with the realities of Alabama’s complexities these past few years. Hope has seemed elusive at times. Yet as an agency reaching out to those in the midst of life’s worst moments, we must continue to shed light in the darkest of times and not lose faith in the ability to face adversity again and again. The gift of longevity in leaders and in agencies like ours is having experienced the ebb and flow of all life forces; times of good fortune; times of mother nature’s amazing beauty and cruel destruction; times of deep mourning and loss; times of hopelessness; times of marvelous joy and celebration; times of fear; times of dread; and times of taking a leap of faith in the midst of it all.

Surviving and thriving… does an agency like Children’s Aid Society exist for 100 years? CAS survived through the great Depression, and saved the lives of many orphaned children in desperate need. Children’s Aid Society was actively serving families before the Department of Pensions and Security was created and later named the Department of Human Resources. CAS was a founding member of the Community Chest in the mid 1920’s, which eventually became United Way of Central Alabama. Children’s Aid Society was a founding member of the Child Welfare League of America, a nationwide membership organization that has become a leader in advancing the care and treatment of children, youth, and families. In the 1920’s, the social workers at CAS were concerned about not having enough milk from the agency’s cow for the orphaned children. Today, the staff at Children’s Aid are concerned about all of the children and teens in need of life-giving and loving families. Children’s Aid Society has witnessed and participated in the advancement of knowledge and of society, yet some common threads concerning basic human needs are still as prevalent today as they were in 1913.

Surviving and thriving….we hope you will continue to be a part of this journey in shaping Children's Aid Society for the next 100 years and helping us to do the best work we can in making a lasting difference in the lives of those young ones who need us the most.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Free Training: Working With Adopted Adolescents - Dr. Gregory Keck

Alabama Pre/Post Adoption Connections (APAC), a program of Children's Aid Society, is proud to present this FREE training with recognized expert Dr. Gregory Keck. This workshop will address issues associated with typical adolescent development and will examine those within the context of adoption. It will address identity formation, separation and individuation, and dependency vs. independency for all adolescents, but will focus on the variations in these processes for adoptees.

Continuing Education Credits 
5.5 CEUs
Note: Social Work and Counseling CEUs cost $45.00. 

CAS is an approved CEU provider by the Alabama Board of Social Work Examiners and National Board for Certified Counselors. Our ABSWE # is 0039 and our NBCC # is 6459.

Wednesday, March 13 
Renaissance Montgomery Hotel
201 Tallapoosa Street
Montgomery, AL 36104

Thursday, March 14
Cahaba Grand Conference Center
3660 Grandview Parkway
Birmingham, AL 35243

8-9am: Check-In
9am-4:30pm: Training
lunch on your own 

Learning Objectives 
• Identify typical adolescent developmental tasks
• Recognize specific processes that are unique for adoptees
• Help parents understand developmental dynamics of the adopted adolescent
• Intervene with adolescents and their families in an adoption sensitive manner

• Adolescent Assumptions
• Autonomy Seeking
• Identity Formation
• Transcultural and Transracial Adoption
• Dependence vs. Independence
• Parenting Pearls…
• Attachment vs. Separation
• Complex Trauma
• Attachment Interrupters
• Attachment Symptoms
• 7 Core Issues
• Synchronicity of Affect
• Ineffective Discipline
• Effective Strategies

If you have questions, please contact our training staff at or 866-207-8322.

Gregory C. Keck, PhD is the founder and director of the Attachment and Bonding Center of Ohio. Dr Keck specializes in working with adoptive families whose children experienced early trauma. He is also the co-author with Regina Kupecky, MAT, LSW of “Parenting the Hurt Child: Helping Adoptive Families Heal and Grow”, (2009), and “Adopting the Hurt Child: Hope for Families with Special Needs Kids”, (2009). He also authored "Parenting Adopted Adolescents: Understanding and Appreciating Their Journeys", (2009). He is involved in training regarding attachment disorders, both nationally and internationally.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Using Play To Heal Kids and Facilitate Bonding

Research has consistently shown the value of play for children.  "All learning – emotional, social, motor and cognitive – is accelerated and facilitated by repetition fueled by the pleasure of play" (Perry, Hogan & Marlin, 2009).  Children's brains grow and develop significantly in utero and during the first three years of life.  The early years of life have a significant impact on children and it is becoming increasingly clear that it is the experiences of early childhood that play a key role in determining the foundational organization and capabilities of the brain (Schore, 1997; Perry, 1994).

Regretfully, many adopted children, who were in orphanages, or suffered severe abuse and neglect during these formative years, may experience the life long effects of this trauma.  This can make bonding to adoptive parents difficult and challenging, for both the children and their adoptive parents.  After all, play is one of the primary components of bonding for infants and caregivers and stimulates brain development.

Most infants delight in playing a game of peek-a-boo or patty-cake and counting the little piggies on their toes. This shared fun is a catalyst in facilitating bonding between the new parents and baby.  But, as research continues to prove, and adoptive parents continue to experience first-hand, lack of this social engagement impacts children significantly later in life.

Play can be a great catalyst for encouraging bonding with adoptive children.  There are various play therapy approaches that parents can be trained in to use at home with their children, including Theraplay approaches and Filal Play Therapy.  In Filal play therapy, the parents are trained to be the "therapist" for the children.  In Theraplay, healthy interactions of early parent/child relationships are replicated to promote bonding/attachment.  Some ideas for interventions at home are below: 
  • Commit to a special "play date" with your child on a regular basis (example, twice per week for 30 minutes).
  • Allow the child to choose the activities within set boundaries.
  • Allow the child to lead the play while you provide empathic and tracking responses (i.e. "The baby doll is crying. He must be really sad.").
  • Set limits in the play only as needed to ensure safety. 
  • Verbalize how much you enjoy spending time with your child 
As outlined above, play is a great contributor for healing hurt children, and encouraging bonding.  Research indicates that children learn more from free play, than through organized, structured activities during the early years of life.  Being a parent is challenging, and often adoptive parents face  unexpected challenges due to a child's early history of neglect or trauma.  The therapeutic power of play is well documented, whether it is used in a therapeutic context by  a trained play therapist, or with parents at home.  

Ideas for Family Games  
Checkers: Label your checker with little gestures of caring:
  • A kind word 
  • A good deed 
  • A hug 
  • A smile 
When your checker is captured by your opponent you owe them the caring act.

Candy Land: This simple, childhood game that most families own can be used to teach children (and allow them to practice) social skills.  Skills such as taking turns, following directions, practicing patience, and communicating effectively are all utilized when playing a fun game of Candyland!

 Jenga: Before playing Jenga mark each block with a question to promote family communication. Cater the questions to your family needs or child’s situation. When a player removes a block from the tower, he or she must answer the question attached. This will create a fun game of family anticipation and communication.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Madison Adoption Orientation

We are having an Adoption Orientation in the Madison area!

Monday February 18
6:00pm - 8:00pm
Lamb of God Lutheran Church
11716 County Line Road
Madison, AL 35758
Driving Directions

Our Alabama Pre/Post Adoptions Connections program is hosting an orientation for those who would like to receive more information about adoption and also for those ready to begin the process. You are welcome to ask specific questions and take a look at pictures/biographies of some of the Alabama children who are free for adoption and currently awaiting forever families.

Currently, there are approximately 280 children in foster care in Alabama who are awaiting a loving and caring adoptive home. Many have never felt the warmth and joy that comes from a forever family. Most have been placed in agency custody due to parental neglect or physical abuse.

The good news is that the lives of these children can be brightened forever by just one person - YOU!

If you have questions, please contact Amy Kenney, LCSW, PIP at 334-409-9477 or

Monday, February 4, 2013

Camp APAC 2013: For Adopted Kids

Alabama Pre/Post Adoption Connections (APAC), a collaborative program of CAS and Alabama DHR, would like to invite your family to be a part of our 10th Annual Camp APAC. This wonderful event is for adopted children ages 9 to 18, along with their siblings (birth and foster siblings living in the same household). Children in permanent custody of DHR with a plan of adoption by their current placement are also eligible to attend.

This year’s camp will be held June 18-21 at Camp ASCCA in Jackson’s Gap, Alabama. Camp APAC costs only $250 for 4 great days of fun! This fee is completely waived for families who have at least one camper applicant adopted from foster care.

Camp APAC staff include social workers and other trained and qualified adults to work with and supervise your child around the clock. Licensed nurses are also on duty to administer medications and provide for any medical needs that may arise.

The amenities at Camp ASCAA are outstanding and sure to enhance the fun and safe environment provided for each camper! You can learn more about Camp ASCCA by visiting



CAMPER ACCEPTANCE: Camp APAC camper acceptance is prioritized by several factors. They include consideration of camp budget constraints and a balanced population; ratio of age, gender, county of residence, type of adoption (public/private) and racial diversity.

Camp APAC is designed for children with AND without special needs. Children with physical, mental or educational difficulties are encouraged to apply. However, consideration for acceptance is given when one-on-one special care or attention is not required.

STAFF APPLICATIONS: Applications to serve as a staffer at Camp APAC 2013 will be available in late February. Like us on Facebook or Follow us on Twitter to receive updates!