Darla Henry & Associates
In This Issue
GREETINGS to our new friends & champions of  3-5-7 Model(c) from the
California State Foster Parent Association!
The 3-5-7 Model
October 2014 

BOO!   (Did I scare you?)     

Greetings, and welcome to the 3-5-7 Model© Newsletter for October 2014!   In Chapter two of my book, The 3-5-7 MODEL A Practice Approach to Permanency: Stories of Hope and Healing for Children, Youth and Families, the word "fear" appears 18 times.  In child welfare work, fears are everywhere.  Families have fears (What if I can't be the kind of parent I want to be?), children have fears (What if never see my parents again?), and workers have fears (What if I can't help this family?).  This month, we hope to provide a few "tricks and treats" for you that will help address some of the fears that are common in our work.  


Movie Recommendation 


A recent Adoption at the Movies blog written by Addison Cooper  highlights the movie Earth to Echo, a movie that highlights a common fear of our youth, abandonment.  The movie features Tuck and his friend, Alex-who is in foster care.  Addison writes:


"Tuck expresses the film's message right before the end credits - that kids can do anything; that they're not powerless. But what I see as an even more pronounced message is that foster kids, while having real issues, challenges, losses and sadness, can be the bravest, most loyal, most forgiving, and most dependable of their peers, and they can turn their experiences outward into kindness to help others in similar situations. There are some sad and scary moments in this film, and so it should be pre-screened by parents of kids under 7, or parents of kids who have unresolved grief about loss or peril. However, this is a very positive film - especially, I think, positive for kids in foster care. I give it a high recommendation for foster families with kids between the ages of 8-14."


Visit the website for a list of follow up questions to discuss after viewing the film.

Focusing on Our Skills: Dealing with Common Fears of Workers


Common Fears of Workers Using the 3-5-7 Model©


For some workers, there may be fears that are associated with working with youth in a different way.  Will I say the right thing?  Will I cause more pain?  Will I be able to support the grief of another?  If you are new to implementing the 3-5-7 Model© here are some tips for you that can alleviate some of the fears associated with the work:


  • In general terms, be familiar with many different activities and always have with you materials such as stickers, paper, markers/crayons, beads, glue, scissors, actual pictures of child/youth/family life or magazines, and other various materials that child or youth can engage with.  Keep the materials within view of the child/youth/family.  
  • Remember that the pain of our youth is ever present, bringing it up will not create pain that is not already there.  Not validating the pain only causes our youth to feel abandoned, misunderstood and alone.  Trust in your ability to respond to youth who are expressing their painful feelings.
  • Don't avoid sharing information with youth.  There are many reasons that we don't want to tell our youth difficult information and all the reasons are related to fear- our fear of saying the wrong thing, doing the wrong thing, etc.  However, we know that not telling them only prolongs the inevitable and leads to feelings of betrayal when the child or youth realizes that we knew the information all along and did not share it.


One of the most important ways that a worker can overcome their fears is to seek consultation from someone who is skilled in the application of the 3-5-7 Model©.  When faced with challenges, workers often use more traditional methods to assist children and youth in the grieving process.  The approach of the 3-5-7 Model© differs from traditional casework practices and requires an alternate view/perception of behaviors.  This is why we use coaching in our program to support the work you are doing with youth and families.  To avoid "practice drift" from the 3-5-7 Model©, it is suggested that workers seek supervision from both peers and supervisors at regular intervals.


Fears of Youth in Foster Care


Adoption.com has some great information about the common fears of children entering foster care.  The blog on fears of youth in care also includes some advice for caregivers:


"Be aware of the fact that fear may cause poor behaviors. For example your child may disobey until you will "not" let them do some activity, like swimming (which you may do every Saturday) because she may be fearful of swimming (drowning) or not being able to perform well at it. If you are alert to possible fears, you may be able to minimize them. Don't force children to do something that causes them fear."

Read the complete article here.


Fears of Foster and Adoptive Parents


Foster and Adoptive Family Services Blog highlights some of the common fears that foster and adoptive families face and how to cope with them. 


"Foster parenting is not for the faint of heart. Dealing with the child welfare system, birth parents and the sometimes challenging behaviors of foster children can be overwhelming. There's a lot of uncertainty - many "what ifs" - when you're a foster parent."



Read the full article here:  


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P.O. Box 4847 Harrisburg, Pa 17111-0847
office@darlahenry.org   |   717-919-6286