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Right Turn looks for community input on post-adoption services

September 28, 2018

Officials at Right Turn are on a mission to gather community feedback and suggestions on post-adoption services through a roundtable discussion happening from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Oct. 9 at the Columbus Public Library.

“We want to be responsive and improve services,” said Amy Durie, director of Right Turn, an organization established in 2010 created by Lutheran Family Services and Nebraska Children’s Home Society to provide statewide support to Nebraska’s adoptive and guardianship families.

Durie said she’s been hosting these discussions in various communities within the state in hopes of identifying the needs of each region to enhance existing services. She said these services are important to ensure healthy parent-child relationships among adoptive families, guardians and foster children.

“We are doing a whole needs assessment,” she said.

According to the Child Welfare League of America, 533 children were legally adopted in 2015 through a public child welfare agency in Nebraska, which was a 15.6-percent increase from the previous year.

Durie said many people have the impression once a foster child is adopted, his or her problems automatically go away. In reality, Durie said, the majority of foster children have traumatic experiences, which can include having to transfer through several homes, losing their sense of trust, attachment and self-identity, as well as experiencing profound loss even before entering the system. These experiences tend to be carried on as baggage even after they’ve been adopted, she said.

“Because it takes time to build a relationship with them,” she said.

Durie said many guardians and adoptive families reach out to the organization seeking support for their child’s mental health and behavior.

The organization provides in-home family support where mental health professionals and caseworkers help families enhance relationships, in addition to workshops, training and events.

Due to sufficient capital, Durie said the organization is able to provide funding for mental health care, scholarships and daily amenities.

Kathy O’Hara Brehm, director of public relations of Lutheran Family Services, said the roundtable discussion also acts as an entryway to local resources and services, on top of it being an educational session for community members.

“I think it’s just understanding that professionals, adoptive parents and families, in general, can benefit from discussions like this,” Brehm said.

Brehm said it’s a safe environment to ask questions, letting people know where to find support, as well as building a network among professionals, adoptive families and community members.

“Just letting people know it’s okay to reach out and ask questions,” said Brehm, highlighting that she understands it is oftentimes tough for people to reach out for help.

Durie said she hopes to see stakeholders, mental health professionals, adoptive families and members of the Department of Homeland Security attend to provide input on the subject matter.

“I would like to hear from them,” she said.

Admission is free and it includes lunch.

Those wishing to attend the roundtable discussion are encouraged to register at www.rightturnne.org.

Columbus Public Library is at 2504 14th St.

Natasya Ong is a reporter for The Columbus Telegram. Reach her via email at natasya.ong@lee.net.

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