Adoption and Financial Assistance: Tools for Navigating the Bureaucracy

By Rita Laws; Tim O'Hanlon | Go to book overview

8
Adoptive Families As
Community Assets

Bureaucracy, the rule of no one, has become the modern form of despotism.

-- Mary McCarthy ( 1912-1989)


CAPACITY INVENTORIES: TOOLS FOR EMPOWERMENT

Adoptive and foster parents have a curious relationship with child welfare agencies. They are recruited as valuable resources for children needing homes. Then, once in the fold, their skills and experiences are often devalued. Agencies study, train, and certify families, yet rarely treat them as full partners. The considerable knowledge of adoptive and foster parents rarely plays an influential role in shaping major policy decisions or informing standards of practice.

A capacity inventory is a tool that family support groups can use to identify and mobilize the wealth of individual skills and talents that they possess. In addition to their years of experience in caring for children from all types of backgrounds, members of adoptive and foster family support groups routinely construct budgets, publish newsletters, organize events, counsel troubled parents, make referrals, and contribute a wide variety of other skills to their communities. A capacity inventory offers a more systematic approach to what most support groups are already doing, sharing their knowledge and skills.

At heart, a capacity inventory is a process for building relationships and partnerships by listing the skills and talents that individuals have and are willing to contribute and harnessing those skills in service of goals identified by the group.

-101-

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