DENVER (CBS4) – The Adoption Exchange is dedicated to finding permanency for older youth living in foster care. Their connection specialists work with the children, their case workers, their court advocate, and their therapists to find and develop relationships for the child with caring adults. A big part of the work is spending one-on-one time with the children, making their own connection. When the coronavirus starting shutting down businesses and non-profits, the Adoption Exchange’s Connection Specialists had to learn a new way to work.
“Can you not see me?” one youth said on a zoom call.
“Yea, I can see you,” said Cara Luckey, a Connection Specialist at the Adoption Exchange.
Like most workers in the U.S., Luckey is getting used to a virtual world.
“It can be kind of tough when you hear every other word,” she told CBS4.
Tele-visits have replaced the hours she spent driving and visiting in person with each of the 14 youth on her caseload.
“Play is a child’s language,” Luckey said. “We play together, we do fun things, they open up, and I’m able to learn a lot about what’s important to them.”
It’s those people who are important to them that is key. Those are the people that can give a child a feeling of permanency.
“Permanency in my mind is permanent supports. People who will commit to being a part of these kids’ lives,” Luckey explained.
When young people are living in foster care their lives can be unpredictable, so the connections that they make with Luckey, their case workers, and with their friends means everything to them. When the pandemic made those connections unpredictable too, their lives became more complicated.
“Some of these kiddos, they are trying to work through a lot of emotions and a lot of things, so it can be really frustrating for them,” Luckey said.
While she misses her in-person visits with her youths, Luckey has used the extra time to make some real progress.
“I was able to find a couple of biological fathers,” she said. “It was a miracle find.”
Coronavirus has changed the world almost overnight, but Luckey said that she’s learned new ways to be connected to the young people who need it the most.