Caring for Older Children, from Foster Care through Permanency


Mark Leavell

Job Title

Licensed Clinical Social Worker


lecture, topical discussion


Foster and/or Adoptive Parents, Biological Families, Service Providers, Case Managers, Judges/Lawyers, Students, Advocates, Policy Makers

Presentation Summary:

Caring for Older Children, from Foster Care through Permanency examines the special issues encountered by older children who become involved with the child welfare system.  Older children experience foster care in ways that differ, in many ways, from the experiences of younger children.  Events and milestones that are considered by many to be rites of passage for teens, including driving, class rings, proms, dating and others may be impacted, delayed, or not occur at all if a child is in foster care.  This presentation focuses on the special issues older children face, and explores strategies for meeting these children’s needs, and connecting them with lifetime relationships and supports.

-       Attendees will learn and identify ways in which older children’s experiences of foster care and adoption differ from those of younger children, and will learn ways in which they can impact these differences in a positive way.

-       Protect and nurture children

-       Attendees will learn why sibling connections, family ties, friends, sexual development, sexuality, and other issues have led some to a mistaken view that many children are ‘unadoptable.  (Support relationships; meet developmental needs; protect and nurture).

-       Attendees will strategize ways to impact an older child in foster care at the personal, professional, and macro levels to improve outcomes for these children.  (Protect and nurture; meet developmental needs; support relationships; connect to safe and nurturing relationships; work as a member of a professional team)




Mark Leavell is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and co-owner of Dietchman, Leavell and Associates; a practice working with abused and neglected children, their birth parents, and the foster and adoptive families caring for them.   Mark worked for seven years as an alternative care worker with the Missouri Children’s Division, and for the past eleven years as a clinical social worker, providing therapy to abused and neglected children, their families, and caregivers.  Mark has certification to provide supervision for social workers earning clinical licensure, and he sees this as an important part of his practice.  Mark also provides specialized trainings to foster and adoptive parents caring for children with elevated needs, in a relaxed but dynamic style that has made him a popular trainer among foster parents in the area.  Finally, Mark is a proud parent of four children, two of whom were adopted out of the system as teenagers.