Child Welfare in the 21st Century

  • June 2012
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Novel idea!? ….duh and ‘shame on us’?

Posted by lboyd544 on June 24, 2012

Last week while in Washington, DC, I attended a briefing on Capitol Hill recognizing June as Reunification Month. You see, we have Adoption Month (April), Foster Care Month, (May), and now Reunification Month.

Why? You may wonder…as did I at first. However, I am now a vocal proponent!
Indeed, when children are adopted, we celebrate. Families, nuclear and extend, cheer and gather to celebrate and announce this new family! As they should! Judges close the courthouse to other business of litigation and ‘consternation’ to protect the excitement and success of an adoption process. As an adoptive mother, I have always been a vocal proponent.

But what about those families whose children were taken from them for some action (or inaction) on the part of the parents, and for some recognition of lack of safety for the child to remain in their home.

It is at least as difficult a path to be able to reunify a family, perhaps more so, than to adopt. Consider that parent who is now gainfully employed and providing for their family as best they can, or the parent who has ceased substance abuse and is working a daily program. What about the parent who left a situation of domestic violence and is learning to make healthy, independent decisions for self and children. What about the parent with mental health issues who is faithful to their treatment program no matter how difficult the day-to-day may be.

Our courts and our public child welfare systems see more reunifications in a year than they do adoptions. And just imagine the work involved for those parents who do earn the right to have their children returned.
Surely, we should be celebrating these victories! In our courts, in our offices, in our homes, in our communities. I will be suggesting to our judges that they can (and should) close court proceedings to celebrate these ‘renewed’ families in the same way they celebrate adoptions. I will be encouraging foster care agencies – public and private – to create opportunities to gather families and celebrated these successes.

These ARE successes! Hard won, most times! They deserve our applause also…not our judgement. Let’s get involved!

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One Response to “Novel idea!? ….duh and ‘shame on us’?”

  1. Came across this post yesterday — I totally agree!! That’s what we do here at Family Builders — re-train parents to provide safe, loving, nurturing homes for their children. It is very hard work. Most of our clients grew up in abusive, violent homes and are repeating the cycle because they don’t know any other way. They love their children, they just don’t know how to do or be any different. We should celebrate those reunifications! I would love to talk with you more about that

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