Should the Goal of Foster Care Really Be Reunification?
If you find yourself struggling with the answer, you’re not alone. But if the goal of foster care really is reunification, shouldn’t the statistics bother us?
Nationally, only about 50% of parents reunify with kids in foster care. Of those, around 27% return to foster care after being reunified.
With the Fostering Great Ideas Moms Matter program, families have hope for a much higher success rate. In fact, we see positive reunification stories every day.
What makes the difference?
The difference between a high reunification success rate and a low one is offering support instead of isolation.
Take it from Marie, a mom who experienced first-hand the sharp contrast of a life of isolation vs. a strong support system.
Marie was an example of generational trauma. She recalled, “My dad was abusive. I always ended up with abusive guys. If he didn’t hit me and call me names, then he didn’t love me.”
When Marie ended up in an abusive relationship, she said, “I was just all alone in the world. And he liked girls who did drugs. And I wanted to be a girl that he liked. So I started using drugs.”
All of this led to the devastating day her child was removed from her while she was feeding him in the hospital.
As difficult as this time was, it was also the turning point. Slowly, Marie got the support system she never had. Or as Marie put it, her life was changed when people chose to “care about the monster.”
With the support of many, Marie did the hard work to get her child back: drug classes, parenting classes, PTI, Community service, domestic violence classes, working full time, saving all her money, going to two visits a week an hour away, got the place she has now, and lived out of her truck for 6 months in the dead of winter so she wouldn’t have to move in with a man to have a place to live.
Foster care is hard on everyone, including children, foster parents, caseworkers, and the children’s family. Sometimes it’s hard to support the idea of reunification.
But even though Marie often felt like a monster through the process of reunifying with her child, she asks more people to consider “caring about the monster.”
Watch her full story here.