Should the Goal of Foster Care Really Be Reunification? Part II
When Marie’s child was in foster care, she was sure she would never get him back. Raised with only generational trauma as her example, Marie desperately needed support to make a different future for her family.
How did support make the difference?
- New caseworker had a goal of reunification: Marie’s new caseworker, Frankie, introduced herself by saying, “My job is to reunify families.” More importantly, Frankie believed in her. Marie said, “One person can make all the difference!”
- GAL / CASA took time to encourage her to have a different life: Rachel, Marie’s Guardian Ad Litem / CASA, showed her that her life didn’t have to be this way!
- PreTrial Intervention: Marie’s PTI (Pretrial Intervention) contact kept her motivated with tough love by reminding her, “You’re not ever going to get your son back if you relapse.”
- Sponsor gave life-changing advice: Marie’s sponsor gave her advice to “play the tape back to the end.” Marie “end of the tape” is realizing that “one shot of dope” would likely lead to her boys on the floor in dirty diapers, eating stale cereal, and DSS would come in and take her boys. “That will never happen again,” she resolves.
- NA (Narcotics Anonymous) provided addiction management: NA was a support group that helped Marie recognize she wouldn’t be cured of her addiction but she would be able to manage her addiction.
- Therapist taught self-care: She now has a therapist that helps motivate her to take care of herself so she can take care of her boys. Marie said, “In order to take care of baby, you have to care of mom.”
- Moms Matter showed another way to live: Now she’s a part of Moms Matter, with Fostering Great Ideas. She describes the peer-to-peer support group as “life.” The group shows another way to live and shows moms how to take ownership of their role in a child ending up in foster care. Marie says of Dena and the girls there, “They’re my family. It’s nonjudgmental. It’s a game changer.”
To those who struggle with the idea of reunification, she said, “You supporting me doesn’t take anything away from that child. You supporting me gives everything to that child.”
With a strong support system, Marie and her boys have a brighter future ahead. Marie is working hard to get her GED. Additionally, she’s a strong member of the Moms Matter community, helping to mentor other moms. Ultimately, she wants to go back to school to become an advocate for other moms just like her.
If spread, this story and the Moms Matter program has the ability to change more than one mom’s life. It can change hearts, offer hope to a broken system, and even stop the cycle of generational trauma.
Watch her full story here.