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Children enter foster care after experiencing abuse or neglect. While they are in the care of a foster family, child protection workers are working with their birth family so they can be safely reunified. At, we support the goal of reunification, and we work with foster families who share this same value. But, we also understand the concept of reunification can be challenging to those first learning about foster care. We’re often asked, “Why would a foster family be hopeful for children to return to their birth family?”
Answering this question almost always requires a shift in perspective. It’s important we focus on people for who they really are, and not define them by only the worst (or best) thing they’ve done. As an example, it’s easy to label someone a “bad parent” for leaving young children home alone. Yet, if we look closely, we may find a single mom with no support system who can no longer afford daycare after her car breaks down. She’s not a “bad parent,” she’s a mother who loves her children and made the difficult decision to leave them home alone so she can go to work and provide for the family.
Children need adults they can rely on to keep them safe and ensure they feel loved. We never make excuses for situations that make children vulnerable, but learning to recognize the contributing factors helps us change our perspective and see families in crisis as not so different from ourselves.
So, why do we root for birth families? Our families and staff root for birth families because we see the inherent worth and potential of these moms and dads; we see how much their children need them to be healthy and whole; and we know God has called us to root for restoration – not failure.shared, “Children love their family. Even if it isn’t safe for them to return, a child’s birth family will always be a part of their story. Throughout their life, they’ll want and need to know about this important part of their identity.” Respecting a child’s birth family is one of the best ways for foster and adoptive families to show respect to a child and children thrive when they see the most important people in their life working together.
Every day, PCHAS families go above and beyond to show care for birth families through small acts of kindness, mentoring, and even co-parenting. Later this month we’ll share about how we root for birth families. We hope you’ll check back and read about the compassion and love our families show every day. You can even follow