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Foster Care & AdoptionMentoring and Family Preservation
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Foster care is a full-time, all-in commitment to children while their birth family works to make their home and family environment safe. Ideally, issues are resolved within a year so children can reunify. Even though foster care is intended to be temporary, foster parents can still have a lifelong impact on children.
One way is through the relationship they build with the birth family. While children are in foster care, CPS is working with their family, including establishing boundaries around supervised visitation. When it is safe, it’s ideal for the foster family and birth family to meet one another. Creating a positive and respectful relationship benefits everyone, especially the child. Sometimes in-person connections aren’t appropriate or possible, but even then, families can use a shared notebook or find other ways to communicate. We should never underestimate the ways children benefit from positive co-parenting.
When children return home, any future communication and relationship are at the discretion of their birth family. Even when they understand their role well, it’s hard for foster families to reconcile feelings of loss when they lose all contact with children they’ve grown to love. Yet, when a positive relationship is formed while children are in care, birth families are much more likely to invite foster parents to continue playing a role in the lives of their children.
As these relationships grow, it should be no surprise that our loving and compassionate foster families have become a support system for many birth families, even after children are reunified. One birth mother refers to a PCHAS foster parent as her mentor. As she worked to complete the requirements of her court-ordered plan, her child’s foster parents went so far as to lend her a computer so she could apply for jobs. Years after her children returned home, they are still part of each other’s lives, regularly talking about the kids and everyday life.
Another set of birth parents had seen their children thriving with their foster family and realized that their kids needed to maintain this important relationship. The foster family was honored when they were asked if they’d stay in touch and become a part of the family’s support system.
"We often see our foster families going above and beyond, not because it is easy, but because it is best for children,” Bliss Williams, Dallas/Fort Worth Foster Care & Adoption Program Director shares, “We’re united in our goals to help children find permanency and families achieve self-sufficiency. We do this by striving to serve like Jesus. One of the best ways our foster families live this out is showing compassion and respect for birth families.”
Fostering changes the lives of children and families, and it can change yours, too. If you have ever thought about becoming a foster parent, we want to connect with you. Call 512-212-5700 or Join an Online Info Session to learn more.