Finding Support

All parents need places where they feel safe and supported. Many parents want help but fear opening up about their struggles and don’t know where to safely find support. If children are in foster care, parents may not know what services to ask for to help them heal. Parents write about the supports that have helped them feel safe, bond with their children, grow as people and parents, reunify with their children—and keep their children out of foster care.

Mothers share post-adoption grief

The grief parents suffer when they lose children to foster care and adoption is “invisible and often goes unacknowledged,” explains Toronto-based social worker Kathleen Kenny and parent advocate Sheryl Jarvis, who run a 15-week support group for women who use drugs and have experienced having one or more children removed or adopted.

Q: How would you compare the grief of a parent who loses a child to adoption to a parent whose child dies?

Jarvis: When a child … Read More

Act Now, Pay Later – When my son entered foster care, I couldn’t think, plan, or stay calm

Before my son entered foster care, I was working full time and going to school full time. I was known for multi-tasking. I never kept a calendar but I could make all appointments and never be late. I was on it. But once child welfare got involved in my life, things went sideways real fast.

After I lost my son, it was like I lost control over my body and mind. I couldn’t focus. I couldn’t … Read More

Healing the Hate and Hurt – How I learned to control my anger so my son could come home

Feeling powerless can make you feel angry. Angry is how I felt the whole three years my son was in foster care—and how I acted.

Finally, a worker took me aside and was straight with me. She told me that the way I was acting made the agency think I was the kind of person who would solve any problem with violence, and that made them think that it was not safe for me to have … Read More

Alone in the System – Would my son have come home sooner if someone had taken the time to know me?

I was 19 when I was arrested for hitting my 2-year-old son with a belt.

What I did wasn’t right and it wasn’t how I usually treated my son. Usually I loved him to death and spoiled him rotten. I had never hit him before. But that night my son got out of his crib and ran out of the apartment while I was taking a shower.

I felt so shocked and scared that I … Read More

Family Supports Save Lives – Research finds a link between investment in preventive services and reduced child deaths

When child welfare systems are forced to cut their budgets, often it’s preventive services that are hardest hit. The belief is that familysupports are nice if the government can afford them, but it’s investigations that prevent child deaths. But a 2012 study of 20 years of child deaths in Sacramento, Calif., found that cutting preventive services put children at risk—and wasted money.

Sheila Boxley of the Child Abuse Prevention Center, who headed the team that did … Read More