Why do we have a system where less support is provided for a family trying to care for their own child than for a foster family to care for the same child?
As a foster/adoptive parent myself I appreciate that support, but how much less need would there be for foster families if the parents were provided with the services needed - sometimes desperately sought but denied.
A mother tonight is trying to deal with pain of having her child placed in the foster care system because she loves him enough to make sure he gets the care he needs. The immediate need is for his safety and the safety of those around him.
He has had a long history of hospitalizations, several cut short because insurance ran out. One time in particular I remember, he had to be sedated so that he could be taken to the car, and all the while staff was telling the family he no longer needed hospitalization. He was in a residential placement, but was suddenly sent home several months before the projected date.
At this point his family sleeps, when they can, behind locked doors.
When his mother asked again for help from the Dept. of Social Services (specifically for residential treatment) she was told there was no help available due to budget cuts. However a therapeutic foster family can be paid for his care, along with respite care for that foster family, free childcare provided for the foster family, free treatment options, and eventually residential placement if the therapeutic family proves not to be a viable option. Which, at this point, we all know is going to happen. At least all of us who have worked for the last three years trying to provide all the help and stability for him that we could.
In the meantime, mom goes home, made to feel like a horrible parent, to wait for the call saying her child is now going to live in someone else's home. After all these years of struggle her attempts to provide the best she could, to find the help they both needed, and the scars of her fight, are being treated with contempt. In her head she knows she has tried to do everything possible yet her heart aches and she feels beaten down.
"We can't help you" rings in her ears. "How can you give up your own child?", "You're going to have to pay child support." You may not see him for a long time." "It may take years to get custody back if you do this."
Tonight I'm praying for a reprieve, for a way, for an opening of eyes, ears and hearts. I'm praying for strength, wisdom and comfort for this mother and her son. I'm praying for a mother to be able to keep the son she loves.