Fact: The Primary Goal of Foster Care is Family Reunification
Many people struggle with accepting the primary goal of foster care is family reunification. We recently posted a graphic on our social with this fact and boy did people have something to say.
We want to make sure that people understand that SAFE family reunification is the goal. The website Child Welfare Information Gateway finds that 3 out of every 5 children in foster care are reunified with family. Knowing this truth, we want to lift some of the myths behind reunification.
Why Work Towards Reunification?
There are so many misconceptions regarding foster care, one thing we always have to remember is that each case, each child, each family has a different story. Reunification does not happen 100% of the time but until a judge terminates parental rights, that is the goal.
As a foster parent for 4 years, most of the children we had reunified, and we chose to be a part of that. We got to know the biological families and helped them with their plans however we could. Some of them have become family to us. I think if bio families had the support and networks available to them that I did as a foster parent, many more would be successful in bringing their kids home. If possible, reunification is the best plan. Bio parents are not villains. Many have their own trauma to work through and need encouragement to succeed. It saddens me to see so much judgment against bio families. I challenge people who judge so easily to get to know the bio families. I think it would change many perspectives and make more people empathetic. – Jennifer Thompson Goldsmith
Reunification Helps the Entire Family
When we think about foster care, we often only think about the immediate family. The birth parents and child impacted are the main focus but what about the extended family? What about the siblings separated in care? Reunification may happen with other members of the child’s family too. So when you think about a child in care understand that there are people in their lives who are missing them and care. Giving a family the chance to reunite is important.
Being taken from your parents and siblings is extremely traumatic. No matter what the situation was, and how good their foster home might be, that child misses and longs for their family every minute of every day. I know because I lived it. If there is hope for unification with bio family… absolutely it should be worked toward. It doesn’t always work out, it didn’t for me, but yes it should be the goal. The pain of being separated from your family you bonded with is indescribable. Try to be more understanding. –Angie Rotolo
Foster Care is Here to Support Families
I’ve been a foster parent for 6 years. We’ve had one baby who was reunified and doing great! I’m proud of his dad! We had one kiddo who then went with siblings. I’m happy for her too! My two kiddos are adopted and I never was disrespectful to their mom I wrote to her weekly and sent pictures. Even though she did not choose to stay in their lives I think of her and pray for her daily. And I wish she would of had someone who helped her a long time ago when she was young. But that’s the risk you take when you foster- the goal is reunification and if you aren’t on board with that then it’s not right for you. It’s not easy at all – for anyone. –Jeni Lynn Peters
Continue to Support Children and Their Families
Foster care is complicated, everyone in the system is trying to navigate it as best they can. What we ask everyone is to offer kindness before judgment. We ask you to consider the goodness and help as you can because the children in care need us all.
Check out all the ways you can help with Together We Rise here.