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Co-parenting techniques help reunify mother, son

Florida Region: When Renzo was 7 years old, he was placed in foster care because he had no caregiver: his legal father was reportedly dead, his mother was incarcerated on a work-release program, and his reputed father was apprehended in Texas while attempting to kidnap Renzo and take him to Mexico.

Renzo was placed in a foster home in Lakeland, Fla., while his mother, Paula, maintained daily contact with him from her work-release program about three hours away. Renzo’s foster mother learned about “co-parenting” and used some of those techniques to help Renzo and Paula stay in direct contact.

When Paula completed her work-release program about nine months later, she moved back to be near Renzo in Highlands County. Paula immediately began supervised visitation with her son and was eager to obtain stable housing and employment so she could be reunified with him. Renzo’s foster parents helped Paula find a home in Polk County so she could be even closer to Renzo and allow him to stay in the same school. His foster parents also invited Renzo’s mother to a holiday dinner so that she could be with her son.This relationship between the foster parents and Paula helped lead to Paula and Renzo being reunified just three months after she was released from incarceration.

The foster mother spoke to a group of supervisors from the Circuit Ten Case Management Organizations about the case and co-parenting. She said the family case manager she worked with provided support to her and her family and Paula.

Paula and Renzo were reunified after 363 days. A service provider still works closely with Paula to provide support services. Mother and son have faced challenges with daily living and Paula sometimes doubts herself, but support from everyone involved with the family will help ensure long-term success for Renzo and Paula.