Reunification Made Possible with Community Support
Foster parents can be one of the most impactful resources in helping children reunify with a biological parent successfully. While a mother named Stacy* worked to be reunified with her three children, she built strong relationships with the foster parents caring for her youngest son and the paternal grandparents caring for her oldest son. This support system would end up being the difference in reunifying Stacy with her children.
Stacy struggled with undiagnosed mental health and substance abuse problems for many years. When OHU Case Manager Monaya Crossen began working with Stacy, she soon noticed that Stacy frequently rescheduled home visits, and seemed drowsy and disorganized at meetings. When Stacy’s mother passed away while incarcerated, she seemed to lose all hope.
A huge wakeup call came for Stacy at a court hearing a few months later. She had been working to obtain stable housing and employment but had not yet been reunified with her children. When Stacy learned the judge had added a dual goal of adoption for her children, she became very emotional, and feared she was about to lose her children forever. This moment turned out to be a turning point in her life, and eventually led to a bright future for her and her family.
Though Stacy did not like asking for help, she eventually built a strong relationship with her Case Manager, Monaya, and still asks her advice when she faces tough situations. Stacy eventually conquered her addiction and got a new apartment. After three years apart, Stacy has been reunified with her children, and her family is in a much better place.
While they were living apart, Stacy was there for her children at school conferences, holidays, and everything in-between. The foster parents and grandparents who cared for her kids were always in Stacy’s corner. “They played a major role in this reunification,” Monaya shared. “They didn’t put up any roadblocks. They drove Stacy to see apartments, brought the kids to her home for visits, and always included her in parent-teacher conferences.”
Stacy’s 5-year-old son has been diagnosed with autism and has made significant progress since transferring to a special needs school, where he “soared.” They are now working on transitioning him to his siblings’ school.
When Stacy saw signs of the same mental illness she struggles with in her daughter, she acted right away to get her help. All of Stacy’s kids are doing well in school, and they still see their foster parents regularly for haircuts and visits.
“This story shows that no one is perfect, and we all need to ask for help,” Monaya concluded. “I’m glad Stacy felt she could trust and lean on me.”
*Names have been changed to protect privacy.