Expectations For Biological and Foster Parents (Cause and Effect) What if your family life consists of your parents doing drugs? You never have food in your house? Or your dad comes home and mistreats your mom? Children and young adults are removed from their families for different reasons. For example, if a child is neglected, abuse, or there is domestic violence in the home, this would result in him or her getting removed from their current home situation. In addition, children can be removed if the parents are incarcerated. “The majority will return home to live with their family as soon as the problems that caused their entry into care are sufficiently resolved. About 5,500 children are adopted each year, and about 2,000 California children need an adoptive family every day.” When children are removed from their families, they are placed into foster homes. Anybody can become a foster parent; the only qualification is to ensure the best outcome for the child or youth. In order to become a foster parent one has to go through training, family study, and a background check. A family study consists of references, interviews, and financial documentation. Foster parents have to attend different types of training depending on the needs of the children that they are fostering. According to my mother and former foster parent, Lina Ribeiro, “The process takes between 3 to 6 months”. You will have to complete 27 hours of pride training. The training consists of parenting classes regarding the different needs of children that enter the foster care system. For example children that are exposed to drugs or alcohol need a different type of care versus children that were neglected. A family could lose their child due to abuse, drug addiction, or neglect. As a consequence of losing his/her child, they have to go through a case plan. The state has different agencies that implement strategies to engage biological families with the legal guardian of the child. On the other hand If the parents follow the social worker advice it will increase the likeliness of reuniting the family. Therefore, if the parents did drugs they have to go through a rehabilitation program. When the cause of losing a child is due to neglect or domestic violence the potential solutions include parenting classes and therapy. Since their child is not living with them, they should try to know the foster parent because they are the ones who know everything about their child . According to child Welfare Information Gateway, “if the child remains in foster care for 15 out of 22 months, the law requires the child welfare agency to ask the court to terminate parental rights”. That means that the biological parents have no legal right for custody of the child. On the other hand the state is required to work with the biological parents to reunite the family during the fifteen month period. While it is true that the state is required to work with the biological parents towards reunification, if they do not follow the reunification plan their parental rights get terminated the child is put up for adoption. In most cases the child’s foster parents will adopt the child. There are different reasons why a family may decide to foster a child. One reason is they want to make a difference in a child’s life. Another is because they do not have kids and yet have enough time, patience, and love to give to the child. One more reason is that they want to be able to eventually adopt the child. Reuniting Foster Kids (Bubble Map) The children who have been reunited with their biological families will have to adjust with their new family life. In other words, during the time they lived away from their parents the children became used to new house rules, friends, school, and customs. According to CWG (Child Welfare Gateway) “Working collaboratively with parents embodies family-centered practice and can facilitate the child’s return home more quickly than if parents are not involved”. Reunification happens when the parents follow all the services in their case plan. For instance, biological parents will have to pass drug testing, take parenting classes to become better parents, and learn how to provide for a child. They have 15 out of 22 months to prove to the state they are ready to take care of the child. Also, their home is a safe environment for their children to live in. When children must be removed from their families to ensure their safety, the first goal is to reunite them with their families as soon as possible. According to Child Welfare Gateway, “Such strategies may include family engagement, maintaining family and cultural connections.” One way to engage the family is through regular and frequent visits among family members supervised by the social worker are highly recommended. Children that are placed into foster homes usually feel abandoned by their biological family even if they have been abused or neglected they still want to have contact with the family. The children want to have contact with their parents to know who they are. The family visitations are usually supervised by a social worker or sometimes by a foster parent. Since parental contact has a positive effect on most foster children, it is usually encouraged for children in long-term as well as temporary foster care. Another way of helping with reunification is trying to know the foster parents because they are the ones who take care of the child. According to Child Welfare Information Gateway, “foster parents’ direct support of birth parents (e.g., mentoring) facilitates achievement of reunification goals.” They are the ones who know how the child is doing on a daily basis regarding doctors appointments, new skills the child is learning ,the new foods that they like, the new friends the kid hangs around, and who they like. In a typical successful visitation scheme, the child begins having contact with his or her birth family during supervised visits, then progresses to unsupervised day visits, and then weekend visits. As the return home nears, the visits are scheduled more frequently, for longer periods of time, and with fewer restrictions . Thus, by the time the child is returned home, he or she has been gradually eased back into the family. Supporting Foster Parents (Bubble Map) Every day, kids enter the foster care system due to the parents mistreating them. According to Adopt US Kids “Children enter foster care through no fault of their own, because they have been abused, neglected, or abandoned.” The solution of mistreatment of children is to place him/her with a foster family.” Even though foster families participate in 27 hours of training according to my mother, they need extra support to help with the different needs of the child. In order for a foster family to help a child, they need support from a resource center/person and financial support. A resource person is a foster parent who held a foster care license for children from birth to 18 years old. They will call you after the placement of a child and try to answer any questions you might have. They are also available to offer moral support. Furthermore, according to Child Trends, “Foster Parent Champion from the child welfare agency calls and asks how things are going. Maybe you need help getting a new crib, locating daycare, or finding a child therapist in your area. She gives you referrals and numbers to call. When things get tough, the Champion is also there to offer help, even if it’s just a listening ear.” The champion is more like a resource person that is there to help you find schools and also for moral support. In Santa Clara County, KAFPA (Kinship, Adoptive and Foster Parent Association) is an organization that helps with resources and parenting classes. They are like mentors. They also help foster parents navigate the foster care system. In addition children aged birth to 18 may need foster care for just a few days or maybe placed for longer than a year. Foster families willing and able to accommodate sibling groups are in high demand, as are those who are able to take older children and teens. According to FosterCare.com, “Some children are stepping down from residential treatment; some have developmental delays; many have suffered abuse”. The answer is to recruit more foster parents, educate them, and support them financially and be there for them when needed. Children with developmental delays will need more financial help.. The Foster Parent Champion or resource person is there to support when needed and help locate resources and connect the family with the community. That is why I believe a good resource person is fundamental to help a foster parent to be successful. Reuniting Foster Children versus Supporting Foster Parents (Compare and Contrast) Reuniting foster kids with their birth parents and supporting foster parents have many notable similarities and differences. One similarity is that they both help the kids and want the best for them. However, supporting foster parents financially helps with funds that are used to help the kids. Reuniting helps them know about where they came from and if they had brothers and sisters. According to Adopt Us Kids, “kids are not given because they are not wanted they are given so they can have a better life.” in order to have a better life kids enter the foster care system where it is supposed to keep them safe and help them grow and become a happy young adult. At the same time, supporting financially foster parents keeps them from becoming broke when paying for the children’s needs. Although supporting foster parents helps with money problems, reuniting the foster children with their biological parents helps them know their family heritage and what culture they came from. For example a child of American Indian heritage was removed from his family and lived with a non American Indian family. That child while in foster care is not learning about his culture or customs. It is important for children to learn about their heritage and culture and were they come from. Their heritage and culture are part of their identity In my opinion, reuniting and supporting foster parents are both helpful to the welfare of the child. Reuniting foster children and supporting foster parents has its pros and cons. One of the pros is they are both helping the child and giving him/her a place to sleep. One con is the child can be removed from the place he/she is staying if the biological or foster parents do not have the financial means or in case of foster parents enough moral support. Furthermore reuniting the foster child with their parent can help the child with school and college. However, supporting foster parents financially will have to use the small amount of money that is given to them by the government. Also, reuniting can give the parents a chance to apologize for the things that might have happened before they were put into the system. Reuniting foster children and supporting foster parents can be both good and bad at the same time. It can be bad for the foster parents if the children that they care for need out of pocket expense due to the mental and psychological care. However, it can be good if the foster parent has help from the state with the funding that they need to properly raise a family. Argument Towards Successful Solution Reuniting foster children is one way that helps them learn about their family heritage and culture. In my opinion this solution can help with knowing where they came from who their family might be and what language they might speak in their home. In my opinion believe it is important for a successful reunification that foster parents have a good support system. According Adopt Us Kids “A Foster Parent Champion from the child welfare agency calls and asks how things are going. Maybe you need help getting a new crib, locating daycare, or finding a child therapist in your area. She gives you referrals and numbers to call. When things get tough, the Champion is also there to offer help, even if it’s just a listening ear.” The champion is more like a resource person that is there to help you find schools and also for moral support. In Santa Clara County, there is an organization called KAFPA(Kinship, Adoptive and Foster Parent Association). KAFPA helps parents with resources needed for that child. Without, the proper support system foster parents have a difficult time to welcome the foster child into their house to help with his/her needs. The best and most effective solution is to have someone to give foster parents advice and listen to the day to day problems they may encounter while taking care of a child. While it is true that reuniting can help children, some people believe supporting foster parents is helpful for funds. Supporting foster parents hs to use a lot of out of pocket money to pay for medications. The more important point to remember is supporting helps with medical disabilities that they might have. Although supporting foster parents is good, reuniting is better when it comes to the children knowing their heritage and culture. To support the claim that foster parents should have support from a resource person i am inviting people from a resource center to talk about what resources they offer and why they are needed If the parents follow the social worker advice it will increase the likeliness of reuniting the family. Works Cited Lina Ribeiro
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