Four in 10 kids placed in foster care are there as a result of parental addiction. While neglect is the most common reason for removal (62 percent), these cases often also involve such underlying factors as addiction. (HHS)
“We were not safe,” Rachel, acknowledged about the point at which her son Roarke was placed in foster care, in an interview captured by Colorado Kids Belong,
I needed help, I didn’t know what kind of help I needed, I knew I loved my son, but if it was gonna be like that then I didn’t want him with me.
While overcoming addiction is challenging, a good foster family can play a vital role in supporting the children who are wedged under the weight of this major social wound, while giving parents the time and space they need to recover.
Watch Rachel and Richard’s Powerful Story
Richard and Rachel both were battling tough addictions, and as a result their infant son was removed from their care by CPS. That initiated court proceedings to determine the path to be reunited safely. In situations like theirs, the shame that bio parents often experience can blind them to the actions needed to move toward restoration and healing. They convince themselves they aren’t able or things can’t get better, and they lose hope.
“We were a problem,” Richard says. “We showed the courts we were a problem.”
“In fact we had to go out of our way to show them we were not a problem anymore,.” Rachel adds.
Roarke was placed with Paula and Brennen, foster parents who agreed to care for him while Rachel and Richard followed what’s know as “a fit court program” that involves court-supervised therapy and drug treatment. As hard it it was, Richard and Rachel fought their addiction and worked to show their commitment to their son by taking one step at a time.
“We Are A Safe Family Now!”
Thinking about their relationship with Paula and Brennen, Rachel said, “They were always polite. They didn’t judge us.
“They supported us. They came to our fit-court graduation and they spoke on our behalf. My therapist said, ‘No fosters have ever done that!'”
The support of foster parents who model empathy, patience and hope to a child in foster care, can instill hope in the whole family. This connection can be an anchor for change.
“There are a lot of kids out there who need help because their parents just can’t,…can’t. So if there are parents out there who can, I challenge them to raise themselves up to that expectation,” Richard said, challenging other qualified adults to stand in the gap for kids who are experiencing foster care who need a safe stable family to love them.
If you want to learn more about how you can help in this crisis and support families and kids who need to belong consider becoming a foster parent. Get started here.
Register for our upcoming Fostering Info Panel, Sept 21 at 7:30pm EST. to get your questions answered.