This is not the first time I have seem or heard about the concept of becoming a foster family instead of just a foster children. In a previous abstract, there was mention of an agency that took on teen moms and their babies. This article looks at state pilot programs that expand on that idea to embrace parents past their teen years.
This is an issue I have been struggling with since some friends have had their kids put into foster homes. The moms are sinking fast and the chances of meeting requirements and getting the kids back are next to zero, especially in the face of trying to overcome destructive habits without any real interventions available. This idea of Shared Family Care is a real ray of hope, if we could have such a thing here.I produced this abstract using time paid for by the Quay County Maternal Child and Community Health Council with funds from the New Mexico Department of Health.
Keeping at-risk families together in a supervised setting -- and providing an around-the-clock role model for problem parents -- is a little known alternative to traditional foster care. Called shared family care, the program is available in scattered counties in 10 states, including California, Wisconsin, and Texas. It helps prevent families from being seperated, reunites them after a seperation, or serves as a way station while parents decide whether they want to relinquish their parental rights. At a time when the failure of the classic child-welfare system is grabbing headlines across the country[...], some social workers are pushing shared family care as a possible solution.
Results from the small studies that have been done are promising: children whose parents complete the program are only half as likely to re-enter the child-welfare system as those whose families reunite after foster care; the number of participant parents (mostly mothers) with a job doubles after they have lived with a mentor; and living conditions for these families once they're on their own are much improved.