The following are accounts from DFS caseworks, highlighting the tremendous work done by families to reunify as a whole. Congratulations to all families who overcome addictions, abuse, domestic violence and other untold difficulties. We value the work you have put in as well as the support from your community resources. Our collective hats off to you.
#1: A mother came into my world as a young lady who had significant drug addiction. The mother had been using methamphetamine intravenously for three plus years. Mother’s oldest child was with the paternal grandparents in another town because they took the steps necessary as a family to intervene when mother and father continued to use drugs years prior. With regards to the younger child, (s)he came into protective custody. Mother completed her case plan within six months. Mother never once looked at the Department’s involvement as door closing, but instead a door opening for her and her children. Mother was accountable and soaked in every part of her treatment to self reflect. What she found, I believe as a worker, is that she was young, her children needed her, she needed her children, she was humble and accountable in her poor choices, and she was worthy of having the world at her fingertips despite any challenges that come along.
The mother is over nine months sober now. Mom has both of her children back in her care full time. Mom has mended many relationships and appreciates every moment she is sober. Mom’s one sentence to describe her experience for other parents, “Be remembered for your recovery not your addiction.” My heart warms every time I speak with her and see how she and her family are thriving. Mom, you are amazing and I have been blessed to watch you grow.
#2: In October 2019, a newborn baby came into the custody of DFS after testing positive for methamphetamines. The parents needed a lot of support in order to be healthy parents, and Mom needed substantial substance abuse treatment. Originally the family was not making a lot of progress on their case plan and in April 2020, their oldest child came into custody after mom tested positive again for methamphetamine and the oldest child completed a hair follicle that also showed (s)he was positive for Methamphetamine. After both children were in DFS custody, substantial progress was made on the case plan. Mom received her substance abuse treatment, entered into therapy, worked with Parents as Teachers, Public Health Nursing, and STRIDE. Dad completed a parenting class, individual therapy, and also participated in the services provided to mom. In August of 2020, the oldest child was returned to the home, and a month later in September of 2020, the newborn baby was returned to the parents. DFS monitored the families progress for a few months and the parents continued in services, and mom graduated from her IOP program, continuing to test negative for methamphetamine. In December 2020, the family was successfully reunified and the case was closed. The family maintained contact with their children’s former foster parents and utilize them as a support, as well as their natural supports from mom’s step-mother.