Catholic Social Services of Washtenaw hosted its annual Birth Mother’s Day celebration on Saturday, May 13th. Birth mothers, adoptive families, adoptees, and other friends of the program were in attendance. The event consisted of a luncheon, crafts, and an open-mic time for participants to share affirmations. We are ever grateful to the student interns who assisted in coordinating this event, as well as the many community donors who provided food and dessert for the luncheon.
Every child deserves a loving, supportive, and safe home where their creativity, dreams, and curiosity can take root. Every child deserves to be fed, clothed, and cared for without fear or punishment. Every child deserves to be hugged and told that they are loved.
Unfortunately, this is not what every child receives.
Currently in Michigan, there are approximately 14,000 children in foster care because their own homes did not provide the security every child deserves. Working one-on-one with birth parents, foster parents, and the children themselves, our case managers work tirelessly to be the voice and advocates for these children.
But to do that, counselors must begin with the birth parents. The problems that bring children into foster care stem from challenges with substance abuse, housing, employment, mental health, and/or medical issues. Our case managers help birth parents access community services and resources to help alleviate these problems.
Additionally, case managers work with both birth and foster parents to make sure services are in place for children who are experiencing academic, mental health, and/or behavioral issues. Case managers and foster parents represent the child’s interests at school meetings, therapy sessions, medical appointments, and in any other setting where parental input would be needed.
The primary goal of our foster care program is to achieve permanent placement for the child in a timely manner. Ideally, this goal is met through reunification with birth parents who have successfully met the legal requirements. Failing that, permanent placement is sought through adoption, often with the foster family. The child’s ultimate well-being and safety guide every decision.
Foster parents play a vital role in lives of children who have suffered significant neglect, abuse, and trauma. They invest in the children as if they were their own, while working toward their reunification with the birth family. We are always looking for individuals, couples, and families that are looking for a way to help their community and the families within them.
Foster parents have a tough job, but they truly make a world of difference.
Qualifications of a foster parent/family include:
- Good moral character
- Ability to physically, mentally, and emotionally provide for the
needs of foster children
- An understanding of the needs of children
- A willingness and ability to work with the child’s birth family
- Completion of all required trainings
If you are interested in learning more about our program and how you can help, please contact our foster care department at 734-971-9781 ext 448 or go to our link and fill out an interest form.
Family Time is a program which offers supervised parenting sessions in cases where it may not be safe for one parent to be alone with their children. Most of these cases are court ordered and often related to domestic violence.
Tanya’s situation was a little different; at 3 years old she lived with her dad and got to see her mom for a few hours each week at Catholic Social Services. Tanya’s mother Deana had severe mental health issues and as much as she loved her daughter, was not able to provide a safe environment for Tanya even for an afternoon.
For many families in this situation, Tanya wouldn’t be able to have a relationship with her mother. CSSW staff stayed in the room each week while Tanya and her mother played games and told stories. Once in a while, staff might help mom stay on track and avoid conversations or situations that might seem scary to Tanya. Mom gained confidence as Tanya was thrilled to see her every week.
Last week Tanya didn’t feel good at all, but came to Family Time and ran right into her mother’s arms to be snuggled and comforted. This time of bonding, essential to Tanya’s development, might not seem extraordinary to other families, but for this mother and daughter was a profound milestone that nurtured the spirit and psyche of both. What seems as natural and ordinary as a mother caring for her daughter could not have happened without the safe, secure and supportive environment offered by the Family Time program and their skilled staff.
The limitations of Deana’s ability to safely parent Tanya might never go away, but her influence on Tanya’s future cannot be underestimated. This experience at Family Time offers the best chance of instilling it with a positive and rewarding foundation.
Go home and love your family.”