why family preservation?
Clearly there is a need for foster care and adoption, but what is the one thing it can all be connected back to? The breakdown of the family. Yet, we spend the majority of our time, money, and efforts treating only the symptoms of this problem. Did you know that nearly half the total federal, state, and local spending on foster care went toward out-of-home placements, while only 15% was spent on preventive services?
Now, families break down for a host of different reasons, and not all can be mended, but you might be surprised at how many parents can hold jobs, overcome addictions, and get their lives in order when someone is willing to help and believe in them. Just imagine what your life would be like without all the people who have supported and helped you along the way.
So why family preservation? Because if we get this right, it changes everything! Fewer kids will enter the system, the ones that do can hopefully go home, and vulnerable families can thrive like never before.
WHAT IS FAMILY PRESERVATION?
Family preservation is a movement to keep vulnerable children with their family of origin. Family preservation provides parents and families in crisis with services to support and empower them. Through education, health and wellness, employment opportunities, and childcare arrangements, many children are able to be raised in their own homes. Closely tied to family preservation is reunification. Reunification refers to the process by which a child who was removed from a home or was living in an orphanage is able to return to their family. Oftentimes, the same support that is provided by family preservation efforts, must be in place for reunification to occur successfully.
HOW DO I GET INVOLVED?
Family preservation can look like a lot of different things for different people in different places, but it will always involve providing what a family needs in order to remain a family. Sometimes these will be practical things like providing cars, jobs, meals, or child care, and other times it could involve emotional support to help overcome addictions or be a support in creating new boundaries and life rhythms that are safe places for children. The point is that so many parents who lose custody of their children have no one in their lives to help lift them up. This truth holds both internationally and domestically.
So how do you get involved? Well, the possibilities are almost endless and we could never list them all, but we have some stories that will show you what we are talking about. If you are brand new to this space and aren’t already connected to a family, you can learn from our stories about people and organizations (both domestic and international) who are working to keep children connected to their biological family. For those that are fostering, we share stories about supporting your child’s biological family, and how to continue supporting them beyond reunification. For families that are stepping into adoption or who have already adopted, we have stories on the importance of maintaining connection to your child’s birth family and how to navigate that relationship.
We acknowledge that family preservation is not always possible, but there is so much opportunity to see more families stay together.
Organizations TAP trusts who are working to holistically care for vulnerable children and their families.