Friday, January 18, 2008

More on Reunification Care

Roland and I talked about it last night. Would we want to do it? Would it be good or bad for Brian? Given that one of our concerns about continuing to do permanent placement is how many adult children we feel we can attend the way we want, would doing reunification actually be a good thing?

Every question gets an "Um...I don't know. It could be like this or it could be like that..."

Then I asked him, "What if the agency called, said that there was a 15 year old gay boy who needed a safe place to stay while his parents did whatever they had to do." Without hesitation Roland said, "We would take him." His face said, "Duh. What'd you think I would say? What does that have to do with anything?" And I know it is the same for me. When I think about reunification care, I'm not sure I can do it. When I think about getting a phone call that starts, "There is a queer kid at the teen shelter and..." I'm just in a different place altogether.

But the family developer called me today. She had been out of town which is why she didn't respond earlier to my long letter about reunification care. It turns out that the local office has been told by HQ that they need to expand into this sort of work. HQ is on a mission to greatly reduce the number of kids in care, and so wants to put its resources to work on a variety of things, including reunification. They haven't started doing this work yet, and haven't figured for themselves just what it would look like.

The developer said that they hadn't had an open house meeting on the issue because they don't know what it would look like. They don't have an announcement to make. I told her that that is the point when I want to be brought into the discussion. I want to go to a meeting where they say, "We are exploring doing this sort of work. We don't know what it would look like yet, and we want your imput. What do you see yourself doing? What sort of training would you need to do it?" That way, I told her, whenever you did make your announcement I would know that you had taken our concerns into account. She seemed to genuinely think it was a good idea and said she would take it to the powers that be. She also said that there would be a continuing need for foster families who do permanency care.

Given the way this agency works, it wouldn't be just taking care of the kids while the parents do whatever they do. They would be providing services to the parents too. They would be trying to figure out what was needed for reunification to work and then they would do whatever they could to support them. Not "reunification at all costs" but it would mean a serious attempt to really help parents get their act together. I can imagine being part of that. I can see myself trying to reassure parents that I wanted their family to be together again. I can imagine being happy to be part of that effort.

I can also see me needing to get my butt back into Alanon meetings.

1 comment:

  1. and you migh end up with not only more adult kids to take into the familybut their parents too ;-) Yeeah the meetings are probably a good idea,,


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