Community Beyond the System for All Caregivers (Part 2)

by Aimee Hill

In the complex world of foster care, stories of partnership and mutual support between birth and foster families really stand out. 

At Foster Village, we have the honor of walking alongside many of these unique partnerships through our Partners in Permanency program, including Sarah, a foster mom, and Emily, a birth mom, who developed a unique and powerful relationship to care for the children they both love. 

Emily faced significant challenges in her life that led to her children being placed in foster care. And when Lily & Jacob were placed in their foster home, Emily was anxious, not really knowing what to expect.

To her surprise, Emily found in Sarah not only a supportive caregiver for her children but also a lifeline for their whole family.

Sarah’s role started to extend beyond providing a stable home for Lily and Jacob, and, slowly, Sarah became Emily’s primary support, confidante, and ally. 

The truth is, most birth parents whose children are in the custody of the state have no safe, appropriate support to help them with the demands of parenting, recovery, and healing - a complete turnaround of the life they’ve been navigating.

While caring for Lily and Jacob, Sarah recognized the difficulties that Emily faced and decided to encourage Emily to keep going as she fought to bring them home. For Emily, and for many birth parents, having one person to cheer them on can provide what they need to keep going as they work toward reunification.

For parents like Sarah and Emily, their shared commitment to the children's well-being connected them in a meaningful way and started what later became a parenting partnership as a part of our PiP program. Sarah respected and honored Emily’s position as the children’s birth mom, and Emily appreciated Sarah’s open-heartedness and patience as she walked the road to reunification.

Throughout their journey, Sarah has been Emily’s dependable support. During a particularly challenging time, Sarah stepped up, not only as a foster mother but as a friend, providing care and stability for the children while Emily recovered. PiP was there along the way, along with the tangible and emotional resources that both Sarah and Emily needed.

Lily and Jacob are better for it. They have seen the mutual respect and care that both women have had throughout the process, which has allowed them to maintain a connected, healthy relationship with both.

At Foster Village, we hope more children will achieve safe and stable permanency with their biological families. Sarah and Emily’s story is just one example of the life-changing difference a community of support can make for a family navigating reunification.

In 2023, in the state of Texas, 30% of children were reunified with their birth parents, but about 11% were removed again within 12 months of their return. Partners in Permanency is our approach to helping reduce the number of re-removals by wrapping around reunifying parents and providing the support they need when things become challenging. Instead of navigating life alone, these families have a village of support to lean on when life happens. 

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