Creating Forever Families – A Success Story
Taylor* was placed in foster care when she was six years old. Her mother’s substance abuse resulted in her inability to meet the needs of her children, including Taylor’s medically fragile younger brother. Her father had abandoned them. After two years, Taylor’s mother still struggled with drug addiction and was not able to regain custody of her children, at which point her parental rights were terminated. Concerned that Taylor and her brother had already been in foster care too long, the case manager sought the help of FFCR’s Permanency Roundtable (PRT) Program. At the Initial PRT, the facilitator worked with the team to develop a Permanency Action Plan. One of the tasks included exploring adoption with the children’s foster parent who had previously indicated she was interested in adopting them. However, although she was willing to adopt her brother, the foster parent was not willing to work through Taylor’s challenging behaviors. The team set out to connect with relatives and others who may have lost contact with the children or who may now be in a position to care for Taylor.
Thankfully, Taylor’s 25-year old aunt who lived in North Florida was identified as a possible support for the children and the PRT team engaged her in the permanency planning process. After two PRT follow-up sessions during which the team educated Taylor’s aunt about Taylor’s needs, her behavioral challenges and what it meant to become her caregiver, she expressed the desire to adopt Taylor. The court had concerns about the aunt’s young age, her inexperience with parenting and the challenge of maintaining appropriate boundaries with Taylor’s mother, who was the aunt’s sister. Responding to these concerns, the PRT team ensured that the aunt was able to participate in therapeutic services with Taylor via Skype. They also scheduled several in-person visitations that were observed by the case manager. Over the course of six months, the case manager and the therapist were convinced that Taylor would be well-cared for by her aunt. We are happy to share that at age 10, after four years in foster care, Taylor was in fact adopted by her aunt and both are doing extremely well.
*Name changed to protect privacy