WHAT IS FAMILY REUNIFICATION?
To reunite a child with their biological family is the first resort of any child-caring institution or relevant government agency. Children thrive in family and, whenever possible, they should grow up with their biological families.Institutional care and foster care and adoption are the very last resorts for children separated from their families.
An empowered and strengthened family is a healthy place for a child. When families are reunited, we lessen the sense of rejection and abandonment that a child may experience from the initial separation.
How can we help? We can help children bridge the gap before reunification or adoption by opening our hearts and homes to them through foster care.
WHAT IS FOSTER CARE?
Foster Care refers to the provision of planned, temporary, substitute parental care to a child by a licensed foster family. It moves towards the goal of either family reunification or placement with an adoptive family. It is intended to provide a safe and stable environment for a child who cannot be with his or her parents for various reasons such as abuse, neglect, abandonment, and other special circumstances.
We also talk about foster care on our podcast, which you can listen to here.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
To become a foster parent or foster family, you’ll need to get a foster care license through a child placing agency for foster care like ROHEI Foundation. You may also approach the Department of Social Welfare and Development, NORFIL Foundation, and Parenting Foundation, which can facilitate this for you.
WHY DOES IT MATTER?
The most fundamental experiences that define what love and care mean to us happened in our childhood — cultivated by the memories we have with our families. But what if a child never had the privilege of good experiences shaped in a family setting?
Research shows that children who experience familial neglect manifest a tremendous negative effect on their neurobiological (brain system) and social-emotional development. Children are brought into institutional care due to extreme familial neglect, but this is not the best place for them. Exclusively institutional care also has a profound impact on a child’s mental health.
These institutions cannot possibly take in, much less care for, the great and growing number of orphaned, abandoned, and neglected children. In fact, we know of great children’s homes that do an amazing job in giving the children in their care the best quality of life possible, such as Kids With Purpose International, Gentle Hands, Safe Haven, and many more. However, the child-caring agencies themselves know and express that they are not meant to be the finish line for these children.
Firstly, children are unable to form a deep and long emotional attachment with any one caregiver. This robs the children of what is called a “secure base,” or a person whom they know they can return to without fear no matter how far they go.
Secondly, because children sharing one house parent with many others cannot be quickly soothed and comforted, they do not learn how to soothe and comfort themselves. Without this, the child grows up never having learned how to self-comfort or healthily manage their own emotions.
Only a caring and committed family can provide these two things that every child needs to grow and develop well.
The finish line for every child in an institution should be reunification with their biological family or, as a last resort, placement with a loving and caring foster and adoptive family. There is no better place for them to grow, develop, thrive, and be better equipped for the world ahead than in a family.