June is Family Reunification Month

As this is written, politicians and people across the United States debate the impact of separating children from parents as they attempt to enter the country illegally or without proper documentation.

Now is a good time to remind everyone that June is Family Reunification Month. Championed by the American Bar Association and its Center on Children and the Law, the special designation recognizes the people and their work to help families stay together. Information on the month and its special programs are detailed at the link to the Child Welfare Information Gateway below. We also want to tell you about some of the good work being done for reunification by the team at Spaulding for Children. 

We hope June’s main message gets heard loud and clear in the corridors of power and across the length and breadth of the nation: When children must be removed from their families to ensure their safety, the first goal is to reunite them with their families as soon as possible.
Details from the Child Welfare Information Gateway

How SFC Helps Reunite Families

Spaulding For Children supports the family -- both birth families and foster families -- to rectify any issues that caused a child to be removed from the birth home. We believe that by being a bridge between the families that will help to develop a supportive relationship between the foster family and the birth family. This helps the child feel secure to see that their birth family is working closely with the foster family and the agency with the ultimate goal to transition the child back home.
When a child is removed from the home, SFC communicates to parents their rights while the child is in foster care and they communicate with resource families about their rights. They encourage and facilitate the family of origin to have positive relationships and involvement in the child's activities and decisions that affect their care, whenever possible.

Always, the safety and well being of the child is the first concern.
To help reunite families, SFC can facilitate services to support the families of origin. These can include:
  • Transportation
  • Vocational and educational services
  • Substance abuse counseling
  • Domestic violence counseling
  • Housing referrals
  • Mental health services
  • Child care
  • In home services
  • Respite care

SFC's Jennifer Land named
'Guy Thompson Champion for Reunification' 

In recognition of her work on behalf of reuniting children with their families, Jennifer Land, a supervisor at Spaulding for Children, has received the Guy Thompson Champion for Reunification Award from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

Bestowed upon a leader who is passionate about the reunification process, the award is named in honor of the late Guy Thompson, State Administrative Manager, Preservation, Prevention and Reunification Services, of the MDHHS. As a member of the Child Welfare Training Institute, Mr. Thompson worked across the state and nation on behalf of children and families.

Ms. Land is an outstanding advocate for children and family reunification. Through her leadership at Spaulding, she has helped parents and guardians become capable to care for the children in their charge. At all times, she has steadfastly protected children and advocated in their best interest. 
How Ms. Land worked to reunite a family

Elaine Taylor: 'Call me "Mom."' 

Elaine Taylor is proud to have adopted 10 boys and fostered many more in addition to her six biological children. Ms. Taylor wants every one of those kids in her care to call her "Mom."

Ms. Taylor, herself, is one of a family with 13 children. Many of her siblings and relations in her extended family also have fostered children.

“I just love kids,” she said. That could seem to be an understatement, were it not so true.

What Kids Need to Succeed

Ms. Taylor believes that children need to have a childhood. Many are missing that experience today. Children need time to be free to play and learn and share experiences and toys with friends today. It’s how they grow and develop the skills they will need for success in school.

However, she adds, children need guidance and oversight, too. For her kids- school is a priority.

“I tell them to give it your all for 12 years,” Ms. Taylor said. “Dedicate your life early to learning, then you can have a productive and happy life as an adult.”

Research by the U.S. Department of Education has shown that children in foster care are at high-risk of dropping out of school and are unlikely to attend or graduate from college.

All those who stayed in her care (some were reunited with their families of origin) graduated from high school. Three have graduated from college.

Part of the success, she said, is finding the right school for each child. Whether is an “alternative school” or requires moving into a new community, as she has done twice, she has done whatever is needed to get the school services required to serve the special needs kids in her care.

When asked why she thought so few foster kids complete school, Ms. Taylor replied: “They don't believe in themselves.”

To help her children develop social skills, and to encourage their development as thinking beings in a world that too often is confusing, she makes sure her kids attend church regularly. She also goes with them to school functions and she takes part in their social events. She also watches over the activities of each child most carefully.

“Yes, I go through their backpacks,” she said.

What It Means to Parent 

“A parent's job is to love, nurture and guide – not to judge,” Ms. Taylor said.

In her service as a foster parent, Ms. Taylor said she will take any child. Many in her care have had major challenges. Several have had special needs, due to physical or emotional challenges.

“The streets are especially dangerous for children with social needs,” Ms. Tayor said. “These vulnerable youth will be grabbed by criminals.”

Personally, Ms. Taylor has experienced great tragedy, losing two sons, a sister, and a grandson to murder.

“The streets will grab your kids quick,” she said. So, she gives her children work they can do at home to earn money.

Ms. Taylor participates in Spaulding's  orientation for parents, where she and another foster parent give the prospective parents “The Real Deal” about foster care during orientation.

“Look in their eyes, these kids do not want to be in foster care,” Ms. Taylor said. They did not ask for it. But peel away the negatives they may display and you see that each child has talents. What’s more: Every child deserves a chance.”

How Your Donations Help

Every dollar given to Spaulding For Children goes to provide services to the children and families we serve. Following are examples of how your donations at every level help the children we serve:
  • $15 for a set of pajamas
  • $35 for a child to enjoy summer at the rec center
  • $50 for hair care and styling
  • $100 to purchase a hygiene bag for kids new to the program
  • $100 to purchase arts and crafts supplies for the monthly kids group
  • $100 to buy new car seats
  • $125 to sponsor a weekend college tour
  • $250 for a child to go to summer camp
  • $250 to sponsor a Parent Empowerment Meeting for foster parents to receive educational training
Please Click Here to Donate

It's Hip-2B-Fit

Spaulding for Children was well-represented in the 2018 Hip-2B-Fit Health Fair and Vaccine Clinic, held Saturday, May 19 at the Detroit Edison Public School Academy. The 54-person SFC team included board members, current and former staff, volunteers, friends of SFC, and lots of family members who appreciate the importance of taking part in exercise and physical activity. In addition to all manner of sports and fun, guests at the event also were able to visit a mobile vaccination unit for adult boosters and child immunizations. Guests also could find answers to health and wellness questions.

How to Become a Foster Parent

We often hear people ask "What does it take to foster? and "Who can become a foster parent?" There are many myths and confusion about who makes a great foster parent. Potential parents don’t have to be married. They can already have children or not. We can help you with the skills and competencies needed to be a successful parent. The Number 1 requirement is the willingness to create a lifelong impact on a child's life and Spaulding For Children will support you along the way with training and supportive services. Find out more here:
Learn about becoming a Foster Parent

Change a child's life, become a foster parent!

Click to learn more

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