Hope for the Future
Being a parent is never easy, but it is especially difficult for disadvantaged teenagers and young adults, many of whom are living in foster care. A quarter of CFR clients are under the age of 25—their young families are some of our most vulnerable. CFR teams guide young clients through their court case, referring them to appropriate services that build good parenting skills and break the cycle of foster care.
Nearly half of CFR’s youngest clients have lived in foster care and have experienced family court as children in child welfare cases. Few of our youngest clients have had reliable adults in their lives. Sometimes a case may have been brought against them due to their history in foster care—not based on their parenting skills. CFR teams help clients understand court proceedings and requirements from ACS and the judge in order to maintain or regain custody of their children. We also advocate for liberal visitation so parents can develop a healthy, nurturing relationship with their child in a safe environment.
Our teams discuss young parents’ goals and hopes for the future, so we can craft service plans that are comprehensive yet manageable. CFR maintains partnerships with organizations that provide a myriad of services to young people in a single location, increasing their chances of attending and completing programs. Common services include parenting skills classes, GED and other educational programs, individual counseling, and domestic violence programs.
CFR teams also strive to help parents achieve self-sufficiency so that they can eventually advocate for themselves. This can include assistance with resumes and job applications, educational programs, and housing applications.
Achieving reunification and breaking the cycle of foster care is our first goal, but living on one’s own with a child is not always easy for a young parent. CFR advocates for our youngest parents and their children to live together in a variety of options including living with family members in foster homes or in other community living arrangements that will encourage bonding and build parenting skills without the threat of separation.
When it is clear that parenting is not an option for the young client, we advocate for their child to live with relatives instead of in foster care with strangers. We also advocate in favor of a holistic resolution to long-term separation, which enables the young parent and their child to build a relationship later in life.