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CFR Social Work Supervisor Jenny Miller discusses how being a mom informs her understanding of CFR families and the challenges they face.
This year, I’ll celebrate my very first Mother’s Day. Since my son’s birth in July, I have gained a new perspective into the lives of many of my clients. Whenever my son reaches an exciting new milestone, like rolling over or eating solid food, I’m reminded of our clients whose children are not with them and how they won’t see that same big moment.
I know now that so much of parenting is not in the major milestones, but the minor details—the book you read before bedtime or which toy he likes to snuggle with. Even the smallest things, like seeing him smile in the morning—these simple joys are what so many CFR moms and dads don’t get to see on a daily basis.
When I left my son with a babysitter for the first time, I endlessly explained every detail to her. She told me not to worry, but how could I not? I know our clients have the same concerns, except they’re not saying goodbye to their children for just the day. Sometimes, they’re not sure when they’ll see them again.
Family separation can make holidays like Mother’s Day painful instead of celebratory, so CFR provides extra support around this time. We advocate in court for more frequent and longer visits so families can still celebrate with each other. For those who can’t be together on Mother’s Day, we offer emotional support and an ear to listen.
We also offer hope for the future. While as a mom, I know the details of parenting are so important, as a CFR social worker, I have to ensure that my clients focus on the bigger picture. Whether it’s working through a tough meeting with ACS caseworkers or engaging in a drug treatment program, I help put them on the path towards being with their children permanently by next Mother’s Day.
I know that CFR’s families love their children with the same unconditional love I feel for my own son. They too want to watch their children grow, to see them start walking, to be there when they graduate from kindergarten. With support from CFR, our clients get the chance to experience these milestones—and to be there for the little things, too.