An investigation of physical abuse led authorities to remove a Kansas family’s elementary school aged daughter from their home. KVC stepped in to provide services to support safely reunifying the family.
At first, the girl’s parents did not want to work with KVC staff. The father, who is a former U.S. Marine, had what some felt was an intimidating personality and was absent for several visits with his daughter. The KVC family support worker emphasized to the mother the importance of both parents being on the same page and encouraged him to be present for the next meeting. Both parents began to participate, and at one point, the mother broke down crying as she expressed the shame she felt of being labeled as an “abusive parent” and the sickening fear that she and her husband felt the night their daughter was removed from their home. They had no idea where she was going and didn’t know when they would see her again.
The father expressed his frustration, saying that he felt that school officials, a school counselor, and other professionals treated him with suspicion and disrespect. He also broke down crying, saying he kisses his children each night before bed and tells them he loves them. As an ex-Marine, yelling is how he had learned to communicate when he was upset. The KVC family support worker helped him learn techniques for calming down before addressing his daughter’s behavior.
Both parents said they felt like KVC was on their team in trying to do what was best for the whole family. The daughter was able to safely return home and the family receives ongoing support from KVC’s Aftercare program. They continue to do well, and the parents, who once said that the state was robbing their ability to discipline their child by prohibiting physical discipline, now say they have no intention of using physical discipline at all!
By working with families in their own homes, KVC is able to help the majority of children who enter foster care safely return to their families. Read more of our articles on reintegration, or learn more about our reunification services.
*This winning story was received during our 2015 summer story contest by Aaron Jones, Family Support Worker for KVC Kansas