Submitted by Lynn Horned, Intensive In-Home Therapist, KVC Kansas. In her role, she provides a year of aftercare services to children who have been safely reunified with their families after being in foster care or adopted by a family. Intensive in-home therapy ensures that a newly formed or reformed family is healthy and thriving.
I’m a therapist that worked with a family with eight children, ages 6-17. When the children first entered foster care, it was because their parents were facing serious challenges. Their father struggled with alcoholism and his behavior was having a detrimental effect on the family. Their mother had fallen into a deep depression and spent most of her time lying on the couch. These mental health and substance use challenges led to their home being an unsafe and unsanitary environment. Additionally, the eight children were being “homeschooled” by the parents, but very little schooling was actually happening. The children were trying to take care of themselves, and life became very chaotic.
The courts deemed that the children needed to be placed in temporary foster care. While this was an incredibly difficult time of separation for both the parents and the children, it was a necessary intervention for the children’s safety.
The parents then worked towards rebuilding their own lives so that they could be the best parents possible for their children, and both were given the treatment they needed.
When a court determined that it was safe for the children to return home, things had changed some, but it was still a challenge to settle this very large family into a routine that would be positive for everyone involved. Also, the father would occasionally relapse into using alcohol.
Because losing her children was the worst thing that had ever happened to this mom, she took things into her own hands. With lots of support from me (her therapist) and other services, she made a deep life transformation. She secured a job, enrolled all of the children in school, and became a very involved parent with the children and their school.
She also made the difficult decision to file for divorce, although she allowed her ex-husband to have visits with their children when he was sober.
Despite the fact they had missed two years of education, the children all began to thrive in school. Several of them made the honor roll and every child was motivated to do well.
The family moved to a new house, and although it was small, it was always neat and clean. The family is saving to move to a bigger house.
The year of aftercare services that I provided ended very successfully. What’s more, the mother has re-connected with a childhood sweetheart who seems serious about becoming part of this family. The children love him and they especially like the very positive way that he treats their mother.
All families go through tough times. Often, these challenges are difficult to overcome without support from caring professionals. That’s where KVC Kansas comes in. We provide a path toward hope and healing through crisis management, in-home therapy and skill-building, and connecting family needs with community resources. Our services including preventative in-home family support, behavioral healthcare, family reunification services, relative care, foster care and adoption. If you want to help children and families like this one, check out our career opportunities or learn about becoming a Kansas foster parent.