By Monica Gray, KVC Kansas Foster Family Worker
Brad and his son KC became involved with the child welfare system in 2013. Brad had just completed serving time in jail when an investigation by the Kansas Department for Children and Families resulted in 11-month-old KC being removed from the home due to safety concerns.
Even though he was angry that his son was in state custody and blamed others for everything going wrong, Brad was determined to reunify with KC. He completed all the necessary requirements to safely bring his son back home.
Brad and KC transitioned to aftercare services so that our KVC staff could continue to support the family for one year after reunification. Brad was resistant to having the ongoing support and just wanted to be able to care for his son on his own. Five months after KC had returned home, Brad fell down a flight of stairs while holding his son. KC’s skull was fractured and he was life-flighted to a children’s hospital. The police discovered that Brad was intoxicated when the incident occurred, and a judge decided to have KC’s maternal grandfather care for him while Brad worked to overcome his addiction and safely reunite with his son again.
After working with Brad for some time, I saw that he was making minimal progress, and there was a time that Brad considered relinquishing his parental rights. Despite this, I never gave up on Brad. I told him that I believed he could achieve and maintain sobriety and that he could get his son back.
Brad was still resistant. He tried to lie about his drinking and employment status. He even tried to attend visits intoxicated. I continued to work with him and was honest about where the case was headed if things did not change. I told him that it was completely up to him how the case went and in what direction. Brad finally chose to accept that he needed help and he went to rehab. He started being honest with himself and with his support workers about what had been happening all along. He also turned his life over to God and started living his life for Him. Brad stayed in contact with me almost daily and realized we were all truly there to help him overcome his addiction and safely reunite with his son.
In April 2016, KC was safely returned home to his father’s care. Brad has made enormous strides in maintaining his sobriety and providing a safe, stable and healthy environment for his son. He has also embraced aftercare services and works closely with his aftercare worker to ensure his family continues to succeed.
Brad was awarded custody of his son, and as a sign of his appreciation, he and KC stopped by the KVC office to thank everyone who supported them and helped them safely reunite. Brad confided in me that none of it would have been possible without my honesty and encouragement. He recognizes that KC spent most of his short life in state custody and vows it will never happen again.
Brad and KC have faced tremendous challenges, but with help from caring professionals, they are now stronger than ever. Brad is passionate about helping other families involved in the child welfare system succeed and hopes his story can be a source of hope and encouragement for others.
With the help of KVC Case Manager Cayley Fenoughty, Brad was recently able to adopt KC’s half-brother on June 14, 2019. They couldn’t be happier!
Through our partnership with the Kansas Department for Children and Families, KVC was able to help safely reunify 1,030 children with their 635 families after being in Kansas foster care last year. We are proud to play a role in strengthening Kansas families and coming alongside them during their time of crisis. We applaud the hardworking families that have achieve reunification or are currently working toward it. Learn more about our reintegration and aftercare services, watch more success story videos or read how KVC has helped strengthen families in multiple states.
At KVC, we help families reunite or stay together by providing services focused on stabilizing the family, helping children return or remain safely in their homes, and improving the long-term wellbeing of both children and families. More than half of children who enter foster care are safely reunited with their birth families, and we depend on caring foster families to provide love and safety during a child’s time of crisis. Learn more about foster care in our blog: 5 Things You Need to Know About Foster Care. You can also visit our website to learn more about our reintegration and foster care services.