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Author Topic: Fremont and Larimer Counties are Blazing the Trail....  (Read 3326 times)


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Fremont and Larimer Counties are Blazing the Trail....
« on: Aug 07, 2005, 01:52:20 PM »
We are opening a dialog in each community in the state to discuss and identify things that we, as members of the communities, can do to support and help families who are at risk of being separated by a child protection intervention, or who have already been separated. We beileve that children have the best chance at good outcomes when they grow up in their own family homes and have the bonds and connections of family. We realize that isn't always possible, but also realize that many times kids are harmed more by the removal and foster care experience than they would have been by the risk of POSSIBLE harm in their own homes.  
     We want to open a dialog with our fellow community members to identify the sort of things we can do to help families stay together.  If, for instance, a mother is having a problem with a boy who is fatherless and getting rough to handle, maybe we can offer a mentor, or big brother type of partner for her son. If we find a family who just cannot seem to make ends meet, maybe we can help them by teaching a budgeting class, and maybe also by helping them to tap into some way to make a few extra dollars. Maybe we can help families who have a special needs child by connecting them with other families who have similar kids. Sometimes, just a friend to vent to is enough to get you through a crisis.
     What we want to do is hear everyone's ideas, pool resources, mostly people who will dedicate help. If a single mom is getting in trouble because of damage or repairs to her house that she doens't know how to do and can't afford, one of the guys in the group can go over and fix her drippy faucets or replace the door. We can get help to buy supplies and things, but we need bodies, and we need ideas. It's the sort of undertaking that church groups and civic organizations should all be a part of. PLEASE join our conversation, and let's find ways that we can fill in the gaps and keep those kids with the parents who love them. As drug and alcohol addictions seem to play a huge part in some of these cases, we look always for sponsors who have been there, done that, and can mentor someone who is still fighting for sobriety.
     Last, but not least, COFRAI does a formal training and educational seminar for people who would like to act as advocates for families in crisis.  These advocates learn the details of how the system works, what the laws are, and they try to guide the family to the services, help and documentation that can end a state intervention sooner. We are building networks of therapists, attorneys, child care centers, foster families, and a host of others who all work together to support families, and can help them prove and document their defenses against accusations of abuse or neglect. We use a lot of video tape, audio recording, witness and attend hearings and mediation meetings, work with the attorneys to do witness interviewing and documenting for the development of the case, help the parent gain the training, therapy, etc to make her/him capable of parenting their own child rapidly.
     Your ideas, input, offer of help, ANY help will be Very welcome. Even a craft class that a child and his parent can take together will be of value. Grandparents who would "adopt" a family on a short term basis to mentor a bit could make the difference. Don't think you don't have anything to offer. Even other parents in similar situations can network together and support and help one another.
(Please join the FRAI and tell us what your ideas are. We need everyone who has a thought about this issue to help us build a consortium of HELP. Eventually, we hope to have advocates and groups established in every county in Colorado. It starts with YOU. Today!
Thanks, Christine.


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