Prevention services could have kept my sibling and I from ever being separated from our mother, 12 years ago. With that said, I would like to offer a few ideas of preventative services to you that I believe would have helped my family from ever being separated and that might help other families who have had similar situations or who can relate.
To begin, I would like to give my definition of prevention services. Prevention services in regards to the child welfare system, specifically the foster care system, will be defined as a service or method used to help parents reduce or stop a child welfare related issue from beginning or getting worst so that the child or children are not removed and relocated with a foster family.
There are two stages in my family’s life to think about before suggesting a preventative service for my parents; the pre-children stage and the post-children stage. I believe this distinction is important because, having a family and understanding how to raise a “good and productive” family, does not start once you have children, it starts when the parents are children themselves – the pre-children stage.
The pre-children stage requires a very different set of prevention services than the post-children stage. This is because it focuses on the understanding of being a productive adult and parent before having children. It focuses on values, character, knowledge, and vision. It is the knowledge that the parent should have retained as a child transitioning into adulthood and parenthood.
In order for my mom to have become a better parent for my siblings and I, she could have had prevention services that taught her how to make better decisions, called “decision making and consequences”. My mother could have had a prevention service that taught her about life goals, career paths, and looking at the future of innovation. This could have taught her and influenced her to pick a different life and career path that wouldn’t have led to her to a struggling life of worries and financial burdens. That prevention service can be called “goal setting and future planning”. One of the biggest things that could have been provided to my mother as a preventative service could have been loyalty, commitment, and support. This could have taught my mother how not to give up when situations got tough and also taught her problem solving. If the three prevention services that I suggested would have been available, my sibling, my mother, and I, could have still been together and foster care would have never become a reality for us twelve years ago.
As a disclaimer, the reason I am not descriptive of my mother’s specific life situations, in regards to prevention services in the pre-children stage, is because I will not speak about my mother’s flaws. The reason I will not speak about my mother’s flaws is because the moments I remember the most, the life I remember the most, are only of the brightest and most positive moments that I experience with her. I acknowledge my mother’s flaws but I acknowledge and speak more to her strengths because although she had her failures as a mother, she is still the best mother in the world, better than any foster parent or kinship family I have ever lived with.
The post-children stage of prevention services focuses on the flaws my mother had after having my siblings and I. This stage is an important distinction because it focuses on mostly on the specific and direct issues affecting my siblings and I. I will say that the three prevention services offered in the pre-children stage applies in the post-children stage as well. Therefore, the first three prevention services for this stage are, “decision making and consequences”, “goal setting and future planning”, and “commitment and problem solving”. The next prevention service that I will suggest for my mother, the most important that could have kept my sibling and I from being separated, is a supportive mentor, someone like a coach that pushes you when you can’t push yourself anymore. Someone who could add perspective and experience while passing their knowledge forward. I believe this would have been the most beneficial prevention service for my mother because she would have been kept on track and guided in a better direction in her life.
Lastly, I would recommend a prevention service for the Administration for Children’s Services on how to come up with solutions to keep families together. I would call this prevention service “Putting yourself in my shoes”. This would allow the individuals who evaluate the families and homes and make a decision on how that family will be, understand the effects and consequences of their decision and understand that if it were done to them, the effects it would have on their family.
To conclude, if the Administration for Children’s Services provided a prevention service for my family and I, then there could have been a possibility where my siblings and I would have never entered foster care and there could have been a possibility where my mother would have never passed away, while in care. However, I don’t believe in thinking what could have been, because ACS, my mother, and my dad already made their decisions and decided my siblings and my life forever. Thank you.