Children are placed in foster care through no fault of their own. Most children enter foster care when their birth parents are not able to care for them appropriately, which could be due to abuse, neglect, substance use, or mental health concerns.
For many Iowans unfamiliar with foster care, this might make birth parents sound like bad people – but we cannot allow ourselves to make these generalizations – there is always more to a person than their mistakes.
Birth parents are humans, just like you and me. They’ve made mistakes, and they’re facing the consequences: their children are removed from them. Many of them describe this as the worst pain they have ever experienced. Meanwhile, their children face the trauma of having to leave their schools, friends, favorite toys, and all the comfort of home.
Our goal is to support Iowa kids during their time in foster care and help safely reunify with their families when possible. But this means it is equally vital for foster families to be supporters for birth parents. Along with caring for the child, Iowa foster families are expected to work closely with their birth parents to help get them back on their feet.
In most cases, birth parents are doing difficult work to get back on the right path and prepare a safe, healthy environment for their children to return to. Many of LSI’s foster families build strong relationships with these birth parents that last long after their families are reunified. Because we all need someone in our corner, cheering us on during the darkest points in our lives, believing that we can be better and do better.