Thursday, February 1, 2007

Birth Moms Like Me Need Help

by Kelly Cates, recovering addict who reunified with her children, Maryland

My involvement with child protective services stems from my addition to drugs. I am a recovering addict. Because of my addiction, my parents ended up getting custody of my children through DSS for almost three years.

Four years ago, I ended up pregnant and I ended up having to go into this program, it’s the Center for Addiction and Pregnancy through Bayview Hospital. At that point I had gotten into counseling with my children and myself and the worker was having transportation to bring the girls to the counseling. They got me into parenting classes. They had funding to get me to the parenting classes. My one obstacle to reunifying with my girls was that I needed to get housing for us. Anything that I needed to help me with my process of being reunified with my children, the agency was helping me and backing me up every step of the way.

I couldn’t have done it on my own. If it wasn’t for all the resources and help that I had I wouldn’t have been able to get my girls back.

I have three girls and it has been such a miracle for us that we have been reunified and I know that it is rare. We are all very grateful. I get very emotional with these things that I can show up today and be their mom. I have had them in different extracurricular activities, now two of my daughter’s have been in gymnastics now for a while and they are doing very well. My two older girls each play instruments in school, we are very involved in our church.

There are so many women there that are in similar circumstances that I was and they need help and they look at me and say, “How did you get that assistance?” Because of funding cuts, many of those services are not available today especially the housing program which was crucial for me.

I think, all in all, the amount of money that they would be spending to keep a child in foster care would out-weigh what it would take to help a mother be reunited with their children.

No comments: