Reunification looks a little bit different for everyone here at New Phoebe House. No matter what it looks like, it is an exciting, beautiful, and sometimes scary time. Some women have not had their children full time for quite a while; others have only been separated for a short time. The transition can be hard for both mother and child as they are learning what it feels like to be in a new situation and shared living environment. The guidance and support available here at NPH during this transitional period provides the women with hands-on parenting skills, a structured schedule, “Hour of Power” bonding time, and coping skills to deal with the stress of being a “new” mom.
All of this helps women like Anne, whose son had been in foster care for almost a year. After graduating from inpatient treatment she entered our program with her son in her care. Throughout the reunification process she struggled with parenting out of guilt, with developing an age-appropriate routine for her son, and with bonding with her son.
With help from the case managers and parenting classes, she learned to stand her ground and set boundaries. She began to let go of some of the guilt from her past that caused her to give in to her child so often. She set up rules and a routine that included spending quality time together. The structure helped him thrive.
Anne successfully completed drug court, her CPS case closed, and she followed through with her education. She now has a very happy and healthy child and she has had no involvement with the legal system since completing the program at New Phoebe House.
The reunification process is difficult for some mothers – trying to complete all of the requirements that are often asked of them by the state. Once they begin to experience even small successes, however, they start to persevere and realize what they are capable of. Their visits with their children become more frequent and their bond with their child grows stronger – something that is very encouraging for both the women and staff. Watching the growth in these women and children is a wonderful part of the process of reunification here at New Phoebe House.