“I have a heart for the hurting, and I pray that I can be hope for these parents in their time of need. I want to see families not just move through the system but truly to be healed.” —Colleen, a Family Partner for Methodist Home for Children
When parents are investigated for abuse or neglect, the preferred goal is to preserve or reunite the family in a healthier, happier relationship. Research suggests that keeping children with their parents will actually help many of them over the long term.
But most of us probably can’t imagine what an accused parent is feeling unless we’ve sat across the table from a Child Protective Services investigator—and faced the prospect of losing our children.
Fear, anger, shame and confusion are natural reactions, but they’re not helpful to moms and dads who need to focus on making significant changes to their lives.
That’s where Family Partners can help. Launched July 2015 in New Hanover County, our program pairs families new to the CPS system with parents who’ve already gone the process and emerged stronger. Family Partners know what it’s like to sit on the other side of the table, and they know what it takes to prepare for and complete a plan of care. They are a source of logistical and tactical support as well as moral support.
Families are referred by their CPS social worker and may be paired with a Family Partner from one to six months, depending on their needs. Participation in the program is voluntary.