If your child/ren have recently been detained by the State, you are probably feeling a roller coaster of emotions. These emotions, not to mention the process itself, can be overwhelming. (But now is exactly not the time to act overwhelmed- ugh!)
What to do if your kids have been detained by CPS (These are suggestions only. Talk with your Attorney, Case Worker and/or Therapist, and follow any Court orders related to your case.)
You will likely be required to do a variety of tasks before you can regain custody of your child/ren. This may include attending sobriety and parenting classes, obtaining employment, finding adequate housing, demonstrating an ability to nurture and appropriately discipline your children, as well as the ability to provide food, clothing and toys. You most likely will also be given time to visit with your children. The action plan will be designed according to your family's presenting concerns.
Many parents report feeling stressed by trying to juggle sobriety, random testing, classes, meetings, visitation and court dates- all while worrying about (and terribly missing) their kids. Children, too, feel the stress of an unexpected move, new surroundings, limited parental contact, and sometimes separation from siblings and/or other family members.
Whether the Court mandates counseling or not, it may be a helpful addition to your Family (action) Plan. Counseling can assist you and/or your child with: - adjusting to change - issues related to separation and reunification - dealing with anxiety and stress - creating meaningful bonding / attachment times - communicating effectively with each other and your treatment team - recognizing behaviors or patterns that contributed to CPS involvement in the first place - exploring healthy alternatives to create a more desired lifestyle - addressing other issues or concerns specific to your family and situation
In some cases the Court may order Reunification Therapy. This is not a specific type of therapy, but rather a general focus on re-connecting family members (usually parent/s with child/ren) in an emotionally safe and effective manner. Contact an experienced counselor for a consultation.
Getting Overwhelmed Here are some suggestions to help keep your 'overwhelmtion' at bay (This information is not to be considered therapy and not considered to be a replacement for therapy):
- Remember, the main goal of the Court and your Social Worker is to reunite your kids with you- provided it is safe to do so - Try to think of this as a 'wake up call' or 'starting point' for a new life; take advantage of all of the resources and learning opportunities that are available to you now - No matter how much you want to take your frustrations out on your Social Worker, resist the urge; he/she can be your biggest fan and strongest support if you collaborate and cooperate on reaching established goals - Remember, you are not the only person who has been here; many others have walked this path and regained custody of their child/ren - Connect with others who are on the same positive path and avoid those who are negative influences - Look to professionals, other parents, friends and family who can offer emotional support when you need it (and you will!) - Understand that the guardians or foster parents have Court ordered rules to follow, as well (such as monitoring phone calls and only allowing for visits during approved times) - Take care of you (exercise, enjoy nice weather, read a book, dance, pray- whatever it is that keeps you healthy, stable and on track) - Eat healthy, drink clean water and get plenty of rest - Remember the ultimate goal- reuniting with your kids - Find the Supervised Visitation flyer by the Judicial Council of California here. - Find the California parent handbook on navigating your child dependency case here. - Take one day at a time... breathe in... breathe out... smile, you are making progress!
Finding Help I have experience and training in child detainment / dependency situations, supervised visitation and (in another state, not California) therapeutic visitation. If you are interested in finding out more about my education and qualifications, please visit the About page. I would be honored to assist your family during this transition.
Melinda Haynes, MA, LMFT Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist California lic. no. 102308 Serving Chico, Paradise, Oroville, Gridley The persons depicted on this site are models. Photos do not represent or guarantee results.