Mar 18 2013
By Greg Trottie
If I were to try and identify what seems to be a similar aspect in CASA cases I’ve worked on, including my work with CASA programs in Louisiana and Illinois, it would be the uneven efforts and/or expectations between mothers and fathers in child welfare cases. Sadly, too many fathers are either AWOL, incarcerated for vital chunks of their children’s lives or they’re present but may not be as significant to the process as they should be.
The child is in the care of the state and all the parts of the machine have began churning in order to return the child home or place them with relatives to achieve permanency. During this process sometime we don’t shine the light under the paternal rock as long as we should. What can be discovered underneath can turn out to be a valuable key to permanency as well as the child’s emotional well being.
I recently attended Kenneth Thompson’s “A Hole in the Soul” training on engaging fathers of children in the foster care system. Mr. Thompson told us of his personal story of growing up without his father and how it impacted his life. He asked the group to think about the depiction of the father in media and on television. Although there weren’t a ton of responses, everyone seemed to nod their head when someone mentioned Bill Cosby’s depiction of the father on the 80s/90s era sitcom “The Cosby Show.” He then pointed out that the current longest-running father on TV is Homer Simpson. That’s right - the Homer Simpson that somehow comes off as loveable even though he’s probably best known for choking his son when he gets angry. Although Homer’s present, he’s pretty irresponsible in all other aspects of fatherhood.
Throughout Mr. Thompson’s presentation he gave us vital questions to ponder. He spoke of the number of children being brought into care with an absent father, asking “Who fills the void that’s left by that absent father?” Mr. Thompson explained the skepticism a father may have about being involved with the Child Protective Services system. Some fathers may have grown up in CPS as well and associate any type of “system” as being more of a problem than a solution.
Here are some key points from Mr. Thompson’s presentation for future reference when working with fathers:
Overall Mr. Thompson’s presentation reinforced the need to explore the fathers and their side of the family as we go down all types of avenues seeking options for a safe and permanent home for the children we serve. Ultimately, it may prove to be beneficial by increasing the chance that a child finds permanency in a home with relatives. Engaging fathers more could also have an effect on the issue of disproportionality as well as have a positive effect on the child’s sense of belonging, security and value.
April 2018 March 2018 February 2018 January 2018 December 2017 November 2017 October 2017 September 2017 August 2017 July 2017 June 2017 May 2017 April 2017 March 2017 February 2017 January 2017 December 2016 November 2016 October 2016 September 2016 August 2016 July 2016 June 2016 May 2016 April 2016 March 2016 February 2016 January 2016 November 2015 October 2015 September 2015 August 2015 July 2015 June 2015 May 2015 April 2015 March 2015 February 2015 January 2015 December 2014 November 2014 October 2014 September 2014 August 2014 July 2014 June 2014 May 2014 April 2014 March 2014 February 2014