For years there has been a national trend towards moving children out of residential centers, and building up community treatment options so children can live in families. In Connecticut we have been moving in this direction for a long time. Recently our new Commissioner has accelerated the progress. She is determined to change residential completely, and eliminate most of it. To this end, my agency Klingberg Family Centers is in the process of closing our residential treatment center and developing new community options. If you would like to know more about our process, you can find it at:
I wonder if it is possible for all children to live in families, especially those with long trauma histories. Many of our children have been in 16 foster homes or more. They don’t trust families. They have learned to guard their hearts. Professional care gives them the chance to get close to people at their own speed, without the pressure of someone expecting to be their parent.
I remember the six year old that we told that an adoptive family had been found for him. He4 asked if DCF would still visit. Thinking this was the answer he was looking for, we said no. He asked: “then who will I tell when they start beating me?”
I think of the behaviors we can barely manage with 4-5 trained staff, including severe aggression.
I think of the slow but clear progress the kids make over time.
Will this be able to happen in foster care? Will the family be able to hold the child long enough for trust to develop?
If we can really give the families enough resources so that they can keep the children, then that will certainly be the best gift we could ever give these kids. That would involve trauma training for the families, intensive support, clinical treatment, appropriate schools, and recreational opportunities at their level.
This is happening all over the country- how is it working in your state? Click on “comment” below and let’s all learn from each other.
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