ABBOTT FAMILY STORY

Building a Network for Successful Parenting

Parenting is difficult, and all parents need a solid support network to rely on when they are overwhelmed. Stephen and Jen, who typically thrive despite cognitive developmental delays, felt in over their heads after having their first child, Chloe. They lacked the solid support network necessary to help them learn the best way to care for their baby. Until they could build the skills they needed to care for Chloe, she was placed in a foster home.

“This is a family who clearly loved their baby so much and would do absolutely anything they could to keep her safe, they just didn't have the right tools to do that,” shared Megan Elsen, case manager.

Our foster care case management team used solution-based casework (SBC) with all of the service providers and the family to develop a "medical safety plan." It included a medical binder for Stephen and Jen to keep track of how much Chloe was eating, sleeping and other developmental tasks. The family has utilized this medical binder at every doctor’s appointment and developmental screening for their little one. The doctors have expressed to the couple how impressed they are with the parents’ ability to document and track their baby's day-to-day activities. 

“The best part of the SBC model is the focus on child safety,” said Shane Wilcutt, an intensive in-home specialist who also worked with the family. “The model is designed to keep everyone focused on the identified safety concerns, to create action plans which address those specific concerns, and to document success in a tangible way. It helps everyone involved — from family members to practitioners to lawyers and judges — keep their eye on the prize and stay focused on the issue at hand, which is the child's safety.”

Stephen and Jen developed a well-rounded support network that includes both professional and personal helpers that they have called on many occasions for support and guidance. Since the family uses public transportation, they also made a “rainy day” action plan in case they need assistance getting the baby to daycare or to the doctor during inclement weather.

“Using my action plan, I learned how to prioritize and put things in order,” explained Stephen. “I also learned how to document the things that we do well.” 

“I used my plan to show the doctors that I know how to care for my daughter,” Jen added.

Stephen and Jen recently showed the court that they had built all the skills they needed and were consistently utilizing their support network to always ensure their baby would be safe. They have a new sense of confidence in their parenting abilities and have developed the resilience to get through the trials of raising a young child.

Chloe was returned home and both parents have actively participated in every one of her developmental assessments and doctor’s appointments. They enjoy taking Chloe on walks, visiting Crown Center in Kansas City and just spending time together. They love watching her grow and do new things every day.

“In using the SBC action plans with this family, we have given them the tools they need to have long term success,” said Elsen. “They will utilize their support network before ever needing to come to the attention of the child welfare system again."

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