Simple answer?—A systemic collaboration with the common interest of healing children that come from a hard place. No one family, foster care organization, government agency, or church can carry out this alone. However if each of these work together with a common language, a common approach, and a common goal, then true dynamic healing can happen.
The sad fact is that the system meant to care for and nurture children who have suffered trauma, neglect or abuse is far too often non-effective if not completely broken.
Many times the very families tasked to nurture and foster these children end up continuing the abuse and trauma. Many factors contribute to this sad reality. One major reason is that the state has a minimum level of standard required for foster families.
This results in the state often placing several children, up to 12, within one family. The system non-purposefully encourages “cottage industry” foster homes—homes that take as many children as possible for the purpose of “making money”.
Children already coming from a history of trauma, neglect and abuse can’t possibly receive the nurture and care needed in homes like these. And in worst cases, they suffer further trauma.
Other challenges that I have witnessed are the different entities working against one another instead of collaborating to meet a common goal; a child focused approach instead of a wholistic approach to healing the entire biological family; an inadequate foster family support system; and an inefficient support system for children aging out-of-state custody.
Into this ineffective system steps an exciting effort led by Dr. Karyn Purvis, Director of the Institute of Child Development at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, TX, called the Travis County Collaborative for Children.
The TCCC strives to meet these goals (from the TCCC website):
- Key individuals working in and around the Travis County foster care system will be equipped with TBRI® principles and practices.
- An effective, ongoing, TBRI®-informed set of support systems for these individuals and for foster and biological families will be establisehd.
- Recruit new foster families from the community to effectively heal and care for foster children.
- Changes in public policy and court practice will be made that support the infusion of TBRI®-informed principles and practices into child placement and related decisions.
Here is a short video clip from Dr. Karyn Purvis:
Here is a diagram representing the potential collaboration:
If you look close enough, I bet you can find at least one role you already fit.
As all of these partners work together using the same approach and terminology, a child along with either the biological and/or the foster/adoptive family will begin to experience a consistent journey toward healing. The healing process becomes dynamic as a case worker uses the same approach as a school teacher as does a counselor as does a parent.
As this happens, the vision of TCCC will undoubtedly become a reality. TCCC vision: