When Sid and Jamie Barker brought Claire and Sarah* into their foster home last year at the Baptist Ranch, the sisters were nervous as expected but very glad to be together.
Previously, they had been in separate foster homes. This division was extremely difficult for the close siblings. They longed to be together.
The sisters thrived during their time at the Ranch. Their favorite pastimes were riding the horses, swimming in the creek and playing with fellow foster children. They loved having their own bedrooms.
With support and love from the Barkers and Ranch staff, the girls learned how to make connections with others and how to deal with anger and depression due to trauma.
Not long ago, the sisters were reunited with their biological father. He worked hard to make the needed changes in his life in order to obtain custody of his girls. Praising the Barkers and Ranch staff which helped with this reunification, he said, “I am thankful for all the people that have helped my family be one unit again.”
Clair and Emma are two of several Connected foster children living at the Ranch that have been reunited with biological families over the past year. Another host of Connected foster children statewide have been reunified with biological families.
Reunification is the main goal for every child placed in foster homes at the Baptist Ranch and other Connected foster homes across the state. While in care, foster parents and Connected staff assist with supervised visits, transportation, healthcare appointments and mental health appointments. Staff also mentor biological families that are working toward reunification.
“Each child that comes into care all have experienced some form of trauma in their life,” Uroiste said. “We are committed to each child and their family, that’s what makes Connected care so special.
“I am also amazed that the families that we have helped allow us to still be part of their families.”
June is National Reunification Month. Launched in 2010 by a collaboration of national organizations, the initiative celebrates the importance of reunification, honoring reunification heroes around the country. At its core, it hopes to ensure a focus on keeping children with their families.
Throughout the month of June, Connected Foster Care, along with our partners at the Arkansas Department of Children and Family Services, are celebrating the hundreds of children like Emma and Claire who were reunified with their families during the past year.
Reunification takes work, commitment and investment of time and resources. Join us by praying for families, social workers, foster parents, attorneys, courts and the community that are all work hard to reunify families.