Triage for Hurting Families [Chris Schaffner & Patti Gibbons – Group Kidmin Conference]
Description: Whether they’re hurting in the wake of divorce, marital problems, death of a loved one, failed adoptions, foster care challenges, or any other situation, explore how to best offer support for these families.
- Sexual Abuse
- Domestic Violence
- Substance abuse
- Death in a family
- Diagnosis of special needs or health concerns
- Feeling alone
It’s important to determine what our role is.
We need to have a system of care in place to walk through these tragedies.
CAN’T GO TO PARENTS WITH DISCIPLINE ISSUES
– Christian counselor
– Provide positive attention they’re not getting elsewhere
– Nothing endears you more to a parent than loving their child
– Safe and loving children’s ministry space
– Surrogate parents
FOLLOWING UP ON FOSTER KIDS
– You can’t really do anything about it legally. Foster parent can’t give you information about the foster child. They are well protected for good reason.
– You do get involved in the child’s life. Give them your cell phone information. If they reach out to you and tell you where they are, you’re allowed to know where they are.
– Some kids need continued contact. Give them opportunities to interact.
– Make lots of memories while you have them. Things to remind them that those people loved me.
WORKING WITH FAMILIES WHO LOSE A FOSTER CHILD
– Help them name the grief
– Pray with them to commit the child to God.
PARENTS WHO LET THEIR CHILDREN KNOW THEY NO LONGER WISH TO LIVE
– Thinking of suicide is a very normal thought pattern
– Provide a safe and secure spot
– Assure the child it isn’t their fault
– Can’t promise what is going to happen tomorrow
– After dealing with the child, get the next person involved in conversation so family can be cared for
– Boys tend to get angry physically. Reestablish a dad figure who is stable. Don’t want them to feel like they have to follow in Dad’s footsteps.
– Walk with mom like she is a single mom.
– Single parents less likely to ask for support.
– If mom is incarcerated, girl is likely to feel in some way responsible.
– Provide love and support and a mentor.
About Chris: Chris is the founder of Conversations on the Fringe and is a licensed addictions counselor who’s worked with at-risk adolescents for over 15 years.
About Patti: Patti has served as a youth worker for more than 25 years. She’s a volunteer with Youth for Christ’s City Life ministry in Schenectady, New York.