30 Jun Reunified – A Parent’s Story
Every June, we celebrate National Reunification Month! Reunification is the goal of Foster Care and something CASA Advocates help their clients work towards.
When children must be removed from their families to ensure their safety, the first goal is to reunite them with their families as soon as possible. Studies have repeatedly shown that reunification, when possible, is best for the children. In order for reunification to be possible, parents must often overcome many obstacles to provide a safe and loving home for their children.
Nikki Driscoll knows first hand the difficulty of overcoming such obstacles. After being introduced to alcohol and drugs by her parents before age 16, she said, “that became normal to me”. In the following years she became addicted to different substances, lost her job, home, and car. Nikki’s children were taken into DHS custody after her second child was born addicted to methamphetamine.
Nikki continued to struggle with drugs and alcohol. She was often unable to get to her visitations because she had no car or was under the influence of different substances. Case Workers and CASA Advocates appointed to her case worked with Nikki to help her achieve sobriety so she could be reunited with her children. She attended a faith-based reentry program and worked on becoming a good parent to her children.
In 2019, Nikki was reunited with her children. “I had to see myself the way everyone else saw me. If you don’t know your worth, how can you love yourself or others?” Nikki changed her life completely to be reunited with her children. “I want other mothers to know they are worthy and capable. We are not mothers by accident.”
Nikki works daily on her sobriety and lives by the order “God, recovery, me, and kids”. She has built a safety network of friends and mentors. She works at the same reentry program she once attended and hopes to help others overcome addiction, just as she did.