We support parents who have lost their children to the Child Protective System, and help reunite those parents with their children whenever possible. We do this by building positive community connections and promoting an avenue for sustainable family systems. We offer community service projects that improve our community while enhancing the lives of those performing the service.
The program grew out of the Parent to Parent Program, which brought together birth parents who were successful in changing their lives and reconnecting with their children and those parents who were still separated from their children. Important partnerships include: Pierce County Juvenile Court, Children’s Administration, Department of Assigned Counsel; Attorney General’s Office, First Center, First United Methodist Church, Office of Public Defense, Casey Family Programs, Catalyst for Kids, and The Washington State Parent Advocacy Committee.
The Bridge program is designed so parents involved in a dependency case (Birth Parents) can build relationships with other parents who have been successful in resolving their dependencies (Veteran Parents). We work directly with parents whose children are in foster or relative care. Our program consists of one healthy alternative activity and one community service project per month. At our activities, Veteran Parents model by example and positive interaction with Birth Parents to show how both healthy family activities and service in the community are fulfilling and enjoyable. This boosts the Birth Parents’ self-esteem and gives them hope, which in turn is beneficial in helping them shift themselves into a more cooperative attitude. We believe that hope, self-esteem, and cooperation are possibly the most relevant aspects in successful reunifications.
The Bridge was conceived by a Veteran Parent and all events are facilitated by Veteran Parents. We intend that Birth Parents will see Veteran Parents who have successfully completed their dependencies and will thereby gain an expectation that they also can live healthy and happy lives with their children and never enter the child welfare system again.
We hope to inspire parents to envision, set goals, and take positive action to achieve a brighter future for themselves and their families. We want Birth Parents to feel that they have a voice and can be viewed in our culture as valuable partners in healthy outcomes.