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Regaining Child Custody After Recovery

Recovery is a long process that sometimes takes a person all their life to get right. In this process, many go through different emotions about what they are experiencing. It is an important step, when a person enters into treatment. This usually involves a period of detox and rehabilitation, whether inpatient or outpatient, the addict is being taught to train their mind and form better habits. Most of the time people in recovery come from all walks of life, they can be young, old, black or white but one thing is for sure, they have hope that it can get better. That they will break free from addiction. So it is possible to find redemption after you’ve hit rock bottom.

Every situation is different in recovery there are people who came on their own to treatment, there are people who were brought by their families or loved ones and there are those who have been court ordered to receive treatment due to breaking the law while under the influence of a substance or because of the legal obligations they have to their child. The worst case scenario would be having your parental rights completely revoked and the child goes to the state, or custody being taken from the user and given to the other parent. Under the Florida statute of Grounds for termination of Parental Rights which is found in title 5 chapter 39, states that a child may be taken under these following grounds: When a parent voluntarily surrenders their right under written consent, when the parent poses a threat to the child’s emotional and physical well being, when a parent has been incarcerated and if a parent engages in unsafe behavior or drug/alcohol use.

This could even be the reason you entered a drug treatment program, when you looked into your child’s watery eyes telling you they need you. To look upon the face of your dependent child, after being told that you lost custody of him or her, could be devastating but it can also be life changing. It might have taken this situation, to wake you up and help you see that a life of drug or alcohol abuse does more harm than good in your life. Believe it or not, there is hope after recovery in every aspect. The commitment you put in determines how successful you will be in recovery and how quickly you can restore your life back after these unfortunate events.

Together we will explore your rights and helpful tips, that can help you determine if you can regain your child’s custody back.

The Department of Child and Family Services (DCFS), has the responsibility to protect our children. Every state has their own department but one thing they all have as a common goal is to keep families in tact. The DCFS actually wants the child to be raised by their natural parents. They favor this living situation for the child, but they know that sometimes this is not the best option, due to addiction, violence or mental health problems the natural parents might be going through. The good news is that they acknowledge when a parent has struggled with addiction and are more open to the possibility of the parent regaining custody, after completing rehabilitation for drug or alcohol abuse, prove they are in recovery and is currently of drugs.

Before beginning the legal process of regaining custody, there are a few things to keep in mind. Is this something you want or think you should do? There have been parents who allow themselves to hit rock bottom because they cannot handle the responsibility of having a child. Can you handle dealing with recovery and the responsibility of raising a child? Is this something that would benefit your recovery or would it cause stress? Remember recovery is a process and if you might not be ready just yet, you should wait so the transition will be easier for everyone.

Being Real With Yourself. Are You Ready?

It’s important that you allow yourself time to heal. To recuperate. After rehab, it’s time to re train the mind and form new habits. So you must be real with yourself! Can you handle caring and supporting your child, while you are new to recovery. Although the DCFS prefers the child with you, it doesn’t mean they will place your child in your custody, without being sure you made an attempt to change your life. Stability is important in a child’s life so the DCFS has to be sure that you have made a commitment, so the child will have the best experience through this.

Being Active in Your Recovery.

When you go through rehab for addiction most of the time, you either have to go out of the state or very far from your neighborhood. You’d be very lucky if you went to a rehab center around the corner from your house. This wouldn’t be wise anyway, the point is to get you physically and mentally out of the place you are in. Once you come back home it’s time to try new things. A new lifestyle, such as a walk every morning to get that blood pumping and joining social clubs to meet new friends. Of course, while attending support groups that will reinforce the skills you have learned, while you were away in rehab. If you show your willingness to engage in new activities, then you are showing the courts that the changes you are making are towards a healthy lifestyle, not just stopping the drugs. This is very positive for your recovery, statistics show that in 2012, 23.5 million people overcame the disease that is addiction. This shows how effective and worth, it is getting treatment. Keeping in mind that the more work you put in by staying active, the more successful you can be in the long run.

Creating a Safe Environment For the Child.

If the courts decide that you are fit to regain your custodial rights back and if you are planning to arrange visits or have the child full-time then you have to prepare. When you decide you are ready after treatment, to bring your child back into your life it is important that you create an important environment for them to grow in. No matter what age, a child should be able to feel loved and safe in his home. Not only physically but emotionally as well. Be mindful of the people you bring around, depending on your state there is a period of time that you must prove yourself worthy of caring for your child once again. Pick a decent neighborhood that your child can play, stay away from the high crime areas because it might slim your chances of having your child again full time or even visitation rights.

Having a Good Support System.

The journey of addiction is not an easy one, so it’s best if you have some loved ones that can help you with the transition. Make sure these are people who love and encourage your life in recovery, not make it difficult. They don’t have to be blood relatives, but the people you do let in your child’s life after recovery should be supportive of your new lifestyle changes. Don’t reconnect with anyone that may cause you to be tempted by your past lifestyle choices.

There are so many ways to make your recovery a healthy and stable one. As I mentioned before, exercise and a good diet can cure many things. Also having patience in yourself and hope is key to being successful in recovery. You made the beautiful decision to have your child, so make sure you are able to show them everyday how committed you are. Whether you were only granted visitation rights or denied any right to your child, continue your path to recovery. That the commitment you put in be worth it in the long run. That maybe, one day your child may know that you indeed changed for them and then that day it may all be worth it.


Catalina T.

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