MICHIGAN: Jackson was six-years-old when he entered foster care with his younger twin brothers, Todd and Tyson. They entered care because their mother was abusive, and their father was incarcerated.
In foster care, the boys were separated. Jackson’s brothers were adopted in one home, while Jackson was adopted in another. During this time, Todd and Tyson’s tenacious caseworker constantly called and emailed Jackson’s adoptive parents to establish communications with Jackson, but his adoptive parents decided not to maintain contact. Jackson spent the next ten years growing up without ties to his biological family.
Last October, Jackson, now 16, re-entered the foster care system when his adoptive parents kicked him out due to mental health issues. Staying temporarily at a mental health hospital, it was discovered that Jackson had not been taking his medication or receiving the services he needed in his adoptive placement. After the adoption was dissolved, Kaylee, a State of Michigan government kinship support worker, started searching for Jackson’s relatives using Family Connections.
Kaylee retrieved the full names of Jackson’s biological mother and father from his newly unsealed court documents. From there, she first typed the father’s name into Family Connections, ran a People Search, and Spokeo, a paid search engine in Family Connections. A Family Connections generated blue circle popped up. Kaylee clicked on that circle and saw Jackson’s paternal grandmother’s name. That name looked familiar to Kaylee, yet she didn’t think much of it until she searched on Jackson’s mother’s side, and many relatives—aunts, uncles, parents—started popping up. It was then that Kaylee recognized the family from her time at Catholic Charities. Kaylee had been the tenacious caseworker for Todd and Tyson years earlier.
Once Kaylee discovered that Jackson was the older brother of the two siblings she once represented in another agency in a different county, she immediately contacted Jackson’s caseworker to share the full-circle moment! Jackson’s caseworker followed up on all the relatives Kaylee found in Family Connections, and by Christmas, Jackson had reconnected with his brothers as well as his biological grandparents, uncles, and aunts.
Jackson’s condition is stabilizing, and he has been able to visit with his father and uncle. The court is now considering whether his father is a viable option for placement, and his uncle stands ready as a backup. In both cases, Connect Our Kids technology helped reestablish connections to biological relatives, who will all be there to support Jackson.
Connect Our Kids is a non-profit dedicated to leveraging technology to find families, build connections, and create a community for children in the foster care system. Our work is funded by donations and grants. To help other children like Jackson, please donate HERE.
*Names have been changed to protect privacy.