Carol’s went to court for neglect and she was
charged with child endangerment. She couldn’t
believe she allowed this happen. Carol grew up in
the system and knew how bad this was. As a street
savvy, smart mouth young woman of 23, she was
just angry. Carol was charged after she found her
then 2 year old intoxicated. She left the children,
ages 3 and 2, unsupervised and the 2 year old
drink vodka. Carol rushed her to the hospital when
she realized. Her child had a blood alcohol level
higher than the adult legal limit. The two- and
three-year-old were removed from home. In addition
when questioned and taken downtown, Carol
tested positive for marijuana and found her picture
and story on the evening news. As she was angry and grew up in the system herself, she didn’t trust the helpers or the system. Carols case was open for two years. The next step was to terminate parental rights. After 6 other agencies failed to make progress, due to Carol’s tough and intimidating behavior, Youth Care was called to be a parent coach and provide family support services.
Through our work, we found out the mom was raised by her grandmother who was abusive. Her mother was addicted to drugs and her father was a drug dealer. When we started and the mother had failed too many monthly drug tests to count. Youth Care and Beyond was considered her last hope.
The family support worker reports that initially there was a huge barrier with this family. Carol had several service agencies in her life, knew the system better than she did and had a high wall protecting her. “I worked extremely hard to be consistent and let her know I was on her side. It took a while but once I was in, I was in” the family support worker reports. This worked and happened quickly as Carol did not fail one drug test in our care.
We began our work with teaching appropriate parenting skills. Carol’s children were able to do or watch whatever they chose. Visits were wild, the children had lots of trauma and anxiety and Carol was scared and angry. We worked with Carol to establish some rules and guidelines to allow her children to have the childhood she missed by having to grow up too fast. Next our parent coach modeled appropriate boundaries, voice tone and rules. Carol began to catch on and soften toward coaching. Carol learned how to prepare for visits and make them safe. Carol reports the most powerful thing was how the parent coach would text her things to say so not to undermine her in front of the children. With serious progress being made, semi supervised visits started after 8 months. Now when the parent coach arrived, Carol was excited to share how she planned the visit and her successes. Overtime Carol learned and demonstrated skill development through softening her language, no longer argue with her children, begin to play with her children, set clear expectations, and follow through with consequences.
The family support team reports the children’s behavior changed significantly. As their mom became more nurturing and offered guidance, they responded and began to listen and look to their mom rather than argue or whine.
Youth Care & Beyond had this case for a little over a year and, almost a year since our services. Carol stays in touch with her Parent Coach today. The kids are now 6 & 7 and flourishing. Carol states that if she had Youth Care & Beyond when the case opened she would have had her children back sooner. She states she lost time and frequently wishes others had Youth Care & beyond because they don’t’ make it just a job and are not part of the system. You guys really cared. Without you, I would not have my children.