Examples Of Assistance
AUNT BECOMES KINSHIP CAREGIVER
It was 11pm, Elena was just laying down to sleep when the phone rang. “Is the Elena Morales?” The unfamiliar voice asked. “This is,” Elena responded. “Ma’am, this is Officer Johnson with the Sandoval County Sheriff’s Department. I am calling about your Sister, Monica.” “Yes,” Elena replied, her heart in her chest. “Ma’am, both your sister and her husband, David, have been taken into custody. It sounds like they were drinking all afternoon and then started fighting. At some point one of their children got in the middle and was hit. A caseworker is with the children now at the Pres ER off Unser. Since both parents are being held, are you able to take them into your care or do we need to transfer them to the foster care worker?” Without any hesitation, Elena replied, “They can stay with me, I’m on my way.” That was five years ago. Elena fought an uphill battle seeking adoption after her two nephews and niece were taken from her sister’s care for a second time. Elena is a single parent now, but loves having the children living with her.
The Fostering Family program connected Elena with legal services, which were crucial in helping her go to court for custody of the children. The CCSS worker was able to help Elena get individual and family therapy set up for the children to address their history of trauma, abuse and neglect. Fostering Family also connected Elena with the Parent Support Group, which helped Elena understand that she is not alone in facing all of the issues that come up with the children. She was able to have a safe place to talk about her struggles and gain insights into her role as a parent in the unique dynamic and history of her family.
BOYFRIEND BECOMES KINSHIP CAREGIVER
Eddy and Samantha met at a friend’s party and Eddy fell instantly in love with Samantha. It was not long before Samantha and her 6-year-old son, Alex, came to live with him. Their relationship was amazing at the beginning, but about a year into their relationship Eddy found out that Samantha struggled with pill use. He would come home finding her passed out from using with Alex left unattended. Eddy tried hard to get Samantha support, but her drug use increased. She would take off for days at a time and Eddy would be left with Alex, each time returning home promising that she would never leave again. But Samantha was not able to get clean. During one of her relapses, Samantha overdosed and passed away. CYFD was not able to find any biological family members who wanted to raise Alex and by this time Eddy had become attached to Alex and decided to step up and be a kinship guardian. Alex has adjusted well into his new life with Eddy. Eddy has worked hard to create a consistent daily routine for Alex and has involved him in positive supports, however he was struggling academically after missing so much school prior to his Mother’s passing when she was unable to get him to school regularly.
The Fostering Family program helped Eddy interface with Alex’s teachers, worked with Eddy on how to optimize homework time, accessed tutoring, and facilitated an Individualized Education Program. Eddy also requested school-based individual counseling for Alex and we assisted getting services in place. Eddy felt a sense of pride and knew he had made the right decision in stepping up to raise Alex when he watched Alex successfully complete second grade.
GRANDPARENTS BECOME KINSHIP CAREGIVERS
Tom and Alison took in their granddaughter Alyssa, a 6 month old infant, after CYFD removed her from the home due to severe neglect. Allysa’s CYFD worker connected Tom and Alison with the Foster Family program to help support having a baby in their lives. Through the Fostering Family program, Tom and Alison were able to work with a Community Support Worker (CSW) who helped them get access to buy clothes and diapers for baby Alyssa as well as connecting them with WIC, TANF, and even a Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. It has been a long time since Tom and Alison, who were in their 60s, have had a baby in the house, so the CSW helped them enroll in the Peer Support Group, where they were able to talk to other kinship guardians; sharing their barriers and successes of going through the process of taking on their granddaughter.