“Hi! I am Elizabeth and my sister is Sadie. I was two years old and Sadie was one
when CPS came and took us from our mommy and daddy. They said that we were
feral children because my parents rarely had contact with us and were often not in
position to care for us”
Elizabeth and Sadie were either locked in a room or placed in a playpen or highchair out of the way. The CPS case was based on child abandonment and neglect. They were toddlers who were left to fend for themselves while their parents self-medicated with drugs/alcohol.
Mom was homeless, without a job, had no transportation nor support system and the father was sent to an extensive rehabilitation program. The girls were placed with foster parents. However, they were fearful of the new surroundings. They had never experienced human care, social behavior, and loving human interaction. It took time, but they finally felt safe and loved. Whenever they were taken to visit their mother, who had since had a third child, they were scared and acted out. Both parents were also afraid and did not know how to show their love for these children.
The girls were in foster care going on 18 months and the mother had made very little progress. Children in foster care over 18 months statistically have less than a 20% chance to return to their parents. Therefore, discussions began concerning adoption.
Elizabeth and Sadie's mother was referred by her caseworker to NewDay's FOCUS for Mothers' Healthy Parenting Classes. Once she began taking classes things started to change. NewDay’s FOCUS for Mothers' Mentor-Navigator worked with her outside of class. She would attend family visits and help the mother interact with her children. Together they gathered items that were fun and educational, so that family visits would be fun. The mother learned how to play with the children, read to them, share snacks and so many hugs and kisses. The children remained in substitute care, but not removed permanently since the mother was actively working her service plan and caseworkers saw a change taking place.
This mother learned a lot in her “FOCUS for Mothers” classes. She changed her attitudes and actions, and went from being unemployed to employed, from not having transportation to getting a car, from living in a shelter to having a home. Most importantly--she started showing the children love. The girls soon began fighting to stay with their parents instead of their foster parents.
The girls' mother graduated from FOCUS for Mothers in late January 2018, and in July, the children were returned to their parents. They still visit with NewDay’s Mentor-Navigator and occasionally with their foster parents, too.
“My sisters and I are happy and glad we are now home with my parents…and we now have a dog too!”