One of the greatest joys of working at CFCS is making children happier and healthier by placing them in safe, nurturing foster and adoptive homes. But at CFCS, we don’t believe that children are the only people who deserve safe, judgement-free care when their lives take a bad turn. Our Family Support & Stabilization (FSS) program offers services to adults and people under 18 with children who are at risk of being separated from their families. FSS provides resources, training and support to give those clients the skills and headspace they need to provide the best care for themselves and their families. Today, we would like to share the story of one parent who went through a lot but found a better life with help from FSS. To protect her identity, we will call her C.
C has two young sons. She came to work with FSS because she had just gotten out of a very long and extensive situation where she experienced domestic violence, and she needed support and education to help her through this transition. One of our FSS social workers, Alfonso, worked with C’s two sons, while social worker Queila worked with C. Queila set up support for C through Lend a Hand, which helped her to pay her utility bills, and Household Goods, which provided some furnishings she needed and wanted for her home, including two mattresses and a TV stand. Queila helped C apply for food stamps through SNAP, which she was approved for, and Alfonso connected her sons with the Big Brothers Big Sisters program. FSS is also working to connect the family with a DCF-funded after-school program, which will save C money and provide some social structure for her sons outside of the home.
C came to the US from El Salvador. After she arrived, her former husband isolated her from friends and family to the point where she wasn’t even allowed to speak her native language to her children. When she came to FSS, C had escaped from that situation but was unfamiliar with how she might find her own community in Boston. To help C reconnect with her home culture, Alfonso and Queila recently took her to a local café, where she reconnected with an old friend. Queila is already planning to take C to another café in her community, so she can broaden her horizons even more and become more comfortable with going out and making connections.
Stories like C’s are great examples of the comprehensive and thorough work our programs and individuals do to support our clients. It is also wonderful to see how the local and federal resources that exist can improve a family’s situation so much, once that family knows how to connect with them. But most importantly, C’s story reflects her own resilience and perseverance. At FSS, we celebrate the fact that we do not magically give struggling families permanency – those families create their own kind of permanency. We are just happy to give them the tools and support they need to find it.