The Center for Youth and Family Solutions staff members are experts at addressing highly-complicated, problematic cases in the DCFS child welfare system. These cases often involve issues of alcohol and substance abuse, abuse, neglect, mental health issues, and chronic family relationship issues. They require careful collaboration between the treatment providers and clients. Here is one such story.
“Natalie” was a 26-year-old, single mother who was living with her abusive boyfriend. Together, they were using drugs, including Crystal Meth. Natalie’s boyfriend was involved in gang activity, and gang members threatened Natalie on several occasions.
Then, the situation got worse. Natalie’s 11-year-old daughter was placed in DCFS Protective Custody before being sent to a foster home after it was reported and confirmed that she was sexually abused by Natalie’s boyfriend.
Natalie was subsequently referred for counseling services to address her issues and the risks to her and her daughter. After referral to domestic violence services and deciding to leave her abusive relationship, she also worked toward obtaining sobriety.
In therapy, Natalie was able to work through her own history of trauma, other long-term family abuse issues and the toll it took on her life. She learned coping skills. When she made enough progress in her own counseling sessions, she then joined her daughter in family counseling sessions to repair their relationship. Her daughter also participated in specialized therapy to begin to recover from her trauma.
It was not an easy road. There was a lot of trust that needed to be rebuilt. Natalie and her daughter attended attachment-focused therapy together. That is where Natalie learned how to effectively parent her daughter with love and to how to nurture her, despite the trauma they had endured.
Gradually, they reformed a family relationship built on safety, trust and security. After gaining her sobriety and safeguarding her family, Natalie also graduated with her associate’s degree and found a job in the medical field.
It took 13 months of therapy, followed by supervised and unsupervised visits, and a lot of hard work, but Natalie regained custody of her daughter. Together again, they continue to grow in their new life together.
CYFS provides foster home placement services, casework services and therapy services to over 1,500 children in foster care each year. Every case requires incredible expertise, care, planning and collaboration in order to achieve resolution and success.