Suzanne had been a victim of domestic violence in her past. Continuing to deal with that trauma is difficult for anyone. Being a single mom added to those challenges for Suzanne. Her kids were in foster care for nearly four years, but she wanted to be reunited with them. The office of Children, Youth and Families, along with other agencies, had been involved in Suzanne’s case, but she had trust issues with the system, having been through it earlier in her life. That’s where the staff at Allegheny Children’s Initiative came in. Maria Guido, a family-based clinician with Allegheny Children’s Initiative, worked with Suzanne to help her get her kids back, one by one. Maria also worked closely with Suzanne’s two oldest: Nathan and Anthony, in reacclimating to the family unit.
“We had to show the family that we were a safe place for them,” explained Guido. “And we taught mom about how her past trauma played a role in her parenting.”
Today, Maria reports that the family is back together and thriving. She gives Suzanne a lot of credit for her progress. “We became a big source of support for Suzanne,” explained Guido. “She’s learned how to be a parent again.”
Suzanne’s family benefited from support from the Allegheny Children’s Initiative team. The Service Coordination staff helped Suzanne build upon what she learned from Maria.
“Suzanne has become an advocate for her kids and keeps in touch with their teachers,” said Guido. “She’s getting to do all those little things that moms do.”
Allegheny Children’s Initiative also worked with Suzanne to ensure she has access to diapers for her youngest child, along with creating a chore list for the older kids. In addition, she has helped one of the kids connect with a therapist to address behavior concerns. It all leads to fewer challenges in the home.
“This is why we do this – to see even the smallest progress,” said Guido. “We love helping families get to where they want to be.”