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Life Changing Help for a Young Mother and Her Children
*Photos reflect the spirit of CFA and are not of any individuals associated with these stories
My name is Joan and Child & Family Agency (CFA) has had a huge impact on me. I’m a mother, sister, aunt, and grandmother. I have a huge family and we’ve used CFA in a number of ways – the Early Childhood Development Center (ECDC) in Groton, the BP Learned Mission in New London, the Child Guidance Clinics (CGC), and School-Based Health Centers. I really love how CFA supports the entire family.
My niece, Jessica, had her first child, a girl, when she was only 13 years old. She lived in Massachusetts at the time and her daughter’s father was not involved. My niece struggled to raise her little girl by herself. She’d endured abuse and neglect as a child and had her own child before she’d really had the time to grow up herself.
So, fast forward seven years and Jessica found herself pregnant once again. And this time it was with twins! She gave birth to twin girls, surrounded by our extended family, on a cool September day. We then had to return to our lives in CT while she once again struggled to support three young children. The struggle became too much. The children were missing school, Jessica was stressed and coping in unhealthy ways including using drugs and alcohol. The children were repeatedly left home alone (since Jessica could not afford childcare, had no family around, and needed to work) and eventually neighbors reported Jessica to the Department of Children and Families in Massachusetts.
I got the call when the twins were just 4 years old and the older child was 12. They needed a place to stay. Jessica’s older daughter went to live with my sister and I took in the twins. They were malnourished, developmentally delayed, and did not know how to manage their emotions. But most of all they were scared.
I was able to enroll them in childcare, at CFA’s ECDC site, since I still needed to work. The SBHC staff helped me get physicals and update their immunizations. And both children received counseling services from caring, supporting clinicians at the CGC in New London.
Today they are thriving high school students! It took years to learn how to deal with the trauma they had experienced. They eventually participated in the BP Learned Mission program where one twin became a skilled performer and singer and the other excelled at basketball. Today they still participate and succeed in these activities. They are back living with their mother who has since relocated to CT.
While Jessica still faces challenges every day, she is now surrounded by family and sees that there are resources and supports in the world. The children have been to hell and back and learned that they have strength and resilience. And I do not believe this would have been possible without CFA.
*At Child and Family Agency we respect everyone who comes to us for help – and many are working toward a fresh start in life. So while their stories are true, client names, identifying details, and images may have been changed to protect their privacy. Thank you for understanding.