After a Childhood of Struggles, A Boy Finds Help and Hope

After a Childhood of Struggles, A Boy Finds Help and Hope

*Photos reflect the spirit of CFA and are not of any individuals associated with these stories

17-year-old Jose grew up moving back and forth between the homes of his mother and his maternal grandmother. His mother struggled with an addiction to prescription medications for pain, which hindered her ability to take care of him. Unable to help her daughter overcome addiction, Jose’s grandmother focused on her grandson, trying to care for him and help him succeed in school.

Jose was a challenge. By the time he entered adolescence, he was fighting at school and smashing things at home. When he was 15, his mother died of an overdose. Jose’s grandmother struggled to care for him and often was overwhelmed by her grandson’s moodiness and truancy from school.

Jose and his grandmother were referred to Child & Family Agency’s in-home Functional Family Therapy (FFT) program, which focused on helping the two of them learn communication and anger management skills. Jose began finding words for the fear, grief, and anger he felt at witnessing the progress of his mother’s addiction and death.

Once she understood the complex feelings that drove her grandson’s rage, Jose’s grandmother found she could support him better. The family’s FFT therapist referred Jose to an agency psychiatrist who diagnosed him with Bipolar disorder. Medication helped Jose manage his moods.

When FFT services ended, Jose and his grandmother were hopeful about the future. Jose was able to get on track to complete high school and plans to pursue training as a heating and air conditioning technician.

Functional Family Therapy is an in-home family therapy serving adolescents between ages 11 and 18 in New London, Middlesex, and New Haven counties. For more information, click here.

*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.