Stories

Learn about what we do through our stories...

Starting May 1st, we will be sharing one story weekly. Stories will be posted on this page and on Facebook. We feel stories are a good way for you to understand all the ways we are working with children and their families.

September 27- Touch A Truck and Fire Safety

On Saturday, October 13, 2018 the East Lyme Auxiliary of Child and Family Agency of Southeastern Connecticut and the East Lyme Parks and Recreation Department will co-sponsor our eleventh annual Touch-a-Truck event. This family event will take place from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at McCook Point Park in Niantic, CT.  There will be a Horn Free Hour from 9 to 10 a.m. especially for the younger set and for noise-sensitive children. The main event is, of course, Trucks, and this year the event will feature Fire Trucks and Fire Safety vehicles.

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September 21- Charity Bookshop

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

The Groton Auxiliary’s Charity Bookshop has been a staple in the community since 2000. Offering incredible bargains on hardcover and paperback books, CD’s and DVD’s, it is probably one of the best-kept secrets in our area.

The Charity Bookshop owes its existence to former CEO Tom Gullotta. In 2000, he brought his idea for the shop to members of the Groton Auxiliary. Claire McCarter and Mary Allingham, both active members at the time, took the idea and ran with it. McCarter, a retired bookstore owner, and Allingham, a retired librarian, brought passion and know-how to get the bookshop off the ground.

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September 13- CFA and Local Artists Inspire Creativity in the Child Guidance Clinics

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

Children and adolescents are natural artists and sensitive to the pictures and images all around them.   One look at our Child Guidance offices and you’ll see family portraits, coloring pages and toddler scribbles (hopefully on paper).  (Not long ago, a 4 year old girl who was in counseling through one of our Child Guidance clinics expressed great displeasure when last year’s calendar was replaced with a new one.  ‘It used to be so pretty in here.  I liked the flowers better!’).  Good art reflects universal human experiences; love, loss, playfulness, family.  It can inspire children’s creativity, help people feel less alone and challenge our imaginations.   Many of the families who come to our Child Guidance clinics do not have the time, resources or transportation to go to museums and galleries but they do spend time in our waiting rooms.

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September 6- A Generation of BP Learned Mission Students Graduate from High School

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

In 2006, Child & Family Agency received a generous grant from the Salmon Foundation to develop a curriculum for the BP Learned Mission Afterschool Program.  Staff members and CFA administration developed a series of enrichment activities and techniques for implementing them in a way that was consistent and age-appropriate.  Students who participated in the program were assessed to see if there were any differences between them and their peers (who did not attend the program) on reading levels, math achievement, and measures of behavior.  The results were impressive!  Students who attended the BP Learned Mission Afterschool Program scored higher on all measures than their same aged peers.

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August 29- Help for a Young Teen with Social Anxiety

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

Fourteen-year-old Andrew came to the Child Guidance Clinic in Groton, CT, after his parents noticed a sudden shift in his motivation and in his ability to do things he normally loved.  Andrew and his parents felt this change “come out of nowhere”, and they were concerned for him.

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August 22- 18 Years of Backpacks for Kids

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

For 18 years the Backpacks for Kids program has been providing CFA kids with a new backpack stuffed with school supplies just in time for the start of the new school year. Pat Thompson, volunteer and chair of the Essex River Valley Auxiliary, has played a large part in organizing this program. In conjunction with St John’s Episcopal Church and the Essex River Valley Auxiliary, Pat has worked tirelessly to respond to the needs of our clients.

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August 15- A Parent’s Thank You Letter to the New London Day Nursery

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

I’m a single mom of one little girl.  I’ve been lucky enough to have her attend the New London Day Nursery (a program of Child and Family Agency) since she was about 4 months old.  I remember the first day I dropped her off.  Handing my tiny little baby to the infant teacher and feeling that still familiar “mom guilt” of wanting to be with my baby and, at the same time, needing and wanting to work.  Since that day, I have never felt like I could say or do enough to thank the incredible teachers who work with my girl, and 50 other children between the ages of 6 weeks and 5 years, every day.  So I will try here…

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August 8- CFA Celebrates 11 Years of the BP Learned Mission Theater Program

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

Eleven years ago a young boy asked me, “Can we put on a show?”  I remember exactly where we were standing in the lobby of the BP Learned Mission.  The doors to the theater were just feet away.  The theater was built as part of a renovation and expansion that occurred when CFA merged with the BP Learned Mission in 2003.  The space is named after the late Jim Smith, a kind and caring soul, who wanted the children to have a place to learn and create.  Mr. Smith supported the Mission, both pre- and post-merger, when economic times made it almost impossible to keep the doors open.

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July 31st – School-Based Health Center Helps a Child Overcome Anxiety Migraines

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

In September of senior year in high school my headaches began.  They were splitting headaches, the kind that make you double over and clench your jaw.  My vision would get blurry, I’d get sick to my stomach, and nothing but sleep made them subside.  So I’d sleep for days.  Unable or maybe unwilling to get out of bed, I’d miss school weeks at a time.  My absences were so bad I began failing classes.  I’d loved school, everything about it –seeing friends, learning new things, having conversations with the teachers.  But, once the headaches started, all of that seemed to disappear.

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July 24- CFA’s Intensive Family Preservation Program – Supporting Families to Help them Thrive

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

Mitchell was a struggling 16 year old.  He had a long history of multiple hospitalizations for mental health issues and suicide attempts.  He had one residential treatment stay and attended a clinical day school for several years.

When I met Mitchell, he hadn’t lived with his parents in two years.  His mother also had multiple hospitalizations due to her mental health issues and did not have the financial resources to care for Mitchell.  His father, Francis, has cerebral palsy and cognitive disabilities.

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July 17- CFA Family Resource Center Provides a Lifeline to Mother and Infant Desperate for Assistance

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

Last year I received a call from Colorado’s Office of Human Services (OHS) to hear a kind, sweet-sounding social worker explaining that my niece, Angelina, desperately needed a place to stay.  Little Angelina was living in an extreme situation with her mother, my sister Marie, in a small town in Colorado.

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July 10- After 34+ years of incredible service and commitment, CEO Rick Calvert Retires

When Rick Calvert arrived at the doorstep of 255 Hempstead Street in 1984, the staff numbered eight individuals, the budget amounted to $325,000, stamps were in use, accounting was in accordance with the “one write system”, and a single IBM PC 256k had just been purchased.  No one had a clue as how to operate it.  The agency’s endowment, if it could be called that, totaled $151,000. Over the next three plus decades, Rick played an instrumental role in seeing Child and Family Agency grow into the 13 million dollar multi-service family service agency it is today.

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July 2nd- Lifting Elijah’s depression through trauma-focused therapy.

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

 Fifteen year old Elijah had emigrated from Nigeria with his family as a small child. Brought by his mother to the Child & Family Agency Child Guidance Clinic for therapy, he had feelings of sadness, thoughts of harming himself, and a lack of interest in things he’d previously enjoyed. Therapy was new to Elijah, and he was guarded as he began treatment.

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June 26th- A couple find guidance and support to help two newly adopted children with Autism Spectrum  Disorder

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

Along with their three children, Cate and her husband, Zachary, had attended Family Resource Center (FRC) playgroups, the purpose of which is to introduce children to positive, literacy-based activities. They’d done so for many years, and their family was doing well. But their whole world changed in November, 2017, when they decided to assist financially strapped relatives by adopting Zachary’s two nieces, Amira and Diego, 3 and 5, both of whom were struggling with ASD, or Autism Spectrum Disorder. The children’s symptoms present at varying levels ranging from being completely non-verbal to having mild difficulty with social interaction.

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June 19th- A young girl finds the support to heal emotional trauma at her school-based health center

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

As a new nurse practitioner with a choice of career paths, I decided on a School-Based Health Center (SBHC), because it allows me to have real impact on the health and lives of medically under-served children.

School-based health centers are at the crossroads of health and education. Their services provide a comprehensive safety net for the children and families who use them. Centers address the whole child by providing medical and mental health services that many underserved children need in order to become successful students and citizens.

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June 12th- A Fire Forces a Family to Relocate and with Help, They Rebuild Their Lives

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

The Peterson family shared a cramped apartment in New York City –mother, father, grandfather, and 3 small children crowded in a very small space.  Grandfather provided daytime care for the 2 youngest children while mother and father worked part-time, minimum wage jobs. Life was hard, but the Petersons prevailed until the day when faulty wiring caused an apartment fire. No one was hurt, but the Petersons lost everything to smoke and water damage. Uninsured and without savings, they moved in with a cousin in Connecticut to rebuild their lives while grandfather moved to Florida to the home of another adult child.

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June 5th- 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.

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May 29th- 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.

 

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May 22nd- Mother Reunited With Son

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

Anna struggled with substance abuse. Reports of struggles with drugs and alcohol and the negative effects they were having on her son were received by the Department of Children and Families (DCF). When she arrived at her son’s school intoxicated, the Department of Children and Families removed her son and referred Anna to Child & Family Agency’s Intensive Family Preservation (IFP) program

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May 15th- Health Care for a Child from Columbia

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

Young Cecelia arrived from Columbia in 2017 with multiple health concerns that included a broken tooth, head lice, and an ongoing ear infection. She had no health insurance and no primary care doctor. Fortunately, her elementary school had a Child & Family Agency School-Based Health Center (SBHC). Upon entering school Cecelia received her first ever physical there, and her health issues were addressed at minimal charge, including a $200 medication for her severe ear infection. The physical revealed that Cecilia had been exposed to TB, so a referral was placed to Lawrence & Memorial Hospital’s Infectious Disease Clinic for immediate follow-up.

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May 8th 2018- A New Start

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

When Wanda was 22 and her daughter, Nevaeh, was 4 months old, Nevaeh was removed from Wanda’s care because she had been injured in an incident of domestic violence between her parents.  Centered on the goal of safely returning Nevaeh home to her mother, Wanda was referred to Child and Family Agency’s Reunification services.

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May 1, 2018- What if CFA Didn’t Exist?

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

By the time Gabby was six years old she’d lived in seven foster homes.  She’d been abused physically and emotionally – first by her biological parents and later by her foster parents.  She was labeled as “aggressive” and “impulsive” and as a child who “can’t get along with others”.

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