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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”.
But in May, 2013, Aunt Rose became Gabby’s and her brother Elijah’s eighth and final foster parent. “Rosie”, as the children called her, hadn’t had an easy road either. By age 14 she was diagnosed with lupus. Her husband and father of her three biological children struggled with substance abuse and was incarcerated periodically throughout the children’s lives. And in January, 2013, four short months before taking in Gabby and Elijah, Rosie was diagnosed with leukemia.
But amid its struggles this family, one of many in Southeastern CT, found Child & Family Agency (CFA). Rosie and her three children participated in many CFA programs including New London Day Nursery, the BP Learned Mission, and the School Based Health Centers.
I met Rosie years ago when I took care of her children at the New London Day Nursery. I had the pleasure of watching her kids learn while Rosie maintained employment and supported her family. So when Rosie also began fostering Gabby and Elijah, she gave me a call. She told me stories about her growing “tribe” and its experiences with Child & Family Agency. She cried as she described the hurt she saw in Gabby and Elijah’s eyes and how other programs had turned them away when they couldn’t control their behavior. Rosie said, “Miss Sarah, they’re good kids. They just haven’t had it easy. The only way that we’ll get through this is with you guys in our corner”.
When she called me, she’d just finished her first chemotherapy treatment.
And so, just like Rosie, we opened our arms to two children who desperately needed help and to a family that needed support. Now the children attend the BP Learned Mission daily after school, and their grades have improved dramatically. Gabby sees a clinician at the Child Guidance Clinic in New London where she’s developed anger management skills and learned to get along with others. Her teachers rave about how respectful and kind she is in the classroom. Elijah struggles with asthma, and thanks to the ongoing physical health care he receives at his school’s SBHC, he’s able to manage it without missing school. He went from losing 5-10 days of school a month, due to illness, to having “perfect attendance” during the 2013-14 school year. These are just some of the services CFA made available to this family and to countless others.
This family was already strong. It had already faced more challenges and setbacks that many face in a lifetime. Child and Family Agency was there with the resources it needed to thrive.
WHAT IF CFA hadn’t been there?
*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.