Richard's relationship with his children was potentially “high risk” for child abuse and/or neglect...
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Richard enrolled in our parenting program and his initial risk assessment
indicated that his relationship with his children was potentially “high risk”
for child abuse and/or neglect. Richard met periodically with his assigned
Case Manager to set goals and an action plan, and throughout the 16
weeks he worked on accomplishing each goal one step at a time. He
shared his top 2 priorities and asked for help.
Richard dropped out of high school and never completed his GED and
he had no relationship with any of his 3 daughters. A month into the
program, he was on his way to enrolling into a GED course. After
attending a few weeks of the parenting class, he learned that his
inability or unwillingness to speak to his daughters were due to power
struggles he experienced every time they interacted. One of the
exercises he participated in involved learning the difference between
“you vs. I” statements. He was committed to enrolling in counseling to
explore what psychological and behavioral patterns were negatively
impacting his relationships.
He also opened up and participated in role play in class and practiced
the newly developed skills at home. To his surprise, he was able to
implement it after numerous tries. He shared that while it was tough
having to change his mindset, he stuck with it. The different approaches
to communicating and not focusing on power issues, helped him to see
how a simple change of words can change the reaction he would receive
from his daughters. Richard made time in his busy schedule to attend
every class because he knew the value of the knowledge he was gaining.
At the end of the 16 weeks, Richard was pleased to inform BAG that his
relationship with his daughters had never been better. This transformation
led him to reflect on his own relationship with his mother. Not only did he
learn to be a better father to his daughters, he also learned to be a better
son to his mother. He was very thankful for the experience and committed
to continuing his learning to set an example for his children.
“Noah” is a seven-year-old boy who was has displaying anger
outbursts characterized as yelling, screaming, and threatens
to damage property around him. Noah’s caregiver was his
grandmother because his parents were not around.
The grandmother was stressed out and didn’t know how to address
Noah’s intense emotions. The counselor worked with Noah with
coping skills and modeled other more positive ways to express
himself other than through anger. At first, Noah was resistant, but
once the counselor established trust, Noah began to open up and
tried practicing the behaviors modeled. The Case Manager reached
out to the parents and the mom finally came in to talk to her. When
the mom observed how Noah’s behavior had changed, she opened
her arms and threw them around Noah. Even though Noah was
uncomfortable, you could sense that he really needed and wanted
that hug. It was as if the years of mental and emotional scars lifted.
From that point, the mom attended counseling and our parenting
classes to work out her own emotional scars and learn how to bond
Noah’s mom learned the emotional triggers when Noah would start
feeling a sense of discomfort before it would escalate to Noah
being angry by utilizing his “calming bottle” that Noah created
during a counseling session. The case manager also offered Noah’s
mother a behavior-tracking chart in order to utilize for rewards and
offer Noah small tangibles or feasible rewards in order to encourage positive behaviors. Noah’s mother stated the amount of anger
outbursts have minimized and behaviors have improved in class
as well. Noah is now establishing new friendships with other
students at school.
Danny is a Hispanic 1st grade student. Danny's mother explained
that she was having a difficult time getting her son to school
each morning. In fact, he would get so upset that he would get
physically sick and start throwing up.
Danny was enrolled in BOOST and counseling. At the end of
his first session, as Danny and BAG staff were walking back to class,
he started crying and threw up. Danny's mother came to pick him up
and take him home. At the end of the second session, when it was
time for Danny to return to class, he was getting very upset again
but our staff was able to calm him down while they waited for his
mom to pick him up.
While waiting for his mom to arrive, Danny shared that he didn't
want to come to school because a specific boy "says mean things to
him". When Danny told his mom this before, the Mom said that
she just figured it was an excuse for him to miss school. BAG staff
worked with Danny's teacher to ensure that Danny was not being
When Danny was picked up from class for his third session, he
told our staff, "You know, I think when you take me back to class,
I think I'll go and not cry." This was a turning point for Danny
once he felt the care and support of his mom, teacher, and
BAG staff. As for the other boy, the teacher also asked if we
could work with the him because, often times, if children are
bullying others, it is indicative of something that happening at
home. BAG staff reached out to the boy and his parents to provide
support as well.
Our staff continued to work with Danny for three months. Danny’s
attendance went from an average of being late 3 days a week
(60%) for the first month of BOOST, to attending school on time
every day (100%) by the second month and consistently achieved
100% attendance onto the third month of participating in BOOST.
Finn is an 8 year old Latino boy. He lives with his grandmother and
great grandparents. At the time he was working with staff at one of
our Family Resource Centers, his father was in jail, his mother was in
rehab and his oldest brother had just joined the Marines. Finn has
had a rough and lonely life.
Before enrolling in counseling, Finn would struggle with his anger.
Often he would shut down in class, throw papers all over the room
and scratch himself until he bled. His mood and temperament was
like a roller-coaster of highs and lows. He struggled to make friends
and keep the ones he did have. He was socially isolated. His teacher
at school was very patience and would do everything in his power
to get Finn through the day without any trouble but, he would often
have to send Finn home early due to his disruptive behaviors in class.
After getting a referral from Finn's teacher, our staff met with Finn’s Grandmother and provided counseling for Finn. With counseling,
Finn learned the tools he needed to control his emotions and bad
episodes, by showing him that he can beat back negative with his
own thoughts. Now, Finn still had his bad days, but his behavior
stabilized more and he had someone to talk to. While it is an uphill
battle to break the cycle of poor mental health in his family. together
with his teachers and grandmother, the Family Resource Center
staff is giving Finn the footing and strategies to win his fight and
make gains both in the classroom and playground.
By providing a healthy circle of social support for Finn, he continues
to get the support he needs for personal, social, and academic
growth. It has been a long road since starting with BAG. Finn used
to be sent home early multiple times a week and now just has rare
episodes where has been able to reflect and apologize when
confronted with his mistakes. He is a happier kid now. It hasn't been
easy, but real progress never is.