A Welcome Home Long Overdue
Diane's son, Chris, was diagnosed with Autism at age 4. When he began to present challenging behaviors, Diane started looking for resources that would help her understand her son’s needs and access appropriate services. After months of steadfastly persevering to find support to meet his needs, Chris began treatment with an HCTC (Home Care Training to Home Care Client) and began to make great progress. When the HCTC professional moved to Buckeye, Diane agreed that Chris could go too, as she did not want to interrupt his progress. In 2010, after 4 months of driving back and forth from Prescott to Buckeye, Diane and her husband relocated to Phoenix as it was important to them to be able to spend more quality time with Chris and visit on a regular basis. When Chris' goals were met at the HCTC, Chris returned home.
Four months later, Chris' school stated that his behaviors were too challenging to manage. Diane worked hard to explain his needs to the school, but she felt they had already made up their mind and did not want to work with her as a parent. The school called child welfare and Chris was removed from Diane's care. Since his removal 5 years ago, Chris has had multiple placements and service plans as well as frequent changes to the professionals on his support team. During this time, Diane often felt hopeless, as if everyone wished she would just give up on her son and leave him in the state’s care. However, each time she saw or spoke to Chris, she promised him she would never stop working to bring him back home. She believes this gave Chris hope. When I asked Diane what gave her hope, she responded “Family Involvement Center (FIC)”.
In 2015, after a referral from Chris’ Phoenix behavioral health provider agency, Diane began receiving services from FIC. When I asked her how receiving parent-to-parent support from FIC helped, she stated "by helping us get the right team together", “encouraging me to keep advocating", and "by sharing tips on how to understand my son and how to bring him home." Diane feels she now has the skills, knowledge and support to transition Chris home successfully, for good. She applauds Chris’ former group home for their wonderful work in teaching Chris the tools, skills and strategies to live at home.
When I spoke with Diane's Family Support Partner from the Prescott area, Chandra Dorsett, she shared this. "Diane has worked incredibly hard. Chris has come home twice before, but without adequate home and community supports, and he was removed once again. This time around, the team was more cohesive and purposeful in their planning. The family has successfully embraced feedback about managing Chris' needs and has made changes that will assist them in doing so. While Chris was living in Maricopa County, his parents remained in the Prescott area. We collaborated with the Child and Family Team (CFT) in Maricopa County while I provided family support for his parents. This was a good example of the CFT process at work in a positive way.”
A Welcome Home Long Overdue