Lucia was referred to Family Involvement Center’s (FIC) Family-to-Family Services in early 2006 and began working with a Parent Partner to assist with managing life with her three boys, all diagnosed with ADHD. At the time, Lucia was homeless and her eldest son was in a residential treatment facility following an arrest for domestic violence and substance abuse.
Lucia had been a child "of the system” for most of her life and carried many stories of having been let down – particularly being left at a bus stop with only $18 and a small suitcase at age 18. Lucia’s life had no structure and she was very unprepared to manage the many challenges and choices she now faced. Her view of herself as a mother was poor and she had few skills and little knowledge to help her discipline her boys or understand their needs, especially in school.
Services: Meeting frequently with her Parent Partner, Lucia was encouraged to take steps toward finding a home. They worked on organizing paperwork, school meetings, doctor appointments, and learning to take better care of herself. The Parent Partner invited Lucia to trainings offered through Family Involvement Center, and also transported her and her family when necessary. Lucia attended every event she could. She was thirsty for knowledge and the emotional support of other parents experiencing similar struggles.
Once Lucia’s life became more manageable, she used the partnerships, friendships and mentoring she found at FIC to strengthen and build a new life with a new outlook. In time, Lucia began to feel confident in her parenting, learning to distinguish “normal” behavior from real concerns. During this process, Lucia reconnected with a sister in California and began to receive the natural support of family that had been missing for so long. Lucia also found a supportive neighbor who took an interest in her situation and her family’s needs.
Outcomes: Lucia's eldest son, who had been living in a residential treatment facility, was reunited with his family. In fact, Lucia is especially proud of comments made by the judge at his reunification hearing. The judge told Lucia she was the most improved and most prepared mother he had ever encountered. Although there are continuing challenges, Lucia has learned to show her love for her children, guide them as she is able, and let them learn from their choices. This part of parenting is difficult for any parent, yet for Lucia, her understanding of the principle and willingness to do what is right for herself and her children is now one of her greatest strengths. Lucia eventually relocated to a better housing situation, having purchased her very own home outside of Maricopa County!
The “down side” for her is letting go of the Parent Partner and most of the services she received while living in Maricopa County. The “upside” is she continues to connect with other families and is a member of the Family Advisory Committee at FIC where she continues her mentoring process for active parent involvement in systems transformation.