In a heartbeat, Colette’s* life turned upside down. The successful systems engineer found herself suddenly living in a domestic violence shelter while her children were placed in foster care. “Over the course of a week, we went from being a normal family to losing everything, including our home and security. We were at ground zero,” she recalled.
When her two children, eight-year-old Angela* and five-year-old Cole*, were able to join her in the shelter after a few weeks, they were traumatized. “They were acting out, fighting each other, and trying to come to terms with our new situation,” recalled Colette. Angela was having an especially hard time.
At this point, Colette and her children were introduced to the Hillsides wraparound team of Coordinator Nancy Sepulveda, Therapist Jennifer Roman Gonzalez, Child Family Specialist Eddie Rodriguez, and Parent Partner Hector Valadez.
First on the “to do” list: find the family a stable home. With the help of Hector, Colette found a house to rent within a week. Next on the agenda: help Colette navigate the new world she’d been thrust into of court dates, social workers, and court-ordered therapy. Third, the team turned their focus to Angela, whose anxiety was so great she was displaying obsessive behavior.
“It was so helpful for Angela to have a therapist, Jennifer, to talk to,” said Colette. Jennifer referred Angela to a psychiatrist, where she was diagnosed with ADHD. With the diagnosis and supporting therapy from Jennifer, today, Angela is returning to the happy little girl she once was.
The wrap team also helped Colette with parenting skills. “Before, I was the wage earner in the family, working full-time and my husband was a stay-at-home dad,” said Colette. “Nancy gave me so many great tips about how to set limits and become the disciplinarian I had never had to be before.”
Another thing Colette found helpful was that during regular meetings, the team encouraged Colette to focus on the positive progress she and her family had made. “This was a great way to keep me motivated,” she said. The exercise helped her realize how far she had come in life – a life that was now right-side up and full of hope.
*Names changed to protect the privacy of the clients.