Connection is a powerful thing, and families access our Family Connections services at a variety of different points along their journeys. Some families begin visitation or exchange services due to new conflicts at home, some begin services during a time of recovery from past trauma.
Several years ago, the Miller family* began visitation at the Harmony House due to concerns over Dad’s substance abuse. After months of trying to maintain a consistent visit schedule, Dad was sentenced to time in prison and the family was unable to continue services. For his two children, this separation was incredibly difficult. A few years later, Dad was released from prison, clean and sober, and hopeful to rebuild his bond with his elementary-school-aged son and daughter, Harrison and Lily.
When the Miller family was ready to restart visitation in 2019, Lily struggled with anxiety and fear. She communicated clearly that she loved and wanted to see her dad, but that she was afraid their time apart might have changed him into someone mean and scary. For their first visit after his release, Lily relied on her Case Manager to walk with her up the stairs and support her as she took her time entering the visit room. Lily’s Case Manager worked hard to ensure Lily’s comfort, even connecting her to Mom on the phone when Lily felt she needed her.
Our team worked with Dad, too, providing him with Nurturing Parenting Skills lessons and helping him determining the best way for him to approach Lily during their visits. This connection and support were vital over time as Lily’s confidence grew. She began asking Dad questions about his time away from her, which he worked hard to answer positively with some extra help and coaching from the Family Connections staff.
After months of the team’s hard work, Lily has become fully comfortable during her visits with her dad and their bond has been rebuilt. Dad has continued to remain sober, employed, and independently supported. At her last visit, Lily told her dad she couldn’t wait to spend more time with him. When the visit was finished, Dad excitedly told his Case Manager how proud he is of how far they’ve come. He was moved to tears by Lily’s progress.
Our Case Managers in the Family Connections program work hard to build a safe and happy environment at the Harmony House, so that all children feel supported there and are able to focus on their bonds with their parents.
*Names and identifying information have been changed to protect client identities
Are you interested in supervising and documenting visits for families? CLC’s visitation and exchange program offers both traditional and non-traditional internships. Contact Sarah at Sarah@casalarimer.com for more information about internships.