Building connections with community: Dolores, Alisha, and Ann
Kids Central, Inc.
Dolores, Alisha, and AnnBuilding connections with community
Alisha and her sister Ann were removed from their mother in 1996 and placed with Dolores, their maternal grandmother. Dolores had recently divorced and was struggling to raise her own 4-year-old. The transition to their grandmother's home was not easy for the girls. They had behavior problems and were frequently ill with asthma. Alisha was restless and vigilant–Dolores had to make sure that all doors and windows were locked at night. For Alisha, like many children who experience the trauma of abuse and neglect, and the feelings of loss when they are separated from their parents, the stability of her grandmother's home and love were not enough. Not only did she struggle at home but also had trouble in school and with peers.
The girls' parents struggled to meet the goals in the case plans, and they visited both girls sporadically. In spite of the neglect, bad memories, and pain, Alisha and Ann loved their parents–but the parents were not able to complete the case plans. After years of broken promises Dolores was awarded permanent guardianship of the children.
Alisha's health and behavioral problems, along with the stress of being a single mother of three, took a toll on Dolores' health. When she got news that her nephew, a U.S. Marine, was killed in Iraq, Dolores had to be hospitalized for several days.
That summer Alisha's behavior became so unmanageable that the Department of Children and Families contacted Kids Central to help find a way that Alisha could remain with her grandmother.
Kids Central's Kinship Care Program helped the family work through legal issues and find community resources and support groups. Dolores and the girls were given much-needed support and guidance and Alisha started seeing an excellent mental health counselor. Kids Central also has provided tutoring for Alisha. Her grades are improving and she is learning to laugh again.
Alisha now feels hopeful about her future. She wants to save money to buy a truck and she's considering going to college. Without services and support, this placement might have failed. Thanks to Kids Central, Dolores, Alisha, and Ann now have a safety net and support in their community.