Partnering with Youth
Dumisha Jamaa Project
Dumisha Jamaa ProjectPartnering with kin
For Shaquala, deciding to become the legal guardian of her younger sister, Shaqualesha, was an easy decision. As a former foster youth herself, Shaquala was aware of the difficulties, uncertainties, and fear that youth in care experience when lacking a permanent connection to family. With the support of Shaqualesha's county child welfare worker and the Dumisha Jamaa permanency worker, Shaquala began the journey to reunite with her younger sister.
A referral was made to Project Permanence, the program's wraparound service, and Shaquala began meeting with Project Permanence staff to get ready for the day her sister would move in with her and her preschool-aged son. The Dumisha Jamaa permanency worker helped Shaquala find an apartment large enough for herself, her son, and Shaqualesha. Dumisha Jamaa provided the rental deposit and purchased a bed and a dresser for Shaqualesha. During this time, the Dumisha worker consistently met with Shaqualesha, informing her of progress made toward the permanency goal and assuring her that her sister was doing everything in her power with a full support team behind her to get Shaqualesha home.
On November 20, 2009, Shaqualesha was permanently placed into the home of her sister. Currently, the support team, which consists of the county worker, permanency worker, and Project Permanence, is communicating frequently with each other and with the family. The family is participating in role-play therapy, which allows them to communicate better, and they are openly discussing what educational goals and support Shaqualesha will need to be successful. They are very open to support services so that they can experience success as a family.
Shaqualesha has already decorated her walls with pictures of herself, her sister, and her nephew and is excitedly awaiting a break from school to paint her bedroom walls a soothing pink. When asked how it feels to be with her sister, Shaqualesha stated that "she is home" and is a "normal teenager now." She feels gratitude toward everyone who assisted in getting her to permanence because she can establish roots in her new school and with new friends. The sisters both realize there will be challenges ahead, but both understand the magnitude of being permanently reunited with family. Shaqualesha states that now she feels “complete.”