“B’s” Success Story

“B’s” Story

“B” came to Child Haven at the age of 13 at the suggestion of the Office of Family Violence Prevention (OFVP). “B” had been in therapy the previous year but the sessions were focused more on “B’s” behavioral problems rather than her Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

When “B” was 11 years old, she witnessed her father shoot and kill her mother. Domestic violence ahd been an ongoing problem fro many years and ultimately culminated in the death of her mother. “B” attempted to process her trauma but instead withdrew, began skipping school and was unable to form a bond with her new guardian, her aunt. “B,” not satisfied with the outcome or focus of her therapy, quit. Six months later, as she prepared to testify in court, a member of the OFVP staff convinced her to try again. This time she came to Child Haven.

B's Story “B’s” therapist offered her a more systematic approach to  her therapy using  Trauma Focused-Cognitive Behavioral  Therapy (TF-CBT). “B” met weekly with her therapist using  this evidence-based therapeutic modality which helped her  develop a narrative, identify her PTSD triggers, and equip  her with practical PTSD symptom (stress) management  tools. This approach also helped “B” foresee a future which  would not be controlled by her symptoms.

The Child Haven therapist was able to witness “B” build the courage to testify successfully in court, as well as give a victim impact statement in a controlled manner. “B” grew to experience a higher tolerance for her PTSD symptoms and eventually created a new state of normal. “B” will always miss her mother and may even, one day, grow to accept her father’s apology. She will also continue to have flashbacks of that horrific act that played out violently in front of her. However, she now knows she has tools to help her through dark moments and she has people around her who love and care for her. “B” also understands that trauma experienced by anyone, especially someone so young, needs to be treated, just like any other wound.

The Twins Success Story

The Twins

The twins were placed in foster care after being removed by Child Protective Services due to parental substance abuse and neglect. They were small toddlers, homeless and had been eating out of dumpsters. After several placements the twins found the Family as foster parents. The twins’ foster parents were having difficulty with the boys’ aggressive and tantrum behaviors. Although they loved the boys and hoped that they could eventually adopt them, they desperately needed help. Foster dad said, “I just want them to express themselves more and be able to be children. I want them to be less scared and to be able to be kids.” They came to Child Haven.

Child Haven clinicians have unusually long tenures with the organization. Such long term relationships are helpful when children return to Child Haven, as is the case with the twins.

The clinician knew the boys when they were younger. She remembered they would not talk much and had pacifiers in their mouth much of the time before they turned two. Child Haven helped the parents understand what such behavior in young children meant. She taught the foster parents about typical development for young children. The clinicians helped the foster parents understand how the twin’s experience of being removed from their biological mother and placed in multiple foster placements caused behaviors in the twins, resulting in the aggressive and tantrum behavior. The parents learned skills to move the boys through the episodes and reduce incidences of the aggressive behavior. The boys learned to express their feelings.

The once very quiet boys are now talking and very verbal. They talk about their feelings and even sing! Their parent’s favorite group is the Police and one twin sang “Roxanne” for his clinician in one session – she reports, “it was hard not to laugh as it was too cute!!” Today, thanks to Child Haven they are very typical four year old boys. They were adopted by their foster parents.

Child Haven helped the boys to regain their developmental momentum and get back on track. No one would know their history by looking at these two handsome well-adjusted boys. Unfortunately, this is not the case for thousands of other children who lack the intervention that Child Haven provides, who grow up unable to communicate their feelings and connect with others and have healthy adult relationships. Instead, they sink into a life of isolation and mental difficulties that predisposes them to violence, criminal behaviors and addiction.

When asked her hopes for a conversation with the twins at 18, the clinician said, “I would hope they would say “Thank you for helping me to learn how to express feelings verbally. It’s really helped me with my relationships…. but that’s asking a lot for a teen.”

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