The Center for Youth and Family Solutions staff are experts at addressing highly complicated multi-problem child and family cases in the DCFS child welfare system. These cases often have severe and simultaneous presenting issues of alcohol and substance abuse, abuse and neglect, mental health, and chronic family relationship issues. They require careful collaboration between the treatment providers and partnership with, and gaining investment of the clients. Here is one such story.

“Natalie” was a 26 year old single mother who was living with her abusive boyfriend. Together they were using drugs, including Crystal Meth. Natalie’s boyfriend was involved in gang activity and Natalie had her life threatened by other gang members on several occasions.

The situation worsened. Natalie’s 11 year old daughter was placed in DCFS Protective Custody and a foster home after it was reported and confirmed that she was sexually abused by Natalie’s boyfriend.

Natalie was subsequently referred for counseling services to begin to address her many issues and the risks to her daughter. After referral to domestic violence services and leaving her abusive relationship, she also worked toward obtaining sobriety,

In therapy, Natalie was able to begin to work through her own history of trauma and other long term family abuse issues and the impact on her life and coping in the present. When she had made enough progress in her own counseling sessions, she then joined her daughter in family counseling sessions to repair their relationship. Her daughter was also participating in specialized therapy to begin to recover from her trauma.

It was not an easy road as there was much trust to rebuild. Natalie and her daughter attended attachment-focused therapy together where Natalie learned how to effectively parent her daughter with love and nurturing after the trauma they had each been through.

Gradually a family relationship of safety, trust, and security was developing. Now sober and safe, Natalie was also able to graduate with her associate’s degree and find a job in the medical field.

After 13 months of therapy, supervised and then unsupervised visiting, and hard work- Natalie has regained custody of her daughter and they continue to grow in their new life together.

CYFS provides foster home placement services, casework services, and therapy services to over 1500 children in foster care a year. Each case requires incredible expertise, care, planning and collaboration in order to achieve resolution and success.

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