Familia de Novo: David’s Story

David really wanted to be a good provider for his family. Unfortunately, having experienced a lot of trauma growing up, he struggled with unmet needs and addiction. When his two children, Molly and Manny, were very young, David wasn’t able to provide them a stable home, and he didn’t have a healthy relationship with their mother, Ana. Hitting rock bottom, David moved into a Residential Rehabilitation Center to get sober and heal.

While David was in rehab, his two children didn’t do well in their mother’s care. Both children displayed a lot of difficult behaviors, and Ana struggled to care for them. Ana’s refusal to cooperate with workers created an obstacle that the family couldn’t overcome, and the kids were placed in Emergency Shelter Care. When David completed his in-care program and was doing well in outpatient services, it was determined that with FCNI’s Familia de Novo’s support, he could work towards reunification with his children. The family and their team developed a plan for reunification which included connecting David with affordable housing; assisting him in the purchase of reliable transportation; and meeting the family’s basic needs so that David could focus on rebuilding his relationship with his children and maintaining his sobriety.

Once safe housing and transportation were secured, David’s children were placed back into his care. Wraparound services were crucial, with RS staff working with Molly and Manny for several hours a day—both at school and home— four to five days per week. David was matched with an FCNI Family Partner to help him learn and apply parenting skills targeted to meet his children’s needs. In the beginning, the team was handling crisis calls on a daily basis. Molly’s behaviors would escalate and David couldn’t calm her down without his workers’ support. RSs helped Molly learn how to express her emotions more appropriately, showing her how to take space and voice her needs. At school, Molly was placed in a specialized classroom which helped her process her emotions in safer ways, enabling her to maintain more time in the classroom which improved her academic and social skills.

David and his children have been in Familia de Novo for over six months now, and have made remarkable progress. No longer does staff receive daily crisis calls; in fact, staff no longer receive any crisis calls. And RS hours have been reduced to only one day per week—a reduction that reflects the family’s ability to reconcile issues independently. Sober for over a year now, David has started college with the goal of becoming a Social Worker. While David’s life has been full of challenges, having received necessary support services, he feels prepared to raise his family while working to support others, giving back to the system of care that changed his and his children’s lives for the better.