TBS: Cara’s Story

At 11 years old, Cara was placed into foster care after her mom, recently incarcerated, chose to give up her parental rights. Cara was first placed in Emergency Shelter Care, but then her Social Worker identified a long time FCNI foster family who she thought would be a good fit for Cara. However, moving from her mother’s care to Emergency Shelter Care to a new foster family was a lot of change, and Cara’s behaviors started to reflect her inner trauma.

Struggling with increasing anxiety and depression, Cara became almost non-communicative with her new family and workers. And school, always a place where Cara had excelled, suddenly became a daily struggle. Cara was matched with a TBS worker to receive the extra support she needed to overcome her debilitating issues and adjust more successfully to her new life.

Cara’s TBS worker, Amy, focused initially on helping Cara identify and voice her fears. In the beginning, it seemed that everything frightened Cara—from meeting new people, to taking a new route to school, to sitting down for nightly dinners with her foster family. Amy helped Cara identify her real concerns, and then the team worked on finding solutions to help Cara overcome them. Cara voiced that her greatest fear was being abandoned. Cara, Amy and her foster family worked hard to identify different tactics that the family could employ to help Cara feel safe and protected. For example, the team decided that walking to school together as a family helped Cara better prepare for her school day and showed her how valued she was by her foster family.

Amy also helped Cara learn better coping skills for when she felt herself starting to panic or retreat—such as taking space or breathing exercises. As Cara grew more confident in her ability to conquer her anxieties, Amy and she began to spend more time in the community. Together, they faced more of Cara’s fears, utilizing healthier coping tactics which boosted Cara’s self-confidence. At home, Cara engaged more readily with her foster family, including whole family activities. And when the family decided to adopt a bunny, Cara’s was excited to be a part of the preparation process. Helping build the bunny’s cage and get their home bunny-ready increased not only Cara’s self-confidence, but also her confidence that she really was a member of the family.

Cara has been living with her foster family for almost a year now and she’s graduated from TBS. While Cara is still a sensitive child, she’s grown to better understand herself—her strengths and her obstacles. Currently, her foster family is seeking guardianship of her, a move that Cara strongly desires. Being welcomed into her new family with the support of TBS did wonders for Cara—she’s experiencing more of life now in more positive ways.