The following is a true story written and shared by a young woman whose bravery knows no bounds. As you read Sandra’s story, remind yourself of the immense courage it required to not only live such a life of trauma and adversity, but how much it took to write it all down, accept the words as your truth and then be willing to share that truth with strangers. Thank you, Sandra, for rising above and continuing to reach for your dreams each and every day; for choosing joy and hope when it doesn’t come easy.
At 12, twins, Kyle and Nick, were very different. Kyle was quick to react—verbally and physically—without much regard for others. While Nick, painfully shy, often let Kyle do all the talking (and reacting) for him. The boys had been placed in Emergency Shelter Care when it was discovered that their parents were unable to provide them with a safe and stable home. In care, both boys displayed the trauma that they experienced through their behaviors--Kyle became more aggressive and Nick withdrew almost completely.
David really wanted to be a good father, and provide for his family in all the ways his own father had not. Unfortunately, having experienced trauma growing up, David had mental health issues he didn’t know how to deal with and he turned to alcohol as a means to cope. When his two children, Molly and Manny, were very young, David’s struggles with alcoholism affected his ability to provide them a stable home and impacted his relationship with their mother, Ana, in very unhealthy ways. On all fronts, David and his family were in crisis.
My name is Marycruz Jimenez, and I am currently a Social Worker in FCNI’s Wraparound program. Prior to becoming a Social Worker, I was an FCNI Rehabilitation Specialist for three years. I came into that position soon after I graduated from Cal Poly in 2015 with a degree in Sociology, with a concentration on Social Work. I became really familiar with the Social Work field in my undergraduate years, always knowing that this was where I wanted to focus my learning and experience.
I’m Jonathan, a Lead Rehabilitation Specialist with the Family Care Network and a Wraparound Program Coordinator. In my job, I have the privilege of working with amazing youth and families every day. Every one of them has a story of challenges and courage. But there was one family in particular who really stood out to me as having outstanding resilience and experienced incredible growth. The foster family I am speaking about was served in our Wraparound program.
I have been working in the Human Services field in California for over 45 years, and I have to say, innovative, efficacious programs development by the State have been for the most part nonexistent. Seriously. Almost every important program for children and youth has been the result of litigation or the force of advocacy from the private sector. Even California’s new CCR-Foster Care Reform effort was birthed in response to a lost lawsuit.
Why are our success rates and our quarterly progress indicator numbers so high at the Family Care Network, you might ask? And what does “success” really look like with the families we serve? Confusion and skepticism about our reports is expected, until you experience a program like Wraparound (Familia de Novo) in your own family like I did, and then go on to support our families in the same program as a Parent Partner.
I have worked at the Family Care Network for over ten years, and the ways in which this work and this agency has impacted me is immeasurable. This work is humbling; it gives me the opportunity to serve others, help them have hope, and allows me to call my passion “work”. It has changed who I am as a friend, daughter and sister.