Family Preservation

Catholic Charities has multiple programs that serve to strengthen families and cultivate parenting skills so parents can create a safe environment for their children. The Arizona Department of Child Safety refers parents to our Family Connections, Nurturing Parenting, Arizona Families F.I.R.S.T (Families in Recovery Succeeding Together) and SENSE (Substance Exposed Newborn Safe Environment) programs.

Tuesday, 30 May 2023

Family Connections Helps Mom Build a Stable Life After Addiction

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Most mothers couldn’t imagine not being able to see their newborns and missing those important milestones. But for Lisa, a mother in Mesa, Ariz., this fear became a reality.

Lisa had a rough upbringing and coped with addictive substances. Although it seemed like substances were the answer to her problems, they began to take everything from her. At just 17 years old, she was living on the streets in Ohio.

A Vicious Cycle of Addiction

As time went on, Lisa was using more and more. She moved to Arizona when she was 20 to start over but found herself completely alone and without support. She turned to the only way she knew how to cope—substance use.

For years, Lisa was on and off the streets. She was unable to hold a job, maintain stable housing, and had no one to remind her that her life was worth something. At 27 years old, Lisa’s life took another turn when she became pregnant.

Pregnancy Changes Everything

When Lisa found out she was pregnant, she knew she had to make a change. She checked herself into a local treatment center, received methadone treatments, and was monitored all the way through birth.

Unfortunately, her baby girl was born substance exposed. In January 2022, the Department of Child Safety (DCS) intervened and removed the baby from Lisa’s care at only three days old. From that day forward, Lisa made a commitment to do everything she could to get her baby girl back.

Family Connections Supports Parents

DCS referred Lisa to Catholic Charities’ Family Connections program. Family Connections is a change-focused intervention that strengthens families by teaching them how to problem-solve, create genuine relationships, cope with emotions and stress, and connect with emergency and other services.

Lisa shared that before she began the Family Connections program, she had so much on her plate that she wasn’t even sure where to start. The program helped her obtain the things she needed to reunify with her daughter, including household items, cleaning supplies, and assistance with electricity and rent.

“This helped me re-energize myself and feel secure with [the] available resources in the community,” Lisa said.

Loving Life as a Mother

For the first time, Lisa felt heard and validated. She was surrounded by people who took her emotions and grief seriously. The program helped her gain the confidence and motivation she desperately needed.

“My life is different now. I feel confident and ready to continue working toward my goals of going back to school and getting a computer training certificate,” added Lisa.

Today, Lisa has regained full custody of her daughter. She has stable housing, a full-time job, reliable and safe transportation, and remains sober. She enjoys every moment with her baby girl, who is thriving and just starting to walk.

If you’d like to help parents gain the confidence and resources they need to create a safe environment for their children, consider donating needed items through our Amazon Charity List.

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Sabrina Walton

Sabrina Walton is the Program Manager of In- Home Services, including both Nurturing Parenting and Family Connection Programs. Sabrina Walton has an extensive background in social service and community work and joined the Catholic Charities team in 2019. Striving for community relations, and outreach she is involved with local faith-based entities, including churches and shelters. Sabrina has an educated background in childhood services, psychology, and behavioral health. She is a member on the ACEs consortium, and a certified Trauma Informed and PAC trainer. She loves serving others, in the continued motto of Grand Canyon University, where she received her bachelor’s in education and master’s in Psychology. 


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