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.

Thursday, 26 October 2023

Family Connections Restores Grandmother’s Confidence

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Carolyn, a woman in Glendale, Ariz., has been raising her two teenage granddaughters for the past 13 years. About a year ago, the life Carolyn had built for her family nearly came crumbling down.

Her income began to dwindle. She struggled to keep up with the rising costs of rent and food coupled with the cost of electricity due to the summer heat. She had faced many ups and downs raising her granddaughters, but nothing compared to realizing that her family might become homeless.

Working Toward a New Start

Carolyn refused to sit still and watch her situation worsen. She turned to family for support, sleeping on their couches and saving money until she had enough for her own place again.

Moving into a new home seemed magical until the bills started piling up again. Carolyn was soon struggling to feed herself and her granddaughters. Eventually, the Department of Child Safety (DCS) became involved.

Family Connections Provides Needed Support

DCS referred Carolyn to the Catholic Charities Family Connections program. The Family Connections program is a change-focused intervention that helps families achieve their goals through individualized sessions that teach problem-solving, build relationships, and offer guidance on handling feelings, stress and anger. Family Connections also refers caregivers to resources like utility, rent or childcare assistance and emergency food or clothing.

When Carolyn received a call about starting services, she was overwhelmed and didn’t know where to start. Due to her cultural background, she felt hesitant to accept help. But after speaking with Catholic Charities staff, she knew they would provide the type of nonjudgmental support she desperately needed.

Shame Transforms Into Gratitude

According to Carolyn, working with Family Connection gave her a starting point to access the resources she needed. She was able to obtain rental assistance, electricity assistance, household items, cleaning supplies and clothing for her and her grandchildren.

Carolyn shared that before the Family Connections program, her life felt unsettled and chaotic. She felt like a failure and was ashamed that she was unable to provide basic needs for her grandchildren.

Allowing herself to let go of that shame brought a sense of gratitude. “I began to feel confident, not judged, and thankful,” said Carolyn.

Family Connections Values Clients as Individuals

Carolyn deeply valued the feeling of being treated like an individual. Each week when the Family Connections Consultant (FCC) came to her home, she felt supported and encouraged. She began to advocate for her family’s needs and no longer felt alone in doing so.

“I have a plan, I feel confident, and [I] even started a savings account for emergency expenses,” added Carolyn.

Today, Carolyn and her granddaughters have stable housing, reliable and safe transportation, and have since had their DCS case closed.

Items like cleaning supplies, clothing and small toys and games are invaluable to families in Family Connections. No matter how small, you can make a difference by donating needed items using 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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