Rural Outreach Program (ROP)
The Story of Amanda and Jeff's Mom
After her oldest daughter was placed into foster care and her husband was imprisoned, Amanda and Jeff’s mom lived in fear that her other two children would be taken away. Amanda*, only 9, and Jeff*, just 10, were struggling. Daily screaming fights and antagonistic/destructive behavior were becoming the norm for Amanda; her older sister had acted exactly the same way before she was placed out of their home. Amanda was mimicking that behavior. Jeff was withdrawn and tearful. Both were very scared and didn’t know how to express the difficult emotions they were feeling.
Amanda and Jeff’s mom approached Family & Children’s Service about therapy services for both Amanda and Jeff. The F&CS therapist was aware of the mother’s limited transportation options from their home in Groton. She also knew that the mother was having difficulty finding safe childcare options so that she could bring each child into therapy individually. With these barriers, the therapist knew that it wasn’t very likely that the children would be able to attend regularly scheduled counseling appointments; their lives were just too chaotic. A traditional therapeutic counseling model simply wouldn’t work - but they desperately needed support.
The F&CS therapist referred the family to the Rural Outreach Program. An MSW student met with the mom, Amanda, and Jeff, regularly in their home for a month to conduct a needs assessment and provide short-term solution based counseling. Amanda and Jeff were both provided a safe space to explore and name their difficult feelings; both quickly began to make improvements.
Each child was matched with a mentor and has gotten involved in recreational group activities that have helped them learn how to express themselves in a healthier way. Sometimes their older sister, who is still in foster care, joins in on the activities, which have helped keep her connected to Jeff and Amanda. After several months of participating in the Rural Outreach Program, Amanda no longer throws fits or antagonizes the rest of her family. Jeff is not shut down anymore. Their mother is no longer terrified they will be taken away and feels empowered to help her children in an effective and supportive way.
*Names and details have been changed to maintain client confidentiality
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