Stories of Client Families
Gena and Elijah
Gena and her four children (fictitious names) are representative of the families who make their way to Sheffield Place from homeless shelters, addiction recovery centers, domestic violence agencies, and increasingly through self-referral from the internet. Gena experienced chronic physical and sexual abuse from the youngest age. She and her mother, a chronic meth user, did not develop a maternal-child bond.
Gena grew up in foster care. In her teens, she ran away from home and did what she had to do to survive on the streets and to feed her own addictions. Over several years, Gena has four children and weak maternal bonds with them. Gena is one of many mothers at Sheffield Place with multiple barriers to success – low educational attainment, little work experience, felony convictions, and a history of addiction and domestic violence.
Her 3-year old son, Elijah, expressed his utter hopelessness and lack of human connection by standing each day in the children’s program and screaming nonstop for three full hours. He had no vocabulary to express his feelings or expectation that his needs would be met. Working as a team, the therapists, case managers, and teaching assistants worked with Elijah to teach him self-soothing techniques. They also worked with Gena to help her understand the need to respond to her children.
Gena is learning to heal from the severe trauma she has experienced, to become an effective and positive parent, how to find and keep employment, and how to function in society. Her children are enrolled in elementary school and daycare. Soon the family will transition to permanent housing in the community with continued case management and other supportive services provided by Sheffield Place.
Addy and Miranda
Addy and her daughter seven year old daughter, Miranda, are representative of the families that come to Sheffield Place from addiction recovery centers, homeless shelters, domestic violence agencies, and increasing from the internet. Addy grew up in home where her parents were addicted to meth. She followed them into addiction. More than once, Addy was brutally assaulted by her partner in front of Miranda.
Addy spent time in prison for drug possession and Miranda was placed in foster care. The prison time was the first time since early adolescence that she was not able to use drugs. She came to Sheffield Place where she and Miranda were reunited. The therapists and case managers are working with both mother and daughter to heal from the deep and persistent trauma they have experienced and to adjust to their new life. Addy plans to continue her recovery, find a job, and move with Miranda into a home of their own.
Mickie and Jada
Mickie and Jada were clients several years ago. Mickie recently stopped by Sheffield Place to say hello to the staff she knew here. She shared that since leaving Sheffield Place, she has remained in recovery from a 20-year addiction to meth and other substances. She works two jobs and she and her daughter, Jada, have maintained the same apartment since leaving the facility. Mickie owes her success to having the courage and tenacity to break the generational cycle of addiction, poverty, and homelessness. The skilled therapists and case managers empowered her in that difficult journey.
Shona and her children
Shona and her four children ages 12, 11, 9, 5, and a baby on the way came to Sheffield Place nine months ago. They had lived in their car for three months before that. They suffered from severe trauma. Shona struggles with depression. The children, Shona remarked, had never had beds. The two boys acted out sexually and required intense supervision during the children’s program. The therapists worked with Shona and the children as a family and as individuals. The family made progress and transitioned to permanent housing in the community. Shona continues to receive case management and supportive services through the aftercare program. At Sheffield Place, Shona and the children have gained skills to help them heal from the trauma of their lives as they strive to become self-sufficient.