I was 17 when I first heard of CARE House. I was in high school and pregnant for the first time, and one day their Early Head Start program visited to make a presentation, and I signed up. Each week, my case worker Bridget met with me to get ready for my daughter, Olivia. After she was born, Bridget helped me make sure Olivia would develop correctly. The support was great and, 18 months later, when I became pregnant with my son Josh, she helped coach me through the pregnancy.
Everything was going fine until one day, at work, I got the worst phone call of my life. Josh, only two months and two days old, wasn’t breathing. I came to learn that the father of my kids had shaken Josh, leaving him with subdural hematomas and several broken ribs.
Everything changed that day, except for one thing: Bridget. She came with me to the hospital and to court, after my parental rights were terminated. She connected me with classes that talked about the warning signs of living in a household where abuse and neglect are more likely to happen, and I recognized my own life. It helped me find the strength to divorce their father, and get my children back. My primary goal in Early Head Start was to find full-time work, and when I did, I graduated from the program.
Today, I have a happy and healthy home with my kids, and Josh, who the doctors said wouldn’t be able to walk or mentally develop past the age of a 3 month old, is thriving. With the help of Bridget and CARE House, I gained the knowledge and power to take control of my life and create a safe home for my children. I know that Josh and Olivia will get to have the healthy futures that all kids should have, and I’m thankful to CARE House for their part in getting me here.