This is the story of how the Impact NW Safe & Together program helped one particular mom overcome extensive trauma she experienced since childhood. After several unsuccessful attempts by the courts and DHS to engage her in mental health services, Impact's Parent-Child Specialist helped compile her story so the other systems could better understand her perspective of what was needed and what had already been tried. This is a young mother who was severely abused and neglected prior to and during her time as a foster child; incarcerated as a young adult for attacking her abuser in self-defense; and consequently harmed her first child who was then removed from her care.
After months of establishing trust and giving her time to share her story, it became clear that the mental health services mandated since childhood became associated in her mind with punishment. This was interpreted by DHS and the courts as "non-compliance" with the plan that determined if her child could be returned. The judge overseeing this case requested that Impact and of all the providers involved work together to assist her in increasing stability and building skills so she could safely parent.
Ultimately this mother had her young son returned to her care and continues to maintain stable housing, employment, transportation and child care. Her story is an example of how parents who are served from a genuinely trauma-informed approach can see improved outcomes for both them and their children.