Did I hear you correct? Jennifer* took her four kids to the emergency room because she thought they ingested embalming fluid? I spent an hour talking to the foster care worker and hearing the case details. Immediately, I knew I had an unusual case after hearing how everything started and the case barriers.
Jennifer’s parenting time visits were suspended because of her strange and inappropriate behaviors. She would get angry with the foster mom and case worker after each parenting time visit. If she didn’t like the topic or lessons being taught, she would ask the service providers to leave her house.
Jennifer was reluctant to work with me. She didn’t understand why she had to attend another parenting class. The client explained that she worked in a daycare and she knows how to take care of kids. I explained the AIH program and convinced Jennifer to give me a chance. We also discussed the needs of the children (5, 3 and twin 1 year olds). Jennifer needed intensive AIH services to focus on parenting skills.
Jennifer had several barriers, including not being prepared for the parenting time visits. She did not bring a diaper bag with diapers, wipes, snacks, drinks or any necessary supplies or toys to the visits. Jennifer did not engage with her sons. She would hold them for maybe ten minutes total. The twins did not seem to have a bond with her. For the first three weeks, one of the twins cried the entire visit while the other twin sat in the stroller looking off in the distance.
I met with Jennifer twice a week to help her get on track. She started to trust me and the parenting concepts that I was teaching her. I prepared Jennifer for parenting time and modeled engaging activities. We discussed the supplies needed, appropriate behaviors, the principles of nurturing parenting and the importance of meeting the needs of our children. Most importantly, I attended her parenting time to coach her with her children.
Jennifer started arriving early to prepare for parenting time. She had everything she needed for a successful visit. Jennifer started to engage with her twins. The foster care worker noticed how well the visits were going and petitioned the court to start visits with her older kids. Jennifer’s visits with all of her children went very well. The twins seem to have a bond with Jennifer now. Last week, the twins started to cry when it was time to end parenting time and one even ran into Jennifer’s arms.
I made a difference with Jennifer and her family by supporting and coaching her. I helped her understand the importance of bonding and attachment. Encouraged her to stay on her medication and attend her therapy sessions. I also taught Jennifer the power of perseverance. Currently, Jennifer has unsupervised visits with her older children and is waiting for unsupervised visits with the twins.
*Jennifer is a fictitious name in order to protect the client’s privacy.