When I first met my new client, we will call her Mary, I noticed her determination to succeed and make the right changes for her 4 children despite the “road blocks” with her visits. The first family team meeting I attended, everyone praised her for how much she had changed and recovered since her case first opened.
Mary seemed to lack appropriate communication skills needed to enable a healthy relationship with her children. She was was angry. But after working on her sobriety, she’s now several months sober and able to communicate with her children in an appropriate manner. While on visits with her children, she is able to redirect and adjust to suggestions for better communication with them!
Her case goals were to be able to reunite with her children and forgive herself for the situation that created the position they are experiencing today. Her goals are to grow a stronger bond with her children, encourage a different lifestyle such as eating healthy and interacting with the kids and worshipping the Lord. Her goals for herself are to trust in the Lord, get a job, get an apartment and stay sober.
Her children are placed in different cities making coordination for visits very challenging. At first, a lot of visits were missed and excuses were made but I advocated for my client and her health. I coached her and held her accountable for her goals to establish a solid relationship with her children. Mary did not always have positive reinforcement for good behavior and that affected how she faced challenges in life. Every time a visit was missed she was very understanding and always blamed herself.
At the end of each visit, I would make it a point to praise her for things that went well in her visit, but also coached her on things to do differently next time. She does an amazing job coming up with creative games to play with all the kids during the virtual visits and also started reading the Bible to the kids. She tells me every time we meet, “Thank you so much, I know my case isn’t the easiest but I appreciate everything you do.” She is now able to manage her time with her children now that she gets make up visits every time one is missed. She has a job, and is currently looking for an apartment. She also has a face to face visit scheduled and more to come.
A turning point for Mary was to acknowledge her fault in the situation, be grateful for when visits happened, and continue to work towards her goals. I often asked her: “are you sober?”, “are you saved?” and “are you living in your past or present”. She answered all the questions and I always reinforced she can’t change the past but she can move forward in the future and still better herself and her kids. I told her “your past does NOT define you.”
As a PACT worker you work for parents and children together. Building a good relationship with your clients helps build trust and allows the client to be able to trust in someone or something.