MEET DANIEL'S FAMILY
Daniel’s smile is a reflection of his parent’s unending love. Both mom and dad have intellectual disabilities and have received regular home visits through our Supported Parenting Program since Daniel was just one year old. Sarah, our family support worker, provides in-home parenting education and assistance with community services for mom, dad, and Daniel who is on the Autism Spectrum. As Daniel has grown, Sarah has helped the family receive medical and dental services. When Daniel was ready for school, she attended meetings with mom, dad, and teachers to assist with individualized education plans for Daniel.
The Supported Parenting Program helps mom and dad be advocates for the services Daniel needs, and our staff is their partner in working with providers. When schools closed during the pandemic, Sarah helped the family navigate virtual learning. She was also there to help Daniel’s mom through her grieving for the loss of her father due to Covid-19. Daniel’s mom and dad have expressed so much appreciation for how our program has supported them through the years and helped them feel more confident and comfortable in the decisions they make for their child.
Michaela and her daughter, Bonnie, worked with Sarah, her Catholic Charities’ family support worker for three years before COVID-19 changed family life for everyone. In this time, Michaela grew in her knowledge and confidence to care for Bonnie, and Bonnie was ready for school and thriving. When COVID-19 caused schools to shut down, Michaela and Bonnie struggled with navigating online classes and adapting to their new situation. Making regular home visits, following health guidelines, Sarah started her mornings at Michaela and Bonnie’s house. She would help them log on to Bonnie’s Zoom classes and plan their day together. A strong start to their day was all they needed to be successful with online school. “We see many parents struggling to balance their own work in addition to learning how to navigate virtual school. When the parent has a developmental disability, this struggle is only amplified. I’m so proud of Michaela. She is working hard to make sure Bonnie gets through this transition.” shares Sarah.
Gabriela gave birth to her daughter, Zoe, in 2019 and was referred to our Supported Parenting Program by the hospital. She has her father and aunt who provide support, and Gabriela was determined to learn as much as she could to be a good mother to her daughter. Our Catholic Charities’ Family Support Worker started out doing activities with Gabriela and Zoe, such as floor time and tummy time, and creating a routine to help with Zoe’s sleep schedule and feedings. Gabriela keeps track of all the information that was shared about Zoe’s development. Zoe is now six months and is thriving, reaching new milestones. Gabriela’s aunt came to visit again for the holidays and continues to be a wonderful natural support for Gabriela and Zoe. “My aunt and Family Support Worker have made me a more confident parent. I feel so great as a parent now.”
Tanisha and her son have been enrolled in our Supported Parenting program for the past three years. In that time, Tanisha and her Family Support Worker have worked together to help her son reach his developmental milestones. “Sarah has been there for me so much. She has taught me about being consistent, having a good routine and helping my son to be healthy and strong. But in addition to that, Sarah has been there to listen to me as well. I have struggled with so many things and Sarah is there for me and helps me when I’m feeling down or hopeless. I don’t have a lot of support and Sarah has always had an ear available to talk things out. I can be very hard on myself but she’s there for me. Sarah’s support and listening helps me feel better about myself and makes me a better mother overall.”
Mark connected with Catholic Charities three years ago because he needed help with parenting skills. He was a single father with a one year old son. Adding the very real challenges of an intellectual disability and Autism, Mark didn’t know how to be a good dad.
He began meeting weekly with a family support worker from our Supported Parenting Program. During their in home visits, they focus on nurturing skills, developmentally appropriate milestones, establishing a daily routine including a family rules chart, and how to be consistent with positive discipline. Mark enjoys problem solving with his family support worker and learns new skills from her. The family support worker also advocates for Mark with healthcare professionals, teachers and others who can help them.
Mark has become more independent and confident in his parenting. He is an active participant in all aspects of his son’s life, including school now that he is in kindergarten. Mark continues to work with his family support worker and enjoys being the best dad possible.