One step to end abuse
Henley lights up when she sees her mom, Aubrey, walk in the playroom. Love equally reflects from Aubrey’s eyes when she lifts her two-year old daughter into her arms for this afternoon’s fifth hug. From appearances, they seem happy in this moment. Sadly, Aubrey and Henley face many struggles. Just two months ago, they arrived at a local homeless shelter with little more than the clothes on their backs. Here is how…
Eight years ago when Aubrey was ten, Aubrey’s mom walked away from parenthood. With no father to speak of and without another option, Aubrey was placed in her grandmother’s care. The placement gave her a bed to sleep in and regular meals, but Aubrey rarely felt safe. Her grandmother emotionally abused her, blaming Aubrey for her mother leaving. Eventually, she delivered weekly beatings when Aubrey seemed numb to the verbal lashings.
By 14, Aubrey was retaliating from the abuse by acting out at school and making poor choices. In her second year of high school, Aubrey discovered she was pregnant. Terrified, she hid the news from her grandmother until she could not hide it anymore. Outraged by her granddaughter’s behavior, Aubrey’s grandmother withdrew her from school and refused to let her return – even after Henley was born.
When her grandmother started to direct her abuse and manipulation toward Henley, Aubrey made the brave choice to leave. She did not want her child subjected to the cruelty she had survived. They walked out one morning and never returned.
Now working with LFCS, Aubrey knows her future will be better than her past. She is learning what it means to be a good mom for the very first time. With her case worker, she has attained permanent housing, developed a plan to finish her high school education, and begun her job search. Every day, Aubrey strives to give Henley the childhood she deserves. With help from LFCS, its happening.
Aubrey and Henley participate in the LFCS Home Visitation program. LFCS is contracted with the state to provide home visitation services with parents of children under the age of three in the St. Louis and Joplin areas. LFCS partners with FamilyForward and Good Shepherd to provide services in St Louis area. The goal of home visitation program is to provide parents with education and support that leads to the prevention of child abuse and neglect; support and encourage care that promotes positive brain development in children; and improve school readiness in children.
To be eligible for participation in the home visiting program, a family must:
- Have a child less than three years of age in the home
- Have a household income below 185% of the poverty line
- Meet one of the following:
- Referred by Children’s Division for being at-risk for physical, emotional, social or educational abuse/neglect
- A family whose child is in the custody of Children’s Division with an active plan for custody of the child to be returned to the family
- Living in a shelter or temporary housing
- Teenage parent
- Employed 40 hours or less per week
- Participating in an education or job training program.
For more information, contact the LFCS Family Services intake line 314-854-5704 or email [email protected].