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Breaking the Cycle

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June 10, 2019 | By Alison Mazefsky

Hearts Of Goldimage

What is your most vivid memory?

What if it was someone ripping you out of your home, flailing as you shout for your mother?

She is turned around, head down, as if she doesn’t hear you. Your mother wasn’t the best, but she tried.  You didn’t feel safe at home. You didn’t feel safe anywhere. Even the doctor scared you because you didn’t understand touch if it wasn’t abuse. 

This was Hannah’s story.

I will never forget when she first shared it with me. She was walking around the room, baby on her hip, as if she were casually discussing the weather.  Some client stories are so intense and vivid that I feel as if they’re my memories now too.

Hanna has mental illness, an intellectual disability, and cerebral palsy.  That, as well as her history of abuse, was a deck of cards against her. Yet, the love for her daughter was so palpable that you could feel it when you walked in the room.

Hanna was referred to Washington Communities Human Services (WCHS) for blended case management, supports coordination, and therapy. These programs are designed to help Hannah, and others like her, connect with everything needed to be the best version of herself.

The safety of their home was an issue, so WCHS helped Hannah to discover the services of the Redevelopment Authority of Washington County. They fixed faulty wiring, broken, drafty windows, as well as the leaky roof.

Although cerebral palsy affects her hands, Hannah was willing to work hard to provide care for her daughter. With the help of parenting classes, Hannah was ultimately able to bathe her daughter on her own. We watched with pride as she accomplished this task for the first time.

Hannah also started Early Intervention to assist in helping her daughter reach her milestones.

And with the help of a therapist, Hannah has been able to process the abuse of her own childhood.

“CYS [Children and Youth Services] closed my case! I was involved with CYS my whole life. CYS raised me. I assumed my daughter would be raised by them, too. But she won’t be.” 

For the first time in a long time, Hanna said, “I’m proud of myself.”