Without your help, Lauren may lose her children forever.
Although Austin* is only 3, he takes the responsibility of caring for his younger sister Leah, who is 15 months old, very seriously. They have had been through a lot together, including the scary night a year ago when they were removed from their home.
But what about Austin’s mom?
“I was only ten when my drug use first started. My mom and step-dad are both addicts, and it was a normal part of my life,” says Lauren, who is 23 and Austin and Leah’s mom. “When I was 13, my mom took us to live in a shelter to escape my step-dad and stepbrothers’ abuse.”
“My mom was eventually arrested for selling drugs, and I spent several years in the foster care system. I would do anything to get more drugs, including stealing and running away. I was angry at everyone. My parents, my foster families, and anybody trying to help.”
When Lauren herself became a mother three years ago, she tried to gain control over her addiction, but didn’t have anywhere to turn. “I felt so alone and very depressed.”
But because of your compassion and support Lauren isn’t alone anymore.
Last summer, because of you, LSS-SW launched a new service to help parents like Lauren who need extra help becoming better parents.
Twice a week, Lauren will meet with her LSS-SW Parent Aide Michelle. Michelle helped Lauren find a twelve-step program as well as counseling. They work together on topics like childhood development and managing stress.
“Michelle’s support and non-judgmental way is helping me become the mother that I need to be. I just want them to come home,” says a tearful Lauren.
Michelle also brings Austin and Leah for supervised visits with their mom. She is a comforting presence in a world that’s upside down.
It is not an easy road. Love alone isn’t enough to be a good parent.
But you are Lauren’s hope through services like this that build foundations for Lauren and other parents.
There are significant startup costs that are not covered by state contracts. We urgently need to raise $40,000 by Arizona Gives Day, April 3, so that we can help parents that are determined to change their lives. A generous donor has already seeded $20,000, so we are already halfway there.
Thank you for expressing Christ’s love to Arizona’s families that are facing dark struggles.
*The names and images in this story depict a family in crisis and have been changed for their privacy.