Maria – Foster Care
Maria was placed in our Specialized Foster Care program at the age of 12. Due to severe physical and medical neglect, she only weighed 37 pounds. During her seven years in Foster Care, she overcame many obstacles and grew into a mature and healthy young lady.
During her senior year of high school, she maintained part-time employment while staying focused on her studies and making the honor roll. She learned the importance of saving money and has always put more than required from her weekly paycheck into her savings account. She was able to save enough money to purchase her own computer.
In addition to receiving an outstanding achievement award from The Children’s Home, Maria received an award for attendance, special recognition for her outstanding work ethic, and a graduation award. Maria was the first person in her family to graduate from high school.
Melanie – Mother / Baby Foster Care
Melanie does not identify herself as a foster child or a student. She considers her most important role motherhood. Melanie is dedicated to ensuring that she and her daughter, Maria, have a safe and stable future. She has overcome many obstacles throughout her life and has grown tremendously as a person. She has made a positive adjustment to her foster home. She truly feels like a member of their family and they feel as though she is their daughter. Not missing any school this year, attending Vo-Tech for Cosmetology, and working 4-5 days a week while still fulfilling her responsibilities are some of her other proud accomplishments. Melanie consistently states that she wants to be able to provide for her daughter and be a positive role model for her. It is Melanie’s hope that she will be able to provide her daughter with the love and support that Maria will require.
Melanie has only been with CHOR for a short time, but has proven herself to be very respectful, friendly and helpful towards others. Melanie has shown that she is making her life what she would like it to be and has become a positive role model for others.
David – MTFC
David had mental health and behavioral issues as well as many traumatic experiences, including the recent tragic loss of his father. Upon entering the MTFC program, David had been in an alternative school for many years and was on probation for physical altercations with his family. David had a very strained relationship with his family members. The MTFC foster parents gave David a structured, supportive and positive environment in which to make behavioral changes and improve his relationship with his family. David received regular individual therapy and skills training to improve his problem solving abilities, decrease problem behaviors, teach him relationship building skills and encourage his success. Through family therapy, the family was taught evidence-based parenting techniques, including supervision, encouragement and consistent discipline. In the course of the program, both David and his family were slowly able to build a relationship that was based on new positive experiences and interactions. With the support of the program staff, his foster parents and his biological family, David was successful in a regular education setting. Due to his involvement in the program, David’s behaviors improved and his relationships with his family were positive and hopeful. David was discharged back to his biological family after 8 1/2 months in the MTFC Program. With supportive aftercare services in place, David continues to have a positive adjustment to his birth family home, has remained in the regular educational setting and has had no further involvement with the juvenile justice system.
Mary – Berks Parents Services Collaborative
Mary had two children and was pregnant with her third. She was using during her pregnancy and relapsed several times during her involvement with the BPSC program. She attended outpatient dual therapy. Eventually, Mary requested admission to inpatient drug and alcohol treatment due to a relapse. She went on to successfully complete outpatient drug and alcohol treatment and followed her aftercare plan. She continued to follow recommendations from Berks County Children and Youth, Berks County Probation, and BPSC. Now Mary has successfully completed all the required programs and continues to attend dual therapy. She is employed, has custody of her children, is a student at a local college, and regularly attends NA meetings.
Karina – CHOR Day Academy
Karina attended the Children’s Home of Reading’s Day Academy until she had a psychotic breakdown. She was removed from her home and hospitalized for a year. Upon discharge, she returned to her home and The Day Academy. Since her return, the staff at the Day Academy have worked with her to help her learn how to handle her emotions. When she feels upset or agitated, she reaches out to staff to discuss her feelings and triggers. She is able to tell others what she needs. She has learned to draw as a method self-soothing. She has not had one incident since her return. Karina has attained Level 4 (out of 6 Levels) of the progressive level system. She has even started to attend her home school district on a part-time basis. She enjoys attending her home school district and has even made friends. She recently attended her first school dance, where she had a great time. Karina’s eventual goal is to return to her home school district full-time.
Jennifer – Berks Parents Services Collaborative
Jennifer was referred to our program after she tested positive for drugs at the delivery of her fourth child. During her involvement with Berks Parents Services Collaborative Program she was always very open to talking about her issues. She has two children from previous relationships and has had issues with the childrens’ fathers. They have been sporadic about paying child support and have not been consistent in their relationships with their children. Jennifer is currently in a relationship the father of her two youngest children. He has also taken on the role of a stepfather to the two older children. Their first born was born with brain cysts and is developmentally delayed. She is now two years old and receives services in the home. Jennifer feels that attending counseling has helped her to learn different ways to reduce stress in her life instead of turning to drugs. She intends to use these techniques in the future to remain drug-free.
Paul – CHOR Day Academy
When Paul was first admitted to the Day Academy, he struggled to control his behaviors. He was in physical altercations with peers. He engaged in horseplay that resulted in another student breaking his arm. He was afraid of what may happen if he returned to his home school district and feared he would never leave The Day Academy. He worried that he would have difficulty with his peers again and fall back into previous habits.
Paul also struggled academically. When he first started at The Day Academy, his academic skills in both reading and math were very low. He attended summer school to improve the skills.
Paul matured and became familiar with the program and its expectations. He progressed through the level system and obtained Level 4 of 6. He started to think about returning to his home school district. He mentored the younger students in the program. He would pull them aside when they were agitated and talk to them about their behavior and what they should try to do differently next time.
Paul even engaged in an apprenticeship program at Reading Area Community College. Through the program he learned about the construction field. He participated in Goodwill’s Summer Work Study program and held a job for the summer. He has returned to his home school district and is doing well. He has impressed our staff, the school district staff, and his father. He even returns to the Day Academy to talk to current students about the programs in which he has participated.
Donte – Residential Program
Eleven months may seem like a long time…or not. If you ask Donté how long 11 months is, he will tell you that it’s the longest time he has ever spent away from his family. Especially because the first eight months he spent in treatment in the Specialized Residential Treatment Facility (SRTF) at CHOR, he wasn’t willing to accept that he needed to be here. Donté was angry and untrusting.
“I just held my emotions in because I thought I could handle it,” Donté remembers. “I kept saying that I was a man, and then one day I realized that was different than being one. It’s two different things.”
Donté’s clinician, Christina, noted that “he resisted rules, resisted treatment, and felt wrongfully placed.” Donté didn’t need to be here, or so he thought, until he finally understood that he wasn’t going to pass the assessments used to measure his progress unless he told the truth about his history and took his treatment seriously. That meant he would have to trust Christina. Not an easy task when you don’t trust anyone.
A big turning point for him occurred when Christina and his new probation officer took the time and effort to make sure his family could visit CHOR and participate in Donté’s treatment. Donté hadn’t seen his mom in eight months, including the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. When he saw her for the first time in more than half a year, he realized just how much he wanted to make her proud of him.
Donté took that challenge to heart. In three months, he completed his treatment. He realized that his friends who told him that he was no good and would never amount to anything were wrong. He once looked up to these so-called friends, but now he knows better than to follow in their footsteps.
Donté’s treatment at CHOR has changed his perspective on a lot of things. He has significantly improved his character and learned a great deal of patience. He also has a nephew who looks up to him, who has learned to make better choices because of Donté’s challenges. Now, Donté wants to make a positive impact on his nephew’s life.
“Don’t give up,” says Donté today. “Things might seem hard, but you gotta get through it. It’s worth it.”
The persistence of people like Christina and the whole SRTF staff made a difference in Donté’s life. He is ready to go home, focus on school, get a job, and continue to make himself, his mom and his nephew proud.
Adam – Foster Care
In this business of helping adolescent children overcome challenges, we know that it takes both a commitment from our staff and a commitment from the child to find success in life. Adam, a former client of our Specialized Foster Care Program, endured many challenges in his childhood. With our help has created a future to be proud of. His success is proof of that double commitment.
When Adam’s mother lost her husband to a terrible disease, she gave in to her obsessive compulsive disorder. Adam and his brother were very little at the time, and could not possibly understand how their mother’s actions affected them. By the time children’s services were contacted, his mother’s compulsion to hoard had made their home uninhabitable. Although much time and support was given to Adam’s mom to help change her ways, she could not change. Adam and his brother eventually found themselves removed from her care. Adam was 15. He had lived a long time in unhealthy disorder.
Although challenged by their environment for so many years, Adam’s brother had become an accomplished athlete. Adam found his niche within his school’s performing groups. With help from SFC staff, he and his brother were able to find a home together in the same school district. He is thankful for our staff’s commitment to giving his mother every opportunity to change her life, and when that did not occur, for finding them the right foster home. During his time in foster care, Adam found out just how resourceful and independent he could truly be.
Adam is now a college graduate. He received support from CHOR’s Fraunfelder Scholarship and is starting a master’s program in Performance Art in Arizona. He recently shared his story at our annual golf tournament dinner. He was grateful for the opportunity to bring a sense of closure to his past before he takes this next big step in his life.