Early Education and Care - March 3, 2015

Callie was quiet at home where it was noisy. Mommy screaming, Daddy breaking everything important. Mommy, bloody, telling him she would kill him if he did it again.

Callie was noisy at her Carson Preschool where it was quiet. Callie climbed on furniture, broke everything important, grabbed scissors and tried to stab her teacher.

Callie’s mother, Sonya, was called in by Carson Preschool staff to hear their concerns about Callie's behavior. It was one more call for her to fix something she had no power over. Like the Department of Children and Families, they seemed to want her to fix him and now she had to fix Callie.

Fix her husband Dan or leave him, leaving her and Callie with no car, four dollars in her pocket and credit card debt he ran up in her name. The courts wouldn’t hold him; probation was a joke. He promised if she left, he'd be sure to get DCF to take the kids. Dan could be very convincing. He'd convinced the cops she had not been defending herself the last time, and they arrested her, too, along with him. So here was the Carson Pre-school teacher, kicking out her kid and blaming her. Callie hated them. What good were they?

The Preschool staff had introduced Sonya to a Carson PATCH worker. Sonya didn't want a PATCH worker, she wanted her childcare slot. The PATCH team helped her get Callie to see a therapist who practiced Child Parent Psychotherapy, a special approach to therapy for protective parents and child witnesses of domestic violence. They introduced her to a domestic violence advocate, who helped her think about her relationship and her safety. They helped her get her resume together. They practiced interviewing skills. Sonya got a job. She got an order of protection against Dan's abuse.

Six month's later, Sonya called and asked the Carson Preschool staff if they would accept Callie on a part time trial basis. When she came in, staff hardly recognized her. She looked clear and focused. Callie did well. In fact, staff say she is just about the brightest girl they have ever had.

"Thank you for PATCH. It wasn't time to be here before," Sonya told the Carson teachers. "But now it is time. Time for me and Callie."

By JAC Patrissi