The true measure of our success lies in the thousands of individual stories from children and families who have overcome painful pasts and built bright futures with our help. Read their stories...
Bryce is a four-year-old little boy with a happy disposition and a promising future. When Bryce came to CEDARS, he had been living with his father. His mother was in prison and no longer involved in his life, so his father had assumed all of the parenting responsibilities. But Bryce's father was not well-equipped to raise him, either. At just 19, he was struggling with substance abuse problems.
Bryce was removed from his father's care and placed with his paternal grandfather, who became his foster parent.
Although Bryce's father was struggling, he still had a desire to learn to be a good parent to his son. We made certain the two of them had opportunities to be together and learn to interact positively. At the same time we helped Bryce's grandfather navigate the difficulties of raising a young child. We also helped find a new daycare provider and supported them with clothing and other needed items.
Bryce's father and grandfather have a close bond, and were able to maintain a positive relationship for Bryce's sake despite the circumstances. After some time, Bryce's father came to the difficult conclusion that his son would be better off if his father took full guardianship of Bryce, and relinquished his parental rights.
Bryce will soon be five years old. He has exceeded all developmental milestones, and is a healthy and happy little boy. Fortunately, Bryce has a family willing to work together to find the best situation for him.
When she came to CEDARS two months ago, Jailynn had just turned eight. She had been passed from family member to family member because her mother is unable to care for her. Sadly, though, the rest of her family isn’t well-equipped to provide for her needs either. So she came to stay at CEDARS while we work to find the right permanent, loving home for her.
At the beginning, Jailynn was quiet, so quiet we were worried about her. But time—and the consistent efforts of CEDARS staff to assure her she is welcome here—have paid off.
Today, Jailynn is rarely alone. She has built trusting relationships with our staff members who make certain her needs are met, and the other children want Jailynn on their teams when they play games after school. And at the end of the month, Jailynn will be meeting a family that would like to consider becoming her forever family. What an exciting time for this young girl.
We want Jailynn and every other child who walks through our doors to feel valued. We want them to know they hold a special place in the world. And we want them to succeed. It takes many people working together to make this happen, and we are sincerely grateful to everyone who supports children like Jailynn.
Today, Aliyah is making funny “card sandwiches” as she plays the game Slamwich with her 7-year-old sister. From the kitchen, her mother calls out, asking if she has finished picking up her room.
After six months in CEDARS foster care, the bashful 11-year-old girl has returned home to start over with her mother and sister.
But last May, she was removed from her mother’s home after it was confirmed that, for months, she had suffered abuse at the hands of her mother’s boyfriend. Aliyah first arrived at CEDARS unable to meet most adults’ eyes.
She was immediately received into a family long-accustomed to welcoming foster children into their home.
Aliyah discovered a new sense of security while living with her foster family. In their home, she finally felt safe. “I liked staying with them,” Aliyah said, “because they were always kind to me.”
With that security, Aliyah began to feel as though she could talk about what had happened to her. Her therapist and her foster family helped her explore the difficulty she felt trusting adults. She made steady progress and began to emerge from her quiet shell.
Aliyah received quiet, reassuring support as she began to talk with her mother as well. Our staff stood beside her as they tentatively forged a new relationship. Soon, Aliyah began displaying a new confidence.
Now, having succeeded in rebuilding trust with her mother and her abuser gone from their lives, Aliyah is safely home again. She remains in touch with the foster family that cared for her during demanding times, and they continue to support Aliyah, her mother and sister as they grow together.
It was just over a year ago that we met 3-year-old Macayla. Macayla’s mother, an alcoholic, hadn’t protected her from the domestic violence that regularly disrupted their home. Consumed by her battle with alcoholism, Macayla’s mother hadn’t kept her clean, made certain their home was well heated, or kept their kitchen filled with food.
When we met Macayla she was living with her grandma, a safe place to stay, but not a permanent home. While she stayed there, we helped her grandma care for both Macayla’s physical and emotional needs. We made certain she had new clothes, children’s books, and toys she needed to develop appropriately. We supervised visits with Macayla’s mother once she began alcohol recovery treatment.
It took time to reestablish trust, but we worked diligently with Macayla and her mother. Gradually, Macayla, her mother and her grandmother all began to enjoy spending time together.
Today this family is preparing to begin a new, healthy, safe life together.