One Day at a Time


When Jessica lost the rights to her children, she knew she had to make some big changes in her life, including ending an abusive relationship. Thanks to your support of Highfields, Jessica is now putting herself and her children first.

   Jessica’s future is looking bright. She enjoys spending time with her six children, has a steady job, and a fresh outlook on life. Last year, things were not so good. One of her daughters told her that she was sexually abused by Jessica’s ex-boyfriend.

   While Jessica was figuring out how to help her child through counseling, Child Protective Services (CPS) stepped in. They thought that it would be best if the child lived with her father, and for Jessica to work with Highfields in Families Together Building Solutions (FTBS), a program which helps families create solutions to prevent out-of-home placement for children.

   The day before she started FTBS, she was feeling stressed and overwhelmed due to a death in her family. She made a mistake and invited her ex-boyfriend to her house while her youngest daughter was home. CPS came back later that day and took her daughter to live with Jessica’s sister.

   “I really messed up and I knew that,” said Jessica. “It was a bad time of distress for me and I wasn’t in my right mind.”

   Jessica’s FTBS counselor, Riheti Ngubeni came over the next day to help her through her crisis.

   “I can’t even imagine what Riheti was thinking,” said Jessica. “I was in shambles, crying. He said we could reschedule but I said: ‘No. I want to get through this. It’s important for me to get my girls back.’ It was an interesting icebreaker for sure.”

   Riheti helped Jessica through the process of getting her daughters back. Together they worked on finding solutions to keep her family together and healthy.

   “We worked on relationship goals, personal self-esteem, problem solving, healthy boundaries, and dealing with child sexual abuse,” said Jessica. “It was an awesome program.”

   Over the course of a year, Jessica completed FTBS and was able to get her daughters back.

   “I just cried when I got them back,” said Jessica. “I was so happy.”

   She completed FTBS and moved on to Highfields’ Family Maintenance Program, which helps to prevent the occurrence or re-occurrence of out-of-home placements. In addition, Jessica is gaining more self-confidence in herself, removing herself from bad relationships, and making better choices for her family.

   “Highfields has helped me so much,” she said. “I never thought I’d be able to tell somebody ‘no’ or end abusive relationships. To be able to do that now is incredible. Highfields has helped me achieve something I’ve been trying to do my entire life.”

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