Mary* was trying to balance the stress of her job as a traveling hospice aid while parenting her four children with her ex-husband, all while eight months pregnant. As if this wasn’t enough, she found out that her boyfriend was abusing her four-year-old son while she was at work.
During a visit with his children, Mary’s ex-husband noticed bruises on his son. Concerned with his safety as well as the other kids, he reported her boyfriend to Child Protective Services.
“I thought I was a great mom,” said Mary. “But after getting the call, I felt like I failed to protect my children.”
Mary felt a mix of emotions. She was sad, knowing she’d tried to do everything she could to take care of her children. She was confused, her parenting never being questioned before in the past. Most of all, she was scared she was going to lose custody of her children.
She was referred to Highfields’ Families Together Building Solutions program which helps families create solutions to prevent out-of-home placement for children. Highfields’ counselor, Amanda, met with Mary weekly to work toward building solutions to keep her family together and healthy.
“Amanda was well-educated and actually gave me resources to impact daily life,” said Mary.
Mary appreciated her time with Amanda as more than just a requirement. She enjoyed having an objective person to talk to rather than her children or hospice patients at work. She welcomed the company and embraced the opportunities Highfields provided for her family.
Mary was given parenting resources, but she also learned a lot about domestic abuse. Though she didn’t feel like she was in an abusive relationship, she found out that it wasn’t always a physical type of violence, but could be mental as well, such as gaslighting or manipulation.
With the ongoing charges, Mary left her boyfriend, putting the safety of her family first.
“Highfields taught me how to focus more on myself in order to take care of my family,” said Mary. “I was given the knowledge and resources to protect my family from both mental and physical abuse.”
*Name has been changed to protect confidentiality.