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Finding the right place takes time

June 15, 2010

All four brothers had difficult childhoods, suffering neglect and physical abuse. They spent most of their young years going from one foster family to another – nearly 30 in two years. And while all of the children suffered, it appeared to affect David the most.

Shirley and Carl adopted David and his three brothers when all of them were very young.

“When we adopted the children, David was 2,” Shirley said. “Two brothers are older, and one is younger. We had no clue about ADHD or Reactive Attachment Disorder or anything like that. We learned as we went along.”

Shirley and Carl’s neighbors were foster parents, and they watched the children sometimes to help out. The boys’ past was a true horror story of neglect and abuse, Shirley said, and David got the worst of it. The problems started just as the brothers began to find stability and security in their lives. David became physically aggressive with his mother and his three brothers. He set fires and stole things.

David turned 10 years old in a residential treatment center, his family’s fifth attempt to address and handle his behavior issues that mom said had unknown triggers.

“We never knew what would set him off,” she said. “Many times, it was something unpredictable.”

Her persistence paid off. David’s recent discharge after a year in a residential facility was given based on Youth Villages providing in-home services for the family. Senior Family Counselor Whitney Vowels then began working with David and his family.

“Right from the beginning, the family was very open and receptive to any recommendations given to them,” she said. “Shirley and Carl were committed to providing David with all the help he needed.”

David made marked progress in the residential program, Vowels said, and once he was home, she worked with the family to increase the structure and consistency in the home. She worked with David on anger management. She worked with the school to set up an individualized education plan for his academic and behavioral needs. Most important, Vowels worked with mom and dad so they were comfortable enforcing rules, rewards and consequences.

“Whitney really did her job,” Shirley said. “She supported me and the family, and left no stone unturned when it came to helping David. I’ve dealt with many family services, and they were nothing compared to her. She went above and beyond to help us.”

David, who turns 12 in July, has a good chance at a successful future. Mom said her goals for the children were to get through school and to be productive. Her hard work paid off, as she reports David’s behavior has changed significantly.

“He’s a different kid; he has a chance at life now,” she said. “It’s been a difficult time, but there is help out there if you keep looking. With David, we finally found the right people.”

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