Family Preservation Services Helps Stabilize Single Parent Family

Megan Pelton, a Tier 2 Family Preservation Case Manager, had been providing services for *Erin Warren and her three children for three months when she received a phone call that no case manager ever wants to receive.

“I got a phone call saying that the family couldn’t stay in the homeless shelter any longer,” said Megan.

The journey to the shelter was not an easy one. Just a few months earlier, Erin and her three children were evicted from their home due to an inability to pay rent. Erin’s partner unexpectedly left the family, leaving Erin with no way to earn income. They found refuge at Erin’s father’s house until he threatened violence against *Sonora, the youngest child, and they were moved to the shelter.

“I was angry and upset, and I wasn’t sure where to go from there,” said Megan. “How do we get this family safe and stable if nobody is willing to take them in or help them?”

Family Preservation Services works to prevent the unnecessary separation of children from their homes while keeping them safe and stabilizing the family unit. The approach empowers parents to create a safe home for their children by building on their strengths and teaching them skills to manage future challenges.

As a case manager, Megan spends significant time coordinating services for families, such as assisting the Warren family with transportation and transitioning them to a hotel after being removed from the shelter. Megan also helped Sonora get help following several uncontrollable outbursts and violent episodes, including those that led to their removal from the shelter. 

“I truly believe her behaviors were related to the instability they were experiencing,” said Megan. “This is why we want them to have that strong support system because we’re not going to be in the home forever.”

The biggest challenge was helping the Warren family find an affordable apartment to call home.

“Everywhere we turned, there was a waitlist a mile long,” said Megan. Other barriers she faced included meeting timelines and requirements for paperwork and managing various mental health crises along the way.

Two and a half months after the Warren family was evicted from their home, Megan received a phone call that changed everything: the family was accepted into a section eight housing apartment.

“It was a great moment,” said Megan. “Not only did they get the apartment, but the rent was very low. It was such a relief that they could finally get stability.”

Serendipitously, the phone call came just two weeks before their six-month treatment contract ended. Soon after moving in, Erin started a full-time home healthcare job and began mental health treatment to process the domestic violence as well as the physical and psychological abuse she suffered as a child.

“I love my families and the energy I feel when I know I can help a family succeed at something,” said Megan. “I can honestly say that in my eight years of child welfare experience, I have never had such a sweet success story as Erin Warren.”

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*names changed to protect privacy