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Reunification and Redemption: RosieDate: 06/09/2017
June is National Reunification Month, and we want to share a reunification “success story” from our colleagues in Baxter County in north central Arkansas. It is a story defined by struggles, setbacks, hard work, commitment, mercy and ultimately, redemption. This is Rosie’s story.
Looking back now, Rosie barely recognizes the person she was a few years ago. She abused methamphetamine and stayed in a marriage with a violent man. Her 7-year-old daughter, Chelsea, suffered as a result – no supervision, no stability and no consistency. The Division of Children and Family Services (DCFS) in Arkansas became involved. For weeks, workers offered Rosie help in an effort to keep Chelsea at home – consistent discussions with the family about the risk being created by the drug use and ways to cope with stress other than using drugs, as well as an assessment for drug treatment. However, Rosie could not overcome her addiction, and Chelsea had to be placed in foster care to ensure her safety.
Current DCFS Area 5 Program Administrator Chuck Hurley was a new caseworker in Baxter County at the time, and he was assigned to Rosie and Chelsea’s case. He remembers the family very well. “Rosie had her struggles along the way,” Chuck recalls. Rosie refused the inpatient drug treatment she needed and chose outpatient treatment instead. After she completed her outpatient program in July 2013, she relapsed a day later. “She still had a lot of deception and instability in her life.”
But Chuck felt Rosie had the ability to be a great parent, so he continued to support her in her recovery and put her in position to get Chelsea back. “He always believed in me,” Rosie noted, “and there were many times he didn’t have much reason to. I couldn’t have asked for a better caseworker.”
At Chuck’s urging, Rosie entered a new inpatient drug treatment program in September 2013, eight months after Chelsea had entered foster care. This time, Chelsea was able to live with her mom while she received treatment. Rosie stopped using drugs. She replaced her old friends with a new, positive support system, including a new boyfriend and his extended family. Rosie also discovered her faith.
“If you really want to turn your life around, you need to make changes – get a great support system, find a good church, trust your caseworker,” Rosie commented. “But the most important thing is to have faith in God and know He will pull you out of any situation.”
Rosie completed treatment in early 2014 and her new support system helped her find a job, an apartment and furniture and a car. Chuck was steadfast in his belief in Rosie, and she recognized the gifts she had been given – sobriety, support, and a second chance as a mother. She was determined not to waste this opportunity.
Over the next few months, Chuck could see that Rosie was ready to be a great parent without his help any longer. Rosie remained clean and away from any bad influences, she maintained a job as a dog groomer that she loved and was very good at, and she and Chelsea were healthy and happy and surrounded by people who loved and supported them. In the summer of 2014, the court agreed that Rosie had done everything it and Chuck had asked of her and that she was more than prepared to safely and appropriately parent Chelsea, and it closed the case. But the story doesn’t end there.
Rosie has been employed at the same business for three years and has received a number of promotions with increasing responsibility. She still has her own apartment and car. Chelsea is now a thriving 12-year-old young lady with fantastic grades and plenty of friends. Most importantly, Rosie has remained clean and sober.
Chuck and Rosie have remained close, and this weekend he’ll have another opportunity to support Rosie – he’ll attend her wedding to the boyfriend who has been beside her the whole way, along with his whole family.
Rosie is in a great place and is ready to share her strength with others in the same position she was in back in 2012. She and Chuck are collaborating to establish a parent mentor program in Baxter County. “I would love to help parents break the addiction cycle,” said Rosie, “and show them that it is possible and share my story with them.”
We hope they listen, Rosie. Your story of reunification and redemption is one we’re proud to help you tell.