As a part of the childcare system in El Salvador, we work closely with the courts. Children’s cases are currently reviewed every three months, so status can change frequently and even suddenly. Once a child is placed under our care, one of our goals is to identify any biological family members that the child has been connected to prior to placement and to begin to assess cause of separation, what it will take to reconnect and establish healthy relationships and begin to work towards that goal whenever possible.
Beatriz (name changed) came to La Casa with much trauma and many unidentified needs. She was placed in one of our loving homes and soon we realized that the special education school she was placed in did not adequately meet her needs. She began to attend a different school, but soon afterwards, COVID hit. She became part of our on-site schooling program and began to learn to recognize letters and identify their sounds. She was beginning to read! She learned to care for herself and was given the freedom to be a child. She felt loved.
As we worked to identify and meet Beatriz’ needs, our Family Program began working with the family. Due to COVID, we were unable to have direct contact with her family through family visits, but Beatriz spoke with her family each week. As COVID restrictions lifted, her mother began to visit each Family Visitation Day. Beatriz began to grow her connection with her mother and her family.
Our next step would have to begin weekend visitations with her family, but the courts acted faster than we did, and placed her back home. So we switched to making aftercare follow-ups, helping the family to find a school for Belen and other community resources to help support her needs and the family’s. We are excited to return for visits and see Beatriz feeling a part of the family and happy. She was quite proud to show us her home and her school.
We will continue walking with the family for some time, but it has been encouraging to see her family do the hard work that it takes to grow relationships and work together as a family unit!