CALICO is dedicated to ensuring we can provide prompt, quality services to all families who are referred to us, regardless of the circumstances, as was the case with 8-year-old Linda who recently came to CALICO in the middle of the night.
One evening as Linda’s mom, Sarah, tucked her into bed she noticed that Linda was quiet and teary-eyed. When Sarah asked her what was wrong, Linda began to cry and said that her step-father had been hurting her. Sarah was shocked and frightened when she learned what had happened. Scared of confronting her husband, she called the police. The police arrived immediately and called CALICO’s emergency pager. The police set up an after-hours appointment and an interviewer, family resources specialist and district attorney liaison hurried to meet the police along with Linda and Sarah at CALICO. Linda met with an interviewer and explained the abuse that had been happening since she was 6 years old. Although it was difficult, because Linda was scared and tired, the interviewer was kind and patient and allowed Linda to take her time explaining everything.
While Linda met with the interviewer, Sarah met with a family resource specialist. Sarah was so overwhelmed with her feelings of anger, shame and fear that she felt “frozen.” Sarah was in crisis and didn’t know what to do or how to help her daughter. With the family resource specialist, Sarah processed her feelings. The family resource specialist normalized the feelings by explaining that those feelings are a common reaction of parents when they learn their child has been hurt. The family resource specialist also helped Sarah establish a plan to cope with emotions that might come up in the future. With a self-care plan firmly in place, Sarah was able to move forward in taking care of her daughter.
With the disclosure from Linda, detectives were able to go out and arrest Linda’s stepfather. He was charged with continuous child abuse. The case moved through the judicial system and he was eventually found guilty by a jury and sentenced to over 50 years in prison. When the family resource specialist followed up, Sarah reported that she has taken all of the steps they had talked about to help her daughter, including getting a restraining order against her husband and changing the locks to her home. Sarah had also used the referrals from the family resources specialist and found long-term counseling services for herself and her daughter. In their final follow up call with the family resource specialist, Sarah said that both she and her daughter were still doing well and were continuing to attend counseling.