Casa Pacifica’s Wraparound program takes a team-based approach to provide intensive, family-centered services to families in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties. The services target foster, probation and youth who are at-risk of being removed from a home for a variety of reasons. Since July of this year our Wraparound team has been providing services to a family of 7, the Roscos, Jade 5, Anna 9, Lee 3, Ian 10 and Alicia 7, mom Clair and father Joe (all names changed for privacy).
Parents Clair and Joe were having some issues with substance abuse and there was domestic violence in the home, often happening in front of the kids. After the children were temporarily placed with their grandparents our Wraparound team stepped in to offer services and support specifically to two of the children that were having a particularly rough time. Jade and Anna both struggled with anger and tantrums. Anna was even aggressive and often threw things at her siblings.
The team worked with Jade and Anna to improve relationships with their siblings. They helped the children set routines and schedules and worked with Jade on being respectful of space and times when her older siblings needed to study. The team focused on recognizing Jade’s small improvements and chose to give positive acknowledgement instead of correction for bad behavior.
“Jade wanted to feel more like a part of her siblings. Because she was younger, she often felt left out. I used fun, age appropriate games that she could enjoy with her siblings to help her build relationships with them.” - Saira Ramirez, Child and Family Specialist
The team also worked together to help the grandparents manage the five kids while distance learning from home.
“We were there, every day, from 8:00AM-12:00PM. We were able to support Jade and Anna while they were at school so their grandmother could help the other kids if they needed anything. There were always questions, or someone got logged off. We even called the school’s IT department and translated for the grandmother because there was a language barrier.” - Irma Garcia- Parent Partner
Eventually the team was able to advocate for the parents to play a bigger role in their children’s education. The parents were allowed to come support the children during on line learning, in between their substance abuse and parenting classes. The kids started to thrive. The whole family was very receptive to the natural support a parent can bring. Things started to settle down.
The family had a wonderful Thanksgiving. Dad Joe was able to secure a job and both parents continued to work on their relationship even practicing regular “date nights.”
And then everything changed.
On a recent Saturday in November Joe didn’t show up for a scheduled visit with the children. In a panic Clair and oldest son Ian went to check on him and they found him deceased.
The Wraparound team was notified and immediately set into motion a variety of services and grief support. They helped Clair navigate the devastating task of telling the rest of the family that Joe was gone keeping in mind that each child was at a different age and at a different stage in dealing with the trauma the family had already experienced. Each child took the news in their own way. Alicia became quiet, Anna was in disbelief, Lee, the youngest didn’t understand.
“But he’s supposed to come visit. Call him on the phone.” – Lee, 3.
In the days since Joe’s passing the Wraparound team has gone above and beyond to assist the family in any way they could. The team brought meals for the family and made sure Clair was eating. They also coordinated with the social worker and arranged for the mom to stay with the family instead of only having scheduled visits.
In addition, the team is making sure the family will have some joy this holiday season.
“We’re supporting them with grocery gift cards, Christmas gifts and other support during the holidays. They’re very thankful, the kids get really excited. It’s a horrible situation and it’s complicated but getting basic needs and some toys mean a lot to them,” said Parent Partner, Irma Garcia.