Strong Mother Working to Get Her Kids Back from Child Services

As a family support worker, Anna Chudyk helps build parenting skills, strategies and connections to community resources. She guides families through working collaboratively with Children’s Services. Providing these supports often comes in the face of great challenges that benefit from a thoughtful, holistic approach.

One of the individuals Anna worked with is a mother whose children had been apprehended by Children’s Services (CS). Anna knew she needed to help the mother understand how to work with CS to get her kids back. So Anna took a trauma-informed approach to help the mother learn and reflect upon the circumstances she found herself in. One of the steps to do this was making a genogram to look back at the mother’s ancestry and also her family trauma. This exercise helped the mom identify that she was the fourth generation to have her kids taken from her.

“Seeing those intergenerational patterns, she became aware of how essentially she was at a cumulative disadvantage,” says Anna. “Everything in her life was stacked against her.”

Another significant breakthrough came through crafting a story book about her children’s apprehension that helped the mother confront why her children had been apprehended by CS. At first, the mother didn’t see the value in this exercise. Then one day, it just clicked.

“She never wanted to harm her children,” recalls Anna. “And it took processing her family’s story to realize that she did have a part in her children’s apprehension as well. It was that taking ownership of her role in it. That the neglect and abuse was not what she intended or wanted to do towards her children. For her to say, ‘I have to acknowledge my role, in order to move forward and for my children to heal. To apologize, be accountable to them and and explain what I did and why it happened.’”

This was a huge step for the mother so that she could look at CS differently and see that they wanted to collaborate with her to get her children back. She acknowledged the forms of abuse and neglect she participated in, and admitted and confronted this painful reality; but she knew she needed to do it so the cycle would not continue with her children. “It ends with me,” she said. “I am now going to start living for my family.”

After some time of working with Anna, the mother was told she was getting her kids back. Hearing this news, the client said in tears, “I did it. I broke the cycle.”

She knew the weight of her words. She was the first in her family to get her kids back — it was a success that was also intergenerational healing that meant her children wouldn’t have to repeat this cycle. Anna supported the mom as a whole person using a trauma-informed approach that included creating a safe environment that gave the space for the mother to reflect and learn, while recognizing the strengths and resilience of the mother.

“It’s about believing in  our clients,” Anna says. “They can do incredible things and are very resilient.”