Meet Cassandrea. She and her family are back on track.
"When I became pregnant for the fourth time, I remember feeling so angry. I did not want to have another child. I was a drug addict and I had already lost my three other children [who were placed in foster care] because of my addiction. I didn’t want to raise another child only to lose him or her again. I didn’t want to feel like a failure.
I was referred to Mary’s Center by Child Protection Services. The first time I received a visit from the Mary’s Center Family Support Worker (FSW), I was unhappy and depressed for losing my children. However, the FSW helped me in ways I could not begin to explain. She was the angel that looked over me when I was at rock-bottom. She helped me cope with the loss of my children. She motivated me and made me realize that my unborn child was a blessing and the opportunity I was waiting for to start over and to give myself a second chance.
After I gave birth to my baby girl, I saw how precious she was. I loved her from the moment I saw her. I worked with the Mary’s Center FSW to get my other children back. I didn’t want my family living in separate places, apart from one another. Although it took some time, I am completely drug free, and I no longer smoke cigarettes. My case has been closed, and the five of us all live together again. Thanks to the Mary’s Center’ Home Visiting program, I set new goals for my life and learned how to love and nurture, and be loved and nurtured in return.”
— Cassandrea (Home Visiting Program Participant)
The mission of Mary’s Center’s Home Visiting program is partner with families to ensure that their children are healthy, safe, and ready to learn. Almost 600 DC families were served this year alone and received intensive, long-term home visitation services to pregnant and post-partum women and their families. An interdisciplinary team of outreach workers, assessment workers, family support workers, a registered nurse, an in-home mental health provider, and education specialists ensures that participants receive quality, comprehensive medical care and support services along with education and advocacy services. Through this program, we serve D.C. residents until the child reaches five years old.
The program was created from two evidence-based models: The Healthy Families America home visiting model--a national movement to prevent child abuse and neglect-- and the federal Healthy Start program, which is an initiative to reduce infant mortality.
Your support of Mary’s Center has a direct impact on families like Cassandrea and hundreds of other families in the city who are in need of a helping hand to see them through circumstances that seem insurmountable. Please make a gift today to help create a better tomorrow for these families.