Foster and adoptive families are no stranger to the struggles of parenting. Caring for a child who has experienced trauma resulting from abuse, neglect and one or more adverse childhood experiences(ACE) is very challenging.
Nearly two years ago, the Carroll* family became the foster parents of Jenna*, then an 18-month-old child. Jenna came to the Carroll family with developmental complications because of the trauma she experienced at a young age. She struggled to communicate and consequently expressed her frustration through her behaviors at home and around others.
The Carrolls enrolled her in the Dr. Jesse and Susan Miranda Family & Child Academy in Phoenix last September. FCA is an early child development center that is a partnership between Urban Strategies and Neighborhood Ministries. A significant portion of the program is federally funded, making cost-free, safe and comprehensive early childhood development services available to qualifying families with infants and toddlers 12 weeks to 36 months old.
The FCA education team recognized that Jenna’s developmental struggles were challenges that could be overcome through specialized treatment. The center teachers helped Jenna learn how to effectively manage language, social and emotional faculties. She learned to better communicate and control her behavior through techniques like breathing exercises.
Recently, the Carroll family celebrated Jenna’s third birthday. Jenna’s foster mom, Teresa*, recorded and sent the FCA team a video of Jenna demonstrating how to calm herself down from her “dinosaur brain” to her “owl brain.”
“Our teachers diligently work with the children and learn about each child’s developmental challenges and strengths,” noted Urban Strategies Vice President of Early Education, Dr. Blanca Enríquez. “We strive to meet families where they are and support their child’s growth through individualized strategies.”
FCA’s highly trained team of professionals also provide support for the families of children they work with daily, staying true to the FCA mission of developing strong, healthy families and making a positive difference in vulnerable communities.
The communities FCA works with are diverse. The services are designed to respect each family’s unique culture,values, racial and ethnic background and language preference.
“The FCA program is supportive of the Urban Strategies vision of working with and strengthening vulnerable families,particularly by working with Latino parents,” said Lisa Cummins, president of Urban Strategies.
If you are passionate about working with marginalized children and families and are interested in exploring opportunities to be part of the Urban Strategies team, view our FCA job openings here.
If you are located in Phoenix and are interested in our services, call the FCA office at (602)-718-1720 to get in touch with a family advocate whose role is to support families and connect them to local resources.
*names have been changed for privacy