Combining legal, parent, and social services to strengthen King County families
Sarah and her two children were facing homelessness—the housing voucher that kept them in their apartment was about to expire, and they had nowhere else to go. If Sarah lost her apartment, her kids would be taken away. Fortunately for Sarah’s family, the attorney for CCYJ’s Family Advocacy Center was able to get her housing voucher extended. Instead of experiencing the trauma of separation, Sarah’s children are in a stable home with the mother who loves them.
We aimed to prevent children and youth from experiencing the trauma of family separation and foster care. Foster kids disproportionately experience higher school dropout rates, homelessness, underemployment, mental illness, incarceration, and dependence on public assistance. This is devastating for the youth involved and costly to our communities. It contributes to our overburdened justice, human services, and related systems. Children of parents who went through the foster care system are more likely to end up in foster care themselves, contributing to an ongoing cycle of trauma. We worked to stabilize families and stop this painful cycle.
What We Did:
- Supported families with multi-disciplinary teams. CCYJ’s Family Advocacy Center (FAC) connected families in crisis to support teams comprised of an attorney, social worker, and parent ally (a veteran parent who has successfully navigated the child welfare system). This team provided legal representation, social services, and peer mentorship that helped stabilize families and keep children out of foster care.
- Provided legal assistance to empower families. FAC’s attorney helped resolve legal issues, such as unstable housing due to public-benefits barriers, which led to children’s removal from their homes. Through FAC’s support, parents and other caregivers developed the ability to provide for their children’s safety and well-being, and families stayed together.