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When Alicia’s father, who lived several states away, learned that he had a 7-year-old daughter in a group home, he was immediately interested in bringing her home to live with him, but did not realize that Alicia’s DCF custody would create a great deal of legal and logistical challenges. The clinical staff at Little Heroes Home recognized the potential significance of this permanency relationship, and pushed hard to support regular passes on the weekends that Dad was able to fly up, as well as advocating that DCF appeal an initial denial of the inter-state compact.
When Alicia’s goal was finally changed from adoption to reunification, Little Heroes involved Dad in all aspects of Alicia’s treatment, including doing family therapy over the phone, providing psychoeducation, calling Dad into treatment meetings, and helping to safety plan for additional passes and ultimate discharge. All the while, the program also supported regular visits between Alicia and her biological mother. Her clinician helped Alicia process her changing familial dynamic in therapy, and the team worked hard to ensure that Alicia knew that everybody (including Dad!) recognized the importance of her emotional bond with Mom, as well, and that Alicia was not “choosing” one parent over the other.
A few weeks after Alicia left the program to go live with her father, Dad reported that she is adjusting very well to life in a new state and talks to her mom on the phone regularly.