Seven-year-old “Sam” was neglected, physically and emotionally abused, and exposed to domestic violence. In October of 2020, Sam was removed from his home by Child Protective Services. His grandmother, in her loving desire to help Sam, came forward and was approved as his caregiver.
Grandma had wonderful intentions to help Sam, but soon became overwhelmed. She was referred to Olive Crest, and immediately, she was overwhelmed in a totally different way—by support, care, and individualized attention. This much needed assistance was offered by Olive Crest’s Kinship Program, which exists for people exactly like Sam’s grandmother.
In a safe home, with one-on-one emotional support, counseling, and strategies to address his needs, Sam started to heal.
Then in November, close relatives came forward, welcoming Sam into their family. Even after this, Olive Crest’s support didn’t stop. Working with staff members, Sam was equipped with strategies to express his hurt and anger in ways which allowed him to heal, rather than pushing people away.
His new foster family learned to model these techniques, and by understanding the triggers that caused Sam’s outbursts of rage they can reinforce care and support. The amazing result is that Sam is learning to be a little boy again. Sandi, Sam’s foster mom, said it best: “The thing you don’t realize about kids who have been hurt so much is that they don’t know what normal looks like. It was scary at first, but Olive Crest helped us see past the tantrums and manipulation, to see that we had a hurt, little boy who just wanted to be loved.”
Sam is making steady progress. He can positively express his emotions and self-regulate his behavior. Counseling support has started to scale back, and his school participation is improving. He enjoys bike riding, skating and lots of active play, which not only helps him release anxious energy, but allows him to just have fun.
Grandma is grateful to “just” be grandma. Sam’s foster parents have grown in their ability to care for him. And most importantly, Sam is safe with a strong family.