When children receive pools of support, everything is possible
Children deserve a support system growing up; they deserve to have that deep reserve of support ready to dive into at any point.
By Kaylee Eberhardt – Contributing Writer, Thompson Child & Family Focus Apr 1, 2021
Charlotte, N.C. – I grew up confident of my parents’ love, sure of their affection. I would act out, talk back, lie – and yet, I knew that they would continue to love me without question, without reserve. Their support was an endless pool that I continued to dip into with ease.
Some kids are not fortunate enough to have that unconditional love, thinking it some made-up Hollywood movie ideal. Some kids are abused, neglected, unsafe in their own homes. Some kids have never even seen that pool of support, let alone gotten a chance to take a swim.
I have seen children like these in my days as a camp counselor, babysitter, and tutor – children who act out towards adult figures; tweens who retreat inwards and are scared to speak up; teens who struggle with identity and accepting themselves. I have heard children like these finally confessing their truths, sometimes disclosing things about their home lives that made my skin crawl, sometimes confessing a mental state that was shaky at best and suicidal at worst.
The sad truth is that these kids view places like summer camps or tutoring appointments as an escape, a place that they can have to themselves, even if just for a little while. I have been around kids my entire life – as a child myself and as a young adult, now. I have come to know their idiosyncrasies, how to approach them, how to get them to speak their minds. Although, sometimes, there comes a point I hit an impenetrable wall, a point where I can no longer help at the level they need. Knowing this hurts my heart.
Children deserve that support system growing up; they deserve to have that deep reserve of support ready to dive into at any point. Support systems come in many forms: parents, other family, friends, teachers, or professionals, like at Thompson Child & Family Focus.
Thompson Child & Family Focus is a Charlotte, North Carolina-based nonprofit agency focused on empowering children and their families through a number of services including therapy, education, and prevention-based care. Thompson’s mission is to strengthen the lives of everyone they come into contact with, whether that is at-risk children, their families, or both.
In our community, there are a lot of resources, all garnered towards changing lives – and that is exactly what Thompson does. Just recently, there was a case involving the Intensive In-Home (IIH) service. IIH is clinical care for children and families within their home or community. This service is utilized for extremely serious situations, where the aim is to achieve family stability to prevent out-of-home placement.
Sarah is a 15-year-old female wrestling with anxiety, depression, and identifying healthy relationships among family and friends. This stems from the trauma she experienced at the hands of her father, who is currently facing misdemeanor charges for child abuse after reportedly physically assaulting Sarah. On top of that, her family is fresh off a custody battle, contributing to Sarah’s growing anxiety. After this, she was held in the inpatient unit after presenting concerns for worsening depression and suicidal ideation. It is easy to see how Sarah would’ve felt like her pool of support had dried up, leaving no trace. This is where Intensive In-Home services came in.
Intensive In-Home, as promised, has helped to empower both the client and her family – as she is now living with her mother and sister. Sarah herself has worked to improve her self-esteem by learning to be more assertive and sticking up for herself in a respectful manner. She is no longer having nightmares and has begun to follow through with crisis planning. She has learned to recognize the elements of a healthy relationship and the value of self-respect. As a result, her relationship with her mother and sister has improved remarkably.
Together, the family has realized that they all have a voice, and a right to use it. They have a right to make positive changes that will help them to function in healthier ways at home, at school, and out amongst the community. They have all been very supportive of one another and are now seeking counseling as a family.
Sarah and her family have expressed extreme gratitude for the IIH team’s support; having a bilingual team to serve the family and community helped in ways that are difficult to quantify. They voiced that the team assisted them in successfully dealing with family struggles by being a listening ear, setting them up with necessary services, and implementing effective coping skills and interventions for current and future use.
From the outside, seeing the positive impact of IIH is an amazing feeling. It reminds me why we all do the work: to fortify self-image, familial bonds, and community ties. Thompson is able to do so by helping families get on the right track to mend their relationships and their mental health. And you can do so, too, simply by being that first drop in a child’s pool of support.
Headquartered in Matthews, North Carolina (Mecklenburg County), Thompson Child & Family Focus is a human services leader transforming lives through early childhood, family stability, and mental health services. As a solutions-driven organization committed to rewriting narratives for the most vulnerable in our community; Thompson achieves this by providing comprehensive, evidence-based services, and trauma-informed care, for children (ages 0-18) and their families, virtually and in-person. Thompson employs over 270 staff across several locations in Matthews, Charlotte, Arden, and Wilmington, NC, and is led by President/CEO, Will Jones.