HOME > Foster Care & Adoption > A Collaborative Effort Helps a Foster Child Thrive

A Collaborative Effort Helps a Foster Child Thrive

More often than not, children coming into care with Little City carry with them an arsenal of emotions along with deep-rooted pain from past negative experiences. So, it’s no surprise when these children are reluctant to trust anyone enough to build a healthy relationship. However, with patience, consistency, and a commitment to care and support both foster parents and foster children, the possibility for even the most difficult of kids is endless. This is the story of how Jason went from being depressed and shut down to stealing the spotlight as the lead in a school play.

Before coming to Little City, Jason had faced more loss and adversity than many experience throughout an entire lifetime. As a result of these experiences, Jason came into Little City feeling a little misunderstood. When Jason first met his therapist, Emily McCabe, LCSW, she recalls entirely understanding where Jason was coming from when he acted ‘standoff-ish’ towards her. Jason was just trying to spare himself the frustration of dealing with another broken relationship. After all, no one particularly wants to be a foster child, including Jason. Given Jason’s history, there was a team brought together to provide him and his eventual foster family the support necessary to ensure his success. Much like every child at Little City, everyone on Jason’s team was specifically picked for him because of their specialization(s) in working with youth with needs like his.

Little City’s clinical team (team of therapists and family stabilization specialists) relies heavily on working collaboratively with each other as well as the foster parents. Both the relationships and attachments formed between Jason and his clinical team are essential in order to ensure success – not only while he is in care, but also later when he lives independently. Because building a trusting relationship is so crucial in this whole process, the clinical staff believes strongly in working at the pace of the child, regardless of how slow that might be.Ms. McCabe remembers initially having a hard time cracking Jason’s shell. Since he was not particularly thrilled to be in foster care, there were times when he was not in the mood to participate in some of the clinical support that Little City was providing him.

Despite having an ‘off’ day here or there, Emily recalls being totally impressed with Jason’s overall resilience and determination to succeed. After about a year of working together, and much perseverance and cooperation with his foster parents, Jason eventually became convinced that Ms. McCabe was not going to be another failed relationship. It was at this point that the foundation for brighter days was set into place. Every time Jason and Emily met, he came more and more out of his shell. While some days were harder than others, Ms. McCabe talks about how it was almost immediately clear that Jason had a natural flair and appreciation for the arts!

Ms. McCabe remembers initially having a hard time cracking Jason’s shell. Since he was not particularly thrilled to be in foster care, there were times when he was not in the mood to participate in some of the clinical support that Little City was providing him. Despite having an ‘off’ day here or there, Emily recalls being totally impressed with Jason’s overall resilience and determination to succeed. After about a year of working together, and much perseverance and cooperation with his foster parents, Jason eventually became convinced that Ms. McCabe was not going to be another failed relationship. It was at this point that the foundation for brighter days was set into place. Every time Jason and Emily met, he came more and more out of his shell. While some days were harder than others, Ms. McCabe talks about how it was almost immediately clear that Jason had a natural flair and appreciation for the arts.

As Jason and Ms. McCabe got more comfortable with each other, the two were really able to hone in on some of these interests. In fact, Ms. McCabe remembers the exact path that landed Jason a lead in the school play – and it all started over a conversation about writing fan fiction. It was evident, as Emily explains it, that Jason was particularly fascinated by character development and character interactions in his fan fiction writing. Ms. McCabe says she could tell that this was more than just a casual interest and that’s when she started really encouraging him to pursue his different talents in the arts. One thing Ms. McCabe remembers being really excited about was watching Jason go from talking about character development/interaction to actually applying those skills to real life when he landed the lead role in his school play.

The more the clinical staff worked with Jason, the more different strengths and interests started showing. Before anyone knew it, Jason was joining different extracurricular activities (like drama club), participating in peer support groups at school, and even knocking out a few college credits with the Loyola Star Program before finishing high school.

While Jason’s success is pretty impressive, it would not have been possible without the level of commitment to Jason’s care, as seen through the various supports provided by Little City – Emily says all the hard work was done on Jason’s end. Along with providing support for Jason, Little City made sure to remain present for his foster parents, ensuring continued support so they could develop their relationship with Jason.

Jason’s success is a direct result of the collaborative work of the clinical and case management teams with his foster parents, and of course Jason, himself. Being so deeply committed to providing all-encompassing support for both Jason and his foster parent in giving him the tools he needs in order to be successful in all facets of his life – including independent living.

“Little City uses an affirming message – that it’s a good world, there’s a place for my kids in the world and Little City will help them find it.”

Rachel, mother of children receiving home-based support services