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Supporting Mattea

Picture of a hand written thank you letter.
A handwritten thank you note from Mattea and her family.

Mattea was referred to Easterseals VT for Family Time Coaching three years ago. Exposure to domestic violence led to the Department for Children & Families (DCF) intervening and a kinship placement for her seven-year-old son, with his paternal aunt.

With her parental rights in jeopardy, Mattea embraced a fresh start during the period of the COVID-19 pandemic to work on her sobriety. Between a new healthy relationship, receiving substance treatment, and counseling, she’s been motivated to participate in Family Time Coaching to be the parent her son needs.

The journey hasn’t been easy for Mattea, who has faced many ups and downs. Her Family Engagement Specialist, Rachel, explained how important providing support and reassurance to Mattea has been during these times. Rachel shared, “Through Family Time Coaching, Mattea has focused on her son’s needs and how to support him. Learning how to communicate with him appropriately has been a big part of coaching as he’s struggled with the unknowns of this long journey and what the future holds.” This has also meant Mattea is working on building a relationship with her son’s aunt so they can determine ways she can continue to be part of his life after reunification. The pre and post-coaching meetings have been used to prepare, reflect, and plan on navigating certain situations for the next time.

With the help of grant funds, Easterseals VT was able to provide Mattea with a local resource to get a new car seat and assist with car repairs to legalize her vehicle. Having a safe, reliable vehicle has made Family Time more accessible, as they spend time at the local playground or library. Mattea explains, “Having a car has helped with transitioning our time together into our home. I can pick my son up from school which allows us to spend even more time together.”

With Mattea’s progress, Family Time Coaching is now in their home. “Without Family Time Coaching with Easterseals VT’s help, we would not be as far into reunification as we are now. Before, I was focusing on the fear of losing my son, but I was able to turn it around. My Family Time Coach helped me shift my focus to my son,” Mattea said. Mattea sees her son daily now. Overnight visits have begun, and reunification is finally on the horizon.