David* suffered severe abuse, but with Wayfinder’s help and his personal strength, he is beating the odds. David’s father, Joe, hit his son with brass knuckles, pointed a gun at him and threatened to kill him. When David was 13 years old, a teacher gained his trust. She reported the abuse, and David was placed with a foster family.
After a time, Joe asked the court to send David home. Joe claimed he would not hurt David again. The judge believed Joe and announced that David was to return home. All of David’s traumatic memories came flooding back. He was terrified and didn’t want to live with his father. David became suicidal and was hospitalized.
When David’s condition improved, child welfare workers sent him to live in Wayfinder’s Short-Term Residential Therapeutic Program, or STRTP. Our STRTP is a highly structured, residential program on our Los Angeles campus for traumatized foster youth with acute mental health and behavioral issues.
David was age 16 when he arrived at Wayfinder. In STRTP, he received intensive mental health and behavioral therapy from his child and family specialist. With nurturing care, he blossomed in our program.
“My staff quickly realized that David was one of the brightest kids we’ve ever worked with,” says Kristal Audoma, director of STRTP. During his six months in our program, David maintained a 4.0 grade point average and graduated from high school.
With the help of a social worker, David reconnected with his maternal grandmother and uncle. These family bonds will be extremely important supports for David as he progresses through young adulthood. When David and his specialist decided he was ready, he moved from STRTP into a temporary foster home while his grandmother completes the legal steps to become his guardian.
David is looking forward to sharing a home with someone who loves him. He’s planning to enroll in community college this fall. Not many children who experience the kind of physical and emotional abuse that David endured can put their lives back together. With resilience, intelligence and support from Wayfinder, David is moving forward.
*Some details and David’s name have been changed, and stock photography was used to protect his privacy.
Do you want to support children like David? Please consider making a gift to Wayfinder today!
Did you know? Lilliput Families is now a part of Wayfinder Family Services. Lilliput is known for being a champion for children in the child welfare system. Together, we form one of the largest nonprofit providers of foster and adoption services in the state. Wayfinder is continuing to deliver all its programs for children and adults with vision loss or other disabilities.
September 3, 2020