28-year-old Monica* was referred to the Domestic Violence Support Center (DVSC) by the District of Columbia Child and Family Services Agency (CFSA). When Monica came to the DVSC she was dealing with a lot of difficult feelings around the recent removal of her children from her care. Her two children had been placed in a foster care setting after police were repeatedly called to her home as a result of violence between Monica and her current boyfriend. The two had always had frequent arguments over the course of their two-year relationship, but things escalated quickly with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Monica’s hours being cut at work, having to homeschool her children, and significant financial stressors.
Monica used the counseling services at the DVSC to process her feelings of sadness and regret at having placed her children in foster care, and worked with her counselor to explore the choices and decisions she had made and elements of the situation she could control, as well as finding compassion for herself at having been in a very difficult situation when the pandemic hit.
Over the course of six months, Monica was able to gain insight into patterns in her relationships that were not healthy, commit to refocusing on making healthier relationship choices, and stabilize her financial situation by accessing a variety of supportive services. Monica was also able to obtain a referral to a parenting class from her DVSC counselor, which she successfully completed, and now feels she has a toolkit of new strategies to help her be a more consistent parent.
*Name has been changed.