FamilyForward Helps Kids Be Kids

By the time Kevin turned 12, he was an adult in a kid’s body. The oldest of three siblings, he assumed the role of caregiver because of his parents’ substance abuse and neglect. Kevin was responsible for finding food, sometimes from a nearby trash bin, and making “meals” for his siblings. He was in survival mode. The children were ultimately removed from the home and placed in foster care.

Kevin was acting out at home and school, and his foster parents knew he and his siblings needed support. They turned to FamilyForward’s Developmental Trauma Center. Our counseling staff welcomed Kevin and made him feel safe by engaging him and his family in weekly therapeutic activities that helped him better regulate his emotions through art and sensory integration (learning how to feel safe in his body) and play therapy. Essentially, Kevin’s therapist helped him learn how to be a kid.

The therapist also worked with his foster parents to help them understand and acknowledge Kevin’s past role in keeping his siblings safe and fed, and how to help him safely let go of that role.

With the help of supportive foster parents and FamilyForward clinicians, Kevin is currently enrolled in college, studying to become a motivational speaker to help kids who have experienced similar childhood experiences understand how resilient and capable they are.

With an understanding of how early childhood experiences affect brain development, our caring and dedicated staff support more than 1,798 clients like Kevin and his family so they can learn how to heal and lead healthier lives.