By the time Jeffrey was three, his short childhood was already marked by chaos and fear. He had been neglected, physically abused, and exposed to extreme violence. He was in survival mode, living in a homeless shelter, acting out, easily irritable, and fearful of adults who tried to help him. Jeffrey’s experiences – those no child should ever endure – were traumatizing and resulted in foster care placement.
At FamilyForward, we treat and prevent child abuse and neglect. Our Developmental Trauma Center staff welcomed Jeffrey and helped him feel safe and loved – and our highly trained clinicians completed a trauma assessment utilizing the Neurosequential Model of Therapeutics (NMT) to understand Jeffrey’s developmental strengths and vulnerabilities.
Jeffrey’s assessment gave us a better understanding of how early trauma impacted his ability to function in everyday situations. An individualized therapy plan was created that included regular therapy activities with his peers, sensory input like spinning and yoga that calmed Jeffrey, and interactions with nurturing grown-ups who helped him feel secure. For the first time ever, Jeffrey learned what a stable support environment feels like in school and at home. He and his loving caregivers have a roadmap now. The direction? Hope.
Sadly, bad things happen to nearly 17,500 St. Louis area children like Jeffrey who are reported abused or neglected annually. At FamilyForward, we see the faces of kids who have experienced pain every day – kids who want a shot at a safe, healthy life and a more hopeful future.
To learn more about how we care for children like Jeffrey, click here.