Caring for Kinship

September 24, 2019

Granfather Ray and Granddaughter Emma

Emma grew up in a home exposed to domestic violence and substance misuse until Debbie and Ray welcomed their granddaughter into their house. Denver Human Services contacted Debbie and Ray as no other relatives were a good fit to care for young Emma.

During Debbie and Ray first Family Tree Kinship Program home visit, their case manager learned Ray fell in his employer’s parking lot and suffered a skull fracture. He suffered a loss of sight in his right eye, migraine headaches, and a ruptured disc in his back. Unable to continue work, Ray income was reduced to the amount he received through worker’s compensation. Debbie took over as the primary wage earner for the family. Uncertain financial stability concerned the couple as they prepared for their granddaughter. 

Family Tree connected Debbie and Ray with Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and other community support. Family Tree Kinship Program provided school supplies and clothing and covered Emma’s preschool enrollment fee. Family Tree connected Debbie and Ray with programs to assist with Ray’s care, including household chores and transportation to doctor’s appointments.

When stabilized, Emma started seeing her mother again and she began exhibiting behavioral problems and academic issues. Visitation was paused and Debbie and Ray requested information about gaining custody of Emma. Family Tree Legal Advocacy provided paperwork and a referral to a family law attorney, who helped Debbie and Ray with a worker’s compensation settlement, aiding in injury-related expenses and helped them reinstate their health insurance.

The family’s long journey for stability ended in triumph when Debbie and Ray received permanent custody of Emma. Additionally, Ray’s workers’ compensation case passed court approval and entered the financial settlement stage. Emma continues the healing process through therapy living with a safe, strong and self-reliant family.