Finding a Family at CUA3

on 20 May 2016


“You give me a reason to trust you. You show me that you can complete every single thing that I ask you to do so I can trust you and I guarantee you, I will help you get your son back,” said Darrell Smith.

These were the first words Tiffany heard when arriving at Turning Points Community Umbrella Agency 3. She wasn’t sure how to react. She was used to questioning whether she trusted others but never herself. Her case worker, Darrell Smith, knew Tiffany had a history of being resistant to help. Her paperwork was filled with the issues of her past and he was determined to focus on her present and future. 

There had been many instances that made her question whether a person was trustworthy. Throughout her entire life, Tiffany faced colossal barriers. She had limited resources, no bank account, no access to a car and she had dropped out of high school. Tiffany says her life began to feel gray until her son was born. He was a beacon of love and strength for Tiffany. So when the time came to marry her boyfriend, it felt like the happy ending she deserved. Shortly after their marriage, her husband began to abuse her. That’s when fear set back into her life and trust was nowhere to be found. Tiffany believed her son would be protected if she obeyed the system she trusted her whole life. Her plan backfired. Instead of seeing Tiffany the determined mother, her previous case workers saw Tiffany the troubled youth. These views led to Tiffany losing her son. 

To avoid her husband’s abuse, she spent time in women’s shelters that felt more like prison than protection. She would do anything to get her son back. Tiffany’s biggest issue was she felt judged. She was tired of people making assumptions about her. She felt like her past stopped her from being with her son. 

Her first introduction to CUA 3 was meeting case worker Darrell Smith and case manager Serenna Evers. Initially, Tiffany felt no connection to them but it was Darrell’s first question that changed her mind. He reassured her that if she did exactly what he said, she would get her son back.

Tiffany decided to trust him and followed the instructions closely. Whenever she felt down or lost, Serenna and Darrell would keep her moving toward her goal. 

When Tiffany applied for permanent housing so she could live with her son, her request was denied because of her history of poor choices that led to a criminal record. 

Serenna refused to let Tiffany quit. Serenna knew there was enough positive in Tiffany to justify the housing request. Although the odds were heavily against her, she could still appeal the decision. 

“I kept telling her, don’t give up. Submit the appeal and keep pushing for your son. We saw how far she had come and our relationship with her was stronger than ever. She deserved to hold her son again, we saw that and that’s why we pushed for the appeal,” said Serenna Evers.

Tiffany submitted the appeal. She thought about her family who gave her a feeling of security, not the one she was born into but the one that accepted her: Turning Points CUA 3.

“Darrell and Serenna are the brother and sister I never had. I know people may say that but I truly love them for what they did for me. I consider them family,” said Tiffany.

To her disbelief, she won the appeal and shortly after, her son. 

Tiffany says “it’s like heaven, having my son waiting for me in our own home. It’s like making your favorite ice cream sundae and you can add as many toppings as you like. That’s the only words I can use to describe it, it’s unbelievable.”

“Tiffany could have been a statistic, but was determined to prove herself. Despite these hardships she pushed through and proves that she is resilient and desires to be a good mother,” said Serenna Evers