Sixteen-year-old Lani had history of drug use, prostitution and gang involvement when Child Welfare Services (CWS) brought her to the Emergency Shelter Program. In truth, her CWS worker, probation officer and Department of Health Care Coordinator did not expect her to last at Hale Kipa – she had a long history of running away. She spent the first few days crying and avoided contact with staff and peers.
Eventually, however, with the staff ’s encouragement to express her feelings, Lani began to open up. She moved up the level system and remained on the highest level for her last three months at the Shelter, earning privileges and rewards for her behavior.
The reunification with her family, who had prepared themselves with drug rehabilitation and parenting classes, was handled gradually. The Emergency Shelter worked with Department of Human Services to begin weekend home visits. Lani underwent individual and family therapy, became involved with the YMCA, and began earning B’s and C’s in her classes. The Emergency Shelter staff supported Lani until CWS deemed it safe for the family to be reunited. At her discharge, both the youth and her mother thanked the Shelter staff for their support and efforts to reunite the family.
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