Youth Villages stories

Intercept participant, Mia, with her specialist and mother

Intercept Brings the Holmes Family Back Home

Mar 7, 2022 | Blog, Intercept

Mia must have thought the world was crumbling around her. “It was hard, stressful,” said Mia, who was 16 years old at the time. “I was the oldest (child), so I had to keep pushing for everyone. I kept praying.”

Mia and her family received intensive in-home services from Youth Villages’ Intercept program from September 2019 to July 2020, mainly for Marquita’s, her mother’s, substance abuse.

All of Marquita’s kids, including Mia, were removed from the home due to her newborn sibling testing positive for methamphetamines. Marquita’s struggle with drug use continued during the services with Intercept, but she began alcohol and drug treatment and made tremendous progress. As a result of Marquita’s significant improvement in remaining drug free, the trial home placements of returning her children began. Mia was back home.

However, after six months back at home, Mia’s world continued on its bumpy road in January 2021. Marquita’s substance abuse resumed due to many hardships she was facing which included the passing of her sister and the incarceration of her nephew who she had raised since birth. “I started using drugs to feel better,” said Marquita.

Marquita decided at that time to go to rehab. However, to do so would require her kids, Mia included, to be taken into the care of the state of Arkansas. It wasn’t something that Marquita wanted to do, but Mia and her siblings understood that their mother was doing it for the betterment of their family for the long term.

“It was hard to tell them that I was still using. I was unfit,” said Marquita. “They (kids) told me to do what you got to do. We all cried so hard. I went to rehab.”

Marquita got the help she needed for her drug use. “I just changed a whole lot,” said Marquita. “My attitude changed.”

The next step was to get the family back together. Youth Villages – with Intercept specialist Camira Ferguson and clinical supervisor Chelsey Bullock – worked with the Holmes to reunify their family.

Intercept is an integrated approach to in-home parent skill development that offers a variety of evidence-based practices to meet the individualized needs of a family and child. Intercept is appropriate for families with children of all ages who have serious emotional and behavioral problems or who have experienced abuse and/or neglect. The program specializes in working with children who are at high risk of entry or re-entry into foster care by helping families retain children in their custody (prevention and reunification).

The Youth Villages staff prepared Marquita for reunification with her children. The Youth Villages staff made sure Marquita had routines set, followed calendar appointments for all mental health services for the family, and utilized Collaborative Problem Solving (CPS) in the home. As a result of Marquita overcoming her substance abuse, the Arkansas Department of Home Services (DHS) closed the case.

One at a time, each child was returned to the home. With the help of Youth Villages’ Intercept, Marquita worked hard completing her drug and alcohol assessments, obtained a new job, got new housing, bought Mia – who now is 18 years old – a new car for graduation, and saw all seven children reunited in her home by September 2021. Mia was the first to return home in May 2021 after she graduated from high school. Mia is working and plans to attend community college.

“I’m happy to have my family back together again,” Mia said. “I was ready for it.”

Additionally, Mia’s foster family – who also took in her youngest sibling – while Marquita was in rehab assisted in the family’s reunification. The foster family helped with food and baby items for Marquita, Mia and the family.

“At first, I thought I didn’t need help from Youth Villages,” said Marquita. “But, man, I needed them. They were good, and I love Chelsey so much. I like Youth Villages, and my kids love seeing them.”

So, why do all this work to bring her family back together?

“It was my kids; I couldn’t do without my kids. I love them,” said Marquita. “I disappointed my mother. I disappointed everyone.

“I had another sister pass away. Before she died, I promised her that I was going to get my kids back, and I’m going to keep them and I’m going to stay clean. That’s a promise to her.”