A one year old little girl first came to Ark as an emergency case through the Department of Children’s Services. She was removed from a home due to abuse allegations and was placed at Ark until a foster family could be identified. She came in, dirty and with a dirty bandage wrapped around her arm. The DCS case manager called a few hours later said a foster mom was found for the girl, but the woman refused to take the child unless she could get childcare assistance. She had a full-time job and could not take time off to care for the child. Ark assured the case manager that we could help until a traditional child care could be found. The girl came back to Ark the next day with a hot pink cast on her arm. It had been broken at some point before she was removed from her home, but was never properly treated.
As we all know, 1-year olds are unsteady on their feet. The little girl would fall often, and would put out her casted arm to catch herself. She cried often when this would happen, but cried even more when our teacher would pick her up. We talked with the foster mom about this, and she noticed the same problem at home. She took the little girl back to the doctor and found she had several broken ribs from her time before DCS got involved. They considered putting the child in a full-body cast to allow her to heal, unless the foster mom could pick up the child in a different way to not put pressure on her ribs. She and our teacher decided to pick up the child from the bottom, rather than under the arms, to support her safely, while not hurting her ribs. That would also allow for regular mobility, rather than the inactivity that would be caused by a full-body cast.
Within a few weeks of coming to Ark and being with her foster mom, the little girl was laughing, playing, interacting, and smiling like any 1-year old should. We were honored to provide immediate care for the child when she was initially removed from her unsafe home, and to be able to provide her foster mom with the childcare support she needed to be able to continue working and providing a safe and loving home for a very special little girl. We could not do this without support from United Way!