Sara’s Story

Like many children in foster care, 14-year-old Sara* carried many scars — some physical, most emotional, into her PHILLIPS Teaching Home.

Her childhood had been chaotic. Neglect from a mother struggling with poverty and drugs. Abuse from men coming in and out of the home. And love from her young brothers, caught in the same frightening environment. She had missed much of her freshman year and was falling in with a dangerous peer group.

Sara entered the home of the Taylors, PHILLIPS teaching parents whose special training enabled them to see quickly how they could help. The couple set clear expectations for Sara, both at school and in the home. They taught her the study skills she lacked, and even more basic things like how to wake up and dress for school properly, and to come home at the end of the day. The nurturing environment made a difference — in fact, Sara was soon able to make the honor roll for the first time in her life. She began to take pride in her work, and in herself.

With assistance from PHILLIPS staff, the Taylors also reached out to Sara’s family, taking her to visit her mother and brothers, who had been placed briefly in foster care and returned when their home was deemed to be safe. Sara’s mother was relieved to know that her daughter was in good hands and to see her succeeding in school. She found strength to seek the treatment she needed, and later to find a steady job.

In about a year, Sara was reunited with her family — not because all the problems were fixed, but because a team of committed adults had worked together to help her achieve her potential and begin to heal. Sara’s family is now using in-home support services from the PHILLIPS Family Partners Program.

*not her real name