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Organization Information

Children's Center Of The Antelope Valley

About

Helping children overcome the effects of abuse, assault, neglect, or mental illness through treatment and family education so they may thrive in safe homes.

Real Life

Joanna called The Children's Center in a panic. Her husband had beaten her so badly she ended up in the emergency room. She worried because he had begun to strike her children more frequently too. A hospital social worker found emergency housing for her and the four children. Joanna had no money, no food, no work, and little hope. After a week at the shelter, Joanna learned her husband was in jail. That's when her daughter Lenora began to lash out, striking her brother and sisters. She even punched Joanna in the stomach. She blamed her mother for her father being in jail, the children changing schools, and for losing their home. The three younger children cowered in a corner and refused to be out of Joanna's sight. Everyone in the family needed help, but Lenora most of all. Joanna even considered moving back in with her husband to keep the peace.

Lenora's tantrums became overwhelming at home and school. Out of desperation, Joanna called The Children's Center of the Antelope Valley. An assessment showed Lenora was severely traumatized not only with the loss of her father, she was also feeling responsible for not defending her mother. As she grew to trust her therapist, Lenora admitted she had thought of killing herself. Weeks later, Lenora also admitted she had been molested by her uncle a year earlier. After a few months of intensive therapy, life is happier for Lenora. Her therapist has helped her understand normal family relationships and how she can protect herself from harm. A family advocate at The Children's Center helped link them to a network of support in the community. Today the family is living in a small, but modest apartment, feeling safe.