I first met Samantha in 2015.
Her daughter, Natalie had been removed from the home in August after Sam, while high on drugs, passed out on top of her. The request and referral for MIKID services came shortly thereafter as the first Parents Support Now (PSN) pilot case.
The intake revealed that that Sam needed a place to stay as she had been ejected from the home of drug-addicted friends. After a series of calls to me from Sam that led nowhere, a pleading call finally arrived informing me that she was in the DCS parking lot. I went quickly over there and found her holding a broken coffee pot and sitting atop a stack of large, black trash bags containing all her belongings. The first words she uttered with desperation in her voice were “I need help.”
I contacted her parents and we arranged for her to stay in a hotel for the night. The following day, her parents made the 9-hour trip from Nevada to Arizona to pick her up and agreed to bring Sam back every week for a 6-hour visit with Natalie.
For the next 90 days, as agreed, Sam called me every two days and met with me every week during her trips to see Natalie. Over time, Sam showed determination to gain her daughter back. She completed parenting classes and underwent daily drug testing. (Note: Sam had to travel 78 miles to be tested and pay for each test.)
Additionally, with her father’s help, Sam was hired by the State of Nevada under a provisional and probationary plan. She also attended domestic violence classes through the Mormon church and hired an attorney to file for divorce. (The filing would also contain termination of parental rights for the biological father should Sam regain custody of Natalie.)
Fast forward to February 2016 - Sam had a visit and court appearance scheduled where unbeknownst to her, the court would be returning Natalie to Sam. Since then, Sam has maintained employment with the State of Nevada, her divorce is final, the father’s rights have been terminated, and both Sam and Natalie continue to thrive. Sam contacts me once a month and I was able to visit them to see the improvements for myself.
I only wish I had a photo of Sam that day in the parking lot so that others in similar situations could see that with tenacity and a goal - like love for a child – they, too can effect positive changes in their lives.