“This is a love story.” That’s how Eddie describes his relationship with Simone and their three-year-old son, Enrique.
When they met in a coffee shop in 2008, both were living in homeless shelters and had trouble finding work. He had injured his arm while volunteering in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, and she had a serious mental health condition. Still, Eddie says, “we knew that day that we had something good together.”
Simone’s pregnancy the following year was extremely difficult. A psychiatrist instructed her to stop taking her prescription medications to avoid health risks to her unborn child, but when she did, she had a crisis, which led to her hospitalization for the rest of the pregnancy.
“The day my son was born was the happiest day of my life,” says Eddie. But a few days later, the Administration for Children's Services (ACS) removed Enrique from their care because the hospital claimed that Simone had refused medication while pregnant. It took 18 months of legal battle to prove that she had been following her doctor’s orders.
Eddie and Simone finally won permanent custody of their son, yet they still faced huge challenges. That’s when ACS referred them to HCZ’s Family Support Center. Eddie calls it “the best thing that’s ever happened to us.”
Their caseworker, Roshawn, helped get them out of homelessness and into a supportive-housing apartment. And when Enrique was diagnosed with mild autism and other developmental issues, she helped get him much-needed therapy and disability benefits.
“All the good things Family Support has done for us, it’s unbelievable,” says Eddie. “No one, including friends and relatives, has ever done more to help my family.”
Family Support shares the love. Roshawn recalls, “When they called to tell me they’d gotten that apartment, I was crying, they were crying. We were so happy.”
Last year, the Family Support Center helped keep 98% of our families stable enough to avoid foster-care placement for their children. Please make a gift to help us continue to keep our families whole and create more love stories like Eddie, Simone, and Enrique's.