"I have changed our future!"
Most mothers bring their newborns home to a warm and loving environment, with a carefully prepared room and crib adorned with bright colors and soft toys. For newborn Kaylani, her first home was a prison cell at Decatur Correctional Center, where she was housed with her mother, Melisa, who was serving time for selling drugs.
Incarceration is difficult, but it was compounded for Melisa who watched helplessly as her daughter was traumatized by prison life. Over time, Kaylani’s condition worsened and she developed anxiety around adults. With several months remaining in Melisa’s sentence, there was not much she could do to help her child.
The healing begins
This all changed when Melisa was accepted into TWTC’s Alternative Sentencing Program, a program of the Recovery Home, run in partnership with the Illinois Department of Corrections. Melisa brought Kaylani, then 6 months old, into treatment with her.
Immediately after their admission, the trained staff at TWTC ran a series of screenings to determine if Kaylani was in need of additional services to address developmental delays or health issues. Kaylani was admitted to TWTC’s Daycare program, and the staff helped Melisa learn to manage her daughter’s anxiety around adults and to respond to her daughter in a caring and disciplined manner.
Melisa was encouraged to participate in Kaylani’s development and meet with Parent Child Specialists in individual sessions focused on her daughter’s developmental progress and her progress as a parent. “I was able to attend all my meetings and complete (outpatient) treatment because of good childcare here. I am so glad my daughter can now interact with other kids and has become more comfortable with strangers,” said Melisa.
A promising future
With Kaylani improving, Melisa focused on finishing her degree in Game Design at International Academy of Design and Technology. TWTC’s Extended Daycare program helped to make this a reality, enabling her to maintain a flexible class schedule and finish her degree faster, even while being in treatment. Melisa noted, “My class and treatment schedules worked out well, especially with extended daycare. It would have been difficult to do both in a structured environment without it.”