She was one of the “shadow people,” unnoticed, wandering the streets of one of Palm Beach County’s poorest communities. Pregnant, a victim of domestic violence, and now dependent on her parents for shelter, Tanisha, her two children and niece had escaped the violence by fleeing from a nearby city, leaving all she had known behind.
At 18 months, Elena was already exhibiting the effects of witnessing her father’s violence against her mother. She was not meeting her developmental milestones and had behaviors which included hitting her mother and avoiding playing with dolls that depicted male figures.
Witnessing violence, no matter at how young an age, can and does change a child for life – unless help is found quickly, which it was in Elena’s case.
Maria Sanchez never allowed herself to even dream of a better future . . .until Healthy Families Florida entered her life. “My whole life was upside down – but they helped me get it back in order.”
Maria was 37, expecting her first child and had escaped the violence of her former boyfriend. However, she was unemployed, penniless, had no means of transportation, and had no nearby family or friends to lean on. With a history of drug and alcohol abuse and depression, the final blow came when the father of her unborn child took his own life.
Even to outsiders, Beatrice’s hope for a better life seemed impossible. From impoverished, rural, agricultural area of Palm Beach County, Beatrice was a product of generations of violence, including criminals and gang members well known to local law enforcement. She had a history of physical violence and aggression. A single mother of eight, only her youngest son, the only child still living with her, had hopes of graduating from high school.