Almost two years ago, Jessica was dropped off at the shelter by her father. With a concerned voice, he said to me, “Please help me, I can’t do it anymore.” He gave us her medications and walked away. Jessica looked at me with a blank stare, she was barefoot, had messy hair, and a dirty shirt. We welcomed her with open arms because at IW we believe in treating our clients with dignity and respect.
Jessica is 28 years old, and has severe chronic schizophrenia, which is so disabling that at the time she could not take care of herself. Her case manager sat down with her and listened. Jessica was given new clothes, referred to treatment, and the case manager even spent time teaching her how to make her bed and do laundry. After a few weeks, Jessica reported to us that she was pregnant. As a result, she had to stop taking her psychiatric medications and her symptoms began to increase; she was increasingly more confused, not eating properly, unable to shower, and soon after began denying her pregnancy.
She was eventually hospitalized. Her case manager coordinated with the social workers at the hospital to devise a plan for labor, and also coordinated the adoption plan with Jessica’s mother. Jessica gave birth to Lily, a healthy baby girl, who was adopted by her grandmother.
After giving birth, Jessica returned to the shelter where she promptly showed off pictures of her daughter. She re-engaged with treatment, started taking medications, maintaining her hygiene, eating properly, and working with her case manager to apply for disability benefits.
Today, Jessica lives in permanent supportive housing and receives disability. She still frequently visits her daughter.