Roslyn credits Oakland Family Services for turning her life around

Roslyn with her daughter, Zari.

Roslyn with her daughter, Zari.

Roslyn was pregnant, had no home or job, and was struggling with substance abuse.

She already had lost parental rights to her previous six children, and it was expected that this baby would be no different. While pregnant, Roslyn started using cocaine and crack again after finding out that her 23-year-old son, Ronald, had been stabbed to death.

The drugs impacted Roslyn's baby, Zari, who suffered from withdrawal systems when she was born. Since Roslyn had lost parental rights of her other children, Zari was immediately placed into foster care. It was a wakeup call for Roslyn, who didn't want to lose her parental rights again and have Zari's life go the way of Ronald's. She knew she had to get sober and change her lifestyle drastically.

"I didn't want my family to remember me as being found dead in a motel room with a crack pipe in my hand or with a bottle of booze next to me," she said.

Roslyn began treatment in the agency’s Project Recovery Intensive Services for Mothers (PRISM). This specialized women's substance abuse treatment program offers pregnant women and mothers intensive group and one-on-one counseling, as well as education on parenting and life skills. Childcare and transportation is also provided in this program                                                                                                        

"There were things that I opened up and talked about in my PRISM class... that was just amazing to me because I never thought that I would be this type of person that I am today," she said.

Meanwhile, Roslyn was fighting for Zari, attending visitations with her daughter at Oakland Family Services. She said the agency's Family Preservation employees helped guide her and stand up for her as she worked to get her daughter back.

Roslyn eventually moved to a new two-bedroom home out of the area where she had fallen into drugs. She completed PRISM, got a car and a job.

And, most importantly, she got Zari back.

"My daughter, she could have been in the system like my other kids but instead I faced my problems and personal troubles. ... I followed through with it, I stuck with it, I hung in there and I got the prize - my daughter," she said.

"Before when I went through this I had no PRISM, no Oakland Family Services, and I lost my children, so that pretty much sums it up."