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Emma's Story

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Children spend one third of their day in school. They deserve to feel safe and to have a friendly face supporting them throughout their day.

For children moving into a shelter, this often means moving to a new school. It’s always hard to be the new kid in the class, especially when you arrive part way through the school year. Nine-year-old Emma shares her story of participating in the School Liaison Program.

I was so mad because we had to move into the shelter and I had to start a new school where I didn’t know anybody. I missed my dad a lot and wanted to see him but I was also scared because he had hit my mom and my brother and sister. I was so confused and frustrated and started to be mean to my mom and my brother and sister. I wasn’t making any friends at my new school because I was angry all the time and didn’t want to talk to anyone. I felt sick and didn’t want to go to school.

One day a worker at the shelter introduced me to Ashley and said she could help me at my new school. Ashley talked to my new teachers and during recess she helped me make some new friends. Sometimes I talked with Ashley alone about living in the shelter and how much I missed my dad. Some days I was really mad and some days I was really sad. Ashley told me that lots of kids feel like this when their parents fight at home. She helped me figure out how I could make myself feel better when I was feeling mad or sad.

Emma met Ashley through CDI’s School Liaison Program, a school-based program that supports children ages 4 to 16 living in CDI partner shelters and attending a new school. School Liaison Workers work with children, mothers, and shelter and school staff to support children during this transition. The School Liaison Worker meets with the child and their mother to orient them to the school, and is available at the school to support the child’s emotional and social development, and academic accomplishments. Follow-up services are available to children at their new school once they move out of the shelter. 

*The School Liaison program is offered through our Family Violence Services.