Mom turns life around to regain custody of son

“Jane” was a drug addict, an alcoholic and a new mother. She had no car, no house and no steady income. The same year she gave birth to her son, both her parents passed away. She was at a low point in her life.

“I was covering the pain with drugs and alcohol,” she said, “I thought ‘What am I going to do? How will I take care of my son? His father isn’t in his life; never has been.’” Jane spiraled into addiction and depression. Then one day something happened that changed her life.

While under the influence, she and her son, “Jay”, were in a restaurant. Another patron observed her intoxicated state and, concerned for the child’s welfare, called the police. Jane spent four days in jail. Jay, who was less than a year old, was taken from her custody and placed in foster care by the Department of Child Services.

“I was homeless for 30 days,” said Jane, “Change is very painful.” While she spent time in a homeless shelter, Jane began working with a case manager from the Home-Based Services program at United Way supported Children’s Bureau. The case manager helped Jane with recovery and arranged supervised visits so she could still bond with Jay while she worked to turn her life around. “She’s done a lot of good things for me and my son,” Jane said, “She gave me a lot of knowledge.” The case manager also helped her find affordable housing and child care in preparation for when she regained custody of Jay.

Jane now has a promising career, a car and full custody of her son. “Our bond is stronger than ever, she says, “The love has grown.”  Jane stays in touch with Jay’s former foster parents. “We’re really good friends now. We talk every day.” she said, “I like to call them Nan and Pop. They love my son.” The couple act as surrogate grandparents for Jay. “They help me a lot actually,” she says.

With hard work, a change in mindset and help from DCS and the Children’s Bureau, Jane was able to become the mother and role model she is capable of being. To anyone in a similar situation, she offers this advice: “Change is the hardest part. Keeping a positive mindset is huge. Just work hard. It pays off. It did for me and my son.”


Note: United Way brings together compassionate people committed to improving lives in our community. We help Central Indiana residents achieve and maintain self-sufficiency by directing resources toward four key areas of community impact – Education, Income, Health and Basic Needs. Children’s Bureau is one of over 90 United Way funded agencies working to address one or more of these priorities. Since 1923, UWCI has invested over $38.3 million in support of their efforts to support and assist at-risk children and families. The agency’s current Community Fund allocation is $660,983.