CASES 1-3: Parenting of three siblings falls to teen brother

CASES 1-3: Parenting of three siblings falls to teen brother

CASE 1

Mr. M is 18 years old and is caring for his three younger siblings, ages 12, 6 and 2, while their mother is jailed. He is finishing high school and keeping the family afloat. The family’s savings are dwindling rapidly, and two of the children need beds. The washing machine doesn’t work, and he doesn’t have a car to get to a laundry. He asks for financial help, including help paying the rent, to keep the family from becoming homeless and to provide a stable home environment until their mother returns. He also asks for clothing for the entire family and for toys for the two youngest children.

CASE 2

In his 11 years, S has never known the comfort of home – a place to spend time with family, do homework, help with chores. He and his two younger brothers, 7 and 3, have bounced from shelters to basements and, sometimes, to the street. Their mother does the best she can, but with no high school degree, she has been unable to find a job that can support her family. To start with, the boys need clothes and shoes that fit. Their mother is trying to find permanent housing, and dressers, tables and chairs would be a good start in making it a home. And for S and his brothers, beds to call their own.

CASE 3

Mrs. W has had three strokes and one heart attack during the last few years, leaving her in bad health. The stress of her medical bills and loss of income has taken a toll on her and her family. She and her husband have four kids, and the tough financial situation has caused one of their daughters, D, to scrap plans to attend college. D wants to get a part-time job to help her mom care for her younger siblings. The utility bills are piling up and Mrs. W is looking to get assistance with her daughter’s college tuition.

Profiles by Leah Thorsen, Colleen Schrappen and Jordan Shapiro of the Post-Dispatch.

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