Location: Los Angeles County
A domestic violence survivor, Mary (29) left her abusive partner and found herself a single mother of two in a new unfamiliar city. She relocated to escape the violence and trauma of her relationship, but most importantly to protect her daughters and give them a better life. Mary says her daughters, Cali and Delilah, are her everything and describes their current situation as their “journey” to self sufficiency and success.
For Mary, relocating required a new start without the support of family and friends. It took time to get comfortable with her new community, to build a network, and to learn the ins and outs of the service system. But accessing public services, Mary’s persistence even when every door seems to close on her, and a bit of luck—finding a caseworker who cares about her—has set Mary on a path toward progress and giving her children the stability they need to succeed in life.
Get to know Mary
Mary’s goal is to find a better situation to help her family be successful.
Mary talks about the importance of learning how the system works and using it to get ahead.
Mary shares about the surprises and pleasures of raising her 5-year-old.
Mary talks about the challenges for single parent households.
Mary doesn’t let her daughters see how difficult it can be.
Navigating public services has helped Mary build her confidence and character.
Mary shares that at the end of the day, it’s about giving her daughters a better start.
“Just an update since I last spoke with you – I found housing and was able to start a transitional work program called L.A Rise. I’m currently interning with The Goodwill. I enrolled my daughters in school and they got accepted into an afterschool program that helps with homework. They are in school from 8am til 6pm. Our favorite things to do are go thrift shopping and volunteer in the community.
Now I’m just awaiting my approval for guard card/firearms license so I can get a permanent job with good benefits.”
Feelings about having to use and using services
Navigating the service system requires time and energy. “At a certain point, you don’t want to lose anymore,” she says.
“Some days, I don’t know how I’m going to do everything,” she says. But Mary knows she has to be persistent when navigating the service system.
Mary faced losing her housing and moving to a shelter with her daughters. Her case worker got her urgent support and gave her trust that things would turn out okay.
Mary shares her dreams for her young daughters – Cali and Delilah.
Public service eligibility
Working with government agencies means long waits and uncertainty if you’ll even be eligible at the end.
Without access to childcare, Mary wouldn’t have been able to attend the classes and trainings she needs to find a stable career.
Using public services
Mary talks about the difference she’s seen with her youngest daughter because of home visiting and early education.
Mary describes how housing stability has a big impact on success and moving out of the cycle of public services. She lost her job because she lost her housing.
Ideas for Change
Mary’s idea is to put all of the services families need in one location to create an interconnected system.