Child Crisis Early Education Program serves families with children 5 and younger living 100 to 200 percent below the federal poverty level in Phoenix and Mesa. These families struggle on a daily basis but the COVID-19 pandemic, which forced us to close our Early Education classrooms temporarily, brought on a new wave of job loss, food insecurity and high anxiety.

Here are experiences shared with us by moms who had their children at home while our programs were temporarily suspended.

*Names have been changed to protect the privacy of individuals

Carrie's story

Carrie, a single mom in Mesa, was sent into a financial crisis when the pandemic hit. She was furloughed from her job and as other families began panic-buying essential items, Carrie was unable to locate or afford simple things like diapers and wipes for her children. She turned to the staff she knew and trusted at Child Crisis Arizona for help.

Carrie shared her concerns with a Child Crisis Arizona Family Support Specialist who has worked with her on a one-on-one basis since she enrolled in the Early Education Program. Child Crisis Arizona donated diapers, wipes and food to the family to help get through this difficult time.

Carrie was able to take advantage of curbside breakfast and lunch for her children, as well as dinner once a week during the Thankful Thursday Meal Distribution. After a few weeks, she was able to find employment again on a part-time basis.
She shared: “Thank you for the referral and support. I do not know what I would had done without your help. We are very lucky to be in the program.”

*Names have been changed to protect the privacy of individuals.

Isabel's story

A young mother named *Isabel in Phoenix felt overwhelmed when the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Schools, and even the early education classroom at Child Crisis Arizona that her youngest attended, were forced to close and she was not prepared to have her children home full time.

She struggled to find diapers and wipes in stores. She also struggled to find time to care for herself.

With on-site programming paused, the Family Support Specialist from Child Crisis Arizona, decided to visit the family at home. She noticed there was a great need for mental health counseling for Isabel and activities for the children but she also noticed there were not enough beds for all family members in the home.

Child Crisis Arizona was able to meet all these needs. New beds were purchased to ensure no family member was sleeping on the floor. Activities, books and crafts were provided to the children and Isabel was able to find the support she needed.
Isabel shared: “Child Crisis Arizona has helped me meet my goals and now my family is in a better situation than before.”

*Names have been changed to protect the privacy of individuals.

Marta's story

Anxiety and fear were constant companions for *Marta after the Governor’s shut down order in March. Her husband’s work hours were cut drastically and her small side business making cakes for special occasions was completely shuttered. She worried about feeding her five children. She worried about paying for medical care if one of her children contracted the virus.

Her worries led to depression, making it difficult to sleep and remember things. Adding fuel to the fire, she learned a relative had tested positive for the virus, her health insurance was expired and her baby broke his glasses.

In this time of crisis, Marta turned back to Child Crisis Arizona, the program her child was enrolled in. While the on-site early education program the family had come to rely on was temporarily closed, the family’s Family Support Specialist was still there to help. She assisted Marta with renewing her medical insurance and referred her to a Mental Health Consultant. The entire family was tested for COVID-19 and they were able to find affordable glasses.

The family of seven was also able to take advantage of Child Crisis Arizona’s curbside meal distribution. Each weekday the family picks up breakfast and lunch for the children, as well as books and other activities when available, and once a week they attend the Thankful Thursday Meal Distribution and receive a hot dinner at no cost.

“Thank you,” Marta said. “I really needed to talk about my fears, and thank you for all the support with school supplies, referrals and food.”

*Names have been changed to protect the privacy of individuals.

Lilliana's story

 “Finally, someone I can trust and who can help,” came the answer from *Lilliana when her Family Support Specialist at Child Crisis Arizona called to check in in March.

Lilliana had been evicted from her home with her five children shortly after the pandemic began. She learned shortly after that she was expecting another child—a high-risk pregnancy.

Lilliana needed immediate help finding a temporary shelter for the family and resources to provide a better future for all of them. Her Family Support Specialist was quick to respond. Lilliana was able to find space for her family at a shelter. Diapers and wipes were provided as well as food.

The Family Support Specialist ensured Lilliana was able to see a doctor and then held her hand as she began to search for employment opportunities.

Child Crisis Arizona’s meal distribution continues to help Lilliana and her children as they work to find a new normal.

*Names have been changed to protect the privacy of individuals.