Megan Blair & John Phelps Jr

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Megan and her husband, John, were doing their best to balance parenthood and work while raising two young children. That was until John got sick. He was diagnosed with Stage 4 kidney failure and spent four months on dialysis. Megan eventually quit her job in order to stay with him at the hospital. While Megan spent most of her time at the hospital with husband, John’s father came to stay at the home and took care of the children. Due to an extended family dispute, DCFS was called to investigate.

Megan admitted that after months of going back and forth to the hospital, her home was not in good condition. She was afraid her children would be taken away but, instead, the DCFS investigator told her about Caritas Family Solutions Intact Services Program.

“I remember the DCFS worker told me the program was completely voluntary, but that they thought it might help us. At the time, I was so overwhelmed, I agreed to take that opportunity to use their services,” said Megan.

Within a week, Intact Case Manager, Laura Johnson, had met with Megan and brought over boxes of free cleaning supplies for the family. Megan’s daughter had also recently broken her high chair, so Johnson brought them a new one. Johnson also requested state DCFS Norman Funds to pay their utility bill that was four months behind.

Intact Services Supervisor, Kerry Williams, said the goal of Intact Services is to provide families with the support they need to create a healthy situation for their family, and rectify situations that could otherwise lead to children being removed from the home.

“Since this is a voluntary program, it allows our staff to work closely with the families in a way that doesn’t feel threatening,” said Williams. “We try to come in and address those immediate needs first, and then help the family work through some of the larger issues. Sometimes families need help with medical or grocery bills. Other times they need help with finding suitable, affordable housing. It’s really about helping families find the right community resources they need to be successful and making them aware of resources that they may not have known existed.”

Johnson also worked with Megan’s family to help resolve their living situation. Megan’s family was paying $600 a month for a rental home that had severe safety issues. Squirrels were getting in the attic and chewing through wires and creating a fire hazard. Megan said the city eventually came out and condemned the home.

The family needed to move to a safer home. Intact Services requested additional Norman Funds and advocated for the family to get the request approved. Johnson presented a permanency plan which would drastically reduce the family’s monthly expenses and help them have long-term success. The plan was approved and the Norman Funds paid for more than half of the cost of the new trailer and the expense of moving the trailer to the couple’s family property in the country.

“They helped us so much,” said Megan. “And the funny thing is I would never have known about the program if we hadn’t been reported to DCFS, but it ended up being a blessing in disguise. They made me feel so much more secure and took a lot of the stress off of us. That allowed us to focus on our family and now we’ll have a permanent, safe place to raise our kids.”

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