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ILSP-Transition to Adulthood

July-August 2001

by Richard Bermack

“In 1994 my mother passed away, and I was having some difficulties with my lifestyle,” says Fanisha. “I was kind of like from pillar to post, and home to home, not stable, and the system took me in.”
Because of the lack of foster homes in Oakland, where she lived, Fanisha was placed in a home in Grass Valley. But when she gave birth to her son, she was moved to a group home. “I had to get used to being in a group,” she recalls. “I had to learn to be a people person, to go to meetings and explain yourself in a group. But I got used to it.
“I had a social worker who was very difficult to deal with. He wouldn’t call me back. He wouldn’t try to set up meetings to meet with my family. It was more his way, and he knows what is best. He wouldn’t want to hear my side.

“Barbara Bradshaw was my best social worker. Some social workers feel like they know what is best for you. Barbara did know what was best and helped me with my concerns. She pulled strings for me, and made things happen. She would return my calls. And nine times out of 10 she understood.”

One of the most important things Bradshaw did for Fanisha was to locate her younger brothers and sisters, whom Fanisha had not seen since her mother died. “I really missed them. I didn’t have a picture of them. I didn’t know much about them, and it is difficult to live your life like that, knowing there is a person in this world that is a part of your life that you don’t get to be with,” she says.

“ILSP helped with parenting skills and how to manage money so that I can spend money on my son and make sure the bills are taken care of,” Fanisha adds.