Family of the Year - 2014
Rebekah Foulk and her son Jacob have been selected as “Family of the Year” by the Public Children Services Association of Ohio. They will be honored at a luncheon in Columbus on October 23rd. Ms. Rebekah Foulk became involved with the Agency in the fall of 2010 when a report indicated concerns that Rebekah was an alcoholic and had returned to heavy drinking. Rebekah had an incident where she was drunk and screaming one minute and unresponsive the next. Her son, Jacob was frantic and concerned about his mother. Family intervened and Jacob was removed from the situation and placed with his aunt.
When Rebekah was drunk, sometimes she would lock Jacob out. Sometimes she passed out and Jacob couldn’t wake her. On these occasions, Jacob would walk to a neighbor ladies house to stay the night.
This was the second time the Agency was involved with Rebekah. In 2008, she had similar issues, although not as severe. The Agency encouraged her to engage in treatment. She attended counseling, but at that point did not seriously address her alcoholism.
When first contacted in 2010, she was disoriented and had no concept of time. Her home was a mess and she appeared distraught and confused. When she was asked to recall what happened, she reported that the incident took place the day before, when in actuality it occurred eight days prior.
Rebekah was afraid to address her problems previously, because she might lose her son Jacob. Rebekah was drinking a 12 pack of beer and bottle of Vodka a day. When she drank, she said it was “never enough”. She began having problems at a young age. She had an alcohol related accident at the age of 19, hitting a pole. One year before her son was born, she was so drunk that she walked right past her house and tried to get into her neighbor’s car. In 2008, she received a DUI for traveling 13 miles an hour in a 25 mile an hour lane.
Rebekah states that on the day that Jacob was removed, she hit a brick wall. She initiated Drug and Alcohol treatment with Neil Kennedy Center and her life has changed for the better ever since. Within three months Jacob was reunited with his mom and the case was eventually closed. After Rebekah was sober, she was able to make the appropriate decision that Jacob should not be home until she felt as though she was stable enough to have him there. She did this for his protection, although she clearly hurt by not having him with her.
On January 27, 2011, her caseworker received a phone call from Rebekah. She told me that she was celebrating 3 months of sobriety. She thought to call because she was using her caseworker’s business card as a book mark in her AA book. Again on August 19, she called to celebrate 6 months of sobriety and completion of her Treatment at Neil Kennedy.
At this time, Jacob is doing fantastic and Reekah looks like a new person. Jacob has won a Geography Bee at his school, beating 8th graders at the age of 10. Jacob even approached his mom and has said, “I forgive you”.
Father Earns Statewide Recognition
The Public Children Services Association of Ohio (PCSAO) recognized Peppi and Elijah McGhee of Warren, as the 2012 Family of the Year at their annual Columbus conference on October 24-25. The family was nominated by Trumbull County Children Services (TCCS).
Every year, Ohio’s 88 county public children services agencies (PCSAs) submit their nominations to the PCSAO. The Family of the Year award recognizes birth families that have successfully stayed together or those who have overcome problems and had their children returned to them.
Peppi McGhee, father of four year-old Elijah, has been recognized for his commitment to providing protection, stability and a better life for his son, explained Tim Schaffner, Executive Director of TCCS. Because Elijah’s mother was struggling with significant issues, the young boy was placed in foster care. Peppi, with issues of his own, was determined to reorganize his own life and seek custody of his son.
“He successfully fought for and regained legal custody of Elijah in 2011” shared Kathy Heagerty, TCCS case worker. “It’s incredible to see a father in our local system engaged in his child’s life. That’s something child welfare across the state doesn’t see a lot of.”
Today, Peppi is an ordained minister in his church, teaches martial arts, and studies for his GED at TCAP Head Start Center that Elijah attends. He says that he and his son are “going to school together.”