Tina and Tony Find Love and Support through Sunrise Foster Care

When Tina (age 3) and Tony (age 5) came to the Sunrise foster home on September 6, 2017, they were dirty in appearance and infested with lice. Due to the poor condition of the home from which they came, they were unable to bring any items with them.

Tony and Tina were given a bath that night, and during that time it was discovered that Tina had cradle cap and her hair was severely matted. Both were also given lice treatment. Tony was terrified of the bathtub and cried and screamed the entire time he was being bathed. He would occasionally hit his fists on his hips in a tantrum and would repeatedly scream “No!” in terror, which continued for a few days.

Tony was also afraid to sit on the toilet when he first arrived and would cry when prompted to go into the bathroom. The children’s biological parents reported that he did not like toilet training, so they had given up, and therefore Tony was not potty trained.

Both children appeared to have speech and developmental delays and from doctor reports were dehydrated. When they first came into care they would only point and grunt, rarely using words. The children did not interact with each other or communicate with each other. The first and only thing Tina would say for the first couple of days was “where’s Tony?” if he left her eyesight at all. The children’s state social worker reported that Tina was previously referred to First Steps but that the parents didn’t follow through with this service.

Since being in Sunrise’s care, Tony has been enrolled in preschool in Mercer County. He began speech therapy and is becoming more verbal. He can identify the letter that his name starts with and has begun stating his name and asking for help. Tony is excited and eager to learn at preschool. He has become more verbal and will answer questions like “what is your name?” He can recite the name of his favorite cartoon: “Paw Patrol.” He has received a haircut and likes his hair styled by his foster dad. Tony is also successfully getting over his fear of the bathroom and is toilet training with only a few accidents.

Tina has been evaluated by First Steps and is now receiving services for improving her speech. The foster mom has worked tirelessly with Tina, and she has begun reciting her name, colors, and other words as requested. Tina has become more social and verbal in her interactions with the foster family, friends, and acquaintances.

Both children attend church, family outings, and community functions. They are a joy to the foster family and to those whom they are around every day. The change in both Tony and Tina over the last three months alone while in the Sunrise foster home is remarkable. The love, care, and devotion from the Sunrise foster family has no doubt aided in the success of these young children.

Written by David Lyninger, Sunrise Children’s Services Associate Director of Communications

Kait Flora