Photography ExhibitsPhoto from "Fighting to Care: California's Social Workers SEIU 535"
Exhibit at U.C. Berkeley Institute of Industrial Relations 1/15-7/15 2002, photo 2 of 12
Social Worker Thana Christian with Abbey (2001)
Social Worker Thana Christian spent a large portion of the morning trying to find Abbey housing. She became so concerned that she began calling her friends and her church for leads.
Housing is a problem. Social workers have trouble finding proper foster homes for children entering the system and have trouble finding housing for the young adults leaving the system. Finding foster homes for teenagers is difficult, but to find one for a foster teenager with an infant is particularly challenging.
Abbey came into the system a single mother at 15. Once in the system, her problems were far from over. She has been moved four times in three years. Now she is 18 and about to exit the system, and social worker Thana Christian is trying to find her temporary housing until she and her daughter can get Section 8 housing.
Abbey didn't have much of a childhood. When she was 11 she moved in with a friend to get away from her mother, who was involved in drugs. She moved from the Midwest to California with her boyfriend when she was 13. Her boyfriend became abusive and she ended up in a battered women's shelter with her newborn daughter. "Leaving my boyfriend was a huge crisis. I was able to get out, but my social worker helped me so that I wouldn't end up going back," Abbey recalls.
Christian and social worker Ian Nicolas had recently moved Abbey into a boarding house, but a short time later the apartment manager was arrested, and the boarding house rapidly went down hill. "And this was one of our better places. We just don't have anywhere to place people," Christian states in desperation.
Christian was eventually able to find Abbey housing.