API Next Generation
The family mentioned in this passage fled from a Domestic Violence incident and was referred to our Safe House Program by Valley Crisis Center (VCC) for safety reasons. They have received support from Mariposa Crisis Services (MCS) since early 2016. This is an API family made up of a Mom and several Children. Mom is considered a young adult and her husband was much older than her. Due to years of abuse and isolation, Mom had no extended family or community support.
During their stay at our Safe House Program VCC Advocates continued to support the family by shopping at local API stores, so the family could continue with familiar foods from their community. Every Wednesday night the Safe House residents would cook and have dinner together. Mom enjoyed cooking and sharing food from her cultural background. She would often introduce roommates and Safe House staffs to home-made API dishes. She gladly taught others who were interested, how to prepare their delightful dishes.
During the families stay the oldest daughter who was a teenager took over complete care of the children’s needs. She was very patient, empathetic and practiced a lot of conflict resolution. Her responsibility is indicative of the API culture, which some staff was not accustomed to.
Even though they were hiding in Mariposa, Mom was able to work with Merced’s Human Services Agency to find housing. This task was sometimes difficult with a $30 charge for background checks (sometimes four in a day). She also worked with Victim Witness in Mariposa County who collaborated with their sister agency in Merced County with the clients best interest at heart.
When Mom needed to see her Doctor (of over 10 years) in Merced County, the Doctor did not want to see her. Her Doctor was afraid of the repercussions from her extended family, as the API community in Merced is relatively small and well connected. She told her Doctor that refusing service was against the law; she had been referred to an attorney and was given that information. The Doctor made accommodations to see her privately and provided her with the care she needed.
The Human Services Agency (HSA) wanted to ensure the family to have a house that fit their needs. Mom found a house to rent in and HSA assisted with the security deposit, first month’s rent and PG&E. Moving forward this HSA program will then continue ongoing through a special grant.
To accommodate the family’s search for housing, their stay with us was extended to 3 months.
This family’s experience showcased the prospect of how community accountability works in bridging partnership, especially between two different counties with several social agencies—whose common goal is to assist those suffering from violence. This also has given both MCS and VCC an opportunity to help bring domestic violence and sexual assault awareness to local health care and social services providers, in providing more culturally sensitive services.