Rita & Hailey

“Even though these years have been very hard to let go and to keep our lives moving forward, it is also important for Hailey to understand that her mother is very sick,” says Rita, who is one of over 2.5 million grandparents in the U.S. raising a grandchild. Hailey’s mom has been incarcerated and in and out of rehab for years.

Rita credits Catholic Charities’ Families of Promise for giving her 14-year-old granddaughter Hailey the care and counseling she needs to “be a kid again” and to separate her from the “adult problems” of her mother’s heroin addiction. The program, which is unique in Lake County, focuses on children whose parents are incarcerated and their caregivers by addressing their silent sentence of isolation, confusion and shame. Through Families of Promise, Rita was encouraged to take better care of her own health so that she could be strong in walking alongside her granddaughter. Today, Rita is able to face this exhausting role of being both mother and grandmother with faith and hope.

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