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Sophia, Female – 7 y/o

When Sophia was seven years old she revealed to her mother that her father was sexually abusing her. It was the beginning of a big change and a move toward safety for Sophia’s whole family.

When the police were called they arrested Sophia’s father and brought Sophia to VIP’s Community-based Assessment and Treatment Center where she met and was evaluated by VIP founder and Executive Director, Dr. Astrid Heger. They also discovered Sophia’s family had been living with issues of domestic violence. Sophia, her mother and eight-year-old brother stayed in their low-income apartment complex, but Sophia was very fearful. When she heard footsteps coming down the hall Sophia was petrified it was her father coming back to harm them. She often woke up with nightmares.

A therapist worked with Sophia to help her process her trauma and cope with her anxiety. She needed to learn to trust adults who genuinely wanted to keep her safe. Meeting with Dr. Heger for a checkup, Sophia told her that VIP was a place where she felt safe. Sophia’s family had many other needs, and VIP was also working to help Sophia’s family reach a place of physical and emotional security.

Since Sophia’s father had been the sole provider while her mother was a caregiver to the children, the family now needed a safe place to live and an income. A VIP case manager worked with the family to relocate them to their grandparents home, in a better area and provided financial assistance for the moving costs. They helped Sophia’s mom, who was undocumented, get her U-visa so she could find work, and connected the family to other basic resource aids such as Cal Fresh, General Relief, and Medi-Cal.

The counseling work Sophia receives at VIP is making a real difference. She’s a resilient child with a happy spirit and already she has improved significantly at school. Her relationships with her mother and brother are stronger and she is no longer fearful and overly anxious. As she learns to build her confidence and self-esteem, Sophia has been referred to a gymnastics program and swim lessons. The path to emotional health for children who have endured trauma takes time. Although Sophia is still working with our therapists, thanks to VIP she and her family are already in a healthier and safer place.

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