Homeless, Unwed Mother, Foster Child, Living by her Rules

STORIES FROM HOMELESS FORMER FOSTER CHILDREN:

Meet Jamillah Williams, a foster child who became pregnant while living in a homeless shelter. She gave birth just after her eighteen birthday to an underweight baby boy, a baby she never wanted but credits him now with keeping her on track.

Jamillah has the courage that most of us could only dream of. She endured a decade of physical and sexual abuse starting at five years old by her own father, a convicted sex offender. She speaks in a monotone voice as she describes the abuse never wavering even once when she says, “he raped me”. To her, it is a fact of life. Emotion never enters her voice and her story rolls off her tongue as if she were describing what she ate for breakfast.

“The first person I told was my mother but she didn’t believe me so I went to a social worker in school and told her like some things that were bothering me at home and she felt like as though DYFS should step in.  DYFS came to school and removed me. They went back to my house and arrested my father and removed my sister and brother”, Jamillah says. “I was just tired of living in a house with somebody I feared. I felt that I shouldn’t have to fear somebody that lives in my house.” Anger, hatred, despair, none of these emotions creep into her voice or mannerisms as she continues her story.

“I was mad because I didn’t want to be removed from my house. I just wanted my father to be removed and I wanted to be home with my mother. But they (DYFS) felt as though if I told my mother and she didn’t do nothing about it she’s just as wrong as anybody else. I was upset. I lost a lot of weight. I didn’t want to eat. I didn’t want to be bothered,” she says. “I wanted to drop out of highschool. I was just going through a lot”.

“My mother, she’s actually doing ok. We still talk from time to time but it’s not like it’s a strong relationship”. Her mother was lost her section eight rent subsizided apartment not long after her father was arrested and moved into a homeless shelter with her sister and brother. “The judge said my mother couldn’t take us because my mother was working only one job that wasn’t paying enough. She couldn’t take care of all three of us if we was living at home.  (DYFS) asked us did we had any relatives at first. I gave them my grandmother name, I gave them my aunt name. They said every name you give us, they have to do a background check and if it comes back negative you can’t stay with them. When my grandmother got back she took my sister instead of me. Ten they contacted my aunt, they told me I couldn’t live with my aunt because she lives in a bad neighborhood. I couldn’t live with my other aunt because she had a record. I was basically stuck in the foster system.”

Jamillah moved to numerous homeless shelters and at least five foster homes before landing at Raphaels Life House in November, a home for unwed mothers affiliated with Covenant House. With the help of Raphaels Life House and Covenant House Newark, Jamillah moved into her first apartment with her son last week. A rent subsized apartmet though the section eight.

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5 Comments on “Homeless, Unwed Mother, Foster Child, Living by her Rules”

  1. Oliza ONeal Says:

    I own an apartment in Houston, Alaska and I have always wanted to provide a home for the unwed mothers of any age.
    Please tell me how I should get start.
    Thanks! God bless!
    Oliza

  2. Jamillah Williams Says:

    wow cant believe my story is out thanks najha for your help i miss you plz contact me thought my email if you get this

  3. Vie Salgado Says:

    I know what you are going thruogh becouse I have been there. I got pregnant then aged out, ended up on welfare for a short time. If you can find a way go to school that’s the best way I know of not to end up homeless. Now, I think you can get help going to college. No one told me that I could go to college when I left. I thought school was only for the rich and I wasn’t.


  4. GAO Seeking Information On Foster Children Receiving Psychotropic Drugs

    At the request of Congress, GAO is seeking information regarding cases in which state foster children have been prescribed psychotropic medication outside of federal regulations or accepted medical standards of practice. These may include very young foster children prescribed certain kinds of psychotropic drugs, children prescribed psychotropic drugs in dosages that exceed accepted standards, children prescribed psychotropic drugs for purposes other than a medically accepted indication, or children taking numerous psychotropic drugs concurrently. If you have information about state foster children being prescribed psychotropic medication outside of regulatory and/or medical guidance and are willing to provide details, please e-mail GAO at FosterKids@gao.gov.

  5. D.R. Antolic Says:

    These stories are inspiring. It is awful how our children get abandoned by the system before they are ready to be out on their own.


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