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Cindy was doing her best, raising three-year-old Ava. However, Ava’s uncontrollable outbursts were taking a toll on Cindy’s health, causing the two of them to become homeless. Cindy sought help from Dawning Family Services (formerly Alpha House of Tampa), where she and Ava were provided safe emergency bridge housing and support services.

As part of the family’s case management plan, developmental screenings were administered to Ava. Results from these suggested that a referral to a medical professional as appropriate. Ultimately, a psychiatrist diagnosed her with a genetic developmental disability, now understood as the cause of her severe behavioral and sensory disorders. A case manager referred Ava to a childcare program for children with special needs; she was soon enrolled. Since Ava was being cared for during the day, Cindy had time to focus on herself. She found a part-time job, addressed her significant health issues, and began to focus on her own well-being.

With assistance from Dawning Family Services, Cindy and Ava found a cozy apartment they now call their own. They continue to receive support from their case manager, but things are looking up for them and their future is bright.


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