Domestic Violence Can Lead to Homelessness And the Loss of Custody

by Jennifer Black

In my early 20s I was a mother of two small children, a two year old daughter and a six year old son. I shared a home with my boyfriend and the children. 

My boyfriend began physically abusing me shortly after we started dating; even going so far as to beating me while I was pregnant with our daughter. I repeatedly asked my boyfriend to leave the home, but he refused to do so.  For fear of my own safety and that of my kids, I left the home.  I could not support us on my own, and my ex-boyfriend refused to financially assist me. 

With no place to go, my grandmother opened her home to me and my children.  I was working on getting my life together. It was at this time my sister began to pursue custody of my children.  I felt her motive was to take in the kids was to receive the state funding she would get for caring for them, not because she cared for their well being.

Unfortunately, I lost custody of my children.  My sister was not awarded custody, resulting in my two children being removed from my care and all the relatives that they ever knew.

Although I remained in contact with my children while they were in foster care, they were traumatized and confused as to why they had to leave me.  Often asking why they had to leave their home. 

I now am housed and work as a newspaper vendor.  My children are both adults now.  We still maintain a relationship, but it is a constant pain for me and my children as we cope with the separation we endured due to becoming homeless.

Copyright Cleveland Street Chronicle August 2013 Cleveland, Ohio