Former Addict Recovers After Losing Son

By: Ashley Conroy Email
By: Ashley Conroy Email

The keynote speaker and a former drug abuser, Kacey Hartfield-Walker, shared her story of how she became addicted at the age of 18.

By 21, Walker says she was pregnant, but didn't stop using drugs. After she gave birth, DHS had to step in.

"He and I both tested positive for cocaine at his birth and that is when DHS took custody of my son," said Hartfield-Walker.

Walker's case is one of many forms of child abuse, according to state law. It can also be anything from physical and sexual abuse, to child exploitation, to various forms of neglect.

Director of Prevention for Children and Family Services, Kate McMillin, at the Department of Human Services says this is often when DHS steps in.

"We get them connected with the resources out in the community so they know how to go and get help," McMillin said.

McMillin says the goal is to help put families' lives back together.

"We provide counseling with the family, concrete services," said McMillin. "Educating the families on what their expectations should be with the children."

Walker's mother, Glenda Hartfield, says after her daughter went off to college, she suspected something wasn't right, but knew there was only so much she could do to intervene.

"We don't always see or want to see what our kids are doing and how bad it is," Hartfield said.

Walker's mother can now say she's proud that her daughter has turned her life around, and has advice for any parent going through a similar situation.

"Don't wait, don't blind your eyes to it," said Hartfield. "Take advantage of whatever resources are available out there and there are a lot of resources."

DHS says it's currently in need of additional foster families for those children who cannot go back to their home because of abuse reasons.

If you suspect anyone is a victim of child abuse, you may call 1-800-222-8000 to report it immediately.

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