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Boys Town Helps Couple Cope with Baby Daughter’s Unexpected Health Problems

Norma, Jose and their daughter Dayana are on steadier ground now thanks to the assistance they received from Boys Town Consultan

Life can change at a moment’s notice and irrevocably alter a family’s trajectory.

That’s what happened to Norma Franco and Jose Gomez when they unexpectedly learned that their newborn daughter had Down syndrome and a serious heart condition.

The news stunned the couple. They had no warning or time to prepare themselves emotionally, or to develop a health care plan with specialists who could meet Dayana’s current and future needs.    

Overwhelmed, the new parents were referred to Boys Town New England Care Coordination Services.   

“Norma and Jose were full of fear, confusion and hopelessness,” said Krystel Acosta, the Boys Town New England Consultant who worked with the family. “They just didn’t have the confidence or knowledge to know where to start.”

Acosta immediately stepped in and worked with the couple to identify the community resources and supports they would need to help their daughter and their family.   

The most critical and pressing issue they had to address was heart surgery for Dayana.

“Jose and Norma had known for months that Dayana would need the surgery, but they were unable to get it scheduled and completed due to a lack of resources and not knowing what to do and where to start,” Acosta said. “We worked together and identified how to get Dayana to her pre-surgery medical appointments and to other procedures required before surgery.”

At the same time, Acosta determined the family was underinsured. This was a major source of stress and contributed to their difficulties in pursuing the best ways to meet Dayana’s medical needs. 

“We prioritized finding a solution to this problem,” Acosta said. “Within a couple of months, Jose and Norma were connected to the resources they needed to get their medical insurance needs met. They just didn’t know these resources were even an option.” 

In addition, Acosta helped arrange for the couple to meet with a counselor who could guide them through the sudden and traumatic events they were experiencing.

Once Dayana’s immediate health needs were addressed, Acosta was able to begin working with Jose and Norma on other problem areas that were holding them back. One area was Norma’s education. Norma had to leave high school prior to graduating because of her family situation then, and had struggled with not completing her education.  

“Norma had a goal to complete her GED,” Acosta said. “We worked to help her see that this goal was attainable, despite the family’s challenges. Currently, she is on track to complete her GED this year.”   

Acosta also worked with Jose to clean up a minor driving offense that he was not able to resolve due to the all-consuming priority of making sure Dayana was healthy. She helped Jose to put together a simple plan where he finished his community service, paid a small one-time fee and completed a driving class.

“Jose and Norma are great parents whose child is their top priority,” Acosta said. “We were able to work together to overcome the obstacles that froze them in their tracks. They’ve accomplished every goal during services. Norma and Jose just needed a little hope and education… and now they and Dayana are thriving!”