Due to his difficult relationships with his father and step-father, Jason had behavioral issues and at age 13 lived in a group home where he was abused. He ended up on the street, got into a debilitating car accident, battled addiction and later lost custody of his son, Anthony.
Jason knew years ago he couldn’t completely parent his son, because of the choices he made. Jason was properly diagnosed to understand the issues he was facing and learned coping mechanisms and attended meetings to stay connected to his sobriety.
“This was my chance to focus on me, so I could become a better person and father,” Jason said. “I took one step at a time to increase my chances of success.” Jason is one of the many parent allies at Children’s Home Society of Washington who successfully navigated the child welfare system and had his child returned to him. Jason was permanently reunified with his son in 2012.
Jason transformed his experiences into a new career two years later with a focus in public service work. He also wanted to change the public foster care system and joined Children’s Home Society of Washington State Parent Ally Committee.
“I know I can reach parents where others can’t due to my experiences,” Jason said. “Helping families to care for their children is the most important thing we can all do. The effects can be seen for generations.”
Anthony, now 10, is focused on football after playing for four years and has a life goal to enter the NFL.
“When I come home, my son stops what he’s doing every time to run across the room and greet me with a hug,” Jason said. “That means a lot to me.”
Jennifer Parsons is the marketing communications manager for Children's Home Society of Washington.