Intended for children ages 2-6 whose parents are involved in a child welfare investigation, this “picture book” tells the story of Maya and her family as they interact with the child welfare system.
In an introductory preview of the story, the reader is told “Maya met some new grown-ups and went to some new places. Maya learned about feelings, asking for help, and some things to do to feel better. Stuff like this happens to lots of kids and families. Maya wants you to know that YOU ARE NOT ALONE.” In illustrating common occurrences children have in such cases, this story of Maya covers her meetings with caseworkers, going to family court, and meeting her advocate in court case proceedings. She also discusses her feelings and questions with a counselor, as well as the support she receives from family members who live outside her home. In the story, two “grown-ups” come to her house and ask her mommy and Maya lots of questions about how her mommy takes care of her. At one point her mommy gets mad and tells the two strangers to get out of her house. The strangers remain calm and tell Maya’s mommy to come to a meeting and bring Maya. The story describes Maya’s experiences at the meeting and the questions she was asked and how she answered. Throughout the story, the reader is asked how she/he would feel in Maya’s place, and it is suggested that the reader try what Maya did to feel better in her circumstances. Steps in various physical exercises and other activities are suggested as ways Maya and the reader can cope constructively with stress and confusion. The story takes Maya and the reader through court proceedings, associated questions, and how Maya dealt with her feelings as events unfolded.