Casey’s Story

Becoming a Better Mom

Casey Petrunak

Women in Recovery, Family & Children's Services

Childhood was hard for Casey Petrunak. She grew up in a single parent home and although her estranged father lived a mile down the road, he did not want to be a part of her life. As a result, Casey was, “an angry little person” filled with resentment and constantly at odds with the world.

Over the years, Casey’s life continued to unravel. She found herself a single mother of five children, was in and out of abusive relationships, became addicted to drugs, and experienced multiple encounters with law enforcement. Eventually, Casey called her mom and said, “please come get my kids, I can’t do it anymore.”

Casey’s life hit rock bottom when she was arrested and sentenced to jail for 20 years to life on drug trafficking charges. Then Casey was accepted into the Women in Recovery program at Family & Children’s Services.

Casey, like many others, initially viewed the program as simply a means to get out of jail and return to the life she had been living. But after six weeks in the program, that all changed.

As part of her recovery, Casey wrote a paper from the perspective of her children, who had witnessed things Casey was not proud to admit.

Casey turned to her children and asked for help. At the top of the letters her children wrote, “I hate you for the person you use to be.” This was Casey’s turning point.

From here, Casey became a model student, doing everything she could to distance herself from her past and become the parent she desperately wanted to be.

Casey says that now she knows “how to teach my children, and give them something to look up to.”

“To have that light in my children’s eyes and know that they are proud of me again,” makes this whole process worth it for Casey. She is incredibly grateful to Women in Recovery and Family & Children’s Services for not only rescuing her from a life behind bars, but for saving her relationship with her children.