LOCAL NEWS

Utah mom says foster care helped, while she battled addiction

Jun 2, 2024, 11:09 PM

SALT LAKE CITY Hanna, whose last name we won’t use to protect her and her young sons, said she was driving to church six years ago with her now ex-husband when a police officer pulled them over. 

“My children weren’t strapped in, and they were within reach of (drug) paraphernalia,” Hanna said. “That’s the truth, and they were removed.” 

Her boys, Jace and Jagger, are now 6- and 12-years-old. They were taken to The Christmas Box House. Hanna was taken to jail. She and the boys’ father had both undergone medical procedures and what started as prescription medications for the pain, turned into addition to illegal drugs.  

The boys ended up in foster care. Jagger was just 3-years-old at the time. But he remembers it well and said what made the biggest difference for him was being able to stay with his older brother.

When the boys were placed with their first foster family, they said they felt safe. They even did fun stuff, like Lagoon and water parks. And while they were staying with that foster family, their mom had a tough realization. 

“Around the six-month mark, at one of my visits, the caseworker said, ‘You’ve done nothing to change, you’ve done nothing to improve this, we’re going to have a team meeting in court and I’m going to recommend adoption,'” Hanna said. “That’s when it hit me, that’s when I started making some changes.” 

Attending AA meetings

Hanna started attending AA meetings and utilizing resources the state offered her. It was around that time she met Tracey Allred.

Allred now works for Utah Foster Care, but at the time was fostering other children.  

“It was an instant connection,” Hanna said about meeting Allred.

“I am so grateful to the foster system,” Hanna said. “I can’t say it enough that there are people that are willing to open their homes to children who have been through the wringer.” (KSL TV)

Allred wasn’t caring for Jayce and Jagger, but opened her heart to all three. The relationship was a win-win. Allred said for the first time since she had started fostering children, she put herself in Hanna’s shoes. 

“She taught me through our friendship, empathy,” Allred said. “I’ve never been able to put myself in that side of foster care.” 

While Allred gained a new perspective, Hanna gained a strong female, role model for the first time in her life. 

“My relationship with Tracey, having somebody who, like I said, who answers to phone, who shows up to family events and can sort of, mentor me through motherhood was really beautiful,” Hanna said. “It was really empowering. It made me feel like I can do this.”

Gov. Cox calling on Utahns to open hearts, homes in response to need for foster families

Taking care of her boys

And she did. And while she was putting in the work, her boys said their foster families were taking good care of them.

“They made really good dinners,” Jayce said to KSL TV.

And they enjoyed evenings just hanging out. But most importantly, they were together. 

“Lets just say, two parts yin and yang, one whole,” the boys told KSL. 

Hanna said there are many misconceptions about parent who get addicted to drugs, like they don’t love their children, or if they wanted to stop using drugs, they could. She said addiction was stronger than her. But, now nearly three years sober, with her boys now living with her, she is thankful. 

“I am so grateful to the foster system,” Hanna said. “I can’t say it enough that there are people that are willing to open their homes to children who have been through the wringer.” 

Allred and her family have now fostered eight children. She believes there are many Utah families who could successfully foster children who need care. 

“If you have room in your heart and in your home, and you’re a safe, good person, you can do this,” Allred said.  

For Hanna and her boys, they are their mom’s biggest fans and recognize how hard she’s worked to get the family back together. 

“We are  really proud of her,” Jayce and Jagger said to KSL. 

Allred knows not everyone can get licensed for foster care, but she says there are many other ways to help. If you would like more information, go to utahfostercare.org. 

 

KSL 5 TV Live

Local News

Follow @KSL5TVLike us on Facebook...

Andrew Adams

Sandy crews mow, weed to reduce potential fire hazards around the city

Crews worked to clear potential fire hazards by leveling fields within the city's limits on Wednesday.

7 hours ago

Police arresting the suspect in a double homicide in St. George on June 19, 2024....

Mary Culbertson

Suspected shooter admits to killing both her parents in Washington County home after arrest, police say

After an hourslong search for a suspected shooter, police took the shooter into custody where she confessed to killing her parents.

8 hours ago

Willie Mays was honored by the Salt Lake Bees on Juneteenth after his death Tuesday. (KSL TV)...

Brian Carlson

Salt Lake Bees remember Hall of Famer Willie Mays on Juneteenth

The Salt Lake Bees wore throwback jerseys of an all-African American team from 1906 in honor of player Willie Mays and Juneteenth.

10 hours ago

Protestors gather outside the House chambers during a legislative special session at the Utah State...

Bridger Beal-Cvetko, KSL.com

Utah lawmakers vote to block federal protections for LGBTQ+ students under Title IX

Utah lawmakers convened in a special session on Juneteenth to declare the state's intent not to follow a federal rule providing anti-discrimination protections to transgender youth.

11 hours ago

Southbound traffic on I-215 being diverted northbound because of a box truck fire....

Michael Houck

I-215 southbound traffic halted after box truck fire

Southbound traffic on I-215 near 4700 South is being diverted northbound because of a box truck that caught fire Wednesday afternoon.

11 hours ago

Balloons at a Juneteenth celebration at Weber State University. (KSL TV)...

Shelby Lofton

‘I think people get scared because it’s talking about slavery’: Weber State students, staff pause to celebrate and honor Juneteenth

Weber State University students and staff gathered on campus to reflect and celebrate Juneteenth.

11 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Photo courtesy of Artists of Ballet West...

Ballet West

The rising demand for ballet tickets: why they’re harder to get

Ballet West’s box office is experiencing demand they’ve never seen before, leaving many interested patrons unable to secure tickets they want.

Electrician repairing ceiling fan with lamps indoors...

Lighting Design

Stay cool this summer with ceiling fans

When used correctly, ceiling fans help circulate cool and warm air. They can also help you save on utilities.

Side view at diverse group of children sitting in row at school classroom and using laptops...

PC Laptops

5 internet safety tips for kids

Read these tips about internet safety for kids so that your children can use this tool for learning and discovery in positive ways.

Women hold card for scanning key card to access Photocopier Security system concept...

Les Olson

Why printer security should be top of mind for your business

Connected printers have vulnerable endpoints that are an easy target for cyber thieves. Protect your business with these tips.

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light up your home with these top lighting trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for hassle-free computer repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Utah mom says foster care helped, while she battled addiction