Share
Grieving Mother Fights to Change IHSS Unemployment Law

Grieving Mother Fights to Change IHSS Unemployment Law

Family Assistance Program

UPDATE: (8-11-16) Assembly Bill 1930 passed and now will go to Governor Jerry Brown to be signed into law.

BARSTOW – A Barstow mother who dedicated every waking minute of her life for over 9 years to the care of  her medically fragile son not only lost her son but because of the state laws, she has also lost all income. Cathyleen Williams now wants to make sure that no other parent will have to go through the financial uncertainty that she has had to after already losing her son.

Caleb Lucas lost his life-long battle with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome on March 18, 2016. Although calebCathyleen was at peace knowing that her young son would no longer be ill she learned that the her job as his In-Home Supportive Service Provider would not qualify her for unemployment.

Several years ago after giving birth to Caleb, Cathyleen, who carries a business degree decided that the only viable option was staying home to care for him.

Caleb, required around the clock medical care making her only other option being to hire a nurse qualified to provide his care. The costs associate with hiring a nurse would cost more than Cathyleen believed a job would pay.

Caleb had all the desires of the average little boy but because of the Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome he was unable to do many things taken for granted by the average child. Cathyleen spent countless hours making Caleb’s life as normal as possible making him an at-home classroom where he learned via Skype with children just blocks away. She came up with many creative ideas to make Caleb have a closer to normal life.

Due to his fragile medical state most his life, Caleb was very limited to time spent with other children because even a cold could have been life-threatening to him. Through his short life Caleb fought for his life from the time he was just days old, Caleb has been through numerous surgeries. With well over fifty total surgeries, ten of those open heart young Caleb became accustomed to hospitalization while remaining a mentally strong and happy child.

Caleb went into cardiac arrest twice early this year causing doctors to send Caleb to Stanford for more calebadvanced treatment. While at Stanford he again went into cardiac arrest causing the doctors to place a pacemaker. Approximately three weeks after the pacemaker placement Caleb began to show signs of infection causing doctors to place him on powerful antibiotics. “He ended up getting influenza B and he got tired,” said Cathyleen. “ I told him he didn’t have to fight he could go home to be with the Lord.”

Caleb listened and on March 18th just before 4:00 p.m. he stopped fighting. “I’m just so glad he’s done and in Heaven he went through way too much In his precious little 9 1/2 years,” said Cathyleen.  Not knowing what to do next after losing her son, Cathyleen applied for unemployment benefits. “I received letters from the EDD office,” said Cathyleen. “It said that In Home Supportive 1923441_1601462033513191_3030191610804547347_nServices workers providing services for a spouse or child are not eligible for unemployment benefits.” Cathyleen was stunned that after paying state and federal taxes all these years she did not qualify. She felt wrongfully excluded from something that would help keep her afloat while she sought other employment.

Cathyleen is not giving up the fight just like she did not ever stop fighting for her son. “I’ve contacted Assemblyman Obernolte, Senator Fullers office, as well as Lackeys office who started the bill (AB1930) his secretary is forwarding my information to the state capital,” said Cathyleen. “I know this change won’t help me but at least we can change this so no other person will feel like I do.” Cathyleen is seeking employment but the search has been a daunting one as she still mourns the loss of Caleb. “I’ve been applying for jobs but nothing, also my doctor said she didn’t think I was emotionally ready to go back yet,” she explained. “I’m just struggling with the transition we were so intertwined.”

 

Cathyleen wants the community to remember Caleb for the way he loved life and for his infectious smile in spite of all he endured. She is in need of community support and is asking that anyone that believes in this change to sign her change.org petition.  She also still has the Youcaring.com donation account if anyone would like to contribute a few dollars to help her through her transition.

 

Follow 24/7 Headline on Facebook and Twitter!

 

For late-breaking news, follow 24/7 Headline News on our Los Angeles County Facebook group, Riverside County Facebook group, Coachella Valley News groupUS News group, Victor Valley/Inland Empire Facebook group. If you like what we are doing and want regular updates on your facebook stream like our Facebook Fan Page. You may also follow 24/7 Headline News on Twitter and Instagram! 
Follow Me

Christie Martin

Reporter at 24/7 Headline News
Integrity is unbelievably important when reporting. I believe in getting to the bottom of the story while being sensitive to the fact that the "story" affects real lives.I am committed to bringing important news, events, and other information to those in my community and beyond.


Got News? Contact me at ChristieMartin@247headline.com
Follow Me
  • I don’t know how the bill is completely structured, but I would add some rules. A mother should get one month for every year she provided healthcare to her own child. This would prevent the harvesting of dying children in the foster care system for purposes of opportunistic adoption since fostering a child who the dies six months later would not generate six months of unemployment.

    I would max out coverage for moms at nine months, not six months, for moms who provided significant healthcare services for their own child. I’m not sure how to handle Foster kids regarding their maximum since one knows going what to expect versus a parent who sill simply be there for their child.

    • Joni

      I hate to tell you but many Registered Nurses have quit high paying hospital jobs to take care of our states sickest foster children. They are up with them for days at a time, taking them to dialysis 4 very early mornings a week, advocating for them while their parents are drugged up on the streets. So for you to assume they are not there for them “no matter what” it quite judgmental of you. I am one of those nurses, I have 3 adopted medically fragile, intellectually disabled children. I know many, many RN adoptive and fostering mothers. They deserve all that bio parents get and more as they are not obligated to provide this care but chose to out of the goodness of their soul. Their own bio kids sacrifice too. My dear friend had her renal failure foster son killed by a careless physician replacing his infected dialysis line. Her ENTIRE family was and is devastated. She has been unable to take another for nearly 3 months now. Emotionally it is just too much. His own parents weren’t up at 4 attacking him to dialysis 4 times a week, but a loving family was! So to say that loving family shouldn’t get what a bio parent does I’m sorry it is just WRONG! No one fosters a kid to have it die in your arms or while you are waiting in the waiting room during a procedure. No foster parent signs up mohave their own 10 year old kiss their dead brother good bye while their mother sobs her heart out. For once could people think about what the hell they are saying? How many gravely sick kids have you fostered? I’m going to guess zero. Foster parenting is the biggest sucky job their is. People who do it have a much higher calling. Stop judging them!

      • You obviously have expanded the discussion, no need to be hostile about it. You make a good point, Nurses who quit their jobs to take of foster kids who are terminally ill are probably going to go the extra mile or two in the care of that foster child. However if a terminally ill foster child only lives for one month, six months of unemployment would seem excessive when compared to other terminally ill cases where the caregiver knocks themselves out for much longer periods of time.

        You yourself are implying that nurses would probably give better care than probably most other foster parents and i would probably agree with you on that point. You can make your point without implying that there are not unscrupulous foster parents who just might do it for the money. Or is your argument that all foster parents would do as good of a job as a nurse would who quit her job to be a foster parent???

        Maybe the answer is some distinctions would need to be made to ensure that a terminally ill foster child is really going to get conscientious care in exchange for a six months of unemployment pay.