The Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System and contracted health plans are responsible for paying and coordinating care for over 1.8 million Arizonans. These services improve quality of life and health outcomes across the state. The purpose of this page is to highlight a success story from the perspective of our members, contracted health plans, and tribal partners. These stories will be rotated regularly and provide an opportunity to feature a few of the numerous success stories which are taking place every day across our delivery system.
Featured Story: Silent No More: One Survivor's Story
Overcoming tremendous adversity, including childhood abuse and a long history of domestic violence has taught Zira, a Family Involvement Center (FIC) Parent Partner, that you can never stop believing in yourself or your dreams. Having endured countless years of childhood abuse at the hands of her own parents and family relatives, Zira was the classic parentified child, taking care of her younger siblings while sheltering them from the instability of her highly dysfunctional and abusive family unit. "I was conditioned to believe that abuse and violence were normal and that this is just the way it was". This skewed sense of normalcy would eventually transfer into her adult life and resulted in a series of domestic violence relationships, each one more controlling and abusive than the last.
Having fled her home state in 2008, she moved to Arizona as a single mother in hopes of creating a new life for herself and her daughter. Homeless, but temporarily free from abuse and violence, Zira sought refuge in one of the valley's domestic violence shelter programs. She recalls this time and says, "Initially, I was numb to everything" The trauma and violence of her past had now come to the forefront and even the most basic daily chores were difficult for her to manage during those first two months at the shelter. She eventually began a relationship with a man she would later describe as "the devil in sheeps clothing" "I still had a lot of learning to do about domestic violence, particularly the less obvious forms it can take (financial abuse, verbal abuse, extreme controlling behaviors and social isolation). When she was physically and emotionally ready, Zira began utilizing the services and resources available to her. Her daughter was also exhibiting behavioral health issues at the same time, so accessing services for her also became a priority. The more Zira took advantage of these services, the stronger and more confident she became. Navigating various social service systems for herself and her daughter however, was much harder then she had expected. With lots of perseverance, learning and self-advocacy, Zira was successful in getting the right services to meet her family's complex needs.
It was not until 2010, when Zira applied for a position at FIC and became employed as a Parent Partner. "It was here" she said, "that it all came together for me and I could see that it was not normal". "I had found the incredible support I needed to finally break free of my past violent relationships and truly live a life free from all forms of abuse". The rest is history as they say. Today, Zira uses her personal experiences to support others who find themselves in similar tragic situations. Her message to others is simple: Never stop believing in your worth or what you are capable of accomplishing. Anything is possible and she is living proof of this. Zira successfully completed her Bachelor's in Psychology and is scheduled to graduate with a Masters in Counseling in 2019. She has been involved with several Take Back the Night events, speaking publicly about her past experience as a survivor of domestic violence and has had her story published in order to increase public awareness of this growing societal issue. This story was provided to AHCCCS by the Family Involvement Center and was originally printed in their October 2016 "The Family Voice" Newsletter.