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At 16, Chris could no longer keep it from his family that he really identified as a girl. Chris, now legally Charlotte, was greeted with every transgender child’s biggest fear: rejection. Her parents ordered out of the house and locked the door behind her. Massachusetts’ Department of Children and Families (DCF) became involved and knew the best place for Charlotte would be The Home For Little Wanderers’ Waltham House, one out of only three group homes in the country specifically for LGBTQ youth.
Charlotte came to Waltham House very angry with the world. Surviving without a support system was her number one priority; her education was a very distant second. She knew there wasn’t a place for her in her family and was afraid there wasn’t a place for her in the world. But her DCF social worker and staff at Waltham House were determined to show Charlotte how she could succeed while being a transgendered woman.
Rebecca, Program Director of Waltham House, helped Charlotte become acclimated to living in a group home with people that accepted her. Slowly, Charlotte built her confidence. She started at Waltham High. She was behind several grade levels because of the challenges she had been fighting since the excommunication from her family.
DCF was a compassionate advocate for Charlotte. Her social worker was understanding and knew this young woman wouldn’t be able to really succeed until she started to physically transition to a woman. With The Commonwealth being Charlotte’s legal guardian, her quest for hormone therapy went to the court system. DCF got a medical advocate assigned to act in Charlotte’s best interest. Regardless of her parents’ last ditch effort to have a conversion therapist give ‘expert’ testimony, the court ruled for Charlotte to start hormone therapy and her medical journey towards becoming a female.
Since then, Charlotte has begun to excel in school, making up several grade levels in a variety of subjects at Waltham High. Right now she is anxiously awaiting her MCAS scores which will impact her plan as she continues her education. She is thriving at her job at the local bookstore More Than Words, which has brought out her work drive and managerial skills. Charlotte has made friends at school, Waltham House, and in the community. Finally, she has the support system every teen deserves.