The House has been changing children's lives since 1872.

Meet Jill

Boy smiling.Our floor was covered in trash. Our clothes were never washed. We had no running water in the house. You can't imagine the conditions we lived in. The house was so filthy that I could never invite anyone over. There were 10 of us, and my parents couldn't keep up with so many kids. I wondered why they kept having more kids. I was so embarrassed and felt so disgusted that this was my family.

My father is in prison now because someone finally found out what was going on in our house. I actually thought it was normal growing up like this. Now I know differently. My father had been molesting all of us since I can remember. At night I could hear his footsteps coming my way, and I would curl up and try to hide in hopes it wouldn't be me tonight. He would creep into my bed, and I was forced to do things to him. Things got worse and worse as the vicious cycle began to repeat itself. My brothers began doing things to my younger sisters. I never felt safe in my house. I remember when I was 12 my father told me that I would be getting my period, and it would be time for me to start having kids, too. I hid it as best I could and fought him off as much as possible. I often wonder how my sisters felt, although we never talked about it. I knew they must have been in as much pain as I was. Life was full of ugliness to me. I found a way to stuff my feelings away, far away so that maybe it could be okay to live in my body.

Once my family was found out, things began to happen quickly. I'm actually not sure how it all happened. But one day all 10 of us were removed from our house and put in foster care. We were separated and very scared. Even though my life was horrible: it was the only one I knew. When I got to my first foster family, I couldn't help but wonder if this man was going to hurt me too. Every night I would lay in bed afraid he may come into my room. Thankfully, that never happened, but I didn't feel comfortable for a long time. My new family didn't give up on me though, and the staff at The House kept helping me to cope with what I had been through. It is going to be a long time until I'm okay. But I am safe now, and I see a new life of new possibilities that I couldn't see until I left my other life behind.