A criminal record in Indiana can follow you past any time served, creating barriers to securing housing, finding employment, obtaining custody of children, achieving professional licensing, and more. In 2011 Indiana passed an expungement law allowing those with a criminal record who meet qualifying criteria to get those records sealed, but the eligibility requirements and process to file for expungement can be a challenge.
Bobetta Wright was one of Indiana’s 7% of teenage girls to get pregnant while she was in high school. Due to circumstances surrounding her pregnancy, Bobetta was told to leave her high school and never returned to finish. Without a high school diploma, Bobetta and her husband were unable to find employment, leaving them unable to secure stable housing. Her family bounced around from place to place for several years, even having to spend one winter out in a tent.
When much of the world shut down in March due to the pandemic, a lot of people were left without jobs, or income to be able to pay their bills. For those who were unable to collect unemployment benefits, there were few options available to stay afloat. One of those people was Goodwill Guides participant Rizan Hajji.
Meet Caroline Costa
Dreams and goals are great, but when you can’t afford the steps to get there, they can seem unattainable. Caroline Costa was feeling that way about her own future when she moved back in with her mom in 2016. Pregnant, unemployed and financially unstable, Caroline had left an unhealthy relationship and made the difficult decision to place her son up for adoption.
“I felt I wasn’t in a good position to financially give my son everything he needed.” Caroline said, while speaking about that difficult decision.