Daniel was 10 days old when he was removed from his mother’s care and placed into a resource home. The mother was homeless, addicted to prescription pills, and suffered from mental illness. Daniel’s father was named nearly a year after litigation began and was provided an opportunity to have visitation with his son. The father resided in a small apartment with a roommate, wasn’t working, but stated that he received a little over $200 in assistance from the state. The judge ordered that a CASA be assigned to Daniel to ensure all of his needs were being met.
While Daniel was being cared for appropriately in his resource home, his visits with his father weren’t going as well. The dad harbored a lot of anger toward the mom and would often have violent outbursts any time she was discussed. His visitation was supervised by the Division and he declined to take part in each drug screen. The CASA advocate met with Daniel at his resource home every week and also attended the supervised visits with dad to observe the interaction between the two. The biological mom stopped appearing for hearings, evaluations, and visits and her whereabouts were unknown.
The CASA advocate noticed that Daniel needed some help with his speech, so she recommended that he be tested for Early Intervention. He was approved for the services and began speech therapy once a week during the father’s visitation at DCP&P. It was reported to CASA that the father would not allow the resource family to take part in any of the therapy sessions with Daniel. The advocate was concerned that Daniel wouldn’t make progress because the family he lived with were not educated on the exercises he needed. She thoroughly prepared her report to the court and included the recommendation that the resource family be involved in Daniel’s therapy sessions for speech.
The change was unanimously agreed upon by all counsel. The advocate also recommended that the Division move forward with the adoption process to provide Daniel with the permanency he was becoming accustomed to. Dad had not complied with any of the court-ordered drug tests, but had tested positive for cocaine in a test provided by his probation officer. He stopped showing up for his visitations and court hearings, ultimately voluntarily terminating his parental rights. For four years, the family waited to adopt this little boy. Their day finally came this past September. Because of his loving resource family and supportive CASA advocate, Daniel has a forever home, along with the services he needed to thrive.
None of this would be possible without the dedication and love of our advocates and supporters – thank you all!