Continuing on with our success stories theme for the month of February, today we bring you CASA of CGS Denise A.’s story about how she made a big difference for a family of five.
Denise A. was an advocate for a Cumberland County, NJ family in the fall of 2007. The Division of Youth and Family Services (DYFS) was initially involved when it was discovered that the children in this case were being locked in a room, along with other reports of neglect. When Denise came to them, the children were already enrolled in foster care.
There were many issues within the family that needed to be addressed when Denise was assigned to the case. The children’s parents were about to go through a divorce. Both girls, ages 5 and 8, were having problems in school and their brother, age 13, had severe problems with behavior, often leaving the house and wandering late at night. Because of his behavioral issues and threats to hit his sisters, the son was hospitalized in the psychiatric unit and placed in a residential facility for better care.
Denise was quick to jump into the family’s situation. She made many recommendations for the children’s safety, including their parents seeking marriage counseling and family counseling with their children. Eventually, the children were placed back in their parent’s care and their son was continuing the treatment he needed.
The family’s eldest daughter continued to struggle in school. Children teased her because her parents worked in the school where she attended. Because of this, her mother decided to home-school her. However, Denise petitioned to have her move to a neighboring school district so that in the fall, she could have a fresh start with a new group of students and teachers. The court granted Denise this request.
Now, the children’s parents are working on better understanding their son’s condition and how to get him the best treatment possible. He is now able to come home on weekends to visit with the hope that eventually, he will be able to come home permanently with at-home care.
Because of Denise’s willingness to learn as much as she could about this family’s situation, the parents and children are all thriving. It is advocates like Denise that make a difference in the foster care system. Stay tuned for more success stories in the coming weeks