Andrea, Sebastian, Aidan, and Evan were removed from their home after the Division received a report that Andrea had head lice for the fourth time in a year. It was determined that the children’s home had inconsistent access to water and electric, and the parents were involved in truancy issues with the school district regarding Andrea’s poor attendance record. There was also a history of missed medical and dental appointments for the children. The children were separated and placed in the care of two resource families. The CASA advocate met with all of the children first to determine their needs. Within the first week of being assigned to the case, the advocate had met with everyone involved. The father worked full-time and wasn’t involved in the litigation as much as the mother, who, along with the named issues for the referral, was also taking part in a step-down methadone clinic. When she met with the mother, she realized that despite the large obstacles, there was so much potential for this family to be repaired and directed the mom to contact the Family Strengthening Network (FSN) to allow her time to focus on the children while the family advocate worked to aid the mother in repairing her broken life. The CASA advocate went beyond the average responsibilities of an advocate and attended the doctor’s visits with the children, stayed late in the evening to assist Andrea with her homework, and took the time to truly observe the children’s environments so she could fully grasp the nature of their needs. Meanwhile, the family advocate from FSN worked with mom on two major goals: Finding independent housing for her and her children and obtain her GED. Between the advocates showing that a bright future was truly within reach, their support, and mom’s dedication, mom was able to accomplish her two goals, in addition to moving forward to set more. There were a few setbacks as mom is also a recovering addict, and would at times feel defeated and miss a few appointments. But, with that being said, the support system never wavered. Her children’s CASA advocate was consistently there reporting the children’s progress and their desire to be reunited with their mom. At the final hearing, the judge took a moment as he was closing and personally thanked the CASA advocate for her indefinite dedication to the children and their future with their family. The children came home that afternoon to a new home and new life. The advocate remains in contact with the family and reports that they have recently added a pet to the family to celebrate mom’s new job at a local dental office.
None of this would be possible without the dedication and love of our advocates and supporters – thank you all!