CASA Stories: Rod & Jan

by | Sep 30, 2022 | Stories

Disclaimer: In blog stories with CASA children, names, details, and photos have been changed to protect confidentiality.

 

The first husband and wife co-CASA team

Rod and Jan became CASA volunteers in 2004 because they wanted to find a volunteer activity they could do together. Their sons were growing older, and Rod and Jan had time help their community. After seeing an ad in the local newspaper for a program called ‘CASA,’ Jan called to learn more. Soon, Rod and Jan completed the required training and were equipped with the essentials needed for advocating for children in foster care. When they were sworn in as officers of the court, they became the first-ever husband-and-wife co-CASA team.

Advocacy begins

Serving as CASA partners turned out to be beneficial for their first case: a sibling group of four living in multiple foster homes. Together Rod and Jan visited the children, took them to the park to play, and kept track of the kids’ developmental milestones. Rod and Jan entered the situation as impartial observers looking for the best solution for the children, and it soon became clear to them that the case was likely headed towards termination. Their next goal then became to keep the children together. However, four siblings soon turned to five when the children’s mother had another baby. Suddenly, Rod and Jan had another child to advocate for.

A forever adoptive family

With five children needing a permanent home, Rod and Jan, along with the adoption agency, were faced with the challenge of finding parents willing to provide a forever family. They worked hard to advocate for the children to stay together and, despite unexpected complications, eventually were able to find the perfect home where all five siblings could live safely and permanently and grow up together.

Rod and Jan visited the children to say goodbye shortly after the adoption. They had spent two years advocating for this group of children in court and were so happy to see them find a loving home. They knew they needed to step back so the children could bond with their adoptive family, but they still stay in touch over Facebook.

A second case

With one case closed, Rod and Jan moved on to another case: infant twin sisters who had been removed from their home. The parents had been running a business out of their home and did not realize that they had been creating an unsafe and unsanitary living situation for their daughters until it was too late. Child Protective Services was called, and the girls were placed together in foster care.

A family reunited

It was clear to Rod and Jan, after getting to know the girls and observing their visits with their mom and dad, that the parents would be able to take the necessary steps to create a safe living situation. Rod and Jan advocated before the court for reunification. The parents received the support they needed to create a safe home for their daughters, and the case was resolved quickly. Rod and Jan were overjoyed to see the girls return home.

A CASA legacy

Through these two cases, Rod and Jan were able impact the lives of seven children by standing with them as a consistent presence as they waited for safe, loving, and permanent homes. Rod and Jan learned about the reality of the child welfare system in Kent County. They witnessed the processes of both adoption and reunification. Rod and Jan now understand the level of commitment it takes – from multiple parties – to ensure that children can have what they deserve: a safe, loving, and permanent home.

Rod and Jan’s time as Advocates has led them to stay involved with CASA over the years. They have supported CASA financially as donors and attended an in-person event for the first time when Executive Director, Stephanie Sheler, personally invited them to the 2022 Annual Luncheon. Thank you, Rod and Jan, for your dedication to our community and its children!

 

This article is part of the Summer 2022 edition of CASA Connect, CASA of Kent County’s quarterly newsletter. Click here to view a pdf version of this newsletter.

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