I don’t often receive correspondence directly from judges, but on May 2, 2023 at 10:55 pm, a family court judge emailed with the subject line “Help!” The message opened with, “Can I get a CASA for another case, please?!!” Clearly, this judge was concerned about the children, a sibling group of six.
Disclaimer: In blog stories with CASA children, names, details, and photos have been changed to protect confidentiality.
Sometimes, CASA volunteers work together in pairs – especially for larger sibling groups like the Williams children, where there is a significant amount of information to gather. CASAs April and Eliza are currently advocating for the group of five siblings: Delaney (17), Nora (12), Ryan (8), Max (6), and Julian (4). With so many children to visit and observe, it is helpful to split the responsibilities between two advocates.
The Williams siblings were originally removed from their parents’ home due to struggles with stable housing and substance use. April and Eliza have met with each parent to discuss their situations and gather information. Both parents previously struggled with maintaining stable jobs due to addiction and lack of transportation but have been able to utilize local resources to help get back on track.
After CASA volunteer April met with the school, she provided important information to Mrs. Williams about Delaney’s poor attendance record at her high school. Mrs. Williams was grateful to be made aware of the situation so she can monitor Delaney’s attendance more closely. Both Mr. and Mrs. Williams shared with April that they are maintaining steady jobs and are enjoying their work. Mr. and Mrs. Williams have been consistently fulfilling their respective parenting plans with the child welfare agency, and it appears that reunification will soon be possible.
Recently, the older children, Delaney, Nora, and Ryan, returned home to live with their parents. The reunification of the younger children, Max and Julian, is still in process. April and Eliza take turns observing Max and Julian’s monthly home visits with their parents. They have seen that the children appear relaxed and excited to return home, and they recount that information to the judge in their court reports. Thanks to April and Eliza’s observations, the judge will soon able to have enough important information to return the other two Williams children to a safe, permanent home with their parents.
A family court case that ends with reunification is always a celebration for the family, the judge, the attorneys, the caseworker, and everyone at CASA!
Jenni was 13 years old and living in a residential treatment center with other teens when she met her Court Appointed Special Advocate, Amanda, for the first time. During weekly visits both on and off campus, Jenni barely spoke to Amanda. Sometimes the two of them would sit inside Wendy’s over a Frosty in silence.
Miguel was removed from his home because he was suffering from severe depression and was not receiving proper care. When he was assigned his CASA, Janelle, things started to look up. Janelle became a symbol of hope for Miguel while he was healing.
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