In mid-December, CASA of Kent County threw a festive holiday party, bringing together court-appointed special advocates and the kids and teens they support. It was a joyous occasion filled with games, face painting, crafts, and of course, pizza.
Disclaimer: In blog stories with CASA children, names, details, and photos have been changed to protect confidentiality.
Miguel was removed from his home because he was suffering from severe depression and was not receiving proper care. He had endured significant abuse earlier in his life and was struggling with his mental health. After attempting to take his own life, Miguel had to be admitted into residential 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. Janelle helped to coordinate bi-weekly meetings with the residential facility and the child welfare agencies involved in the case – Miguel’s ‘team.’ The team met to go over Miguel’s treatment plan and address any concerns.
Reunification is the most common and most desired permanency goal for a child in foster care. The CASA model for best-interest advocacy recognizes that children grow and develop best when they can safely be with their family. Throughout the case, Miguel’s team remained committed to reuniting him with his father. They focused on connecting Miguel’s father to available resources to care for Miguel when he returned home. Janelle worked hard with the rest of the team to ensure that there was wraparound support in place for Miguel. Now, Miguel has been reunited with his father with the promise of in-home care and a counseling plan to help him address his mental health needs.
Miguel’s case is an example of the way local agencies can come together for children in need. Janelle succeeded in establishing a great working relationship with the residential facility and child welfare agencies. Together these essential groups were able to work effectively together to serve Miguel’s best interest. One case worker even gave Janelle a shoutout, saying, “Thank you for the advocacy that was always provided for this boy. This is why I absolutely love CASA and the work you do!”
This year, I completed my first CASA case as a volunteer. I can confidently say that serving as a CASA has been one of the best experiences and biggest honors of my life.
Here’s a bit of our story. For starters, we never would’ve had a chance to be Caroline’s parents without Laura.
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