Jun 10 2020

Helping a Young Family Heal and Reunify

June is National Reunification Month, a time to recognize the people and efforts around the country that help families to stay together.

Last year we helped close cases for 805 children.

503 of them (62%) were reunified with their parents at the end of the case.

Family is always first priority for CASA. When safe, it’s in a child’s best interest to return to their parents and grow up surrounded by their own family, relatives, heritage and culture.

Family is always first priority for CASA. When safe, it’s in a child’s best interest to return to their parents and grow up surrounded by their own family, relatives, heritage and culture.

Recently we were assigned a case with young parents who were suffering from drug addiction. One of them had spent time in foster care themselves growing up and was still processing some of their own trauma. We were appointed to the 2 young children who they were struggling to care for.

Our CASA volunteer could see that what would be in the best interest of the children would be providing this family with desperately needed support. There were language barriers (fortunately our volunteer advocate was able to speak Spanish with the family), and financial challenges since this family didn’t qualify for many resources. The “Court Ordered Services” case they had with Child Protective Services kept the children at home with their parents but required that the parents cover the costs of their own services and classes. The challenges were immense.

At the beginning of the case, the volunteer and our staff supervisor met children who were timid and not speaking at the level they should be. Our volunteer strongly advocated for therapy that ended up having a really positive effect on the children. As we got to know the children, we saw them open and up and become more trusting and communicative about their needs.

During this same time, we got to know the young parents. Our volunteer found out that her family came from the same small town as the mother’s family. We began building a strong relationship with both parents, knowing that their mental health and wellbeing was in the best interest of the kids. We supported the mother through the process of getting her GED and watched as both parents began to heal from their previous challenges with trauma and drug abuse.

CASA was the glue throughout the years of this case. As other people on the case changed, our volunteer became a consistent trusted presence in this family’s life.

The mother would sometimes say in court, “CASA’s advocating for me, too.” While we are always clear that our role is to advocate for children, we knew that a healthy mother would be in their best interest.

CASA was the glue throughout the years of this case. As other people on the case changed, our volunteer became a consistent trusted presence in this family’s life. And over those years we saw the family grow to a healthy and happy place. It was a great partnership that ultimately ended with the Child Protective Services case closing and a family reunified and strengthened.

If you’re interested in becoming a volunteer advocate to help children in the child welfare system, CASA’s recruitment and training process has moved online. Learn more on our website or at an online Info Session.

2020 Advocacy

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