Two-year-old Sam was found all alone in his home, with a dirty diaper and no food in the house. He was taken into foster care and a case plan was developed with his mother so that she could regain custody of Sam. After a year in foster care, Samuel’s mother still had not completed her case plan that included drug treatment and securing safe housing and a job. In October, when Samuel’s case came back before the Judge, the Judge decided to change the case plan to non-reunification and granted guardianship of Samuel to his Aunt and Uncle as an alternative to foster care. He also assigned Sam to the Family Support Program of Family Enrichment Group, Inc. Samuel immediately left his foster home and moved into his aunt and uncle’s home where he shared a room with his two cousins.
While it is a great thing for Samuel to be with family and out of the foster care system, it is also a major adjustment for him as well as his Aunt and Uncle and the entire household. His cousins now have to share their parent as well as their space, and they receive no additional financial support to help provide for him. The Family Support Program was able to assist them with the complicated process of applying for Medicaid to ensure Sam has the insurance coverage he needs. We also were able to join his Aunt and Uncle in attending meetings at Sam’s school to assist in developing an IEP for him to address his educational needs. The Judge’s Court Order that assigned our Family Support Program to Sam’s case requires that we monitor Sam’s placement until his 18th birthday and submit periodic reports to the Court outlining Sam’s progress. Our program also provides Santa Support Services to help Sam’s family during the stressful Holiday Season by providing presents for Sam and his cousins.
When a child comes into Juvenile Court and is found to be deprived by a Juvenile Court Judge, the Judge may choose to grant guardianship of that child to a relative as an alternative to foster care, and to assign the child to the Family Support Program through a court order. Also, the Judge may choose to assign children awaiting adoption to the Family Support Program. Through the Family Support Program, services are now available for children as well as their caregivers who are providing a permanent home for them. We are not a government agency. We are a non-profit organization that exists to serve our community. These caregivers have accepted a responsibility that is highly commendable, but is often a huge adjustment for the entire household. Because the decision to bring additional children into the home affects the entire household, we serve every member of the home. We exist to help families navigate the system to secure necessary services and access to community resources necessary to help their family. Our primary goal is to help the family remain stable so that they are able to raise the deprived child/children they have accepted into their home and keep them out of foster care. Every child deserves a safe and stable home with a loving family.
This Program provides lay guardian ad-litem services through a court order from a superior court judge (or a judge from a lesser court) requesting our assistance on a child’s behalf. The court order assigning our program to the child/children allows us to have access to them for interviews and also be privy to all confidential information (i.e. school records, medical records, day care center staff, etc.).
After investigating the child’s situation our staff submits a report to the court with emphasis on “best interest of child”. The report also addresses relevant information regarding potential custodians, as well as home evaluations and criminal records checks on all adults that might be living in the same home with the child.
For more information please call the Family Enrichment Group office (229-225-4338) or use the contact us form.