The CASA Program was assigned to a case by the juvenile court judge involving three children: Sally (age: 5 years old), Jack (age: 4 years old) and Nancy (age: 2 years old). The children came to the attention of the Department of Family and Children Services (DFCS) because they were seen wandering down Highway 84 unsupervised. DFCS already had an open protective services case on this family because of past medical neglect for Sally who is diabetic, so the decision was made to bring the children into foster care since there were concerns for their safety.
Once we began investigating the case we were particularly interested in speaking with the children’s pediatrician to make sure that all the children were on target medically and developmentally. As it turned out Nancy was developmentally delayed and we referred her to our local Babies Can’t Wait Program so that her developmental delays could be addressed before she starts school.
CASA was involved in the development of a case plan that the parents must complete before the children would be returned to their home. The case plan included: (1) the father must secure stable full time employment, (2) the mother was to enroll in GED classes at Southwest Georgia Technical College, (3) Both parents were required to complete parenting classes that addressed the needs of children at different stages of development, and (4) both parents would receive psychological evaluations and would be required to complete the recommendations outlined in the psychologicals. It quickly became obvious that it was going to take these parents time to complete the requirements of their case plan. CASA began looking for a family resource for these children so that they could be in the home of a relative rather than remain in a foster home. We were able to find a paternal aunt that was willing and able to care for the children. DFCS conducted a home evaluation of the aunt’s home and it was approved as a placement for the children.
After 3 months in foster care the children went to live with their aunt and were able to be with their family while their parents worked the case plan. Since entering the aunt’s home it has taken a year for the parents to finally complete the requirements of their case plan. These children will soon be returning to court, CASA will be recommending that the parents regain custody of their children.
A Deeply Committed CASA Volunteer
Two siblings, Chase* and Michael*, had CASA volunteer Pam appointed to them when they first came into foster care. The siblings were adopted, but a short time later, the adoptive parents decided they did not want to keep the children. Chase and Michael entered foster care again. Once Pam found out the children were back in foster care, she asked to be assigned as their CASA volunteer again, even though they were in a county not currently served by a CASA program. Pam was able to serve as their CASA volunteer again, and she remained dedicated to them and regularly traveled to advocate for them. Her efforts resulted in the siblings being placed together in a loving, permanent home. After having worked with Chase and Michael for six years, they know without a doubt that their CASA volunteer Pam will always be there for them.
Reunited with Her Mother
When Sierra’s* mother and father were put in jail for drug charges, she went to live in a foster home. Sierra was assigned a CASA volunteer, Karen*, who talked with Sierra and encouraged her parents to get their lives back on track. Unfortunately, her father went to prison. Her mother, however, stopped abusing drugs, finished her GED (Georgia Equivalency Diploma) and became employed. Due to Karen’s persistence and asking the court for increased visitations between Sierra and her mother, a case that was once headed for termination of parental rights was turned around. With the incentive of seeing Sierra more frequently, along with the mother’s vast improvements in her life, Sierra was permanently placed back at home with her mother.
*Names have been changed for confidentiality reasons.