Advocate News


06.30.2016

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Advocate Impact - Beth Morse

Beth has been the advocate on a case with a 17 year old girl (Hannah), a 15 year old boy (Johnny) and an infant boy (Joe) for the last year. The teenagers were placed in a relative home, while the infant was placed in a foster-to-adopt-home. The parents on the case were not compliant and were eventually terminated. However, things started unraveling when the teenagers’ relative placement broke down due to their behaviors.

Sadly they ended up in different placements. Hannah ended up placed with a former teacher, while Johnny ended up in a foster home. Beth found herself working a case where she had three children placed in three different placements. A former stepfather of the teenagers expressed interest in having them placed with him. The challenge was that he resided in Illinois. There were concerns about his home perhaps being in foreclosure and during this time, there was a fire that destroyed the home. That raised concerns about whether or not the fire had been intentionally set. 

Beth, concerned about whether this option for placement of the teenagers should be actively pursued, contacted the fire department in the area, and the Fire Department Chief reassured Beth that there were no signs that there was any wrongdoing involved with the fire. As a result, the necessary paperwork was submitted by Child Protective Services to Illinois so an interstate study could be completed.  This would determine whether the children could be placed with their former stepfather.  Unfortunately, since their stepfather had no blood relation to the children, Illinois refused to recognize the home as a kinship placement and would not complete the home study.

Beth worked with the caseworker and children’s attorney and a plan was devised to place both youth with their stepfather despite the bureaucratic obstacles. Hannah went to Illinois for an extended visit since she was about to turn 18 years old and that way she was able to stay with her stepfather. For Johnny, the judge came up with a plan where the ad litem would file a motion for the stepfather to gain custody of him. He instructed CASA to get in contact with the court manager if the motion was not filed within a few days. Beth contacted the stepfather directly and confirmed a date when he would be able to appear in court so the hearing was set and Johnny was able to go home with his stepfather.

Joe, who was then a toddler, was awaiting on what was seemingly an easy adoption. Unfortunately, there were also issues with the adoption. It was discovered that what we thought was Joe’s name was actually different from the one on his birth certificate. Beth continued following up with both adoption and legal units until the name issue was addressed and resolved, and the child was finally able to be adopted.

Beth had an immense impact on these children’s lives in helping them obtain permanency.  It was a very complicated case with all three children having different paths towards reunification, but Beth’s commitment, effort and persistence made a huge impact on these children’s lives.  Beth proves that sometimes you have to think outside of the box in order to find permanency.  Without Beth these children could have lingered in the system instead of finding their permanent homes.