Advocate News


10.01.2016

Posted in:

Advocate Impact - Mike Mathews

Mike Mathews has been dedicated to CASA in many ways since April 2014 when he was sworn in as an advocate.   He dedicated himself to 7 kids and 2 cases. His first case was a medical neglect case involving a family from Burma and spoke the language of Karrenni. The family was brought to the United States by Catholic Charities. The oldest boy, Pete, was placed in a foster home in Houston and had undergone a tracheotomy due to his weight.  Mike assisted the caseworker in getting medical records from the hospital in Houston. From the moment that Mike was appointed to this case, he started working on advocating for the boys education. Mike learned that often times, when families come through Catholic Charities, children are placed in grades based on age and not on ability to complete the grade. The boys were receiving services, however they were being placed in grades even if they were failing subjects.  Mike had several meetings with teachers, principals, school psychologists, and counselors to figure out a game plan so that the boys can be successful. Mike attended every meeting, ARD, helped with homework or found people to help every step of the way.

Due to the rare language, it was nearly impossible to find a translator to attend court or staffings that spoke the same language. Mike found and teamed up with a member of the church the family attended that spoke Karenni. Mike was able to introduce the church member to caseworker so that background checks could be completed.

Although Mike had several goals to accomplish, one was to have Pete back in San Antonio. Pete needed a sleep study completed before his trach could be removed. Mike worked with Pete’s foster mom and doctors to make the transition to San Antonio smooth. Once Pete was placed in San Antonio, a sleep study was scheduled and Mike volunteered to stay by Pete’s side in the hospital all night long.

Finally, Mike was instrumental in making sure that the family’s immigration status was resolved while they were involved with CPS. Mike worked hand and hand with CPS to fill out immigration paper work.  Mike also drove to Houston to get immigration paperwork signed and get a picture of Pete for caseworker.  Due to this diligence, 3 of the boys and Mom were able to secure their Visas.  Unfortunately, during a caseworker change, the paperwork for Pete was not submitted and which put him at risk for being deported. Mike recommended to Judge Garcia the oldest child stay in CPS conservatorship and file an appeal, in which the Judge agreed.