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11.04.2013

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Advocate Impact:  Carol Eisenhart’s Story

CASA Advocate, Carol Eisenhart, accepted her first case in the fall of 2012.  The case involved three young girls - Alicia (age 10), Amber (age 8), and April (age 7) - were removed from their father’s care due to drug use and ongoing domestic violence in the home that they shared with him and his girlfriend. The three girls had been in their father’s care since their mother abandoned them more than two years earlier.

At the initial placement with their grandmother, the girls began exhibiting signs of tremendous aggression and began acting out physically as a result of what they had witnessed in the home during the time that they were with their father.

Once Carol was officially assigned to the case, she immediately began researching the family’s history, identifying and meeting all the key players, and assessing how the girls were doing. Carol determined that there were a few concerns that would need to be addressed quickly. For example, Alicia and her sisters had missed over 45 days of school while with their father. This seemed to affect Alicia to the greatest extent.  She was very behind in school and failing most of her classes, contributing to her lack of self-esteem.

It was evident to Carol that there was a need for assessment. Carol went to the school and met with the teachers about her concerns, requesting that an Admission Review and Dismissal (ARD) meeting be set for Alicia. The school seemed uninterested in facilitating what Carol felt were the necessary next steps; however, Carol was persistent.  As part of her intervention, she met with the school principal, the special education expert from CPS, and Matthew Finch, a local ad litem who, although not assigned to this specific case, specializes in assisting families who need help in this area. Carol also empowered the grandmother by educating and guiding her through the process. She encouraged the grandmother, as the primary caregiver for the girls, to develop relationships with the school administrators and speak up for her granddaughters. Because of Carol’s efforts and advocacy, Alicia was ultimately qualified for special education services in both reading and mathematics when she moved to a new school. This had a direct impact on her self-esteem, and she is now experiencing greater success academically.

In her role as an Advocate over this last year, Carol has also been a positive role model for this family. She has provided guidance and support to the grandmother so that she can be more successful in raising her three granddaughters; and, because of all that Carol has done and continues to do, the girls have finally found permanency and a loving home. 

Advocate Impact:  Carol Eisenhart’s Story