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03.16.2017

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Advocate Impact: Heidi Gildersleeve

Heidi Gildersleeve knew she wanted to make a difference in children’s lives and signed onto this case, knowing it would be a challenge with six children.  Children like Albert (11), Elsa (6), Tony (5), Chris (3), Quin (2), and Anna (6 months) rely on Advocates like Heidi to speak on their behalf. The six children came into the foster care system care due to many cases of neglectful supervision.

When Heidi first came onto the case, the children were placed in two separate shelters.  Shortly after, Albert was hospitalized due to concerns he might hurt others.  Heidi went to visit Albert and made sure to advocate for therapeutic services. From the beginning of the case to now, he continues to have behavior management problems. Heidi has advocated for Albert to receive a mentor and for his individual therapy to be increased so he can address his anger management issues.

Heidi also advocates for the children’s education because she believes they deserve a high-quality education. She cares about their future and wants to improve their chances wherever she can. Heidi has attended school meetings and Admission Review and Dismissal (ARD) meetings for the children to make sure that their educational needs are being met. With Albert being on a Behavior Intervention Plan it has been important for Heidi to follow up with his teachers to make sure that he is doing well. Heidi has had open communication with Albert so he can own his behavior and learn from it. It has been key to him growing and trusting Heidi.

Heidi’s frequent interactions with the children and visits to their placements allow her to be aware of how they are doing.  When there have been indications that a placement may not be meeting the children’s needs, Heidi has been the first to inform the caseworker and children’s attorney. Without Heidi, these children would be powerless. The importance of being a voice for the children was demonstrated during an incident while Tony and Chris were in an inattentive placement. Tony was being scratched by another child and nothing was being done. As a result, he has scaring on his neck.  Yet, because of Heidi’s advocacy, he is now in a safe, attentive home.

The children have been separated into four different placements, even as far as Austin. Heidi has ensured that the children maintain sibling visits. Additionally, Heidi attended many parent/child visits at the CPS Offices and was the first to praise the parents on their positive interactions with the children. Heidi continues to visit the children in each of their placements and advocate for their needs. Their mother reaches out to Heidi on occasion for support and advice. Thank you, Heidi, for being a powerful voice and advocate for these children.

Our volunteers provide a voice for the abused and neglected children in San Antonio. If you are looking for a rewarding volunteer experience, and are interested in becoming a CASA, you can find out more information on our website, linked here.

Advocate Impact: Heidi Gildersleeve