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05.05.2014

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Advocate Impact:  Ronda Cantrell

The Cruz family came to the attention of Child Protective Services (CPS) due to allegations of neglectful supervision and physical neglect. The mother and father had been engaging in domestic violence for several years and were also involved in illegal drug use. Reports for the neglectful supervision of Adam (5), Charlie (3), and Devin (1) were consistent with prior involvement with CPS. Although services were offered, the mother was reluctant to engage and dismissed the effects that drug use and domestic violence were having on her three sons.

When Ronda Cantrell signed onto the Cruz case, she had a very difficult time getting in contact with the multiple caseworkers that were the result of CPS staff turnover. Ronda soon learned that, even though the case had been open for two months, the mother had not received a service plan and had not had any visits with her children. This encouraged Ronda to work harder to obtain the information needed to fully advocate for the children.  

The first thing Ronda noticed was that Adam was in need of speech therapy and special education services at school. She then advocated for Charlie and Devin to continue receiving Early Childhood Intervention (ECI) services. When the children were abruptly removed from their relative placement due to safety concerns, Ronda made sure to visit them immediately. Once there, she was able to provide them with comfort, reassurance, and consistency.

Ronda also worked tirelessly with the mother and encouraged her to apply for a transitional living program that would help her get back on her feet and move towards reunification. Ronda even assisted the mother with transportation so that she would not miss her intake appointment. When the mother waivered in her dedication to engage in the program, Ronda helped her see how she would benefit. Several months later, the mother was firmly established in the transitional living program, engaged in all of her services, and making great progress. When the children made outcries of abuse at their second placement, Ronda contacted their attorney and recommended that they immediately be placed with their mother. Her efforts were successful, and the children were placed back with their mother just before Christmas.

While the mother and her children continue to work on the reunification process, Ronda visits with the family monthly to ensure that the children’s needs are being met and that they are safe and well cared for. If it were not for Ronda’s hard work and dedication, the mother may not have made it into the transitional living program and the boys would not have made it back home. Ronda is now working, hand in hand, with the fifth caseworker to ensure these children remain safe and protected in the home of their mother, whom they dearly love.  Thanks to Ronda being the constant on this case, these children were positively impacted.