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Advocate Impact - Audra Gonzalez

Audra Gonzalez has been a CASA Advocate since March 2013. She is working on a case that has three children, two boys and a girl. In late 2012, the mother self-reported that she was homeless, on probation, unemployed and unable to feed or care for her kids.  The children were ages six, three and two.  Each child has a different father, two of them are unknown and the youngest child’s father is incarcerated. The children were first placed at the Children’s Shelter and then placed together in a foster home.  Audra’s involvement in the case has been ongoing since they came into care.  The children, especially the oldest, struggled with the separation from his mother.  He had great difficulty adjusting to the transition and had numerous behavioral challenges including a diagnosis with ADHD. He was on multiple medications, so Audra was proactive in advocating through a recommendation of a reevaluation on his medications.  Due to this he was taken of a couple of prescriptions and his behavior improved.

 The Court ordered the children to have supervised visits with their mother twice a month.   There was an approximate two month interruption in visits due to the mother’s illness and this was very difficult for the children. Audra decided to increase her contact with the children to ensure they had plenty of activities while their mother was away.    

Earlier in the case, the mother had not made much progress on her Service Plan.  Upon recovery from her illness, she stepped up and worked hard to successfully complete services, secure housing, maintain stable employment and meet the goals required to have more interaction with her children.  Audra was instrumental in providing constant support for the children.  The children anticipated visiting with Audra and knew she would be there throughout the case.  She was in contact with the children’s schools, daycare, therapist and foster mom.  In February 2014, the children were placed back with their mother on a monitored return and Audra assisted with the transition from the foster home. CPS and Audra remained involved.  After approximately a month, there was a referral made to CPS that the mother was using inappropriate, harsh language and making derogatory comments directed at the children. This situation becaum a risky placement, sonthe children were immediately removed and returned to the foster home.  The investigation resulted in the mother being validated for emotional abuse. She had some setbacks after the children were removed including a second illness, lack of engagement in therapy and other ongoing services.  This resulted in the mother and children not having visits for several months.    In August 2015, the foster mother unexpectedly passed away and the children were moved to a new foster home.  Audra was right by their side to make the transition go as smoothly as possible.  She ensured the new foster parents had all the necessary background information on the children and that they received bereavement counseling.  She also made sure that their new school was aware of the situation.   Audra has been advocating for these children since she met them at the Children’s Shelter three years ago. She attends the court hearings and continues to advocate for them until permanency can be achieved.  Audra has made a huge impact on these children’s lives.  She has been a constant advocate for them for the last three years and will continue to help these children until they are no longer in the system.