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Advocate Impact - Beth Pisano

Beth Pisano has been a CASA volunteer for almost three years and enjoys working on cases with large siblings groups; often working multiple cases at one time.  When Beth was initially assigned to work with this family in August of 2014, the four children had been brought into care after the baby Alex was left unattended on a bed and rolled off thus injuring his head. Medical staff contacted the Child Protective Services department and it was quickly determined that the family had previous referrals for neglect and domestic violence issues in the home.  The family's home was filthy and the children were not adequately being cared for.  Mom had worked services with the department in the past and continued to have issues with the cleanliness of their home and with monitoring the safety of her children. 

The mother on the case and the father of the youngest child, Alex, were asked to separate due to ongoing issues of domestic violence.  Dad moved out, maintained employment and successfully worked all of his services.  Mom struggled initially to complete her services and take responsibility for the issues in the home.  One of the four children left the state to go live with his biological father, who had been deployed overseas with the military.  The other children had been placed in a foster home, enrolled in school and started attending counseling.  Mom was very bonded with all of the children and did an excellent job of interacting with them at visits, but struggled to keep her house clean and to understand why her children were in care.  She was overwhelmed and struggled to stay organized. Both CASA and the department initially had concerns as to whether she would be able to adequately attend to the needs of the children. 

As the case progressed, Beth noticed that there were difficulties with communication between the caseworker and the mom.  Beth strived to work as a mediator to facilitate effective communication between them.  Beth made consistent visits to mom’s home and worked with mom on ways to keep her home and family organized.  She spoke with the mother’s counselor about the mom dealing with the responsibility for the events that led to the removal of her children. They worked with mom on the importance of her fully engaging in the services that were being offered.  On one of her visits to mom’s home she even showed her a better way to keep her kitchen clean.  Although the relationship between the caseworker and the mom was strained, Beth was able to effectively advocate for mom’s progress because she had spent enough time with her and in the home to know that she was truly progressing with services.  Additionally, Beth attended parent/child visits, spoke with the teachers and counselors on behalf of the children, worked with the fathers on the case, and consistently communicated with all of the attorneys on the case.   

Beth’s active participation with the entire family and in the mom’s home allowed her to have the very important impact for this family of ensuring mom’s progress was noticed by the department and the court.  Had she not been an advocate assigned to this case, the outcome would have been very different.  Mom eventually had a monitored return of her children, with the exception of Erik who went to live with his father full-time, and did a great job of incorporating her new skills into the life of the whole family.  The children were reunified with the parents after the parents had both shown Beth and the department their ability to utilize the resources they had been provided to improve their lives.  The children are all enrolled in school and are happy to be home.