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Advocate Impact: Cheryl Coltrin’s Story

One of the greatest skills that CASA Advocates contribute to a case is effective communication. CASA Advocate Cheryl Coltrin’s work on the case of Debbie (four years old), Maureen (three years old), and Joseph (18 months old), is a perfect example of this. The children had been removed from their mother’s care after several CPS referrals, dating back to 2007, regarding domestic violence. CPS finally intervened after the mother’s boyfriend attempted to flee from the police while carrying Joseph. Cheryl began work on the case after CPS placed the children with their maternal grandmother.

From the beginning, Cheryl had numerous concerns with the placement. The mother and grandmother did not get along well, and the grandmother often complained about the financial burden of caring for the children. Cheryl’s greatest concern, however, was the family’s tendency to conceal information from CPS and to blame either their caseworker or one-another when services broke down. The family’s uncooperative nature resulted in discharges from two therapists and two different daycare facilities.

The family’s tendency to blame their caseworker for service-plan failures created a great deal of tension between the family and CPS. Fortunately for the children, Cheryl worked tirelessly to maintain contact between the family, daycare providers, therapists, caseworker, and attorney to ensure everyone was aware of the case’s specifics. This proved to be critical as the family was often found to be deliberately deceptive. Ultimately the children were removed from their grandmother’s care after Joseph was found to have bruising associated with being hit for toileting accidents. Soon after, the mother forfeited her rights to the children.

After the children were placed in a shelter, Cheryl continued to make constant visits to ensure that they were safe and comfortable. Cheryl also made sure that she was present at the shelter to meet the new foster mother when a foster-to-adopt home was found. She was again present to help the children when they moved to their new home. As Cheryl put it, “The kids know I’m on their side.”

While working to keep all the case’s parties communicating, Cheryl always ensured that the children’s needs came first. Without Cheryl’s advocacy and constant communication, the case would have been drawn out and the children would have been subjected to prolonged chaos and violence. As a result, the children are now on their way to being adopted in a safe, happy, and permanent home.