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Advocate Impact:  CJ

CJ signed onto her case in July of 2013 and worked her case until completion.

CJ’s case had two children that had been removed from their home due to domestic violence and drug use in the home by their father.  The children also had lice and severe developmental delays.  CJ quickly focused on the children’s educational needs.  Cassandra was 7 years old and did not recognize her alphabet or colors and appeared to be functioning at a Kindergarten level.  Jacob was 4 years old but only functioning on the level of a 2 year old.  His vocabulary was limited to yes or no.  CJ called the school and requested an ARD meeting for both children.  As a result Special Education services were set up for both children to include speech therapy immediately.  Throughout the life of the case there were many meetings in regards to the children’s education and CJ attended every meeting in order to make sure all educational needs were being met. 

It was evident from the parent-child visits that the kids had a strong bond with their mom, and that their mom was working hard to complete all of her services.  Given the progress of both the children and mom the Advocate recommended that the children be returned home at the end of the school year so as not to disrupt their education. On June 6, 2014, the Judge and CPS agreed with the CASA’s recommendation and allowed the children to be placed back with the mother. CJ continued to advocate for the children’s needs and attend all ARD meetings, only this time they including the mother so that she could be empowered to take control of the children’s educational needs.  Throughout this transition CJ made sure that the children continued to receive and attend therapy services. The case was progressing and everything was going great until the day of the final hearing.  At the hearing it was discovered that mom had an old warrant for hot checks and was arrested by the court’s bailiff that morning. The Advocate worked in conjunction with the caseworker to come up with a plan for the children while the mother was in jail. While the caseworker made sure that the previous foster home was ready to have the children returned to them, the Advocate took the kids to get ice cream.

As the case was coming to a close it was evident that mom was not in good shape to reunify with her children.  The mother did not have a support system or any known family that she could rely on for help or placement options for her children.  CJ knew there was a parent–child bond that could be salvaged, and that the kids on her case very much needed and wanted their mom. At this point in the case all of the parties were requesting termination but CJ held out hope that other the family could be located.  CJ worked closely with the mother to come up with all possible relatives that could be potential placements for the children.  Some relatives were located, but unfortunately none of them were appropriate and time was running out.  The day before the new trial and the 18 month mark, CJ was able to locate and have a maternal aunt step forward as a possible placement. After a positive home study and short transitional period the kids were placed with their maternal aunt. The children were moved with minimal clothing and they were lacking beds, so CJ advocated for clothing and she provided winter jackets for the children.  CJ also contacted Ashley’s Furniture for beds.  She provided the Aunt with multiple resources and information on ways to advocate for the children’s educational needs. During the move one of the children Cassandra lost her glasses and CJ advocated for CPS to make sure she received new glasses before they closed out the case. Throughout this case CJ always advocated for what she thought was best for these children.  They are now happily living with their aunt and have regular contact with their mother.  During this case the children saw many changes and transitions, but they always had their CASA CJ looking out for them and making sure they had everything they needed.