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Advocate Impact - Debra “Debbie” Moreno

Debra "Debbie" Moreno completed new advocate training in August of 2016 and immediately signed onto her first case. It was a PMC case that has been active since 2011.  The case involves two young children who had experienced substantial abuse and neglect. The children, a brother (8 years old) and sister (7 years old) duo, still lacked permanency.   At the time Debbie joined the case CPS felt as though they had exhausted all options regarding continuing a kinship placement with a maternal aunt and uncle, whom had cared for the children since 2011.  CPS was prepared to seek long term placement separating the children. In April of 2016 the Department made the decision to separate the children.  The brother remained in the care of the maternal aunt and uncle while the sister was placed at KCI to address her substantial trauma and aggressive behaviors

From the beginning Debbie began exploring what barriers existed that prevented the siblings from being reunited and ultimately adopted by their kin. The brother and sister had an extensive history of triggering behaviors that resulted in intense tantrums and aggressive behaviors.  Even though both children engage in therapy on an ongoing basis the maternal aunt and uncle have been hesitant at times to have both children under their roof.  Before considering adoption they wanted both children to make substantial progress managing their past trauma and triggering behaviors.

As Debbie worked the case and shared her perspective and concerns the caseworker began to rely on and trust Debbie's insight into what is in the best interest of the children. Debbie advocated for the children to have sibling visits in order for their bond to be continued.  She has gone beyond with her communication on this case. She is objective and candid with the kin, smoothing out the many speed bumps along the way. Debbie is always available for a phone call, text or visit to either placement. She has on going communication with school staff, CPS as well as monitoring the children's progress in therapy. 

Through Debbie's tireless, persistent advocacy for a staffing at KCI, overnight weekend family visits were initiated.  KCI recommended the sister's year plus stay was no longer therapeutic, but could be detrimental at this time. The child was a flight risk because of her desire to return home.  After the last incident of fleeing, Debbie had a difficult conversation with the kinship placement and they agreed that after the brother’s adoption it would be time to bring the girl home.

On June 30th the brother was finally adopted on his 8th birthday! 

Now the work begins to transition the sister home. Debbie understands the importance of constancy for these children and will continue to tirelessly advocate until both children are adopted by their forever home.

Advocate Impact - Debra “Debbie” Moreno