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Advocate Impact - Gretchen Goodson

CASA Volunteer, Gretchen Goodson first met children, Dave & Laura in the summer 2014.   At the time both the children were residing at a children’s shelter and were quiet and reserved, Laura seemed not to understand what was happening.  Come to find out the children had been living with their parents at a local air force base, their father was a United States veteran. This was very shocking to Gretchen, but she knew that perhaps the children could have additional services and benefits through the military.

In a matter of time Gretchen was able to gather information from the Department of Defense as to what social services, medical or supports could be offered to this family. Also by that time she had met the mother of the children, which had reportedly only spoke German. Gretchen was able to advocate for the mother to receive an added Guardian Ad Litem that was fluent in German, in hopes this could better assist the mother.  As months passed, the mother on this case grew fond of volunteer, Gretchen and began to trust her. The mother did, in fact, speak English but was afraid to speak up, since in the past she had been a victim of domestic violence. Gretchen was able to build a good relationship with the mother.  She was fortunately able to assist with facilitating parent/child visits with the mother given the children are placed out of Bexar County.

Despite the distance to the children, Gretchen visits the children monthly and has even participated in medical appointments for child, Laura.  Laura is mentally disabled and has a cleft palate; Gretchen was able to obtain medical records and discovered that Laura indeed had been receiving services through a military facility for this issue. Gretchen not only has learned to navigate the child protective system (CPS) for this case and for the children but also the military system as well, and has even reached out to the German Consulate for added assistance. She has advocated for permanency for the children here in San Antonio and as far as in Germany as well by trying to reach family members that perhaps could serve as a support system for this family. Today the children are still waiting to be reunified with their mother, but Gretchen is happy to report, their mother is doing well enough and is headed toward reunification. Gretchen, along with CPS, has been able to assist mom with finding resources and assistance through SAMM Ministry.  This family is fortunate to have Gretchen as their CASA Volunteer and with her advocacy permanency for these children will be with their mother, who has become better educated and equipped to reunify with her children very soon.   Great job Gretchen for your constant, thorough work with this family and for the impacts that you have made in making a lifelong difference in the lives of Dave and Laura.