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Advocate Impact - Jessica Swadick

            Jessica Swadick signed on to her case in August 2015.  She had four kids on her case and she immediately went out to their grandmother’s home to meet with them.  The four kids on her case are Jonathan (14), Michael (13) and twin girls April and Alice (10).  The children were removed due to physical abuse of Jonathan by his mother.  The mother on this case has been unstable for many years and the children had ultimately been residing with their paternal grandparents off and on for most of their lives.  

            Jessica worked hard to get to know all the children and to make sure that they felt like they had a voice in court.  The mother on the case also worked very hard to complete her services and try to regain custody of her children.  Unfortunately, although the mother worked her services, she has had a difficult time regaining the trust and confidence of her children.

            Jessica recognized early on that this was going to be a difficult case due to the fact that the children were older and they had already expressed multiple times that they did not want to live with their mother and they wanted to stay with their grandparents even though their mother had completed her services.  Jessica knew that the key to this case would be intensive therapy for the children and also for the family together.  Jessica advocated for the children to have a strong therapist that would tackle these tough issues and also accommodate family therapy.  Jessica maintained contact with the different schools the children were attending to make sure they were being successful academically.    

            Due to the intricate issues on this case we attend court more often than the average case.  Each hearing Jessica is almost always called to testify because the Judge has recognized that Jessica has a special bond with these kids and they feel comfortable telling her how they are feeling.  Jessica has been a constant in these kids’ lives since they came into care.  These kids know that they can trust Jessica and that she always has their best interest at heart.  Jessica has also been very good about thinking outside the box and trying to find solutions to work towards reunification while still respecting the feelings of the children.  At the last hearing a new therapist was requested and Jessica recommended increasing sessions since it is the summer so that hopefully there will be more progress made. 

            This case is still ongoing and despite all of the complexities, Jessica has managed to make huge impacts on this case.  Without Jessica on this case, these kids would not feel like they have a say in their future and they might’ve been re-traumatized by a hasty reunification.  Jessica is still hopeful that the kids will eventually trust their mother enough to willingly return home but she knows everyone still has a lot of work ahead of them before this case will come to a close.  Due to Jessica’s advocacy these children feel comfortable expressing their feelings and they know that Jessica will always be there for them and make sure that their voice is being heard.