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Advocate Impact - Joe & Jacquelyn Lopez

Jose & Jacquelyn are a husband and wife team who have exceptional communications skills enabling them to successfully work with traumatized children.  Because of their compassion for children they can push past the attitudes and bad language and see below the surface to the potential and strength of their CASA children.  They are level-headed, objective, and have the ability to work with all personalities.   When attorney for the children lobbied vehemently for an advocate on the case, I immediately knew which volunteers to approach.  Especially since Merits was less than a month from the time they signed for the case.  It is extremely rare for volunteers to be assigned to a case so close to Merits, however, attorney was adamant these children needed CASA’s involvement.

Case involved 5 children placed in 3 different locations.  Two children placed with mother in SA; one child in foster home (FH) in Lytle; and two children in FH in Lake McQueeney.     Oldest youth, 17yr. old’s major issue was mood instability, had trouble controlling his anger and was taking medication to address this.  He also had history of theft, truancy, and unhealthy eating habits.  Next oldest youth, 14yr. old had history of difficulty controlling her mood, for which she takes medication.

Once Jose & Jacquelyn signed for the case they wasted no time in visiting the 5 children, they devoted 36.25 hours and 423 miles on case prior to Merits.  Traumatized children need someone to trust, Jose and Jacquelyn developed a rapport and earned their trust in a very short period of time.   In Jose & Jacquelyn’s efforts to get to know the children, they invited the children to dinner, however, not all at the same time due to distance of placements.   This was an excellent opportunity for the children to share how they felt and their perception of what was going on in the case.  The children truly opened up concerning their life prior to CPS involvement and their perception of what they thought was going on in the case.    

When the three children placed in FH’s were placed with their mother on a Monitored Return, Jose and Jacquelyn visited home looking for any indicators of placement breakdown.  Although the oldest youth was friendly with Jose and Jacquelyn, his attitude was quite different with the case worker and SAPD when SAPD was requested to make a welfare check to mother’s residence.  When same youth reached out to his attorney without success; Jose and Jacquelyn facilitated this connection. 

Jose and Jacquelyn’s involvement in this case provided the court accurate and unbiased information enabling the court to render the best possible decision for the children.   We thank Jose and Jacquelyn for their dedication to their CASA children, their selflessness in their willingness to take on a case less than 30 days from Merits, providing exceptional advocacy on behalf of their CASA children during a very short period of time.