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Advocate Impact - Beth Pisano

Beth Pisano has been a CASA volunteer for almost three years. She enjoys working on cases with large siblings groups and often takes on multiple cases at one time.  Beth was initially assigned to work with a family in August of 2014 with four children who were brought into care after the baby, Alex, was left unattended on a bed and rolled off. He obtained a head injury from this fall and concerned medical staff contacted the Child's Protective Services department for further investigating.  It was quickly determined that the family had previous referrals for neglect and domestic violence issues at home.  The family's home was filthy and the children were not adequately being taken care of.  The mother completed the social services program with the CPS department but still continued to have issues with the cleanliness of the home and with monitoring the safety of the children. 

The mother on the case and the father of the youngest child, Alex, were asked to separate due to ongoing issues of domestic violence.  The dad moved out while maintaining his job and successfully completed services.  The mom struggled to complete her services and take responsibility for the issues at home.  One of the four children left state custody and started living with his biological father, who had previously been deployed overseas with the military.  The other children were placed in a foster home, enrolled in school and began attending counseling sessions.  The mom was closely bonded with all of the children and had a strong interaction with them at visits. Yet she struggled to keep her house clean and to understand why her children were not in her care.  She was overwhelmed and struggled to stay organized. Both CASA and the department initially had concerns as to whether she would be able to adequately attend to the needs of the children. 

As the case progressed, Beth noticed difficulties in the communication between the caseworker and the mom and strived as a mediator to facilitate a more effective way of communication between them. She consistently visited the mom’s home and worked with her on ways to keep the home and family organized.  Beth met with the counselor about the mother taking responsibility for the events that led to the removal of her children. She motivated the mom to fully engage in the services that were being offered.  On one of the visits to the home, Beth even showed the mom a better way to keep her kitchen clean.  Although the relationship between the caseworker and the mom was strained, Beth effectively advocated for the mom’s progress because she had spent enough time in the home to know that there was a progression in her services.  Additionally, Beth attended parent/child visits, met with the children's teachers and counselors, worked with the fathers on the case, and consistently communicated with all of the attorneys on the case.   

Beth’s active participation created an impact with the entire family and ensured the mom's progress, which was noticed by the department and the court.  Had she not been an advocate assigned to this case, the outcome would have been very different.  The mom eventually received a monitored return of her children, with the exception of Erik who lived with his father full-time. She did a great job of incorporating her new skills into the life of the whole family.  The children were reunified with their parents, are enrolled in school, and happy to be home.