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Advocate Impact:  Janet Willson’s Story

Janet Willson has been an Advocate since the beginning of last year and recently began her first case. Janet’s case involves three children: Adam (10), Jocelyn (8) and Jenna (7). The children came into care because of physical abuse by their mother’s boyfriend.  Their mother, having been hospitalized for suicidal ideations, was accused of not protecting her children.

The girls were placed in a separate foster home from their brother, who, after entering care with a diagnosis of anxiety and bipolar disorder, began taking psychotropic medications. By May of 2013, Adam was prescribed seven medications, five of which were mood-altering. These medications had serious side-effects, the least of which caused him to experience extreme drooling. This was a source of frustration and discomfort for Adam. Janet actively advocated for a review of all prescribed medications, even though Adam’s foster father was adamantly opposed to reducing any of them. Citing uncontrollable behaviors at school, he believed that Adam’s medications should be increased. When the medication review was completed, it was determined that Adam should be taken off one medication and yet another should be lowered. As a result, Adam’s foster father submitted notice for removal, and Adam was placed in another foster home. The second placement lasted less than two weeks, and he was subsequently placed in a Residential Treatment Center. Janet continues to visit Adam and has seen significant improvement in his behavior. She is in frequent contact with his caregivers, therapist, and his school teachers. He has formed a special bond with Janet and will occasionally call her just to talk.

Janet has also taken a special interest in the girls’ education. She recently discovered that although both girls were promoted to the next grade, they are behind in reading and math. It is believed that Jenna may need special education services. Janet is now diligently working to get the girls all the services they require.  

Throughout the case, Janet has pushed for sibling visits and for parent/child visits. Despite the mother being fully engaged in her services, the visits were not being scheduled. Even today, visits often do not take place unless Janet transports the children. Thanks to Janet, the children are able to visit with one another and with their mother.

Janet’s advocacy efforts, coupled with the mother’s progress, helped to pave the way towards reunification. However, the caseworker had not scheduled consistent visits and had no plan for transitioning the children back with their mother. Janet began advocating for unsupervised and overnight visits to help with the future transition. With Janet’s advocacy, the family was allowed to spend part of Thanksgiving week together. Her persistent and insightful advocacy has not only strengthened the family but has also helped to provide a happier holiday. 

Advocate Impact:  Janet Willson’s Story