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Rafaella was a young teenager with a number of special needs who was placed in foster care when her mother died. The guardian designated by her mother was not able to care for her, and no other relatives were known. Because of her special needs, Rafaella was sent to a residential treatment facility where she was put on medication. When a CASA volunteer was assigned to the case, her investigation revealed that Rafaella had relatives in Santo Domingo who were very willing to care for Rafaella. CASA worked with all the parties in the case, and assisted in arranging a trial visit. The visit went well, and CASA assisted in removing the remaining barriers of finding a bilingual tutor and access to her required medication. Rafaella has been living happily with her new family in Santo Domingo for more than a year.
A CASA volunteer was assigned to the case of a five-year-old boy named Raymond. The boy had been removed from his drug-addicted teenage mother, and placed with an adult cousin. Raymond was doing well at his cousin's house, but his father, who had left the country, applied for custody as did an aunt. All of the parties were very defiant and angry with one another and with social services. The CASA worker met repeatedly with all involved, listened to them, and explained some of the misconceptions people had about Raymond's situation. Within six months, everyone agreed that Raymond should stay with his cousin for now until his father had gotten back on his feet.
June was a four-year-old girl placed in foster care as a result of severe neglect by her mother. June had received medical care for acute illnesses since being placed in care, but had never had a comprehensive physical. CASA's insistence that this take place allowed physicians to identify a tumor behind her eye, which was promptly removed.
Four children were removed to foster care when their father was charged with sexual abuse, and their mother was charged with neglect. The CASA volunteer helped the mother to access Legal Services in order to obtain a divorce. When two of the four children were to be returned home, CASA learned the mother had not been complying with substance abuse treatment, and prevented the children’s return to an unsafe situation.
On a case involving two girls, ages 8 and 10, in foster care (one of whom has several handicapping conditions), CASA advocated for a required doctor’s evaluation to be conducted. This examination resulted in getting a specially fitted wheelchair, correct size leg braces and a helmet for the disabled child. Both girls were returned home with specific medical instructions, and are doing well. CASA also discovered the school bus driver thought the wheelchair “too heavy” and refused to transport it to school, a situation quickly remedied when CASA brought this to the superintendent’s attention.
In cases in two upstate counties, CASA’s advocacy uncovered unsafe and abusive situations in foster homes and brought these to the attention of social services and the court. The children were removed to other homes and judges in both counties praised CASA’s diligence.
CASA assisted a birth mother with a psychiatric disability in obtaining a guardian ad litem to help her understand the charges against her. Her child resided for eight years with an aunt who wanted to adopt him, but paperwork delays kept postponing the final adoption. CASA facilitated the process, and the child was adopted, telling the judge, “Everybody needs to be loved.”
Five of a mother’s children were removed as a result of neglect, and she delivered her sixth child while in residential treatment for drug addiction. CASA observed her visits with the children, monitored service delivery and court orders, visited the foster homes, and made weekly visits to the mother and baby. The CASA volunteer provided consistent support to the family throughout their case, which is slated to end with reunification of the mother and all of her children. The CASA's reports on the parent's progress gave the judge assurance that if reunification occurs, the children will remain safe.
The Child Safety and Risk Assessment Training will present an opportunity to understand the process that child welfare and family court judges work through when they are making decisions about wh... read more
Local CASA programs will bring staff, board members and Volunteers to meet with their legislators in Albany on 3/15/16. CASANYS State Association board members will join the local programs at leg... read more
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