We recently had the opportunity to work on a case that resulted in a child going to live with a sibling living in another state, whom she had recently come to know and love. This surprising result could not have happened without the dedication of her CASA volunteer!
The child, who we will call Cindy, has been in several homes during her life as a foster child. She was even adopted once, only to have her new parents decide to return her to the state. Her biological parents are not an option for her any more, and she has been through so much upheaval, she has a great deal to overcome to even begin to form new relationships. This makes her very difficult to place, as she has so much trouble trusting adults. Not surprisingly, she became a habitual runaway.
When she was assigned her CASA, Laurie, she had recently learned that she had a sister in a faraway state. With Laurie’s encouragement and support, they began to try to get to know each other through phone calls and visits whenever possible. Cindy’s sister, knowing that she needed a permanent home, requested that Cindy be allowed to come live with her. Unfortunately, due to DCS policies, the caseworker could not grant this.
Laurie’s investigation of the family, along with her discussions with Cindy’s teachers and therapists, led her to believe that fostering the relationship between the sisters would be healthy and beneficial to Cindy, and so she worked to determine what could be done. Then, due to a conveniently timed business trip, Laurie was able to visit the home of the sister out of state, and to investigate the situation first hand. As a result of her report to the Court, the Judge decided that even though DCS couldn’t approve the move, he could! He released Cindy to the custody of her sister, based on Laurie’s recommendation!
There was not a dry eye in the Court that day. Everyone, even DCS felt that this was a wonderful thing for Cindy, but they had not been able to change their policies to accomplish the move. The Judge and lawyers even noted that if it weren’t for Laurie, it would not have happened.
We are thrilled that CASA could provide the Court with the right solution for this child, and we are so proud of Laurie for (literally!) going the extra mile for her CASA kid!