Making a difference: Sarah


The story: Sarah knew she had to be good. Her life revolved around keeping her parents happy and pleased. She did the laundry, helped with dishes, took care of her younger brother, cleaned the house, and always kept her bedroom spotless. But, no matter how hard she tried, it was never enough and she would pay the price. At first, her father punished her by beating her with a belt. Within months came the cigarette burns and broken bones from being thrown down the stairs. It wasn’t until Sarah was locked in a closet for three days without food or water that help finally arrived.

The difference: As her case proceeded through the juvenile court system, Sarah found her strength, her voice, and a chance for a safer future through her assigned CASA.

The outcome: Sarah’s case is still in progress – and Sarah’s CASA is still working to make sure her future stays bright. Return to top of page.

Making a difference: Andrew

Andrew The story: Andrew was not even born when his parents first came to the attention of the court system. His father was arrested for choking and punching his mother, who was pregnant at the time. By the time Andrew was four months old, the incidents of domestic violence had become more frequent and aggressive and his father was placed in jail. Left only in the care of his mother, who was pregnant again, Andrew experienced serious neglect because his mother’s drug and alcohol abuse rendered her unable to meet even his basic needs. When his father was released from jail, the physical violence against his mother escalated and became even more dangerous. After a year-long history of drug abuse and domestic violence by both parents, Andrew was placed in foster care. He was immediately appointed a CASA volunteer. As soon as his sister was born, having been exposed to alcohol and drugs in utero, she was also placed with Andrew’s foster family and appointed the same CASA volunteer.

The difference: The CASA volunteer witnessed both children thriving in their new environment and he made sure the foster home was a safe and appropriate placement for them. The volunteer collaborated with social workers and attorneys to make sure both children received the services they needed. He also continued monitoring court orders requiring both parents to participate in domestic violence counseling, attend drug treatment, maintain employment, and cooperate with social services. Because the volunteer documented consistent non-compliance with each of these orders, the Court became aware that returning Andrew and his sister home was not in their best interests.

The outcome: Parental rights were terminated the children’s foster parents made the commitment to adopt them both. Today, Andrew and his sister enjoy the security that comes with living in a safe, healthy, permanent home. Return to top of page.

Making a difference: Adam and Tracy

Adam + Tracy

The story: Adam and Tracy bravely suffered the loss of their grandmother and primary caregiver during the holiday season. The grandmother died suddenly of natural causes. The uncles living in the home called DSS to let them know that they would not accept the responsibility of caring for the children. The day they buried the grandmother, Adam and Tracy had to leave the home. They entered the system with only the clothes on their backs.

Adam and Tracy’s older sister, Madison, sought custody, despite having three young children herself. When social services and the Court Appointed Special Advocate volunteer started looking into this possible placement, the sister suffered a house fire and was forced to look for a new home. Meanwhile, the good natured children were living in foster care. After nearly a year, the biological mother, a substance abuser, was still living in unclean conditions and had returned to prostituting. No fathers are involved because the mom did not know who fathered the children.

The difference: The CASA volunteer remained dedicated to ensuring a better level of service provision to Adam and Tracy and their sister, Madison. The CASA’s frequent visits and contact with case professionals helped each child make great strides at home and school.

The outcome: The Court concurred that Madison had overcome all odds. It was ordered that Madison and her children become the permanent family of Adam and Tracy, the children nobody wanted, right in time for summer vacation. Return to top of page.