Tuesday, May 31, 2022
Kyle and Mason ran 90 miles per hour, just like you would expect any 5 and 3 year old to behave. The curly, tousled hair little boys were excited to be back at home with their mother and you could see the joy written all over their tiny faces. Looking at the boys it is hard to believe that just 2 short years ago their world looked completely different.
Kyle and Mason’s mom went to prison when they were very young, leaving the boys in the custody and care of their father, Joe. Joe was not without his own difficulties and suffered from a severe substance abuse disorder. His frequent drug use left him unable to care for the boys properly and led to reckless behaviors including repeated domestic violence and leaving the children unsupervised. Eventually the State intervened, removing the boys from the trauma they were enduring and placing them into the child welfare system. It was then that things began to change.
Shortly after they were removed from their home, the Judge assigned Kyle and Mason a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA Volunteer). Someone who would stay by their side throughout their time in care and who would advocate for their best interests at all times.
The boy’s CASA volunteer, Karen, knew how important the stability and advocacy she would provide could be. She met with the boys every month, got to know them and their unique needs, and even got to know their mother, Karlie.
Karen made sure that both boys received the mental health counseling that they needed to overcome the traumas they had experienced. She also worked closely with Karlie after her release from prison to ensure that she was taking the steps she needed to regain custody of her children.
Karlie was motivated to provide a stable home for her boys and decided right away that putting them first would have to be her number one priority. She got a job, obtained her driver's license, completed parenting and domestic violence classes, and passed all her drug screenings. With the help and support of her family, Karlie was making plans for her future and good decisions for her children.
Karlie’s determination to make a better life for herself and her boys led to a recommendation from CASA and DHS to return the children to their mother. A happy ending for all!
Bridging the divide between foster care and reunification can be both challenging and rewarding. More CASA volunteers, like Karen, are needed to advocate for children who enter the child welfare system; to help ensure they have the best opportunity to thrive. You can help! Volunteer today!