ADVOCATE OF THE MONTH - NOVEMBER
Although every effort is made to keep sibling groups together in foster care, it is not always possible. Kaitlin's case involves 5 children, age 1 to 9, living in 3 different foster placements. Kaitlin has not let geography slow her progress at all.
Visitation between the children and biological parents had been ordered to take place at the CASA office. The parents were to meet weekly with the two local children in person and the other three once per month through Skype. The parents failed to call or arrive for visits several times. The children, having looked forward to seeing their parents, had to return home time and again disappointed and broken hearted.
Seeing this pain, Kaitlin requested a special court hearing to suspend visits until the parents could show progress on their case plans, begin rehab, and develop a reliable means of keeping appointments. Although she had requested the hearing, Kaitlin had no idea that she would be called to testify. She bravely took the stand to describe how the parents' behavior was negatively affecting the children. The older three were all behind in school, and the counselors and therapists all agreed that the trauma from unmet promises weighed heavily on this. Kaitlin's testimony was clear and accurate without ever hinting at judgment toward the parents. The judge ruled in favor of CASA, and the visits have been suspended. After court, the biological mother hugged Kaitlin and thanked her for looking out for her children. It takes a very special person to illicit this kind of gesture, and Kaitlin is very special indeed.
Congratulations, Kaitlin, and thank you for your dedication to your CASA kiddos!