Rebecca (12 years old) and Jonathan (8 years old) were living with their mother after having spent time in a foster home a few years earlier. They moved around quite a bit and the children were not going to school. After some complaints from concerned citizens, police officers found mom passed out in a hotel room. No action was taken at this time. A few weeks later, Mom checked Jonathan into a local hospital for suicidal and violent behaviors. In November, Jonathan became ill and hospital personnel could not locate mom in order to get her consent to give him medication.
Consequently, Jonathan and Rebecca were placed in foster care by the Department of Child Services. The foster home was nearly two hours away from their mother. When the CASA volunteer went to meet the mother, she discovered that mom and dad had remarried. They expressed apprehension at their involvement with the Department of Child Services. They refused to sign anything that would allow them to receive services. Mom did eventually begin parenting classes and expressed great interest and a desire to learn. Mom and Dad had very minimal visitation with the children, in part because of lack of transportation and in part because of their lack of cooperation with the Department of Child Services.
The CASA volunteer encouraged Mom to cooperate with services, and educated her about the legal process. The CASA volunteer explained to the parents that admitting that their children were in need of services would enable them to receive help to become better parents. She emphasized that the system wanted them to admit need so that they might help them, not so that they might punish them. Mom spoke with her attorney and the CASA volunteer about admitting that her children were in need of services. Mom understood that this would mean involvement with the court and the Department of Child Services. In March, Mom and Dad officially admitted to the allegations and began participating in counseling and home-based services, once they understood from the CASA volunteer why this was in their children's
In May, six months after the children had been removed from their parents, a dispositional hearing was held and the children were returned to their parents' home because the parents had made good progress with services. The children remained wards of the court for a monitoring period. All family members received individual counseling and participated in family counseling, as well as marital counseling for Mom and Dad. The children and parents are happy to be together. Mom and Dad still had work to do on their parenting skills, but with intensive home-based services they were on their way to stability.