Twins, Susan and Samantha*, and their younger brother, Jeremy*, lived in foster care on and off for most of their lives. The police received a report of three young children left alone in a local motel room. When the police arrived, they found the children and discovered drugs had been sewn into their toys. The twins were eight and their brother was six when they were removed from their mother the final time.
Mom had been abused as a child and she too had been in and out of foster care. Mom could not hold a job, was addicted to drugs, and got involved with abusive men. She went through periods when she could provide for the children, then times when she would present them to the Department of Child Services, stating she could not feed or house them. This pattern went on for approximately six years. The children's fathers would also drift in and out of their lives. The fathers did not come forward to take the children when they were about to be placed into foster care.
The children dearly loved their mother, but, when they arrived at the foster home, were angry with her for repeating the same mistakes once again. A CASA volunteer was assigned shortly after the children were placed in foster care. The CASA built up a good rapport with the children by attending their softball games, attending school programs, and meeting them for lunch and other special occasions. Visitation was set up between Mom and her children. Unfortunately, Mom failed to show up or call the children most of the time. In court, Mom stated the visitation plan did not work with her schedule, so the CASA called the foster parents and worked out a schedule that worked for them and the children's mother. As time went on, Mom began disappearing for weeks at a time and would have no contact with her children. The CASA relentlessly called around town looking for any of Mom's friends that might know her whereabouts. Eventually, she surfaced and stated she could not continue making mistakes and hurting her children. The CASA had several conversations with her, and reinforced to her that it was okay to be honest, and that she did need to think about what was best for the children.
A service provider who had been working with the family had become very attached to the children. She had been a single parent, whose children were now grown, and had so much to offer the children. Since Mom knew and trusted the service provider, she readily agreed to an adoption. Although the Department of Child Services knew this service provider and had worked with her for years, they could not procedurally place the children with her because her foster care license was incomplete. She had completed the majority of the paperwork, but was waiting to take a CPR class. The CASA volunteer, however, could and did recommend to the Judge that the children be placed with the service provider as a pre-adoptive placement. The Judge agreed with the CASA volunteer and ordered that the children be placed with the service provider. The adoption was finalized within three months. The CASA volunteer still sees the children occasionally and they appear happy and well adjusted.
[*Identifying information has been changed to protect the children's confidentiality]