RBC | Mia, Jake, Kyle and Alisha were living in a trailer with their Mom. Mom was dealing methamphetamine from their home, robbed at gunpoint and beaten in the presence of the children. Routinely, Mia would gather her younger siblings and lock them in the bathroom to keep them safe from strangers that were “living” in their home. The children were taken into foster care and the father of two of the children was located by The Department of Human Services (DHS) in another state. The Father moved to Colorado to take custody of the children and tried his hand at full time fatherhood. He even wanted to adopt the third and fourth children since all four of the children considered themselves siblings.
A CASA was assigned to the case and established a relationship with the children. Dad welcomed the CASA’s help and CASA visited the children every 10 days or so. The CASA followed them through several moves. The CASA was able to alert the child protection team to 2 different unsafe living situations that Dad had moved to due to financial difficulties. The CASA was also the person Jake’s teacher called when she suspected Dad of child abuse. The CASA was able to direct the teacher to report the suspicion to the child abuse hotline, speak with Jake to clarify what had happened and then arrange a meeting with DHS to educate him on appropriate discipline measures. The CASA spoke at length with Dad and helped him understand that some of Jake’s behaviors may have been a symptom of prior sexual abuse rather than defiance. As a result, Dad understood the importance of patience with Jake and insuring Jake attend his therapy appointments.
Three of the children had involved medical needs that had not been well documented in the case. As a result of the trust that the CASA had gained with the children, they opened up about their physical well-being and the CASA was able to bring the children’s needs to the Court’s attention.
Initially, Mom had denied abuse and neglect petition. The CASA testified in court as to what the children had described to her about their living situation when they had been in Mom’s care. The children’s versions all were similar but drastically contradicted Mom’s version. The Court was able to get the 360 degree view of the children’s situation and make a determination based on information provided by the children rather than merely on Mom’s account of the facts. Mom was found guilty of abuse and neglect.
Dad continued to meet the children’s needs and grow in his knowledge of child rearing. He was able to apply for low income housing with the help of the CASA. The Court awarded him permanent, full custody of all the children and the case was able to close with a safe, stable and permanent home for the children.