Thursday, Sep 30, 2021
Heidi is currently advocating for two school-aged children, who were removed from their home after it was found their mother was struggling with drug abuse. The children were initially placed in a kinship placement. However, problems began to arise. The children were found to be missing significant amounts of school, were experiencing behavioral issues, and were having visits with their mom in violation of the court’s plan. The children were then placed in foster care, where Heidi began to see immediate improvements in their behavior. The foster parents also helped the kids get back to a place where they were consistently attending school.
“They had missed 40 days of school at one point. Seeing them start school regularly was huge. The little girl graduated first grade with more friends and definitely more confidence.”
Heidi made a point throughout the case to not only advocate for the children’s future, but to be there as a support during their time in the child welfare system. She recently partnered with an organization called HeartCrate, where she was able to get them a crate filled with games, toys, books and more, and has also taken them on outings like to the Children’s Museum.
“That was a great visit, to see them just getting to be kids.”
The goal remained for the children to return home, and the mother was given a treatment plan by the department to help her follow the steps needed to strengthen and reunify their family. After almost a year into the case, with her making consistent progress and following all of the court’s recommendations, the family was able to reunify last month.
Heidi stressed how she feels the most important thing she can do as a CASA is to be the voice for a child who otherwise might not have one.
“I always make sure to ask them what they would want the court to know. It’s important to get their perspective.”
Being on her second case, Heidi also noted how different this case was from her first, and despite this case having more ups and downs than the previous case, how it has “reaffirmed the value of a CASA” in her eyes.
“This case had so many parts, from foster care to family dynamics”, she said, adding how her ability to visit the kids as often as she did to fill in her legal team to the complexities of the case “has solidified just how important our perspective can be.”
We thank Heidi for her work and for making a difference to the children she has served. Congratulations for being September’s Volunteer of the Month!