After Jade and Jayden had been in foster care for a year, their Dallas CASA volunteer Sandy was told a distant family member in Louisiana had stepped up to take the children.
“But I was skeptical and unwilling to allow these precious children to be placed in the hands of anyone I did not meet face to face,” Sandy said.
So Sandy and her CASA supervisor drove to Louisiana to meet the relative. Much to Sandy’s relief, she and her supervisor fell in love with the family and what they could offer Jade and Jayden. A young married couple with two young children, they were ready to take Jade and Jayden and raise them in the country surrounded by animals and a supportive, caring community and extended family. They also were willing to allow the children’s parents to see and visit with their children in a safe environment.
Sandy came back from Louisiana buoyed by what she saw. She shared her observations with Child Protective Services, the children’s attorney and the judge assigned to the case.
Jayden had tested positive for drugs at his birth a year earlier. He and his one-year-old sister Jade were removed from home due to their parents’ drug use and placed in foster care. For the next year, the siblings had Sandy by their sides. She attended court hearings, visited the children in their foster home and made sure the children had access to necessary the medical and developmental therapies they needed.
She also attended most visits with their parents at the CPS office, making a point to arrive early so she could visit with the parents who loved their children but were continuing to struggle with drug addiction. Sandy grew close to the children, their foster parents and parents, forming positive, trusting relationships with everyone involved in their care.
Those positive relationships proved to be important when the family in Louisiana came forward. All parties met together after Sandy’s trip to Louisiana and mediated an agreement that put the children’s needs first. CPS, attorneys on the case, CASA and the relative placement were all able to agree the children would benefit from ongoing, safe contact with their parents, allowing them to be both safe and deeply loved.
“Together CPS and CASA were advocating for the greater good of these beautiful children,” Sandy said. “What a privilege it was to be the CASA volunteer on this case.
“Jade and Jayden were my first CASA case and I didn’t feel like I would ever have a case that would be as meaningful to me as that one was. And yet here I am halfway through my second case and I love these kids just as much!”