Janaya, 2, was burned in the bathtub. With numerous unrelated adults and children living in the home, it was unclear when and how Janaya was burned. When her mother discovered the wounds, she panicked and waited a day to take Janaya to the hospital, causing her wounds to become infected.
Child Protectives Services investigators assessed Janaya’s injury and home life and discovered that Janaya’s mother had been using illegal drugs. For Janaya’s safety, CPS removed her from her mother’s home, placing her in foster care.
Janaya was assigned a Dallas CASA volunteer to advocate for her needs while she was in protective care. CASA volunteer Nancy began visiting the child regularly, checking to make sure the foster placement was caring for her appropriately. Nancy also attended parent-child visits between Janaya and her mother. Nancy saw a lot of love between the pair but that Janaya’s mother had a long way to go before she could safely care for Janaya.
Over the next nine months, Janaya’s mother completed all the services ordered by the court, including extensive parenting classes, drug treatment and maintaining sobriety. Nancy knew Janaya and her mother wanted to be together, but she felt the best chance for successful family reunification would be a slow transition home, allowing the girls’ mother to maintain her newfound sobriety.
Initially, not all parties involved in the case were on the same page, but through mediation and continued advocacy from CASA an agreement was reached.
Nancy advocated that Janaya remain in foster care but have weekend visits at home. She requested the girls’ mother be required to maintain a job and stable housing, as well as attend Narcotics Anonymous meetings. Nancy knew that caring for Janaya while sober would be hard.
“This was going to be a whole new normal for them,” Nancy said.
Over a period of three months, Janaya’s mother eased back into parenting. Nancy continued her regular visits, seeing Janaya at home as well as in her day care while her mother was at work. The extra time afforded by the mediation worked, and today Janaya and her mother have been safely reunited.