Vincent and Genevieve, ages four and three, cozied up to their foster parents every night, reading books and snuggling before they went “sleep sleep.” Both exposed to drugs prior to birth, the children’s behaviors were challenging, but the foster family worked hard to keep their home calm and therapeutic for the children. Routines like books and snuggles before bed were important them.
After a year in foster care with the same family, the family was home to Vincent and Genevieve. Their CASA volunteer Laura knew the children well and marveled at how far they’d come.
With their parents still using drugs, the children’s great-grandparents stepped up after a year, indicating they would be willing to take the children to keep them in the family.
After a home study and agreement with CPS, attorneys and CASA Vincent and Genevieve moved to their great-grandparents’ home. Laura stayed in touch, visiting regularly. She saw the children’s behavior was a lot for the family to handle and guided them to enroll Vincent in a Headstart program and get some babysitting assistance for Genevieve. She also encouraged them to seek out therapies that would help the children regulate their behaviors. When Vincent started waking at four every morning, Laura even contacted the prior foster family for guidance and tips on how Vincent slept best.
After three months, Child Protective Services closed the case with permanent custody of the children given to the great-grandparents, and their caseworker was reassigned.
Two months after receiving permanent custody the children’s great-grandfather called Laura late one night. He told Laura he and his wife could no longer keep the children. Their behaviors had gotten worse instead of better. He was exhausted and frustrated and couldn’t assure their safety anymore. He wanted to surrender them to CPS.
Laura advised the great-grandparents to alert CPS, and she immediately called the former foster family, knowing the children needed safety and reassurance. The next day, Laura met the new CPS investigator and the children at the CPS offices, where their great-grandparents tearfully surrendered them to CPS. Laura brought with her the name and phone number of the foster family who’d had the children before and encouraged CPS to consider placing them there again, allowing the children consistency.
Arrangements were made and that night Vincent and Genevieve cozied up to their former foster parents once again, reading books and snuggling before “sleep sleep.” Things were not easy, though. After five months away, Vincent’s behaviors had spiraled out of control. He pinched and bit his foster parents and choked a child at daycare who took his toy. The foster parents had to limit his time out of the house to help him control his aggression. Meanwhile, Genevieve was having nightmares and couldn’t sleep at night.
As the children’s case wound its way through the child welfare system, the great-grandparents indicated to Laura they wanted the children to be adopted by the foster family.
After almost 18 months back in the foster home, Vincent began kindergarten this fall. Doctors have prescribed ADHD medication which the family reports has helped him with his behavioral and sensory needs. Genevieve is working on socializing with other children her age and attends preschool two mornings a week.
The children were adopted in October. The entire family wore “Team Family – Lifetime Member” shirts and the morning was full of joy and tears, with Vincent and Genevieve excited and running from family member to family member. Their great-grandparents attended the adoption, telling Laura at the end “the kids have the family God meant for them to have.”