Because every child
HOW WE HELP
MARIA and MAGDALENA
CASA requested that our assignment be expanded so that we could assist with issues around Ms. T’s incarceration. Initially, our efforts were focused on ensuring that Ms. T’s arrest and incarceration and the children’s separation from their mother were being addressed by the children’s therapist. Maria and Magdalena repeatedly expressed to their foster mother, therapist and caseworker that they missed their mother, with whom they had maintained a close relationship while in foster care. After the Court granted approval for telephone contact between Ms. T and the children, CASA worked with prison officials and the children’s therapist to set up phone calls between Ms. T and the children during their counseling sessions. When both Ms. T and the children expressed interest in having visits, CASA was able to provide the Court with detailed information regarding visitation procedures and facilities. CASA also informed the Court of conversations with the therapist, caseworker and foster mother, in which all three discussed how much the children suffered under the separation from their mother. The Court ordered that the children visit with their mother in the presence of a mental health specialist, who would then prepare a report regarding the visit. The specialist’s report, which determined the visit to be appropriate and positive, was reviewed by the Court and ongoing visits were ordered. CASA continues to work very closely with all individuals involved to ensure that visitation and telephone calls continue.
CASA remained assigned to Sarah’s case, and following her return to NY, assisted her with services related to the goal of APPLA, including housing, stable income and education. Initially, Sarah resided in a Supervised Independent Living Placement (SILP) apartment; however, it was closed due to lack of funding in June 2010. After leaving her SILP apartment, she was placed with 2 different foster families until she was approved for her own apartment in December 2010. CASA was very instrumental in helping Sarah achieve this goal: while she had been granted a spot with the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA), she lost it because she did not have a steady income. CASA subsequently assisted her with a series of NYCHA applications, accompanied her to housing appointments and interviews, and also advocated for her to obtain a presumptive budget letter so she could certify income. CASA also asked the foster care agency to provide letters so she could receive public assistance while she was in school. When she was selected again for an apartment, CASA accompanied her to sign the lease.
Sarah is currently on a trial discharge to herself. After being in foster care for 20 years, she is finally on her own. Her case is still open with CASA and the Courts. CASA meets with Sarah on a bi-weekly basis to discuss her budget, GED classes, and stable employment.
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