April 20, 2020
With a CASA volunteer’s help, children reconnect with their mother
For children in foster care whose parents are incarcerated, maintaining connections with parents can be especially tough. Frank, a CASA volunteer in Pennsylvania, was assigned to advocate for siblings Austin and Addison shortly after their mother, Joy, was released from prison.
Frank soon discovered that Joy had not had any visits with the children while she was in prison, though a visitation plan had been in place. The case management team told Frank it had been too difficult to coordinate visits to the correctional facility.
And visits had not occurred once Joy was released, either. Frank learned that the visitation order had not been updated to reflect her release. He worked with his CASA supervisor to try and get visitation set up, but was unsuccessful.
A month later, Frank had an opportunity to recommend to the court that visits begin immediately. He told the judge about the lapse in visits and that Austin and Addison missed their mom and were eager to see her. The judge ordered that visits were to start right away, and the family was reunited at last.
There is much to be done when it comes to maintaining important connections between children and their incarcerated parents. Being a CASA/GAL volunteer for one of these families is a good place to start.
For more information on this issue, visit the website of the National Resource Center on Children and Families of the Incarcerated.
*Names have been changed to protect privacy. Image is not of actual subjects.