Siblings Lauren*, Samantha* and Alex* came into CPS care in 2018. Lauren, 17, had been beaten by her mother and father and kicked out of the house. Samantha, 12, and Alex, 7, suffered neglect at the hands of their parents’ drug use. In one instance, Alex had been caught rummaging through the trashcans at school and putting food in his backpack. The siblings needed help, and advocate Jeanne Sommerfield rose to the occasion.
Jeanne hit the ground running in her work with the children. Her goal was simple – to get the needs of the children met and guide them to environments in which they could thrive.
Because of Jeanne’s advocacy and efforts, Lauren is doing remarkably well. Jeanne was able to help Lauren get out of an original placement that was unsuitable, and Lauren was placed with an incredible foster family. Now, Lauren is finishing her second year of college.
When Alex began to display signs of struggle in school, Jeanne knew he needed additional help and began advocating for testing and accommodations for him. Alex was diagnosed with dyslexia, but because of Jeanne, he is now receiving the support he needs. He has been adopted by a maternal uncle and is continuing to thrive now that he has a safe and stable environment.
Samantha has attended a total of twelve schools and has been in eleven different placements since 2018. She has struggled with the lack of stability, and has run away many times, resulting in being a victim of sexual exploitation. Through it all, Jeanne has been constant. Samantha has remained in contact with Jeanne in every circumstance, and Jeanne has often helped locate Samantha after she has run away because of the work she put in to learn about Samantha’s connections and friends.
At one point in the case, Samantha was placed in a residential treatment center that Jeanne knew was not a suitable fit due to reports of the ways the children had been treated. Jeanne fought to get that placement blocked and helped locate a new and safe placement for Samantha. Now, Samantha is doing well. Jeanne is continuing to help find a permanent home for Samantha, working passionately and diligently just as she has from the beginning. She is committed to making sure Samantha’s needs are met, no matter what.
Because of Jeanne’s incredible ongoing work with Lauren, Samantha and Alex, she was named our March “Volunteer of the Month!” Jeanne has truly demonstrated what it means to be an advocate for abused and neglected children in our community, and we couldn’t be more grateful for her commitment to a brighter future for each of these three siblings.
Thank you, and congratulations, Jeanne!
To learn how you can become a volunteer and make a difference like Jeanne, click here.
*Names were changed to protect the identity of the children we help.