Holden* was just 13 months old when his little sister Ava* was born. Their mother, Beth*had drugs in her system. Child Protective Services became involved with the family, and the children went to live with a relative while their parents worked through a set of court-ordered services. Both parents were working hard to stay away from drugs and were doing well. Still, one day in a heated moment, Beth took Holden and Ava back into her care without permission, violating the safety plan that was in place by CPS, who then removed the children from her custody.
Beth loved her children dearly, but her drug addiction and history of domestic violence relationships put her kids at risk. The CPS caseworker thought Beth would be a great candidate for a special project court, the “Positive Pathways Family Reunification Court,” and Beth joined the program. Through this four-phase program, Beth agreed to weekly court visits, plus regular drug testing and completing a substance abuse program, among other things. It was a rigorous plan that required her to be drug-free and in a safe environment for her children. If she followed the guidelines and graduated, she could regain custody of Holden and Ava.
When Beth joined the program, a team of people was assigned to work with her family, including advocate David. David quickly got involved and began visiting Holden and Ava at their foster home. The children were doing well, and Beth was allowed to visit them twice a week. David attended the visits to see the children interact with their mom and developed a connection with them. He remained a regular part of their lives while they were in foster care.
As time went on, Beth continued to remain drug-free. She secured a job and completed her treatment. Soon she transitioned to a group home, and her time with her children grew from twice-weekly supervised visits to overnight stays. Each time Beth was granted more time with Holden and Ava, David visited to ensure all was well with the children’s needs. Beth completed domestic violence counseling to ease her team’s concerns and eventually brought Holden and Ava to live with her at a group home. David then increased his visits to see the children twice a month – on top of his weekly court appearances. He never missed a beat.
David approached the case, the children, and especially Beth, with an open mind and collaborative attitude. He knew that reunifying with their mother would be best for Holden and Ava if Beth could complete the program.
Ultimately Beth moved out of the group home and into her own new, safe apartment. After a rigorous nine months, David and the rest of the team celebrated with Beth as she graduated from the Family Intervention Court program. Today, Holden and Ava continue to thrive in the care of their mother. Beth has remained in her job and she continues to stay drug-free. Thanks to the support she found in Child Advocates and David, Beth turned her situation around, and now her children are safe, happy and thriving.
*Names were changed to help protect parties of the story.