Theresa accepted her first case immediately following her swearing-in in November of last year. Her case included 2 siblings placed in the Amarillo area. Having raised children of her own and spending her career in elementary education, Theresa bonded with her kiddos quickly. The brother and sister pair allowed Theresa to enter their small circle of trust, and the relationship between the three grew stronger through the many visits and activities planned by Theresa. She instinctively knew that determining their best interest would be based on the culmination of information from all involved parties, and, of course, the kiddos themselves. With family reunification as the primary CPS goal, Theresa also worked consistently to keep apprised of the biological parents' progress on their service plans.
As the case progressed, Theresa was able to reinforce the confidence of the older sibling who had taken the brunt of the verbal abuse from their parents. In helping him find his voice, Theresa made sure he had the opportunity to speak to the judge. This option is available to all foster kids, but one that is seldom used. Sadly, it is common for foster kids to feel invisible and powerless. With Theresa's support, her CASA kiddo calmly but firmly let the judge know that although he loved his parents, they were not capable of caring for him and his sister. Because of her methodical contacts and detailed notes, Theresa was able to validate her kiddos request. This case recently closed with the biological parents relinquishing their rights so that the kids could be adopted by their foster placement. All through this highly emotional process Theresa maintained focus on the kids and how to best ensure their future.
The CASA Advocate is typically dismissed from a case at the final hearing, and the older sibling interpreted this to mean he would never see Theresa again. Tears turned to laughter and hugs when he learned that his trusted friend could remain in his life.
Thank you, Theresa, for giving your kiddos the time, love and support they needed!