Every child in foster care – even the child who seems the most alone – comes from a family. Regardless of the circumstances, chances are there are family members who love the child, and would be willing and able to reconnect and help. They just need to be given the chance.
Take this true story of a CASA case in Harris County.
Two boys, now 12 and 13 years old, have been in foster care for the last six years.
Neither of them had seen or spoken to any members of their family of origin since their parents’ rights were terminated. Child Protective Services (CPS) had also fallen out of contact with the family over the years. Opportunities for positive, healthy family and adult connections for the boys seemed limited at best.
In December 2018, CASA and CPS brought the boys together to see if they could reconnect them with family. They did exercises with the children to help them remember family members who supported them in the past. Through this, they found a maternal aunt, spoke with her and got contact information for the boys’ mother, maternal grandmother, two more aunts, a cousin and an uncle. CASA and CPS reached out to the family and invited them to a family meeting in February.
It was an emotional meeting – after all, the family got to see pictures of the boys, and hear about how they’re doing, for the first time in years. During the meeting, CASA and CPS proposed that the family should start writing letters to them twice a month. After several weeks, though, it became clear that the letter writing was not going to be consistent as a strategy. They decided to arrange another family meeting for December to discuss challenges and brainstorm ideas.
The group came up with a simple solution: rather than written letters, what if they created a Facebook group for the family that they could use to communicate with the boys? CPS would monitor the page and content of the messages to make sure things were happening safely. The family loved the idea, and once the group was created various family members started reaching out.
The boys’ reaction to getting into touch with their family after so many years was touching. They cried, and were happy to know that their family had not forgotten about them.
After following the judge’s requests that would ensure the boys’ safety, Mom got the opportunity to visit them over Christmas – and so did grandma and an aunt. The plan going forward is that visits will continue monthly. Dad also has plans to fly to Texas to see them soon!
Thanks to CASA and CPS’s work and the investment of the family, these boys have gone from having no connections to visiting with their parents and extended family in the span of a year – from feeling lonely to feeling loved.
YOU can play a role in helping children in foster care feel more connected, safe and loved. YOU can help keep families engaged for the good of these children. Take the first step at www.BecomeACASA.org.