When a child is falling through the cracks of a flawed and overwhelmed system, a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) volunteer has the chance to come in to change the trajectory of the case and change the child’s life. Social workers are over-worked with new cases getting added every day. They are bound by policy, with little to no control over some decisions that must be made. Such as, the policy that states a child must be placed with a willing family member first before being placed into a foster or adoptive home.
CASA volunteer, Connie Fremin, chose a case with a little girl who was taken out of her home a few days shy of her second birthday. Girl X’s biological mother had several children taken from her over the last few years for not being able to provide a safe home for her children. Girl X was soon thereafter placed in a loving and supportive adoptive home and began to grow a bond with her new mommies.
Four months into her adoptive home placement, DCFS found a family member for Girl X who lived four states away and that she did not know. The foster parents and CASA volunteer were heartbroken but Connie knew that she had to stick with the child to ensure that she was in the best placement. Although DCFS is in total control of child placement, a CASA volunteer’s notes and recommendations can heavily influence the court’s decision on placement.
Connie was in continuous communications with all parties and was quickly informed when the placement was not working out. Connie was the listening ear when the selected family member expressed her concerns and ultimately her withdrawal as a placement for Girl X. Connie contacted those who were in charge to begin the process of Girl X returning to her original adoptive home.
Connie worked diligently through the staff changes at DCFS to ensure that this matter was handled as swiftly and smoothly as possible. She was a constant source of comfort and information for Girl X, the adoptive parents, and Girl X’s family member. Without Connie being the family members' unbiased listening ear, Girl X may still be placed in a home that was not best suited for her. Girl X was placed with two mothers that loved her enough to let her go in the name of family; then welcomed her back with open arms. She was adopted and is now in her forever home.