CFE Helps Reunify Family Across State Lines
By Jenn Engel, Training Manager, TBRI Practitioner & CFE Lead
CASA became involved in a case involving a two-year-old and a one-year old in July of 2021, even before the first scheduled Adversary hearing. It was a unique situation where the mother and children were here from another state.
Due to limited information, the COVID-19 pandemic, and temporary circumstances of the mother, CASA didn’t have a lot of information regarding their family. The CASA case supervisor suggested getting the mother’s attorney’s permission to speak to with the mother about their family. After speaking with the children’s mother, she provided CASA with the maternal grandmother’s phone number. The CASA supervisor contacted the grandmother to introduce both her and the new CASA Advocate, Neftali, and to explain CASA’s role in serving the two children. After the initial contact, it was clear the grandmother was eager for her grandchildren to return to their home state as soon possible.
Over a short period of time, Neftali built a trusting relationship with the grandmother by communicating with her almost daily. This also created a collaborative relationship between the grandmother and the foster parent who was taking care of the children to ensure the children’s needs were being met during the process. By receiving additional information around the children, the foster parent became more aware of any potential unidentified needs, especially concerning medical needs. During a visit with the children, Neftali was able to witness the interaction between the children and grandmother during a FaceTime call. It became evident when their faces lit up that there was a strong bond among all of them. The two-year old turned to Neftali and asked if she could “take her back to Grandma’s house.”
Neftali completed a genogram and was able to speak with other family members who facilitated and helped the grandmother arrange travel plans to Texas. On Friday, August 13, 2021, the court ordered for the children to return to their home state with their maternal grandmother and non-suited this case, dismissing CPS, CASA and the attorneys.
Neftali shared, “When the maternal grandmother flew down to Texas, and I saw her arriving at the courthouse, I immediately recognized her and felt as if I had already met her. It was awesome being able to Advocate for these two children knowing they could go home to a wonderful and loving grandma.”
Although the Adversary hearing had to be reset more than once, and the children were in foster care for about 45 days, CASA was able to advocate strongly for the children to be placed with their grandmother out of state, and not to be placed under temporary custody with the State of Texas.
CFE TOOLS AND GUIDE
There is now a Spanish CFE video available for Spanish-speaking parents and families. This Spanish CFE video can be found here.
Check out the newly updated CFE Pocket guide from Texas CASA – Download the CFE Pocket Guide here..
If you have a success story or questions regarding Collaborative Family Engagement, please email CFE Lead, Jenn Engel at Jenn@CASAspeaks4kids.com.