Born early, twin sisters Mya* and Millie* had spent several weeks in the NICU before coming home with their parents to their 2 year old brother, Brodie*. The infant girls had been home barely more than a week when they were rushed to the hospital. Both of the twins had suffered serious injuries including brain and retinal bleeds. After an initial evaluation at the emergency room, the girls were flown by life flight to a leading pediatric hospital. Mya almost died during the flight and was placed on life support.
The injuries indicated physical abuse, and the baby girls, along with their brother, Brodie, were placed in the care of Child Protective Services (CPS) for their own safety.
CASA is Appointed to the Case
When a child enters the foster care system because his or her home is no longer safe, a judge may appoint a committed volunteer to help them. That volunteer is called a Court Appointed Special Advocate®, or CASA.
Connie*, a CASA Advocate, volunteered to take on the case.
Connie visited the babies in the hospital, and watched hopefully as their recovery began. Mya was eventually able to breathe on her own and taken off life support. When Brodie was placed in a foster home, Connie was a familiar face to him and a comfort as the toddler settled into his new surroundings.
Twins in crisis
As the months passed, medical professionals began to notice that the girls were slow to meet developmental milestones, or weren’t able to meet them at all. Connie pushed for various therapies for Millie and Mya, taking the time to perform her own research and deliberating with doctors. However, the girls showed minimal progress. After further evaluation by their medical teams, they were both diagnosed with cerebral palsy as a direct result of the physical abuse they had endured.
Brodie, Mya and Millie’s parents gave every excuse for the girls’ injuries. They first said that Brodie must have harmed them. They then alternated claims that it was a babysitter, the helicopter ride, and even social services who had only become involved after the girls arrived at the pediatric hospital. Along with CPS, Connie testified before the court and presented her recommendations. The parents’ rights were terminated.
One stable presence
Over the three year case and through several CPS case workers, Connie was the one stable presence for Brodie, Mya and Millie. Brodie was adopted by the foster family he had been placed with at the beginning of the case and is now an energetic 5 year old. Because of their special needs resulting from the abuse, Mya and Millie (now 3 years old) were adopted by a loving family who can care for their very specific medical and physical needs. Connie, working with both families, helped coordinate initial sibling visits, a practice that the families continue to this day!
CASA Child Advocates of Montgomery County provides valuable volunteer advocacy for every abused child in this area. CASA volunteers like Connie serve as the “eyes and ears” for the judge in child welfare cases. This includes researching each child’s situation and making objective recommendations to help them reclaim their childhoods from abuse and neglect. CASA volunteers are frequently the only stable presence in these children’s lives as they navigate the foster care system.
Like Connie, volunteers bring three critical qualities to their work: they focus on one case at a time; they bring a unique perspective to the court case; and their sole objective is representing the best interests of the child.
Tuesday, December 3, 2019 is Giving Tuesday. On this day of giving back, we hope you will consider the children in foster care served by CASA Child Advocates of Montgomery County as the recipients of your generosity. About 7 children enter foster care in Montgomery County EACH WEEK. We need your help to continue to serve EVERY CHILD.
It costs $1,500 to provide a child with an Advocate like Connie for one year.
- $63 will provide a child with an Advocate for 2 weeks.
- $125 will provide a child with an Advocate for 1 month.
- $1,500 will provide a child with an Advocate for one year.
Help a child now
Change a child’s future today. Help now.
For more information about becoming a volunteer, CLICK HERE.
*Children’s names, Advocate’s name, and images have been changed to protect their privacy.