Jayden* was born substance-exposed, tested positive for cocaine and experienced serious substance withdrawal symptoms for the first few weeks of his life. His condition required an extended hospital stay and resulted in a Department of Family Services (DFS) Child Protective Services investigation.
Jayden was placed with a foster family while DFS looked for family members who might be a placement option. Jayden was assigned a CASA who took the time to get to know him and his family. Jayden’s parents were unable to care for him and their parental rights were ultimately terminated. Jayden’s aunt stepped forward and agreed to undergo a home study so that she could take Jayden in with a goal of adopting him. Jayden’s CASA observed the relationship built between them as they progressed from supervised visits to unsupervised visits, and even overnight visits, all while DFS conducted a thorough home study.
When the home study was abruptly halted due to a clerical paperwork error, Jayden’s foster family was asked to adopt him, so that Jayden could achieve permanency through adoption as quickly as possible. Jayden’s CASA knew the importance of keeping children within their biological family whenever possible, and the long-term positive impact family connections can have on the child’s life. Both the CASA and the Therapeutic Foster Care case worker shared these beliefs. Together, they advocated their position to DFS, and for the aunt’s paperwork to be reconsidered. DFS has since reconsidered Jayden’s aunt as an adoptive placement and is providing her with the time and resources needed to submit her paperwork.
Our CASAs know that children benefit greatly from connections with their biological family members. In this case, the CASA had witnessed firsthand the loving bond Jayden shared with his aunt. The CASA spoke for Jayden and now he will have the opportunity to thrive in the care of his family!
*Name changed for confidentiality