Naomi* was fifteen years old when her difficult relationship with her mother came to a head and the two got into a physical altercation. Following their fight, Naomi’s mother no longer felt she could safely care for her daughter, and Naomi entered the child welfare system. The Court recognized that both Naomi and her mother needed access to resources and services to mend their broken relationship and become a family again. Naomi was placed in a therapeutic group home and assigned a CASA volunteer to advocate for her best interests.
Upon placement in the group home, Naomi began receiving vital services such as individual therapy and drug and alcohol counseling. Her CASA fiercely advocated for Naomi’s education by attending every IEP meeting and monitoring Naomi’s in-school behavior, grades, and attendance. When it came to Naomi’s relationship with her mother, the CASA worked with DFS specialists to facilitate in-home visits and promote positive interactions between mother and daughter. Though Naomi’s mother was initially resistant to participating in the required services, she got on board with family and individual therapy and embraced the help she was receiving, warmly referring to the group of professionals in her corner as her ‘team.’ As a part of that ‘team,’ the CASA was often the first person Naomi and her mother would call when they needed support or wanted to share their good news.
During the early months of Naomi’s time in care, DFS searched for Naomi’s relatives and found her biological father. Though he hadn’t been involved in Naomi’s life for over a decade, when DFS contacted him, he became dedicated to supporting Naomi and her future. He promptly moved from Louisiana to the DMV area and began participating in family meetings, visits, and outings. Naomi’s mother and father even developed a respectful relationship, with their daughter’s success as a mutual goal.
In August of 2023, upon recommendation of DFS and the CASA, Naomi permanently returned to her mother’s home. The family continues to engage in services and actively improve their relationships with one another. Naomi’s mother and father successfully co-parent, and Naomi finished the last school year just shy of making honor roll. The CASA is extremely proud of Naomi and her mother for their perseverance in family reunification and all the work they’ve done to improve their lives along the way.
*Name changed for confidentiality