Nine-year-old Anna’s mother abused alcohol. She would leave Anna with other people for long periods of time while she went out drinking. When Department of Human Services Child Welfare came to investigate the neglectful situation, they became involved but chose to keep Anna at home with her mother rather than taking her into foster care. They saw that Anna’s grandparents would step in and closely monitor Anna’s safety, and Anna’s mother was motivated to engage in services.
Melissa was appointed to be Anna’s CASA volunteer. She also became dedicated to ensuring that Anna remained safe and healthy.
The threat of losing her daughter was a big wake-up call for Anna’s mother. She quit drinking and completed alcohol treatment, parenting training, AA support, and therapy. As the Judge witnessed this transformation, she commented on how refreshing it was to have a parent who recognized her responsibility to her child, and who took ownership over necessary changes.
In addition to monitoring the mother’s progress, Melissa regularly spent time with Anna. The two would engage in fun activities like making bracelets, allowing Anna the opportunity to enjoy just being a kid and the space to share her feelings. Melissa visited Anna’s school to have lunch with her several times. With a friend there just for her, Melissa could see that her lunch visits made Anna feel special – a feeling that many kids never get to experience.
Anna’s mother has remained sober, and DHS closed Anna’s case. Anna and her mother continue to do well together.
NOTE: Anna’s story is real, but her name and picture have been changed to protect her identity.