Brian was 11 and his sister Lily was 13 when they were taken into foster care. They were living with their mother in a house piled high with trash. They rarely attended school, and when they did they were filthy. Brian and Lily were not fed healthy food or taken to the doctor when they needed care.
Since she was a young child, Lily had been wheelchair-bound and thought to be medically fragile. When the children’s CASA volunteer Kathleen first met Lily, she saw sadness and almost no energy in Lily’s eyes. But during the children’s two years in foster care, amazing changes occurred. Brian and Lily began going to school regularly, and their confidence grew as they received good grades. They ate nutritious foods and lost their excess weight.
Brian, who had been painfully shy, opened up and began talking and joking. Lily’s foster parents worked on physical therapy with her, and her mobility began to improve. She visited the doctor regularly. Not only did the doctor take Lily off many of the medications that had been sedating her, he determined that her medical condition had improved dramatically. Lily began to talk about her future in a new way.
Kathleen was amazed and overjoyed to watch Brian and Lily blossom out of so much adversity. She made sure everything progressed in a positive direction for the children. She visited regularly with Brian and Lily and stayed in communication with their doctors, teachers and relatives. She attended visits between Brian and his father, who had just come forward in the case. The father had completed parenting classes, secured safe housing and gotten a job, and Kathleen could see he was committed to being a safe and loving parent for Brian. She reported to the judge that she was very comfortable reuniting Brian permanently with his father.
Brian has now been returned to his father’s care. Lily will remain in permanent foster care with the family who is taking such excellent care of her special needs, and will continue to have visits with her father, brother and mother.
NOTE: David and Lily’s story is real, but their names and picture have been changed to protect their identities.