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Family Treatment Court: a different approach to reunification (part two)


A Family Treatment Court & CASA success story

A CASA Volunteer was appointed to a case involving two children who were placed in foster care after their mother was arrested for drug possession, and the home was found to be unsuitable for the children due to cleanliness issues. The CASA Volunteer immediately became involved with the children and worked to become familiar with the family’s situation, and even reached out to the mother though she was hesitant to speak to the CASA Volunteer initially. The children were placed with a relative who struggled to handle the children’s behaviors-- behaviors that were the result of the trauma the children experienced before they were placed in foster care and due to a behavioral health diagnosis.

The mother began treatment to address her substance abuse and was visiting the children regularly. During one of these visits, the children disclosed to the mother that the relative was using excessive physical discipline, which is strictly prohibited by caretakers of foster children. This placed the children’s mother in a precarious position. The mother was scared of the children being moved to a foster home, but knew her children were growing fearful where they were living and not receiving the care they needed. The mother reached out to the DFCS case manager, the Family Treatment Court case manager and the CASA Volunteer to let them know her concerns. As a result, the children were moved to a local foster home and the mother began developing a relationship with the foster parent and furthered her relationship with the CASA Volunteer. The mother, foster parent and CASA Volunteer were able to partner together and attend school meetings to help the mother understand the children’s educational needs.

The mother worked hard to complete substance abuse treatment, parenting classes, counseling and other tasks until she was granted unsupervised visits and eventually reunification. Once the Judge returned custody of the children to the mother, the mother started planning a surprise reunification party for the children which included the DFCS case manager, the foster parent and the CASA Volunteer.

On the specified day, the children arrived at the home for what they assumed was normal visit, to find balloons, cake and streamers and learned that they were staying home for good. The children jumped into their mother’s arms and started crying. The children were home. The CASA Volunteer remained on the case and helped the mother to continue to navigate the school system and counseling. Throughout the Juvenile Court case, the CASA Volunteer provided emotional support to the mother while monitoring the children and their services. She spoke frequently to the mother about the family’s needs, encouraging her, and celebrating progress. When the mother graduated Family Treatment Court, which was done via zoom due to the pandemic, the CASA Volunteer was at the home with a cake ready to celebrate the mother’s accomplishments. The mother and the CASA Volunteer continue to have a relationship to this day, long after the closure of the dependency case. So often the work of child welfare is working collaboratively and about celebrating every tiny victory, tiny victories that add up to success for children and families.

Want to help our Family Treatment Court partners? 

Contact: Marisa Sullens,,  770-718-5710

  • To provide treasures for the incentives given during court - candy, coloring books, art supplies, planners and calendars, new socks, makeup, toiletries and household items. 
  • To provide personal hygiene items used when moms go to residential treatment
  • To donate to the library for kids and/or educational/parenting/self-help books for parents

Contact: Amy Friend,

  • To help furnish and decorate homes and apartments when a parent is moving on their own and are ready for reunification with their child(ren)