October 9, 2019
When three siblings whose mother struggled with addiction were removed from their home, the oldest sister was split up from her younger siblings. Rachel, the 15-year-old, had been her siblings’ primary caretaker for many years. Rachel was placed in an institution for youth with behavioral issues; she was depressed and sometimes suicidal, was heavily medicated, and her behavior was poor.
Rachel and her siblings were assigned Alice, from CASA of Yellowstone County in Montana, as their CASA volunteer. Alice focused on maintaining the siblings’ relationships with each other. She carried notes and drawings from one to the other each week. From what she’d learned about the case, Alice wondered if some of Rachel’s issues stemmed from being separated from her siblings.
Alice and Rachel worked together to locate family members out of state. The children’s grandfather and aunt had not known what the children were going through until Alice made the connection.
Alice facilitated weekly phone contact between the children and their grandpa, whom they’d never met. He agreed to have the children move in with him, and Alice wanted them to get to know each other in the meantime. And when they finally did all move together to live with him, local donations paid for Alice to travel to visit them.
Rachel is now completely behaviorally stabilized and is off all medication. The children love their new home and the family that was there all along, that they might not have known if it weren’t for the commitment of their CASA volunteer.