This is a story about two boys. Both were placed in the same foster care home at only seven weeks old because of abuse and neglect. One received the services of NRV CARES, an organization dedicated to protecting children and strengthening families, while the other boy did not.
Mark and David's Stories
Mark was born in a county served by NRV CARES. His mother was not ready for motherhood and severely neglected his care. A routine check-up concerned the doctor, who then alerted authorities. He was placed in foster care with Sally and her husband. Little Mark was malnourished and needed many services. The case was appointed to CASA of the New River Valley. The CASA volunteer assigned to his case immediately began gathering information for the courts regarding the best placement for Mark.
When a child is placed in foster care, services endeavor to strengthen the immediate family so the child can be returned. If this is unsuccessful, the next step is to look to extended family. Sadly, Mark’s mother did not follow through with services, despite encouragement from Sally. Mark’s great grandmother, June, decided to petition for custody. June was determined to provide a home for Mark. She participated in a Parenting Young Children course and practiced the skills she learned during visitations with Mark. June and Sally worked together in caring for Mark. One year later, Mark found his permanent and safe home with June. With the services provided by NRV CARES and other agencies, Mark continues to thrive and grow with June.
The second boy, David, was born in a county outside the service area of NRV CARES. Like Mark, David was removed from his biological parents and placed with Sally and her husband. David did not have a voice advocating for him in courts, nor did his biological family have access to Parent Education. His story is very different.
While with Sally and her husband, David grew healthier and made important attachments to them; however, he was traumatized each time he visited his biological family. As Sally grew to love and understand what David needed, she tried to educate his family. Her thoughts were not well received. After one year, an attempt to return him to his family resulted in a second removal. He returned to Sally with behaviors described as “off the charts.” Daycare centers did not have the means to provide care to David, leaving Sally to make other arrangements for socialization. He was only 18 months old at the time. For the next two years, David endured traumatizing visitations with his family. Finally, at the age of four, the court decided to terminate parental rights. David could now be adopted. Sally and her husband decided he should be with them. Six months later, the adoption was finalized.
David was not mistreated by the courts or the service providers in his county. Laws were followed and available services were provided. The difference between Mark’s story and David’s story is NRV CARES.
Sally told us, “I know in my heart, that David could have been spared years of trauma if he had a CASA volunteer who could have been his voice, a neutral voice looking out for his best interests or Parent Education to help his biological mother to learn new skills. I am so glad and full of hope knowing that NRV CARES is working in our community. I know with their help even more children will be protected and more families will be strengthened.”
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