Sam and Christopher*, two young brothers, were born into a tumultuous home life marked by domestic violence. Over time, their mother realized that although the violence was against her, not the children, it was still hurting them. She recognized that it was her responsibility to protect the boys. She left the abusive relationship and filed for custody of the children.
All of the case professionals agreed that it was in the best interest of the children to remain with their mother. Visitation with their father would be limited until he made significant changes. His struggle with substance abuse, frequent incarcerations, and possession of firearms were areas of concern in regard to the safety and security of the children.
The CASA volunteer who advocated on behalf of Sam and Christopher spent a lot of time with the boys, processing all of the changes they were experiencing. She saw that the boys missed their father. They also missed seeing their paternal relatives. The CASA reached out to these relatives, asking if they would become more involved in Sam and Christopher’s life. These paternal relatives and the boys’ mother knew that spending time together would help the boys maintain a sense of connection with their father, who they could not see.
CASA gathered input and developed a detailed visitation arrangement that was then adopted by the Court. Sam and Christopher’s CASA stayed involved, monitoring the visitations and observing the boys’ interactions with their paternal family. It was clear that having visits helped the boys feel more connected to their father and culture. CASA ensured their safety, but also created an arrangement that gave them a stronger sense of identity.
** October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
If you or someone you know needs help immediately, call 911. To report domestic violence, call 800-799-7233. The National Domestic Violence Hotline can also be reached via text or chat if it is not safe to make a call.
*Identifying details changed to protect this family’s privacy.