jessicaBonnie, a CASA volunteer, was assigned to advocate for an eight year old girl, Jessica who, along with her brother, was removed from their biological mother after it was reported that their mother had threatened to drive into a nearby river and kill herself, and her two children. The biological mother has a history of mental illness and had stopped taking her medications because she was pregnant with her third child.

Jessica and her brother were placed with their maternal grandparents. When the baby was born, she, too, was placed with her maternal grandparents. All three children have different biological fathers. By the time Bonnie was assigned to the case the goal for Jessica was to be reunified with her biological father. However, according to professionals involved with the case, Jessica reported that she did not want to be placed with her biological father. Bonnie, in addition to meeting with the child, grandparents, met with the biological father who discussed his concerns about reunification. He identified to Bonnie the barriers that he saw to reunification, which included: the grandparents turning the child against him and his new family; as well as their bad mouthing him and his family in the community.

Bonnie witnessed some of these behaviors that the biological father discussed. Additionally, Bonnie was able to obtain information from Jessica regarding how she felt about her visits with her biological father. Jessica told Bonnie that she wanted to live with her father but her grandparents told her that she should stay with them. Bonnie advocated for family therapy for Jessica, her biological father and his new family; for increased visitations between Jessica and her biological father; then visitations with Jessica and her biological father’s family, and then overnight extended visits. When the Court decided to reunify Jessica with her biological father, Bonnie advocated for the continuation of their therapy, sibling visits between Jessica and her brother and sister who were still living with their grandparents; and visits for the grandparents as well. Jessica was able to be successfully reunited with her biological father while still maintaining a relationship with her siblings and grandparents due to the advocacy of Bonnie.