Ten-year-old Sofia and her younger brother Jacob rarely had enough to eat. Her clothes were worn and dirty and her shoes were too small. Sofia often stayed home from first grade to baby-sit her brother. She missed so many days of school that her teacher reported her as truant and called 241-KIDS.
When the caseworker arrived at the home, she found Sofia and Jacob alone. It was February, and there was very little food in the house. The heat had been turned off. Once the caseworker made contact with their mother, she learned she had been working. There was no family in the area and no support except for a new boyfriend with a long and violent criminal history. Many domestic violence police calls had been made to the home. Sofia's mother was depressed and completely overwhelmed. Since there were no relatives or friends to help with the children, Sofia and Jacob were placed in foster care.
Nancy, a ProKids CASA volunteer, was heartbroken when she met Sofia and her brother in the new foster home. They were sitting quietly on the couch, not attempting to talk to anyone. They looked scared and sad. The foster parents were concerned with Sofia's behavior. It did not take long to learn mom’s new boyfriend was sexually abusing Sofia while she was at work. The boyfriend was arrested and Sofia's mother broke off all contact with him.
Nancy had a lot of work to do. She worked closely with ProKids STOP Program to get services for the mother and children. She put the family in touch with a local organization that helps Hispanic families find appropriate housing, childcare, and support. She advocated strongly for the services Sofia would need to heal - therapy and educational assistance. Nancy advocated for Jacob's development to be evaluated and for him to get the services he needed. Nancy monitored the criminal prosecution of the boyfriend. Their mother cooperated fully and was eager to do anything to get her children back. The children were allowed supervised visits and it became clear to Nancy as she observed these visits that the children needed to be with her.
Today, Sofia and her brother are back with their mother. Nancy reports that they live in a comfortable, safe apartment and attend school regularly. Their mother continues to receive the support she needs to maintain a safe home for them. Sofia's smile is back.