Thursday, January 27, 2011

I'm a testifier

At the beginning of the month I went to court with one of my families and the case was continued until today. There was a strong question of whether the courts would take the girls away from their mom at court today. I have been advocating all month for this not to happen and over the last week have been talking to everyone involved to advocate for the mother (who has been very cooperative in services and is not neglecting her children) and the girls. Last week I was super stressed for about two hours after getting off the phone with several people. My coworkers and supervisor had to hear all about it (and have been so helpful in letting me vent to them about it). Anyway, things went better than expected in court but not as well as we had originally hoped. The case was continued for 6 more months with all services still intact and DCFS maintaining guardianship.

I have been to court a lot of times with my clients, but I get so frustrated because most of the time nothing happens, it just gets continued. And then I miss the court hearings where something actually happens. It has been become a joke around the office and I've said I'm not going to court anymore because maybe things would happen if I wasn't there. Today was a very different story. Not only did things happen, but my client's lawyer called me to the stand. Now, in talking with my supervisor last week and this week I was hoping I could have a say in court, but for some reason it never occurred to me what that would mean. I actually had to be sworn in and sit on the stand beside the judge. It was so official. Most of what happens in our cases happen outside the court room while waiting to go in and is very informal. so, this surprised me. But it wasn't as bad as I thought and I do feel like I was heard during the last week and some of my recommendations were actually taken into consideration.

All in all, I am not displeased with what happened and I breathed a big sigh of relief that the girls did not get pulled out of the home. I do believe I am fighting an uphill battle for the family, but we have six months to make some more progress, so I'm not going to worry about that yet.


Ann said...

Wow. I thought I was stressed about work! I am sure you did a great job on the stand. I hope everything works out for the best for everyone.

Mom said...

There are prayers coming your way and to the mother and her children. I hope everything works out for everyone. Hope the next six months are rewarding for you. You do an excellent job and I am so proud of you!