Reunification - Virtual Style
A national pandemic may impact the way that our work is done but learning creative ways to adapt was second nature for Lisa Miller, a Social Worker from the Middletown DCF Office and her Supervisor, Marie Levesque.
The case of an infant placed into foster care was met with some unforeseen challenges on the path towards reunification. The Mother, who is originally from out of state, gave birth to her child in Connecticut. Due to many complicating factors, she could not care for the baby, who was placed into foster care.
That served as a turning point in her life.
Expressing her desires to care once again for her child, the Mother began visiting regularly, traveling from her home state to Connecticut and met all of the expectations agreed upon with the Department.
She was motivated and determined.
Despite the pandemic, this Mother took part in a mental health evaluation, substance use screening and secured housing.
Here was the barrier……………. the pandemic placed travel restrictions between states impeding the ability for DCF to verify her current living conditions. When assistance was sought from another CPS agency, the response was they were unable to visit the home until the baby was actually in their state.
Only one piece of the assessment was needed in order for reunification to occur.
Lisa using the #wegotthis mentality, did not allow barriers to delay reunification. Through the use of modern technology, she made her assessment through FaceTime. With the support of her parent advocate, the Mother took Lisa on a guided tour of her apartment and was able share the lease agreement and evaluations electronically.
With all this in place, the custody order was vacated, and the Mother and her baby were reunified.
According to Lisa, "The foster mother was wonderful. She brought the baby to the Middletown office, where she met me, the mother, and the advocate for the reunification." Great compassion was shown by the foster parents.
The Mother continues to receive supports and the CPS Agency in her state has now visited the home and provided a positive report on everyone's progress.
The reunification was truly a joyous occasion for the mother, and she was appreciative of everyone's efforts. My chain of command was supportive and willing to think outside of the box. It seems all of the pieces fell into place," Lisa stated.
Thank you, Lisa, and thank you to your entire team in the Investigations Unit including Kim Natoli (ISW) and Jamie Isaacs (ISWS) for managing this case with respect, creativity and unrelenting effort.
Thank you to Office Director Lisa Sedlock and Program Supervisors Michelle Peterson and Skye Garofalo for leading these innovative efforts.