As a child, Tamara’s* mother left her with a relative and never returned. KidsVoice helped place Tamara, 9, with her great-aunt.
Tamara’s great-aunt became her permanent legal guardian, one step short of adoption. She wanted to give Tamara a safe home, but she also felt that Tamara’s mother—if she received the appropriate mental health services—might still be able to step back into Tamara’s life.
Tamara’s mother would call sporadically, but she rarely asked how Tamara was doing or speak to Tamara directly. Then, Tamara’s mother filed a petition requesting that the court return Tamara to her. Her petition was brief and vague. She provided no evidence of being in a mental health treatment plan and did not address her daughter’s specific needs. Her request was denied by the court.
At that time, KidsVoice spoke to Tamara about whether living with her mom someday was something she might want. Tamara was hesitant to return to her mother’s care but expressed interest in being able to see her in person. Tamara’s great-aunt was cautious but was always open to mother-daughter visitations.
A few months after the first request, Tamara’s mother filed another petition and this time, she provided proof that showed she was actively addressing her mental health needs. The petition also demonstrated that Tamara’s mother had an in-depth understanding of Tamara’s educational and medical needs and included letters of recommendation from her mental health counselors. This time, the court accepted the petition. It was time to create a transition plan.
KidsVoice connected Tamara’s family to a mediator to discuss visitation options. They were able to meet with the mediator quickly and came to an agreement that was healthy for all three family members.
Tamara began to visit with her mother on a consistent schedule. Tamara and her great-aunt noticed significant, positive changes in her mother’s behavior. She was showing genuine interest in Tamara’s needs, and speaking openly of her mental health treatment progress.
Tamara began to express that she would like to live with her mom again. Her great-aunt, once cautious, was also convinced that Tamara and her mother were both ready to reunite full-time.
KidsVoice recognized the progress the family had made and supported their decision to continue toward full reunification. KidsVoice continued to assist with the transition plan, which would culminate after the school year’s end so as not to disrupt Tamara’s education.
With everything in place, a new chapter in Tamara’s life was just beginning.
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