Oklahoma, CASA for Children, Inc.

The Laker Family - Home Again

Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Toddler boy with longer hair in shorts and polo. Toddler girl in a pink tye die dress with blonde hair. Baby boy in a pink polo. All hugging and posed in front of the stairs.


With three kids, two-and-a-half years of service, and one CASA volunteer, the Laker family was reunited. It wasn't a quick or easy process, but it was ultimately a happy ending for the children and their mom.

An infant, a 9-year-old, and an 11-year-old were removed from their parents due to substance abuse by their mother and domestic violence by their father. Their mother was admitted to a local women's shelter for protection and for treatment of her substance abuse issues.

A few months later, after some progress and a relapse, CASA Volunteer Denise was appointed to provide more information to the Muskogee County Judge. Denise began by meeting with the children on the case in their foster home. The children and the mother lived in different cities with the CASA volunteer living in a third, providing a unique challenge for maintaining contact.

Over the course of the case, Mom went through many ups and downs but ultimately ended up maintaining her sobriety in a sober living facility. During that time, Denise was a consistent voice for the children, advocating for counseling, medical appointments, visits, and anything else that was in their best interest.

During the two and a half years the case was open, there were two foster care placements and SIX child welfare workers, but only ONE CASA volunteer, Denise. She was able to be the constant, stable, professional voice to the Judge during the life of the case.

In the end, the children were happy to be reunited with their mother, and the case was successfully closed.

Bridging the divide between foster care and reunification can be both challenging and rewarding. More CASA volunteers, like Denise, are needed to advocate for children who enter the child welfare system; to help ensure they have the best opportunity to thrive. Volunteer today!