A mother of three girls, ages ten, eleven and thirteen had filed a petition to regain custody of her daughters. She had voluntarily surrendered her children several years earlier to her mother because she admittedly had a drug and alcohol addiction at that time and did not want to put her girls through the difficult time she was having. Several months and a rehabilitation program later the mother made another difficult decision to let her daughters stay with Grandma for fear of disrupting their seemingly happy lives. During visits over time, her daughters began to trust her again, and told her of some horrific things Grandma was doing to them.

     The counselors at school were aware of some of the issues and had called Child Protective Services many times. When the Caseworkers arrived at the home the girls always changed their story because they were afraid.

     The Volunteer Advocate went to the home and met with the little girls, the oldest of the three said she was scared to talk at her grandmothers house. The Volunteer promised to go to school to see them the next day. While speaking with the two oldest girls, the Advocate assured them that they Judge cares about them and wants them to be safe. The young girls began to tell the Advocate of the tortures they had been enduring over the last few years. They spoke of being emotionally and physically abused and the pain they felt. After their conversation the Advocate spoke with several of Mom’s friends, AA members, Social Workers and even the Housing Agency, whom were all a part of moms large support team. She was assured that mom was ready to get her girls back. Together they put a plan in place so the girls could come home to their Mother.

     The Volunteer Advocate prepared a report for the Family Court Judge and recommended the girls be returned to their mother immediately. The Judge and Attorneys were appalled at the things that had transpired, and agreed that the girls be reunited with their mother. Later that evening before the Child Custody Advocate went home for the Thanksgiving Holiday, she placed a call to the home of the Mother and her girls. When she asked Mom how the transfer went, Mom replied very well, but that Grandma had put the girls on the corner with their suitcases to be picked up. The children were now safe and well with Mom. When the Advocate spoke with the young girls they thanked her for listening to them and helping them to get home.