Monday, Jun 10, 2019
This June, during National Reunification Month, we celebrate the hard work and achievements that many Santa Clara County families endure in order to reunify. When a child is removed from the home and placed in foster care, it is the hope that one day they can reunify with their families. Child Advocates’ provides guidance and support to these foster children and youth as they navigate this tough time in their lives.
One family celebrating reunification day was Danielle and her son Jon-Rey. Jon-Rey was removed from the home when he was 9 years old due to Danielle’s addiction to alcohol and drugs. In addition to losing Jon-Rey, Danielle’s addictions burned bridges with the rest of her family and friends. Danielle came to the realization that she had to change her life when she ended up in jail. “It was a wakeup call when I got put in the jail cell and there was no one I knew who I could call to pick up my son. All the people I knew were people I shouldn’t be around.”
During her time in jail Danielle made the decision to get sober and requested to be moved to a transitional housing unit (THU). While living in the THU Danielle regained custody of Jon-Rey. During Danielle’s recovery and process of reunification, Jon-Rey was assigned a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA).
Danielle says Jon-Rey’s CASA, Moe, has been a father figure to Jon-Rey and pillar of stability in their lives. “After I met Moe, I really felt that I could trust him and knew that he was a good role model for my son.” Moe visited Jon-Rey weekly, making sure his emotional and educational needs were met. He picked Jon-Rey up from school, helped him with homework and spent time with him to provide some relief for Danielle so she could find work and focus on staying sober.
Through personal perseverance and additional support from her social worker, Moe and a network of friends and family, Danielle has now been sober for over 2 years and her case is officially closed. While Moe is no longer Jon-Rey’s CASA, Danielle says he remains a family friend.
“Moe recently came to Jon-Rey’s birthday party. He’s been a part of our life, our family. That will never change. And, Jon-Rey always wants to see Moe,” Danielle says smiling.