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9:34 a.m. - May 17, 2007
In A Great Mood!
When I came home from CASA training last night, ďSlow And EasyĒ by Whitesnake was on the iPod, and I waltzed into the house singing it.

Liz said, ďYou must be in a good mood!Ē

Indeed, Liz. Rock me Ďtil Iím bad to the bone!

I seem to be in a good to great mood most of the time. I feel mentally sharp, fresh and alert.

I think itís a big combination of things.

And itís funny that Iím in a good mood right after CASA training, since a lot of that material is not the cheeriest in the world.

Most of the cases here in the county are due to children in danger because of drug abuse. Whether it be pot, cocaine, or meth (for the most part those are the big three here) thatís the main reason that the children are in the system.

The majority are single mothers, who probably live with boyfriends or have a relationship to someone unsavory. Theyíre wrapped up in drugs and the kids suffer.

What we try to do is be the advocate for the child, and try to make sure theyíre in a safe, happy home. Most of the time we work for reunification with the parents if thereís any glimmer of hope that the mom or dad can get clean and raise the kids.

A termination of parental rights is the most drastic step, and something that everyone tries to avoid.

I have to put my middle-class values and expectations aside many times. Thereís a minimum standard of care I would need to ensure is there, but that doesnít mean itís a house fit for June Cleaver.

Iím going to have to flash back to my bachelor days I guess.

One thing that is surprising is that if thereís domestic violence in the house, and itís not directed for the children, they canít take the kids out of the house.

Thatís sad, but true. It takes a lot of probably cause to pull the kids out of a house. However, many times when there is domestic violence there are other issues and the kids do get into the system.

Sometimes, though, the mother and kids are taken to the Family Crisis Shelter, and thatís a start. Theyíre not in the system, since the mother is capable of parenting, but still.

And itís mostly the poor that get into the system, since the middle class and wealthy have alternate means and support systems so the kids can be shuffled off somewhere, or they do a better job of keeping quiet about it.

So after all of this, why am I in a good mood?

Because I can make a difference, thatís why. If I can work with a child and his parents, and help to bring them back together, thatís great. So the house isnít the best in the world, and not the cleanest, but if the kids have clothes, are fed, have a bed, and arenít in putrescent squalor, and have a parent willing and able to parent them, then they need to be at home.

If a parent can clean his or herself up, and then start to parent the child again and allow the child to survive and thrive, then Iíve done something wonderful.

All I need to do is look at Katie and Kristin (and Liz, too) and see what a difference that parents make in the lives of children.

Anyway, thatís why Iím in a great mood.

So take me down slow and easyÖ.


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