A teenage child I work with as a GAL lives in a remote area of N.C. in a small house with his relative, who now has custody. His mother was neglectful and also involved with substance abuse. His father was in jail, but was released. The child has a relationship with his father, but says he never wants to see his mother again. So he transferred to a school far from his home to keep him away from her; when schools were open pre-pandemic, his relative drove him there. He is smart and adaptive, loves the outdoors and plays sports at school. The relative told me of a class trip to Washington, D.C for four days that he really wanted to participate in. She only had a small amount of money to pay for the trip. I called the school and they said they would pay for part of it. I then requested additional money from the Child Assistance Fund and they were generous enough to send a check to pay the balance. This child was so happy; he had never been outside of North Carolina.
I was assigned my first GAL case Nov 2019. My case involves four children in kinship placement. The children range in ages 2 to 7.
During a recent CFT family meeting the uncle mentioned the two oldest girls were sleeping in the same bed. One girl would move to the living room couch because the other sibling was “too wiggly” during the night. I mentioned I would try to get funding for bunk beds if they wanted. The uncle was thrilled I offered a solution to their problem. The uncle said the children also came with only the clothes on their backs. The children do not have enough clothes. They are doing laundry frequently with the limited clothing. I said well let me see what I can do. I was given a list of possible agencies that might have bunk beds.
After several calls, bunk beds were not available from the list. I went to several different furniture stores to see how much bunk beds cost. As I shopped, I introduced myself as a GAL and told them what I was looking for. I was able to meet a wonderful saleswoman at a furniture store, who shared her story about taking in a kinship placement of her own. She was able to get me a discount price. I sent a couple of bunk bed pictures to the uncle and aunt asking if they had a preference. Immediately, I received a response of the bunk they liked best. I told the aunt and uncle I would put in my request for funding for both the bunk they liked and” money for clothing.
Well after two short days, I was sent an email that my request for both the bunk bed and clothing was approved. The funding covered $125 x 4 children= $500! Plus the full cost of the bunk bed! I received a call from the aunt and uncle who were both “amazed and grateful.” Bunkbed pick up is tomorrow. The girls are so excited they will be sleeping in a new bed tomorrow. The aunt has been buying clothes online and the children are so excited to receive packages in the mail with new clothes!
It is so exciting to be part of an agency that cares and can make such a difference to strangers they don’t even know. There are four children who have new clothes and their own bed thanks to GAL funding!
A young mother of three children aged 5, 7 and 10 years was in a very abusive relationship. When the father was arrested for domestic abuse the police contacted Social Services to remove the children. The Guardian visited the children in their foster care home, understood how much they missed their mother, and in court voiced their desire to be with her. The mother was determined to regain custody of her children and ended the relationship with the father. However Social Services would not approve the children’s return until necessary housing repairs were made, which the landlord refused to do. The Association provided the funds for the needed repairs and the children were reunited with their mother.
Drug addicted parents refused to accept any type of addiction counseling. To ensure the safety of their two children, aged 8 months and 5-years old, Social Services removed them into kinship care with the grandparents. Social Services provides limited financial support for kinship placements. The grandparents were unprepared for the arrival of the children. The Association provided all the needed baby supplies including a crib, a car seat, a bed, mattress and clothing for the children.
A 9-year old girl, abandoned by her mother, struggled academically and behaviorally. Because of her difficult behavior she was now in her third foster home. During all these moves the one constant in her life was her Guardian, who encouraged the child’s interest in gymnastics. The Association provided a scholarship for her to attend a gymnastics camp as well as participate on a team. Her coaches say this child is a gifted gymnast and now is doing very well in her foster home.
A 10-year old boy was locked in the basement, with no food or water by his stepmother. He loved to read but she removed his books as a form of punishment. Bravely this child escaped to contact the police, and was placed in a loving foster home. The Association provided a gift card to ensure his new home is well stocked with books to support his love of reading.
An 8-year old girl came into foster care very timid and afraid. Her parents’ relationship had been very volatile. She was scared to relate to her foster family. The Guardian wanted to find an activity that she would enjoy and feel her new family’s support. The Association provided financial assistance to send her to dance classes, where her confidence has grown. She has learned that she is strong, worth loving, and has bonded with her new family.