Thirteen years ago, Lucille Jackson was a dynamic CASA advocate. She would often take more than five cases at that time! Ms. Jackson stepped aside from advocacy for a while. But on March 27, 2019, Ms. Jackson swore in with the Juvenile Court a second time. Excited to get back to the challenging but deeply meaningful work, Ms. Jackson accepted the case of Baby Rose.
Rose and her mother had both tested positive for an illegal substance at the baby's birth. Unfortunately, in addition to substance use disorder, Rose's mother struggled with schizophrenia, depression, and anxiety, a combination of obstacles that prevented her from caring for Rose.
Diving into this time-sensitive case, Ms. Jackson used her deep reservoir of experience and skills to connect with Rose's mother, relatives, caseworkers, foster parents, and all involved with Baby Rose's wellbeing. She drove more than two hours to the foster home to assess Rose's stability and progress monthly. Ms. Jackson respectfully observed Rose and her mother during the court-ordered supervised visitations. Additionally, Ms. Jackson conducted careful research and gathered substantive information to develop her clear recommendations for her CASA report submitted to the Juvenile Court Judge. Ms. Jackson identified recommendations for Rose's placement, health, development, and a visitation schedule with Rose's mother. She recommended tangible steps among a myriad of support services for Rose's mother to become a successful parent.
Rose's mother sincerely strived to implement her case plan for the first year. Unfortunately, the arduous steps to reunification were overwhelming, and she abruptly left treatment. Thinking always of Baby Rose's circle of support, Ms. Jackson pivoted to the new problem. She called around to the family's relatives, the mother's previous employer, and even drove through her old neighborhood to speak with neighbors. Ms. Jackson could not find Rose's mother. After several months, the caseworker heard from Rose's mother. Despite her love for Rose, her mother would not continue working towards reunification.
Over the past three years, Ms. Jackson has continued to advocate for Rose. Fortunately, Rose has been in the same foster home since entering care. Ms. Jackson enjoys a beautiful relationship with this family. As a genuinely positive development for Rose, her foster family plans to adopt her. Even with the barriers imposed by Covid, Ms. Jackson continues to support Rose both virtually and in person.
To this day, Ms. Jackson regularly looks for Rose's mother when she drives around her old areas in town. Lucille Jackson is a tenacious and tireless advocate for Baby Rose. But she shows deep compassion for Rose's mother, too, hoping someday that opportunities may turn her life around, as well.
About the Author