Marisa’s Story

Marisa was eight years old when she entered foster care. She had been physically abused at home and was struggling with trauma and behavioral challenges. She bounced to four different homes within the first five months. Each move made her life more unpredictable and dragged her farther behind in school.

Marisa’s fifth move was to Samantha, a local teacher and resource parent. Samantha enrolled Marisa in the school where she worked and collaborated with fellow teachers and administrators to give Marisa the resources and services she needed. Marisa was finally in a stable home and thriving when the county informed Samantha that Marisa would be moved once again. This time Marisa would move into a primarily Spanish-speaking home, even though she was bilingual.

The plan was for Marisa to be returned to her mom in the next few months so no one, including her therapist, understood why she would be moved yet again. Samantha was very concerned.

Not knowing where else to turn, Samantha called Advokids. Advokids’ staff attorney walked her through the legal process and the juvenile court forms she could file to request Marisa stay in her care until she was reunited with her mom. Advokids also helped Samantha track down Marisa’s attorney, who had no idea Marisa had been moved multiple times. Samantha was able to share essential information with Marisa’s attorney about her special needs and history. She was also able to explain why Marisa shouldn’t be moved to a sixth foster home. Marisa’s attorney immediately went to court and requested a “do not move order” to prevent the move.

Marisa stayed with Samantha for the rest of her time in foster care and focused on school and healing. Six months later Marisa was successfully reunified with her mom. Marisa and Samantha still has a close relationship with Samantha and visit each other often. Marisa and even stayed with Samantha over the summer to attend a dance camp.

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