Lifecycle of a Case, Part 1
 
Michael didn’t notice the clock showed 3:17 am.  He was focused on the light that was coming into the room he shared with his brothers --- and the voices he could hear from the living room.  One was his mom’s voice; the others were adults whose voices he didn’t recognize.  The tone of his mother’s voice worried him.  The tightening pit in his stomach told him something was terribly wrong. 
 
Even though all cases involving suspected abuse and/or neglect don’t begin in the small hours of the night, they all include the startling realization that Michael and his siblings will come to know over the next several hours and days:  we are losing our family.
 
When children are removed from their families or those they have come to know as family, it is almost never a relief to the kids.  Not because they don’t realize their current living conditions aren’t ideal; it’s much more basic than that.  Regardless of the circumstances surrounding removal, the kids involved only know that the place they called home, and the people they knew as family, have been taken away from them.  They are left to begin reconstructing their concepts of home, family and security with complete strangers.
 
Over the next few weeks, we will follow the lifecycle of Michael and his siblings’ CPS case.  Throughout its development, particular attention will be given to the specific effects on the kids involved.  Additionally, we will examine the importance of working with families and the ultimate goal of reunifying kids with parents.
 
Jack Noles, Program Director, The Children's Home of Lubbock