Elizabeth Mary Regan

by Eleanor Barrett, March 21, 2019

Elizabeth Mary Regan in her own words

I interviewed Elizabeth Mary Regan on her experiences as a CASA volunteer.
Before I retired, I had seen in the paper, an article about the CASA program that was starting where I lived. And I though, if I ever am able to retire, that’s something I would like to do. So when I retired I, contacted them and took the training and was sworn in as a CASA.
So I visit the children every month. A baby I’ll hold on my lap, and talk to them. Older children, kind of get a sense of where they go to school, even though I might know that information, I want them to tell me. So it varies from the age of the child. I can get more involved once I get to know them and what their interests are then I focus on that. I have sat and done homework with some of the kids. I have read stories to them. I went last friday, this baby is a year old but she was born prematurely so she’s only about six months. I brought a toy from here and I sat and got her to smile at me because I am looking to see whether or not this child is being well cared for in whatever home she or he might be in.
I was on a case last year. There were five children and the oldest daughter was 16, and there were four other children, the youngest of whom was still in preschool. They were under protective supervision, and the reason they came into care, was the mother would leave them there and be gone for long periods of time, and the older daughter was in charge. She drove and she had to get them to school and she had to feed them and she had to do the grocery shopping and she had to keep up the house. The case was given to me as a CASA. The mom needed some help and she would go back for a couple weeks and work in their restaurant to earn money and then come back, and these kids would be their alone in the house with their oldest sister in charge. So in talking to this older girl by herself, I said “aren’t you exhausted?” she said “oh no I handle this very well.” The mom did not speak very good english. She said “Actually, I help them with their homework, because my mother’s english is not good. The obey me much better then they obey my mother, because my english is better.” And after you finish talking to this sixteen-year-old, you think ‘oh my god, she’s running this family’. We worked with this family for about a year, and I think the mom got herself straightened out and got a job here in Akron.
Right now my case is a baby who was born prematurely, and she was there from March until she was ready to be released in July, and mother only visited six times, and when the baby was ready to be released, Mom was supposed to come in and be in the hospital with the baby for twelve hours because the baby was going to be released on oxygen, and Mom had to know how to deal with that, and she also had some feeding problems. And Mom never came, so the hospital called Child Protective Services, and said “we do not feel comfortable letting this baby go home with Mom,” and so this baby was put into a foster home where she could be taken care of. This baby is still in that home because Mom didn’t come to visit the baby; She didn’t do anything.
Even though the kids are gonna go back to their parents, it’s never gonna be really good most likely. The other thing is that 95 percent of the time the kids really love their mom and dad no matter how bad we might view that mom and dad as being. The love them and wanna be with them. Everywhere the goal is family reunification, because in the long term that seems to be the best thing for a child. Something I have come to realize is that bond between child and parent, that no matter how poorly we would consider the parents treating that child, that bond is so strong that they wanna be with them.