Police Chief Leonard Campanello’s New Fight Against Heroin

In order to save lives, Leonard Campanello took matters into his own hands.

Source: Police Chief Leonard Campanello’s New Fight Against Heroin

See this article to find out how one small town police chief offered a life of substance free living, or at least the chance at one, to all the drug users he could reach. As he said, “I’ve never arrested a tobacco addict, nor have I ever seen one turned down for help when they develop lung cancer, whether or not they have insurance,” he concluded in the post. “The reasons for the difference in care between a tobacco addict and an opiate addict is stigma and money. Petty reasons to lose a life.”


Fostering Care is not Adoptive Care

from http://visual.ly/core-assets-fostering-become-foster-carer
from http://visual.ly/core-assets-fostering-become-foster-carer

Very nearly 100% of cases that come into care have a goal set at ‘Return Home.’ This is important, and it defines the direction of the case. It means that, despite the dysfunction or abuse, the court recognizes that the very best place for a child is in the happy, healed biological home with his or her parents and siblings. It means that emotional ties to family need to be maintained and made healthy. When people think about the system, they typically think of separation. The truth though, is that the system is in place to achieve reunification.

Families or single parents involved in the system have done something wrong, something that either directly or indirectly hurt their children.  That means they have made mistakes and acted improperly. It does not make them bad people or forever unqualified to care for their children. Services such as parenting classes, domestic violence groups, individual therapy, and substance abuse treatment can be put in place to help parents learn from and move on from their previous histories. A parent may be assigned just one service or may need several inter-reliant classes in order to be able to be deemed safe to have their child back in their care. Because, remember, that is the goal; to see parents and children back together. They need to go to their classes, participate, and then the professionals that are delivering the services must decide if the parent is making progress or not. Progress is a measurable way to determine if a parent has learned from their services and is capable of acting differently in the future.

A foster parent is there in the interim, while a parent is working on learning new skills and cannot have his/her children living at the family home. A foster parent is a caregiver, an advocate, and a source of love and support for the child. Foster parents are integral and very, very needed. Yet, a foster parent is not a replacement parent. These children enter foster homes already having a parent and a life and bond with that parent. They are in need of healing, not necessarily substitution. To better describe what this relationship can in the best of times be, please view the following article first posted at http://www.fosteringperspectives.org/fp_vol5no2/three_perspectives.htm.

Vol. 5, No. 2 • May 2001

Three Perspectives on a Successful Reunification

Every month, children leave foster care and return home to their families. Although they create powerful emotions, for the most part these are quiet events. In fact, the people involved often do not know each other and may not fully understand the fears and joys that accompany each unique reunion. Thanks to the generosity of people involved in one reunification, we are able to share with you the thoughts and feelings of some of those who have been deeply touched by reunification.

Letter from a foster mother “Our Biggest Reward”

My husband and I both are very dedicated to our role as foster parents here in Wake County. Most recently our work has been dedicated to a very bright, energetic 15-month-old boy, J, and his young mother, K, helping them to grow as individuals and to be reunited with each other as quickly as possible.

Working toward reunification between children and their legal guardians has to be the number one goal of a good foster parent.

It is easy, if we do not stay focused, to get caught up with feelings and thoughts like, “How can I possibly say good-bye to a child I have fostered so long in my home and send them back to the same environment from which they came?”

My husband and I do not look at it as saying good-bye or as the child returning back to the same environment. We see it as giving children a new beginning, a fresh start with their natural families after the healing process has begun to take place in their family.

Please do not misunderstand me here—there are some cases where the children are unable to return home again. But many will be able to return.

The Story of J and K

When my husband and I heard of their story and about little J we immediately took him into our home. He was somewhat shy and frightened at first, but with a lot of hard work and attention we earned J’s trust very quickly. This was our first reward.

As we worked with him and taught him new skills, we were also able to get to know his mother. We first met her at social services and grew closer during our regular weekly phone calls, during which we discussed J’s progress at home and school, his ups and his downs, and the highlights of his life. We soon learned how devoted K was to her son.

After a very short time, Jim Condon, J’s social worker, asked my husband and I if we would be willing to work with J and K together in our home so K could spend quality time with her son and continue to practice her parenting skills and to learn what she could from us, since she was such a young, single mother.

We agreed to this without any hesitation or doubt. We did not feel threatened or endangered by K at all. In fact, we felt this to be very therapeutic for J.

Jim requested a complete weekly update on K’s meetings with her son and their progress together. All our reports to him were positive. Over time my husband and I had gotten to know K and liked her. She and her son were unfortunately in the wrong place at the wrong time, caught up in a bad situation that caused their long separation.

My husband and I were impressed with K’s determination—she did everything that was required of her in order to have her son returned to her. K worked 40 to 50 hours a week to provide for her and her son. She also attended many meetings with Jim Condon and team leaders, and spent 8 to 10 hours a week in our home doing things like feeding, bathing, clothing, and reading to her son so that she would not lose touch with her parenting skills. She also spent hours on the phone getting progress reports on her son’s toddler achievements.

Thanks to all the trust Jim Condon had in the four of us, we have been able to add some outside activities to our time with K, such as attending the State fair and trick-or-treating on Halloween. Without close, constant supervision by Jim Condon, none of these outside activities would have been possible. Without the teamwork of Jim, his team leaders, K and J, and my husband and myself, K and J’s reunification may not have taken place so effectively and quickly. I think we all strived very hard for December to arrive and it did, a very happy and rewarding day.

We feel strongly that having K spend time with her son in our home helped them both tremendously, especially little J. We hope that K learned some problem-solving and parenting skills from us that she can continue to use with J.

We still hear from K and J on a regular basis. They are both doing great. This is our biggest reward.

Jim and Linda Boseman are foster parents in Wake County.

Letter from a birth mother “A tremendous weight was lifted”

When my son was put into foster care in July, I had a very hard time dealing with it. I kept picturing how the department of human services was portrayed in the movies. They always looked like the “Bad Guys.” Once I met my caseworker, Jim Condon, he explained that his goal was to reunify me and my son. A tremendous weight was lifted off of my shoulders. Jim had to make sure that my son was in a safe, healthy, and loving environment. He always made it clear that my son needed to be with his mother. I thank him for always being positive. This was a much easier situation to get through, having support from Jim.

The foster parents are amazing! They kept me informed every week of how my son was doing. They made sure that I knew everything that was going on in my son’s life while we were apart. Jim and Linda worked well with me and always made me feel very comfortable. Linda and I took my son to the State fair and also trick-or-treating. They are great people and my son loves them dearly.

Now that my son is home with me, I still keep in touch with the foster parents and plan to do so always. They are a huge part of my son’s life. They provided a loving home for my son until we could be together again. I couldn’t think of any other place I would have rather him have been than with Jim and Linda.

My experience with the foster care program was a good one. Everyone did everything that they could to help me through it. It provided me with a lot of knowledge that I needed to become a better parent. I made it through the most difficult experience of my life and walked away with new friends.

I just wanted to say a heartfelt thank-you to everyone who made the past year of my life much more bearable.

Sincerely, K

Letter from a social worker “Thanks to the Bosemans, J never forgot his Mom”

Foster parents hold crucial roles in child welfare reunification cases. Foster parents have the unique opportunity to join with biological parents to achieve successful reunification by assuring that parents maintain physical and emotional ties with their children. When possible, social workers should encourage frequent, quality visits and phone calls between biological parents and children.

Foster parents, social workers, therapists, school personnel, GAL’s, relatives, and biological parents all have strengths and play roles that are critical for successful reunification. The social worker cannot do it alone. The most effective social worker is one that recognizes and uses the strengths of each team member while being aware of his or her own limitations.

Children in foster care often get to a point when they call their foster parents “mom” and “dad.” On one hand, this makes social workers believe they have placed children in an incredible home (why else would they call them mom and dad?). Unfortunately, this is often a reflection of the fact that the bonds between foster children and their biological parents can be damaged when children are in out-of-home care. When we entrust children to foster families, it should not be for these foster parents to take the place of biological parents (unless agencies are relieved of reunification efforts). Social workers need to assure that children in foster care at crucial stages of attachment maintain close psychological bonds with their biological parents.

Jim and Linda Boseman are examples of the kinds of foster parents needed in reunification cases. The Bosemans embraced J’s mother. They included her in the care of her child in the foster home (bathing, feeding, putting him to bed). The Bosemans were creative with visits, going trick-or-treating and going to the State fair. They also maintained regular phone contact with K. This mother was never made to feel inferior or “bad,” and the Bosemans always made one thing clear: “You are his mother and he needs you.” K was an equal member of a team of professionals and family members who had the same goal, reunification.

K and J maintain frequent contact with the Bosemans not because they have to, but because they want to. The Bosemans have become part of their family. The child was a year old when he came into care. Thanks to the work of the Bosemans, he never forgot who his “mom” was—and the negative affects of out-of-home care were minimized.

Mental Illness (NAMI)


Mental illness is often silent. It can be invisible, quiet, and yet can effect nearly everything a sufferer does, thinks. It has been taboo to discuss, swept under the rug, and ignorance of it can lead to all sorts of larger problems.

Last night the CASA Executive Director and a few advocates attended a seminar put on by NAMI (the National Alliance on Mental Illness). There speakers told their own stories, detailed their struggles with their mental health symptoms, and talked about coping in everyday life.

The fact is all of us know or love someone who has felt the effects of mental illness. The Huffington Post states that 61,500,000 people annually experience mental disorder. To see the full article scroll on.

19 Statistics That Prove Mental Illness Is More Prominent Than You Think

Whether you’re aware of it or not, chances are you know someone who has been personally affected by a mental health disorder.

Depression is one of the leading causes of disability worldwide and other mental health disorders are growing in numbers.

And while mental illness is starting to be considered the serious medical condition that it is, when it comes to healthcare, we still have a long way to go before mental health patients are treated with the respect afforded physical health patients. Research shows there’s still stigma surrounding these disorders.

Below are 19 statistics that prove these disorders touch more people than you might think.


The approximate number of Americans who experience a mental health disorder in a given year. That’s one in four adults.


The estimated economic cost of untreated mental illness in the U.S. This includes unemployment, unnecessary disability, substance abuse and more.

70 – 90%

The percentage of individuals with mental illness who saw improvement in their symptoms and quality of life after participating in some form of treatment.


The estimated number of people globally who die by suicide each year.


The approximate amount of people with a mental illness who feel that others arecompassionate or understanding toward those suffering from one of the disorders.


The number of people worldwide who are affected by depression.


The percentage of all U.S. suicides committed by men.


The number of adults who suffer from anxiety disorders in the U.S.


The number of college students who reported feeling depressed to the point where itnegatively impacted their ability to function. Approximately 7.5 percent of college students also reported earlier this year that they seriously considered suicide in the last 12 months.


The (potentially underestimated) number of veterans who die by suicide each day, according to a 2013 report by researchers at the Department of Veterans Affairs.


The percentage of children and adolescents whose mental and emotional disorders disrupt their day-to-day lives.


The number of Americans who suffer from schizophrenia. The disorder usually develops between ages 16 to 25.


The percentage of adults who didn’t receive mental health treatment in 2012.


The number of individuals in the U.S. who suffer from some form of bipolar disorder.


The percentage of mothers polled in a recent BabyCenter survey who stated they have been diagnosed with postpartum depression. Approximately 40 percent of them did not seek medical treatment.


The estimated number of adults who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder in a given year.


The number of people who die by suicide per hour in the Americas.


The percentage of adolescents who have a depressive disorder before the age of 18.


The percentage of people who die by suicide who also had a mental health disorder.CORRECTION: A previous version of this article stated 31 percent of college students have considered suicide, when it is 7.5 percent. The statistic has been updated.

Have a story about mental health that you’d like to share? Emailstrongertogether@huffingtonpost.com, or give us a call at (860) 348-3376, and you can record your story in your own words. Please be sure to include your name and phone number.

Need help? In the U.S., call 1-800-273-8255 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

Story originally posted at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/12/01/mental-illness-statistics_n_6193660.html.

Gaps have been found in mental health coverage right here in Boone County IL. See below to understand how these gaps were found and what is being done to address this.

Committee finds gaps in Boone County’s mental health resources

By Ben Stanley
Rockford Register Star

Posted Apr 29, 2015 at 9:15 PM
Updated Apr 30, 2015 at 1:59 PM

BELVIDERE — Supervising a transitional halfway house, expanding transportation services, and increasing the number of Spanish-language resources are three of six ways a mental health advisory committee says Boone County could fill gaps found in its mental health coverage.After an 18-month assessment of health care providers, support groups and counseling centers, the Boone County Mental Health Advisory Committee found few health care providers and limited treatment options available in the county to residents suffering from mental illness. The committee was formed in 2013 to analyze the area’s mental health resources.The committee described six needs in a draft of its report: faster and better mental illness assessment, more providers and hospital beds, more transportation services, more Spanish-language resources, a halfway house for supported supervision, and a referral service. Children, Spanish-speakers and people without health insurance suffer from a “severe shortage” of mental health resources, according to the report.Many of Boone County’s mentally ill are evaluated for the first time at the county jail after they have already been arrested for behavior triggered by their diseases, the report said.”We have people that come in with various forms of mental illness,” said Lt. John Hare, a committee member and Boone County Jail superintendent. “There is some degree of likelihood that if they had not been suffering from that (illness), then they would not” have been arrested.”It’s fairly common.”Assessment results and several recommendations will be presented to the County Board within the next three months. The cost of implementing those recommendations has not been determined.Bill Hatfield, director of environmental health for the county health department, said the agency doesn’t have the resources to keep track of mental illness statistics. Lack of data has made it difficult to measure the extent of the county’s mental health issues.Most of the county’s 20 mental health and addiction counseling providers direct patients to out-of-county facilities for care. Only one, Rosecrance, which has a clinic in Belvidere, provides all 10 services assessed by the committee. But many of Rosecrance’s services are only available to Boone County patients if they travel to its building in Rockford.According to statistics obtained from Rosecrance, between July 2014 and December 2014, 600 of its clients were from Boone County. Of those clients, 364 were served at Rosecrance’s Belvidere clinic.”For several reasons there is a lack of adequate resources,” said Harriet Roll, Boone County Mental Health Advisory Committee chairman. “Partly because the providers aren’t there and partly because federal, state and local” money isn’t available.Ben Stanley: 815-987-1369; bstanley@rrstar.com; @ben_j_stanley

Article originally posted at http://www.rrstar.com/article/20150429/NEWS/150429359.

What Its Like to get ‘The Call’ at Boone County CASA

How does a case come into the courtroom, and how does CASA get involved? We hear these questions pretty frequently and, sometimes, we get calls from people who want us to help them. We have to tell them, 100% of the time, that CASA can’t just pick up a case of our own volition, no matter how much we may want to. Whether its a disagreement with an ex about a child with red flags for abuse, grandparents who have witnessed concerns when a child has come to stay with them, or a strong feeling from another interested party that a child is suffering CASA cannot directly get involved. All of these callers are directed to call the DCFS hotline at 1-800-25-ABUSE (252-2873) or CASA will call this number if information is shared that needs to be reported through the proper channels.

file0001861746521Why can’t CASA get directly involved? CASA doesn’t fulfill the function of investigators. As the GAL, we are not first responders and, without a court order, hold no jurisdiction over a child while in the care of their parents outside of the scope of the courtroom. CASA advocates are officers of the court, not law officers. Until a case is in the purview of the court, it is outside of CASA’s official awareness.

How does CASA hear about new cases? Typically, CASA staff is busy in the office and gets a call from someone at the courthouse to announce that X amount of children have been placed into Temporary Shelter. This means that, after completing a thorough investigation, a DCFS team has removed the children from the care of their parents and placed them either with an appropriate family member, godparent, ‘fictive kin’ (which means someone who knew the child before placement such as a teacher, a neighbor, or a known family coworker), or in traditional foster care. A hearing must be had “within 48 hours of the child(ren) being removed or within 24 hours of an alleged offender being removed” of a child being taken. This is to ensure that the child is safe and that there was good cause to remove the child from his/her home. Its a big deal to pack a kid up and take him/her/them to somewhere they’ve never been or never lived. All parties here in Boone County definitely know this and respect it.

Within that time frame a hearing is had. This is called a Temporary Shelter Care hearing. Typically, at the start of the hearing, Boone County CASA as an organization is appointed to serve as the child’s Guardian ad Litem. It is up to CASA which advocate to assign to the new case, if it passes Shelter Care. CASA will approach the most fitting unassigned advocate to take the case. If the parents do not stipulate (agree that the court would find cause to place their children out of their care) then a full hearing with lawyers making arguments is had. After the State’s Attorney and the parents’ attorneys present their cases the judge will make a finding of probable cause (mistreatment probably happened, a lesser standard of proof than beyond a reasonable doubt) and urgent and immediate necessity (if the child wasn’t taken quickly the harm would be great, could increase, would cause irreparable harm, etc.) for out of care placement or not. If not, the case is closed and CASA has no further contact with the family. If it is found then CASA begins the long road of working with the family by meeting with the child, speaking with the child’s parents and foster parents, speaking with teachers and counselors, collecting medical records, and all manner of other things.

At Shelter Care CASA has many jobs. Staff must speak with the investigator to get the full story i.e. when and how the abuse/neglect happened, what the parents have said so far concerning the maltreatment, and find out where the children were placed after custody was taken. After that, CASA must get contact information about the foster placement and then speak with the biological parents to get their contact information and ask if there is anything important about the child they would like their CASA advocate to know. This information is often very useful.

CASA cases come in for all kinds of reasons. Perhaps a child was drug exposed in utero. Perhaps a child was spanked to the point of leaving lacerations or bruises. Perhaps a child wasn’t fed a wide array of food not due to poverty or had food frequently withheld as a punishment, leading to undernourishment. Perhaps a child was isolated in a small space regularly. All of these reasons and many more are cause for Shelter Care and, immediately after, CASA involvement.

Who are Foster Parents?

city-street-house-broken-mediumHave you ever wondered exactly what it takes to become a foster parent? Here you can see some of the paperwork that starts the process. Though, in actuality, the process begins before even the paperwork gets started. It begins with the decision (or consideration) to take a child, a baby, an unknown teenager into your home and with the questioning of if you could do something to help this minor. Could you help with schoolwork? Could you help gently guide decision making? Could you build memories with a child while fostering love and respect for their biological parents? Some people are able to say “Yes!” right away while some take months or even years to ponder the struggles and triumphs they could be subject to while caring for another’s child.

Take a look at Momma Meesh’s blog (thanks, Meesh, for the ‘like’ yesterday). She really details the story of her consideration, how she broke the news of wanting to take in foster children to her own kids, and she even explains how getting ready to foster children is a bit similar to being pregnant (nesting, worrying, googling terms).

Here in the USA there’s an online training organization FosterParentCollege.com that allows prospective foster parents to get their training hours via the web. Take a look at some of the classes they offer. These include classes on biological parent visitation, wetting and soiling, and even substance exposed infants. All of these instances are things it is likely a foster parent will face should he or she choose to start their career as a substitute parent figure. In Illinois the counties of Cook, DuPage, Will, and Macon have agencies that accept FosterParentCollege’s training for credit hours.

Parenting the Hurt Child

ForwardThis forward is the first page in a very insightful book Parenting the Hurt Child. It gives pointers to adoptive/foster parents on how to spend time with children and teach emotionally unstable children how to gain control over their behaviors.

Boone County CASA keeps a copy of Adopting the Hurt Child for lending to advocates. Also, here you can see a training based off of some of the principles outlined in Parenting the Hurt Child.

Like all writings, even ones written by experienced Licensed Social Workers as this one was, it must be taken thoughtfully and with the health and well being of children in mind. There are been foster parents who have argued that its methods are better left for very emotionally rebellious children, although they support the book’s focus on spending bonding, family time together building memories.

CASA’s only opinion in this matter is this- the more knowledge you have and the more sources you can turn to when an abused or neglected child is placed under your care, the better. These children may turn up at night or on very little notice with nothing but the clothes they are wearing and a garbage bag full of all the own in the world. They may be distrustful (and honestly, who wouldn’t be?), scared, and miss the only home they’ve ever known. The way you and your family do everything, from taking your meals, the food you eat, the way you talk to each other, what programs you watch on TV, is going to be new to this child. Patience, understanding, and training are the things CASA can recommend. The more you know, the more options you’ll have when you face your inevitable first misunderstanding with the minor placed in your care.