“She thought that shooting her child in the head was suitable punishment”
Posted on February 3rd, 2015
Alicia is fairly new to Child Advocates. She has been a Guardian Ad Litem here at Child Advocate for 9 months and her job is to directly provide a voice in court to the children she is appointed by the Juvenile Court System. Alicia’s story is unique in the fact that she had been a 6 year veteran CASA volunteer before she became a Guardian Ad Litem. Alicia states that her desire to become a CASA and work in this field came from a news story that ran over 7 years ago where a toddler was abused by her mother and boyfriend and eventually was beaten to death. Child Advocates was then asking for more CASA volunteers to ensure this did not happen to any more children and Alicia knew she was ready for the task.
Now, as a Guardian Ad Litem, Alicia has a special case she working. The case involves a teenager, Ashley, who was 15 at the time the case opened. Ashley was currently living with her mother who abuses drugs and is an alcoholic. Ashley has older brothers who have already moved out of the home.
Life at home was rough for Ashley. Her mother worked third shift at a liquor store and Ashley was often by herself. Ashley would get scared being home alone in a tough neighborhood, so she would invite a friend over to stay with her while her mother was working. Her mother did not allow Ashley to have guests without her permission, so before she would arrive home, Ashley’s friend would leave.
One night Ashley and her friend fell asleep before her mother got home. When her mother arrived home drunk and high on drugs, she caught Ashley with her friend in her home. Ashley’s mother was outraged. She grabbed a gun and said she should “just shoot her” for her punishment. At that moment, Ashley’s mom put the gun to her head and pulled the trigger.
Still drunk, Ashley’s mom drove her to the hospital. This is when DCS got involved and Ashley was appointed Alicia as her Guardian Ad Litem. After the incident, for months Ashley’s mom coerced Ashley into saying the shooting was an accident. Her mom told Ashley “it is my job to protect you and you have to lie about what happened.” Ashley’s mom viewed shooting her as suitable punishment.
For months Ashley would not tell anyone but Alicia that her mom shot her as punishment. Recently, Ashley opened up about that night to the judge and others involved in her case. When the judge learned about this, she changed Ashley’s plan from reunification with mother to APPLA (Another Plan Permanent Living Arrangement) (Independent Living). Her plan is to get through high school and go to college to start a new life. This is not a typical situation for a 16 year old, but Ashley is a very unique case.
Ashley has been in the same foster care placement for almost a year. You wouldn’t know if from looking at her that she’s been shot. However, her hair doesn’t quite grow back like it should. She’s been trying new hairstyles and is embracing her uniqueness. Ashley has miraculously made a full recovery otherwise and is doing great in her placement. Ashley is doing well in school; she is a student coach for girls’ basketball team and actively involved ROTC. Ashley has a new outlook on life, she’s ready to start looking into college and be an independent young woman.
“It’s cases like this that reinforce my love for the work I do. My favorite part about my job is building relationships with kids like Ashley. I am the consistent person in their life that always puts them first and I couldn’t ask for a better job.” said Alicia.