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Lani Giovanetti

Coming from a blended family, where she became an aunt when she was eight years old, Lani has always loved infants.  “I believe in early intervention and assistance for families in crisis, especially for very young children,” Lani said.  “CASA’s Birth to 5 program was the perfect match for me.”  It was no wonder, then, that she chose to be matched with “Brian,” a 1 ½ year old who was removed from his home when he was just seven months old.  Brian’s first days with his foster family were difficult.  Accustomed to being hungry, he expressed his needs through pitched screaming.  His foster mother taught Brian how to sign the words for “hungry,” “more,” and “all done.”  Lani knew right then that this family was completely engaged with Brian.  “What they really needed was encouragement for all they had taken on, and that’s what I was able to provide,” Lani said.  “Simply statements like, ‘You’re such a good mother,’ and ‘You’re doing a good job,’ are things caregivers really need to hear.”  As an Advocate for a child under the age of three, Lani spent time with Brian at his foster family’s home, rather than taking him out in the community.  She provided the foster parents with information on programs for Brian, including Early Head Start, and and became the “recorder” of Brian’s development and the things he loves to do.  “Brian’s foster family lives in a little rural homestead, with lots of opportunity for Brian to run and play outside with his two foster sisters,” Lani said.  “It gives me lots of opportunities to observe and report his progress in the reports I write for the court, but in a nonintrusive way.” Brian is thriving, and has bonded with his entire foster family.  If all continues to go well, he may have found his forever family.  Asked if she would take another infant when Brian’s case closes, Lani said, “In a heartbeat.”

 

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