KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A Kansas CIty mother is inspiring others after turning her life around. She lost her children after falling into addiction, but now she has them back, and they are thriving.
Brittany Daniels’ story is unique, but in some ways also very common. On her journey to sobriety and reunifying with her kids she had some help. She says her children’s court appointed advocated helped her family find a new chance at life.
When Daniels was growing up her mother struggled with substance abuse, and as a child experienced neglect. As a young woman she found herself starting a cycle that would be difficult to break.
Now, Daniels has a life she’s always dreamed of, but she had to fight to make it happen.
“It means everything,” Daniels said.
The mother of three lost her children during her addiction years ago. She says for a while she gave up and felt like there was no way out.
“What’s the point of going on? Should I just give up? Should I relapse? Not should I relapse – I wanted to relapse. I wanted to give up on everything,” Daniels said.
When she was at her lowest she says her children’s court appointed special advocate, or CASA, helped her through. Daniels said they didn’t get along at first, but found when she put the effort in to give her children a better life, Ann supported her.
“I just felt like we were finally on the same page and I had a mutual respect from her, and I would say I love her now,” Daniels said.
CASAs are volunteers and work as the voice for a foster child in the court system. They give them normalcy when their parents can’t.
Angie Blumel, President & CEO of Jackson County CASA, said Daniels hard work and help from her advocate paid off.
“Brittany stopped the cycle. It ended with her family and her children. Her children are going to go on and have success because of Brittany’s action,” Blumel said.
After getting sober, and working hard, Daniels now has custody of all her children. She’s gotten married, and hopes to go back to school one day. However, her main focus is on her children’s future. She says she wants to give them the life she didn’t have as a child.
“I don’t want to yell at my kids. I don’t want to put them in scary situations. I don’t want them to live on the streets. I don’t want them to live in a car. I don’t want them to go 23 schools. I don’t want them to hate me. I want them to love their life,” Daniels said.
Blumel said there are hundreds of children in the metro who need an advocate of their own. CASAs are regular people in the community with a heart for helping children. Jackson County CASA will train volunteers for free. Volunteers are assigned one child or a set of siblings in the county. They build a relationship with them, listen to them, and make sure they have everything they need. They also work directly with all the people in the child’s life, including the judge, to help them thrive.
“It’s more than just a volunteer commitment. You really are seeing the trajectory of someone’s life change and improve,” Blumel said.
“You’re changing someone’s life. You’re changing a kids life,” Daniels said.
Daniels said she hopes her story helps other parents who are going through the same thing realize there is hope, and you should fight for your children.
“Every day is not perfect, but it’s perfect to me,” Daniels said.
Children in the metro are in desperate need of not only advocates but foster families as well. Getting involved is easy and can change the life of a child who may be feeling forgotten and lost.
If you have the ability to help a child there are resources below on how to foster, adopt, and advocate across the metro area.
All children deserve a family.
Interested in becoming a foster or adoptive parent in Missouri?
- Cornerstones of Care specializes in Standard and Career Foster Licenses at 1-855-SRV-KIDS (855-778-5437) or visit their website.
- Crittenton Children’s Center (Saint Lukes) focuses on medical homes, homes that can accommodate sibling groups, and homes for older youth (age 12 and up).
- If you are interested in learning more about this organization please reach out to Virginia Fatseas at (816) 986-5209
- Missouri Alliance offers elevated needs training (Level A & B) to our Resource Families. They also train our foster parents in TBRI (Trust Based Relational Intervention) as well as SOS (Signs of Safety).
- If you are interested in learning more about this organization please reach out to Karie Scott-Roark email: KRoark@MA-CF.org.
- Great Circle Behavioral Health for Children & Families does foster care licensing for prospective foster parents.
- If you are interested in learning more about this organization please reach out to Jaqueline Brown at (816) 255-1503 or Jacqueline.Brown@greatcircle.org
Interested in becoming a foster or adoptive parent in Kansas?
- KVC Kansas
- To become an adoptive parent you can find more information by calling (888) 655-5500.
- To become a foster parent you can sign up for a class or learn more through their website.
- Cornerstones of Care
- To become an adoptive or foster parent you can contact Denise Gibson at (913) 209-5923 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Want to see more children who are looking for a family?
Want to become a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) for foster children in the metro?
According to CASA’s website, a court appointed special advocate make a life-changing different for children who have experienced abuse or neglect. Each volunteer is appointed by a judge to advocate for a child’s best interest in court.
Their volunteers help judges develop a fuller picture of each child’s life. Their advocacy enables judges to make the most well-informed decision for each child.
- Jackson County CASA
- Clay County CASA: To volunteer with Clay County CASA, contact the Program Director, Ashley Zugelter, at 816-736-8400 or email email@example.com.
- CASA of Lafayette & Saline Counties: To volunteer with 15th Judicial Circuit CASA, contact the Executive Director, Robin McGinnity Connelly, at 660-259-2590 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also visit their Facebook page.
- CASA of Wyandotte & Johnson Counties
- CASA of Atchison & Leavenworth Counties: To volunteer contact the Executive Director, Kelly Meyer, at (913) 651-6440 or email her at Lv1casa@sbcglobal.net.
- Douglas County CASA: To volunteer contact the Executive Director, Diana Frederick, at (785) 832-5172 or email her at email@example.com.