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03.11.2020

Cameron Stays in His Community

By Mike Sidwell, Treehouse Educational Advocate

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Cameron came on to my caseload when he started to have some unsafe behaviors at school. At the time, Cameron was 8-years-old and in the second grade. His caregiver and I worked together to submit a request for a service evaluation to support Cameron’s behaviors and address his learning deficiencies. His school was supportive and qualified him for these supports. Unfortunately, Cameron’s unsafe behaviors persisted, and his caregiver expressed a need for additional assistance to address these issues.

The school was initially hesitant to provide one-on-one aid because they had already a safety plan in place to support Cameron. As the behaviors at school continued to escalate, Cameron’s caregiver grew very concerned. Working with the principal, special education staff and teachers, we conducted a functional behavior assessment and intervention plan. In doing so, we demonstrated the need for a para-educator to support Cameron. By the end of last year, he was provided with a one-on-one aide. Now Cameron has someone in his corner to keep him away from unsafe situations and support his education.

This was a big milestone. Unfortunately, by the end of the last school year, I was informed the request for Cameron to remain at the school was denied due to the services he required. After some investigation, I learned the school district hadn’t yet been informed that he was under tribal jurisdiction and in foster care. Working with his social worker, the school district foster care liaison and the school principal, we resolved the confusion. In a huge win, Cameron was allowed to stay at the school with the only community he has ever known.

This year Cameron’s behaviors are improving. With the support of his one-on-one aide, he’s engaging in his education more than ever. He’s even participating in a general education class with his peers for part of the day. The best part of this story is that Cameron’s caregiver was recently awarded guardianship through the tribe, stabilizing his life even more.

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About the Author

As a Treehouse Educational Advocate, Mike Sidwell, collaborates with schools, social workers, foster families and youth in foster care to resolve difficult issues and remove barriers to kids’ school success.


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