Explore the incredible stories of youths championed by CASA. It is only when you catch a glimpse of their lives that you understand why they need a champion. Our work with abused and neglected youths in Chester and Delaware counties is so important because of the journeys these young people have had to endure. To protect their privacy, we cannot divulge their full names, but we can let you in to see how their circumstances and our work reinforce how we are there for the child.
Having tested positive for drugs at birth, Richette was removed from her birth parents’ care at 11 months of age amid an environment of neglect, domestic violence, homelessness and substance abuse. When she first entered foster care, Richette was severely underdeveloped and graded in the eighth percentile in some key physical categories. She had stiffness in her arms and legs. She was a delayed crawler and walker. Eating was difficult for her.
By the age of 2, CASA was assigned to Richette when she was residing in her third foster home. Richette’s volunteer champion worked tirelessly with the Delaware County Office of Children and Youth Services caseworker, doctors, specialists and foster parents to assess the ability of her foster family to meet her needs.
Through this work, a family better able to care for Richette was identified. Within a year, she was on track physically and developmentally, and the family had adopted her.
At age 11, Alphonso tried to commit suicide. He’d been removed from his mother’s care due to severe truancy at school and allegations of neglect and physical abuse. Following his attempt to end his life, Alphonso’s situation became more chaotic. He was hospitalized, discharged to his home and then hospitalized for psychiatric reasons. He was discharged to his home once more, re-hospitalized, discharged to a foster home, placed with a community caregiver, moved to a residential treatment facility and then was returned to his mother.
Now an adolescent, CASA has done everything it can to tackle the issues of instability between mother and son, advocating for individual and family therapy and monitoring that process. CASA has also advocated for Alphonso among his teachers, therapist and guidance counselors so the young man’s voice is heard throughout the process.
Becca’s mother tried to drown her. She was placed with her biological father. For three years, he sexually abused her. At this point, she was 5 and immediately placed into a foster home by the court. CASA began championing Becca shortly thereafter, vigorously advocating for specialized sexual abuse therapy. CASA also successfully argued against Becca serving as a witness in her father’s criminal case. Finally, CASA has worked with Becca’s foster parents to engage in foster care family therapy.
Darius and Davante
Darius and Davante are brothers whose sibling suffocated to death on a plastic bag and whose mother struggled with drugs, alcohol and mental health. When CASA was assigned to the case, they were in a household slated to be a permanent living situation. After speaking to the boys several times in the home, it became clear their needs were not being met. Even though CASA was the newest party to the case, Darius and Davante’s volunteer champion convinced the rest of the stakeholders involved that a new home was required. The volunteer champion then participated in a new home selection.
After a few weeks acclimating to their new home, the boys felt comfortable enough to disclose to their new caregivers the abuse they endured in their previous foster residence. This solidified that it was the right choice for the children to have permanency with another family, which ultimately won adoption rights.
For Brice, the abuse started early: he was born addicted to cocaine. At the age of 1, his biological mother knew she was unable to care for him due to her addiction and signed Brice over to a community caregiver. This caregiver also suffered from addiction issues and the patterns of abuse and neglect continued. When he entered the child welfare system, he became a migrant foster child, moving through 28 different placements over four years.
Unfortunately, like many children within the system, Brice suffered severe abuse and neglect at the hands of caregivers who were supposed to ensure his safety. His volunteer champion was a positive, motivating force in his life and a consistent resource that worked to ensure Brice’s needs were met as the boy moved through the system. Brice's impulsive behavior sometimes impeded his ability to think through the consequences of his actions and that's when his CASA advocate proved very helpful.
When he turned 21, Brice was able to stabilize his mental health and is now being served in the community by the adult mental health system.