Donor support is making it possible for CASA staff and volunteers to take on several new cases this fall and see what can be done to support a group of local teens whose experiences with neglect and subsequent truancy are traceable to challenges ranging from deceased parents and car accidents to unmonitored medical needs and unstable living environments.
One of these teens has been involved with the child welfare system for over 18 months and lives in a household where an older sibling has had to assume the responsibility of providing basic care for the other children, including getting everyone to school. As you can imagine, this hasn't gone well and it was the truancy report made by the school that prompted Assistant District Attorney Ivan Moya to request that CASA step in and advocate on behalf of this teen and their family.
All of these teens are failing most of their classes and are in danger of not graduating high school on time. This would put them at significant risk for unemployment, homelessness, and involvement with the adult criminal justice system within the next year or two. CASA's task right now is to prevent these negative outcomes by getting to know these teens and their families and identify the services and supports that would help them the most.
We plan to monitor and assess their home environments with a particular focus on the parenting, discipline skills, and daily routines that are not currently in place. As always with these cases, the presence of CASA in the lives of these teens means that they have a reliable, caring adult to whom they can turn for guidance, support, and a listening ear.
Because of your support, CASA staff and volunteer advocates are afforded the time and space to build the trusting relationships with these teens and their families that are necessary in order for best interest advocacy and, ideally, change to happen. You are offering these teens the chance to envision a different life for themselves.