CASA of Middlesex County Success Stories
CASA Helps Ryan Get a Permanent Home
CASA Advocate Naomi was appointed to 5-year-old Ryan. He was removed from his biological parents when his mother was found unconscious due to drug abuse. Additionally, his family’s home was deplorable, with garbage littered throughout and no electricity. When Naomi started working with Ryan he was living with much older children in a group home with limited supervision. He had run away from the home twice and had been abused by one of the other residents.
Naomi was concerned about Ryan’s living situation and began sifting through his case files to learn more about his history. She found a letter from Mr. and Mrs. Sherman, one of Ryan’s prior foster homes. The letter asked how Ryan was doing and if they could send him a present. Naomi discovered that Ryan had been moved from the Sherman’s because they were located rurally, where the school system didn’t feel they could meet Ryan’s complex educational needs. Naomi advocated for Ryan to move back to this prior foster home, a far more loving and supportive environment than his current home.
As a result of Naomi’s research and advocacy, Ryan was moved. Naomi helped the transition by working with the school to make sure Ryan had what he needed. In a matter of months, Ryan’s behaviors improved dramatically. The Sherman’s have since adopted Ryan and are providing a safe, loving home for him.
CASA Helps Raphael and Elise Succeed in School
Rafael and Elise were removed from their home when their father, Kiko, was arrested for making physical threats towards their older sister. Kiko told the kids’ CASA Volunteer, Nicole, that their grades were poor when they lived in the Dominican Republic, but had improved since they moved to New Jersey. In order to confirm this, Nicole met with the teachers for Rafael and Elise. Nicole discovered that the children were actually struggling academically, had weekly behavioral incidents in the classroom, and frequently showed up late to school, or sometimes did not come to school at all. Nicole also discovered that Rafael and Elise were having trouble learning and understanding English. Upon her recommendations, the judge ordered that the children be evaluated for special education services and receive tutoring after school. The judge also encouraged Kiko to improve his parenting skills through classes. Not only did Nicole ensure that the kids had a fair shot in school, she also opened Kiko’s eyes to the importance of communication with his kids, and helped them grow stronger as a family.
CASA Finds a Win-Win for Daniela
Daniela was removed from her home three days after her birth and placed in foster care. When the CASA Volunteer, Sasha, was appointed to Daniela’s case, she had already been in her foster home for five years, much longer than the typical stay. She was becoming angry and depressed due to the uncertainty of her living arrangement. Unfortunately, the case was at a standstill with no end in sight—Daniela’s mother loved her dearly, but had cognitive impairments that made it impossible for her to care for Daniela full time. Sasha was determined to help the case close so that Daniela would not spend her entire childhood in foster care. After considering every possibility, Sasha recommended an unusual option that would allow Daniela to live permanently with her foster mom, and to visit with her biological mother. The court agreed, as did the foster and biological parents. Daniela had spent the first 5 years of her life in foster care, but after only 6 months with a CASA Volunteer, she was living permanently in a loving home where she was able to maintain connections with her biological family.
CASA Helps Ray Establish His Future
Ray had been in and out of foster care since he was 9 months old. He lived with his relatives over the years, but he suffered from abuse in each home. Ray’s father gained custody of him when he was 16 years old. Unfortunately, Ray was physically abused by his father three months later. Unsurprisingly, when Ray’s CASA Volunteer, Megan, first met him, he was aggressive and getting into fights in his foster home and at school. He found school to be challenging and had many academic needs that were not being met; Ray was frequently a distraction in the classroom and was defiant and rude to his teachers.
As Ray’s 18th birthday drew closer, he started experimenting with drugs. Megan knew that due to his newfound drug use, difficulties with school, and lack of familial support, Ray wouldn’t have many options if he left foster care at 18. Because Megan was the one consistent person in Ray’s life, she was able to persuade him to stay in foster care until he turned 21 and to join Job Corps. This has allowed Ray to finish high school and learn a trade, while living in a safe environment and making lifelong friendships.