November is National Adoption Month in the United States, and this year, the Children’s Bureau has elected to bring awareness to older youth in foster care – teenagers and young adults – who historically are less likely to be adopted. In 2019, youth between the ages of 15-18 made up only 5% of all children adopted. The purpose of this year’s initiative is to emphasize the idea that all children, no matter the age, are in critical need of permanency.
With that in mind, this month’s Inspiring CASA will feature the advocacy of Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) Josh in support of his teenage case youth, Curtis*.
Curtis entered foster care at the age of 13 after being abandoned by his mother at a psychiatric treatment program. His mother insisted she could no longer care for Curtis due to being overwhelmed by his mental health needs. For any child, being separated from one’s family is a traumatic experience, and this transition was made worse by a difficult placement change the following year.
After facing hardships throughout his transition into foster care, Curtis was identified by Voices for Children as needing a CASA volunteer. He was paired with CASA Josh in September of 2018. Right away, CASA Josh proved to be a strong role model and advocate for the young man. With few other consistent adults in Curtis’s life, CASA Josh stepped up to support in big ways. He cheered Curtis on at his high school football games, attended local plays with Curtis, and helped him develop future goals for post-high school and onward.
As CASA Josh continued to remain a strong and steady advocate, Curtis ended up at a placement where he developed a great bond with his foster parents. At the start of 2020, Curtis was formally adopted by his foster family at the age of 15. More than 50 friends and new family members gathered at the adoption ceremony to celebrate the event and welcome Curtis into his forever family. CASA Josh was also there to commemorate this huge milestone in Curtis’s life.
Thanks to CASA Josh’s consistent presence in Curtis’ life and efforts to improve Curtis’ well being, the teen was able to thrive. Now, thanks to the love and compassion of his new family, he has found his forever home. Like CASA Josh, you too can provide much-needed advocacy and support to a child like Curtis. Take the first step towards becoming a CASA volunteer in San Diego or Riverside Counties by signing up for an online Volunteer Information Session today.
To learn more about how you can spread awareness for National Adoption Month, visit the official website at https://www.childwelfare.gov/topics/adoption/nam/.
*Names and identifying features have been changed to protect confidentiality.