Trevor*, 17, had been let down by nearly every adult in his life – until he met his Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA), Melissa.
Trevor entered Riverside County foster care at age 8. An aunt soon adopted his siblings, but Trevor was left in the system. Over the years, opportunities arose for Trevor to move in with other relatives. However, his hope would ultimately turn to heartbreak each time when they didn’t follow through.
Trevor’s time in foster care has been tumultuous. As Trevor moved from group home to group home, he felt angry, alone, and even ran away several times. But things started looking up three years ago when he was matched with CASA Melissa.
“My only goal initially was for him to see that I would keep showing up for him and try my best each time,” CASA Melissa said. “I would focus on having fun on our outings so that we could get more comfortable with one another in a relaxed way.”
Through her consistency, Trevor started to trust CASA Melissa and began opening up. A few months ago, he told her about a friend who was also in foster care and shared that he wanted to move into his friend’s foster home. (Until that point, Trevor had only lived in group homes and never showed interested in living in a foster home.)
CASA Melissa saw this as Trevor’s chance at stability. Unfortunately, the caregiver was only cleared to foster one child, but agreed to work with the County to open another space in her home. During this time, CASA Melissa was travelling internationally for work, but she still called every other day to ensure progress was being made.
Everyone was excited when the County gave their approval and Trevor moved into his new home! (As an added bonus, the County also gave the caregiver permission to take the boys out-of-state on a summer vacation.) Trevor told CASA Melissa, “I finally feel like I’m part of a real family.”
Volunteer: Melissa C.
Became a CASA: 2019
Favorite part of being a CASA: My favorite part about being a CASA has been getting to know an incredible kid and the bond that we have developed. It has been the neatest experience to watch him grow into himself and find his own way in this world.
Favorite quote: “Beneath every behavior there is a feeling. And beneath every feeling there is a need. And when we meet that need rather than focusing on the behavior, we begin to deal with the cause not the symptom.” -Ashleigh Warner, psychologist
You, too, can make a difference in the life of youth in foster care. Learn more about becoming a CASA volunteer.
*Names have been changed to protect confidentiality