When *Clayton was permanently removed from his parents’ care after numerous allegations of neglect, emotional abuse, physical abuse, and caretaker absence, and placed in foster care, his life became a series of constant upheavals. With over ten foster care different placements, Clayton found himself struggling to cope with each new home and environment. As his behavioral issues worsened he was left with little hope for a stable future.
But then he was matched with a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA), Mark. CASA Mark had been the CASA for Clayton’s estranged older brother, who was also in foster care. He wanted the brothers to have the opportunity to spend time together and started advocating with that simple goal in mind.
Over time, Clayton’s trust in CASA Mark grew, and he began to see him as someone he could truly count on. Mark encouraged Clayton to explore his passions and interests, something he had never been able to do before due to the instability in his life. They went to sports games and hunted for rare comic books together.
As Clayton entered high school, he began to develop close relationships with not only his CASA but also with his foster family and peers. Mark worked with Clayton’s caseworker to obtain a gym membership, which has proven to be a great outlet for Clayton’s emotional and physical well-being. Mark also encouraged Clayton to meet with a therapist to develop healthy coping skills.
Now in high school, Clayton is maintaining excellent grades and has a strong interest in health and medical sciences. CASA Mark shared that if Clayton continues to excel in high school, he will be well-positioned for a college track. He is currently involved in his school’s theater productions and is exploring summer internships and work-study programs that align with his interests and goals for his future.
Clayton’s story is a powerful reminder of the importance of having a supportive adult in a child’s life. CASA Mark’s consistent presence and advocacy have helped Clayton overcome the trauma of his past and look toward a brighter future. It’s a testament to the power of one caring adult to make a difference in a child’s life.
Name: Mark L.
County: San Diego
Became a CASA: 2015
Favorite part of being a CASA: “I have been fortunate to have been the CASA for two brothers who are great to hang out with. At my age, hanging out with younger people keeps you young.”
You, too, can make a difference in the life of youth in foster care. Learn more about becoming a CASA volunteer.
*Names and details have been changed to protect confidentiality