Because every child
HOW WE HELP
JOSHUA AND ELIAH
Brothers Joshua and Eliah were born testing positive for cocaine and were subsequently placed in foster care with the same foster mother. Due to drug addiction, the parental rights of the boys’ birthparents were terminated shortly thereafter. Initially, their first foster mother intended to adopt Joshua and Eliah, however an investigation found that she had neglected both boys and they were moved to a new home. In conjunction with their relocation, the brothers were assigned a CASA advocate to help ensure their safety and well-being.
Joshua and Eliah’s new foster mother, Ms. D, who is an education professional with a wealth of experience with children, was initially frustrated by the boys and struggled with their violent behaviors, intense fears, and codependent tendencies. She felt unsupported by the services provided to assist her in caring for the brothers. After speaking with Ms. D and learning of her struggles, CASA stepped in to help set up mental health, sexual abuse, and educational evaluations for Joshua and Eliah. These evaluations were the first step in ensuring the boys had adequate support in the form of therapy and other services. CASA continues to work with the boys and their foster mother who recently signed the preliminary adoption papers. Ms. D says that while she still struggles at times with the children’s behavior, she knows she has CASA’s support which helps her finds her voice to advocates for the children’s needs. This confidence, Ms. D shared, gives her the strength to provide what she knows the children need above all else: a loving and permanent home.
By May 2013, Sabrina, a twenty year-old foster youth and mother to a young son, had lived in 14 different placements since entering foster care when she was four years-old. A CASA Advocate was first assigned to help Sabrina obtain a copy of her birth certificate from Puerto Rico as she prepared to age out of foster care in 2014. Within one month of CASA’s assignment the birth certificate had been secured, and a week later Sabrina also obtained her NY State ID. These vital records were necessary in order for Sabrina to open a bank account or sign a lease in her name.
CASA, however, did not stop there; instead, Sabrina was also supported as she worked toward her goals of completing the GED and obtaining her own apartment. The CASA advocate assisted Sabrina in properly enrolling in a full time GED program and also accompanied her to several housing interviews with the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA). When an apartment became available in October 2013, another obstacle arose – Sabrina was informed that she would be responsible for paying the initial fees to secure the apartment. She expressed concern to her caseworker and to her CASA advocate that after paying all the required fees, she would be unable to afford the monthly rent and other expenses for herself and her son. The CASA advocate immediately began exploring other options such as ACS’s one time grant or having the foster care agency cover the fees pending reimbursement from Sabrina but neither option was feasible. In order to ensure that Sabrina could afford both the apartment and the fees, the advocate worked creatively to have an ACS furniture stipend provided for Sabrina from which she could cover her monthly expenses. In December 2013, Sabrina and her son moved into their apartment, with much gratitude to the CASA advocate who continues to work with Sabrina’s towards fulfilling her goal of completing her GED, going to college, and gaining meaningful employment.
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