We have a CASA volunteer named Lynne who just retired at age 81 after helping foster kids for the past 9 1/2 years. During this time she served as a CASA on 3 cases, the last of which lasted 6 years.
The siblings for whom Lynne advocated are now in their late teens. The oldest has always been a good student and an athlete (their favorite sports are soccer and basketball). The younger is very social and likes to spend time with their friends.
Lynne saw both kids often when they were younger and lived in Lawrence. She made sure they were able to participate in summer activities sponsored by CASA. Later in the case, the kids' pre-adoptive placement disrupted due to the foster parent’s moving out of state. This was extremely traumatic and disappointing to both kids, and Lynne was a sympathetic ear for them as they were going through this transition.
After the disruption, the kids were moved to a town in Kansas that is over 50 miles away from Lawrence. Lynne continued to visit them every month (she often took them out for meals) and kept in touch with them via e-mail and texts. When the younger youth was struggling academically, Lynne advocated for educational supports and mental health services. She also advocated for both children to be enrolled in driver’s education when they were old enough. A retired educator, she has always encouraged them to do their best in school and to explore subjects and activities that interest them.
Unfortunately, issues between the children’s foster parents required that the children be moved again. Lynne continued to keep in touch and to advocate for a stable, appropriate placement for them. Not surprisingly, the COVID pandemic greatly impacted the stability of both children, who had to be moved to separate placements and have experienced even more disruptions during the pandemic.
More recently, Lynne has advocated for them to learn independent living skills and to explore career interests. She has also reported problems she observed with placements to their social workers and to the court. Both children have been able to hold jobs during the pandemic. The older youth, who is now a young adult, will be attending KU this fall. Lynne has discussed continuing to have contact and doing monthly “lunch dates.” Their most recent placement has been with the parent of a friend, who plans to adopt them as an adult.
Recently, the the younger youth was able to join their sibling at this placement and will be able to rejoin friends at a previous high school this fall. They have expressed an interest in joining the military and possibly becoming an attorney. Though their sibling's case will soon close (when young adults turn 18 they age out of the child welfare system), the younger youth will have a new CASA volunteer who will be able to visit and continue Lynne's critical advocacy on their behalf.