He has been in State custody for 6 of his 11 years.  His life’s timeline looks like this — in State care for 2 years and 5 months/Reunified with his mom for 2 years/Re-entered into State care for 2+ years until the present.

His village:

  • 9 school teachers and school counsellors
  • 5 professional therapists
  • 9 attorneys – either county attorneys or public defenders
  • 2 sets of grandparents
  • his mother
  • a non-compliant father
  • his tribe and an Indian Child Welfare Act qualified expert witness
  • one foster family
  • 3 social workers
  • 2 group home managers
  • numerous group home personnel
  • 1 psychiatrist
  • multiple Big Brothers and mentors
  • various case managers at service providers across the village
  • 1 Court Appointed Special Advocate

 

“It takes a village to raise a child”   An African slogan referring to the ideal group of people surrounding a child and aiding in his training and education; such as, grandparents, relatives, extended family, friends, teachers, neighbors, coaches, mentors, churches, and others who supplement the primary care of the child and give oversight to the parents.

What happens when the parents make poor choices and cannot tackle even the most basic needs of a child?  We default to the village.  When kin cannot fulfill those duties we resort to local community, state agencies, and government programs.  A perfect set-up?  Far from it.  The village has many problems of its own.  Many times the village IS the problem.  Crime, violence, generational trauma, bigotry, alcoholism, drug abuse, sexuality, etc. are some of the village forces that work against our families as we try to navigate our children between right and wrong.

In my role as a CASA, I have determined to be part of the solution.  I have had a consistent relationship with him during these years of great change and uncertainty.  I have advocated for his health, safety, and educational needs.  I have written over 25 reports for the court and professionals making recommendations for the child.  I meet regularly with the kiddo.  I continue to work on his behalf advocating for a safe, permanent home.

With the previous thoughts in mind, I would like to encourage you to become a “hands on” part of the village.  There are over 800 children in foster care in Yellowstone county.  273 of these kids currently have a CASA looking out for them.  Our village is growing so rapidly as well as the negative forces working against us.

Our next informational session is on Wednesday, April 7, 2021 at 10 AM MDT – 11 AM MDT.  This is an online event and open to the public.

RSVP to emily@yellowstonecasa.org or call (406) 259-1233.

Meeting Link: https://zoom.us/j/93057388818

 

Corinna Byler was sworn in as a Court Appointed Special Advocate in 2015 and is currently a volunteer Peer Coordinator.