In 2017, Promise, Grayson and Selah left the foster care system and went home to their parents’ care. Their volunteer Court Appointed Special Advocate was with them for two years before the case was closed in reunification with their parents.
In 2020, the kids entered foster care again after multiple reports of the kids coming to school dirty, hungry, and bruised. Child and Family Services investigated and found their dad was deep into an alcohol addiction and was physically abusive to the three kids when he drank. At this point, 12-year-old Promise was taking care of her two younger siblings as best she could. The children’s mom was in a drug treatment center out-of-state. Due to serious safety issues, the kids went to live with a family friend while dad agreed to start treatment for his substance use and anger management classes.
Several months into their second time in foster care, a social worker reached out to the CASA office requesting a volunteer Court Appointed Special Advocate for their case. The kids’ original volunteer Advocate had been retired for several years by the time the children re-entered foster care. Fortunately, a new volunteer Advocate stepped up to and was appointed to the case.
Soon after the kids met their new volunteer Advocate, they had to move homes again because their family friends could not take care of all the kids. It was challenging for the kids to move again, and the older two kids, Promise and Grayson, had to move schools as well, adding another layer of stress and uncertainty to an already difficult time. Initially, Grayson and Promise were not particularly welcoming to their new volunteer Advocate and made it clear they expected her to drop out of their lives, like other adults around them. The kids struggled in their relationship with their father, who was working to be a safe parent for the kids but was still struggling with his addictions.
Through consistent visits at their foster home and school, their volunteer Court Appointed Special Advocate slowly built a trust and rapport with all three kids. Eventually, the kids came to know her as a safe, trusted friend. Promise and Grayson started to get involved in their school community through sports and music. They frequently invited their CASA to attend games and concerts. Their foster parents also became a source of support and stability for the three siblings. Most of all, this gave Promise the opportunity to be a teenager instead of being a mom for her younger siblings. Fortunately, Selah did not have to change schools when they moved into their new foster home. She was always excited to see her CASA at school and was excited to introduce her to all her friends.
Tragically, several months into the case, the kids’ mom passed away suddenly due to a drug overdose. This was an incredibly difficult time for the kids as they mourned the loss of their mother. They relied heavily on their CASA and foster parents through this time.
A year went by, and the kids had settled into a good rhythm with their foster parents and their school. They saw their dad off and on throughout the year, having supervised visits with him first, and then later staying with him at home. The plan was to transition the kids home later in the year if all went well. The plan for reunification was put on hold when dad was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer. Throughout this time, the CASA worked tirelessly and advocated for the kids. She helped to get them into therapy services, and they each started individual counseling sessions. Several times a month, all three kids would attend a family session together.
Unfortunately, between his struggle with cancer and his work schedule, the kids’ dad was not able to care for the three siblings properly and it was finally decided, after three years of being in foster care, that the foster parents would become their legal guardians and permanent home. Their CASA, though no longer on their case officially, still visits the family often and is a source of connection and support for the three kids.
This is a true story about a family in the Billings community and their volunteer Court Appointed Special Advocate. When you support CASA of Yellowstone County, you support children like Promise, Grayson, and Selah.