Just a few life-changing stories to gain insight about what these children go through and why we do the work that we do.

Ben's Story

Ben has been in foster care since 2012. At the young age of 6, Ben was removed from his mother’s care due to a severe case of neglect. It became apparent very quickly that his mother was not equipped for nor intended to parent this young boy and her parental rights were terminated. Thus, began Ben’s
6-year journey in the foster care system.

Ben endured 4 placements, 3 school districts and 2 failed adoptions before finding his forever family. He went through multiple therapists, doctors, and medications to try to better manage his emotional disorder. He pushed away and attempted to sabotage any stable relationship due to his fear of yet another adult letting him down.

Yet through it all, Ryan, his CASA Advocate stood by Ben’s side. Not once did Ryan falter in his duty to advocate for the best education, healthcare, mental health treatment, and a safe, permanent home for this now young man. Due to no fault of his own, Ben endured 6 years of instability, trauma, and fear. However, through it all, Ryan ensured that he would not be yet another kid who fell through the cracks, he would not be a kid who ended up in jail or on the street, he would be a kid who would have the support, safety, and stability he needs to grow and mature into a well-rounded, stable man.

Kiah's Story

It has been 6 days since Kiah last saw her mom. The food is gone and the heat is off. When mom disappears, usually it is not a big deal because Kiah’s teacher sneaks food and clean clothes in her bag. However, her school is closed and all her classmates are home eating big turkey feasts with their parents. All Kiah wants is a family who will celebrate the holidays, for once in her life to have a Christmas present to open, for someone, anyone to listen to her.

When the police came and took Kiah away, she was not surprised when her new “family” did not have any presents for her. After all, it was her fault for telling her teacher how her Thanksgiving truly was and the beating she got when her mom noticed the food was gone. The only thing Kiah is thankful for this holiday season is getting assigned a CASA volunteer.  Her CASA volunteer is the one person in her life that will always be there for her, making sure whatever home she’s in, is full of love and support.

This holiday season will be different. Because of our community’s support, children all over Yellowstone County have a champion in their corner. They know that even though they are not home, they are safe, valued and worthy of a brighter future. Kiah’s CASA advocate is making sure that despite the condition in which she was found, she will continue to thrive well into the future.

Hailey's Story

Hailey was in 5 homes and 3 schools in 5 months, until her CASA Advocate put her foot down.

After being abused by her father and placed in foster care, Hailey was in survival mode. She built walls between herself, her temporary families and her second-grade teacher. All she wanted was to be back with her dad, even though she knew it wasn’t safe for either of them.

Then her CASA Advocate entered her life. When everyone wanted Hailey to keep living with strangers, Taylor saw through her tough exterior and made sure she could be with family in a loving home.

Hailey and her dad have a long road to recovery but being with her aunt and cousins along with her weekly lunches with her CASA Advocate remind her that she isn’t alone. They remind her that someone is there for her. They remind her that she matters.

Christopher’s Story

Being a teenager is difficult in the best of situations. When a teenager is faced with debilitating mental health issues, an absent father, their mother’s sudden death and constant drug and alcohol abuse in their living environment one would assume the teen has little to no chance of becoming a productive citizen. However, Christopher overcame all the odds with the help of his CASA volunteer.

When Angie took Christopher’s case he was a young boy “full of anger, fear, and lacking vision for a future.” Angie walked with Christopher as he began earning straight A’s his senior year, earned his driver’s license, discovered and stuck with a job in which he thrives and ultimately gained the self-confidence to walk away from an unsafe environment, even though he knew it would mean the end of his services provided by the foster care system. Through hard work, tears, determination, and devotion Angie and Christopher formed an inseparable bond. Christopher bloomed into a young man “with confidence, self-esteem, and a newfound awareness of his own intelligence and abilities” with the help of his CASA, Angie.

Without the support of our valued donors, the odds are that Christopher would be on the streets, without his medication, living a shortened life of addiction and mental illness. However, because you donated to CASA of Yellowstone County, Christopher is thriving in his own apartment with the proper treatment through the community-based programs his CASA helped him find.

Madi's Story

On a chilly spring day Madi walks down the street with her mom and baby sister. Her feet hurt, but she doesn’t dare ask her mom for shoes. Madi is hungry and cold, but she doesn’t have the words to tell mom. Would mom even hear? That night Madi hears a knock at the door, then another, then a bang. Suddenly, there are cops in her home, everything is so confusing! Mom isn’t telling them the truth, bad things happen when you don’t tell the truth. A lady starts asking questions, but Madi doesn’t have the words to answer. She takes Madi and her sister, they get new clothes and blankets, the lady washes their hair and hands and gives them a warm meal. Madi is so hungry, but her teeth hurt too bad to chew. The lady takes Madi and her sister to a house, the grownups don’t seem too sure of the girls and Madi doesn’t seem too sure of them. A few days later a man comes and take Madi’s baby sister, he is so happy to take her away from Madi. The lady comes back and takes Madi to a new family, her sister isn’t there. The lady said her sister is living with her dad now in a faraway place. Madi asks where her dad is, the lady looks sad but doesn’t answer her. The new mom and brother try to talk to Madi, but she still can’t find her words.

Then, Madi meets Roxann, her new CASA. Roxann tells Madi that she’s there to help her, that Madi is going to see a lot of doctors but not to be scared because the new mom and Roxann are going to be with her. The first doctor fixes Madi’s teeth and Madi finds her smile. The second doctor fixes Madi’s heart and Madi finds her happiness. The third doctor fixes Madi’s voice and Madi finds her words. Roxann shows Madi a picture of her from last year when the lady took her away from her first mom, Madi doesn’t even recognize the small girl with no smile. She asks about her baby sister and the man who took her away, Roxann says they will find her.

Now, Madi is big and strong, she has her smile and her words. Roxann found her sister and Mom shows Madi pictures, she looks bigger and stronger too! Roxann and Mom tell Madi an important day is coming up and she gets a new dress. They take her to a big building with lots of people. Roxann said a man wants to meet Madi and ask her about her family. Madi sits in a big chair and tells the nice man what she has known for a long time, her new Mom is the mom she was always meant to have and the mom Madi will always be with. That day a doctor didn’t fix anything, Roxann helped fix her long ago, but that day Madi found her forever home.

The story of Madi and Roxann has a happy ending thanks to the support of people like you!  Thank you for helping Madi find her voice.  At CASA of Yellowstone County, we will not stop working until we can find a Roxann for each and every child in foster care in our community.  CASAs like Roxann give children a voice, and to give them a voice, is to give them hope.  Thanks for helping us work towards our vision of giving all kids in Yellowstone County hope.

Lift Up A Child’s Voice. A Child’s Life.

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