Meet the Kids

Here are a couple of true stories about children who have had a GAL / CASA advocate. Although these children were not part of the Jefferson County GAL Program, they have alot in common with the kids we help.

"You mean they picked me? Out of anyone else in the world, they picked me?"

Ke’onte came into state care in 2006 just before his seventh birthday. He was a bright, articulate and fun loving boy. But he also was having emotional issues and meltdowns. There were allegations that Ke’onte and his siblings had been abused and neglected by his mother and aunt.

He began working with a CASA volunteer, Teri Yates, around the same time. Teri and the state worked hard to find a permanent placement for Ke’onte. He was featured on the state adoption website, and twice appeared on the "Wednesday’s Child" adoption series on Dallas TV..He had some close encounters with families that were considering adopting him but ultimately decided against it. Ke’onte’s disappointment came out in the forms of meltdowns, self-destructive behavior and school difficulties. His CASA volunteer stayed involved during the process.

Finally in the fall of 2009, a case worker emailed Ke’onte’s story to a couple who had been considering adopting a child. They immediately saw that he was special. "We knew he needed a family who wouldn’t give up on him." He came to visit them in the fall and everyone immediately felt comfortable. They decided to adopt him shortly afterward.

When Teri, his CASA volunteer, called to tell him the good news, he said tearfully: "You mean they picked me? Out of anyone else in the world, they picked me?" He was able to move into their home just before Christmas 2009, and the adoption became official in June 2010.

"At first, I thought my volunteer was a ditz."

From the age of five, Virginia was a victim of sexual abuse by her mother and stepfather. At the age of 14, Virginia finally found the courage to report the abuse, her mother and stepfather fled the state, and she was placed in foster care.

Virginia lived in a series of group homes. She engaged in self-destructive behavior including cutting and several suicide attempts. When Megan—her CASA volunteer—first met her, she was not attending school because of behavior issues in school.

Virginia says that when she first met her volunteer, she thought, "Who is this person who keeps getting on me about going to school? At first, I thought my volunteer was a ditz." She couldn’t believe that anyone would be taking on the task of working with her, let alone a volunteer. So she tested her volunteer—refusing to cooperate with her for the first three months of their relationship. But her volunteer refused to give up on her.

Over time, her CASA volunteer became her closest ally. Even during the difficult times—when Virginia’s mental health issues became challenging, or when bad behavior landed Virginia in court—Megan was right there at her side. The dedication paid off. Virginia graduated from high school and is currently hoping to join Job Corps.

The greatest surprise in Virginia’s story came earlier this year. Virginia’s father had been faithfully paying child support for years, but for some reason the state was not able to establish contact with him and Virginia. Finally, he reached out to her through Facebook. They met for the first time in April 2010.

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