Veronica* is a 17-year-old young woman with a quick mind and a curiosity about the world. She entered the foster care system at the age of eight after witnessing three years of domestic violence between her mother and her partner and suffering parental neglect stemming from her mother’s struggle with bipolar disorder.
Veronica was placed in a foster home miles from her friends, school, and younger brother whom she loves dearly. During her first year in the system, she lived in four different foster home placements. The strain of being separated from her community and the constant transitions took a toll on Veronica, and she began to feel as if she had lost her identity. When Veronica reflected on her experience in the system, she stated, “New social workers came and went, and the only person I could depend on was myself. This all changed the day I met Laura, my CASA. She didn’t come with a clipboard, or a file with my name on it, but just a smile and an interest to get to know me. I realized that Laura was in my life for the long run.”
Laura was also assigned to Veronica’s brother, Nicholas*. Just a few weeks after being assigned to the siblings, Laura arranged for Veronica and Nicholas to have their first sibling visit in two years. Every month, the siblings could count on an opportunity to spend time on fun outings in the community with CASA Laura. Laura quickly discovered that Veronica was an intelligent girl with big dreams for the future. Laura helped Veronica to access the resources she needed to make up for gaps in her school experience due to the years of school transitions she had experienced during her time in the system. Laura encouraged Veronica to apply to a private high school. Veronica was nervous to leave the first stable school community she had known, but Laura’s support gave her the confidence she needed to pursue her academic goals. With Laura’s support, Veronica applied and secured a full scholarship to a prestigious high school. Today, Veronica is a senior in high school and she is currently awaiting responses to college applications she submitted to Stanford, Emory, and Columbia University.
*Names have been changed to protect the confidentiality of the youth we serve.