When she was 11 years old, Kansas was removed from her mother’s care due to years of abuse. She has been permanently placed with a family in East Wenatchee, WA. This is her story. Our deepest gratitude goes to Kansas, her guardians, and the Chelan-Douglas CASA Program for allowing us to share her story.
After my mom and dad separated, I remember seeing my grandpa and his friends beating up my father. They tried to kill him. We went on the run after that, so our dad could not find us. We were living with my mom and her boyfriend. We had to live in tree houses, motels, and we even slept in the car sometimes.
When mom and her boyfriend were drinking, my brother and I were repeatedly abused. I used to call 911 to protect my mom, my brother and me. That didn’t work out, though, because then either I had to lie to the police and pretend everything was fine or I could tell the truth and he would go to jail. If he went to jail, we’d have to use all our money to bail him out. Then we would go hungry because we had no money, and the beatings would keep happening.
Three years ago, I woke up to police officers arresting my mom. I decided to tell the police the truth about what had been happening. This time my mom went to jail, and my brother and I went into foster care. A couple of days later, I met Bev, my CASA volunteer. I’ve had four caseworkers and gone to court several times, but Bev has always been there with me.
Bev is great. She’s always fought for me when I needed someone to count on. At first, we had visits with my mom, but she kept bringing my grandpa with her. Because of what happened with him and my dad, my brother and I were scared of him and we didn’t want to see him. I talked to Bev about it and I told her that I didn’t want to see my mom unless she was alone. Bev stood up for me in court so that I didn’t have to go on those visits anymore. She always made me feel like my opinions mattered. Bev listens to me 110%, and she always stands up for me.
I moved into a foster home where everybody was really nice and I felt safe. Because of everything that happened, I decided that I wanted to stay with the foster family instead of being with my mom. Bev really fought for me to make sure that I didn’t have to go back with my mom.
I like where I’m living right now. I live in a good stable home. I’m doing great in school. I get straight As and I’m in honors classes. I’m on Executive Council and I play softball and volleyball. And Bev still visits me every month just to make sure I am doing okay and to see if I need anything. She’s just a really awesome lady.
I want to support the CASA program because they helped me so much. Any time they ask me, I’ll come to the CASA program’s events and share my story. I also want to help other kids who end up in foster care. The first Christmas I spent in foster care, the CASA program brought me and my brother Christmas stockings. That was the first time I ever got my own stocking. Last Christmas, I collected toys at my school for other kids who were in foster care. I’m going to do it again this year. Christmas is a really hard time for kids in the foster care system, but it’s my favorite time of year now.
I know there are a lot of kids like me who end up in foster care. I would tell all of them that I hope you all get a CASA volunteer to work with you. CASA volunteers tell the court what’s in our best interest. They make sure our medical and educational needs are met. And they dry our tears and give us hugs when we need them. Your CASA volunteer is a person you can trust. If you trust them, they won’t let you down.