One Youth’s Story: Always There for Me

One Youths Story: Always There for MeWhen 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.

One Youths Story: Always There for Me

Bev Squires, Kansas' CASA Volunteer

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.

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14 Responses to One Youth’s Story: Always There for Me

  1. Nancy Chester says:

    My daughter, Erin, was recently sworn in as a CASA advocate and I couldn’t be prouder. It not only answers a real and current need for these children, but the effects can be so far-reaching as to benefit the whole rest of their lives. I can’t say enough good things about this program.

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  4. Barbara C says:

    Thank you for sharing your awesome story Kansas. You both are an inspiration!

  5. Sue Baker says:

    I am the director of this program and am so very proud of both Kansas and her CASA/GAL, Bev. Kansas is a beautiful and talented young lady and will go far in her life. Thank you Kansas!

  6. Rosely anolik says:

    I had been thinking about volunteering for the Casaforchilldren for sometime and I have just submitted my paperwork. I am looking forward to being a help in children’s lives.

    Rose. Long island n.y.

  7. maria scott says:

    I am considering this volunteer program in Los Angeles CA., Thanks so much Kanas for sharing your story. I work with clients who are disabled and believe me I truly understand the struggles with the court system to defend them and there rights,
    Thanks,
    Maria

  8. I was touched by Kansas’ story and her appreciation for Bev. I am a new CASA volunteer and was assigned my first case in April, which is still ongoing. I have the opportunity to work with, and hopefully help, three wonderful children who deserve so much more in life than they have received thus far. Before becoming a CASA volunteer I seriously wondered if there was any need for such a person but from what I have learned and experienced so far, there is now no doubt in my mine the need is there. I just hope that my work as a volunteer will bring value to the lives of my CASA kids.

  9. Jerry Ann Haynam says:

    This is my passion, but because of health reasons, I am no longer able to volunteer. I miss it so much. It is so good to hear the stories that turn out well. Just wish I could be involved. Especially seeing the kids.

  10. Cathy Aldrich says:

    I have just been sworn in as a new CASA and am encouraged by your story.

  11. Sherry says:

    Kansas,

    You are doing an awesome job in school and your volunteering to help other kids at Christmas. I am a CA/GAL in Houston. The kids here receive so much at Christmas, do you feel like there is some other time of the year that you might need or like to receive something? Hugs for Bev, sometimes your hugs back probably make her week. Sometimes it is a difficult job fighting for you kids to protect you, sometimes the systems don’t move fast enough to suit us volunteers, so your hugs are wonderful to receive and keep us going. Keep up the great work, you are strong and can achieve anything! {{{HUGS}}}

  12. Ann Ratcliffe says:

    My daughter, Jessica Laspino, is Executive Director of CASA in Lancaster, PA. I am proud of her for committing so much time and effort to helping volunteers advocate for the rights of children in foster care. These volunteers are to be commended, for they are practioners of active compassion, providing voices for children who would not otherwise be heard. It was indeed encouraging to read the above memoir. I wish Kansas and Bev continued success!!

  13. jan henderson says:

    Great story…CASA … very very much needed these days…someone IMPARTIAL to their own wishes or conveniences that can really listen to the child in need and speak in court for the child!

  14. Becky Parmenter says:

    Keep uo the great work Kansas and Bev. It is always great to hear of the successes. Thank you for sharing..
    Becky

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