CASA Success Story: Sammy

sammy0This year, Sammy* will spend the holidays like many of your children, grandchildren, and other kids you know—perhaps like you did. She’ll be surrounded by loved ones, excited to open presents, and maybe she’ll get to indulge in sweet chocolatey treats. She is in a loving home because of the loving support of this community.

Sammy was an abused and neglected child in our community whose parents were unwilling or unable to care for her. At the age of two her case was opened with the Department of Social Services and at three the Superior Court Judge assigned her a volunteer advocate named Diane*. Diane connected with and advocated for Sammy, and most importantly was a trusted and stable presence in her otherwise chaotic life. Sammy had seen things no child should.

One night, the police found Sammy and her baby sister crying hysterically in a blood spattered motel room as a disheveled stranger lay on the ground. The baby was filthy and hungry with no food and a bottle of spoiled, moldy baby formula. Mom was incoherent and at four years old, Sammy and her sister were removed from her birth mother for the second time. Weeks later she asked Diane, “Who will take care of me when I’m five?

Diane didn’t know but assured Sammy that as her CASA volunteer, she would always be there.

Soon after, the children were placed in a foster home where it became clear to Diane that Sammy was unhappy. Diane reported her observations to the newly assigned social worker and after an investigation, the girls were moved to a safe, nurturing home where they remained until they were adopted.

Today Sammy is five and thriving in her forever home with her healthy baby sister. At the adoption hearing the social worker, with tears in her eyes, hugged Diane and said, “I couldn’t have done it without you.”

*Names and identifying details have been changed to protect the identity of both the child and CASA volunteer