CASA Success Story: Mark and Adam

Two years ago a CASA volunteer, Mark* was assigned to a youth named Adam* age 16. Adam was experiencing self-harm, depression, had suicidal ideation, suffered a near drug overdose, and had run away. Adam had been detained from his parent’s custody due to the parent’s own mental health concerns going untreated. At that time, he said he felt his parent was too mentally unstable to take care of him.

Unfortunately, he was never able to reunify with his parent. Adam remained in the permanent plan of long term foster care called Permanent Planned Living Arrangement (PPLA).

Fast forward to today. Adam has now reached majority, and is transitioning into a young adult and participating in the Assembly Bill 12 Program which offers him mentorship and support.

When Mark was first assigned to Adam, his social worker, described Adam as dressing in a somewhat “emo” style (colorful hair, piercings, etc.) When Mark met Adam he noted his flat affect (would not look people in the eye, but look down), seemed extremely sad, wore long sleeve shirts that covered up scars on his arms from cutting and did not care much about school. His case appeared to be challenging. However, Mark was never put off by Adam. In fact, he immediately reached out to Adam and was able to advocate for Adam’s best interests while being flexible with how Adam preferred to mainly communicate through text messaging.

Mark advocated for Adam in his school setting and to improve his grades. He recommended mental health services for Adam. Mark’s caring and commitment to Adam were instrumental in helping Adam “reach for the stars”!

During this past year Adam has matured in various ways. He no longer seems sad, carries himself with a smile, and appreciates all that is done for him by his social worker, his foster parents and Mark, his CASA volunteer. Most importantly, he has grown into a young adult with a good future. In high school, he participated in sports; where his coach taught him good sportsmanship. As an athlete, he was accountable for his academics. He learned to make meaningful connections with his peers and team-mates. He has also learned to advocate for himself.

Once he asked the Juvenile Dependency Court judge if he could seek employment, which the Court supported as long as he was able to maintain school academics and schoolwork while working part-time at a restaurant. Adam worked hard to develop coping skills and continued to maintain on psychotropic medication. Throughout the time Mark advocated for Adam, he sometimes felt that his relationship with him seemed distant. Adam would often text Mark instead of speaking to him in person, and Mark feared that once Adam turned 18 he would not want Mark to continue on as a CASA Mentor.

However, this past month while at a court hearing, Adam told the judge he definitely wanted Mark to continue to be his advocate. Adam thanked his social worker, his foster parents, and Mark for being supportive. Mark was over joyed and pleasantly surprised to hear that Adam wanted him to continue on as a CASA Mentor. Mark now helps Adam as his CASA Mentor as Adam transitions into being a responsible and productive young adult.

(*names changed to ensure confidentiality)

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