Success Story: Tim and Catherine’s Story at CASA

Did you know there are over 490 kids in our county who are under the jurisdiction of the juvenile court and need a Court Appointed Special Advocate? CASA advocates make recommendations to the court, based on the best interest of the children. Let us share with you what that looks like for a child in our community.

CASA volunteer, Catherine, has been advocating for 11-year old Tim for over a year. Tim has a strong bond with his father, and his case plan was on track for reuniting with his father. Unfortunately, Tim’s father did not follow through with his court-ordered plan and soon Tim was placed with an elderly relative.

Tim thought this would be a permanent placement for him. But due to the relative’s age and health problems, she was not able to handle the demands of a child in her home. He was heartbroken. He was then moved to two successive foster homes, both of which were not good fits for him.

Throughout all of this time, Catherine maintained weekly visits with Tim and close contact with his caregivers. One day at the end of the school year, Catherine was talking to an employee at Tim’s school. The employee said that in the past she had operated a specialized foster home. Catherine asked if she might be interested in fostering again.

Soon after, arrangements were made for Tim to live under her care. It has been a great fit, and the foster mom is now pursuing adoption of Tim.  This is just one example of a life positively affected by a CASA volunteer advocate.

Success Story: The Smith Family

Last year, must! charities partnered with ECHO, El Camino Homeless Organization.  ECHO is a transitional shelter in Northern San Luis Obispo County that is helping families and individuals find permanent housing. ECHO is for people who are ready to make a change in their lives. People like The Smith Family.

As a newly blended family, Scott and Amy brought together two boys as step-brothers Christopher 7, and Matthew 10. Both boys know what it’s like to be homeless and hungry, to sleep in their car in a parking lot, and to wish for a home with air conditioning when it’s 100 degrees outside.

Through the help of the ECHO Case Management Team, they were connected to afterschool programs so Scott and Amy could focus on finding full time employment. After a short time at ECHO, Scott was able to secure a full-time job with a construction company and Amy found part-time work at a restaurant.

It was at this point, with financial guidance from the ECHO team, the family was able to start saving money and create a savings plan that would allow them to obtain sustainable and permanent housing once they moved out of ECHO. Paired with assistance from The Link, the family was able to find a program that would subsidize a portion of their housing for a temporary time period. This was the final step in securing the housing they needed.

After six months at ECHO, they are now in their own home with two full time jobs and Amy is enrolled in college courses. The brothers are doing well in school and they were excited to have their own room and even more excited for their new bunkbed!

This family gives us a picture of second chances and is just one example of lives positively affected by ECHO.