If you look at him today, you might describe 11-year-old Sam as a bright eyed and adventurous little boy. And while that may be true now, that has not always been the case.

Sam spent most of his younger years scared. Not only did he grow up in a home where drinking was the norm, his parents also suffered from drug addiction. As a result, his safety had been compromised resulting in a car crash, sexual assault by an extended family member, and he had witnessed domestic violence so many times he had become accustomed to learning when to hide. He was terrified his baby brother might not survive during the month the baby spent in ICU recovering from the opioid addiction he was born with. Finally, after having to give detailed accounts of an episode of severe domestic violence, Sam was removed from his parent’s custody.

Sam met his CASA volunteer not long after a caseworker placed him and sibling with his grandparents. She took time to get to know both children and advocated for the medical care and treatment they both needed. Each week they went on adventures to the park, canoeing, and hiking; the CASA was helping to build Sam’s confidence through a love for the great outdoors. One of the case workers stated, “It has been extremely helpful to have a CASA on this case who gets to see the kids more often than we can. She was able to get the services they needed and broaden Sam’s horizons and his adventurousness. I hope she considers being a CASA for another family.”

Sam and his brother’s case closed with custody being awarded to the grandparents. According to the CASA, “It has been great to get to know the children and see that even though their parents cannot provide a safe home at this time, they have loving and supportive grandparents to help them through.”