Kyle* is a teenage boy who has been in foster care for many years. Like so many older youth in the system, he will likely “age out” of foster care. Without additional resources, he will officially emancipate as an adult when he turns 18. Unfortunately, that new freedom will come with all the challenges and responsibilities of adulthood.
For Kyle, that means figuring out where to live, applying for jobs, getting a driver’s license, etc. Teenagers transitioning to adulthood often have a stable, supportive adult to coach them through these milestones. For youth in foster care, however, that’s rarely the case. Luckily, Kyle has Diana.
Diana is Kyle’s CASA volunteer. She describes Kyle as, “a very good kid.” “He’s considerate, he cares about me, his friends, and siblings.” Diana and Kyle recently celebrated a major development in Kyle’s case. Thanks to Diana’s advocacy, Kyle was assigned a Chafee worker, meaning he will have access to resources beyond the age of 18.
As a CASA volunteer working with an older youth, Diana decided to complete the Fostering Futures training offered through CASA of Larimer County (CLC). She came out of that program with a fresh appreciation for the challenges facing youth in the system. One of her biggest takeaways was that CASA volunteers need to be able to view the case through the youth’s perspective. “Coming from an adult perspective,” Diana says, “it’s important to relate to the youth on our cases through their world. What’s their social circle, what are their interests, and how can we engage them through those things?”
Diana says Kyle has goals of going to college and wanting to get out on his own. “We’ve been trying to find some constructive steps to get him to that point, because he has the desire… just not the resources.” The Chafee program will aid Kyle in a variety of ways, providing guidance on housing and employment opportunities, as well as assistance in applying to schools and financial aid. Ultimately, this is a major stepping stone in helping ensure Kyle can pursue his dreams of secondary education.
Congrats to Diana and Kyle for making such positive progress! CLC is proud of you.
*Kyle’s name has been changed for confidentiality and privacy purposes*