March 22, 2019
For this teen, the 20th placement was the charm
Jeremy* was removed from his mother at age four. She had physically and emotionally abused him, and relinquished her own parental rights. He moved from foster home to foster home, acting out and running away until he found himself in a long-term behavioral health center with few options for his future.
That’s when the judge ordered a CASA volunteer—Jen—to be placed on Jeremy’s case. Jeremy was 14 by then; the center was his 19th placement. The judge hoped that with an advocate, he could find his way out of the system.
Jen went to the center every week to visit Jeremy. They would play chess and he wouldn’t talk. But every week he learned to trust her a little more, too, and she kept going. Over the next several months, his coping and communication skills improved. His behavior got so much better, in fact, that case workers grew hopeful about his chance to be fostered again.
With Jen by his side, encouraging and reminding him of his worth, Jeremy left the center and headed to a new foster family—his 20th placement. Things were different this time. From the beginning, Jeremy felt as if he fit right in with his new parents and siblings, and the family worked hard to help him adjust.
When his annual foster care review rolled around, Jeremy’s life was different than it had been for all those years before. His CASA volunteer and foster parents were beaming in the courtroom beside him when the city attorney asked that the goal of adoption by his new foster parents be approved. After over a decade in care, Jeremy has found a family.