For a long time, Jack was hospitalized every other month and was stuck in a residential (group care) placement even though he was just 12. Every time he had a behavioral outburst, the mental health crisis team was called by the staff in the residential setting, paper work was produced, meds were added, and he ended up in a hospital setting for further behavioral assessment. That cycle continued without an end in sight. But, a year and half ago, CASA Dawn was introduced to his case. She spent time with Jack, took Jack out for ice cream cones (even though he was considered a high-risk client by the placement), listened to his concerns, and advocated for him directly and through writing court reports. CASA Dawn attended treatment team meetings where she pushed providers to accept a different picture of Jack, one which only she was in a position to create. Perhaps most importantly, CASA connected him with his brothers who were in a foster home.
And suddenly, just like that, in couple of months his hospitals visits were replaced by church visits with his brothers. A boy known for his behavioral outbursts was learning how to code in a virtual setting arranged by Boston CASA. CASA Dawn treated him just the way anyone wants to be treated and had his back when he was having a tough time. She believed in his ability to make progress and earned his trust. Her work has finally paid off! He changed so much in a year that DCF is more than comfortable for a step down that the CASA has been pushing for since she started the case. After one year, this week, Jack is moving to the same foster home where his brothers are. It’s a reunification in a sense. CASA Dawn is buying a suitcase to put his belongings in and will be transporting him to a home where his two brothers are eagerly waiting to receive him this week.
Jack just turned 14 this month. This foster home arose like a gift he had wished for. Everyone is happy and so is CASA Dawn. But CASA Dawn is already looking ahead to other ways in which she can help Jack continue to thrive.