Keylara has been in and out of residential treatment centers and Foster Care placements for nearly five years, after being removed first from the care of her mother and then her grandmother for neglect. During that time Keylara was moved between five residential treatment centers, four foster homes, and multiple STARR programs, designed to be a short-term placement for stabilization. Until this last January, Keylara had run from all of them.
In 2016 Keylara was assigned a CASA (Beth) with whom she had a consistent if distant relationship for a period of time while Keylara was in her last residential placement. Then, for nearly a year, Keylara showed little to no interest in having any relationship with her. As CASAs do, the CASA kept reaching out, texting Keylara every couple of weeks (with no response) and did her best to stay in touch with the DCF worker. After being missing for several months, Keylara texted her CASA, out of the blue, and asked if they could get lunch. Beth, of course, jumped at the opportunity!
In the months that followed Keylara was able to reconnect with DCF and be placed in a foster home, which was had been her goal while she was on the run. Once in the foster home, Keylara worked with her CASA to get a job at More Than Words bookstore, set up a bank account, and start thinking about way to complete her high school education. In addition, Beth was able to support Keylara and her defense attorney in resolving two outstanding warrants in separate counties to allow Keylara a fresh start. After six months in her foster placement, the longest she had stayed in one setting for years, the bad news came that the foster parent was retiring from fostering. Keylara was moved to another foster home.
This move was over a month ago and with the support of Beth, Keylara has not gone on the run. She has worked through challenges to learn how to communicate with her new foster parent, and she continues to work at the bookstore. While there will be many challenges ahead her CASA plans to be with her to face them and help Keylara develop a sense of pride in herself as she builds supportive and positive relationships.