We are excited to share success stories highlighting our older youth who have been able to remain supported by the Department of Family Services, thanks to the Fostering Futures Program. Fostering Futures allows youth to continue to receive financial and social supports until the age of 21. All names have been changed to protect confidentiality.
Carlos entered foster care at the age of 15. He had previously immigrated from Central America, experiencing multiple traumatic events during the trip to the United States, and had been living without a formal guardian once he settled in Virginia. Carlos’ CASA has advocated for him for over four years and continues to do so while he remains in the Fostering Futures program.
When he came into foster care, Carlos had very little formal education. His CASA advocated to ensure he had every educational opportunity and Carlos quickly excelled academically, winning awards, and earning exceptional grades. He participated in a variety of extracurricular activities including chorus and soccer. Carlos also participated in the Education of Youth through Employment Program (EYE Program), gaining valuable work experience and developing life skills. Carlos excelled in this program and was formally recognized by the staff.
Carlos is a self-starter and a highly motivated young man. His CASA has been his cheerleader and supporter through all his accomplishments. Recently, she assisted him by securing a donated bike, empowering him with transportation so he can easily and safely get around when he didn’t feel comfortable relying on mass transportation. Today, Carlos has successfully transitioned to living independently and his CASA is excited to see what his future holds.
Julia entered foster care in 2017 after she disclosed that she was sexually abused by her stepfather. Since coming into care, Julia has lived in two different foster homes, has changed social workers and Guardians ad litem, but through the past four years, her CASA has stood by her side and advocated for her.
Julia’s CASA ensured she could prioritize her education while living in foster care. While attending high school, her CASA advocated for crucial services Julia needed to be successful in school, including helping her secure an Individualized Education Program (IEP). Every summer since 2018, and thanks to her CASA’s encouragement, Julia has participated in the Northern Virginia Educating Youth through Employment Program (EYE Program) which matched Julia with professional opportunities to gain valuable work experience. Julia passed her Cosmetology State Board Exam this past May and went on to graduate high school a month later in June.
Julia’s CASA stated that she could not be more proud of what Julia has accomplished and that she is a resilient young woman who possesses an inner strength that drives her to achieve her goals. Currently, Julia has entered the workforce and plans to become a hairstylist starting this fall. While Julia remains in the Fostering Futures program, her CASA will be there to support her through every educational and personal milestone into adulthood.
Kyle came into foster care at the age of 17 after disclosing long-time abuse by his parents. He was initially placed in a youth shelter and quickly transitioned to a foster home. When Kyle and his CASA met for the first time, they hit it off immediately. They bonded over Kyle’s varied interests in technology and music.
His CASA focused his advocacy on Kyle’s mental health and getting him connected with an appropriate therapist. His CASA also ensured that Kyle was properly supported to continue his high school education without interruption. Kyle is a strong student and planned on pursuing a collegiate education upon his graduation from high school. His CASA helped him research different programs that matched his interests, and Kyle ultimately chose to attend a four-year university. He was also able to secure several scholarships that helped to defray the costs.
When COVID19 hit, Kyle and his CASA maintained contact through video visits and text check-ins. Kyle had a successful first year of college and maintained a high GPA in the Honors Program. He also recently purchased a car and is working during his summer break. Kyle’s CASA continues to advocate for him and support him as he continues his education.