Thursday, Apr 19, 2018
Child Advocates raised more than $12,000 April 19th for Give OUT Day, a national day of online giving to support nonprofits serving and advocating for the LGBTQ community. Thanks to our donors support, 13 LGBTQ foster youth on our waitlist will receive a CASA for an entire school year! At Child Advocates we spend every day working on behalf of Santa Clara’s most vulnerable youth. Nationally, LGBTQ youth are heavily overrepresented in the foster care system as shown in quantitative studies by the Human Rights Campaign.
LGBTQ youth enter the foster system for many of the same reasons as all youth, but with the additional layer of trauma that comes from being placed into situations that are neither understanding of, nor receptive to, their identities and experiences.
Stories like Craig’s, a foster youth mentored by his CASA Jane, are an example of the work that still needs to be done around identity in society. Craig is a transitioning teenage transgender male who has had to deal with a lack of acceptance at school. About a year ago, Craig switched schools and moved out of the county. Craig’s new school was harsh and not a good environment. Craig was continuously misgendered, his identity not accepted or respected by his peers or school staff. Jane provided much needed support and advocacy for Craig as he navigated this sometimes harsh and hostile environment. Craig has since then switched schools and is now in a more accepting environment.
As Craig’s CASA, Jane has been a consistent source of emotional support and guidance. At first Jane did not know how to help Craig. As with any relationship, it took time to build trust, to establish open communication. Jane and Craig spent time going to the park, talking and helping out at Craig’s home. Jane encouraged Craig’s interest in music and took him to piano lessons. Over time their relationship grew and evolved; today Jane is able to encourage Craig in all aspects of his life, as well as help him advocate for himself and his needs. Of her time as a CASA Jane says, “The CASA experience can be demanding but the moments when you see your impact on the child's life make it worth it.”