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Celebrating Family Healing

Butterfly from Outing to Natural Bridges

In September 2022, CASA Advocate Brooke was matched with a vibrant 10-year-old girl named Olivia*, who had recently been placed with a resource family. Olivia had experienced significant upheaval, having been removed from her father's care due to severe neglect. Her mother was unhoused at the time, unable to provide a safe environment, and both parents struggled with substance abuse disorder. Fortunately, Olivia was in the care of a loving and supportive resource family, who were first-time foster parents and embraced her with warmth and compassion. 

When Brooke first met Olivia, she was unsure what to expect. She anticipated Olivia might be reserved, given her circumstances. However, to her surprise, Olivia was open and receptive. Their initial meetings took place at Olivia's resource home, gradually expanding to walks to local parks and then to drives to the beach. These interactions, starting as an hour each week, soon grew to 2-3 hours most weeks, as their bond strengthened. They enjoyed picnics, walks at Natural Bridges and Arana Gulch, boba tea, various arts and crafts projects, ice cream outings, thrift shopping, and visits to the horses.

Shortly after Brooke and Olivia began their journey together, Olivia started having supervised visits with her parents. At that time, neither parent was in a stable position to provide a safe living environment for her to live with them. In Spring 2023, Brooke met both of Olivia's parents. Olivia's mother was very receptive to the idea of her having a CASA Advocate. Initially, Olivia's father was diligently working on his plan, but over time, struggled to stay on track.  

Olivia's mother, while slow to make progress at first, kept working toward reuniting and healing her family. She really worked hard and made significant strides towards creating a stable and healthy home for Olivia. Brooke provided a listening ear for Olivia‚Äôs mother when she wanted to share what she was struggling with, and Brooke encouraged her to continue her healing journey; that it was indeed hard, but worth it. 

By the summer of 2023, Olivia's mother secured housing, and Olivia began having overnight visits. Soon thereafter, Olivia was reunited with her mother and moved in with her full-time.  Their journey was not without its challenges, as they had to move again in early 2024. However, they now live in a beautiful apartment that Olivia's mother has transformed into a safe, warm, and loving home. The case remained open during these transitions, allowing the family the necessary time to heal and strengthen their bonds. The case was officially closed in June 2024. We applaud Olivia's mother for everything she has done to heal her family.

Even though Brooke is no longer Olivia's official CASA Advocate, she intends to remain a supportive presence in their lives. Their journey together highlights the transformative power of love, dedication, and community support in strengthening family bonds. Brooke's ongoing friendship with Olivia is a testament to the lasting impact that a CASA Advocate can have, not just on a child, but on an entire family. Thank you Brooke for being such an amazing volunteer.

*fictitious name