The 6-21 team focuses on children six-years-old and up, until a child “ages out” of foster care adult themselves, or finds permanent placement. More often than not these kids have lived through so much already and they’ve learned their own methods of coping; albeit not always healthy methods. These are the harder cases because as adults we want to give them insight and healthy future goals, but the likelihood of our lectures and talks being helpful can sometimes be slim to none. In fact, the simple act of being present in their lives to listen makes the world of a difference; something very different from a CASA with an infant/toddler.
Older kids in the foster system tend to have moved around much more from placement to placement. This alone causes psychological trauma and is just added on top of the traumas these children have already experienced through abuse and neglect. This proves to be special for CASAs involved in cases like this, because they tend to carry on longer which allows them to be in the child’s life longer and as result build a more lasting relationship with the child. Many times, that relationship can become the most important in their life for a period of time.
The 6-21 team has seen much success in their endeavors, even though their job is not as easy. Successes for them come with happy kids, with or without placement and reunification. We strive to encourage our kids to excel, to finish school and move on to higher education, and to feel safe with another human being that is healthy for them.
Along with having CASAs in place, we work with the community to find ways to help them excel and succeed. For example, some of our kids will be attending camps this summer for a fun excursion away from the chaos they know; one at Yosemite Bible Camp and the other at Royal Family Kids Camp. We’ve also be able to organize backpacks for 157 children as they head back to school; thanks to Ruiz Foods. Recently, we have seen some of our kids move on to graduate high school (which many never will), just because they had a CASA to tell them they’re valuable and capable. Sometimes we’re the only hope they see when meeting after meeting drags on. We are passionate about what we do because these kids, even when difficult, need us.