With so many children in foster care, a growing issue is the problem of youngsters “aging out” of the program, as well as “the formal relationship with their Dallas CASA volunteer ending.” These young adults find themselves vulnerable to a world of risks including “homelessness, unemployment, incarceration, human trafficking and many other challenges as they move into independent adulthood without support.”
Such ordinary things as getting a driver’s license or a birth certificate, setting up a bank account and applying for employment can be overwhelming for these new adults whose “only constant” during foster care may have been their Dallas CASA volunteer.
For this reason many of the volunteers “often stay in touch after a case closes, serving as important mentors.” Since this role takes on new dynamics, “trained Dallas CASA staff will guide and oversee the volunteers as they mentor young people, offering support, advice and direction.”
To support this new facet of Dallas CASA’s advocacy, Dallas’ Doswell Foundation has provided $548,931 for a four-year, post-case mentoring pilot program.
According to Dallas CASA President/CEO Kathleen LaValle, “We see every day at Dallas CASA the incredible difference a caring connection can make for a child in protective care. The Doswell Foundation’s support for this new program shows vision, commitment and courage. They have laid the groundwork for a program we know will allow more young people to grow into strong and capable adults.”
Established in late 2008 by Florence Doswell, who passed away at the age of 100 in 2012, the Doswell Foundation has “continued her ‘Legacy of Thoughtful Giving’ by awarding numerous impactful grants supporting deserving non-profits.”
As Doswell Foundation Chair/CEO Beverly Fricke explained, “Dallas CASA’s post-case mentoring program caught our attention because of the new way it seeks to serve and support one of Dallas’ most vulnerable populations. Our hope is that through mentoring, these important relationships can continue for young people, offering them more stability and the promise of a better future.”
* Photo provided by Dallas CASA