Recently, a rare thing happened in Fresno: An 18-year-old foster youth was adopted. The high school senior had spent most of his childhood in foster care and was finally adopted by his “forever family” as he stood on the brink of adulthood.
Carson Petersen’s story is unique. Statewide, only 15 of 12,025 foster youths ages 18 to 21 were adopted in 2016. Young adults in foster care can receive support from the state until age 21 if they’re working or going to school, so many have opted to stay in foster care.
Imagine, though, that 12,000 older foster youths were not adopted last year and likely won’t be before they age out of the system. Who is there for them? Who helps them with job applications, financial aid forms, and advises them about important life decisions?
CASA volunteers, or Court Appointed Special Advocates, work with foster youths of all ages, including those entering adult life. Often, CASA volunteers are a young person’s only consistent adult presence, the one person the youth can count on for guidance and support. You have the power to help a foster youth successfully transition to adulthood. Become a CASA volunteer with CASA of San Luis Obispo County.
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Heidi Turbow, mentor program and advocate supervisor, CASA