Building a Foundation of Support

Marcee is a former teacher with a background in early childhood education. After the pandemic, she wanted to continue supporting youth but in a new way, so she became a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) Volunteer. When it came time to review youth profiles, Marcee read only one and instantly knew it was a match.

Described as an active, caring, lovable boy, Marcee wanted to advocate for four-year-old Raymundo. He had a one-year-old sister, Feliza, however, and when Marcee learned this, she committed to advocating for both children—without hesitation. Raymundo and Feliza were removed from their mother’s care due to troubles with substance use and placed in their grandmother Delia’s home. Delia had been in foster care herself, and her only goal was to keep the children safe and legally adopt them.

Marcee’s first obstacle was to ease Delia’s reservations and provide assurance that as a volunteer, she would be there to support the entire family, not just the children. She worked diligently to build trust, guiding Delia through their first meeting at a local park and many more after that. Over time, Marcee knew she could help Delia achieve her goal.

Marcee was able to use her background in child development to recognize that Raymundo and Feliza both needed additional learning resources. She advocated for Raymundo to be assessed at school and worked with Delia to get him an individualized education program (IEP). And while Feliza’s development was progressing appropriately in some areas, her language skills needed improvement. Marcee worked with Delia to have Feliza assessed and enrolled in speech therapy.

Because of Marcee’s support and advocacy, Raymundo finished kindergarten reading at grade level and was well prepared for first grade. Marcee also watched Feliza’s language skills explode as she began speaking in complete sentences that everyone could understand.

Throughout their journey, Marcee’s support for Delia also grew. Marcee attended parent-teacher conferences alongside Delia and assisted with medical forms for school. Most importantly, Marcee attended court hearings and spoke to Delia’s excellent care of the children.

In the spring of this year, Delia achieved her goal and adopted Raymundo and Feliza. Of course, Marcee was right there with them. Today, Raymundo and Feliza are thriving in a loving and stable home and still enjoy park visits with Marcee!

This story is a recently closed Dependency Court case. The photos and case are shared with permission from Marcee and Delia.