Advocate Spotlight: CASA Chris LIFTS UP LGBTQ+ Foster Youth

Advocacy matters—when you’re understood, the support you receive is meaningful.

Inspired by his interest in the justice system, education, and giving back to the community, Chris decided to learn more about becoming a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA). He began his journey as a CASA in Baltimore, Maryland, but later moved with his husband to California, where he connected with Child Advocates of Silicon Valley to continue his advocacy.

Over the past eight months, CASA Chris has worked with Luke*, a Non-Minor Dependent (NMD) who is currently striving to obtain a new birth certificate and identification documents that align with his gender transition. Drawing on his own experiences and extensive CASA training, Chris provides Luke with culturally responsive support. This support includes informing Luke of LGBTQ+ support groups, assisting with collecting all of the documentation needed to receive updated identification documents and providing experiences that create positive memories.

“When a youth goes through the journey of coming out, you need to support them and allow them their journey. Let foster youth share their identity once they are comfortable and ready. As someone who is part of the LGBTQ+ community, coming out is a process that never ends. People often assume heteronormativity, and so having to clarify details about yourself each time is a constant decision.”

Chris bonds with Luke by going out for boba and lunch, during their time together Chris often offers guidance in different areas of Luke’s life. Their conversations often focus on the areas where Luke seeks support, especially academic and career advice. Besides supporting Luke through his transition,  Chris has also taught him how to drive and is working on connecting him with resources for professional driving lessons to build his confidence, especially on the freeway.

“As a CASA, I want to be a person of support and resource for Luke as someone was for me when I was learning about my identity and interests.”

Join Child Advocates in LIFTING UP more foster youth like Luke by donating today:

Your generous gift will be put to immediate use, providing culturally responsive resources and advocacy for every foster youth we serve. Together, we can SHOW UP and GIVE OUT for foster youth.

*An alias was used to preserve the privacy of the NMD.