Destiny is a 9-year-old who was sexually abused by her former stepfather, and a Family Court judge mandated that Destiny receive therapy. When that didn’t occur, the Court assigned her a CASA during the pandemic. Destiny, who wasn’t going to her therapy appointments because of her mother’s fear of infection, also was struggling with her online school attendance, so she was also truant. Michelle, Destiny’s CASA, continued to check in with Destiny to see about her safety and wellness, and was singularly focused on making sure Destiny’s needs were met.
Because in-person school had not returned and Destiny couldn’t receive counseling in person, Michelle advocated for two months of virtual art therapy paid for with CASA donor dollars for such extraordinary circumstances. As Destiny began opening up with Michelle, she confided other disturbing instances of past sexual abuse, adding to Michelle’s concerns about Destiny’s wellness and safety. When schools opened back up, Michelle was able to arrange for Destiny to take part in virtual therapy in a private space in the guidance counselor’s office during school hours.
After more than two years of having Michelle as her advocate, Destiny has much improved attendance, continues to receive therapy and her mother has been empowered with support to better meet her daughter’s needs.