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girl-holding-a-presentEvery year volunteers make an incredible difference in the lives of abused and neglected children in Santa Barbara County foster care…

And it has made a difference in the life of five-year old Isabella. Thanks to her CASA Kelly, Isabella is getting ready to celebrate her first Christmas in an adoptive home. Because of Kelly, Isabella’s life was forever changed.

It was clear Isabella had been severely neglected.

When Isabella was just 3 years old, she was removed from her mother who was a chronic drug user and involved in a domestically violent relationship. After entering foster care, Isabella has been placed in an emergency placement, and multiple other temporary homes. She was never in one place long enough to get any resources to help her.

When Isabella’s CASA, Kelly first met her, she could see that Isabella was developmentally behind. She was underweight, her teeth were decayed, and was almost nonverbal. Kelly advocated for Isabella to receive a full health screening, including a hearing and vision screening. The doctors discovered that Isabella was experiencing one-sided hearing loss, possibly due to untreated ear infections. It was determined the hearing loss was the cause of Isabella’s speech delay.

Without Kelly’s advocacy, Isabella’s speech would have been slow to develop, impacting multiple areas of learning as well as her social skills. Also, sadly, children with severe developmental delays experience lower rates of permanency.

Isabella’s CASA changed her life.

Over the next few months, Isabella was fitted for a hearing aid and was able to start early intervention speech services. In just one year, Isabella started communicating her wants and needs and is thriving. She has since been successfully placed with a foster family, now starting the adoption process. This will be Isabella’s first real Christmas in a loving forever home.

Isabella is just one of the hundreds of infants, children, and teens whose lives are changed due to the work of our volunteer advocates. These incredible men and women are committed to advocate one-on-one with children in the foster care system. These children would have otherwise been lost or forgotten in an overburdened dependency system.

There are close to 100 children like Isabella in Santa Barbara County. And every child deserves the support and advocacy of a CASA volunteer.

This holiday season, you can give the gift of a CASA to a child in need. Please consider giving your time to our community’s most vulnerable children and give them the hope of a bright future.