“In my service as a CASA, I have learned to persevere and take challenges head-on,” Tania said. “As much as I have learned what my case child is capable of, I have also learned what I am capable of.” Tania Jabour, a Humanities instructor at High Tech High, became a CASA volunteer when she was in her mid-20s. At the time, she had a hard time facing difficult or uncomfortable tasks.
When Tania was initially assigned to Briana’s case, Briana was in crisis. Briana came into the system when she was eight years old due to physical abuse from her mother. During her time in foster care, she has been in and out of at least 15 placements and has struggled with mental health and behavioral issues.
“Her therapist told me that the situation was hopeless—there was too much damage,” Tania said. Tania refused to believe this.
“As Briana worked hard to achieve her goals, I came to believe that a foster home was the best placement option for her, so I advocated to her attorney, social worker, and judge that she be moved from the group home to a foster home,” Tania said.
“The most important thing I’ve learned is that it can take just one stable, trustworthy, supportive adult to change a child’s life.”
Though Tania’s plan was met with a great deal of resistance from some of the professionals working on Briana’s case, Tania continued to advocate for what she thought was best for the child.
“The facts in some of the reports presented to the Court did not provide enough background information for the judge to understand why Briana was struggling,” Tania said. “My reports helped the judge understand her situation more fully.”
After months of negotiating and countless meetings with various professionals and agencies, Briana was moved out of her group home.
“Through the hard work of my case child and the coordinated efforts of the entire team, we found her a fantastic foster home and she has been thriving there,” Tania said. “She’s a successful student and a responsible young woman, and she uses coping skills to manage her anger and frustration.”
Tania concluded, “The work a CASA does with and on behalf of the child during dependency can—and frequently does—set the child up for long-term success.”