Stories of Change in Action: Part 3

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

Learn how legislative and policy issues translate to real-life, positive change for Texans.

Meet DaShaun, Micah and Daniel!*

7-year-old twin brothers DaShaun and Micah have moved foster homes four times in the past year. They’re stressed out and they need some stability!

One day, DaShaun and Micah tell their CASA volunteer Daniel about memories of their Grandma Mabel. Daniel shares this with the team on the boys’ case, and they are able to locate and contact her. She is relieved to know the boys are safe and says she would gladly care for them.

DaShaun and Micah move in with Grandma Mabel. They are happy to be back in a familiar home with family and to start the process of healing.

Change in Action:
In 2019, Texas CASA supported HB 3390, which requires guardians ad litem, attorneys ad litem, and caseworkers to ask children, in a developmentally appropriate way, about any adult who could be a caregiver for them. This legislation helps ensure that all parties are having more constructive conversations with children like DaShaun and Micah more often—prioritizing their voices and leading to more connections.

DaShaun and Micah are getting ready to start 3rd grade. School supplies time!

After a full day of shopping for essentials, their Grandma surprises the twins by letting them pick out brand new backpacks and get new haircuts. With everything DaShaun and Micah have been going through, she is glad to be able to provide everything they need to start the school year with confidence, looking and feeling sharp.

Change in Action:
In 2017, Texas CASA supported HB 4, which changed how DFPS provides financial assistance to kinship caregivers. Now, eligible caregivers like DaShaun and Micah’s grandma receive about $350 per month per child, to help alleviate the cost of things like clothes and school supplies. Previously, kinship caregivers only received an initial payment of $1,000, plus $500 per year.

Micah and DaShaun’s 3rd grade teacher, Ms. Bates, has noticed that Micah has been struggling to keep up in class. After an evaluation, it’s determined that Micah qualifies for special education services for dyslexia. His Grandma Mabel, Ms. Bates, his CASA volunteer Daniel, his caseworker and other school staff get together to create an individualized education plan with services tailored to Micah’s unique needs and strengths.

Change in Action:
In 2017, Texas CASA championed HB 1556, which clarified state law regarding appointment of educational decision makers for children in special education, known as “Surrogate Parents.” This legislation assured that the person who knows the child best—in this case, Micah’s Grandma Mabel—is able to ensure their educational success.

It’s Micah and DaShaun’s adoption day! The twins are officially being adopted by their Grandma Mabel. After years of moving from placement to placement, Micah and DaShaun are in a safe, caring and permanent home, with someone they know and love—and who unconditionally loves them.

Change in Action:
SB 11
, passed in 2017, outlined goals for Texas’ transition to Community-Based Care—including keeping families together and ensuring children who enter foster care stay connected with family in whatever ways when safe and possible. For children like DaShaun and Micah who cannot reunify with their parents, the best outcome, and the outcome CASA and all in the child protection system strive for, is adoption by another loving member of their family.

*These are fictional stories based on real-life situations for Texas children, families and CASA volunteers. Illustrations by Alexander T. Lee, LLC.

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3