Impact Story: Cassandra
Alternative Family Services (AFS) works with a wide variety of youth in foster care who face many unique challenges. AFS staff and resource parents always strive to provide the best support and care that meets the individual needs of every youth. This was especially the case with Cassandra,* who was twelve years old at the time of placement.
As with most foster youth, Cassandra was removed from her home due to abuse and neglect. She was selectively mute and would only communicate with certain people through writing. Due to extreme anxiety and Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), she struggled in social settings. Often withdrawn, Cassandra would rely on the trusted adults in her life, including her AFS team, to speak on her behalf at appointments and clinical meetings.
Through targeted therapy, Cassandra learned to express herself through creative outlets such as music, art and journaling. Over time, Cassandra became confident enough to utilize her voice to communicate. Ultimately, she progressed away from the diagnosis of being selectively mute.
Today, Cassandra is able to speak for herself in settings that were once uncomfortable for her (such as psychiatric and medical appointments). Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, she even gave a presentation in front of her class for the first time ever!
The commitment of AFS staff, resource parents, community members, corporate partners and donors are the reason clients like Cassandra are able to receive the necessary care that improves their chances of leading independent lives in our communities.
*Aliases are used to protect client identities.