Impact Story: Marcus
Marcus* was placed with an AFS foster mother 11 years ago when he was just 7 years old. Marcus, his 10-year-old sister, Nikki* and 12-year-old brother, Miles*, had all endured severe abuse and neglect. All three siblings were placed in Ms. Burns’s* home. Upon assessment, it was determined Marcus had some developmental delays with his speech and behavior. Nikki had been caring for Marcus and protecting him more like a son then a brother. Nikki and Jake would speak for Marcus and make decisions for him. From day one, Ms. Burn’s let all the kids know that Marcus would be speaking and making decisions for himself.
Over the 11 years with Ms. Burns, Marcus has had a consistent AFS treatment team made up of his caseworker, T.J.* and his 1:1 specialist, Kelly*. It has taken all three of them to support Marcus with his triumphs and tragedies. When his sister Nikki turned 18, she left Ms. Burns’s home. Shortly after, she developed a brain tumor and passed away a short time after, which caused tremendous grief for Marcus. Marcus tried hard but struggled in school due to his delays and behaviors. He was in Special Education until he started high school where he was forced to take general ed classes because there was no special education program.
Last year was bittersweet for Marcus. His brother, Miles, enlisted in the Army. Although abandonment issues came up, Marcus leaned on Ms. Burns and his AFS team for support. When Marcus’s high school picoted to remote learning, he thrived without the stress of social pressures. He has been doing an amazing job with his schoolwork and will be graduating this June – a diploma hard earned and most appreciated. Marcus plans to attend college and possibly work part time.
The California Extended Foster Care program, AB12, will allow Marcus to stay with Ms. Burns past his 18th birthday which gives him a sense of security while he builds his young adult life. Everyone is so proud of the way Marcus has learned how to advocate for himself and speak his mind. He continues to have a wonderful relationship with Ms. Burns and his AFS team who will continue to support him on his journey to having a wonderful, productive and independent life.