When Anthony was 5, he and his five brothers were removed from their mother. They had been physically and sexually abused. But who would take five little boys? The children were split into three placements. A ProKids Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA volunteer) stood by the brothers with CASA Manager, Kathy King, advocating for their best interests.
Knowing that children do best with their siblings and in forever families, the case was considered a success when four of the brothers were adopted into one family.
But as the boys moved into adolescence, their adoptive mother gave up on the brothers one-by-one. At 15, Anthony was left on a porch, standing next to his garbage bag of possessions.
King said the smart, smiling Anthony did not want to go to a group home as his older brother had. But he had a hard time in foster families. He moved three times. “He kept saying to me, ‘I’m a good kid,'” King recalled.
Anthony found support at his church and found loving people who cared about him. One family in particular was willing to look after him, but not as a foster family. King, with Hamilton County Job and Family Services, supported an unusual approach: an independent host home with his church family. They helped Anthony launch into adulthood, still with child protective services involved as he continues school.
Anthony finished on time at Woodward High School, graduating on the honor roll. He remains close to his host family, joining them on a vacation and living in their home. He moved out on his own and started a college degree program.
“I always knew I would graduate from high school,” Anthony said. “That was my main goal. Now I want to finish college to be a social worker and help foster kids because I know what they go through.” He also handles a part-time job and volunteering at church in a leadership role.
His ProKids CASA Volunteer, Galen, joined the case when Anthony was finishing high school. He says Anthony’s success is because of Anthony’s own motivation. He advocates for Anthony’s best interest in court and for his brothers because, “I’m about what is best for them – not necessarily what they want, but what’s in their best interest.”
Anthony and his brothers grew up with trauma and like many abused children, they suffer from PTSD and have to face their fears every day. But Anthony, thanks to many adults in his life and his own internal drive, has overcome many of the obstacles that stood in his way.
We share stories of our children so that our community can understand why ProKids depends on a mobilized community. We change the names of the children, and use stock photos out of respect for their dignity and privacy. The stories themselves, however, are true.