The path to permanency: Raevyn’s story shows what is possible when communities work together

Casey Family Programs has provided direct services to children in foster care and their families since our founding in 1966. We believe in finding every child in foster care a safe, stable and lifelong family, whether through family reunification, kinship care or adoption. We draw on our experience to demonstrate best practices for serving children and families through the work of our field offices in Arizona, California, Idaho, Texas and Washington.

We work every day to achieve the goal of ensuring all children in our direct care have a safe, lifelong family to call their own. Raevyn is one of those children. Her powerful story of hope shows what is possible when communities and families work together to provide a path to permanency for every child.

“Permanency means that there’s a place where people really love you unconditionally and take care of you.” – Raevyn, 14

My name is Raevyn and I’m 14 years old. My grandma grew up on the White Earth Reservation in Minnesota and I’m a quarter Ojibwe. My mother and father never really married and they both had alcoholism issues and drug problems, so I lived between my mom and dad and grandma. I know my dad and mom loved me but they just couldn’t really take care of me. They needed help with their own lives. My dad really wanted to be a good father but he was in and out of jail. He really tried. My mother needed help with basic parenting. She was kind of clueless but she was a really nice person, too.

There was a lot of fighting at my house and every once in a while the police had to show up, and there was a lack of basic child care. I always knew in the back of my head that it wasn’t quite right.

My dad passed away when I was 7. He committed suicide and that was kind of hard.

About a year ago, I got sick and went to the hospital and they didn’t really know what was going on with me at first. They knew I had hepatitis, but they just weren’t sure what from. By this time, there were social workers talking to me and they couldn’t reach my mom at all, and after a while, they finally got a hold of her on the phone, but she never showed up at the hospital or anything.

My mom died from a heart attack, a really sudden thing. After my mom passed away, my Aunt Carla and I talked about her adoption, trying to get me into permanency.

Permanency means that there’s a place where people really love you unconditionally and take care of you. They are there to support you throughout your life, not only for a little while or just until you turn 18.

A couple of months ago, I moved in with my Aunt Carla and I consider all of her sons and daughters to be like my brothers and sisters and Aunt Carla is like a mom. I can’t wait until adoption makes this my permanent family.

I definitely know that every kid wants to have a good family support system and loving parents to know that they’re cared for and don’t need to worry about things that parents usually worry about, and just be a kid. And they can know that they’re always loved unconditionally and that they’re always going to be safe.

Read Raevyn's story »