My name is Sarah. When I was seven years old, my father didn't come home enough to care for me and my little sister Maggie. I fed Maggie and dressed her for pre-school, gave her baths and put her to sleep at night. Maggie was only four years old. When there was food, we ate macaroni and cheese and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and when there wasn't I would have to ask the neighbors for food. But even this was better than it had been before we'd been taken away from our Mom. She would use a lot of drugs everyday and pass-out and there were always people at our house that weren't safe for Maggie and me.

My sister and I were taken away from our father and for two years, I could barely speak to anyone. I felt so alone, but my CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) volunteer, Victoria, stuck with me and, over time, helped me to find my voice again. Victoria went to court with me and visited every week, traveling as far as Crescent City to not miss our time together.

She helped me not be afraid at night anymore and, for a time, was the nicest person in my life. After five years of foster homes and eleven moves, Victoria, my CASA, was still there, happily helping me adjust to my new adopted parents and a new safe and stable home where I could have a life just like other kids. Maggie also found a home where she grew up. I don't see her very often, but sometimes we exchange emails.

I don't see Victoria anymore. I don't need to. She helped me to be strong and today I am married to a wonderful man and we have a beautiful baby girl of our own. Without my CASA I don't know how I would have made it through those years – I'm just glad CASA was there and I didn't have to find out.