Unable to see your brother or sister can be gut-wrenching, and its use as punishment can take a different kind of toll on someone. However, Kelly Meredith, conservatorship worker with CPS, took her experience in foster care – the impact a CASA worker made on her – and joined the social worker’s workforce.
“I really, truly feel like if it hadn’t been for my CASA worker, I could’ve taken those dark days and went down a different path than where I did,” Meredith said, teary-eyed. “I wanted to step up and make that difference for somebody else that she made for me, and I still carry her with me to this day.”
Since about the age of 2, Meredith was in and out of foster care. It wasn’t until she was about 7 years old when she entered her longest time in foster care. She was then assigned a CASA worker who made more of a positive impact on her life than any other before.
“She made sure to tell me every time she talked to me, every time she saw me, how special I was, how bright I was and how bright my light was going to shine when I became an adult,” Meredith said. “She fought to make sure my brother and I had visits together because they were used as a reward or even punishment. My brother and I were not placed together.”
Meredith said the CASA worker was a part of her life for about three years and she was then returned home.
“Any time my skies got grey growing up and going through my teenage years, she stayed with me – her words of encouragement, her words of positivity,” she said.
Behind tears, she said she knew at the age of 11 she wanted to become a social worker.