The meaning of Christmas changed for 11-year-old Keegan the night he witnessed his father pistol whip his mother while she was holding the family’s one-year-old baby in her arms. It happened just a few days before Christmas and Keegan and his baby brother, Kyler were removed from an environment of violence and substance abuse for their own protection.
The children were finally safe from abuse, but they did not have a single family member who could care for them, so they were placed into foster care. Tragically, the foster family kept baby Kyler, but decided not to continue fostering the pre-teen. No other foster family was willing to take a chance on an 11-year-old boy, so Keegan was moved into the Denver Children’s Home even though he did not exhibit behavioral issues.
After nine months of living in the facility, separated from his little brother, a CASA was finally assigned to the case. CASA Advocate Crystal drove to Denver several times a month to visit Keegan and was moved by stories he told about his baby brother.
“I know it is usually better for siblings to grow up together, but then I realized nobody on the professional team had actually seen the two children interact,” Crystal recalled. “I decided to set up a visit where I could observe the pair together and I have never in my life seen two children more bonded to one another.” That day, Crystal spoke to the guardian ad litem on the case who agreed the boys should be raised together.
As the holidays approached, Keegan told Crystal his painful memories of his last Christmas, when he was separated from his parents and then separated from his brother. In an effort to cheer Keegan up, Crystal asked him if he could have any one thing for Christmas, what it would be. Without hesitation, Keegan said, “I don’t care where I live as long as it is with my brother. ” Shortly thereafter, Keegan’s biological parents were both sentenced to nearly a decade in prison, their parental rights were relinquished, and a new foster family showed interest in adopting both Keegan and Kyler. Crystal emphasized in court how vital it was to place these brothers together before Christmas to help them recover from the trauma they endured the previous year. The judge ruled in favor of putting the boys back together and the boys woke up in the same home on Christmas morning. Later that summer, Keegan and Kyler were adopted together into a safe, forever family where they now thrive.
With your support, we will continue to meet the critical needs of children like Keegan and Kyler and ensure that every child victim of abuse and neglect who needs a CASA Advocate, receives one as soon as possible. Please consider the positive impact you will make in a child’s life and make a gift to CASA today.