As part of National Foster Care Month, we spoke with CASA volunteer Logan Phelps, who had been in foster care himself when he was younger.
“It was pretty bittersweet. I can only imagine how things would’ve turned out differently had I not been in foster care. There were all of these people that came into my life and my two brothers lives just to make sure that we got our needs met,” says Logan of his experience in the foster care system. “We moved to several different homes, several different schools… made some new friends and quickly lost them. It was hard to develop relationships.” Logan feels that being in the foster care system probably helped in lots of ways, but at the same time he questions its effects on his life.
Logan had a CASA volunteer here in Travis County. “I remember that during my stay in Austin, [my CASA volunteer] helped us by making sure we got to visit with our mom. He heard us out and recommended that we reunite with our father, which was something that I was eager to do at the time.”
He says that one of the biggest things missing for him while he was in care and throughout his teen years was mentorship. “Having someone who could steer me in the right direction while I was a freshman in high school or just kind of pick my brain or brainstorm with me about what my goals could have been helpful. When I moved back in with my father, I kind of followed the wrong path and got into drugs and didn’t have any direction in my life.”
Then Logan met his wife and two step-kids, who he says gave him a new path. When Logan was in the training process to become a CASA volunteer, he shared his interest in working with children with special needs because of his own stepdaughter’s experiences. “I’m sure there are other kids that have similar diagnoses that unfortunately end up in the system too. I could easily see people shying away from that. So, I wanted to help these kids out.”
When asked how me manages volunteering with CASA along with a full-time job and raising two children, he says uses his “prioritizing and organizational skills” to balance things out. “Sometimes I don’t feel like I’m spending enough time with my family, sometimes I don’t feel like I’m spending enough time on my case. I just try to make sure I can fit everything in as well as possible.”
Logan says he chose to volunteer with CASA because “you kind of pray that [kids] have somebody like I had that’s in a position to do everything they can to make sure their kids are taken care of. Being able to work along with [CPS] within the court to make a meaningful impact was definitely a reason for me to get involved. I’m on the other side of the table now, essentially.”
When Logan’s working on his CASA case and advocating for a teen boy, he says, ”I think about my own personal experience in the sense that…it’s never going to be the same for this child. I think about how I’ve benefitted from the services that I was given and I try to think about what kind of services I could recommend for a child during their time in the system. [I want to] make sure that this child has a positive outcome, that’s really all I can do.”
May Volunteer Profiles Advocacy 2018