Jake was a nine year old living in Ocean City with his mother. His father hadn’t been around since he was a baby. Jake didn’t even really remember him. His mother had struggled with substance abuse his whole life, often leaving Jake alone at night to wander Ocean City or play basketball in front of his home. The neighbors, worried about a young boy alone at night, would call the police and ultimately family services became involved.
Jake was taken from his mother’s care and sent to a group home in Camden with six other boys ranging in age from 5 to 15. His mom entered an in-patient rehab program. Jake was an only child, he had never been away from his mother or outside of Ocean City, so the move was frightening and damaging. Jake withdrew and would not talk to anyone.
A few weeks later CASA volunteer Mark visited Jake’s group home for the first time. He introduced himself to Jake and explained why he was there and that he was there to help. Jake wouldn’t talk to him. For an hour Mark just sat with Jake and told him about himself and his own family. After the hour, Mark said, Okay Jake, I’ll see you next week.” This continued, week after week, until on one visit Jake asked Mark to play basketball and began to open up and talk. As the weeks go by and Jake trusted Mark more and more, he mentioned his grandfather. Mark had never heard or read anything in Mark’s file about his grandfather. Excited by the news, Mark immediately contacted Jake’s caseworker. They too were surprised to hear that Jake has a grandfather and began searching for him.
It turned out that Jake’s mom had struggled with substance abuse since she was a teenager and after many attempts at helping his daughter, her father had lost faith in her ability to stay clean and lost touch with her. He didn’t even know that he had a grandson and Jake had only seen pictures of his grandfather. When the grandfather was found and an initial meeting was planned, Jake would only go if Mark went with him.
Jake and his grandfather became fast friends. Ten months after Jake was removed from his mother’s care and placed in the group home, his grandfather moved from upstate New York to Ocean City and took Jake home.
Jake may never have found his grandfather if not for the presence of his CASA volunteer Mark and the trusting relationship that the two built. He is just one of the many children that Fox & Roach Charities has supported throughout the years.