Samantha contacted the Children’s Law Center in 2008 after having struggled to find a stable home with family and friends for most of her life. With her mother in prison and her father homeless, Samantha moved in with her aunt for a short time until she found this to be an unsuitable place to live as well. Samantha has been on her own since 9th grade. Trying to remain motivated and focused on school, Samantha turned to the Children’s Law Center when she was 16 for help to gain stability and to help her navigate through the complicated times in her life. By fighting for what Samantha wanted, her CLC lawyer eventually helped her to move into a more comfortable living situation, by herself, at a supervised independent living facility. With some financial assistance and working two part-time jobs, Samantha was able to make ends meet and support herself.
Once her housing situation stabilized, Samantha again began showing the potential her teachers always knew she had as a student. She continued to have a good social life at school, participating in student council and friendship club, as well as being a member of various sports teams like volleyball and basketball. She was on track to graduate from high school, and in her senior year she even began taking courses at Concordia University to get college credits through the PSEO program. With support from her CLC lawyer, Samantha was able to move out of the supervised independent living facility and into an apartment on her own when she was 17.
Following high school, Samantha remained driven in her academics. She enrolled in a university in Mississippi in order to be close to a supportive family member in the area. Uncertain if this was what she really wanted, Samantha moved around some before settling down. Now, more content than ever, Samantha is back in Mississippi, and is pursuing a major in Social Work. She is in her junior year and is on track to graduate in 2014. To make ends meet, Samantha works for a local school district as a security dispatcher for all the local schools in the city. She currently lives in an apartment on her own, but she is always welcome to stay with her family close by if she needs to. She remains in contact with her father and mother, and has plans to work for the Department of Human Services as a Foster Care Worker after she graduates.
Samantha’s volunteer attorney is Suzanne Kvas of Lutter, Gilbert & Kvas, LLC. In discussing her experience, Suzanne emphasized the strong support she received from CLC staff, especially in helping both Suzanne and Samantha navigate the new 18-21 Transition Program for foster youth, which Samantha just recently completed. Suzanne further expressed her gratitude for the guidance and support of, “the staff at CLC (who) assisted me throughout the five years I represented Samantha. They always took my calls and responded to my emails.” She also discussed her representation of Samantha as a highlight of working with the Children’s Law Center. “As for me personally, the opportunity to represent Samantha (through all the ups and downs) was a highlight of my time with the CLC and keeps me volunteering… She is special.” By helping to provide guidance, stability, and a person to listen to, Samantha and Suzanne have developed a relationship that continues into the present. They remain in contact and see each other when they can. Samantha is also very appreciative of the work done by her social worker and the support given to her by everyone involved in her case. Samantha will always hold a warm view of the CLC for all its help and support – she even recommends it to girls she knows that may need help. Keep up the good work Samantha!