Lauren Supplee — CASA of Montgomery County

Name: Lauren Supplee

Age: 38

Community: Silver Spring

Occupation: Child and family policy researcher

CASA program affiliation: CASA of Montgomery County

Volunteer for: 7 years

Motivation: “I became a CASA volunteer because my job involves child welfare policy and I wanted to stay connected to the kids we serve.”

Current case: “I have been working with my current CASA, a 16-year-old girl, for 6 years and have been the only consistent adult presence in her life. These days, we meet once a week to talk about her personal issues and discuss future plans. She has expressed an interest in college, so we go to the library together to research schools and applications. I also encourage her to pursue part-time employment and teach her how to advocate for herself so she has access to all of the resources she needs, like independent living skills training.”

Challenges facing today’s foster youth: “I believe the two greatest obstacles for foster youth are education and the economy. The high school graduation rate for foster youth is extremely low, which I attribute the lack of support and stability and generally poor study skills. In terms of the economy, it is now very difficult for foster youth to find part-time jobs to build their résumés because they are competing with adults for jobs that used to be much easier to secure.”