How a Few Words From My Attorney Changed My Life. Read this opinion piece by Cristal Ramirez.

My name is Cristal and I am a former foster youth from Bakersfield, California. I spent about 11 years in the Kern County, California, foster care system. I lived in many homes (26 foster homes and one group home), attended many schools (11 in fifth grade alone) and had many social workers. 

But I had the same attorney for most of my time in care — for which I am grateful. I remember being nervous every time I went to court when I was younger, and those nerves got stronger as I got older. 

The one good thing about those court visits is that each time before we saw the judge, I stepped into a room with my attorney where he took the time to assure me that I was going to be OK, see how I was doing and ask me for my opinion. I told him I really loved school, and he encouraged me to continue doing well and never shot down my dreams. 

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