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Belief Gap

The Judge Made Her a Ward of the State; She Ended Up at Harvard Law School and Wrote to Thank Him

A retired Judge is surprised and deeply moved when a child he placed in foster care reached out many years later not only to let him know how well things had turned out for her, but to thank him. Her journey took from life as a ward of the state, to college on a full scholarship, to the classroom via Teach for America, and to the public defender's office via Harvard Law School.
Few knew that she was a ward of the state. “I didn’t want my teachers to know,” she said. “I knew they’d lower their expectations.” Askew never lowered his. Twice a year, the judge and the teenager met in a small courtroom. He was, Mulder said, “a stable and fair presence.” When she was 18, he extended her ward-of-the-state status until she began college, “to make sure I wasn’t thrown into the world without any lifelines.”

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