CASA Close-Up for February
Describe yourself in 10 words or less.
Passionate and positive person who focuses on life's blessings.
Why did you decide to become a CASA.
I was working for an investment management firm when the market tanked in 2008 and I started to question my career choice. Everyone in the office was on edge, our clients were upset. I began to think, “what am I doing to contribute to this world”? I have an awesome husband and two great kids that fill me up with love and pride but still I felt something was missing. I couldn’t afford to change my career so I needed to find something I could do in my “off-time”.
Well I believe in karma and “The Secret” and the power of positive thinking and the following week I turned on the Dr. Phil show and he was telling the story of a boy who had just turned 18 and was aging out of the foster care system. He had no identification, no place to live, no hope. Dr. Phil said that in order for other children not to end up like this boy they needed a CASA. That’s a Court Appointed Special Advocate. It’s a person – any adult, willing to train for 30+ hours, be sworn in by a judge, then advocate for a child or children in the foster care system, as a volunteer.
We give children a voice in court. Many times we are a constant in their lives when nothing else is. For example, one of my kids (a 17 year old female) in just one year had been to 3 resident facility treatment centers – this means every time she moves it’s new social workers, new doctors, new staff. She had 3 DHS workers come in and out of her life. She had no family. I was the only one that she saw every month.
This organization is run by such dedicated, caring and intelligent people and I could not have found a better place to volunteer.
Describe most memorable moment as CASA.
The most memorable moments are when my cases close with a better than hoped for outcome –
My first was a re-unification of a mom and daughter, my second was an adoption and my third was a permanent placement of 7 kids with their grandparents. I was in court for each final hearing and the adoption and it was such a sense of pride and joy for everyone involved.
What most surprised you about being a CASA.
- The love and loyalty children have to their biological parents, no matter what they have been through.
- The amount of children that have no one in their lives.
How much time a month do you commit to your CASA/EDM case.
For my CASA cases I spent on average @10 hours a month. Most of the time is spent gathering information from schools, care givers, family etc. and then visiting. Once a quarter more time is spent creating a court report and attending the hearing. For my EDM cases the time has been a bit less since I only need to visit once a quarter. Of course every case is different and challenging so the amount of time spent can vary greatly.