October 25, 2012
I am a CASA. What is that you ask? It is a Court Appointed Special Advocate for children who have been removed from their home due to neglect or abuse. We are the eyes and ears for the judge who makes life altering decisions about these children only based on what they hear in court. This program was started by a judge who felt he just didn't have enough accurate information to make those decisions. We are highly trained volunteers who are assigned to one child (or multiple if children are in same family) at a time. We interview and interact with everyone relevant in the child's life and report our findings to the judge. We also create a bond with our children...we are the only person who may be with the child the entire time the case is open. Often they go from foster home to foster home or group homes, they change social workers, they change attorneys, they change schools, family and friends come and go, but their CASA is constant. We are there for consistent support, guidance and hope. A child who has been removed from an abusive situation is scared and has been betrayed by those they love the most. They don't know who they can trust, who is telling the truth, who is actually looking out for their best interest. Once a CASA is assigned, they can trust that there is at the very least one person who will do whatever is necessary to make sure they are getting the best care possible. If it is in the child's best interest to be reunified with the family, we help with that. If it is in the child's best interest to seek other living arrangements, we help with that. It is our goal to find a safe permanent home that is in the best interest of that child. We volunteer to change a child's world from hurt to hope. There is no greater reward.
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