My Nonprofit Reviews
Review for Casa Of Central Texas, Inc., New Braunfels, TX, USA
I became a CASA in11/1999 for a half-brother and half-sister who were in emergency care. They had been exposed to violence, neglect and sexual abuse. Later, they were placed in foster care. The sister was returned to the mother just over 2 years later, after the mother successfully completed her court plan . The brother is still in foster care (14 different placements), due to the profound effect of his early experiences and lack of appropriate family willing to take him. The biological father sued for custody of the brother, and it was denied by the court due to the revelations in a forensic psychiatric exam and testimony of witnesses. The brother will age out in 5/2011. The brother is emotionally disturbed. This CASA believes he will have problems as an adult with socializing, hygiene, and holding a job. Even though he has significant problems, he has made remarkable progress from the age of 6 to the age of 18.
During 11 years, I have had 2 supportive and encouraging CASA supervisors. The CASA staff has generally been very helpful. Because of the 1 hour drive to court and the CASA office and 1 hour back, it has been difficult for me to have a desired, shared experience and comaraderie with other CASAs.
The district attorneys office generally has been supportive and encouraging. Child Protective Services is often "asleep at the wheel"--uninformed, unresponsive, and not looking out for the child's best interests. In my opinion, the problem with CPS starts at the top management level, trickling down with supervisors not checking on caseworkers' work and helping them do a better job. Top management and supervisors need accountability. The foster agencies are generally uncooperative; and, so are many foster parents who work for them. Agencies, foster parents and CASAs need a better understanding of each others' roles.
There are training requirements to become a CASA; however, on-the-job experiences are where I have learned, by far, the most. Lack of cooperation from parents; foster parents and their agencies; and CPS has made my job more difficult.
I am "retiring" from CASA when the young man ages out. It has been far more time-consuming than I would have imagined, especially in the first few years. There might be more retention of CASAs if time involvement were explained more realistically, especially for people like me who have jobs.
I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...
CASA is, or should be, an integral part of the foster care system. The courts have respected the work of CASA in my county.
If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...
CASA staff needs to set aside a limited period of time during meetings to encourage introductions of CASA workers to each other and to allow a sharing of experiences among them.