I reluctantly joined my husband after he volunteered for CASA (Court Appointed State Advocate), but I soon became enthusuastic. Many children are abused, taken from their parents, and often move from one foster home to the next until they become 18 years old.
Can you imagine trying to mature and to trust appropriately if your life was like that?
The CASA volunteer works with the child until he/she is returned to the natural parent(s), or is permanently placed with foster or adoptive parents, OR until the child becomes 18 years old and is no longer under the care of Child Protective Services.
My heart was won over by our first appointment--a baby boy. His parents were still teenagers. Luckily, both had very supportive parents willing to house the teens while they worked very hard to mature and regain permanent custody of their baby. One of the grandmothers was appointed temporary custody, so the mother was
able to stay with her baby until the case was closed.
I was hooked! So will you, if you get involved as a volunteer or a donor.. Try it, you'll like it! Ann Haynes Tubbs
CASA is a national network which recruits, trains and supports volunteers who are appoimnted by judges to watch over and advocate to the court for individual abused or neglected children who come before the court. Volunteers stay with each case until it is closed and the child is placed in a safe, permanent home.
It has been a year to date that I received my first case. It involved two children, one of which was later diagnosed with Pervasive Developmental Disorder. The children were removed owing to an issue of abandonment, the mother had left the children with an unreliable person while she indulged her habit.
When I first met the children, I feel in love with them. The youngest was very loving and as cute as they get. The older sibling was a bright, well spoken youngster who had been the primary caregiver to the younger child.
Although the younger one had difficulty in communicating, he was a 3 y/o with the cognitive skills of a 9 - 10 month old, and what he lacked in language, he made up for in laughter and love.
Both children were placed in a placement facility where the younger sibling received physical, speech and play therapy and a huge transition occurred, his vocabulary increased and he became more sociable and his tantrums decreased significantly.
The older child was confused as to why he was where he was and wanted to be reunited with his Mommy. The father was incarcerated.
After establishing a rapport with the children, I met with the Mother and began to assist her. She had found stable work and a place to live. She was remorseful over her past and wanted to be reunited with her children.
Although it was a long bumpy ride, filled with tears, frustration, joy and sorrow, the children were finally reunited with their parents this past week.
I am confident that with some help from agencies specializing in children with special needs, they will be fine.
I feel good about having played a role in bringing this to a happy ending!
One of the most rewarding experiences I have ever had was working as a court appointed special advocate. It was an opportunity to interact with a child who was going through some very difficult family situations and make sure that his best interests were always served, as his case was moved through Child Protective Services and the court system. As the eyes and ears of the judge I was able to relate to the court, the child's progress or lack of it. The judge usually sided with my observations. I believe I was able to really make a difference in the life of my child.