I just returned from court. It was a very good day for me there. I have been advocating for three children and today, in court, they got to return home full time. I volunteer as a CASA which stands for Court Appointed Special Advocate. CASA volunteers are appointed by judges to watch over and advocate for children in foster care, to make sure they don’t get lost in the overburdened legal and social service system or languish in inappropriate group or foster homes. Volunteers stay with each case until it is closed and the child is placed in a safe, permanent home. For many children, their CASA volunteer will be the one constant adult presence in their lives.
I had often wished that there was a volunteer store where people with time would come and pick up volunteer hours to help with the foster care system. Turns out that there is such a place. In my town it was at the YWCA and in your town there is such a place, too. Simply go here and find yours.
Last year, more than 77,000 CASA volunteers helped 234,000 children find safe, permanent homes. CASA volunteers are everyday citizens who have undergone screening and training with their local CASA program. Unfortunately there are far more than 234,000 children that need CASAs. These children need you.
I had assumed many things about families who have their children taken from them. I had assumed many things about foster parents. Turns out that most parents really love their children and will go to the ends of the earth to get them back. Turns out foster parents have amazing amounts of energy and patience. The social workers work very, very hard to do their best for the families, too.
You will enjoy reading this lovely story about how a volunteer CASA helped a teenage girl named Jacke. With several phone calls and a few visits this CASA made all the difference for Jacke.
You do not have to be a lawyer or social worker to be a volunteer. CASAs are people from all walks of life. They are simply people who care about children and have common sense. As a volunteer, you will be thoroughly trained and well supported by professional staff to help you through each case.
It takes only a few hours of your time each month. A few hours that can make a huge difference in the life of a child. Hit that link and find your town’s CASA program. It will make a difference in your life, too.
all photos are from the CASA website