Monday, February 04, 2013

CASA: Court Appointed Special Advocate

You all know I think you probably could be a foster parent if you wanted to try.  Clearly that's a blanket statement and there are people who for a variety of reasons or at least in certain seasons cannot be foster parents.  Furthermore I believe that just because you could doesn't mean you should in that it should be what God calls you to do, as with anything else in your life.  (By the way, this goes the other way too - even if you don't think you could and God wants you to - you should).

Nevertheless - if you're someone out there thinking that foster parenting isn't for you right now, will you please consider being a CASA?

CASA is a national agency run by regional programs designed to appoint volunteers to advocate on behalf of the children in foster care.  In most cases, the CASAs are unpaid volunteers who give 9-12 hours per month visiting the children, writing reports for the court, meeting with family members and case workers, talking to doctors, therapists, and finally in testifying at court on behalf of the child.  The intention is for the CASA to follow the child through the life of their case even when everyone else (foster parents, case workers, etc.) might change.  In many cases CASAs become long-term special people in the lives of the children they're assigned to advocate for, even after the case is over.

I have had a CASA (well, my kids) in about half of the cases.  In my area, one county has NEVER had CASAs assigned to the kids (7 of my 18 kids) while one county has ALWAYS had a CASA assigned (3 kids).  Every other county is hit or miss. 

Our experience has been very positive with CASA.  The advocates are kind, considerate of our needs as foster parents, and love the kids in our home (all of them, our fosters AND forevers).  They seem to genuinely care about the kids and try really hard to advocate on their behalf.  I've heard other stories but in our case the experience has been wonderful. 

I was contacted by someone recently who was thinking about becoming a CASA volunteer.  To my elation I'm happy to share with you that she has decided to write a blog about being a CASA.  Please go over to her new site and share the CASA love...


Foster Mommy NY said...

Thanks for posting this blog and I will follow it as well. After reading your post I am thinking on this as well though I really have not heard of this in our County but I will talk to our Caseworker about it.

Thanks again! :-)

FosterCareQandA said...

I think the concept of CASA is fantastic. Unfortunately it doesn't always seem to work out so well. Which, I think, means we need more dedicated volunteers in the program!

Vertical Mom said...

I am definitely doing this once we're done adopting and the kids are older.