On an autumn day in 2017, a Riverside County juvenile judge stopped two Voices for Children staff members in the parking lot of the court house. The judge said they just received a case of a 13-year-old girl who had suffered unspeakable abuse and needed an extra special Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA).
Melanie immediately came to mind. The retired nurse had recently completed Advocate University and was calm, kind, and methodical. Within days, she was assigned to Megan’s* case.
Over the next five years, Melanie became Megan’s biggest champion. She fought for Megan, who is developmentally delayed, to receive psychological testing so she could receive the right services. When Megan and her foster parents moved far out of the county, Melanie still drove to see her “CASA girl” twice a month.
As Megan approached 18 and was preparing to leave the foster care system, Melanie wanted to ensure that this young woman was set for life. She advocated for Megan to be placed in a specialized assisted living facility. Melanie found the perfect facility herself, filled out all the paperwork, and met with care staff personally.
“At [Megan’s] last court hearing in July 2021, when the judge asked me if I was willing to be a ‘forever contact’, there was no hesitation to my ‘absolutely, yes’ reply,” Melanie said.
Volunteer Name: Melanie F.
Became a CASA: 2017
Favorite thing about being a CASA: The unconditional smiles and hugs she receives during visits
Fun Fact: Melanie went through the process to become a CASA with her sister, Catherine!
You can make a difference in the life of a child in foster care, just like Melanie did for Megan. Learn more about becoming a CASA volunteer.
*Name and identifying details have been changed for confidentiality