While in foster care, a child is considered a dependent of the court, and the court steps in to make important decisions regarding the child’s education, placement, health, and more. In order to make the most informed decisions for a child’s well being and future, the court relies on information from the various professionals supporting the child, including social workers, attorneys, and the child’s Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA). While socials workers carry a caseload of dozens of families and attorneys represent anywhere from 100 – 250 children at a time, a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) volunteer is assigned to just one child or sibling group at a time and can provide individualized attention and advocacy. A CASA volunteer dedicates 10-15 hours per month supporting their case child(ren) and advocating for them both in and out of the courtroom.
Our latest “Inspiring CASAs” highlight, CASA Paula, fully embodied the role of advocate on behalf of her case youth. As you’ll read below, CASA Paula’s consistent presence and attentiveness got the ball rolling on placement discussions that may not have taken place without her advocacy.
CASA Paula was paired with brothers “Lenny” and “Liam”* in late 2018. The boys were living in separate foster homes at the time, but over the years, CASA Paula began to notice marked differences in the care each child received. While Lenny’s home nurtured a supportive, positive environment, Liam’s foster home caused her some concern. CASA Paula noted specifically that Liam’s need for increased in-home care was not being met, as the young boy had developed behavioral challenges in response to past trauma.
Upon recognizing this, CASA Paula shared her concerns with her advocacy supervisor at Voices for Children, who helped her compile information about the placement. After working closely with the various professionals on the case and submitting the concerns to the court, CASA Paula received news that Liam had been moved from the home and placed with his brother Lenny. Now both brothers are not only living together, but residing with a foster family better equipped to meet their needs.
Thanks to CASA Paula’s keen eye, initiative, and advocacy, Lenny and Liam were able to reunite, and Liam is receiving increased care and support. Like CASA Paula, you too can positively impact the life of a youth in local foster care. Learn how you can become a CASA volunteer in San Diego or Riverside Counties by signing up for an online Volunteer Information Session.