As a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) volunteer, becoming acquainted with a newly assigned case youth can be both exciting and intimidating. Each child who enters foster care has experienced some form of trauma, so creating that special bond requires not only compassion, but a dedicated and consistent effort from the CASA.
When this week’s Inspiring CASA, Erin, was assigned to 12-year-old foster youth “Alyssa,”* she was met with a series of barriers in the face of the rapidly-developing COVID-19 pandemic. Before CASA Erin had the chance to meet Alyssa in person, California’s stay-at-home protection order was implemented. To make matters more challenging, the two were paired at a time in her dependency when Alyssa needed the support of a CASA more than ever.
CASA Erin refused to be deterred. She reached out to Alyssa’s caregiver for updates and learned that the young girl’s therapy was going to end, despite Alyssa herself wanting to continue to receive treatment. Adding on to these issues, the caregiver added that, given the sudden shift in business operations statewide, it had become difficult to communicate with and receive answers from the professionals on Alyssa’s case.
CASA Erin immediately stepped in as a liaison for Alyssa’s family and her social worker. With Erin acting as a bridge of communication, the parties were able to confirm details about Alyssa’s upcoming court hearing, among other important case information. Together, they were also able to sort out Alyssa’s therapy, so she would receive the support she needed.
Despite being introduced to a new case amidst an onslaught of barriers related to COVID-19, CASA Erin was able to roll up her sleeves and be there for her foster youth. While the transition into advocating remotely has made the role of a CASA much more complex, volunteers such as Erin show us that resilience and care can transform dire situations into wonderful outcomes.
Like CASA Erin, you can advocate for a child’s best interests. Learn how you can positively impact the life of a foster child by becoming a CASA volunteer. You can also have an impact by making a donation to Voices for Children in support of our CASA program.
For more information on Voices for Children’s current business operations and opportunities for virtual volunteer Information Sessions, please visit our COVID-19 Response page.
*Names and other identifying details have been changed to protect confidentiality.