When a Juvenile Court Judge finds a child to be a dependent of the court, many different professionals enter the case. These include social workers, the minors’ attorney, attorneys from County Counsel, law enforcement officials, and counselors. Everyone involved has some interest to represent, and while their intent is to serve the child, these professionals are not well-positioned to focus solely on the child’s esteem, daily well-being, personal needs, and interests. That’s where a Court-Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) volunteer comes in. A CASA is the one consistent person who takes the time to advocate for, mentor, and prioritize the interests and safety of the child. CASAs can provide companionship and help build the child’s self-esteem during uncertain times. Barbara L. has done all this and more for the past five years as the CASA for her youth, Olga.
CASA Barbara is the epitome of consistency, and despite all the tough times Olga has gone through with various placement changes, Barbara remains the one constant in Olga’s life. CASA Barbara knows her youth and case like the back of her hand. She writes the most detailed reports that have been the key to advocating for Olga’s needs on more than one occasion. She also communicates constantly with Olga, her team of professionals, and her caregiver, overcoming language barriers in some instances. CASA Barbara showed Olga tender-hearted support through her challenging recovery journey. She patiently listened without judgment and had honest conversations about Olga’s physical, emotional, and mental needs. Receiving supportive services in another county made it difficult for Barbara to visit Olga, but she succeeded in keeping in contact with Olga during their scheduled phone calls. CASA Barbara has been Olga’s biggest supporter, advocate, and friend. Although there are constant struggles, she never gets frustrated because she knows Olga is counting on her.
No matter where Olga goes, they have a lifelong bond, and she will remain a guiding light, steering her toward thoughtful and safe decisions regarding her future.
Volunteer Name: Barbara L.
Became a CASA in: 2018
Favorite part about being a CASA: “I love being a CASA. My case child and I are continuously developing our relationship. As her advocate, I try to understand what is important to her and how she might reach her goals. Although it is no surprise, we have our ups and downs. I am learning, and I hope she is too. Together, we problem-solve. We have great fun together, and she is a pro at being silly and pulling me into it.
You, too, can make a difference in the lives of youth in foster care. Learn more about becoming a CASA volunteer.