I am officially a CASA! I am so excited and feel so honored to be an officer of the court. We were sworn in by Judge Cavanaugh and she even teared up during the proceeding. We had photos taken with her to commemorate the event. Afterward, our instructors, who are also our Supervisors, had us back at LACASA for cake and more photos. It made it such a special day. It was a happy ending to the intense training we went through, making it all worthwhile.
For those that do not know, a CASA is a Court Appointed Special Advocate for children who have been removed from their home due to abuse and/or neglect. Children who have been removed from the home are generally placed with a family member (outside of the home), if at all possible, or a foster care family. When this happens two separate cases are opened. One is for reunification with the family, handled by Protective Services, the other, handled by an Adoption Worker, takes steps to allow for the adoption of the child.
The hope is that the parents of the child will do their best to correct the problem(s) that led to the removal of the child. If they fail to do that during the course of time allowed by the Child Protection Act then the favored course is the termination of parental rights and adoption of the child.
The court wants the child to not remain in foster care indefinitely but to be placed in a permanent home as soon as is possible while still giving the family every reasonable opportunity to correct the deficits in the home.
There are many people involved in this process. The police, Protective Services, Attorneys, Adoption Services, Foster Families, the parents, the child, CASAs and many others. The CASA volunteers sole responsibility is to look out for the child’s interest and advocate in the best interest of the child.
I am delighted to be involved in this process. While I do not want to see any child abused and/or neglected. I look forward to being assigned to my first case. It is very rewarding to be able to make a difference in a child’s life. If I can make a difference in the life of just one child, I will feel that that is the reason that I was not allowed to die, when many believed my time was up…