There are many players involved in foster care. There are lawyers, parents, judges, and social workers just to name a few. One important figure, who may be the only constant in the tide of people who ebb and flow in and out of any particular foster care case, is the CASA worker.
What's a CASA worker?
A CASA worker is a Court Appointed Special Advocate. The CASA worker is a trained volunteer who is appointed by a judge to represent the best interests of abused and neglected children. Volunteers must be 21 years of age and in good standing.
Maybe you've considered adoption or foster care and found it to be too costly, too time consuming, too difficult to fit into your current family situation. CASA volunteers are another way to help children in need without the full-blown commitment of adoption or foster care. You can read a thorough list of FAQs here. To find out more about CASA volunteers in your state, visit their national website here.
But before you leave to learn more, take a look at the poem below, describing the important role of a CASA volunteer.
We speak for a child who wears shoes that are too large
whose nightmares are reality
who never heard of Mickey Mouse
whose parents ran away.
We are the voice of a child who feels at fault
who lives in fear of daddy coming home
who wonders what it’s like to have a friend sleep over
who eats only when food can be found.
We stand for a child who has never been to the doctor
who wonders what the tooth fairy does
who is unable to stand without help
who knows too well what an attorney looks like.
We listen to a child who doesn’t know what the truth is
who is in constant need of a bear hug
who finds freedom only on a swing
who believes they are the parent.
We are the heart of a child who wants
mommy and daddy to stop fighting
who has never had a bandage or kiss on an “owie”
who thinks we are the bestest friend they ever had.
We are the people who often read these children
their very first fairy tale
who wipe away their tears with our sleeves
who want them to believe life is worth it.
Together we work to make a difference, we are CASA!
A CASA Volunteer, 1997