The advocacy of seven CASA Volunteers was celebrated during the 9th Annual Superhero Festival & 5K Run on Saturday, August 24, 2019. These volunteers were nominated by case professionals and CASA staff, and were selected for being outstanding examples of the CASA Core Values. We are grateful for all they do to lift up the lives and voices of children in foster care!
Collaboration - Engage in candid communication that leverages diverse ideas and resources
Carter was sworn in as a CASA on September 27, 2016. He has served 5 children on 3 separate cases. His current case is a one where the child didn’t have a positive role model in his life. That is until Carter came along. The youth had been in trouble with the law on several occasions, and due to his actions, he was removed from foster care and placed in the Douglas County Youth Center for over 100 days. Carter collaborated with all case professionals to work on a removal from DCYC and placement in a group home out of state, where the youth has done well. Carter has worked closely with the child and case professionals the whole time he has been in that home preparing and planning for future placement possibilities and ensuring his needs are being met. It is obvious the case professionals appreciate the support that Carter provides them.
Courage - Address challenges by demonstrating resilience and hope
Janice was sworn in as a CASA on April 6, 2018. She has served 4 children on 2 separate cases. On her current case, Janice demonstrated a strong desire to improve the life of the child. While a strong bond with the child took a while to develop, Janice was showing up to court and family team meetings with information that nobody else had, and she wasn’t afraid to share that information. During one hearing, she brought up the fact that this child was in contact with an adult over social media, and there were signs that this child was in the early stages of being groomed. While other case professionals were aware of the relationship, Janice was the one who brought it up in court. Those actions resulted in a no-contact order between the adult and child and potentially saved the child from further harm.
Tenacity - Persist in advocating for what is just despite adversity
Tammy was sworn in as a CASA on July 7, 2015. She has served 6 children on 3 separate cases. Tammy currently serves 2 children whom she has advocated for this past year. The children’s placement has not always been flexible or cooperative when it comes time for Tammy to visit the children each month, but despite these difficulties, she has persevered. She has always made sure to have monthly contacts with both children, no matter how difficult and time-consuming it is to schedule, and she always documents her contacts in a detailed and timely manner. A few months ago, the entire team was advocating for the case to close, but Tammy did not feel it was in the children’s best interest. She spoke out at team meetings and at court about her concerns, and the Judge concurred with Tammy to keep the case open.
Diligence - Pursue commitments with dedication, integrity, and perseverance
Carolyn was sworn in as a CASA on August 26, 2015. She has served 13 children on 3 separate cases. When the co-CASA on Carolyn’s case had to step down, she did not hesitate and immediately stepped up and began advocating for the 2 children her co-CASA was assigned to, in addition to the 2 children she was already assigned to, even though it meant extra visits and additional meetings in her busy schedule. Carolyn is dedicated to doing what is best for all of these children, even volunteering her own time and resources on a frequent basis to facilitate contact between the 4 siblings who are place separately. Without her, these children would rarely see each other. Carolyn’s reports to the judge are extremely thorough and prompt, and she’s not afraid to advocate for what she feels is in their best interest, even if it differs from what others are recommending.
Inclusivity - Honor the dignity and value of all people, experiences, and perspectives
Phil was sworn in as a CASA on February 9, 2018. He has served 3 children on 2 separate cases. Phil was first assigned to a case involving a 5-year-old boy with genetic progressive neuromuscular disease. The child lives his life in a wheelchair or a bed. Phil immediately recognized the need for the child to have a room where he could play safely. He reached out to Make-A-Wish Foundation and provided them with the specific needs of the child. Over the course of a year, Phil worked diligently with planning and executing for the construction of a padded room for this child to enjoy. The room was dedicated to the child this past March, just following his 7th birthday. Two months later, at the next court hearing, the child surprised everyone, and with some assistance, walked up to the judge’s bench. Phil’s hard work and dedication for this young child has resulted in the child exceeding the expectations set forth by medical professionals.
Innovation - Challenge conventional approaches by creating forward-thinking solutions
Chad was sworn in as a CASA on February 9, 2018. He has served 3 children on 3 separate cases. On one case, Chad was instrumental in helping his CASA youth achieve permanency. When the youth entered an inpatient residential treatment program, his therapist struggled for months to get him to participate in therapy, and his mother appeared ready to give up on him altogether. Although he refused to engage with the treatment staff about his struggles and would spend entire therapy sessions in silence, he was always willing to talk to Chad. Week after week Chad visited, and eventually, Chad was able to relay enough of what he had learned during visits to lead the therapist to an appropriate diagnosis and therapeutic breakthrough that put the youth back on the right track to successfully reunite with his mom and brothers. On the day that Chad and the CASA youth found out he was discharging successfully from residential treatment, they did a happy dance together.
Service - Embrace opportunities to participate generously and give selflessly
Barb was sworn in as a CASA on September 19, 2008. She has served 13 children on 5 separate cases. Barb’s first case involved a youth who Barb was there for every step of the way throughout the life of the case, which lasted 8 years. The youth often called Barb before reaching out to anyone else when she needed assistance. When the youth aged out of foster care at 19, Barb’s service to her did not end. She continued to provide support and resources to her, as well as the young adult’s infant son.
In her most recent case, she was assigned to a family who had endured a great amount of trauma. In looking to assign this case, Barb was the first name who came to mind. She immediately created a bond with the children on her case and had tough conversations for them. She looked out for their best interested and collaborated within the team to ensure their needs were met. She constantly received praise from the case professionals as the best CASA they’ve worked with. This case closed after 14 months, but she remains a constant in the lives of these children.