28 Feb The Heart of a CASA
I am often asked what it takes to become a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA). The answer I give is a simple one – You need to have a heart for children in foster care, be able to pass background checks, and have 10-15 hours a month to dedicate to CASA.
We can teach someone about the child welfare system, childhood trauma, educational advocacy, and addiction. We can teach someone the services available for children and families and how to gather the information that is pertinent to a case. We can teach someone how to write a report for the court. And we can and do assign a supervisor to help and support a CASA throughout a case. But we can’t teach the heart.
It’s a good thing there are so many great people out there that already have a heart overflowing with compassion and love for children in foster care!
As we close out a month that focuses heavily on love, we are choosing to focus on the heart of a CASA.
Advocates who invest themselves into the lives of children. Advocates who read books and watch shows that the children they advocate for read and watch so they can build a connection. Advocates armed with coloring books and games who show up and listen to a child’s concerns. Advocates who have become pros at Zoom and Facetime to continue to show up for kids. Advocates that reach out, over and over again, to the people in the lives of the children to make sure they know the child and know their needs. Advocates that work diligently with teens to make sure they are being set up for success in adulthood. Advocates that give their heart.
I’m sometimes asked if it is hard? Oh yes. It is extremely hard and at times it is heartbreaking, but it is the most rewarding of heartbreaks. It is also often heartwarming work.
Ensuring vulnerable children know they are loved is so important, that we have an advocate, Thea Sanchez, who decided CASA would be her full-time job in retirement, and an advocate, Jay Jansen, who just celebrated 13 years as a CASA, and an advocate, Xanthoula Groom, who took on a case with 9 children because they needed someone in their corner. We have around 100 examples of advocates with heart who show up and speak up for children. Who work consistently to Change a Child’s Story.
If you happen to have the heart, we know some children who really need you.