Advocacy in Action: Jaylynn Milstein

Milstein, Jaylynn

About me:

I’m a pediatrician, and have always felt honored to be a part of childrens’ and families’ lives. As I start to transition from having a pediatric practice, I wanted to volunteer in a way in which I could still advocate for children. Being a CASA lets me help those kids who need a voice, and my background may help in particular in cases where a foster child may have medical issues.

I grew up in the Midwest and moved to Eugene almost ten years ago from Wisconsin. I have two college-aged kids and enjoy sports, reading and traveling.

What is something you have learned from your case?

I’ve learned that no matter how much a parent may love their child; sometimes it is just not enough. My CASA kid has major medical issues, and his mother is just not able to keep him healthy. For this child, his life depends on it. I’ve also been humbled in that I’ve seen that just because a parent/family/foster parent does not live like I do, that there are many ways to love kids and keep them safe. Being a CASA and going through CASA training has forced me to confront some of my preconceived notions and my judgments.

How did having a CASA make a difference for the CASA child in your case?

I think my background helped translate for the court the medical needs of my CASA child. I definitely think that our CASA reports are more readable and concise than some of the paperwork that is necessarily in a child’s file. Our reports are an important resource for the court. I think having a CASA made a difference for my child because I was able to help focus attention on the plan. And I think he likes my company and my Lego-building skills!

In your opinion, what does it take to be a good CASA volunteer?

I think first and foremost, a CASA volunteer needs to be there for the child. We need to remember that though it may be clear to us that a child can’t reunite with their parent that children most often want to be with their parent. We need to have empathy for our CASA kids. They face challenges and harbor sadness that we may never understand. We must also be conscientious and follow through with our visits and reports. We need to be dependable and someone that kids can count on.

Jaylynn became a CASA in Spring 2016 and currently advocates on two cases,
one for a two-year-old boy and one for an eight-year old boy. Thank you, Jaylynn!