Last week, I attended an interesting CASA continuing education event regarding foster children and PTSD.
Our next CASA training class starts in January. I’ve met with a couple of people who have had questions about the CASA time commitment. I thought it would be a good idea to share some of the questions with all of you. And while each and every case is unique, some of the basic elements of how much time you’ll spend on your case is pretty consistent.
Two brothers, Adrian (18 months) and Cyrus (4 years old), were taken into foster care when their mother was arrested for involvement with drugs. Like many other children removed from their homes, Adrian and Cyrus’s path easily could have led to adoption. But their mother did not let that happen. She followed through on every requirement the court gave her. She successfully completed drug treatment and has remained drug free for the past year and a half. She recognized that it was critical to ask for help rather than struggle alone, and she reached out and found ongoing support from her parents, her counselor, and the DHS caseworker.
Brian was 11 and his sister Lily was 13 when they were taken into foster care. They were living with their mother in a house piled high with trash. They rarely attended school, and when they did they were filthy. Brian and Lily were not fed healthy food or taken to the doctor when they needed care.
Five years ago, Alex became the CASA volunteer for three siblings: Abigail (age 7), Madison (age 5), and Rachel (age 1). The children were removed from their mother’s care because she abuseddrugs and brought criminals into their home. Two years later, Alex took on advocacy for one more when the mother gave birth to little brother Gavin.
Visiting your kid, or kids, at school is a very important part of the observation process as a CASA volunteer. It’s important to see how they interact with other students and their teachers. It’s also helpful to see them engaging with friends. This gives you a good idea of how they’re adjusting, or where they need more support.
Julia, who had suffered from abuse at a young age, first met Christine when she was assigned to be Julia’s Court Appointed Special Advocate. Although Julia was in 5th grade, she was barely reading at a 2nd grade level.
As I mentioned last week, there has been a lot of activity on my CASA kid’s case over the last few weeks. She is now in a new foster home. She is working on adjusting into a new routine in a new environment with new people, and even though she was involved with the process, change is tough. But I know she is strong and once she gets comfortable, we will establish a new routine.
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