CASA's Friends For Life program provides a Teddy Bear to every child who is adopted into their forever home in the Second Judicial District. The child gets to pick out their new "Friend" before their special day, name their new “Friend" and officially adopt their new "Friend" in court with the assistance of a juvenile judge. The Friends For Life program comes complete with an adoption certificate for the child. These new Teddy Bears from Build-A-Bear Workshop, make an already special day for these children full of more smiles!
A desire to help children is what led me to volunteer with CASA, but seeing how I can be a voice for a powerless child is what drives me to advocate for the often overlooked children of our community. Knowing that I can have an impact on the future of a child, even that of a tiny, defenseless infant, is why I continue to serve children through CASA.
The first time this realization hit me was while working my third case with CASA. Sure, I felt like I played a beneficial role in the first two cases I worked on, but through this particular case, I saw the crucial role played by CASA. Throughout this case, there had been turnover among the attorneys and caseworkers, on top of the already full caseload that many of these individuals carry. However, since I had worked with this child from the beginning and this was the only case I was assigned to, I knew the family and the facts surrounding the case. In my court report, I laid out the details of the family’s history as well as my recommendation for the future of this child. While the attorneys and DHS advocated for this infant to be returned to his mother, I knew that she was unstable and had a history of being unbelievably violent toward her children. I knew she was not following the case plan to get her child back. I knew that this innocent baby did not need to be left alone with her, much less placed back in her custody.
Thankfully, the judge read my court report. She read the details of the mother’s violent past. And she read my recommendation that the child should be placed with a family member. Once the facts and information I gathered were shared with other parties, everyone agreed what was in the child's best interest. I cannot even begin to imagine what the outcome of the case may have been if the judge had not been provided with a CASA report that detailed the unpredictable, cruel nature of his mother. The little boy was placed in a safe placement. Now he is a happy, healthy toddler and is growing every day as he is nurtured by loving family members.
This is why I serve as a CASA!