The court room was fairly empty the day I visited. Lawyers sat in the front row with an emotional mother who dabbed her eyes periodically. In the rows behind, a few CPS case workers read through their notes and whispered to each other. Everyone was waiting for the judge to enter, the judge who would decide what would happen to a child who CPS recently removed from her mother’s care.
The judge entered and the day began. The mother testified about the progress she had made and her lawyer made the case that it was enough. CPS and the state brought up their concerns. The judge sat and listened, asking thoughtful questions and gathering the information she would need to make this difficult decision.
And then, at one point, a woman took the stand. After she said an oath, I learned that she was the child’s assigned CASA. The judge proceeded to ask her questions about the young boy. How were his interpersonal skills? How does he act when he talks about his mother? What does he say about school? What does he want? Does he want to go home with his mother?
Slowly, thoughtfully, she answered each question. Her answers and her tone of voice reflected the time she had spent with him and the relationship they had developed. She had been his CASA, a figure in his life, as he had moved from temporary home to temporary home. She was there for him throughout the transitions and was at court to advocate for him.
I found out later that she was a volunteer, that there were many CASA volunteers. But not enough. As the Family Court dockets grow in size, CASA can’t keep up with volunteers. But they’re trying. One CASA for every child – that’s their goal.
This is an organization worth supporting. This is an organization worth giving $5.00 to. This is an organization worth registering a website and fundraising for, even if it means hours out of each day and money spent on a superhero costume.
Thanks for reading! As always, I appreciate your thoughts and comments.