I heard about CASA about three years before I was recruited by a friend to sign up with her for the next CASA training class.
I wasn’t sure I was equipped with the skills necessary to be a Guardian ad Litem, but because I have a passion to help children who are in situations that do not adequately support their needs, I signed up for the training. I still felt like I couldn’t do this after completing the training, but on February 16, 2017, I was sworn in as a CASA Guardian ad Litem. Experience is a great teacher, and along with the information taught in the CASA Training Classes, and the support of the CASA staff (Attorneys, Case Managers) I learned to do the things that needed to be done, for the child’s best interest. I received my first (and only) case in July 2017. There were two children in the case I was assigned: a young girl, and her infant brother. The young girl lived with her father, and the infant was with a foster family. The case ended for the girl in March 2019, with placement with her parent.
This left me with only the young boy in my case. A goal of CASA and Children Services is to reunite children with their biological parents, or Kinship placements. However, our responsibility as GALs is to advocate FOR THE CHILD and provide information that will help Children’s Services and the Courts place the child in the best home for him or her. Sometimes this does not end up with reunification with parents. During the time with his foster family, the young boy has evolved from dependency on oxygen 24/7, to rarely needing oxygen. He has made great progress, mentally and physically, with his foster parents. In May 2020, he was formally adopted by his foster parents. The young girl’s placement did not end so well, so she is back in the system, with a different GAL. However, as long as we do what we believe is best for the child(ren), without prejudice or bias, we have done what we signed up for.
It’s not always easy, but it is rewarding!