Lancaster County resident “Fred” was assigned to his first case soon after being sworn in as a CASA, a Court Appointed Special Advocate. His case involved a group of four siblings. The children were in foster care because of truancy and a lack of health and dental care. Fred spent hours researching the children’s foster placements, attending biological parent visitations, and collecting a tremendous amount of notes and information. Fred compiled this information into his court report.
Fred was taken aback by the value the dependency judge put on his court report. The judge read every word of his report. He describes his first time in court, “I was surprised! Without looking down at his notes, the judge prefaced his comments with ‘Well the CASA said…’ He even made mention of something that was on the last page of my report. I was astounded. The judges know everything in the CASA reports.”
In that moment, Fred experienced the direct function of CASA – to be another set of eyes and ears for the dependency judge, to put information before the judge about that child’s situation, to enable the judge to make a decision that is in the child’s best interest. All of Fred’s conversations, phone calls, visits, investigation, and report-writing paid off. Fred provided a detailed look at his CASA children’s lives and situations, and made a recommendation to the judge as to what was in the children’s best interest.
NOTE: Unless otherwise indicated, stories used in the newsletter are based on the experiences of Lancaster County CASAs and the youth appointed to them.