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I'm a CASA and am learning the role of a volunteer can be extremely powerful. I'm not paid to do a job and I can take the time to have conversations and offer support to the family. I have been told by the mother of my CASA child, "I can't tell you what this means that someone from the court would take the time to meet with me."
Everyone surrounding the family in crisis plays a role. Consider all of the (taxpayer funded) people involved once a family is in the court system - the judge, lawyers, caseworker, therapists, skills trainer, mental health county supervisor, drug treatment counselors, parent mentors. I've learned our society spends an incredible amount of resources to support these families. We don't need another organization or government program to add another layer of bureacracy (think of the paper trail) and take even more money away from directly helping the foster children have a more enriched life. Lets use the resources we have more effectively and find ways to engage the larger community in seeking solutions. CASA does this in very meaningful ways for the volunteer and the family.
For example, one of the ways I can make a difference is being a stand-in parent at school meetings. Foster children are too easily stigmatized by the systems that are suppose to help them - including teachers and mental health treatment workers. In addition, foster children deserve more opportunities for enrichment. I look for funding to provide a foster child with camp experiences, art classes or sports activities that most parents provide for their children.
I'm not solving the problem on a macro scale, but I can make a huge difference in the life of one child. It's a place to start.
posted 3 years, 1 month ago
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