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Advocate and Board Member, Lynlie Wallace, Shares Her CASA Experience

Lynlie Wallace, an Advocate as well as a member of the Board of Directors for CASA, shares her experience with CASA on her blog. We’ve included an excerpt below but encourage you to visit her blog for the full story here.

“Sometimes siblings get split up into different foster homes. Sometimes the older children get into legal trouble, drop out of school, get pregnant, become addicted to drugs, or they grow up in foster care, never having the opportunity to experience the love and stability of a forever home…Sometimes a CASA is the only person who isn’t paid to be in these children’s lives. Sometimes a CASA is the only person who really listens to them, spends time with them, and works to get to know them because they truly care.

CASA is different from other organizations that focus on child welfare, because its volunteers advocate for children in court. It’s not just about mentoring, though there certainly are great opportunities for that. As a CASA, you can play an outsize role in determining your child's future. If you work to build a solid rapport with your child, he or she will feel comfortable sharing things with you that they may be unwilling to tell the CPS caseworker or their attorney. You will have information others involved in the case may not, information that may drastically alter the direction of the case. You will have the opportunity to make connections in the case that may have gone unrecognized without your involvement. The judge will care about what you have to say about the case. In fact, in my experience, regardless of whose court, the judge has addressed me directly and asked for CASA’s perspective in nearly every hearing. At the very least, you serve as an extra set of eyes to ensure the child's needs are met and the judge is provided a perspective that won't come from anyone else involved.

Last year, the State confirmed 66,703 cases of child abuse and/or neglect. Unfortunately, we know that there are many at-risk children who haven't been checked by CPS, and even more instances of abuse and neglect that haven't been reported. The safety of all at-risk children is in the hands of an imperfect system, causing too many children to fall through the cracks.  As the effects of a broken child welfare system continue to make headlines, it's hard not to feel helpless. Crises like this can seem too overwhelming and too complicated for any one person to do anything about. The good news is that you have the power to do something. You can make a difference in the life of an abused or neglected child. Serving as a CASA is one of the most meaningful things I have ever done, and I encourage everyone who is interested to attend an information session. If you feel strongly about protecting children from abuse, becoming a CASA will fulfill your calling to serve.

If you’d like to get involved with CASA, but don't have time to serve as an advocate, the next best way to help is to give financially. CASA's first priority is to secure volunteers, striving toward the ultimate goal of assigning a CASA to every case. To do this, CASA uses different strategies to recruit volunteers, and pays staff to train and supervise them. There are countless organizations that do many great things, but I’m asking you to consider supporting one that makes a monumental difference in advocating for some of our society’s most vulnerable members. If you’re looking to make a charitable gift before the end of the year, please consider CASA. A small investment will make a big impact on improving the lives of abused and neglected children.”

Thank you to Lynlie for helping us spread awareness about our mission by sharing her thoughts on her blog!  

Advocate and Board Member, Lynlie Wallace, Shares Her CASA Experience